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« April 2019 | Main | June 2019 »

May 31, 2019

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #254: Netgate

Excuses exhausted. Plus: Patrick Mannelly Great Ever; The St. Louis Bores; Astros Series Asinine; Defining Darvish Down; Contreras Can't Catch; The Dooche; Justin Verlander Reminds Us He Wanted To Be A Cub; The Cubs' Bill Buckner; White Sox Wild?; Burton's Boo-Boo; Stanley Cup Finals Moves To Nation's Most Boring City; and Why You Should Both Love Steve Kerr And Root For The Raptors.


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SHOW NOTES

* 254.

* Who knew Patrick Mannelly was so great ever.

1:23: Netgate.

* Another Child Is Hit By A Foul Ball, And The Batter Is Devastated.

* Get it done, MLB.

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10:45: The St. Louis Bores.

* Mark Gonzales actually wrote this - and his editors allowed it to be published:

What's worse, having your city jokingly referred to as being boring?

Or having a retooled team with realistic playoff ambitions test your patience during an 8-18 May?

That's the dilemma facing Cardinals fans certain to be invigorated this weekend by the presence of the Cubs and slugger Kris Bryant, who jokingly referred to St. Louis as "boring" during a lighthearted fireside chat with Ryan Dempster at the Cubs Convention in January.

Really?

* St. Louis doesn't even have the Bowling Hall of Fame anymore!

20:23: Astros Series Asinine.

* A week of "three true outcome" baseball.

* Javy Baez's platinum sombrero.

23:38: Defining Darvish Down.

* Stop grading on a sliding scale.

28:14: Contreras Can't Catch.

* No wonder he used to play outfield.

34:34: The Dooche.

* When you call up Jim Adduci, you are missing Ben Zobrist something awful and Ian Happ is nowhere near ready to return to the major leagues. So then you add Carlos Gonzalez.

* And Daniel Descalso has been exposed.

* Weekly Tommy La Stella shout out.

43:54: Reminder: Justin Verlander Wanted To Be A Cub.

* Got Cole Hamels a year later instead.

48:45: The Cubs' Bill Buckner.

* Coffman: "My primary memory of Bill Buckner was of him lashing the ball down the right field line. It was amazing how many of those beautiful line drives one-hopped the wall near the corner. I felt like practically every time I tuned into a Cubs game in the early '80s he was good for a double, and was pleased to confirm that he led the National League in two-baggers in both '81 and '83. I will have a little something to say about the rest of his career later on."

* Rhodes: Media: Bill Buckner Shouldn't Be Defined By The One Play We're Defining Him By.

* Larry David rehabilitates Buck:

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1:00:55: White Sox Wild?

* Coffman: "They're not dead yet!"

* Why Dallas Keuchel perfectly fits the rebuild timeline.

1:07:54: Trey Burton's Boo-Boo.

1:09:15: Stanley Cup Finals Shift To Nation's Most Boring City.

1:10:35: Why You Should Both Love Steve Kerr And Root For The Raptors.

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Plus . . .

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STOPPAGE: 17:19

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:42 PM | Permalink

May 30, 2019

The [Thursday] Papers

"Something was wrong with the little girl," NPR Illinois reports.

That was clear by the time she was 10 years old. She raged often and was sometimes sullen. By the time she was 13, she was missing school because her anxiety was so severe. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, which is marked by periods of depression and irritability interrupted by extreme highs.

"We used to refer to her as Jekyll and Hyde before actually we had any idea of anything," said the girl's mother, who we are calling Jane because she has asked that we not use her name or her daughter's.

And when the girl was 14, her parents split up and the family's financial situation meant they were reliant on Medicaid for insurance. For Jane, that meant her daughter was on a waiting list for a year.

For the zillionth time: We ration health care in this country - to those who can afford it. And the more you can afford, the better care you get. It's that simple. And that immoral.

*

"The only way we did get her to see the doctor . . . we had to hospitalize her and she was the doctor on staff at the hospital. So we kind of got in the back door that way. The caseload is just so high," said Jane, who lives in Lake County. "There's just no doctors, there's no psychiatrists for children that take Medicaid."

I've gone years trying to find a therapist in Chicago who takes Medicaid, and I'm (theoretically) and adult.

But my god . . . children? At least I can self-medicate with Old Style and a well-curated record collection. Straight out heartless.

*

"The family is hardly alone. About half the children in Illinois are on Medicaid.

"About 850,000 children will experience mental health conditions across Illinois and its access to care can be extremely challenging. We have a psychiatrist workforce shortage, which is a national, as well as local shortage. And oftentimes, treatment is simply out of reach,'' said Heather O'Donnell, who is senior vice president of advocacy and public policy for Thresholds, a statewide mental health service provider.

"In Illinois, we have children that are psychiatrically hospitalized, and then they don't have placements. Whether it's for outpatient treatment, or residential treatment, there oftentimes is not the availability of services," she said.

The result is growing suicide rates and increased rates of drug and alcohol abuse. "Often, people turn to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate untreated mental health conditions,'' she said.

Like I said.

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"'The consequences of these conditions are substantial,' said Dr. John Walkup, who is head of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.

Walkup said the vast majority of mental health conditions - 75% to 80% - begin prior to age 18. He points to a recent study that showed about 20 percent of Illinois children have an active mental health problem and slightly over half of them have ever been in treatment.

"So about a half of the young people who have mental health problems in the state of Illinois don't get access to care, and we know that the vast majority of mental health problems have very good treatments."

That's a lot of unaddressed pain out there.

*

"Sara Moscato Howe, CEO of the Illinois Association for Behavioral Health, says the mental health services in general have suffered from a lack of funding for many years.

"We can talk about the suicide crisis that's escalating, we could talk about the opioid epidemic - there's all kinds of things we are happy to talk about in a public hearing. When you get behind closed doors, and you develop a budget, your priorities come out. And for the last 10 to 15 years, we have not been a priority in this state,'' she said.

That is the cold, hard truth.

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Where Are The Asian Pols?
"Asians make up about 7% of Chicago's population and 5% of Illinois' population, but they are now the fastest-growing demographic in the city, state and the U.S.," WBEZ reports.

"While more Asian Americans are running for office locally and in the state, the community is still underrepresented on all levels of government. For instance, there are none serving in the Chicago City Council, now that Ameya Pawar, the city's only Asian American alderman, stepped down after eight years leading the 47th Ward."

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Reminder: Our very own Kiljoong Kim wrote There Are No Asian-American Aldermen Here in 2006.

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ChicagoReddit

Is there a Toronto bar in Chicago? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Charles Norman Quintet - Little Joe From Chicago (1952)

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BeachBook

Stuck Inside Of Bakersfield With The Wienermobile Blues Again.

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UIC To Offer In-State Tuition To Students From Any Of The 573 Tribal Nations In The U.S.

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Meet The Security Company Building An International Database Of Banned Bargoers.

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Watchdog Group Sues Walmart For Selling "Nonsense" Homeopathic Remedies.

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New Louisiana Abortion Law Requires Fetuses Be Given Jazz Funeral March Through The French Quarter.

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Illinois Prison Removes More Than 200 Books From Its Library.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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Both sidesing the shit out of it.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: One side: the truth.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:59 AM | Permalink

May 29, 2019

The [Wednesday] Papers

Lori Lightfoot had a good day today.

Not so much Alds. Ed Burke, Patrick Daley Thompson and Ray Lopez, nor Robert Mueller and Donald Trump.

Let's take a look.

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Leading a city council meeting for the first time, Lightfoot at times had a bit of nervous shake in her voice, and received the requisite parliamentary assistance when needed, but overall demonstrated that times have changed in Chicago.

First, she put Ed Burke in his place.

I mean, his place is a prison cell, but figuratively speaking:

*

*

Or, as I put it:

I wish I would've tweeted it like this, though:

Would the indicted former chair of the finance committee please shut up.

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Burke's complaint? That several passages of the new rules up for council approval referred to he and him instead of using gender-neutral language.

On one hand, maybe he has a point? On the other hand, Lighfoot, in prosecutorial manner that affirmed that Burke was a lawyer and a member of the council for 50 years, pointed out that the terms he/his (or she/hers) applies under the law to all genders.

Also after the meeting, Lightfoot told the media that Burke's objection was clearly a stunt to test her, and that "The notion that Ed Burke is a champion of women's rights is laughable."

Via WGN-TV:

"Alderman Burke is somebody who likes to test people. He likes to see if there are weaknesses. He has attempted to do this in the past with me, and he's failed spectacularly every time. And every time he tries it, he will again fail spectacularly. I'm not going to start my term as mayor with a City Council putting up with somebody who is just playing games for the sport of it. The people in this city expect us to do our jobs. They expect the government to actually work on behalf of the people and not have a Game of Thrones gamesmanship on the floor of the City Council. I'm not having it."

Lightfoot cited a previous incident she had with Burke when she led the police board; she was appearing before the council on a budget matter when Burke attempted to use her as a "foil" for the inspector general. Then, too, she said, he "failed spectacularly."

*

Meanwhile, Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson repeatedly moved to reconsider on a series of votes establishing the new council and its committee chairmanship assignments despite Lightfoot having the votes to win each motion each time. All reconsideration did was show Thompson to be a childish Burke ally trying futilely to derail Lightfoot while the new mayor got the opportunity each time to proclaim, "The motion to reconsider fails" as each reconsideration vote was the same as the original: a win for Lightfoot.

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At one point, Ald. Ray Lopez rose to attack Lightfoot for a relative lack of Latino representation among the new committee chairs, and to complain that the new mayor wasn't listening to aldermen's concerns.

Bear in mind, Lopez left the council's Latino Caucus in April because caucus members worked against his re-election.

So maybe not in a great position to speak of Latinos in the council nor where other aldermen's heads where at - which isn't to say he might not have a point about Lightfoot's Latino representation. It's to say he probably cares about as much as Burke cares about gender-neutral language.

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Another sign that times have changed:

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Mueller and Trump? Check out @BeachwoodReport for my commentary on today's events, but you can also entry the fray with this thread if you want:

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And then move on to this one:

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Also:

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New on the Beachwood . . .

CEO Looting Spree Unabated
New York Times and AP join Bloomberg in finding executive compensation 'out of control' with no link to performance or logic outside of pure greed.

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Stan Mikita Hockey School For Deaf Back For Another Year
"The school does not charge fees for athletes to attend its hockey school, all expenses incurred by the team or players (ice, time, lodging, equipment, etc.) are paid by the organization."

June, in Bensenville.

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Ten Years Of The Modern Wing
Take a video stroll through it, learn its secrets, and read the Yelp reviews.

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Chicago House Music Festival
Highlights.

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Illinois' Lost Capital
The ghost village of Kaskaskia.

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24 Hours With CAN TV19
From jazz jams to the Black Panthers.

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ChicagoReddit

187 animals are arriving at The Anti-Cruelty Society on Friday from Oklahoma as a result of the severe storms and flooding. Interested in fostering? 4-6 week commitment. from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

"At 114-years-old, this Bronzeville neighborhood jazz club is the oldest hardwood dance floor in Chicago. Nat King Cole and a list of other jazz musicians performed at THE FORUM in the past. It also held important civil and labor rights meetings. It is a Historic Landmark, tryin' to be preserved by; #Urbanjuncture.com/the-forum/.

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BeachBook

97-Year-Old Grandpa Saves Village By Painting The Whole Town In Colorful Art.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Throw a dart.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:28 PM | Permalink

May 28, 2019

Chicago House Music Festival 2019

Last weekend at Millennium Park.

1. Video Recap.


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2. Twerk.

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3. Rae Chardonnay.

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4. Jevon Jackson.

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5. Gant-Man.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:41 PM | Permalink

24 Hours With CAN TV19

Midnight: Universal Alley Jazz Jam

1 a.m.: Community News & Information

7 a.m.: Democracy Now!

8 a.m.: Black Panther Party

10 a.m.: 31st Annual Black Nurses Day

Noon: Full Circle TV Show

1 p.m.: Higher Learning Network TV Show

1:30 p.m.: PAN-TV

2:30 p.m.: Sip of Inspiration

3:30 p.m.: ChatterBox

4 p.m.: Stephen Patterson Presents

5 p.m.: MBI UNIA Ladies Day

6 p.m.: Elma & Company

7 p.m.: Adventures in Scuba Diving

7:30 p.m.: Team Chicago Challenge

8 p.m.: The Zaboka Show

9 p.m. The Chundria Show

9:30 p.m.: Omnibus Roundtable

10 p.m.: Star Performer Showcase

11 p.m.: Marcus Mixx on TV

11:30 p.m.: Divas Cabaret

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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.
* 24 Hours With FM.
* 24 Hours With The Great American Country Channel.
* 24 Hours With Lakeshore TV.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:26 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"At least 37 people were shot, five fatally, throughout Chicago on Memorial Day weekend as severe storms kept people indoors for the holiday and 1,200 officers were added to patrol the streets," the Tribune reports.

In addition to extra patrols, Chicago police leading up to the weekend made numerous narcotic-related arrests in targeted raids in different parts of the city.

Following a Monday ceremony at a Grant Park monument to commemorate the nation's war dead, Mayor Lori Lightfoot told reporters that she rode with officers Saturday night and responded with them to a shooting on the South Side. She also spoke of the frequency in which she receives emailed notifications on shootings.

"That is just an unacceptable state of affairs," the new mayor said. "I think there's many causes to it. I certainly knew that before but to see it graphically depicted is quite shocking and says that we've got a long way to go as a city.

"This is not a law enforcement-only challenge. It's a challenge for all of us in city government. It's a challenge for us in communities to dig down deeper and ask ourselves what we can do to step up to stem the violence."

Not to bag on Lightfoot, who just took office last week, but the city - just like the nation and the world - has accepted this "unacceptable" state of affairs forever. That kind of rhetoric may seem politically necessary, but it always bugs me. If this was a truly unacceptable state of affairs, city leaders would have matched their rhetoric of urgency with interventions of urgency a long time ago. One result of not doing so is to make what the newspapers call weekend "mayhem" routine. 'Here comes the holiday weekend, let's track all the shootings!' The word "normalization" comes to mind.

Not that there are easy, urgent answers just sitting out there. But massive neighborhood investment, integrated with essentially turning the city's budget upside down, to balance screaming inequities has never really been tried. Now it's Lightfoot's turn - and time for us to see what she's made of.

*

"Arguably the best thing about Chicago's new mayor is that Lori Lightfoot seems to really get the link between gang-fueled street violence and lack of economic opportunity," Greg Hinz writes for Crain's.

"As mayor, her task in large part is to bring relief ('wraparound services and job training') to neighborhoods that 'are under siege and economically distressed,' Lightfoot told CBS This Morning a few days ago - treating 'the root causes of the violence.' In other words, a young adult who has a job and feels good about himself or herself is a lot more likely to succeed in life than someone who has given up and sees gangs as the only out.

"Lightfoot is on to something."

What's amazing - and distressing - about this report is the notion that mayors (and other civic leaders, including journalists) have not previously understood that link. That link is something that's been understood to many experts in the field, as well as experts on the streets, for just about ever. The idea that "Lightfoot is on to something" is sadly laughable; it doesn't take any kind of special insight particular to the new mayor to get it.

My worry is that her vision stops at wraparound services and job training. That's been tried, although perhaps not in a massive way. We need a much larger vision of equitable economic development that includes megaprojects - the Peotone airport, for example - tied to affordable housing and desegregation to really break the pattern. That last one is the one where Lightfoot may have particular insight. Lightfoot has spoken about the visceral lessons she learned about the deep realities of the city's racism, for example, in leading Rahm Emanuel's police reform task force. It all ties together, and that's where the hope in Lori Lightfoot resides, not just the usual bromides and half-hearted, though well-intentioned small-bore prescriptions.

The rest of Hinz's column is a plea for Lightfoot to heed the call of private developers who favor downtown investment. In other words, a plea for status quo, supply-side thinking: Invest more in downtown (and North Side neighborhoods) to attract businesses and then, um, figure out a way to get poor black folk on the South Side to jobs there.

He does flick at the notion of public infrastructure - train stations and the like - in poor neighborhoods that may draw businesses there. That's not gonna work. If the city is going to make economic development in our most distressed neighborhoods come true, it has to sway the next George Lucas to put his or her museum in Bronzeville; the next Lincoln Yards on the U.S. Steel site; the next zillion billion dollar O'Hare expansion to take place in the south suburbs. As much as Rahm Emanuel liked to portray himself as a tough mayor making big moves, his big ideas had nothing to do with economic development - the largest set of school closings in U.S. history, an infrastructure trust, a fantastical tunnel system to O'Hare. When it came to economic development, he played the downtown supply side strategy to a "T" just like nearly every mayor before him (exception: Harold Washington), to the same results. And here we are. Isn't it finally time for something new? Something as big as Chicago's self-identity?

*

I mean, the headline on Hinz's piece is "Lightfoot Must Help The Loop To Lift Neighborhoods."

Where do you even start with that? What a bold new strategy! I wonder if it will work?! Let's finally try it!

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If it was just Hinz saying this, I would ignore it. (Well, maybe.) But he's giving voice to forces in the city (like the mega-developer he quotes) who will bring great pressure to bear on Lightfoot to maintain the downtown-first policies of her predecessors under the age-old guise of having the interests of the neighborhoods in first and foremost in mind. This will be Lightfoot's biggest challenge, and the area where we are most likely to see crushing disappointment.

*

I wrote during the campaign that the biggest thing missing among all the candidates was anyone expressing an imaginative economic development vision. (Paul Vallas had a lot of seemingly great ideas at the bureaucratic level that could yield significant results, but which need to be paired with the macro to really transform the city.) That is perhaps where Lightfoot is most vulnerable to failure. At least she'd have a lot of company.

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Hoodie Winked
"Students at Uplift Community High School in this city's Uptown neighborhood overturned a hated rule that banned hoodie sweaters on their campus," People's World reports.

"Their victory came as a result of their 'Hoodies, Harmless or Hated' campaign. The campaign was just one of scores of civic activism projects that high schoolers throughout Chicago have been working on all year under the guidance of the Mikva Challenge, a not-for-profit program encouraging youth participation in civic and political life."

For more Mikva problem-solving, see City's Youth Solves Problems.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #253: Memorial Day Weekend State Of The Cubs, White Sox & Bears
Tales of regress, progress and egress. Including: Jim Coffman Not Here For Ben Zobrist's Divorce; Addy Is Baddy; Another Sullivan Special; Old School Cubs Lack Velocity; How Albert Almora Jr. Turned His Season Around; Salt's Sinker; So You're Saying The White Sox Have A Chance; and Bears Carousel.

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The Rebuild Not Taken
Envying the Twins' way. In The White Sox Report.

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Beautiful Bill Buckner
He was a great Cub and had a great, great career in baseball. Full stop.

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ChicagoReddit

Courthouse downtown for marriages from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Chinese American Museum of Chicago Annual Gala.

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BeachBook

Abortion Ban Coverage Sows Confusion.

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That Time Trump Sold The Plaza Hotel At An $83 Million Loss.

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Comcast Fights Shareholder Call For Lobbying Transparency, Saying That It Would Be "Burdensome" To Reveal How Much It Spends Lobbying States.

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The Bitter Life Of A Shattered Jockey: The Mostly True Story Of Evanston-Born Mary Bacon.

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High Tolerance: Wisconsin & Alcohol.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

I love Steve Kerr and the Warriors. And I was pulling for the Bucks, Milwaukee and stuff. But now I'm also a diehard Raptors fan. I wonder if there's work for me in Toronto . . .

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Bend it back.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:48 AM | Permalink

AP, New York Times Studies Show CEO Pay 'Totally Out Of Control'

Two studies released by the executive compensation firm Equilar on Friday revealed that CEOs of some of the wealthiest companies in the U.S. are seeing their pay rise at about twice the rate of the workers who make the day-to-day operations of their businesses run.

The Associated Press commissioned a study of compensation for 340 executives at S&P 500 companies, which revealed that the CEOs earned raises averaging $800,000 in 2018 - a 7 percent increase over the previous year.

Workers would need to work 158 consecutive years to earn what their bosses make in one year, the AP reported.

Equilar also conducted an annual survey for the New York Times, examining compensation for 200 of the highest-paid executives in the country.

CEOs at companies including Tesla, Oracle, and T-Mobile saw their pay increase by an average of $1.1 million in 2018, bringing their median compensation to $18.6 million.

American workers were given a raise of just 84 cents on average, reported the Times.

CEOs were paid exorbitant sums "regardless of scandal," Times reporter Peter Eavis wrote, with many companies paying their leaders millions above their base salary just "to do the basics" of their jobs.

Timothy Sloan, for example, stepped down from his post at the helm of Wells Fargo this year after coming under fire for presiding over the bank where employees had opened fraudulent accounts in customers' names and sold them insurance that they didn't need. Sloan walked away with stock grants worth over $24 million.

Meanwhile, Disney CEO Robert Iger and T-Mobile head John Legere received tens of millions in extra compensation to reward them for leading their companies through mergers - even though as Eavis wrote, "carrying out mergers could be considered a core part of a CEO's job description, and not deserving of extra pay."

The firm's findings were bolstered by Bloomberg's recent report on how the wealthiest CEOs in the U.S. were compensated in 2018.

Both Equilar reports come amid intensifying anger from progressive lawmakers like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio Cortez (D-N.Y.) and presidential candidates Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Sanders has frequently decried out-of-control income inequality, epitomized by the fact that the three wealthiest American families own more wealth than the bottom 50 percent of earners. One of Warren's first policy proposals as a presidential candidate was her Ultra-Millionaires Tax, which would tax wealth over $50 million at three percent per year.

Montana Gov. and presidential candidate Steve Bullock tweeted a link to the Times report, writing, "We can get our country back on track, but that starts with ensuring every working family gets a fair shot at success."

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

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Previously:

* CEO-Worker Income Gap Higher In U.S. Than Anywhere Else: Analysis.

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

* 'Obscene': 70 Top Healthcare CEOs Raked in $9.8 Billion Since 2010.

* Top CEOs Make 271 Times More Than The Average American.

* U.S. CEO Retirement Packages: Bigger Than Yours.

* Special Report: Buybacks Enrich The Bosses Even When Business Sags.

* Bill Clinton's Phony Executive Pay Cap.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:57 AM | Permalink

Ten Years Of The Modern Wing

"The Modern Wing is the most recent addition to the museum as well as the greatest departure from original museum architecture.

"It utilizes key contemporary design principles, such as the use of natural lighting and a façade of transparent, glazed walls that help meet the temperature and humidity conditions required for art while also surpassing Chicago Energy Code requirements.

"The most recent manifestation of our mission to show modern and contemporary art, the Modern Wing is the home of the Edlis-Neeson Collection, the largest donation in the museum's history."


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From Wikipedia:

"On May 16, 2009, the Art Institute opened the Modern Wing, the largest expansion in the museum's history.

"The 264,000-square-foot addition, designed by Renzo Piano, makes the Art Institute the second-largest museum in the US.

"The Modern Wing is home to the museum's collection of early 20th-Century European art, including Pablo Picasso's The Old Guitarist, Henri Matisse's Bathers by a River, and René Magritte's Time Transfixed.

"The Lindy and Edwin Bergman Collection of Surrealist art includes the largest public display of Joseph Cornell's works (37 boxes and collages).

"The Wing also houses contemporary art from after 1960; new photography, video media, architecture and design galleries including original renderings by Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe and Bruce Goff; temporary exhibition space; shops and classrooms; a cafe and a restaurant, Terzo Piano, that overlooks Millennium Park from its terrace.

"In addition, the Nichols Bridgeway connects a sculpture garden on the roof of the new wing with the adjacent Millennium Park to the north and a courtyard designed by Gustafson Guthrie Nichol."

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See also:

* Secrets Of The Modern Wing.

* The Modern Wing on Yelp.

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Modern Wing Stroll.

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Insta Modern Wing.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:04 AM | Permalink

The Rise And Fall Of The First Capital Of Illinois

"This first comprehensive account of the Illinois village of Kaskaskia covers more than 200 years in the vast and compelling history of the state. David MacDonald and Raine Waters explore Illinois' first capital in great detail, from its foundation in 1703 to its destruction by the Mississippi River in the latter part of the 19th century, as well as everything in between: successes, setbacks, and the lives of the people who inhabited the space.

kaskaskia.jpg

"At the outset the Kaskaskia tribe, along with Jesuit missionaries and French traders, settled near the confluence of the Kaskaskia and Mississippi rivers, about 60 miles south of modern-day St. Louis.

"The town quickly became the largest French town and most prosperous settlement in the Illinois Country.

"After French control ended, Kaskaskia suffered under corrupt British and then inept American rule.

"In the 1790s the town revived and became the territorial capital, and in 1818 it became the first state capital.

"Along the way Kaskaskia was beset by disasters: crop failures, earthquakes, tornadoes, floods, epidemics, and the loss of the capital-city title to Vandalia.

"Likewise, human activity and industry eroded the river's banks, causing the river to change course and eventually wash away the settlement.

"All that remains of the state's first capital today is a village several miles from the original site."

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See also:

* The Curse Of Kaskaskia: Illinois' Lost Capital.

* The Story Of Kaskaskia Island, Illinois' First State Capital.

* Living In The American Atlantis (Population 14).

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Partially abandoned ghost town: Kaskaskia.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:11 AM | Permalink

Stan Mikita Hockey School For The Deaf And Hard Of Hearing Back For 46th Year

Founded in 1973 by National Hockey League Hall of Fame member Stan Mikita and Chicago businessman Irv Tiahnybik, the Stan Mikita Hockey School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing-AHIHA is hosting its 46th annual weeklong hockey school for deaf and hard of hearing athletes June 8-15, at the Edge Ice Arena, 735 E. Jefferson St., Bensenville.

The Stan Mikita Hockey School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing-AHIHA is one of the most unique training and development camps for young athletes in the United States. With current and former professional hockey players serving as coaches, the hockey school uses on-ice interpreters to convey instructions and advice to players via sign language.

Players wear letters on their helmets to alert interpreters whether they are conversant in lip reading ("L") or sign language ("S"). Approximately 60 young athletes from across the country are enrolled in this year's hockey school and will skate on one of four skill-level based hockey teams - Varsity, Junior Varsity, Freshmen or Girls. The school does not charge fees for athletes to attend its hockey school, all expenses incurred by the team or players (ice, time, lodging, equipment, etc.) are paid by the organization.

In addition to rigorous daily on-ice training and practice sessions, AHIHA teams play evening games against Chicago area hockey teams and clubs. The organization also is planning to send a team in December for the 2019 World Winter Deaflympics in Chiavenna, Italy.

"We've achieved a lot in 46 years," said Kevin Delaney, AHIHA president and also a skating and skills coach for the past eight years with the Chicago Blackhawks. "Nearly 3,000 deaf and hard of hearing athletes have been coached and trained at our school, our teams have won gold, silver and bronze medals at major international winter sports competitions and the vast majority of our athletes have used our school as a springboard to successful high school, college and junior hockey careers."

The Stan Mikita Hockey School for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing-AHIHA is one of the leading sports organizations in the United States serving deaf and hard of hearing athletes. The school's mission is to instill confidence and self esteem in deaf and hard of hearing individuals, primarily through AHIHA-sponsored clinics, camps and related hockey activities.

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Highlights of 2018's School:

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See also: Stan Mikita's Legacy - Including The Donuts.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:26 AM | Permalink

SportsMondayTuesday: Beautiful Bill Buckner

My primary memory of Bill Buckner was of him lashing the ball down the right field line. It was amazing how many of those beautiful line drives one-hopped the wall near the corner. I felt like practically every time I tuned into a Cubs game in the early '80s he was good for a double, and was pleased to confirm that he led the National League in two-baggers in both '81 and '83.

I will have a little something to say about the rest of his career later on.

Buckner, who was afflicted with Lewy Body Dementia (as was Stan Mikita late in his life) and died over the weekend at the age of 69, also won the batting title in 1980 and made the All-Star team in '81. The Cubs traded him to the Red Sox during the magical year of 1984 (until the end) for Dennis Eckersley, who was still starting back then. That capped off a great, eight-year stretch of a career from 1969 to 1990 that featured a total of 2,715 hits.

When I was a kid in the city, I was a little torn about which local team would earn my primary allegiance (my dad preferred the White Sox but mostly he didn't care). But by the time the '80s rolled around I was in high school and I had sat in the bleachers enough times with my brother to have decided on the Cubs.

I have to admit I don't remember coming home and watching day games after school in the '70s or '80s. When we came home from school to the townhouse on the Lincoln Park block (2100 N. Hudson) where we lived, we went out to play or we went to our rooms to study. There was no after-school TV. And in middle school we were playing organized sports after school. When school got out, though, that's when we must have seen Buckner ripping line drive after line drive down the line.

And we lived close enough to the ballpark that when we had a chance, we could walk a couple short blocks to Clark Street and take the 22 bus up to its intersection with Addison.

Our first favorite player was Rick Monday, who coincidentally enough was part of the 1977 trade the brought Bill Buckner to the Cubs from the Dodgers. So we always sat in the right-centerfield bleachers. The cool kids, like Eddie Vedder, sat in left and then right field behind Jose Cardenal. After Monday was gone, Buckner was one of our primary guys.

The first baseman played for four other teams during his career. And here, eight paragraphs in, we finally note that what he was most famous for was of course allowing a meandering little ground ball to roll under his glove and score the winning run in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series against the Mets.

Others have written in the past 24 hours that Buckner deserved to be remembered for something other than that play. But that didn't stop them from leading their stories with that single, stupid play.

He deserved better because A) Did we mention he amassed over 2,700 hits in parts of four decades in the Bigs? Also, A) he shouldn't have been on the field. He had suffered numerous ankle injuries at that point in his career (17 years in) and could barely wobble anywhere on the diamond. He was the Red Sox's primary candidate for a late-game defensive substitution. B) Even if he had fielded the ball, he probably wouldn't have beaten speedy Mookie Wilson to the bag. C) Even if he somehow had, the game was already tied and the Mets could have won in extra innings. And D) That was only Game 6 of the series. The Red Sox lost it in Game 7.

In fact, the situation was eerily similar to what happened at Wrigley Field in 2003 in Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. In the eighth inning, Steve Bartman tried to catch a foul fly down the left field line and . . . you know the rest. The next night, the Marlins won Game 7 to go to the World Series.

In 1986 and 2003, the human capacity for identifying scapegoats and letting them have it came crashing down on Buckner and Bartman with massive fury completely out of proportion to what had actually happened. I happen to believe that if Bartman was ever interviewed, one of the reasons he has stayed in seclusion since 2003 is that he thinks he should have known not to deflect that ball. But even if that was the case, the Cubs had opportunities to win that game after that and Kerry Wood started on regular rest in Game 7. The loss of that series was a total team effort.

So was the Red Sox' loss in 1986. People in Boston started to figure that out as time went by, but they didn't forgive Buckner 'til they won the Series in . . . 2003.

Bill Buckner was a great Cub and had a great, great career in baseball. Full stop.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:08 AM | Permalink

May 26, 2019

The Rebuild Not Taken

Call it a mulligan, a take-over, or a re-do. Just don't call it a rebuild.

While the White Sox have taken one path, the Minnesota Twins - the mighty Twinkies, owners of 101 home runs in their first 50 games - have chosen a different route.

Both teams faced a similar decision after eight seasons of less than mediocre results in which neither ballclub qualified for a post-season berth. Between 2009 and 2016 when the Sox traded Jose Quintana, Chris Sale and Adam Eaton for a stable of prospects, the team finished over .500 just twice and once, in 2013, lost more than 90 games.

Meanwhile, in the eight years leading up to the present campaign, Minnesota also finished over .500 just twice, though they dropped more than 90 games five times.

Interestingly, the year before the rebuild began in 2016, the Sox were 78-84, the exact same record that the Twins posted last season.

However, unlike the White Sox, the Twins didn't clean house with a host of trades for young prospects. Yet here they are with the best record in baseball after easily sweeping the Sox in the Twin Cities over the weekend, outscoring the local darlings 24-5.

So what happened? Can it be that the Twins have turned things around without so much as contemplating the R-word?

For the most part, the same players as last year's, with a different manager in Rocco Baldelli, who replaced Paul Molitor, simply are playing better than they have in the past. General manager Thad Levine deftly signed free agents Nelson Cruz, Jonathan Schoop and Marwin Gonzalez last offseason, but the majority of the heavy lifting so far has been done by familiar faces.

Take outfielder Eddie Rosario, a fellow who did just fine in 2018, hitting .288 with 24 home runs and 77 RBIs. With his three-run homer, his 16th, on Sunday, Rosario already has 45 RBIs, tops in the American League.

Shortstop Jorge Polanco, a budding star, is hitting a robust .335, second only to the Sox's Tim Anderson in the American League. If Polanco continues at his present pace, he'll hit 26 home runs this season and drive in 76.

Max Kepler also hit a dinger on Sunday worth three runs in the Twins' 7-0 rout. It was Kepler's 12th homer compared to the 20 he hit all of last season. He's on pace for 88 RBIs. Last year he drove in 58.

Byron Buxton, the Twins' 2012 top draft choice (2nd overall), had been a bust offensively until this season. Acknowledged as one of the top defensive centerfielders in the game, he battled injuries last year and played only 28 games with the big-league club, hitting an anemic .156. He's healthy now, patrolling the real estate as well as ever, but hitting 100 points higher than a year ago. Lest I be remiss, he's also leading the league in doubles with 19.

The Twins could have been forgiven if they had dumped third baseman Miguel Sano, another player predicted for stardom, especially after slugging 28 homers in 2017. But Sano went downhill from there, letting his weight rise higher than his batting average, and he found himself banished to the minor leagues where he toiled before being recalled the middle of this month. In Sano's first eight games back in Minneapolis, he slammed five home runs while playing a skillful third base.

Turning to pitching, the team's ERA stands at 3.70 compared to 4.50 a year ago. However, there were no big splashes on the free agent market unless you count Martin Perez, who was released by the Rangers after going 2-7 with a 6.22 ERA last year. Levine grabbed him at the end of January, signing him for one year at $7.5 million. Something's changed for Perez in the Twin Cities, where he's 7-1 with a 2.95 ERA in eight starts.

Of the 13 Twins pitchers who were active over the weekend, nine are holdovers while Perez and three more were signed as free agents last winter. All of which means that the staff has been assembled without so much as sacrificing a single prospect.

The pitchers have received little of the buzz about the surprising Twins this season, primarily because they can feel free and easy knowing they can give up a few runs and still win a ballgame. The Twins have won 16 of their last 20 contests, averaging about 7½ runs a game. Someone like Justin Verlander could envision 30 wins pitching for these guys.

The team also has benefited from addition by subtraction. Certainly Joe Mauer will go down as one of the best players in team history, but Mauer was only a shadow of himself prior to retirement at the end of last season. Mauer had a .306 lifetime average, but he was a meager run producer at the end. Tampa Bay waived C.J. Cron, and Levine stepped in to nab the first baseman for $4.8 million. Cron is on pace to drive in 100 runs while batting in the middle of the order behind Rosario.

In retrospect, the White Sox passed on Cron, signing another free agent first baseman, Yonder Alonso, for $8 million three weeks after Cron was available. Just sayin'.

Second baseman Brian Dozier, a fixture for the Twins for parts of seven seasons, was traded to the Dodgers toward the end of last season. Dare we say Levine scooped up Schoop for $7.5 million in the free agent market, getting a player who's averaged 27 home runs and 81 RBIs over seven seasons. Schoop already has 10 homers to go with his 29 RBIs. And Dozier? He's hitting .213 for the Nationals.

Of course, all of these descriptions and numbers illustrate there are more ways to build a ballclub than the proverbial and popular Rebuild. As aforementioned, at the end of last season the Twins were in about the same position as the White Sox were at the end of 2016.

In the 9th inning on Sunday, Sox announcer Jason Benetti said, "This Twins team looks definitely the part of the best in baseball. Is this a mirage? It is not."

May Benetti be saying the same thing a year or two from now about his beloved White Sox? We'll see.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:58 PM | Permalink

May 24, 2019

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #253: Memorial Day Weekend State Of The Cubs, White Sox & Bears

Tales of regress, progress and egress. Including: Jim Coffman Not Here For Ben Zobrist's Divorce; Addy Is Baddy; Another Sullivan Special; Old School Cubs Lack Velocity; How Albert Almora Jr. Turned His Season Around; Salt's Sinker; So You're Saying The White Sox Have A Chance; and Bears Carousel.


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SHOW NOTES

* 253.

:35: Nationals Update.

* Davey Martinez on the hot seat.

2:23: State Of The Cubs: Regress, Progress, And Egress.

* Up, down and up.

* Joe Maddon's West Texas Baseball.

12:10: Jim Coffman Not Here For Ben Zobrist's Divorce.

* Rhodes gobsmacked at Coach's cold, cold heart!

* Jesus, Jim!

16:40: Addy Is Baddy.

* Bote is better.

19:09: Another Sullivan Special.

* Bote is better.

21:11: Old-School Cubs Lack Velocity.

* Front office behind the curve, no pun intended.

23:11: How Albert Almora Jr. Turned His Season Around.

* Spoiler alert: confidence.

* Golden route efficiency.

31:58: Salt's Sinker.

* How Hottovy fixed it.

37:04: So You're Saying The White Sox Have A Chance.

* Giolito turning into ace; now sign Keuchel.

52:01: Bears Carousel.

* Team breaks OTA news.

* Rhodes only one in town who likes Taquan Mizzell.

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STOPPAGE: 10:19

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Coach And His Cubs Patch.

coffmancubspatch.jpg

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:17 PM | Permalink

May 23, 2019

The [Friday] Papers

For completists, there was no column on Thursday.

"As Boeing takes steps to get its embattled 737 MAX aircraft up and flying again, investigations and lawsuits continue to pile up in the aftermath of October's Lion Air Flight 610 crash and March's Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 accident, taking a total of 346 lives. The crisis has caused frustrated stakeholders and corporate governance experts to question both the makeup of the board, and how they're responding - placing a collection of people who are used to operating in inner sanctums under intense scrutiny and pressure," Fortune writes.

"The main question: Is the board at least partially to blame?"

Spoiler Alert: Yes. Duh.

But the answer is actually more interesting - in a bad way - than that.

"Boeing's board is hardly a paragon of corporate governance. According to performance analytics research firm MSCI, which ranks the quality of governance, Boeing scored 5.4 on a scale of 1-10. Based on that assessment, Boeing's board falls in the bottom third of S&P 500 companies. Yet Boeing board members get plum pay. An Equilar study conducted last month on the Fortune 100, found median pay for Boeing directors was $346,000, which ranked as the 23rd highest. Median for all directors in the Fortune 100 was $318,675. (Boeing did not respond to a request for comment.)"

In other words, Boeing's board sucks. And they get paid good money to suck. They also hold responsibility for actual human deaths.

So just who sits on the board? Let's name names.

*

"Three Boeing directors sit on the board of Caterpillar: Boeing's lead director, David Calhoun, who is also the lead director of Caterpillar, Boeing's CEO and Chairman Dennis Muilenburg, and Susan Schwab, a professor at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy and former U.S. Trade Representative in the second Bush Administration. Two of Boeing's directors sit on the board of Marriott International: Lawrence Kellner, former CEO and Chairman of Continental Airlines and Schwab (who, by the way, also serves on the FedEx board)."

Boldface mine.

"Four of the 13 Boeing directorships are currently occupied by former government officials:

  • Edmund Giambastiani Jr., former Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the second highest ranking officer in the military before he retired in 2007 joined Boeing's board in 2009.
  • Schwab, who joined the board in 2010, was George W. Bush's main trade adviser and negotiator from 2006 to 2009.
  • Caroline Kennedy, a director since 2017, was the former ambassador to Japan during the Obama Administration.
  • And Boeing's newest director elected last month is Nikki Haley, former governor of South Carolina and President Trump's ambassador to the United Nations until she abruptly resigned last year. While governor, she provided incentives in 2013 for Boeing to expand its factory and opposed union organization. (Kenneth Duberstein, a former Chief of Staff in the Reagan White House, retired at the annual meeting this year.)

"As head of the audit committee, Kellner was technically responsible for the safety risks. In fact, shareholder advisory firm Glass Lewis recommended voting against Kellner in the most recent ballot, citing that 'the audit committee should have taken a more proactive role in identifying the risks associated with the 737 Max 8 aircraft.' ISS's proxy analysis recommended voting for all audit committee members including Kellner, but 'with caution.' Kellner was re-elected."

*

"Boeing Chairman and CEO Muilenburg recently gave some indication of who on the board has safety expertise when he asked the board last month to form a committee to 'confirm the effectiveness of our policies and processes for assuring the highest level of safety on the 737-MAX program.' The committee is comprised of former Allstate chief exec Edward Liddy, former Joint Chiefs of Staff vice chairman Giambastiani, Amgen's [Robert] Bradway, and Duke Energy Chairman and CEO Lynn Good. They were looking after the company when it fell into crisis."

*

The remaining three board members: Ronald Williams, former chairman CEO of Aetna; Mike Zafirovski, former president and CEO of Nortel; and Arthur Collins, former chairman and CEO of Medtronic.

*

Meanwhile . . .

"As much as any company in corporate America, Boeing would appear to be well prepared to deal with a public-relations crisis. A major exporter and military contractor, Boeing has deep ties in Washington and spends lavishly on lobbying," the New York Times reports.

"Dennis A. Muilenburg, the chief executive, is on the board of the Business Roundtable, an influential group that seeks to shape public policy. Boeing's top executive in the nation's capital is a seasoned operator who worked in the Clinton White House.

"Yet for all the scrutiny Boeing faced after the crash of Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302 and the subsequent grounding of its 737 Max planes around the world, the company initially had very little to say."

*

"At first, Boeing stood by the airworthiness of the 737 Max, even as some regulators took the jetliner out of service. After President Trump tweeted concerns about aviation safety two days after the crash, Mr. Muilenburg called the president and encouraged him to keep the planes flying.

"Yet Boeing did not make Mr. Muilenburg or other executives available for interviews at the time."

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See also:

* Bloomberg: Boeing Max Crisis Ruins Credibility Of The FAA.

* Politico: How The FAA Delegated Oversight To Boeing.

* New York Times: Boeing Was 'Go, Go, Go' To Beat Airbus With The 737 Max.

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Joe Cahill's concern over at Crain's?

"Already, momentum is building for tighter regulatory scrutiny of new aircraft designs and greater skepticism toward whiz-bang aviation technology. That won't bring back anyone who died aboard the downed Indonesian and Ethiopian planes, but it could reduce the chances that others will share their fate.

"Yet negative responses are also possible. In particular, there's a risk that repercussions from the accidents could dampen Boeing's appetite for innovation."

Let me tell you something, Joe: Boeing doesn't have an appetite for innovation, it has an appetite for profit. And that appetite will never be dampened.

*

Finally:

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ChicagoReddit

Can you roast a whole animal in Chicago Parks? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

Whatever

A post shared by Kat (@girlwiththedragonwings) on

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ChicagoTube

Australian Rohingya In Chicago.

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BeachBook

Sofar Sounds House Concerts Raise $25 Million, But Bands Get Just $100.

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Face Mites Feast - And Mate - On You While You Sleep.

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#MeToo vs. McDonald's.

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Neither Cereal Nor Orange Juice Is Good For You.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRipTipLine: Memorialize it.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:13 PM | Permalink

May 22, 2019

Let's Play In The World's Largest Street Hockey Tournament

"[F]or the first time, the tournament is making its way to the United States, and its first stop is Chicago," ABC7 Chicago reports.

"The tournament partnered with the Chicago Blackhawks and is hosting the tournament festival at the United Center on June 22-23."

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It looks like this.

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Registration now open.

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Seriously, HMU.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:39 AM | Permalink

Rock The Luya Mic

"To the Filipinx community, luya (ginger) has healing properties, just as it does in many other Asian cultures. Organized by multidisciplinary artists from the Chicago Filipinx diaspora, Luya is a welcoming space for poets of color to express themselves to an audience that understands where they're coming from. Whether you're a spoken word veteran, or someone just starting to find your voice, we're here for you. Perform with or without music, alone or in a group, stick to the theme or don't - all we ask is that you bring your whole self to the mic."

*

Through Poetry, Luya Bridges Gaps and Diasporas in Chicago.


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Luya founder Chris Aldana.

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Insta Luya.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:40 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

1. Make It A Michelada.

I had one last night (at Mi Tocaya Antojeria) and wondered where it had been my whole life. As the friend I was dining with put it, it's like a Bloody Mary only with beer (and spicier). We went with the Modelo, which I would recommend.

2. Beer-Infused Bratwurst.

How retro. Is the CBD trend finally over?

3. Post-Metal Cold Hope.

4. Beer Bomber Buddies.

"James Reyes of the Chicago beer-distribution family has paid a recorded $12.5 million for a waterfront Spanish Mediterranean-style house on Palm Beach's Everglades Island," the Palm Beach Daily News reports.

He bought the house at 560 Island Drive with Jennifer Ruth Blair as "tenants in common," according to the deed recorded today.

The house was sold by a couple who just moved into a new lakeside home they built across the street. Chicago businessman Fred Barbara and his wife, Lisa Humbert, paid $3.267 million for the house at No. 560 in May 1998, property records show.

Barbara sold his Chicago transportation company, Fred Barbara Trucking, the year before he bought the house, according to published reports. He had the property homesteaded in his name in the latest Palm Beach County tax rolls. Barbara and Humbert declined to comment about the sale.

Barbara is the grandson of Bruno "The Bomber" Roti (so-named for his explosives work with Al Capone). The "B" in Fred B. Barbara's name is for Bruno. His father is Fred A. Barbara; the A stands for Anthony, not Alphonse as I had hoped. Fred B. is also the nephew of the mob's infamous 1st Ward Ald. Fred Roti.

See also:

* Mob Ties Run Throughout City Truck Program.

* Garbage In, Garbage Out.

Meanwhile, the Reyes family is fucking rich.

Worse, James Reyes was once engaged to Laura Ingraham.

5. Central Illinois Has A Craft Beer Corridor.

Then again, who doesn't. Over!

Over.

6. Anheuser-Busch Says It's Ready For Transparency. It's Not.

Anheuser-Busch is beyond over.

7. The Bygone Era Of Marshfield's Rural Taverns.

Urban taverns, too.

8. Rahm Is Over.

"Rahm Emanuel was not terribly popular with the crowd at FoBAB. When introduced, a good half the crowd erupted in boos, prompting Begyle's Kevin Cary to try and to tamp down the response."

The media - especially but not exclusively the national media - does not fully appreciate just how exceedingly unpopular Rahm was; certainly not the depth of dislike. You'd think it would make a difference in how he's been treated down the homestretch, and his post-mayoral career, but then, you'd think a lot of things that don't correlate with how (sadly) the world works.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Beachwood Street Hockey? Hit Me Up
The world's largest tournament is coming to Chicago, and we should play in it.

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Sinclair's Cubs Network Names Complicit GM
Welcome to the dark side, Michael McCarthy.

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Rock The Luya Mic
Ginger heals, in Pilsen.

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Let Elevators Evolve
We're begging you!

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ChicagoReddit

Where should I take a disassembled bike to have it put together by a professional? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

L7 at the Metro last night.

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ChicagoTube

Eddie Vaan Shaw III at Garfield Park Conservatory.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Fear not.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:08 AM | Permalink

Let Elevators Evolve

The Elevator Consultants (TEC) a leading global elevator consulting firm, advises building owners, developers, architects and others involved with commercial real estate to be sure to factor elevators, escalators and vertical transportation into the growth and evolution of their properties.

As human societies have developed, the way we have constructed and used buildings has evolved as well. Instead of high-rises filled with formal offices and larger cubicles, many people now work in mixed-use and co-work spaces. Commercial buildings no longer simply offer a place to work but a destination for workers with workout facilities, rooftop conference centers or lounges, and coffee shops to accommodate the tenant.

The person-to-space ratios have gotten much smaller over the last decade as larger workforces are cramming into smaller spaces getting rearranged for higher occupancy rates. Additionally, the advent of many technologies has been a driver of changing needs; digitization and automation has allowed buildings to offer new and improved services, and tech solutions are now available that help make buildings safer, more secure and more efficient.

As the needs and capacities of these buildings change, owners and managers have made changes to the buildings to suit them, but most have unfortunately overlooked their elevator and vertical transportation systems. While the rest of the building gets modified, upgraded or updated to suit the changing needs of its users, elevators are often neglected.

While no building wants to take on a costly replacement until necessary, not allowing elevators to evolve with a building has consequences. These outdated systems end up being like a two-lane highway that still serves a town that has quadrupled its population; too much traffic results in disorganization, delays, frustration and a faster breakdown of the physical components of the system.

To avoid these issues, TEC recommends that buildings adapt their elevators to the technological and service needs of its current occupants the same as they would any other element of the building. You would not try running a business on an outdated computer system, so why not take advantage of new technologies that make life easier for your building's staff and occupants? Elevators are the arteries of a modern building and should be factored into its evolution to ensure seamless operation.

Find out how The Elevator Consultants can help your buildings evolve.

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Also in elevators:

* 4 Must-Know Home Elevator Safety Tips.

* Global Smart Elevators Market Size Future Scope, Demands And Projected Industry Growths To 2024.

* IoT in Elevators Market - Growing Need To Adopt New IT Solutions With Modern Consumer Trends Across The World.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:18 AM | Permalink

Sinclair's Cubs Network Names Complicit GM

Marquee Sports Network announced Michael McCarthy as general manager Tuesday. As a key member of the network's senior leadership team, McCarthy will be responsible for driving the success of the Marquee Sports Network, set to launch in February 2020 in partnership with Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.

McCarthy served as president of MSG Network, where he was responsible for revenue and content across all platforms, winning over 75 Emmy Awards and helping launch the careers of nationally known broadcasters such as Mike Breen, Gus Johnson and Doris Burke.

McCarthy also served as vice chairman and CEO of the St. Louis Blues and was the COO of the Milwaukee Bucks. Since last August, McCarthy has served as a consultant to the Chicago Cubs in the evaluation and formation of the Marquee Sports Network launch strategy.

"We've had the pleasure of getting to know Mike and his proven ability to drive results over the past several months at Marquee," said Crane Kenney, Cubs president of business operations. "With his combined sports and media background, Mike is the right person to bring our network online and deliver unprecedented Cubs coverage for our fans."

"I'm thrilled to be a part of the launch of the first independent regional sports network for the Chicago Cubs," said McCarthy. "The recent transformation of this iconic brand is incredibly impressive and the next big effort to better serve Cubs fans is the launch of Marquee. For years, I watched the Cubs become a nationally recognized brand. For that reason, I'm honored and intensely motivated by the confidence the Ricketts family, Sinclair and the Cubs have placed in me to add to the incredible broadcasting experience enjoyed by fans for the past 70 years."

About Marquee Sports Network
Marquee Sports Network, a new regional sports network, will be the exclusive television home of the Chicago Cubs starting in February 2020. Marquee Sports Network will feature live game broadcasts from Chicago Cubs broadcasters, Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies, extensive pregame and postgame coverage, in-depth unique Cubs content and other local sports programming. Sinclair Broadcast Group is the network's broadcast partner.

About Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.
Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. ("Sinclair") is one of the largest and most diversified television broadcasting companies in the country. The Company owns, operates and/or provides services to 191 television stations in 89 markets. Sinclair is a leading local news provider in the country and is dedicated to impactful journalism with a local focus. The Company has multiple national networks, live local sports production, as well as stations affiliated with all the major networks. Sinclair's content is delivered via multiple-platforms, including over-the-air, multi-channel video program distributors, and digital platforms. The Company regularly uses its website as a key source of Company information which can be accessed at www.sbgi.net.

About the Chicago Cubs
The Chicago Cubs franchise, a charter member of Major League Baseball's National League since 1876, has won the National League pennant 17 times and was the first team to win back-to-back World Series titles in the 1907 and 1908 seasons. In 2016, the Chicago Cubs made history again when the team won its first World Series in 108 years, ending the longest championship drought in North American sports. Known for its ivy-covered outfield walls, hand-operated scoreboard and famous Marquee, iconic Wrigley Field has been the home of the Chicago Cubs since 1916 and is the second oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball. In 2009, the Ricketts family assumed ownership of the Chicago Cubs and established three main goals for the organization: Win the World Series, Preserve and Improve Wrigley Field, and Be a Good Neighbor. For more information, visit www.cubs.com.

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Previously in Sinclair:
* Item: Former Trump Aide Joins Sinclair.

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

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

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

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

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

* Tribune's Disastrous Sale To Sinclair.

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

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

* Sinclair's Flippant FCC Ruling.

* FCC Presses Sinclair For Answers On Tribune Merger.

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

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

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

* Local TV News Is About To Get Even Worse.

* Trump's Secret Weapon Against A Free Press.

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

* Trump FCC Opens Corporate Media Merger Floodgates.

* FCC Wraps New Gift For Sinclair.

* FCC Inspector General Investigating Sinclair Rulings.

* Behind Sinclair's 'Project Baltimore.'

* Don't Be Fooled By Sinclair's Shell Games.

* Free Press Sues The FCC For Dramatic Reversal Of Media Ownership Limits That Pave Way For Media Mergers.

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

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

* The Sinclair Sham.

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

* Surprise FCC Move Maims Sinclair-Tribune Merger.

* Sinclair Makes Last Ditch Effort To Salvage Tribune Merger. Will FCC Bite?

* Sinclair-Tribune Deal On Life Support.

* Sinclair-Tribune Deal Is Dead.

* Tribune Media Lawsuit: Belligerent Sinclair Blew A Sure Thing.

* Tribune Executives Will Get Bonuses After Sinclair Deal Collapses.

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See also:

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

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

* Sinclair's New Media-Bashing Promos Rankle Local Anchors.

* Sinclair's Latest "Must-Run" Segment Defends Tear-Gassing Refugees.

* Nexstar-Tribune Deal Is Bad News For Communities And Local Media.

* Dear FCC: Further Weakening Media-Ownership Limits Isn't The Answer.

* Free Press To FCC: Revoke Sinclair's Licenses If They Lied To You.

* Sinclair Broadcast Group To Acquire 21 Regional Sports Networks From Disney At A Valuation Of $10.6 Billion.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:12 AM | Permalink

May 21, 2019

The [Tuesday] Papers

There's never an egg-timer around when you need one.

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Not just buying it, but hiring it.

The description used to say the media was "buying it," hence the comment.

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That sweater should go in a Chicago Politics Hall of Fame, no?

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Some might say, well, doesn't this show a "mixed" record? No. First, everybody has a mixed record by any definition, but this piece has a thruline (and not a lazy he-said, she-said): While Rahm has done some things that have protected immigrants, he has not been the leader he portrays himself as, but a follower - and one who seems to have acted in various ways on the issue throughout his career as determined by his reading of the political winds, not any particular humanitarian conviction. That's probably true of Rahm on every front. A political opportunist who has helped people along the way only by accident, i.e., when it's been good for him to do so. (Some might call a person like that a supremely cynical fuck.)

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Egyptologist Transports Children From Chicago To Ancient Egypt
Surprises: Boys wearing make-up and kids being bald.

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Is This Chicago's Greatest 8-Ball Player?
Nazario Aguilar.

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Terms Of Service Gone Awry
Black women get flagged for posting hate speech when they share experiences of racism. Sex educators' content is removed because it was deemed too risqué. And soon, you may not even have to agree to the terms to have agreed to the terms. They agree for you! Self-agreeing terms!

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ChicagoReddit

Is there a reason beyond scarcity of resources why CTA doesn't dedicate more trains to the red line on Cubs game days? from r/chicago

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Bonus CTA Reddit: Is it not a fire?

What exactly happens when a CTA train starts smoking? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

They always wanna come, but they never wanna leave

A post shared by Kat (@girlwiththedragonwings) on

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ChicagoTube

Amanda Shires at Chicago Music Exchange.

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BeachBook

L7 At The Metro Tonight.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

Trump envious.

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A president who incessantly lies - and holds unhinged rallies - is simply not news in most of America. #JournalismIsBroken

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: You are not a loan.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:06 PM | Permalink

Egyptologist Transports Children From Chicago To Ancient Egypt

Oak Park author Malayna Evans and publisher Tantrum Books will release Jagger Jones & The Mummy's Ankh, a debut middle-grade novel, on May 28.The story draws on the author's Ph.D. in Egyptian History from the University of Chicago and features diverse protagonists, inspired by her son, who told her, at 9-years-old, that he wanted to read a book featuring a biracial American kid like him visiting ancient Egypt.

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In Jagger Jones & the Mummy's Ankh, two South Side siblings are transported 3,000 years back in time to ancient Egypt and tasked with saving the royal family. The book combines magic and adventure with real historical people, places and artifacts.

"I'm drawn to anything that pulls different cultures together and contrasts the human values we all share with the differences that make us unique," Evans said.

"So, for example, in Jagger Jones and the Mummy's Ankh, I've highlighted aspects of ancient life I knew would surprise modern kids, like boys wearing make-up and kids being bald, while also excavating how things we take for granted would shock people of the past. Jagger's smartphone, and his little sister's bubblegum, make quite an impression in ancient Egypt."

The three-book series was inspired by Evans' favorite ancient Egyptian blessing: ankh, wedja, seneb, which means (may you have) life, prosperity and health. The book explores modern and ancient notions of life (ankh). Books two and three, coming in 2020 and 2021, will similarly contrast modern and ancient ideas surrounding "prosperity" and "health."

Evans is scheduled to appear at a book launch on June 29th, at 2. p.m., at 57th Street Bookstore in Hyde Park.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:55 PM | Permalink

Terms Of Service Gone Awry

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) today launched TOSsed Out, a project to highlight the vast spectrum of people silenced by social media platforms that inconsistently and erroneously apply terms of service (TOS) rules.

TOSsed Out will track and publicize the ways in which TOS and other speech moderation rules are unevenly enforced, with little to no transparency, against a range people for whom the Internet is an irreplaceable forum to express ideas, connect with others, and find support.

This includes people on the margins who question authority, criticize the powerful, educate, and call attention to discrimination. The project is a continuation of work EFF began five years ago when it launched Onlinecensorship.org to collect speech takedown reports from users.

"Last week the White House launched a tool to report takedowns, following the president's repeated allegations that conservatives are being censored on social media," said Jillian York, EFF director for International Freedom of Expression. "But in reality, commercial content moderation practices negatively affect all kinds of people with all kinds of political views.

"Black women get flagged for posting hate speech when they share experiences of racism. Sex educators' content is removed because it was deemed too risqué. TOSsed Out will show that trying to censor social media at scale ends up removing far too much legal, protected speech that should be allowed on platforms."

EFF conceived TOSsed Out in late 2018 after seeing more takedowns resulting from increased public and government pressure to deal with objectionable content, as well as the rise in automated tools. While calls for censorship abound, TOSsed Out aims to demonstrate how difficult it is for platforms to get it right. Platform rules - either through automation or human moderators - unfairly ban many people who don't deserve it and disproportionately impact those with insufficient resources to easily move to other mediums to speak out, express their ideas, and build a community.

EFF is launching TOSsed Out with several examples of TOS enforcement gone wrong, and invites visitors to the site to submit more. In one example, a reverend couldn't initially promote a Black Lives Matter-themed concert on Facebook, eventually discovering that using the words "Black Lives Matter" required additional review. Other examples include queer sex education videos being removed and automated filters on Tumblr flagging a law professor's black and white drawings of design patents as adult content. Political speech is also impacted; one case highlights the removal of a parody account lampooning presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke.

"The current debates and complaints too often center on people with huge followings getting kicked off of social media because of their political ideologies. This threatens to miss the bigger problem. TOS enforcement by corporate gatekeepers far more often hits people without the resources and networks to fight back to regain their voice online," said EFF policy analyst Katharine Trendacosta. "Platforms over-filter in response to pressure to weed out objectionable content, and a broad range of people at the margins are paying the price. With TOSsed Out, we seek to put pressure on those platforms to take a closer look at who is being actually hurt by their speech moderation rules, instead of just responding to the headline of the day."

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See also: YouTube User Fights Unfair Takedown Campaign From UFC.

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And, from ProPublica: Soon You May Not Even Have To Click On A Website Contract To Be Bound By Its Terms.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:08 PM | Permalink

Chicago's Best 8-Ball Player?

A Chicago man is $15,000 richer after a recent visit to Sin City. But his good fortune didn't happen in the casino. Nazario Aguilar won the 2019 APA 8-Ball Classic Pool Championship in early May in Las Vegas.

Aguilar was amongst nearly 6,000 poolplayers throughout North America who attempted to qualify for the American Poolplayers Association's (APA) 8-Ball Classic. He was one of only 692 who advanced to the national finals at the Westgate Resort & Casino.

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

Aguilar is a member of the South Chicago Land APA that includes nearly 700 players and more than 120 teams.

The 8-Ball Classic, held May 1-3, was part of the APA's Poolplayer Championships, which featured five divisions of individual and doubles competition, more than 2,500 total players and more than $750,000 in prize money.

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

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

The APA and its championships are sponsored by Aramith, Action Cues, PoolDawg and Valley-Dynamo.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:32 AM | Permalink

May 20, 2019

The [Monday] Papers

Lori Lightfoot was sworn-in as mayor of Chicago today. Beachwood Labs sent over this special, on-scene report of the inauguration festivities:

* Ceremonial removal of a finger.

* The traditional transfer of fucks to give.

* The traditional transfer of the nuclear football containing the TIF codes.

* The traditional aldermanic perp walk.

* New aldermen sworn-in and read their rights.

* Rahm Emanuel dunk tank.

* Toni Preckwinkle dunk tank.

* Animatronic Paul Vallas.

* City's schoolkids, patronage workers and prisoners begin repainting every sign in the city plastered with the mayor's name.

* FBI reloads undercover recording equipment.

* Traditional transfer of "no comments" to new press office personnel.

* Transition training for use of batphones to Sneed, Spielman.

* Traditional transfer of keys to glass case where aldermen's testicles and ovaries are kept.

* New aldermen sworn-in, testicles and ovaries removed in traditional ceremony, placed in glass case.

* Bears kicker tryouts.

* Cubs closer tryouts.

* Albany Park theater group re-enacts Ed Burke indictment.

* Rob Martwick dunk tank.

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Now, to the Beachwood vault . . .

This is really funny, people.

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Sound familiar?

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Dear America: Stop Hurting Us

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From the Beachwood vault . . .

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Present-day . . .

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I Am Pie
Thing I learned from Blair Kamin's encomium to I.M. Pei:

Once, when I interviewed him, he brought up an unfavorable nickname for Chicago's University Apartments, a pair of 10-story concrete slabs he'd placed in the middle of East 55th Street, unintentionally subjecting residents to pollution from passing cars.

The nickname of that early 1960s project: "Monoxide Alley."

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Also:

"Significantly, Pei did not require princely budgets to make construction into art. A prime example is the prototype air traffic control towers he designed for the Federal Aviation Administration in the early 1960s. The O'Hare tower, the tallest of the bunch at 150 feet, combined the basic elements of the prototype - a topside cab, a shaft and a base building - into a thin, gracefully flaring form that anticipated a bell tower Pei would later design in Japan."

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

City's Youth Solves Problems
Civic engagement projects pretty cool.

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The Secret History Of News Corp
Rupert Murdoch media empire literally founded as propaganda outfit.

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BLKNWS
Make this real, please.

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Born Free Chicago
Former CSO chorus manager named CEO.

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Chicago Harmonica Meetup
Harp it up, y'all.

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Peoples Pipes Over Budget, Overdue
Yet, parent company calls Crain's fake news.

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From the Beachwood Sports Desk . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #252: Bulls Crap Out
Roll 7. Plus: Fear The Deer?; St. Louis Sucks; Tommy La Stella Is Doing Mike Trout-Like Things; Missing Ben Zobrist; The Unprecedented Nature Of Kris Bryant; and White Sox Still Better Than You Think.

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TrackNotes: The Immutable Constant
Lord knows he's tried, but the honest man knows he'll never truly control the horse.

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TrackNotes: A War Of Wills
Like a twisted stage mother whose tarted-up 6-year-old daughter was DQ'd from the Little Miss Pageant down at the Holiday Inn for traces of amphetamines, owner Gary West took his Maximum Security for extended pouting exile at Monmouth, over by Springsteen's Shore . . .

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The White Sox Report: Extend Abreu
If and when that happens, we can stomach a few more games of TBD pitching for the White Sox.

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SportsMonday: Cutesy Cubbies Cruise
The Harry Caray Death Cult rolls on.

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ChicagoReddit

"Roller Boogie" at Faces, Rush Street, 1978 from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Schism at the Open Air festival Sunday.

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BeachBook

Faith, Friendship And Tragedy At Santa Fe High School.

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Nazis Experimented On These Women. They Told The World Using Brilliant Code.

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As Suicides Rise, Insurers Find Ways To Deny Mental Health Coverage.

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Rahm Leaves Office, Legacy Secured.

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For Corporate Media, Space Belongs To Washington.

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I Oversaw The U.S. Nuclear Power Industry. Now I Think It Should Be Banned.

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Debunking 'Performance-Related' Pay For CEOs.

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Canadian Climate Change Study Forecasts More Erratic Conditions In Great Lakes.

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Google Has A Secret Page That Records All The Things You've Bought Online.

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Stop Hating Jeff Koons.

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Are These 'Health Foods' Really Good For You?

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Make it so.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:27 PM | Permalink

Chicago Harmonica Meetup

May 15, 2019.

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The Chicago Harmonica Meetup Facebook Page.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:07 PM | Permalink

BLKNWS

"[A] moving, funny, and aspirational vision of what media might look like if it were not . . . 'whitewashed and biased,' and rather more creative and reflective of the world we live in and the history that shaped it," says Artnet News.


"BLKNWS is a two-channel video that imagines a cable news network animated by a cosmopolitan, culturally omnivorous, politically engaged, art-loving, and intellectual black sensibility - a bit like if BET merged with CNN and then merged with Artforum and the New Yorker."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:37 PM | Permalink

Extend Abreu

As of this writing, tonight's White Sox starting pitcher in Houston against the high-flying Astros will be TBD. Be not alarmed. He can't be much worse than Ivan Nova was last Friday in a 10-2 loss to Toronto in which Nova lasted all of three innings on a yield of eight earned runs. If you're keeping score at home, Nova's ERA mushroomed to 7.42.

Dare we point out that in the unlikely circumstance that Nova could stick around for an entire game, pitching as he does, his teammates would need to score eight or nine runs in order to win. This is not a recipe for a winning ballclub.

Of course, placing great culpability solely on Nova negates the fact that the veteran right-hander has four quality starts in nine tries, and he's even won a couple. It's just that when quality is lacking, Rick Renteria's outfit is buried even before latecomers arrive at the ballpark or turn on their televisions.

Carlos Rodon is out for the season, and his sub Manny Banuelos is sidelined with a sore left shoulder. Unfortunately - well, that's debatable since his ERA stands at 7.26 - that's the side from which Manny throws, forcing Ricky to finally consider using strictly relievers this evening in the opening of a seven-game road trip against division leaders Astros and Twins.

If only TBD stood for The Best Defense.

The White Sox are not the only team facing a deficiency of starting pitching, brought on by injuries and a dearth of talent. General manager Rick Hahn has been grasping at straws in the past couple of weeks by signing free agents like Ross Detwiler and Odrisamer Despaigne, both of whom have major league experience. Granted, neither has been successful at the highest level, but there simply aren't many choices other than Dallas Keuchel, and, so far, no one's bitten the bait.

The team's 21-24 record clearly indicates progress. However, the situation with starting pitching could signal rough seas ahead.

One move Hahn could make has nothing to do with pitching, but would provide security for the future, giving fans increased reason for optimism that the club is all in. That would be signing first baseman Jose Abreu to an extension.

The big fellow has been somewhat streaky thus far in 2019, but overall he remains the team's biggest run-producer with 38 RBIs, good for a tie for second in the American League. His 10 homers lead the Sox. After 18 games, Abreu was hitting .174, but then he went on a tear, raising his average to .282. Jose has cooled off a bit but remains at a respectable .260/.320/.817.

The arguments for extending Abreu are plentiful, including the fact that there is no heir apparent in the Sox system who could be Abreu's replacement at first base. Abreu is the only first baseman mentioned in the top 15 free-agents-to-be by MLB.com, meaning that if Abreu goes elsewhere, finding a legitimate replacement via free agency isn't going to happen.

Abreu keeps saying that he wants to remain with the White Sox. Hahn continues to remind us that not only does Abreu work hard to set a positive example for the younger players, but he's a team leader, a mentor for everyone in the Sox clubhouse, and not just the Latin players. Nary a negative word has been uttered about the Cuban since he's improved his defense at first base.

The $68 million the team committed to Abreu in 2014 goes down as one of the finest agreements in team history. Abreu came from meager means in Cienfuegos, Cuba, where he began playing for the local Elephantes when he was just 16. In 10 seasons in Cuba's Serie A Nacional League, the highest classification in the country, he tore up the place, slashing .341/.456/1.078. One season he hit .453.

Abreu has always been close-mouthed about his defection from Cuba, but just as often he's expressed his appreciation of playing in the major leagues, in Chicago, and for the millions he's being paid. He doesn't appear to be the kind of human being who has to be mentioned in the same category as the game's highest-paid players. It's seems inconceivable that Abreu would enter the free agent market, holding out for the biggest payday available. He's humble. He understands from whence he's come.

Furthermore, aside from last season, he wants to play every day regardless of injury. Last season was the only occasion he was shelved for any length of time, and it had nothing to do with an on-field injury. He suffered from a testicular torsion which required surgery. Don't bother googling it. Take my word. If you are of the male variety, you don't want this.

Abreu will be 33-years-old next season. For position players, Frank Thomas and Paul Konerko stand out as the franchise's top stars of this century. Thomas played 19 seasons, retiring when he was 40. Konerko's last year was 2014, his 18th season, when he was 38.
At age 35 in 2003, the Big Hurt slugged 42 homers and drove home 105 runs. In four seasons between the ages of 33 and 36, Konerko averaged 31 home runs and 95 RBIs, leading one to believe that someone with Abreu's talent, conditioning and past performance could follow in the footsteps of his predecessors.

If Abreu continues on his present pace this season, his six-year averages would be 32 home runs, 108 RBIs, and a slash line of .293/.351/.866. Compare that to Konerko's .270/.355/.852 with 31 dingers and 95 RBIs.

The Cardinals gave first baseman Paul Goldschmidt a five-year, $130 million gold mine prior to this season. Goldschmidt, not incidentally, is just a year younger than Abreu, and his power numbers for four seasons are very similar to his at 32 home runs and 102 RBIs.

Extensions are all the rage these days. The game's best players like Mike Trout, Nolan Arenado, Justin Verlander and Chris Sale all signed on with their present teams earlier this year. What's Hahn waiting for? Chances are he can get Abreu wrapped for fewer dollars and years than Goldschmidt, but Abreu deserves to be compensated for what he's accomplished and what the future holds. Besides, looking back, the Sox certainly know that Abreu's original contract was a good deal for them.

If negotiations, or a lack of them, stretch out until the season ends, Abreu should be an attractive target for a number of teams seeking a power-hitting first baseman who figures to continue to produce. Imagine putting him in the middle of the Red Sox lineup with the inviting Green Monster sitting so close to home plate.

Letting the situation get that far would be foolish for Hahn. It's time for him to move. Ensuring Abreu's presence on the South Side for the foreseeable future makes all kinds of sense. If and when that happens, we can stomach a few more games of TBD pitching for the White Sox.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:52 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Cutesy Cubs Cruise

Buckle up, Cubs fans.

Sunday saw Javy Baez diving head-first into first base after he hit a first-inning ground ball that didn't even result in a throw to first. Later on, he twisted his foot and was forced to the bench with swelling in his heel, but the shortstop who has started every game so far said he was absolutely playing the next game. He shouldn't play the next game. Oh, and a quick reminder - diving into first base is the single stupidest play a baserunner can make, by a lot.

Javy's replacement, Addison Russell, almost immediately made an understandable (he's putting pressure on himself to make big plays when he gets the chance after finishing the 40-game suspension for abuse a few weeks ago) but still brutal throwing error (he had no chance to get the guy at first). It enabled baserunners to move up to second and third but then didn't matter because the Nationals' Anthony Rendon launched a three-run home run on practically the next pitch.

Around that time there was the swinging Nationals bunt that, to the ever-lasting relief of Willson Contreras, barely rolled foul. It was a relief because Contreras hadn't bothered to hustle out to field the ball, which easily could have stayed in fair territory and would have been an infield hit thanks to the catcher's brain cramp. Contreras is probably the best catcher in baseball right now but he is still good for some sort of lapse in virtually every game.

And finally, we had reliever Steve Cishek pitching not just into a second inning after a season of one-inning appearances up until now, but pitching into a third. Now, Cishek threw all of 27 pitches while getting the last eight outs of the game, but they were high-pressure pitches, were they not? And if he goes down with an arm injury in the next month, as over-used Cubs relievers have done time after time during the Age of Maddon, you wouldn't want to be anywhere near Theo Epstein when the diagnosis comes in.

Oh wait, there is one more thing: Cutesy Cubbie Crap, The Musical (also known as Miracle) opened at the Royal George over the weekend. Among others, former respected local TV news anchors (back when such things actually still existed) Walter Jacobson and Bill Kurtis showed up in full Cubs regalia on opening night, according to Tribune critic Chris Jones.

Among the musical numbers therein was "The Voice from Above," a reverential treatment of the barely-functional-in-his-last-10-years-on-the-job Harry Caray.

You. Cannot. Make. This. Stuff. Up.

I have long railed against Cutesy Cubbie Crap. First of all, it is time to let Harry rest in peace instead of trotting out the video of him singing "Take Me out to the Ballgame" again and again and again and again. Caray died in 1998. As in more than two decades ago. As in almost more than decades before the Cubs won the World Series.

Cutesy Cubbie Crap has also included the retiring of Greg Maddux's number despite the fact that he starred for the Atlanta Braves. It basically started with the lionization of the 1969 Cubs. Yes they were an appealing team but, sorry, they choked so badly in the last month of the season that they almost lost by 10 games.

The lovable losers, the supposed curse, all that garbage started to drive me crazy especially after the Cubs blew it in 2003. And now it is all wrapped up in a musical. Great.

Ernie Banks was the ultimate Cutesy Cub but somehow he was able to pull it off. He was also the greatest Cub player who ever lived by a sizable margin. If you want to run a video paying tribute to Ernie 20 or 30 times every season, I have no beef with that.

What were we talking about again? Oh yeah, the Cubs, who improved to 27-17 on this season with a 6-5 win over the Nationals on Sunday night. The victory gave them a series win over a dangerous team that seems poised to go on a win streak now that it has its entire lineup back in place after some key injuries in the first six weeks of the season.

It enabled them to finish a week-long road trip with a .500 record and a relatively comfortable lead in the NL Central (they have four fewer losses than the second-place Brewers).

They open a series with the Phillies on Monday night. It should be a fun battle between two well-above-average teams. Oh, and Yu Darvish will start on the mound against Jake Arrieta.

We are barely a quarter of the way into the season and I am already completely exhausted.

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:58 AM | Permalink

Former CSO Chorus Manager Named CEO Of Born Free USA

Born Free USA, a global leader in animal welfare and wildlife conservation, has named Angela Grimes the organization's CEO.

Grimes joined Born Free USA in 2010 and previously served as its director of development and operations. She has been acting CEO since August 2018.

"This is a critical time for wildlife," Grimes said. "They face unprecedented pressures due to habitat loss and trade in live animals and their parts, among other threats that endanger the lives of individual animals and entire populations. In contrast, public opinion on wildlife issues has shifted. There is a growing awareness of the intrinsic value of animals and support for protecting them and ending animal cruelty. I am honored to have been chosen to lead Born Free USA's life-saving mission into the future."

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Before joining Born Free USA, Grimes served as executive director and COO for Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation, a wildlife sanctuary and rescue center, and chorus and operations manager for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Grimes currently serves on the national board of directors for EarthShare, a federation of leading environmental organizations. She has also served as board chair of Mindy's Memory Primate Sanctuary, EarthShare of Texas, and Chicago Chorale as well as vice president of the Kappa Alpha Theta Fraternity Housing Corporation.

"Angela has the experience and compassion to take Born Free USA to the next level," said Born Free President Will Travers.

"The experience to tackle the many legal challenges that threaten to undermine the protection of native and non-native species, to stand fast against the erosion of regulations, and to sustain and build the alliances necessary to be truly effective.

"The compassion to realize that every single animal matters, from the more than 500 primates in our Texas Primate Sanctuary, to the millions of animals who languish in roadside zoos and circuses or are held by private individuals as 'pets,' to the wild animals whose lives are threatened by persecution, trapping and trophy hunting.

"As far as Angela and Born Free USA are concerned, no one should be left behind. With her tenure as Born Free USA's acting CEO, Angela's proven that she's the right person to lead this organization as we work to deliver a better future for ourselves and the animals with whom we share this fragile planet."

About Born Free USA
We work tirelessly to ensure that all wild animals, whether living in captivity or in the wild, are treated with compassion and respect and are able to live their lives according to their needs. Not only does our conservation work occur in communities, classrooms, courtrooms, and the halls of Congress, we also operate the largest primate sanctuary in the United States. As a leading wildlife charity, we oppose the exploitation of wild animals in captivity and campaign to keep them where they belong - in the wild.

We promote Compassionate Conservation to enhance the survival of threatened species in the wild and protect natural habitats while respecting the needs and safeguarding the welfare of individual animals.

We seek to have a positive impact on animals in the wild and protect their ecosystems in perpetuity, for their own intrinsic value and for the critical roles they play within the natural world.

Born Free USA was inspired by Virginia McKenna and her late husband Bill Travers, who, along with their son, Will, founded The Born Free Foundation (UK) in 1984. Their experience in Kenya filming the classic 1966 Academy Award-winning film Born Free, the story of Joy and George Adamson's fight to successfully return Elsa the lioness to a wild and free life, launched the couple's "compassionate conservation" movement, aimed at keeping wildlife in the wild. This movement continues to motivate millions of followers and activists across the globe.

Located in South Texas, Born Free USA's Primate Sanctuary provides a permanent home for more than 500 primates retired from research facilities or rescued from inhumane conditions at zoos and private ownership. These primates have often endured a lifetime of abuse, neglect, and cruelty, and many come to the sanctuary with special physical and emotional needs, requiring extensive care and services.

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Born Free, the movie trailer:

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Born Free, the song:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:16 AM | Permalink

City's Youth Solves Problems

Following a school year of action, Chicago youth will gather to showcase their year-long activism effort to better their schools and neighborhoods at Chicago's 17th Annual Action Civics Showcase on May 21, 2019 at The Bridgeport Art Center. Mikva Challenge will host the showcase in partnership with the Chicago Public Schools' Department of Social Science and Civic Engagement.

Throughout the showcase, youth will present nearly 100 projects to civic partners in order to get their feedback. Examples include:

* To support students without a permanent home, Bogan's Student Voice Committee created a permanent closet space within their school for clothes and toiletries.

* To engage their peers in the municipal elections, Back of the Yards students held a 15th ward candidate forum at their school. Students at Solorio High School worked to bring participatory budgeting to their school.

* To increase student choice and access to healthy foods at school, students at Juarez and Instituto Health Science Career Academy conducted research on how to best lobby food providers to change their offerings.

Many of the projects to be presented at the Showcase received mini-grants from the Allstate Insurance Company. The Robert R. McCormick Foundation provided additional project support. The program is also assisted by the Crown Family Philanthropies, Polk Bros Foundation, IMC Charitable Foundation, Bezos Family Foundation and the Chicago Bar Foundation. Our classroom-based youth action teams are supported by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois, the Brinson Foundation and the Augustana Henze Endowment. See examples of projects below.

When: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 from 4 p.m. - 6 p.m.

Where: The Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W 35th St

Visuals: Over 300 young people will have their projects on display at the event. There will also be elected officials, teachers and community leaders at the event.

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Action Civics Showcase 2019 - Project Highlights

Back of the Yards College Prep
"Answer Me This"
Students engaged with elected officials and candidates for office in various ways this school year. They organized and facilitated an aldermanic candidate forum in the 15th Ward where they were tasked with inviting candidates, promoting the event in the community, researching candidates, and crafting and asking questions.

As a whole class, students also researched bills in newly elected legislature, and took a field trip down to Springfield. They met with various legislators, including Reps. Ortiz and Mah, to lobby them on lifting the ban on rent control and instituting a progressive income tax.

Bogan High School
"Bogan's Closet"
Driven by a belief that all students should have clean clothes regardless of housing status, Bogan's Student Voice Committee conducted a school survey and researched other schools' methods for supporting students without a permanent home. Students have started collecting clothes and toiletries, and are finding permanent "closet" space that will be available for their classmates - work that has prompted a compassionate school-wide conversation about supporting all students.

Benito Juarez Community Academy
"FEED: Food Equity Everyone Deserves"
The Aramark contract has been received very negatively by students across the city. Juarez students used a survey to get specific feedback on the food from their peers, and plan on creating a video of them asking different people in power (Principal, LSC, CTU, Alderman, and Mayor) to replace Aramark with local businesses, which would in turn benefit the local economy. They are creating a proposal to achieve the dream of replacing the Aramark with food trucks.

Instituto Health Science Career Academy
"Elevating Student Voice: Working Within the System of Student Government"
This year, Student Council partnered with the school's food service provider, school administrators, and the Instituto CEO's office to research the school lunch program and students' response to the food in their school. Through surveys, meetings with various stakeholders, and analysis of collected data, students attempted to better understand how the National School Lunch Program works and how their classmates felt about the food provided at their school. After analyzing this data, IHSCA's Student Council worked with the food service provider to recommend ways to improve students' food experience at school.

Dever Elementary
"Period Equity"
Students decided to address the financial cost of feminine products and the stigma around attaining them, which is especially prevalent at school because students have to go to the office to get pads. The class surveyed their peers, did research into how much women pay for pads/tampons and how many women can't afford them, and interviewed store employees about their experience selling pads/tampons to women. They plan to make packs of feminine hygiene products that can be kept in lockers for girls in 5th-8th grade, and to make an art installation about women's empowerment and period positivity to help decrease the stigma around menstruation. Next year the packs will be available in the Office of Student Health and Wellness and items will be collected in part through regular school supplies lists.

Solorio Academy High School
"Participatory Budgeting"
Interested in implementing participatory budgeting on a school-wide level, Solorio's SVC used participatorybudgeting.org, a national online resource, to build a researched-based proposal for their administration. They also conducted a survey of 5,000 members of their school community to get input on budget priorities. They are excited that administration was receptive and is allowing the SVC to spend part of the school budget on student and staff priorities.

Mather High School
"School Cleanliness"
Mather's SVC decided to address school cleanliness via school-wide surveys, photos and meetings with Aramark. After seeing photos and root causes, Aramark asked students for a school map and other specific materials in order to help meet their demands. Students also presented teachers with specific actions they could take to help the custodial staff be more effective. They have now added more garbage cans in the hallways, provided teachers with classroom cleaning supplies, hung posters around the school, and presented the project to each home room. Mather now uses cleaning as a restorative consequence and service learning opportunity, and students are working with community partners to help paint a mural.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:12 AM | Permalink

The Secret History Of News Corp

News Corp must have been startled to find itself becoming one of the major issues in the Australian election campaign. But this is just another sign that, in recent years, the company's ability to read the public mood has gone wildly off-kilter.

From attacking the decision of the jury in the sexual assault trial of Cardinal George Pell to last week's Daily Telegraph attack on Bill Shorten using his deceased mother as ammunition, there are mounting signs of panic and folly at one of Australia's largest media companies.

rupertmurdoch.jpgIn recent years, Rupert Murdoch's News Corp papers have become more politically aggressive, adopting the openly partisan approach of British tabloids/Jason Reed, AAP

With the media and political landscape shifting rapidly around the company, there is a feeling akin to the last days of the Roman Empire.

Rupert Murdoch is winding back after six decades building up an Australian, and then global, media empire. The Murdoch family has retreated from buying up assets and instead has become a seller, offloading, for instance, 21st Century Fox to Disney last year.


Read more: Mounting evidence the tide is turning on News Corp, and its owner


If the next generation of Murdochs starts looking to sell unprofitable assets, the Australian newspapers have reason to be concerned. Because they are no longer financially valuable to the newly slimmed down company, the Australian papers seem to be trying to prove their worth by being politically useful while they still can.

Since 2013, the News Corp papers have become more politically aggressive, with some adopting the shrill, cartoonish and openly-partisan approach of British "red top" tabloids. During the 2019 election, News Corp journalists - past and present - have spoken out against the company's determined barracking for the return of the Coalition government.

Academic Denis Muller recently called News Corp a "propaganda operation masquerading as a news service." Remarkably, this statement neatly encapsulates how News Corp actually began.

Chance Meeting On A Train?

As I explain in my book Paper Emperors: The Rise of Australia's Newspaper Empires, News Corp began its corporate life in 1922 as News Limited. It was a company that was secretly established by a mining company owned by the most powerful industrialists of the day, and it was created for the express purpose of disseminating "propaganda."

This was not what I expected to find when I began researching its origins.

The story that News Limited/News Corp has long told was that it was founded by James Edward Davidson, a brilliant journalist and former editor of the Melbourne Herald. After Davidson was pushed out of the Herald in 1918 for asserting his editorial independence, he purchased two provincial newspapers - one in Broken Hill (The Barrier Miner) and one in Port Pirie, South Australia (the Recorder).

According to corporate legend, Davidson was traveling on the Melbourne-Adelaide steam train two years later when he sat next to an old friend, a "miner" named Gerald Mussen. On that journey in 1921, Davidson and Mussen hatched a plan for a new afternoon paper, the Adelaide News, to be owned by a company called News Limited. From those humble beginnings grew one of the world's most important media companies.

But this corporate tale intrigued me immediately. There was something awry about it.

I knew that Australia's most powerful industrialist at the time, William Lawrence Baillieu, was one of the directors and owners of the Herald, the outlet Davidson had modernized into a powerful force before his untimely exit. Baillieu was also head of a huge industrial complex dubbed "Collins House," which dominated the mining and manufacturing industry and was involved in many other businesses. It developed some of Australia's most famous brands, including the Herald and Weekly Times (HWT), Consolidated Zinc (now Rio Tinto), Carlton and United Breweries (CUB), Dunlop Rubber, and Dulux.

baillieu.jpgWilliam Baillieu with his daughters on board a ship in NSW around 1930/National Library of Australia

Collins House's immense wealth and power originally came out of the mines of Broken Hill. It also formed the Broken Hill Associated Smelters (BHAS) in 1915 and took over the lead smelter at Port Pirie, turning it into the world's largest lead smelting works.

It seemed beyond coincidence that the two papers Davidson had chosen to buy in 1918-19 just happened to be at the two ends of Collins House's supply chain - Broken Hill and Port Pirie.


Read more: FactCheck: does Murdoch own 70% of newspapers in Australia?


But I also knew that Mussen, Davidson's train companion, was no mere miner, as the company story goes. He was Collins House's industrial consultant. A former journalist, Mussen had become a PR man and fixer, a soother of industrial conflict, who had already worked for Baillieu for more than a decade.

Private letters in the BHAS archive at the University of Melbourne provided the next clues about what - and who - were really behind the founding of News Limited.

A Tool For Combating Union Influence

In mid-1918, BHAS executives were increasingly concerned about the union-owned newspaper in Broken Hill, the Barrier Truth. In a letter held in the BHAS archive, the general manager of Collins House's Broken Hill South mine reported that the Barrier Truth was inciting "class warfare" and industrial unrest. He wanted "some means of keeping it within bounds."

barriertruth.jpgThe Barrier Truth newspaper building in Broken Hill in 1905/National Library of Australia

BHAS' managing director, Colin Fraser, began searching for a way to combat the union paper with pro-mining company publicity. In late 1918, he wrote to Collins House's WS Robinson and suggested that BHAS buy the Barrier Truth's local rival,The Barrier Miner newspaper. But the astute Robinson, a former Age journalist, knew it would be a bad look for a mining company to own a newspaper.

Fraser came up with another idea. His letter explaining this idea to Robinson is missing from the BHAS archive. But Robinson's reply to Fraser is still there, thankfully, for this letter is significant.

Robinson wrote to Fraser in December 1918:

I am glad to note that you are going to shake the Port Pirie Recorder up. There is great room for propaganda in Broken Hill and Port Pirie . . . Let us try and educate our men, and the public too.

Nineteen days later, a new company was registered in Melbourne for the purpose of taking over the Recorder. Davidson was the key shareholder. Obviously, he was the means of "shaking up" the Recorder and disseminating "propaganda."

Davidson purchased not only the Port Pirie Recorder, but The Barrier Miner, too.

Under Davidson, The Barrier Miner became known locally as the "bosses' paper" for its pro-company line. Only a month after Davidson took it over, Fraser wrote to Robinson in March 1919 and said how pleased he was with it.

newslimited.jpgA 1939 photograph of News Limited's building in Adelaide - the beginnings of the News Corp media empire/State Library of South Australia

Consolidation Under Murdoch

Union activists at Broken Hill suspected the Collins House mining companies had funded Davidson's purchase of the paper, but they could never prove it.

But proof lies in the letters in the BHAS archives, as well as in the original company documents for News Limited (now held in the State Records of South Australia and the Public Record Office Victoria). When Davidson's first newspaper company was registered, the only other two shareholders were both Collins House accountants. When it was rolled into News Limited, the company's first shareholder list was a roll call of key Collins House figures.

Tellingly, Davidson was never made the chairman of News Limited's board and never increased his shares in the company. By 1929, he was being pushed out of it. A chronic alcoholic, he died while on an overseas trip in 1930, just as Baillieu's other protégé, Keith Murdoch, was proving a deft hand at interstate takeovers of newspapers.


Read more: After Rupert - welcome to the game of thrones at News Corp


After Davidson's death, News Limited quickly ended up in Murdoch's hands. He initially oversaw the company for Collins House's HWT but, in 1949, he convinced HWT executives to let him acquire a stake in it.

Murdoch built up that stake to such an extent that, when he died in 1952, he was able to leave News Limited to his son Rupert, who then used it as a springboard for the creation of his media empire.

Veneer Of 'Impartiality' No Longer Needed

When it was founded in 1923, News Limited concealed its mining company connections at the same time it promised the public that its news would be "independent" and "impartial."

Lip service or not, notions of balance and the public interest were important then. This was because News Limited's founders knew that respect was an important precondition for influence, and that newspapers had to be responsive to the communities they served in order to attract a wide audience and prosper.

News Corp's recent behavior suggests it now sees such notions as quaint.

Sally Young is a professor at the University of Melbourne. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:01 AM | Permalink

May 19, 2019

TrackNotes: A War Of Wills

There was a two-year spell there, after American Pharoah's supreme 2015 campaign, when the default babble across the land was, "This is the weakest 3-year-old crop in years."

Which is really dense because 3-year-old Thoroughbred race horses are very much a work in progress, physically and mentally. They can go from the equivalent of a 13-year-old wunderkind to a seasoned 21-year-old success story. All in one season. It would be better to zero in to say that the threes don't impress going into the Triple Crown.

At this point in 2019, I'll say it. These 3-year-olds don't move me and they might really be not much. And what was with Saturday's Preakness?

War of Will, one of the victims of Maximum Security in the raucous Kentucky Derby two weeks ago, won the 144th Preakness Stakes at Baltimore's venerable-but-broken-down Pimlico Race Course under a perfect, golden rail ride from up-and-coming jockey Tyler Gaffalione.

WoW was a worthy winner, but what went on around and behind him aided in setting him apart from the also-rans, some of whom might still be running.

5-2 favorite Improbable, a horse I had to include but hated to, was his typical bad boy self in the gate - he needs remedial gate schooling - and his nerves were contagious and many of the horses were unsettled.

Just as you scan the gate looking for that vacuum calm before the storm, the bell rang and simultaneously the nine-horse Bodexpress, still a maiden who shouldn't have been here or in the Derby, arched his back, bucked straight up, slunk low and fast out of the gate and tossed Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez a few feet past the door. The gate handler still had hold of Bodexpress's bridle on the bell and once he went, the attendant exclamation-pointed his head in disgust, either at himself or at the starter for opening the gate when the horse, and others, clearly wasn't ready.

Velazquez said the horse had already pinned him in the gate. "I jumped sideways and I had my feet out of the irons (as they broke) so I lost my balance and went off." Johnny V. said.

With the attendant still holding him, the horse should have been declared a non-starter, bets on him refunded. Riderless, an outrider tried to chase down Bodexpress at the eighth pole but ran the danger of becoming part of the race and peeled off, but Bode' ducked inside and escaped. He ran the whole race and even beat Alwaysmining and Market King. Just for fun, watch the video and watch for the outrider to come from the left in the bright red coat. It was a fine demonstration of one of the big jobs of these courageous horse people.

Meanwhile, up front, Gaffalione from the one-post deftly maintained War of Will's possession of Saturday's wondrous rail and let five others battle in front of him.

Warrior's Charge kept the lead most of the way and on the turn, he, with Javier Castellano up, led War of Will single file on the rail, with Gaffalione clearly hoping and looking for an opening. Rounding into the straight, Castellano could not hold the one-lane and switched to the two. Having saved all that ground and with plenty of horse, War of Will seized the fence paint, shot to the lead and ran away to win by an expanding one-and-a-quarter lengths.

Everfast (30-1), who had been last much of the way, clunked up for second. He's the horse Calumet had to pay $150,000 for to get into the race.

Improbable finished an invisible sixth.

War of Will paid $14.20, $7.40, and $5.40. Everfast pumped the $1 Exacta to $473.50 and no, dammit, I didn't include him in my Exacta.

When I mentioned the quality of these 3-year-olds, he's a perfect example. I still wouldn't bet on him and we may never see him again in any important race. He clunked up while the others clunked back.

Believe me, I'm not excited. But War of Will has probably taken leadership of this crop of threes. Bad luck in Kentucky, he wheeled right back and won the Preakness, when you can make the argument he may well have won the Derby but for Maximum Security's billiards game. 'Will's trainer, Mark Casse, diplomatically said all day Saturday he just wanted a fair race for his horse. After Saturday's big win, Casse said all systems are go for the Belmont Stakes in three weeks.

But like a twisted stage mother whose tarted-up 6-year-old daughter was DQ'd from the Little Miss Pageant down at the Holiday Inn for traces of amphetamines, owner Gary West took his Maximum Security for extended pouting exile at Monmouth, over by Springsteen's Shore.

With delusions of "America's Horse" bouncing in his skull, West even announced that Maximum' would be schooling in the Monmouth paddock at precisely 2:20 p.m. Luckily, NBC quickly threw it to the home of the Haskell Invitational, and there he was! The little groom walking him around, a legit endeavor, and what's that? 'Security's mane was all braided and tied - tarted up - and he looked totally fly.

But wait, there's more.

As so many wealthy people do, West got the idea of realigning racing's world to his truth and justice by throwing money at it.

He announced he will put up $5 million dollars each for Country House, the elevated winner of the Derby, and War of Will, Long Range Toddy and Bodexpress to be paid to them if, in any future race this year, they finish ahead of Maximum Security. Also, he's filed the obligatory federal lawsuit to get the Derby results overturned. Meanwhile, jockey Luis Saez has been handed a 15-day riding suspension.

Oh boy! Shades of the Seabiscuit-War Admiral match race! Which was run at Pimlico! I won't ask you to read it all, but it says further down that West is also requiring that the other five owners also put up $5 million each, so it's really just a straight bet, right outta the risk management class at UW-Oshkosh's Business School.

Problems. He's doing it in other peoples' races. Those races could be compromised if horses are trying to beat each other instead of trying to win the race. Other non-participating owners should have something to say about it. If it's so compelling, set up a damn five-horse match race.

Jeez, America hates pouting, whiny rich people . . . oh, wait a minute, Americans elected one. Nevermind.

Bottom line, Gary West: You sure would have done a helluva lot better had you got back in the saddle and run Maximum Security in the Preakness. If he's so great, you beat two of those others, including the horse hurt the most in Louisville. And you win the Preakness and Belmont Stakes and the wacky courts rule for you in the Derby? It would be a (Tainted) Triple Crown. Now you run the danger of being forgotten. And, by the way, give your horse some race lessons.

DQ Blizzard
We waited for two weeks to see how the NBC yakkers would analyze the Derby. Unfortunately Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey was off the panel, attending his son's law school graduation.

The company line, even though it could also be racing consensus, was that Maximum Security was spooked as he came around the turn.

Randy Moss, while conceding the sanctity of the Kentucky Derby, agreed with the DQ.

"This (infraction) rises to the level of (disqualification). Does it take horses and riders down on the track to be an infraction? If you don't disqualify the horse, you're basically telling the riders 'anything goes.'"

Analyst and former jockey Donna Brothers surmised that Saez' suspension was so severe because he firmly maintained complete innocence and would not acknowledge that his horse caused a serious problem.

"He would have to admit that his horse caused danger and impeded other horses, but he didn't do that," Brothers said.

It has also been noted that Saez has been cited 20 times since 2013 for riding infractions, mostly suspensions and many of them in Kentucky.

It's a ways 'til the Belmont Stakes, and I'll enjoy the relaxation.

I just hope not to lose sleep wondering which one of these guys can possibly get the 12 furlongs.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:05 PM | Permalink

May 18, 2019

Struggling Peoples Gas Pipe Program Once Again Over Budget, Behind Schedule

As its long-troubled pipe replacement program comes under increased scrutiny from the Chicago City Council, Peoples Gas filed its first 2019 quarterly program report to the Illinois Commerce Commission last Wednesday. It shows that the program is once again over budget and behind schedule. Adding insult to injury, at least 7 percent of the average March residential customer bill is going toward pipe replacement work.

"The Peoples Gas pipe replacement program is a poorly designed, mismanaged, bad deal for Chicago," said Illinois PIRG Education Fund Director Abe Scarr. "For a project spanning decades, falling behind schedule or going over budget any one quarter or year is not necessarily a sign of failure, but doing so every quarter, every year, is. Forcing Chicago heating customers to pick up the tab for this program is unacceptable"

Peoples Gas spent $48 million over the first three months of 2019, and retired 7.9 miles of gas mains, or $6 million per mile. In contrast, over the entire year in 2006, Peoples Gas spent $48 million in 2019 inflation-adjusted dollars to retire 47 miles of main, or $1 million per mile.

The average residential Peoples Gas customer has already spent $463 on gas bills in 2019, 5 percent of which went to pay for a bill rider for pipe replacement. In March, the average residential customer paid $7.72 on the rider, 7 percent of the total bill, which does not even reflect the full cost customers pay for the program, because a significant amount is already included in "base rates."

On April 24th, the Chicago City Council Committee on Health and Environmental Protection passed a resolution sponsored by Ald. Cardenas calling on "Governor JB Pritzker and the Illinois General Assembly to restore necessary oversight of this troubled program, and take adequate action to protect Peoples Gas customers and the public interest."

When asked by an investor about the resolution on an April 29th earnings call, Gale Klappa, the CEO of Peoples Gas' parent company WEC, said he was not "overly concerned" and dismissed Crain's Chicago Business reporting on the program as "fake news." In presentations to investors, WEC management regularly tout aggressive capital investment as a key strategy to driving increasing earnings per share.

State Rep. Sonya Harper (D-Chicago) introduced House Bill 3044 so that Peoples Gas can no longer use a special cost recovery mechanism to charge customers for the program. Similar to legislation filed last year by Rep. Will Guzzardi (D-Chicago), the bill was never given a hearing or opportunity for committee vote.

Advocates including Illinois PIRG, AARP Illinois and the Citizens Utility Board continue to call on decision-makers to protect Chicago gas customers and reform this failing program. The Chicago City Council resolution passed by committee in April is expected to be considered by the new city council this summer.

More findings from the report:

* Peoples Gas planned to retire 12.6 miles of gas mains during the quarter, but only retired 7.9 miles.

* Peoples Gas planned to spend $43 million during the quarter, but spent $48 million.

* Peoples Gas retired more miles of gas mains (4.8 miles) through its reactive, more expensive, less efficient "Public Improvement/System Improvement" program than its "Neighborhood Program" (3.1 miles).

* Uncollectibles, the amount Peoples Gas customers are behind on their bills, rose to over $4 million in March.

* Peoples Gas neighborhood risk rankings, which multiple third parties have critiqued, are only one factor in determining its schedule of work. While work has commenced in the neighborhood with the highest risk ranking (Mayfair), work is not scheduled to begin in the neighborhood with the 3rd highest risk ranking (Old Norwood Park) until 2024.

* Other neighborhoods ranked by Peoples Gas as in the top 10 for risk are scheduled to being work between 2020 and 2026, while work in a neighborhood ranked 36th for risk (Kenwood) is scheduled to begin this year.

* On May 10th, Peoples Gas submitted a supplement to its 2018 year-end report, showing a $6.8 million increase in operations and maintenance costs between 2017 and 2018. In theory, the pipe replacement program should be decreasing O&M costs as older pipes requiring more frequent maintenance are replaced.

* Peoples Gas has still not submitted multiple metrics ordered by the Illinois Commerce Commission in January 2018, including an "Earned Value Metric" and the "cost to complete [the] remaining neighborhoods."

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Illinois PIRG Education Fund is an independent, non-partisan group that works for consumers and the public interest. Through research, public education and outreach, we serve as counterweights to the influence of powerful special interests that threaten our health, safety or well-being.

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Beachwood added value:

About that 'fake news' charge, here's the full take of what Gale Klappa, CEO of Peoples parent company WEC, said in that earnings call:

"There have been, as you know, a number of articles in Crain's. And I hate to use the [term] 'fake news' but that's about what it is with Crain's. But I think we've responded to those very well. And the compelling piece here is just how important from a safety and efficiency standpoint this program is. And I think that message is beginning to carry today. So we're not overly concerned. It's business as usual and we're doing this as quickly and as effectively as we possibly can."

A summary of what Crain's has reported on Peoples and the program over the last year:

* January 10, 2018: State Blesses Peoples' $900 Million Budget For Gas Pipes.

* February 23, 2018: Revolving Door Spins Again At State's Utility Regulator.

* March 2, 2018: What's Chicago Getting For Peoples Gas' Spending Spree? Less For More.

* June 15, 2018: Peoples Gas: Here Are The Facts On Pipe Replacement Program.

* July 27 2018: We Have A Crisis In Chicago. Where's Our Mayor?

* September 14, 2018: As Heating Bills Rise, Peoples Gas Comes In Last In Customer Satisfaction Ranking.

* November 2, 2018: Peoples Gas Suddenly Is Extraordinarily Generous With Campaign Contributions.

* January 4, 2019: Peoples Gas Parent's Illinois Spending Plans Surpass $3 Billion.

* February 6, 2019: ICC Staff Calls For Hefty Peoples Gas Giveback On Past Spending.

* February 27, 2019: Peoples Gas Blows The Pipe Replacement Budget Again.

* April 5, 2019: Peoples Gas Spending Inflates Parent's Profit.

* April 20 2019: What's The Price Of Safety? About Two Cups Of Coffee.

An op-ed by Peoples president and CEO Charles Matthews.

"What has Crain's got against natural gas safety?

"Virtually every month, Crain's pens another piece focusing on the same themes regarding the Peoples Gas System Modernization Program, a critical and ongoing upgrade to the vast network of pipes that provide natural gas to Chicago homes and businesses.

"Crain's bends facts to make a point, takes information provided out of context, and raises issues and questions that were examined and answered by state regulators during an 18-month public process that concluded last year. Conclusions are reached to support personal bias. Seldom do they provide new information.

"We're beginning to think Crain's doesn't like the System Modernization Program - although we're not sure why."

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Also, from WBEZ, April 29, 2019:

"The Chicago City Council is calling on Gov. JB Pritzker and state lawmakers to increase oversight of Peoples Gas following reports that Chicago residents pay 80 percent more for heating than their suburban neighbors.

"Peoples Gas has been accused of 'using propaganda' to justify raising heating prices, but company officials say the rising costs help pay for its ongoing pipeline modernization project.

"Morning Shift talks to Steve Daniels of Crain's Chicago Business for more on this issue."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:12 PM | Permalink

May 17, 2019

TrackNotes: The Immutable Constant

TrackNotes should really just stick to horse racing, I guess.

But so many political, corporate, social, economic, religious and even sporting institutions are bringing so much exploitation weight to bear on the back of society, it's palpable, concerning at least, and depressing at times. Why are so many people, hiding behind so many monoliths, trying to hurt us so much?

Human sport, instead of simply playing the compelling games it has and inviting fans to enjoy them, cooks itself down, creating a new jones every year like a pusher managing the appetites and demands of the masses. It's as institutionalized as anything around.

Now, my game is being more and more thought of as a thing that must be organized, straightened out, managed, united. Isn't that the same as institutionalizing? If I had any faith whatsoever that the lords of the sport could behave nicely and still maintain the fiercely independent spirit, it would be stirring. But survival might hang in the balance.

Back before the Kentucky Derby, I said the sport is facing a defining moment in its existence, perhaps staring down its own mortality.

With all of the horse deaths at Santa Anita and now the 2019 Kentucky Derby subjected to the meat grinder of the modern information age, anyone who cares about the game is compelled to reflection.

I'm happy to say that in the wake of our recent course of events, especially the fatalities, it's ranging from pining about it to important people making important proposals and rules changes.

We got one thing going for us.

Thoroughbred horse racing has had one immutable constant, its very genesis and also its indefatigably burning energy and glowing depth of soul for all these millennia: the Thoroughbred race horse.

Lord knows he's tried, but the honest man knows he'll never truly control the horse. To me, that's the most wonderful thing, and the best thing in any sport. A race horse will give you everything he has, but if a mare feels motherhood, she'll stop running. If the chase becomes futile, a colt will go through the motions. They'll sense the exploitation and act accordingly. The beauty is that this will always, and should always, humble a man, from Bob Baffert on down.

Humanely, the horse must be protected. Selfishly, the horse must also be protected if the game is to go on. Either way, the horse holds all of us, we don't hold him. And if racing people on all levels don't understand that . . .

It's going to be a challenge, but the Stronach Group, owners of tracks including Santa Anita and Gulfstream, advocated early the banning of Lasix, an anti-bleeding medication, and a serious curtailment of the amount of whipping a jockey does to a horse in a race. The extension of time before a race for the usage of corticosteroids is also on the agenda.

Just an aside, but the whipping of horses in American races has got to stop. In a race at Pimlico today, did the jockey on the rail stop beating the horse because he didn't make a move? Or did the horse stop running because he was pissed at getting hit so much? England, no. Hong Kong, fine or suspension. Effing do it here.

Churchill Downs Inc., like a bad big-city mayor, dragged its feet kicking and screaming into its pillow until it had to join the discussion.

Churchill's hypocrisy oozes in a piece from the Daily Racing Form's Matt Hegarty: "Churchill also owns and operates the industry's leading account-wagering company, twinspires.com, and any threat to the continued existence of tracks outside its own stable would jeopardize that business, too."

Churchill has also promised an equine medical center, construction of a quarantine facility (the two main ones for foreign horses now are at Arlington Park and Belmont Park), and jockey concussion protocols. And also more barn cameras.

Jesus H road apple, read it, and it's a masterful press release. Loaded with buzz words, answers and solutions for everyone and everything, portraying a sense of responsibility and stewardship of the game. I know, I used to write press releases.

Hegarty explains how Churchill, naturally, feels above it all. Divide and conquer, Churchill doesn't support an effort by the Jockey Club to impose American Anti-Doping Agency guidelines to racing. "We don't believe a federal bill is practical, reasonable or imminent," said Churchill CEO William Carstanjen.

No shit, Sherlock. Your senator is Mitch McConnell and he has said that if Churchill doesn't support it, neither does he. So Churchill is happy to foment some measure of chaos and division between regions.

The future of racing itself? There have been petition efforts in California to ban horse racing, and California does not require a lot of signatures for a ballot question.

If racing doesn't clean up its act, it will deserve the heat more and more and more. Which could get to the point of burning up.

Many of these trainers say, for various reasons, "The horse will tell us what he wants."

As audacious, and real, as that is, start listening.

Maximum Outrage
It's a whole 'nother column, which maybe I'll do. But can you imagine what kind of socially angry, morally outraged and funereally depressed state this country would have been in if Maximum Security had wiped out the three or five horses he almost did in the Derby?

But the total disrespect for the law and the absolute right to entitlement that starts at the very top of this country reared its ugly head as the is-what-it-is crowd and how-could-they-gang came out of the wood holes.

I was talking to this one guy.

"But he won the race," he said.

"No he didn't," I said. "He, and Saez, cheated."

"But he won the race."

"No, he compromised the chances of at last three other horses to win."

"But he won the race. He came in first."

"He was reckless to the point of danger of other horses and riders, more than once. And kept them from having a chance to win. So he was disqualified and rightfully so."

"But he won."

"No, he didn't."

I could only walk away.

Preakness Postscript
The Preakness is Saturday.

On paper, it's the worst I remember, and the most lacking in accomplishment in many years.

The horses are all nice. Somewhat evenly matched. Therefore, it should be a good betting race and could be a very exciting race too. Very much worth watching.

Unless the winner goes on the win the Travers, Wood Memorial, Jockey Club and Breeders' Cup (that's a joke, son), it will be nothing more than a nice day at the races, which I'm all for.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:57 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #252: Bulls Crap Out

Praying for luck is not a strategy. Plus: Fear The Deer?; St. Louis Sucks; Tommy La Stella Is Doing Mike Trout-Like Things; Missing Ben Zobrist; The Unprecedented Nature Of Kris Bryant; and White Sox Still Better Than You Think.


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SHOW NOTES

* 252.

:50: The Lottery Is Not A Strategy.

* Coffman: Bulls Win Right To Draft The 7th-Best College Basketball Player In The Country!

* David Griffin.

* I refuse to link to a story about a lucky tie.

* Bulls are the old Cubs without the charm.

* K.C. Johnson: A Bulls Fan Was On The Fence About Renewing His Season Tickets After 48 Years - Until They Invited Him To Have Lunch With Jim Boylen And Watch A Practice.

28:40: Fear The Deer?

* Coffman: No.

* Rhodes: On Milwaukee!

32:55: St. Louis Sucks.

* Rhodes: Kris Bryant was right.

* St. Louis-style pizza.

36:20: Tommy La Stella Is Doing Mike Trout-Like Things.

42:24: Missing Ben Zobrist.

* Rosenthal: As Sports Gambling Grows, An Athlete's Divorce Is Now More Than Just Gossip.

53:48: The Unprecedented Nature Of Kris Bryant.

1:06:41: White Sox Still Better Than You Think.

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STOPPAGE: 10:58

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:14 PM | Permalink

May 16, 2019

The [Thursday] Papers

Let's take a look around the landscape.

1. Today's Worst Person In Chicago Is Opening A New Restaurant Tonight With The City's Second-Most Expensive Tasting Menu, And That's Not Even Why He's So Awful.

2. On This Day In 1966, Bob Dylan Changed The World. Again. And Not For The Last Time.

"The first double album was recordings from the Carnegie Hall Concert headlined by Benny Goodman, released in 1950 on Columbia Records, that label having introduced the LP two years earlier. Studio recordings of operas have been released as double, triple, quadruple and quintuple albums since the 1950s. The first rock double album was Bob Dylan's Blonde on Blonde released on May 16, 1966. It was soon followed by Frank Zappa & the Mothers Of Invention's debut record, Freak Out!, released on June 27, 1966."

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Regarding the opening track to Blonde on Blonde:

"In Dylan's 'Rainy Day Woman #12 and 35,' he repeatedly sings, 'Everybody must get stoned!' It is true that 12 multiplied by 35 is 420. However, there is a lack of information to either confirm or deny that this is the official origin of 420."

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Dylan not only set the standard for the double album, but for the box set.

3. The Truth About Pinocchio's Nose.

"[T]he original story is a work of considerable complexity, comparable to Alice in Wonderland or Gulliver's Travels and much darker than Disney's cheery fable about the price of youthful mendacity . . .

"Ask people the moral of the Pinocchio fable and doubtless most will say it is a cautionary tale about lying. Yet the puppet's famously extending nose does not feature as a lie detector at any point in the original series, which ended in grim fashion with two villains hanging Pinocchio from a tree to die."

4. Vote Early, Vote Russian.

"Angry members of the Florida congressional delegation demanded the FBI tell the public which two counties were successfully infiltrated by Russian hackers in 2016, with U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz calling the bureau's reasoning that the counties were victims under FBI protocol 'ludicrous," the Orlando Sentinel reports.

"Members also revealed that while the FBI said there was 'no evidence' that voter rolls were changed, 'they couldn't say with certainty [the hackers] did not manipulate data,' U.S. Rep. Debbie Mucarsel-Powell said Thursday."

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As you may recall, "The special counsel's report also cited another attack on computers in Illinois, which had already been reported . . .

"In Illinois, hackers infiltrated a voter registration database at the state's elections board in June 2016 and, according to a federal indictment last year, downloaded personal details of roughly 500,000 voters before being detected.

"Both federal and state officials have previously said that Russian attacks on election systems did not succeed in altering any votes."

5. When I Suggested 'Airport Tinder' As A Way To Cope With Long TSA Lines.

I still believe in that idea - and the concept in general. You walk into a bar and you get hyperlocal Tinder, a list of everyone in the bar who is available and looking.

I mean, Tinder does run on geolocation, but hyper-geolocation? Instead of learning someone is four miles from you, how about learning someone is four stools from you?

6. This Just In From The Empty Bottle.

7. What Molly Hatchet Said.

I've been to Alabama, people, ain't a whole lot to see/Skynyrd says it's a real sweet home but it ain't nothin' to me.

8. If You Thought Abortion Rights Were Protected In Illinois If SCOTUS Overturned Roe You Would Be Wrong.

9. Dear CBS2 Chicago: "Critics" or "Experts?"

10. A 'Century Plant' In Chicago Is Having An Epic Growth Spurt.

"[T]he plant has reached a towering 32 feet tall - too big for its greenhouse home - and is showing little sign of slowing down."

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"Century Plant," Victoria Williams.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Angie's List Is A Sham
Now with a comment from the executive editor of The Review Society - and my response.

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ChicagoReddit

PSA: wearing a dress on a nice day is NOT an invitation to grab someone's ass on a packed blue line train during their morning commute. from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

#chicagoart #chicagophotography #chicago

A post shared by Phil Struggle- Photographer (@philstrugglephotography) on

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ChicagoTube

Battle For The Eagle At The Writers' Bench, Logan Square.

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BeachBook

Irish Hotel Surprises Its Only Muslim Guest With Full-Buffett Suhoor.

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New Statue Of Liberty Museum Illuminates A Forgotten History.

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Empire In Denial.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: The future is unwritten.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:12 AM | Permalink

May 15, 2019

The [Wednesday] Papers

"A new United Nations report projecting the extinction of one-eighth of all animal and plant species should rattle the cages of any remaining skeptics regarding climate change and the central role humans have played in Earth's accelerating destruction," Kathleen Parker writes for the Washington Post.

"The report is by far the most depressing and frightening bit of news among an exhausting list of dire predictions and seemingly incessant fire alarms, including threatened increases to U.S. tariffs on Chinese imports, market plunges, North Korea's missile tests and President Trump's affronts to the Constitution. Just when you thought you couldn't take any more.

"Finding out that 1 million species face extinction without radical corrective changes in human behavior is akin to finding out you have a fatal disease. One day you have a thousand problems; the next, you have just one. Nothing in today's headlines compares to the catastrophic potential posed by climate change and the decimating effects of careless consumerism around the globe."

She's right, of course. But I will soldier on - and I don't mean that in a flip way. I mean that in a "I gave up on humanity a long time ago and there's nothing left to do but wait for the utter catastrophes that will cause untold suffering by tracking our demise on all fronts for the aliens to discover and learn from one day" kind of way.

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Sabotage or climate change?

Lori Lightfoot and the city council will have to wait at least another day, sorry.

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Chicago in one tweet:

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Illinois:

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Yeah, I've lost my will today. I'll try to reconstruct the column that was going to appear today for tomorrow.

*

Hey, how about some fun e-mail stuff?

Here's one I sent to our very own Tim Willette this morning:

"Roe Conn vs. Dwyane Wade."

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Also, my dismay at this:

Screen Shot 2019-05-15 at 1.42.15 PM.png

You guys always like the wrong stuff.

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From J.J. Tindall:

Wondering if we can get a notice up about the Steve Ediger Exhibition at Agitator Gallery thru June 1. thx

Background: Beachwood Nation Has Lost A Good One: Remembering Steve Ediger.

See also: The Steven Ediger Art System.

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Every time Tommy La Stella hits a home run, I notify our very own Jim "Coach" Coffman via The Tommy La Stella Home Run Alert System.

Today was No. 11.

FanGraphs: Tommy La Stella Is Doing Mike Trout-Like Things.

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Me and Tim have long had a Michael McDonald Alert System. Every time one of us hears a song with any relation to Michael McDonald - vocals, background singing, writing credit - one of us is supposed to alert the other. That's a lot of alerts, seeing as how nearly every song in the universe has a Michael McDonald connection. I've long dreamed of a worldwide website where people could enter their daily Michael McDonald experiences. "May 15, 2019: Wicker Park Jewel, 1:15 p.m., 'What A Fool Believes.' - Pete M." That kind of thing. Then, analyze and visualize the fuck out of the data.

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Me to Tim:

"Everyone I've ever expressed this too has vehemently disagreed, but I've always thought 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' as a mediocre song. And, upon just hearing it again, I still believe it."

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Worst album title ever: Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness.

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Should this be a newsletter? This kind of material? HMU.

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Unbossed, unbought and unbanked!

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Bulls Win Right To Draft The 7th-Best College Basketball Player In The Country!
Here comes Coby White!

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Chicagoetry: A Lake Michigan Of The Mind
An Atlantis of lost loves.

Programming note: With this poem, J.J. Tindall finishes his run as the Beachwood's poet-in-residence, though he'll retain emeritus status. Chicagoetry too comes to a close, unless someone out there wants to pick up the ball and run with it. I've also been considering a Chicago limerick series. Send me your interest and ideas.

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Started and abandoned:

There once was a hipster from Bucktown

There once was a hipster from Bridgeport
Who thought he was cooler than

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ChicagoReddit

Spicy food lovers of Chicago- whats the spiciest meal you've ever had in a restaurant here? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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BeachBook

Amnesty International Is Denied Lease At New York Tower Owned By China.

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How Preschool Education Can Benefit Generations Of Families.

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How Wisconsin Developed A High Tolerance For Booze.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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I have an idea: How about his name on the lips of every media member kissing his ass on his legacy tour?

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Man is five.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:34 AM | Permalink

Bulls Win Right To Draft The 7th-Best College Basketball Player In The Country!

The lottery ended before it really started for the Bulls. But it could have been worse. For one thing, they could have finished eighth.

For another, while local basketball fans may feel cursed at this point, especially considering the strange coincidence that their team ended up with the seventh pick in the draft for the third straight year, at least they were put out of their misery relatively early on in the process.

The folks who suffered the most were the Knicks fans who absolutely had to have the top pick. And Lakers followers who were loving moving up from 11th-best odds to the No. 4 pick saw that happiness tempered by the fact that many talent evaluators believe there are three big-time prospects in this draft.

And finally, the absolute worst-case scenario in this lottery was not finishing out of the top five. It wasn't even finishing out of the top three. It was finishing second. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the cursed Memphis Grizzlies.

On the flip side:

Zion Williamson was the one and only grand prize in this raffle. Murray State point guard Ja Morant has a world of pro potential and so does Duke guard R.J. Barrett (they currently project at Nos. 2 and 3 in the draft), but only one guy is selling tickets starting today and he has the initials ZW.

So where does this leave the Bulls? Well, the consensus view is that if the Bulls have done one thing right in the past several years it has been their first round draft picks: 2017 No. 1 Lauri Markkanen and 2018 No. 1 Wendell Carter. Both are stretch forwards with sizable shooting range who can also do dirty work inside. Who knows if they can stay healthy for a full NBA season, but a fan can ask that question about just about any young player in the league whose team has fallen out of contention late in his seasons with his club.

Falling out of contention these days means what could be relatively minor injuries put young players on the shelf for the rest of seasons so that teams can be completely careful about their health while also potentially leading to more losses and better draft position. After Tuesday night's lottery featuring bottom five teams all falling out of the top two picks, it might be time to re-evaluate that strategy.

Anyway, on June 20, barring a not-likely trade, the Bulls will draft seventh in the first round again. An early favorite for that pick is North Carolina combo guard Coby White, who stands 6-5 and won't turn 20 until February.

The bottom line is, the Bulls have enough young players with potential. The success or failure of this off-season will hinge on free agent acquisitions. In particular, they need a point guard to run the show and there are two unrestricted free agents who seem to qualify as the favorites.

No. 1 is Patrick Beverley. The 6-1, 30-year-old defensive specialist has been a massive pest for the Clippers the last few years and would be just the guy to set an aggressive tone for the Bulls going forward. But Beverley is a West Side native through and through (he played for Marshall) and my guess is he does not plan to return to the home front.

We've seen hometown hero scenarios flame out in the last five years starting with Derrick Rose and moving on to Dwyane Wade and Jabari Parker. No more of that stuff for the Bulls.

More likely headed to Chicago is the Pacers' Darren Collison. Collison, 31 and an even six feet tall, has usually been a backup during his NBA career but he moved into the starting lineup this past season when Victor Oladipo went down and played well. Draft whoever, sign Collison and a few veteran bench pieces and let's see what Markkanen, Carter, Otto Porter and Zach LaVine can do.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:08 AM | Permalink

Chicagoetry: A Lake Michigan Of The Mind

A Lake Michigan Of The Mind

"Way down, below the ocean, where I wanna be, she may be." - "Atlantis," Donovan

Unmoored,
Unmanned

But for your formless soul
Chugs the glass submarine
Swirling in circles to the east,
To the depths of sleep

Beneath the gilded surface
Of a warm, inland sea.
To the realm of dreams.
There, at the bottom of this

Lake Michigan of the mind,
An Atlantis of lost loves.
Never the found loves, the realized ones, but
Those most longed for and never achieved.

Aphrodite! At last!
(This is also a moment when you suspect
You are in fact fast asleep
In a conjured chimera.)

But there is a moment,
However long they may last in dreams,
In which exhilaration rings:
The first embrace, the humble blush,

The giddy wonder.

Sometimes Demeter, sometimes Athena,
But primarily the longshot Aphrodite;
The one you tried the hardest for,
The fulcrum of your most brilliant cunning

And the mother of your sharpest failure.
Mostly her
(When you finally Googled her that time
She had passed away some years ago,

Married, mother of two, in a lost
And distant neighborhood).
Yet deep under the warm, soothing sea
She returns to you and only to you.

Holding hands you begin to make plans

Then momentarily, inevitably,
You are washed ashore
To the night stand, the fan,
The water glass

And the Melatonin.

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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 8:04 AM | Permalink

May 14, 2019

The [Tuesday] Papers

Start thread here.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

The Fox "News" Lie
"A new report released Monday by Media Matters For America found that not a single day went by in the first four months of 2019 when the 'hard news' arm of Fox News didn't lie to its audience.

"Fox has long assured viewers and advertisers that the network's news and opinion wings are fundamentally different. But, as Media Matters president Angelo Carusone explained in a statement, that isn't really based in fact.

"'Fox News likes to tout the 'hard news' side of its operation, setting up a false distinction between its right-wing prime-time hosts and its news anchors,' said Carusone. 'The network pushes this fictional division as a defense against those who flag the propaganda, lies, conspiracy theories, and bigotry pervading the network.'

"Rather, as Carusone's team found, the channel's news anchors spread similar misinformation as its more opinionated prime-time hosts such as Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson."

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ChicagoReddit

Illinois Science Council invites you to the 5th annual Chicago Science Fest Expo Day! from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

Foster Avenue, Chicago. #hopesanddreams

A post shared by Meg Handler (@meghandler) on

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ChicagoTube

WMAQ Channel 5 - Rap It Up - "Should Marijuana Be Legalized?" (1975)

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BeachBook

What Hedge Funds Consider A Win Is A Disaster For Everyone Else.

Every interview of a hedge funder should include a question about the morals of what they do. But that would be . . . journalism!

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Break it down, again.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:58 AM | Permalink

May 13, 2019

The Fox "News" Lie

A new report released Monday by Media Matters For America found that not a single day went by in the first four months of 2019 when the "hard news" arm of Fox News didn't lie to its audience.

Fox has long assured viewers and advertisers that the network's news and opinion wings are fundamentally different. But, as Media Matters president Angelo Carusone explained in a statement, that isn't really based in fact.

"Fox News likes to tout the 'hard news' side of its operation, setting up a false distinction between its right-wing prime-time hosts and its news anchors," said Carusone. "The network pushes this fictional division as a defense against those who flag the propaganda, lies, conspiracy theories, and bigotry pervading the network."

Rather, as Carusone's team found, the channel's news anchors spread similar misinformation as its more opinionated prime-time hosts such as Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson.

"Both the 'news' side and the 'opinion' side are cogs in the same propaganda machine," Carusone said. "And both spread lies and misinformation daily with the same motive."

The report is a direct response to the network's efforts to push back against a Media Matters-led boycott targeting the network. Fox argues that the differences between its two arms should assauge advertisers enough to buy commercials during daytime news segments even if they don't like the controversial and counterfactual programming on the nighttime opinion shows.

"Quarantining your ads to only a small subset of programs will not insulate your brand from public rebuke when Fox News' next controversy strikes," said Carusone. "The network as a whole is the problem, not merely a few prime-time hosts."

The report:

The Fox "News" Lie by on Scribd

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

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Steve Rhodes:

Without drawing a false equivalence, MSNBC is not exactly journalistically honest in its programming either. Fox, though, takes its propaganda techniques to another level and, especially at night, essentially functions as state TV. In fact, Sean Hannity is a confidante and advisor to the president.

At the same time, I'm not entirely comfortable with the notion of boycotting media entities based on their content. In this case, it's probably justified as a way to hold accountable companies enabling state TV and the despicable nature of this particular administration, but as a general rule, it upholds in a way a notion that advertisers be allowed - nay, encouraged - to influence content. There is already too much sponsor-pleasing in the television business.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:09 PM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"President Trump recently discussed the potential for infrastructure reform with Democratic leaders. One way such large projects can be paid for is via public-private partnerships. In new research, Stephanie Farmer and Chris D. Poulos examine the development of such partnerships in Chicago during the tenure of Mayor Rahm Emanuel. They find that through political campaign contributions and involvement in business civic organizations, global financial interests have been able to influence infrastructure planning and priorities, including promoting public-private partnerships as a means of financing projects. These projects, they write, often see financial firms maximizing their own profits from public infrastructure."

- Chicago Shows How Global Financial Firms Can Acquire Control Over Local Infrastructure Planning And Financing Decision-Making

"Recently, President Trump and Democratic Congressional leaders met to discuss a $2 trillion deal to rebuild and modernize the nation's infrastructure. While the talks did not specify how projects will be financed, private finance capital is well-positioned to play a central role in a public works program given strong bipartisan support for public-private partnerships (P3s). The recent history of Chicago's infrastructure planning reveals how private financial interests have gained influence within local governments, enabling financial firms to prioritize local infrastructure projects that generate income streams for profit-making over other public policy goals, like environmental and economic justice.

"Over the past two decades, U.S. urban infrastructure has emerged as an important setting for capital investment. Private control over public infrastructure is usually accomplished through a P3 agreement. In P3 deals, financial firms invest in public infrastructure in exchange for exclusive rights over the use of infrastructure and the collection of monopoly rents, usually in the form of user fees and fares, or a dedicated revenue stream.

"The public is nearly always on the losing end of these deals. P3s have resulted in the loss of public control over space, increased user fees to access public goods, penalties activated by obscure contractual clauses, and a reconstitution of municipal governments' priorities from providing public goods towards guaranteeing income streams for investors."

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For example:

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Or, you could believe this from a two-time Rahm Emanuel voter:

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Yes, I know the parking meter deal was Daley's, but it was emblematic of a strategy Emanuel would double down on, as the research shows, and some would say he didn't do all he could have done to try to reverse or mitigate the parking meter deal more than he claimed he did. You decide!

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I'd like to know if the specific Morgan Stanley execs who executed this deal feel good about themselves and what they've done to the city. Who were the specific dealmakers? Have they ever been named? And the beneficiaries - not just the names of their funds and organizations, but the actual individuals . . . Can we beg them for mercy?

Documentary Assignment Desk: A Roger & Me-style chasing down of the parking meter people - from here to Abu Dhabi. Have they no shame?

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Stateville 7 Graduates From NEIU
"A pivotal milestone in Illinois for the advancement of educational programming behind bars."

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #251: The Problem With The Cubs Fan Ban
Joe Ricketts remains, among other things. Plus: Roger's Suspicious Cuba Trip; Fuck Yu; Addison Russell's Return; Stats Cast; Are The White Sox A Wild-Card Contender?; and Derby Stewards Show More Courage Than Congress.

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Tone Down The Future
In The White Sox Report.

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ChicagoReddit

Here's a Chicago joke from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

WMAQ Channel 5 - Bubble Gum Digest - "Kiddie Disco / Freddie Prinze" (Premiere Episode, 3/7/1976)

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BeachBook

San Francisco Police Raid Journalist's Home After He Refuses To Name Source.

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At Black Colleges, Baseball Teams Increasingly Aren't.

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American Airlines Made $1.2 Billion Last Year By Charging Travelers For Their Least Favorite Thing.

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Coca-Cola Paid $9 Million To Influence French Health Researchers.

Can we please name and shame the Coke executives and employees who carried this out? That never seems to happen. Coke is not a living entity; it is an organization of people who are responsible for their actions.

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Greyston Bakery And The Open Hiring Model.

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How A Half-Ton Of Cocaine Transformed An Island.

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Helium Shortage Deflating Party City's Business.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Maybe Jolisa.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:00 PM | Permalink

Seven Stateville Prisoners Graduate From NEIU

A cohort of seven students from the Northeastern Illinois University University Without Walls Program and Prison + Neighborhood Arts & Education Project joint program will graduate with Bachelor of Art degrees at Stateville Correctional Center, marking a pivotal milestone in Illinois for the advancement of educational programming behind bars.

The graduation ceremony, which will take place inside the prison's auditorium building, will feature remarks by Angela Y. Davis, Professor Emeritus at University of California Santa Cruz, and Juliana Stratton, Lieutenant Governor of Illinois. The ceremony will also feature a guest musical performance by Chancelor Bennett, popularly known as Chance the Rapper.

All special guests in attendance will convene to celebrate the historic accomplishments of the graduating cohort. The collaboration between the UWW Program and PNAP offers graduates a one-of-a-kind educational experience where students' extensive learning and skills outside of traditional classroom settings are recognized and where students work hand-in-hand alongside academic and community advisors to design individualized curricula.

In addition to providing students in the UWW-P+NAP joint program with access to liberal arts and humanities coursework, P+NAP also offers college-level courses to individuals incarcerated at Stateville Correctional Center who are not in the degree-bearing program, including individuals with limited or no prior college experience.

Quote from Erica Meiners: "I am incredibly proud and honored to stand alongside these seven scholars and applaud their academic achievements. Their scholarly contributions, reflected in part by each student's final portfolio, are exemplary. As a faculty member of Northeastern Illinois University, I am also proud to acknowledge NEIU's role as a publicly funded resource for higher learning. This program would not exist without it."

In addition to their intellectual contributions to the field, the cohort's achievements shine a bright light on the transformative power of education and higher-learning within prison.

Quote from Sarah Ross: "Since the early '90s, funding for higher education to people in prison has been nominal. This is true, in part, due to federal and state legislation that has limited access to education and other educational and intellectual resources for people behind bars. The lack of funding coincided with 'tough on crime' policies and the cultural shifts that went along with them. Despite this, organizations like P+NAP, and universities such as Northeastern Illinois University, are working to change this."

In the end, Wednesday's graduation ceremony signifies a historic and critical achievement for the program's scholars and educators alike.

Quote from Timothy Barnett: "I am amazed by the passion and perseverance displayed by this graduating class, who have contributed so much to the community through their political, legal, artistic and writing skills and their commitment to justice. I am also honored to have had the opportunity to work alongside dedicated and brilliant educators, advisors and officials whose ongoing efforts make this program possible."

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UWW/PNAP GRADUATING CLASS OF 2019 The University Without Walls program and Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project are pleased to announce the graduation of these seven scholars:

Joseph Dole: Joseph Dole is a writer, artist, activist and one of the co-founders of Parole Illinois. He is actively involved in criminal justice reform legislation and graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree and a depth area in Critical Carceral-Legal Studies.

Raúl Dorado: Raúl Dorado is an incarcerated student, author and prison education advocate. His depth area is Justice Policy Advocacy. His goal is to foster healthy relationships within his prison community.

Darrell Fair: Darrell Fair's studies have depth areas in Social Justice, Community Organizing, Business Entrepreneurship, and Community Relations. Social Justice is equal participation and distribution of resources to all members of society. Darrell chooses to organize and educate the community to work toward the eradication of inequality.

Antonio Kendrick: Antonio (T.K.) Kendrick's depth areas are Criminal Justice Administration and Transformative Justice. He selected those depth areas because his interests are individual and social transformation. UWW has given him the skill set he needs to be a positive force and change agent wherever he goes.

Marshall Stewart: Marshall Stewart is a Native American raised by a Mexican-American family, which fostered his love of service and led him to choose Organization Communication and Resource Development for Non-Profits as the depth area for his baccalaureate degree. His NEIU degree builds upon his previous education in the medical field, as well as his work in the paralegal profession.

Devon Terrell: Devon K. Terrell was born and raised on the South Side of Chicago and grew up Hip Hop. His UWW depth area is Poetic Justice in Black Culture, which focuses on the use of poetry and art to transform youth culture and society. "My life's work is making my life work." - Devon K. Terrell

Eric Watkins: Eric Watkins is a Northeastern Illinois University UWW Bachelor of Arts degree graduate. His depth area is Urban-American Jurisprudence and Transformative Justice Education. Eric chose this social science field of study to better serve the needs of his community.

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See also: "Stateville Speaks is a newsletter written by and for incarcerated individuals, their families, those working in the correctional system, and other interested citizens."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:44 AM | Permalink

May 12, 2019

Tone Down The Future

We knew a little bit about Harry Chappas when the diminutive rookie was slated to be the White Sox Opening Day shortstop in 1979. He had been a September call-up the season before, leap-frogging from Single-A Appleton to Comiskey Park. Then Sports Illustrated put him on its spring training cover, an honor that so far has eluded young fellows such as Eloy Jimenez and Yoan Moncada, who have more talent in their pinky fingers than the 5-foot-5 Chappas had in his entire compact frame.

But that was the point. Chappas was an anomaly, one of the smallest major leaguers in history, a genuine curiosity. Lacking the social media of today, exposure to Chappas was limited until he reached the major leagues. This wasn't unfortunate in his case because the kid couldn't play. He was gone by the end of April.

Consider if today's White Sox had no electronic media to hype the burgeoning prospects they hope will lead them to post-season bounty in the very near future. Few, if any, Sox fans would subscribe to the Charlotte Observer or Birmingham News simply to check on the progress of Dylan Cease or Luis Robert, though you would have the Sporting News. Still, without Twitter, Facebook and the rest of the social media complex, the youngsters could toil more or less in privacy without the daily scrutiny afforded by the Internet.

However, since the product on display on the South Side more often than not is of inferior quality, the marketing department dwells on the kids on the farm in order to focus on the future as opposed to the mounting losses of the present ballclub. Graphics on the videoboards and Sox telecasts highlight the exploits of the prospects. Anyone with more than a passing interest in the team knows the names, the top draft picks, the international signing bonuses, and the latest additions to the minor league injury lists.

In ancient times, future stars could be buried in the wilderness in places like Glen Falls, Dubuque, or Knoxville, while today Kannapolis and Winston-Salem are part of the daily conversation. Sox telecasts have featured live phone interviews with catcher-of-the-future Zack Collins and Kannapolis manager Justin Jirschele. We can listen to sidelined pitcher Michael Kopech talk about the frustration of inactivity while he recovers from Tommy John surgery. On the big league club's days days, we can watch Sox minor league games live on NBC Sports Chicago.

It all smacks of a contrived choreography aimed at where the franchise is headed and not where it's been, and, considering the recent futility, we understand the strategy.

Of course, there are no guarantees. Collins has shown notable power and defensive prowess in parts of four minor league seasons, throwing out about a third of would-be base stealers, but at the plate he's struck out more than one in three at-bats. Cease and Robert appear to be "can't miss" prodigies, yet Jimenez has received even greater publicity, and we've seen him struggle prior to going on the IL on April 27. Jimenez, who is due for a rehab assignment this week, was slashing a quiet .241/.294/.674 with three home runs when he got hurt. Seeing a steady diet of breaking balls, he's struck out 25 times in 21 games.

It's a big deal when the top-rated talent arrives. No. 1-rated Vladimir Guerrero Jr. of the Blue Jays, just 20 years old, trotted onto the field in Toronto on April 26 to a standing ovation. More than 28,000 fans showed up, the Jays' biggest crowd of the year other than Opening Day. His Hall of Fame dad, Vladimir Sr., cheered from a deluxe suite. In a tie game, the kid doubled to lead off the bottom of the ninth and three batters later, a walk-off home run accounted for a storybook ending.

The atmosphere was much the same last August for Kopech's introduction at The Grate. The Twins provided the competition, and there was palpable energy and cell phone cameras flashing as Kopech delivered his first pitch. Even after Joe Mauer singled up the middle, fans remained on their feet as the flame-throwing right-hander went on to retire the side without any damage.

However, after a scoreless second, the heavens opened, and Kopech was lifted after a lengthy rain delay. In his fourth outing, the Tigers lit up Kopech for seven runs over three-plus innings, after which it was revealed that the young pitcher would need reconstructive surgery to repair his right elbow. Not even all the hoopla and rave reviews by the experts could keep the script intact.

The story isn't nearly as bleak up in Toronto, but the initial shine is gone since young Guerrero came on the scene. The Blue Jays won three straight as soon as Vlady appeared, but after Ivan Nova silenced their bats in a 7-2 White Sox win on Saturday, and Lucas Giolito held them to a single run on Sunday in the Sox 5-1 win, the Jays have now lost 10 of 12.

Don't look now, but after the Sox' 4-3 road trip, they've now won nine of their last 16 games. Last week's opponents, Cleveland and Toronto, are in town this week for a six-game homestand.

Meanwhile, Guerrero Jr. doubled in the first inning Sunday off Giolito, his first extra-base hit since his debut. He's hitting just .191. This from a guy who hit .331 in the minors.

Of course, the sample size is negligible, and Guerrero has the pedigree and talent to become a star. But we know the road is never as easy as it appears.

One of the better players in White Sox annals, Robin Ventura, endured an 0-for-39 spell at the start of his rookie season in 1990. After 23 games he was hitting .117. The next season he hit .284 with 23 homers and 100 RBIs.

Despite initial struggles by players like Guerrero and Jimenez, the prognosticators get it right with notable frequency. Going back to 2000, the players who were named Rookie of the Year often were high draft choices and talented international players predicted for stardom.

Of the 38 ROYs in the past 19 seasons, 10 were international players, including Ichiro (2001), Hanley Ramirez (2006), Jose Abreu (2014) and Shokei Ohtani (2018). Another 15 were first-round draft picks, including Justin Verlander (2006), Ryan Braun (2007), Evan Longoria (2008), Buster Posey (2010), Bryce Harper (2012), Mike Trout (2012), Carlos Correa (2015) and Kris Bryant (2015). There were just a few outliers, like Albert Pujols, who wasn't selected until the 13th round in of the 1999 draft and won Rookie of the Year honors in 2001.

While the majority of the outstanding rookies have gone on to become established players, a few such as Jason Jennings (2002) and Andrew Bailey (2009) never attained stardom. Jennings, a starting pitcher, went 16-8 with the Rockies his rookie season but never came close to that again, while Bailey, a relief pitcher, recorded 75 saves his first three seasons with Oakland but injuries dogged him the rest of his career and he was never the same.

But clearly, players who are accorded the "can't miss" tag often, indeed, do not miss. Of the top prospects this season, San Diego shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr., who originally signed with the White Sox, is off to a solid beginning, hitting .300 before pulling a hamstring at the end of April.

We've also seen the benefit of patience in the case of Yoan Moncada, whose entry into the world of major league baseball last season was anything but scintillating. However, he's becoming a force this season both at bat and in the field. You have to wonder whether all the build-up, exposure and chatter surrounding top prospects like Moncada and Jimenez have hurt rather than helped these young guys. Both have unquestioned talent. Maybe it's time we all backed off a bit and simply let the kids play.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:18 PM | Permalink

May 10, 2019

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #251: The Problem With The Cubs Fan Ban

Joe Ricketts remains, among other things. Plus: Roger's Suspicious Cuba Trip; Fuck Yu; Addison Russell's Return; Stats Cast; Are The White Sox A Wild-Card Contender?; and Derby Stewards Show More Courage Than Congress.


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SHOW NOTES

* 251.

* Welles Park Baseball.

* Baseball Participation Up Since 2014.

* Max Ciofi.

7:44: Roger's Suspicious Cuba Trip.

* Rodrigo Burgos.

* Havana's Hot Corner.

* Parque Central.

* Trump Ends Deal Between MLB And Cuban Baseball Federation.

10:52: Fuck Yu.

* Yu Darvish is the new Tyler Chatwood. Tyler Chatwood is the new Mike Montgomery. Mike Montgomery is the old Mike Montgomery.

* Yu Darvish: A three true-outcome pitcher.

* Jim Gillooly.

17:09: Addison Russell Returns.

* Remembering Chapman.

* Seemingly relevant to the discussion:

* The Greenberg column.

* Russell's response to the Greenberg column.

* Chapman's suspension was 30 days.

22:51: The Problem With The Cubs Fan Ban.

* Morrissey: Cubs Should've Treated Joe Ricketts The Way They're Treating Banned Fan.

* Nick Bosa's Tweets On Trump, Kaepernick Had No Impact On 49ers Drafting Him, Team President Says.

* Michael Kopech Acknowledges, Deletes Racist Tweets.

* Donald Trump, Chris Sale not banned from ballparks.

42:25: Stats Cast.

* The White Sox Baseball Operations Analyst Who Knows Nothing About Baseball.

* What About Coop?

* Zach Britton On The Use Of Analytics In New York Vs. Baltimore.

55:07: Are The White Sox A Wild-Card Contender?

1:01:35: Derby Stewards Show Courage In Trump's Lawless America.

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STOPPAGE: 5:12

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:50 PM | Permalink

The [Friday] Papers

"The Illinois Department of Public Health owes the federal government an estimated $24 million for debt that piled up from a complicated state program to vaccinate low-income kids, WBEZ has learned.

"The revelation adds another layer to Illinois' byzantine effort to get vaccines for roughly 130,000 low-income children. The state had been using free vaccines from the federal government for kids in the Children's Health Insurance Program, known as CHIP.

"But then the feds called for states including Illinois to pay for those doses. So former Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner stopped the financial bleeding with a major policy shift that led some doctors to stop vaccinating low-income children."

Wait, what?

*

"Dozens of physicians have told Illinois public health officials [that Rauner's policy shift] 'could lead to a public health crisis with disastrous consequences' in light of the nationwide measles outbreak.

"Now, the new administration under Democratic Gov. JB Pritzker is hustling to potentially unwind his predecessor's efforts while negotiating with the feds on how to pay down the state's big debt."

*

So what was the Rauner policy shift that mucked this up?

"Illinois doctors say they thought they were allowed to use the free vaccine for patients on CHIP. In fact, Illinois was supposed to reimburse the CDC for those shots."

I wonder why Illinois doctors thought that.

"To complicate matters, the state didn't have a good system to track when doctors used the free vaccine for kids on CHIP."

Of course it didn't.

"So the debt swelled, reaching an estimated $24 million. Concerned about this climbing IOU, Rauner's administration hit the brakes in 2016. The state public health department stopped providing free vaccines to doctors for CHIP patients. The providers would have to pay out of their own pockets to buy vaccines instead from manufacturers, then wait for private insurers that contract with the Illinois Medicaid program to reimburse them."

Oy.

*

"Doctors say that [Medicaid reimbursements] take months, if they get paid back at all. So they started turning away kids on CHIP, even as the program's enrollment climbed, state records show."

They just started turning kids away. For want of $24 million, which frankly isn't a lot in context of a state budget - or Rauner's net worth, annual income or a campaign contribution. It seems like the problem was eminently solvable. But no.

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"Nirav Shah, who led the Illinois Department of Public Health in 2016, defended the state's policy change because he said stopping the rising debt was critical."

Wrong answer.

But then, Shah doesn't have the greatest track record.

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"The Illinois public health department is in the final stages of negotiations with the CDC that started more than a year ago. A spokeswoman for the CDC declined to comment."

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"Tom Hughes is executive director of the Illinois Public Health Association, which represents most of the state's local health departments and many public health employees," the Capitol News Illinois reported last month.

Hughes is in talks with health care providers, insurers and vaccine distributors to combat the outbreak by restarting a part of the state's Vaccines for Children (VFC) program, which in 2016 was discontinued for children enrolled in the state-funded Children's Health Insurance Plan."

"At the time, health care providers should have been using VFC vaccines only for VFC children," Hughes said. "If a child was covered by private insurance, you wouldn't be using VFC."

But, he added, there was "no good accounting of what vaccine was being used for what child," so the state pulled the program and stopped providing the vaccines.

Read that again: Instead of fixing the problem, the state just ended the program.

*

Meanwhile . . .

"A team of researchers who in 2015 correctly predicted where the Zika outbreak would strike in the U.S. say they think the country's next big measles outbreak is most likely to happen in Cook County," the Tribune reports.

The researchers aren't blaming Rauner, though.

"That's based largely on the number of airplane flights to Chicago from global destinations where parents increasingly don't have their children vaccinated."

*

"Rachel Rubin, a senior medical officer with the Cook County Health Department, wasn't surprised by the study's findings. The seven measles cases reported in Illinois this year likely stemmed from one person who was infected overseas and traveled back to Illinois, she said."

But Illinois' low-income kids are more vulnerable now than they would have been if not for Rauner. Callback:

"Dozens of physicians have told Illinois public health officials [that Rauner's policy shift] 'could lead to a public health crisis with disastrous consequences' in light of the nationwide measles outbreak.

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Closing Clinics
"The biggest controversy of Rahm Emanuel's first year as mayor was caused by his decision to close six of the city's twelve mental health clinics. For months, protestors from the Mental Health Movement disrupted Emanuel's events. In another dramatic action, 23 were arrested when they barricaded themselves inside the Woodlawn clinic," Curtis Black writes for the Chicago Reporter.

"In January, the City Council passed a resolution by a margin of 48 to 0, noting that the clinic closings resulted in 'leaving large areas of the city without adequate access to affordable safety-net mental health service,' and establishing a task force to conduct a 'comprehensive study to determine which community areas shall be prioritized for re-opening mental health clinics.'"

Let's just take that in: The council passed a unanimous resolution essentially codifying that Rahm's clinic closures were bad policy. Add it to the list, media-friendly legacy tour notwithstanding.

*

"[Re-opening clinics is] getting some pushback from leaders representing private, nonprofit behavioral health providers, who have argued that 'reopening the six public mental health clinics would be a step backward.'

Longtime MHM organizer Matt Ginsberg-Jaeckle recalls that leaders of nonprofit providers also backed the clinic closings seven years ago, promising that they stood ready to serve displaced clients.

It didn't exactly work out that way. Hundreds of city patients fell through the cracks. City clients who were transferred to private providers often faced long wait times for appointments and long travel times and unaffordable co-pays when they got in. Psychiatric hospitalizations spiked after the clinic closings. Then, within a few months, two of the private agencies handling former city clients went out of business.

Since then, the subsidized private insurance provided to thousands of moderate-income Chicagoans by the Affordable Care Act - one of the rationales behind the clinic closings - has offered only spotty mental health coverage, often with deductibles that are cost-prohibitive.

Last year, the Collaborative for Community Wellness reported on what it called a "mental health crisis" on the Southwest Side.

There's a lot more; go read the rest.

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ChicagoReddit

The food offerings at Wrigley Field (1972) from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Black coat, white shoes, black hat.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:26 AM | Permalink

May 9, 2019

The [Thursday] Papers

New on the Beachwood today . . .

WGN-TV Rediscovers Backyard Chickens Again
Irresistible to media since 1986.

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Onboarding Solution Proposed For Beachwood
"Most companies The Beachwood Reporter's size have some automation around this for HR / Payroll / Benefits systems, but generally the rest are manual (stuff like G-suite, Microsoft, Slack, Expensify, Salesforce, ATS, Performance Management apps, 401k providers, etc)."

*

The Vicksburg Assaults
The Confederacy held, so Grant laid siege on those motherfuckers.

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Dusty Grove Doc Dropping
"Filmmaker Danielle Beverly (Old South, SF DocFest 2015) tells the story of Chicago vinyl buyer Rick Wojcik who walks us into the homes - and stories - of strangers, digging through their jazz, soul, and hip hop records, purchasing their once-prized possessions. Each seller shares a common reason: they face a major life transition. The documentary is a collection of intimate narratives, akin to a record album of songs. About love, loss, and our deep personal connection to music."

*

Sunny Garcia's Suicide Attempt Shakes Surf World
Legend and former world champion had opened up in recent years about his battle with depression.

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Today In America's Autocracy

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*

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ChicagoReddit

Where does everyone get their local news? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Chicago Boy | Ari Lennox

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BeachBook

Beyond Meat Is Less Healthy Than Meat.

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New Analysis Debunks Controversial Claim About The Origin Of Humanity

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Spread the fake news.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:40 PM | Permalink

The Vicksburg Assaults

After a series of victories through Mississippi early in the spring of 1863, General Ulysses S. Grant's Army of the Tennessee had reached the critical point in its campaign to capture Vicksburg. Taking the city on the hill would allow the Union to control the Mississippi River and would divide the Confederacy in half. Confederate morale was low, and a Union victory in the war appeared close before the start of Grant's assault against General John C. Pemberton's Army of Mississippi.

vicksburgassaults.jpg

But due to difficult terrain, strong defenses, and uncoordinated movements, the quick triumph Grant desired was unattainable. On the afternoon of May 19, with little rest, preparation, or reconnaissance, Union forces charged the Confederate lines only to be repulsed. A respite between the assaults allowed both sides to reinforce their positions. Early on May 22 the Union artillery sought to soften the stronghold's defenses before the general attack, but despite the Union forces' preparation, the fighting proved even more disorganized and vicious. Again Grant failed to move Pemberton. Not wanting to risk more soldiers in a third attack, Grant conceded to the necessity of laying siege.

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From Wikipedia:

"Vicksburg was the last major Confederate stronghold on the Mississippi River; therefore, capturing it completed the second part of the Northern strategy, the Anaconda Plan. When two major assaults against the Confederate fortifications, on May 19 and 22, 1863, were repulsed with heavy casualties, Grant decided to besiege the city beginning on May 25. After holding out for more than forty days, with their supplies nearly gone, the garrison surrendered on July 4. The successful ending of the Vicksburg Campaign significantly degraded the ability of the Confederacy to maintain its war effort. This action, combined with the surrender of Port Hudson to Maj. Gen. Nathaniel P. Banks on July 9, yielded command of the Mississippi River to the Union forces, who would hold it for the rest of the conflict.

"The Confederate surrender on July 4, 1863 is sometimes considered, when combined with Gen. Robert E. Lee's defeat at Gettysburg by Maj. Gen. George Meade the previous day, the turning point of the war. It cut off the states of Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas from the rest of the Confederate States, effectively splitting the Confederacy in two for the duration of the war. The Union victory also permanently severed communication between the Trans-Mississippi Department and the balance of the Confederacy."

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Siege of Vicksburg

jb_civil_vicksburg_1_e.jpg

This colorful lithograph recounts the 1863 battle at Vicksburg that took place on water and land.

CREDIT: "Siege of Vicksburg--13, 15, & 17 Corps, Commanded by Gen. U.S. Grant, Assisted by the Navy Under Admiral Porter--Surrender, July 4, 1863," 1888. Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress. Reproduction Number LC-USZC4-1754.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:51 AM | Permalink

WGN-TV Rediscovers Backyard Chickens Again

First let's go to the Beachwood vault, Item 3, May 19, 2014:

"Oops, WGN re-broadcast a show from 2005. Or at least that's what it seemed like when they aired "Chickens in the City: Urban coops growing in popularity" last Thursday.

"Gawker has been making fun of the trend since 2007, which means the "trend" is at least seven years old, and the truth is it was barely even a trend then.

"In 2009, Jack Shafer named urban chicken-raising as one of his bogus trends of the week in Slate.

"Shafer even named the WGN's sister Tribune as a chief culprit in conveying nonexistent nonsense:

For more all-feather, no-bone journalism, see the May 10 Chicago Tribune Magazine, where "Chicken Chic: The Backyard Bird Is Back in Style" claims that chicken keeping is a "craze," is "[w]ay in," and is "a fresh fad." The piece insists that "[m]any an ordinary citizen of many an ordinary neighborhood owns an actual chicken," but never assigns a number to the "many."

This is the paper's second example of crying chicken in recent months. The Dec. 15, 2008, Trib discovers "[s]igns of the burgeoning urban chick movement" in the mere publication of Backyard Poultry magazine, the existence of the urbanchickens.net blog, and the fact that a local workshop on raising your own birds sold out in 48 hours.

"Shafer shows how the evidence of this trend has been fuzzy ever since it was first reported - in 1986.

"Apparently WGN's Ana Belaval and her bosses never checked the clips. If it had, it would have found at least that the trend in reporting this non-trend is to declare the trend over."

*

Now let's go to WGN-TV just a couple weeks ago:

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And, by the way, every dumb pun imaginable is apparently still in play by (highly compensated) TV reporters who must think they are being clever and original. For example, did you know that "urban chickens now rule the roost?" Quite the coop!

*

Other problems last month's report:

WESTERN SPRINGS, Ill. - Back in the day, the only way you saw roosters or chickens was a field trip to a farm or watching Foghorn Leghorn on Saturday mornings. Now, the local food movement has changed that in a big way.

Urban chickens now rule the roost.

Annie Tandy's family in Western Springs was one of the first in their community to get a backyard coop.

"I know it's not a normal suburban thing to do to have chickens, but it sure has been fun!" Tandy said.

-> So urban chickens now rule the roost but this story is about suburban chickens.

-> Obligatory semi-obscure Foghorn Leghorn reference.

-> "According to the USDA, there has been a 300% increase in backyard chickens as more families look for ways to connect with nature and their food source."

Since when? And from what to what?'

Oh, here it is, from Hinsdale Living's version of the Annie Tandy story from last year:

"The USDA's most recent study analyzing urban chicken ownership focused on Los Angeles in 2010 and was broadened to include New York, Denver, and Miami in 2012. At that time, just under 1 percent of households had chickens, but another 4 percent said they planned to get chickens within the next five years - a time-marker we just passed. That 300 percent increase in backyard chicks has certainly happened, fueled by American families' widespread adoption of more holistic lifestyles - a big part of why the Tandy family got started with hens."

First, isn't an increase from 1 percent to 5 percent a 400% increase?

Second, the 300 percent increase is assumed - in four states, none of which are Illinois.

Third, the presumed increase is from 1 percent of households to 5 percent, an example of how small numbers can make percentages seem much more significant than they really are. For example, if I raise the price of this post from 1 cent to 5 cents, I've raised prices 400 - or is it 300 - percent! But just to 5 cents.

-> Missing: the cost.

-> Also, by connecting it to the local food movement, WGN means they eat the eggs, not the chickens. Just to be clear. They shop for everything else at the regular ol' suburban grocery store, just like usual, as far as we know.

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Meanwhile, Patch did the Western Springs chickens story eight years ago - predating Tandy!

*

Please, WGN-TV and everyone else, no more. If you're out of ideas, I can help. And you won't have to go anywhere near Western Springs.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:51 AM | Permalink

Onboarding Solution Proposed For Beachwood

Hi Steve,

Curious if you typically have to deal with adding new hires into a bunch of different systems when they come onboard? Most companies The Beachwood Reporter's size have some automation around this for HR / Payroll / Benefits systems, but generally the rest are manual (stuff like G-suite, Microsoft, Slack, Expensify, Salesforce, ATS, Performance Management apps, 401k providers, etc).

Rippling makes it so you only add them in one place, and then we connect to all your other services and make sure employees are added automatically before (or on) their start date. We do this across HR/Payroll/Benefits if that's a pain point, or we can just handle the non-HR systems you're likely doing manually.

We specifically work with companies who don't have big in-house IT departments yet - and that's why we reached out to you. It looked like someone in HR / Ops / Engineering might be doing this manually at The Beachwood Reporter. If that's the case, I'd love to show you Rippling in action. Demos only take about 30 minutes and setup calls are about the same.

Do you have any interest in connecting this week?

Thanks!
Anya

P.S. I reached out to The Beachwood Reporter because after looking at your website, I genuinely thought you might benefit from what we do. If you don't want to hear from me again please don't hesitate to let me know.

--

Anya Palisch
Manager, Customer Success
Rippling

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More about Anya Palisch:

* Northwestern grad.

* Tex-Mex aficianado.

* Shopping addict.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:31 AM | Permalink

Dusty Groove Doc Dropping

"While the world of record stores and vinyl has been explored in film more than a few times, a new documentary focusing on Chicago's beloved Dusty Groove aims to shine a new light on the subject," Exclaim reports.

"Titled Dusty Groove: The Sound of Transition, the upcoming movie will focus not only on music and records but also follow the stories of customers selling their once-prized collections as they face major life transitions."

Here's the trailer:

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Premiering at San Francisco Documentary Festival on June 8th.

"Filmmaker Danielle Beverly (Old South, SF DocFest 2015) tells the story of Chicago vinyl buyer Rick Wojcik who walks us into the homes - and stories - of strangers, digging through their jazz, soul, and hip hop records, purchasing their once-prized possessions. Each seller shares a common reason: they face a major life transition. The documentary is a collection of intimate narratives, akin to a record album of songs. About love, loss, and our deep personal connection to music."

*

Danielle Beverly has an MFA from Columbia College and is an assistant professor at Northwestern.

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Rick Wojcik is a University of Chicago alum who co-founded Dusty Groove in 1996.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:25 AM | Permalink

Sunny Garcia's Suicide Attempt Shakes Surf World

"Sunny Garcia, a legend in the surf community and a world champion in 2000, has been hospitalized after what has been reported in multiple news outlets as a suicide attempt. He remains in the intensive care unit, the World Surf League confirmed [last week]," the New York Times reports.

"Garcia, 49, is known as a relentless competitor with a fierce surfing style, which led to six Triple Crown of Surfing titles and the Association of Surfing Professionals world championship title in 2000. (The World Surf League was previously known as the Association of Surfing Professionals.)

" . . . in 2014, Garcia began discussing his mental health struggles."

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Taylor Steele tribute montage:

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Sunny Garcia's Encyclopedia of Surfing:

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Sunny Garcia on battling depression:

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:12 AM | Permalink

May 8, 2019

The [Wednesday] Papers

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Trump, United Airlines & The Pritzkers
Think Blue Horseshoe and Anacott Steel.

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Chicagoetry: Two Blues Lyrics
DJ play the movies all night long.

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ChicagoReddit

How to get in contact with a medium or priest that specialized in paranormal..? from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

Lions Clubs International Parade, Chicago, Jul 10, 1958.

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BeachBook

Former Creative Director For Netflix Puts Water In A Can, Calls It Punk And Raises $1.6 Million In Funding.

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Is Science Broken?

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: A Desilu production.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:23 AM | Permalink

When Donald Trump Pretended He Wanted To Acquire United Airlines, With A Cameo By The Pritzkers

The New York Times has obtained the transcripts of Donald Trump's 1040s from 1985 to 1994, and they only reinforce what those paying attention already know: As a financial whiz and supreme deal-maker, he's a fraud who has spent his life playing with daddy's money and mostly losing. He does, however, have the kind of big mouth and media manipulation skills that news and entertainment outlets have never been able to resist.

To wit:

"The numbers show that in 1985, Mr. Trump reported losses of $46.1 million from his core businesses - largely casinos, hotels and retail space in apartment buildings. They continued to lose money every year, totaling $1.17 billion in losses for the decade.

"In fact, year after year, Mr. Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer, The Times found when it compared his results with detailed information the IRS compiles on an annual sampling of high-income earners. His core business losses in 1990 and 1991 - more than $250 million each year - were more than double those of the nearest taxpayers in the IRS information for those years.

"Over all, Mr. Trump lost so much money that he was able to avoid paying income taxes for eight of the 10 years."

The media's role?

"As with many things Trump, his adventures in the stock market were more image than substance, helped greatly by news reports quoting anonymous sources said to have knowledge of Mr. Trump's actions. An occasional quote from an associate - including his stockbroker, Alan C. Greenberg - helped burnish the myth.

"He has an appetite like a Rocky Mountain vulture," Mr. Greenberg, the legendary chairman of Bear Stearns, told The Wall Street Journal in 1987. "He'd like to own the world."

In his actions, Mr. Trump was more like a peacock.

An early and profitable gambit came in February 1987, when Mr. Trump started buying stock in the company that owned United Airlines. That April, The Times reported that Mr. Trump was "believed to own 4.9 percent" of United and was "believed to have paid" about $50 a share.

Trump takeover speculation set off a rally in the stock. At the end of the month, Mr. Trump quietly sold nearly all his shares. The next day, The Journal reported that Mr. Trump's gamble appeared to have netted him $55 million.

It was a gross exaggeration. New Jersey gaming regulators later determined that he had purchased only 2.3 percent of the company and gained $11 million, before interest and commissions.

In other words, Blue Horseshoe loved United Airlines. But not as much as Blue Horseshoe claimed.

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Intrigued by the involvement of our hometown airlines and the media myth-burnishing, I decided to dive into the archives to see how Trump's fake bid for United was played in the local press. Trump actually didn't appear to be fooling anyone. Let's take a look.

Appearing in the Sun-Times (sometimes the sources were news wires or somesuch):

April 10, 1987:

"The pilots are not the only investors interested in all or parts of UAL. The Pritzker family, associated with the Hyatt hotel chain, is reported to be buying the company's stock, and Donald Trump, a New York real estate developer, already is reported to own 4.9 percent. Other buyers and arbitragers are making a move on the company because it is 'in play' as a takeover possibility.

"Trump told the New York Times that he had called [United CEO Richard] Ferris to advise him that he 'totally disagrees' with the way the company is being run, but did not indicate if he intended to try to buy the corporation.

"Trump said he believes Allegis, the new name to be proposed to stockholders for UAL at the April 30 annual meeting, 'is better suited for the next world-class disease . . . '

"Most analysts believe Trump is interested only in UAL's hotel properties, which the Westin Hotels and Resorts and Hilton International Hotels units of the parent company control."

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May 1, 1987:

"Also yesterday, published reports said developer and casino operator Donald J. Trump sold his 4.9 percent stake of UAL Corp. The New York Times and Wall Street Journal said Trump sold his stake, which exceeded 2.5 million shares, over the past week. Quoting unidentified sources, the Times said Trump made about $80 million. The Journal said he made more than $55 million."

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October 6, 1989:

"Airline takeover fever reached a new high Thursday as American Airlines revealed it received an unsolicited offer of $7 billion, or $120 a share, from Donald Trump . . .

"He tried to buy Bally Manufacturing Co. two years ago, but instead sold back his stock to the company for a profit."

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Dec 11, 1989, the author is John Crudele, ahem:

"If you had to pick one raider that Wall Street doesn't trust, it would be Trump, the New York real estate tycoon.

"Trump has bought some casinos and a shuttle airline, but he's never pulled off a big deal and probably never will. In the middle of what looked to be a legitimate takeover attempt years ago (and I don't remember which one), Trump once chuckled to me that he never really wanted to buy the company anyway.

"What's in his future? Trump will soon be worrying more about his real estate empire if property prices keep coming down in New York. Pretending to want to take over companies won't be as much fun once the wolves are at the door."

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Appearing in the Tribune:

March 26, 1987: "Reports that real estate magnate Donald J. Trump has acquired a large stake in Chicago-based Allegis Corp. sent the airline and travel services company's stock flying high Wednesday.

"Trump may be positioning himself to gain control of Allegis (formerly UAL Inc.) to split up its airline, hotel and rental car businesses. Analysts say the company's units - United Airlines, Hertz Corp., and Westin hotels - are worth much more separately than combined under the Allegis banner.

"Trump's main target may be Allegis' far-flung real estate holdings, primarily concentrated in its worldwide hotel chains.

"Allegis, which soon will add the prestigious Hilton International hotels to its family, is valued at about $3 billion at current market prices.

"Allegis stock shot up $2.62 to close at $62.62 a share Wednesday in heavy trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

"Trump couldn't be reached for comment. It's believed he holds close to 5 percent of Allegis stock, worth about $150 million."

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May 1, 1987: "The New York Times reported Thursday that New York real estate developer Donald Trump sold his almost 5 percent stake in UAL for a profit of about $80 million.

"While Trump could not be reached for comment, Wall Street traders said the reported sale was one of the factors causing UAL's stock to fall. As of mid-day Thursday, UAL's stock was down $2.25, to $66.12, after shedding $1.25 Wednesday.

"The Times said Trump had considered joining the union in its bid for the airline. The paper said Trump decided against that move because he thought it would be difficult to make the company profitable without a battle with its unions."

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May 17, 1987: "The pilots union has hoped that a Trump or a Pritzker would join it in a bid for the entire company, which if successful would give them the airline and their partner the rest of Allegis. Such a bid would rank among the largest in corporate history."

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October 6, 1989: "Donald Trump says he wants to buy the parent of American Airlines for about $7.5 billion, but many investors expect him to bail out with his trading profits without trying to land the nation's largest airline . . .

"The New York billionaire is widely known as a real estate developer and casino operator who plasters his name on everything he owns. His empire includes the Trump Air helicopter service and the Trump Shuttle, which is the Northeastern U.S. airline service he bought this year for $365 million from Eastern Airlines.

"Several arbitragers view Trump as long on ego and short on credibility. They remember being burned before when he declared interest in some companies and later sold out his holdings at a big profit after the stock soared.

"They noted Trump's letter didn't include any financing details, other than his pledge to commit at least $1 billion in equity in the deal.

"Trump wrote in his letter that he has made a 'substantial investment' in AMR, but didn't disclose the size of his stake.

"Susan Heilbron, an executive vice president with New York-based Trump Organization, said Trump hasn't filed the notice required by the Securities and Exchange Commission when an investor holds at least 5 percent of a company."

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As for the Pritzkers, they really crossed swords with Trump a few years later - and it was a doozy.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:50 AM | Permalink

May 7, 2019

Chicagoetry: Two Blues Lyrics

Two Blues Lyrics

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More Than the Blues

I hold my heart in front of my face
Like it's a skull I'm talking to.
I see my sadness take up space
Like it's something brand new.

If this is what is right,
Why's it feel so wrong?!
My heart's a house of fever
Showing movies all night long.

We should be together
But I know I bring you down.
Oh if I had a different face
Or was from a different town.

I won't think about you
If I try hard enough.
My distance is a defense
And my silence is a bluff.

I wish I had more
To give you
Than the blues.

2.

Jets in the Distance

Defy the only witness to the jets in the distance,
You think you'll never know the difference.

A voice in my heart gave witness
To the oncoming "Good-bye!" in the distance.

Well, was it a good offense, the best defense
Or just some random emotional sequence?

I saw her eyes, then I heard the jets.
Thought at first my heart had burst.
I ain't over it yet. Baby, I never knew what hit me.

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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 4:47 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

"[T]ens of thousands of Illinois residents [have] been waiting months for access to health care as the state slogs through a backlog in determining who's eligible for Medicaid," the Sun-Times reports.

"As of March 15, more than 112,000 Illinois Medicaid applications remained unprocessed beyond the 45-day limit the federal government puts on those eligibility determinations."

I'm glad to see this story reported, but if the media cared about the life and death scenarios of society's most vulnerable as much as they occasionally pretend the government should care, this would be reported on daily just like, say, the ongoing union negotiations of a symphony orchestra. Perhaps a mayor might even step in vowing to get it resolved.

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"The federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services has warned state officials that Illinois is out of compliance with regulations on timely determinations of eligibility for the federally funded program to provide health coverage for low-income people and asked how they plan to fix that, records show."

Who will penalized for the state's non-compliance? Will folks be fired? Will meaningful fines ensue? Who will be held responsible, and how?

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"If a case is delayed past the federal time limit, Illinois Medicaid applicants are supposed to be able to get cards granting them temporary medical benefits. But those also are backlogged. The state's Medicaid application-processing delays and failure to issue temporary medical benefits have left some of Illinois' poorest residents without access to health care, in some cases for more than a year."

Let me restate that: Some of Illinois' poorest residences have been left without access to health care, in some cares for more than a year, through no fault of their own. They are suffering while life goes on for everybody else.

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"Illinois provided no temporary medical benefits at all between June 2016 and September 2017, state Department of Human Services records filed in federal court show."

Have people died because of this? I'm thinking people have died. But instead of, say, the drama of the Legionnaire's outbreak at the Quincy Veteran's Home, it's the kind of slow-motion outbreak of deaths occurring every day at the hands of a country (and state) that rations its health care to those who earn it on the merits of accumulating capital, no matter how that capital is acquired and who gets hurt in the process.

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"Jordan Abudayyeh, a spokeswoman for Gov. J.B. Pritzker, said: 'It is unacceptable that people across the state are waiting for healthcare coverage, and he has directed the administration to take immediate steps to address this problem from the previous administration.'"

And how does the governor expect that to happen? Will the governor step in himself, or just dish it off as its been dished off forever while he attends to more important priorities? The issue is so unimportant that he wouldn't speak to a reporter himself?

What if a governor actually put social service issues on top of their agenda? What if a governor came in and said, "We're going to help people first. It's not exciting, and in fact it's bureaucratic drudgery, but we're going to get our social services squared away. After that, I'll consider other issues before is."

That will never happen, because it's not happening to them.

"In a written statement, the heads of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services and the Department of Human Services said: 'Our departments are working together closely to bring on more workers to process applications and redeterminations, as well as training and technical experts to support front-line staff.'"

The written statement was not available to answer questions.

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"According to state data, the Medicaid backlog rose steadily through 2017, reaching a critical point that October, when the state began using a new computer system to process applications, according to Carrie Chapman, director of advocacy for the Legal Council for Health Justice. The new computer system had problems with new applications and so-called redeterminations. In some cases, people who were still eligible were cut off during the yearly renewal process and had to reapply, Chapman said."

This happened to me last July, and again last December.

"She said another factor has been the 'diminished workforce' to deal with the Medicaid backlog. With Illinois facing chronic budget problems, the human services agency lost staff under former Govs. Bruce Rauner and Pat Quinn, which made it harder to deal with the backlog, according to Chapman."

But the backlog was still there. I suspect it always has been.

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As longtime readers may recall, I've been on Medicaid since it was expanded in Illinois and other willing states under the Affordable Care Act to include income criteria alone, apart from having children or a disability. And as longtime readers may recall, it's been royally fucked-up in Illinois since Day One.

I've been up, down and sideways through the Illinois bureaucracy for years in a never-ending battle to obtain, use, maintain and reacquire health care through Medicaid, which by the way is where the federal marketplace sends me if I attempt to just go buy it myself like everyone else - something that is astonishingly unaffordable.

That also means I've had to go without health care for periods of time due to bureaucratic bungling, and I've at times survived only because of a private stash of back-up meds supplied by a doctor's closet of samples. Once on an active plan, there is then the health care company itself to deal with, in addition to the state. It's quite lovely.

Finding a competent Medicaid doctor is the next step. I still haven't advanced to that one, in fact. Looking again now. And so on. And I'm one of the lucky ones - I don't have it nearly as bad as many others, I'm sure, who are in advanced stages of illness or don't speak English or have little skill and experience negotiating bureaucracies. Think Comcast on bureaucratic steroids and you've got Illinois Medicaid.

Am I biased, then, because I have a personal stake in this story? Only in the sense that I have a far deeper insight into the realities of what's been going on for years, and the particular fault lines, than most reporters. After all, reporters bring their own experiences to the job every day - changes in their property taxes, their neighborhoods, the tax that "suddenly" shows up on their pop and the outrage they feel at it. In this case, hundreds of thousands of Illinoisans have been suffering for years not because government is incompetent but because government doesn't care. And by government, I mean the people and politicians of Illinois. Get your hands off of my stack, Jack!

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Also, guess what? I've been covering this stuff since well before I was on Medicaid myself. Let's take a trip through the Beachwood vault for a fuller measure of the problem.

March 30, 2007: "Chief human-resources executive, M. Susan Chambers . . . noted [in a memo] that forty-six per cent of the children of Wal-Mart's million-plus American employees were uninsured or on Medicaid."

A reminder both of just how many recipients are indeed employed, as well as how much the private sector stresses the public sector - and then complains about what they wrought, as if they had nothing to do with it.

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March 19, 2010: Medicaid is a bipartisan failure.

"Obama did, however, incorporate the wackiest notion to come up at the summit into his proposal. When Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) whined and pleaded for sending undercover agents into hospitals to weed out Medicaid fraud, I thought the summit would be deemed a success for the way the president let the nutballs expose themselves. Guess not."

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February 17, 2011: "Quinn said Illinois must achieve 'financial stability' and proposed cutting aid to poor seniors, eliminating a prescription drug discount program and reducing spending on social services like alcohol and substance abuse treatment. He also called for reining in costs of Medicaid programs that cover health care for the poor."

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May 8, 2012: "Sen. Kirk Dillard, R-Hinsdale, has argued for years that much of Illinois' Medicaid problem could be solved by rooting out waste and abuse," AP reports. "He says experts believe 10 percent of Medicaid money is spent improperly, which would amount to nearly $1.5 billion in Illinois. Unfortunately, there's little evidence to support that claim."

There never is - unless you put a dollar figure on how often pols make inflated claims of the amount of waste and abuse in programs such as Medicaid.

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June 20, 2012: "The Quinn administration is gearing up to hire a company to check the eligibility of Medicaid patients, a key part of a plan to cut $1.6 billion a year from the health insurance program for the poor," Crain's reports.

Also, neither the Quinn nor Emanuel administrations are hiring companies to check the eligibility of tax subsidy and TIF recipients. They already know most don't qualify.

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Feb. 25, 2013: "Savings from cuts to the Illinois Medicaid program have fallen short by $464 million, about 30 percent of the expected $1.6 billion in projected savings that Gov. Pat Quinn pushed for last year," AP reported last week.

"In the first public report on how cuts to the health care safety-net program are being carried out, Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Julie Hamos detailed the actual savings of cost-cutting measures so far. Hamos reported to the House Human Services Appropriation Committee on Thursday in Springfield."

Present-day note: She's still around.

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Back to our regularly scheduled archive dive:

"Some cuts have gone as planned, such as dropping Medicaid coverage for thousands of working parents and eliminating coverage of dental care and visits to chiropractors for adults.

"We were able to achieve a billion dollars in health savings and that's never been done in Medicaid history," Hamos told The Associated Press in a telephone interview after giving the report.

Proud!

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April 10, 2014: Medicaid Drowning In Backlog: Illinois One Of The Worst States.

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June 15, 2014: Medicaid Applications Keep Piling Up In Illinois.

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Feb 9, 2015: Me and My Medicaid.

This is a must-read, folks!

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Including this favorite passage:

The redetermination folks, by the way, are a third party - yes, it was outsourced - who don't know what the hell they're doing. A customer rep there insisted to me that expanded Medicaid had nothing to do with Obamacare. After failing to reason with him, I called back and asked to speak to a supervisor. Guess who I was handed to? The same dude!

ME: So now you're a supervisor?

HIM: Yes.

ME: But when I talked to you a few minutes ago, you were just a customer service rep.

HIM: Yes.

ME: So if I had asked you to hand me to a supervisor, you would have handed the phone to yourself?

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He also insisted that one had to be elderly or disabled to qualify for Medicaid. I explained to him that one could qualify by income - and that the Obamacare expansion expanded the range to include more people, like me. He insisted this wasn't true. I read him a paragraph from the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services.

HIM: Where are you reading that from?

ME: The Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services' website.

HIM: Well, anyone can put anything they want on a website.

That's Hall of Fame right there.

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July 17, 2017: Not Just For The Poor: The Crucial Role Of Medicaid In America's Health Care System.

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Thread.

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May 19, 2018: Thousands Illegally Denied Health Coverage In Illinois.

"Attorneys on behalf of thousands of low-income people filed a motion in court on Wednesday to enforce federal law and the State of Illinois' agreement to process Medicaid applications in a timely fashion. The attorneys charge that the State is violating both federal law and an Illinois court order by significantly delaying Medicaid applications and denying residents access to health coverage."

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Thread.

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Thread.

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Yes, let's.

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March 4, 2019: Me And My Medicaid Again.

"I'd think about going to the doctor, but last Wednesday I got a letter from the state informing me that they were taking my Medicaid away two days later, last Friday. Thanks for the warning!

"Didn't I just go through this last July? Yes. Yes I did. I got my Medicaid restored then because it never should have been taken away. But that's what's been happening in Illinois, and elsewhere, for years, and to people in far worse shape than me.

"The funny thing is, my income - which was cited as suddenly being too high to be eligible for Medicaid - has not only not changed since I first qualified for Medicaid under the Obamacare expansion, but it has gone down. Nevertheless, they persist."

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March 11, 2019: It's Almost Like You Have No Experience In Business At All.

"Just got a call from someone at DHS reprocessing my case: 'I've been looking at the case notes for 30 minutes and none of it makes sense.'"

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New on the Beachwood . . .

TrackNotes: Heroic Derby Stewards Resist Trump's American Autocracy
Now do impeachment.

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CHIRP Record Fair Recap
A music collector's paradise.

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ChicagoReddit

Here's a digital painting I just finished centered on one of my favorite Chicago music venues - The Empty Bottle. Music friendly dancing in the year 2??85 from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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Thread.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Meaty.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:55 AM | Permalink

Highlights | CHIRP Record Fair 2019

In its 17th year, CHIRP held its biggest record fair yet, if you judge by the number of tables of vinyl (more than 100). Billed as a "music collector's paradise," the fair featured thousands of crates of vinyl, CDs, DVDs, posters and other memorabilia-type items of the rock variety. Some highlights:

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View this post on Instagram

#chirprecordfair

A post shared by Daniel Margolis (@dhmargol) on

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:19 AM | Permalink

May 6, 2019

TrackNotes: Derby Stewards Show Courage In Trump's Lawless America

You can't say everybody, especially when many people grieve about a wager. But there is wholly too much indignation and victimhood after Saturday's Kentucky Derby.

And, put a lid on it. TwinSpires.com, the wagering division of Churchill Downs Inc., has said it will refund win bets on Maximum Security up to $10. It's a damned cynical gesture to retain newbies in a land where every kid gets a trophy. Haven't these people ever heard about a tough beat?

This race has brought bad things out from a lot of people, including the orange alleged homosapien out east.

So I will tell you now: It was a tremendously great decision, and how would they feel if that horse had caused the massive pileup that he almost did?

The 145th running of the Kentucky Derby (Grade I, three-year-olds, 10 furlongs, 1-1/4 miles, $3,000,000) Saturday at Louisville's Churchill Downs was perfectly fitting for these turbulent times as Maximum Security, who nobody went after, was disqualified after crossing the Churchill wire first, giving Country House, at 64-1, the roses and, possibly, the last race he will ever "win."

After a 23-minute trial ended following an objection, it was the first time a horse has ever been disqualified from a win in the Derby through standard racing means. 1968's Dancers Image was DQ'd many weeks later on what is considered a frame job of having traces of phenylbutazone, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, in his system. Or it might have been because the Kentucky crackers disliked the fact that Dancer's owner, Peter Fuller, was involved personally in the civil rights movement and donated the purse money to Coretta Scott King just days after Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated. How's that, crybabies?

As I mentioned Friday, everybody wants everything as they want it, and nothing less, instantaneously. Maximum Security's ownership is, naturally, threatening legal action. And they're taking a page out of that disgusting playbook, litigating it first in the trades and mainstream media. Lobbing accusations already. You know, it is possible to ban a horse from running if he can't control himself on the track - with the jockey getting caught up in that too.

I'd call Dr. Orange on Pennsylvania Avenue a horse's ass, but that would be an insult to Thoroughbred race horses' asses. Horses get most of their power from their hindquarters. Honorable Hairspray produces his from a bit earlier in the digestive tract.

Actually, the horse's owner, Gary West, should thank his lucky stars that the 20-horse pileup his runner almost caused did not happen. He was a dangerous pinball even back in the far turn, which is where the crime happened.

I never thought these Kentucky stewards would have the guts to make the call. Through experience, something about there will be no negative light on our big race. Whether it will even occur to them, the consequences of 20 bunched-up horses nearly manifested the worst.

The smug conspiracists gleefully Alex Jones'd that the stewards did not start an inquiry. The investigation came only when Country House's jockey, Flavien Prat, filed an objection. Ironically, the stewards ruled that Maximum Security did not interfere with Country House. Although I thought he did. Country House was made the winner. I didn't have him.

Being cynical, or weary, or both, I get the feeling respondents said "nobody can do that to us" and the National Thoroughbred Racing Association poll installed Maximum Security as the top three-year-old. He ran an aberrational gimmick of a race in the Florida Derby and was completely unprofessional Saturday. Trophies, for everyone, although this will also translate into breeding dollars.

I was wrong about the weather, generally. It turned out quite nice on Oaks Friday and the rain held off Saturday until, guess, it started up again just enough to turn the Derby into yet another slopfest.

Maximum Security, Luis Saez aboard, took the lead right away, saving much ground on the rail. As it turned into status quo for this race, I wondered and you couldn't have heard my shouts, why somebody didn't just go after him. Deja vu Florida Derby.

Midway through the final turn, at about 2:06, Maximum' committed his first crime, as subtle as it was. He angled out right and basically stopped most if not all of the momentum of War of Will, Long Range Toddy and Bodexpress.

The ruling was that 'Security impeded them enough to fully compromise their chances of winning. The ruling put Maximum Security behind them.

I get it, they're only three years old, but then, 'Security veered sharply left, nearly putting War of Will into or over the rail. Then, yet again, he, he drifted slightly but surely to his right and caused War of Will and Tyler Gaffalione to check up lest he climb 'Security's rear legs.

Like a courtroom TV show, the longer the stewards looked, the more you hoped they would make the call. Fully aware that races from a $40K claimer to this Derby rarely DQ a horse for anything less than attempted murder.

As for the rest of the weekend, it felt just like going through the motions all over again.

It was nice, I guess, that they visited American Pharoah and Justify, out two recent Triple Crown winners. When the lady asked the barn manager if the two horses get along, he said they don't ever see each other. "They would want to determine who's best."

On Friday, they barely even talked about Kentucky Oaks Day on Kentucky Oaks Day. When Mike Tirico came onboard for the Friday feature, they showed Belichick and then talked about football for at least five minutes. Either the NFL is genius at marketing or they've put screaming voices in my head.

Tim Layden, who keyboards over at Sports Illustrated, a membrane of its former self, did his best imitation of Heywood Hale Broun/Jack Whitaker/Ernest Hemingway, quite badly. He tried to talk about the horse deaths, but not even that repulsive tinkling piano and violin section could save him. He never really said anything other than "horses died." Tim, stroking velvet is not the same as reporting.

Eddie Olczyk is a national treasure. He was up and down on his wagers all weekend and described how to design a bet, which is more important than the betting itself. Eddie and Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey went full locker room putdown. Apparently, Edzo walked onto the track and the rain soaked his suit. Bailey reached under the desk and pulled out a hanger with a tiny toddler jacket and told Eddie he tried to dry it and it didn't go well. Quick as hell, Eddie said "You got props? I got props." And he picks up one of those classic beige church-basement steel folding chairs and says, "Don't worry Jerry, I've got something here for you to stand on. I know you need it." Of course, Bailey had Edzo on the defensive for his wagers. Olczyk loves horse racing and it shows.

We met English jockey Sophie Doyle, who rode Street Band to sixth in the Oaks. She's the sister of very highly accomplished rider James Doyle, and her mother, Jacqueline, was once a trainer. She's won nearly $6 million in purse money since coming to the United States in 2011. Even better, she hangs her tack on a regular basis at both Hawthorne and Arlington.

Admittedly, I don't know why I get so excited and cranked up about the Kentucky Derby every year. It's such a kookie race. It's like the NBA allowing two more starters for both teams in the finals.

But this was one memorable Derby, and I do, for now, feel great the stewards made a good and courageous decision.

But with my luck, after they hold the meeting with vital parties on Thursday, they'll find a way to give everyone a trophy.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:01 PM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers

"As a kid growing up outside of Chicago, James Holzhauer came home from school, turned on the TV and indulged in his two great loves: Cubs baseball games and Jeopardy! episodes, both of which aired in the afternoon," Alyson Footer writes for MLB.com.

"My dad would come home from work and turn the TV off," Holzhauer said, smiling at the memory. "But I had already had my fun."

Most kids are asked at least once in their childhood that standard question: "What do you want to be when you grow up?" Holzhauer had two items on his list: be a contestant on Jeopardy! and work in a Major League Baseball front office.

Needless to say, one-half of that to-do list has been checked off. Could the second be lurking around the corner?

Why yes, it could!

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You'll have to click through for the rest, but as someone who as only vaguely, at best, been following the Holzhauer story, I was surprised to learn that Holzhauer, who grew up in Naperville, is a professional gambler who lives in Las Vegas. And by surprised, I merely mean I did not know that.

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Bee Bested
Here's another thing I learned in recent days: Only the honey bee dies after stinging you. Other bees do just fine - their stingers are constructed differently and are easily extracted from your skin. The honey bee, on the other hand, has a stinger made in such a way that it pulls off and remains in your skin, taking other vital organs with it, when the bee tries to make its getaway. And this only in humans and other mammals with skin like ours.

Oh, honey bee, it's not your fault. Nature just made you that way. The universe is a really fucked-up place and nobody really has any control over themselves, ultimately. It's just a giant unspooling of computer code that eventually ends in unimaginable destruction with no point at all.

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Some Personal News

The first instruction, if you read the comments, was: Someone go get me more water.

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E-mail from me to friends on Friday at 4:09 p.m.:

Well, gentlemen, this may be it. I think I'm dying.

My head is foggy, my stomach is fucked up, my limbs are weary, I have no energy, no focus. It's been a good run. Well, not really. At least I tried.

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E-mail excerpts from me to friends on Saturday at 12:30 p.m.:

[L]ate Friday afternoon, all of a sudden I was just *hit* with something, like *instantly.* I had a fever and chills. Like BOC, I was burnin' up! But also, I had a horrible headache, and of a kind I haven't really had before, but have had tastes of lately ... usually my headaches are your basic blunt headaches, often caused by eye strain. This was a mega version of something I've been feeling lately, where the pain seems to course through the crevasses of my brain. I was literally in tears . . .

I was in so much pain. I really wanted to be dead. I know I've felt that before when sick, a few times, or more like, felt if someone would lop my head off I'd be fine. But this was one of the worst. I was literally in tears, people. I was. At least at the hospital they sedate you, or pump you full of morphine. I actually googled "how do you self-induce a coma?" I did!

[. . . ]

And then I discovered, after what I thought would be a routine trip to the bathroom, that, um, my stomach was also a problem. I mean, my stomach didn't hurt or anything, but ... the stuff that came out of my butt for the next 24 hours screamed, "Your body is not working properly! This disgusting material we've processed for you is the only way we have of warning you, because we don't speak English down here!"

I don't think I slept a single second Friday night, though I don't know for sure. For one thing, my heartbeat was insane. I thought about taking some of the expired Xanax I have, but for reasons I cannot remember, I didn't. I had reasons, I just can't remember what they were. Maybe, "That's just what the government wants me to do." Also, I could not get my mind to stop thinking, "Are you asleep now? Are you falling asleep? How will you ever fall asleep? Stop monitoring if you are asleep!" None of my usual techniques to get past that worked. I went through every permutation of the Cubs lineup, for example, and still wasn't sleeping. I was, however, in an intermediate zone, which can really be worse, because you are maybe partially asleep, though less than half-so, and that just makes you feel shittier . . . I felt like John McCain at the Hanoi Hilton. I truly wondered how he did it.

On Saturday, I was able to sleep a few hours here, a few hours there, and eventually "caught up," though researchers say there really is no such thing as "catching up" on sleep. And my fever had broken, though my stomach was still clearing out its inventory of absolutely disgusting product. Geez, hire more workers down there!

I started to get my strength back, and my headache went from an 11 to a 3. I was finally able to make it to the 7-11 for some Advil; the Walgreens was just too far . . .

I seem to be back to my version of normal. Usually when I get sick like that, it's the start of a horrible virus that leaves me incapacitated and one turn of the wheel from hospitalization. This time it was either a 24-hour bug or, I learned from sources close to Google, food poisoning, which isn't something I would have associated with fever and excruciating head pain, but apparently that's part of the package.

Meanwhile . . .

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Coachella Just The Latest Example Of Everything That Is And Will Always Be Wrong With The Music Industry
It used to be about the music, man.

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Sinclair Forms Right-Wing Sports Broadcast Company
With an assist from the super-unfunny Byron Allen.

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How To Avoid Accidentally Becoming A Russian Agent
For starters, be cautious if a stranger asks you to wear a Santa Claus suit with a mask of Donald Trump's face around your city.

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SportsMonday: Cubs Better At Kicking Than Bears
For starters, bring back Casey Bednarski.

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Chicago Zine Fest Celebrating A Decade Of Showcasing The DIY Spirit Of Self-Publishers
A star-studded extravaganza.

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Angie's List Is A Sham
Study: "Angie's List recommends and gives preferential treatment to these advertisers that can easily mislead consumers into thinking that these businesses are the best ones and should be patronized."

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Playing The Game Right Now
Bat flips and dugout celebrations only go so far. Winning is what keeps bringing us back. In The White Sox Report.

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The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #250: Ryan Pace Is A Draft Disaster
The anti-Belichick can't win at this game. Plus: Cubs Progress To The Mean; White Sox Suddenly Not As Bad As You Think They Are; Sixers-Warriors; The NHL's Deadly Denial; Wrigleyville Literally The Worst; and Dragging The Derby.

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TrackNotes: Dragging The Derby
In the early handicapping, we had all kinds of news: good, bad and part-of-the-game. And once again, a professional and spiritual letdown by humans, a wolf named Wolf and a man named Smith..

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ChicagoReddit

LCoInmnCOoLnn from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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BeachBook

Reading Arendt Is Not Enough.

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Rare Wisconsin Tobacco Farmers Hang On To Tradition.

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Art Institute Of Chicago Aims To Improve Your Connoisseurship Of With 'Great Wave' Exhibit.

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Elizabeth Warren Disqualifies Herself By Being Right About Financial Scandal.

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'I'm The Donald Trump Of Art.'

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Cover me.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:20 PM | Permalink

Coachella Is The Worst

It used to be about the music, man.


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This guy gives Lollapalooza way too much credit, though. Lollapalooza went this route a long time ago. It gave birth to Coachella. Now the student is the master.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:51 PM | Permalink

How To Avoid Accidentally Becoming A Russian Agent

American citizens are unwittingly becoming Russian agents.

That's an unavoidable conclusion of Robert Mueller's report on his investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and an important problem that requires a change in thinking about how people interact on social media.

Old adages like "Don't talk to strangers" don't really apply in a hyperconnected world. A more accurate replacement is perhaps even more worrying, though: "If you talk to strangers online, assume they are spies until proven otherwise."

Facebook estimates that 126 million Americans saw one of more than 3,500 Russian-purchased ads on its site.

Twitter identified nearly 40,000 Russia-linked accounts that issued 1.5 million tweets, which were viewed a total of 288 million times.

As a social media researcher and educator, this shows the scale of people's exposure to state propaganda and the potential to influence public opinion. But that's not the really bad news.

According to the Mueller report, some U.S. citizens even helped Russian government agents organize real-life events, aiding the propaganda campaign, possibly without knowing that's what they were doing.

There's a whole section of the report called "Targeting and Recruitment of U.S. Persons," detailing how Russian agents approached people through direct messages on social media, as part of their efforts to sow discord and division in order to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

Mueller doesn't say why these people let themselves be manipulated into participating. But this Russian victory, the co-opting of Americans against their own democratic processes, happened because the Russian government used old-school influence techniques on new social media platforms. Online predators with harmful agendas often use the same tricks, so learn to protect yourself.

Cooperate Cautiously

Mainly, the Russians exploited what is called the drive to cooperate, an ingrained part of human nature that encourages people to work with others. It's why you stop when you see someone stumble or drop something, or why you hold a door for a person carrying a lot of bags.

This human trait may have been better suited for times when people didn't interact so much online with strangers, but rather a world where people used to interact primarily in real life with family, friends, neighbors, colleagues and classmates.

Now, though, online interactions link people across the world through targeted advertising, specific search results, social media hashtags and corporate algorithms that suggest who else a person should connect with. These connections may seem as strong as in-person ones, but they carry much more risk for exploitation of human kindness and the need for belonging.

Generally speaking, social media accounts aren't verified, which is a means of authenticating that an online account matches the identity of an actual person or organization in real life. Accounts are often anonymous, and it's very easy and common for people to set up fake profiles that look like a real person. It is difficult to know for certain whom you're interacting with or what they actually want out of your connection.

Thankfully, research has shown that people have defense mechanisms to avoid deception, or what platforms have dubbed "inauthentic behavior." Americans being targeted by Russians aren't just sitting ducks - they have innate skills, if they remember to use them.

Reciprocate Thoughtfully

Research on influence and its abuse shows how persuasion works and focuses on principles such as reciprocity - the act of returning favors and things like gifts for mutual benefit. This can be a small gesture, like friends taking turns buying drinks for each other. Online, it could be even smaller: Seeing someone share your post or respond to a comment you made can cause you to want to reply or like the post on their page.

To avoid being duped, check things out before you reciprocate. If you and another person in an online group are interacting in public view - sharing posts and making and liking comments - it's probably fine. But if they then send you a direct message asking for a favor or to run an errand, keep your wits about you. You still have no idea who they are, what they do for work, what their name might be or even what country they live in.

Be especially cautious if they, for instance, ask you to wear a Santa Claus suit and a mask of Donald Trump's face around your city. At least one American did this, according to the Mueller report. Consider Skyping them first, or seeing if they can speak to you without the aid of Google Translate, or if their voice matches the gender they state on their profile.

Join Forces Skeptically

The Russian government also targeted close-knit communities with strong senses of shared identity, which scholars call "oneness." They created online groups and pages that pretended to support and participate in the Black Lives Matter movement and LGBTQ communities.

It's clear that any identity-based online group could prove an easy target, so be careful when joining and affiliating with them, especially if you do not personally know the organizers in real life.

There are so many different situations where influence techniques could exploit aspects of human nature that it's impossible to outline all the potential scenarios.

In his book Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion, psychologist Robert Cialdini offers a general rule to help defend against being swept into an influence campaign: Be on guard if you have a feeling of liking a contact more quickly, or more deeply, than you would have expected. Simply put, trust warnings from your gut if you're starting to notice things are moving really quickly with someone you barely know. That's especially true if this is an online friend, and even more so if the person regularly posts images of identity-based memes (known as memeplexes), like bald eagles (patriotism memeplex), rainbows (LGBT memeplex) or Jesus (Christian memeplex).

jesusmemeplex.jpgAn example of a Russian propaganda ad on Facebook/U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

In an age where governments sow global political instability by exploiting social media and interpersonal trust, it's more important than ever to be skeptical of people you connect with - not only online, but in line at Starbucks.

Jennifer Grygiel is an assistant professor of communications at Syracuse. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:16 PM | Permalink

Angie's List Is A Sham

A new report by the Consumer Federation of America, Angie's List: An Evaluation of Its Usefulness for Consumers, provides a detailed assessment of this online rating service that documents many shortcomings but also explains its potential value to consumers. This report is the first in a series evaluating online services rating local service providers.

Angie's List, founded in 1995, was originally supported mainly by annual consumer subscriptions and prioritized service to these subscribers. Today, while consumers can join for free, Angie's List derives almost all revenue from advertising purchased by some of the local businesses that the online service lists and rates. Angie's List recommends and gives preferential treatment to these advertisers that can easily mislead consumers into thinking that these businesses are the best ones and should be patronized. The report shows that these profiled businesses are often not those rated the most highly by consumers and by a nonprofit rating group.

CFA's report includes the following conclusions about the usefulness of Angie's List:

  • Angie's List is subject to conflicts of interest because it is supported almost entirely by payments from the businesses it evaluates.
  • A large majority of businesses rated on Angie's List are given the same "A" rating, making it difficult for consumers actually to identify the best businesses.
  • A number of businesses with fewer than five consumer reviews, some with only one review, receive an "A" grade.
  • There is circumstantial evidence that some businesses have engineered the submission of fake reviews.
  • Angie's List does not provide reliable information, based on actual price shopping, about which businesses charge the lowest prices.
  • Businesses that advertise on Angie's List have advantages over non-advertisers in listing placements, characterization, and ability to have negative reviews deleted.
  • Only those businesses that pay to advertise on Angie's list are recommended as "top-rated pros."
  • Advertisers are always listed first on those pages listing all businesses providing a specific type of service.
  • Advertisers are given information about consumer users in order to market directly to these consumers, and some of these businesses do so immediately through phone calls and/or emails.

CFA's report suggests that Angie's List can offer value to consumers who are willing to provide their personal information for advertiser marketing and willing to search carefully for useful information on the website.

In using Angie's list, consumers should ignore Angie's List's recommended and profiled companies and, instead, look only at the customer reviews of all A-rated businesses with at least 25 recent reviews, paying closest attention to detailed comments and to negative reviews.

Angie's List should not be the only source of information in selecting a service provider.

"When possible, consumers should rely on nonprofit organizations that evaluate businesses and are not funded by the companies they are evaluating," said Stephen Brobeck, a CFA senior fellow and the report's co-author. "But when these organizations are not available, shoppers can benefit by consulting a variety of information sources, including the detailed consumer comments on Angie's List."

The report emphasizes that, in joining Angie's List, consumers open themselves up to e-mail and phone marketing by Angie's List advertisers, who are not necessarily the best businesses offering a particular service.

To join, consumers must provide personal information including name, phone number, street address, and email address.

Essentially, a consumer trades off their privacy and access to advertisers for their own access to the millions of consumer reviews collected by Angie's List.

"While advertised as free, there is a price consumers pay for joining Angie's List," said Jack Gillis, CFA's executive director and the report's co-author. "Consumers must submit personal information and then expect phone calls and e-mails from advertisers."

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Comments welcome.

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1. From Ben Martin:

Consider the source. Recognize that the CFA is a special interest group bank-rolled by Consumer Reports and other companies that offer "expert" or "editorial" reviews. So I think we can agree that the CFA's report is not without some inherent bias. While expert review companies have their place in The Review Economy, so too do peer-to-peer review sites like Angie's List. Neither approach to reviews is the end-all-be-all, and smart consumers consider both kinds of reviews when making buying decisions.

Ben Martin, CAE
Executive Director
The Review Society
www.ReviewSociety.org
+1.804.658.6147

A mission-driven membership organization dedicated to advancing the science, ethics, and business of customer reviews.

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Reply from the editor:

Hi Ben,

I'd be happy to post this as a comment after I ask a few questions, thanks:

1. What is CFA's "special interest," consumers? Are consumers a "special interest group?" Aren't consumers "everyone?"

2. What is the inherent bias, in favor of consumers? If the result of their research both praises and criticizes products, where is the bias, besides the tested quality of a product and the user experience and truth about claims?

3. How is Angie's List a "peer-to-peer" review site? Plumbers are reviewing plumbers?

4. Do you dispute this?

Angie's List recommends and gives preferential treatment to these advertisers that can easily mislead consumers into thinking that these businesses are the best ones and should be patronized.

How does that help even "smart" consumers who may not be aware of that? How is a site that does that even helpful to consumers?

Thanks,

Steve Rhodes
Editor & Publisher | Beachwood Media

This exchange occurred on May 7. I have not heard back from Ben since.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:55 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Cubs Currently Kicking More Ass Than Bears

Just about everyone on the Cubs' current roster has contributed in some significant way as the team has gone from worst to first in the NL Central the last 30 days.

But can any of them kick a football?

Probably not, and even if any of the Cubs have starred on the gridiron in the past, they would be well-advised to stay away from the draconian goings-on at Halas Hall these days. That was where a missed kick on Sunday turned Redford Jones into the most hated man in Lake Forest. Because he didn't convert a field goal attempt from 48 yards out, all of the camp participants who played offense had to do 25 up-downs.

Casey Bednarski, representing the defense, made his 48-yarder. But despite what appeared to be a great showing, he wasn't offered a contract. Maybe Matt Nagy thinks his backflips are too much of a "me thing." Dude, just think of it like a bat flip!

None of the other non-contracted kickers brought in for tryouts were retained either, nor were two of four kickers who actually already had contracts. So as we head into this week, the Bears have two kickers, Chris Blewitt and Elliott Fry, under contract. One might ask: What was that all about?

And that will be the last sentence I will write about placekicking for a good long time. Did I mention the Cubs are on fire? They improved to 19-12 on Sunday with a 13-5 victory to cap of a sweep of the Cardinals (20-14). The Brewers (20-16) are third.

It must be noted that the Cubs are playing well and they have also had a sizable helping of good fortune. Kyle Hendricks may have had great stuff during the Cubs' 4-0 victory on Friday, which he navigated completely while throwing only 81 pitches, but the pitcher who only struck out three acknowledged that he benefitted from a number of hard-hit outs.

On Saturday, Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha seemed to have things well in hand as he prepared to pitch to Cubs back-up catcher Taylor Davis in the fifth inning with a 5-1 lead. The bases were loaded but Davis, who is on the roster due to accomplished back-up Victor Caratini's injury, is a long, long shot to ever bat even .200 in the bigs. So of course he blasted a grand slam on the first pitch.

Not only was it Davis' first major league home run, it was his first hit of the season. And it gave him a .125 batting average heading into Monday.

The Cubs just dominated on Sunday, especially after Jose Quintana extracted himself from a sixth-inning jam. He gave up two runs but enabled the Cubs to hold onto a 3-2 lead. This is the Quintana the Cubs gave up Eloy Jimenez for.

Meanawhile, the red-hot Anthony Rizzo launched a two-run double in the bottom of the inning to stretch the lead back out to three and the Cubs were on their way again.

Two players in vastly different parts of their career arc have taken their games to the next level: Javy "El Mago" Baez and Jason "Not As Much Mago" Heyward, who has just had his best five weeks of hitting as a Cub.

But the star of stars on this team is Willson Contreras. He pumped up his OBPS to a stratospheric 1.110 on Sunday, opening the scoring with a towering opposite field home run, and he continues to defend the basepaths with this throwing ability.

He is the best catcher in baseball right now, by a lot.

Next up are the Marlins, who begin a four-game set at Wrigley on Monday night, weather permitting.

Can any of them kick?

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Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:35 AM | Permalink

Chicago Zine Fest Celebrates A Decade Of Showcasing The DIY Spirit Of Self-Publishers

On May 16-18, Chicago Zine Fest (CZF) will present its 10th annual celebration of independent publishers from the Chicago area and across the nation. With more than 250 exhibitors and 3,000 visitors expected to attend our three days of events this year, CZF is proud to be one of the largest zine fests in the United States.

Highlights of our 2019 festival include kickoff events at DePaul University on Thursday, May 16, readings by zinemakers and a zine-centric live game show on Friday, May 17, and an exhibition day featuring hundreds of exhibitors, interactive workshops, panel discussions, and more on Saturday, May 18, followed by an official afterparty. We're excited to welcome back many of our founding organizers and other friends of the fest as special guests this year.

CZF 2019 Poster by Neil Brideau.jpg

CZF 2019 gets rolling on the evening of Thursday, May 16 on the campus of DePaul University with a panel discussion about Zines + Social Justice and a visit to the zine archives and the Voices of Protest/Voces de Protesta exhibit at DePaul University Special Collection and Archives.

The panel will feature Anthony Rayson of South Chicago ABC Zine Distro, who has distributed free zines for and by people experiencing incarceration for 20 years, along with Casey Goonan of True Leap Press, Daisy Yessenia Zamora Centeno of Brown and Proud Press, Jonathan Valelly of Broken Pencil magazine, LizMarie Palomo of Xicx Zine Collective, and Vicki White of Chicago Books to Women in Prison.

The visit to the archives and exhibit will be held at 6 p.m. - 7 p.m. at DePaul University's John T. Richardson Library, Room 314, 2350 N. Kenmore Ave. in Lincoln Park. The panel discussion begins at 7 p.m. at the adjacent Levan Center, 2322 N. Kenmore Ave., Room 100.

Our annual Exhibitor Reading will be held at 6-8 p.m. Friday, May 17 at Quimby's Bookstore, 1854 W. North Ave. in Wicker Park. Zine creators exhibiting at this year's festival will share stories and comics as entertaining as they are moving. Following the reading, veteran zinemakers will test their knowledge as contestants on our live game show, Zine Jeopardy, which starts at 9 p.m. at Cards Against Humanity Theater, 1551 W. Homer St. in Bucktown.

The festival continues at 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, May 18 with our Exhibition Day featuring more than 250 self-publishers at Plumbers Union Hall, 1340 W. Washington Blvd. in the West Loop. Attendees will have the opportunity to buy and trade zines and comics made by exhibitors from Chicago and around the country.

CZF 2018 Exhibition Day by C E Hanifin.jpg

This year, CZF continues to expand its offerings for the next generation of zine creators. Our Exhibition Day, young zinemakers from all over the city will have the opportunity to meet each other and share their work. All entries to our 2019 Teen Poster Contest with Chicago Public Schools will be on display at the event, and the winner of the contest, Ri Davenport of Advanced Arts at Gallery 37, will be exhibiting his work. Youth organizations represented at the festival include 826CHI, YouMedia, Advanced Arts at Gallery 37, Pathways in Education-Ashburn, Hitch Elementary School, and more. Youth-friendly workshops and hands-on activities will be held throughout the day.

CZF offers the community ways to engage and learn through a selection of panels and workshops held during the festival. This year's offerings include Exploring Darkness, a panel discussion featuring women and non-binary people of color who create art related to horror, goth, and the occult, which will be moderated by artist, musician, and radical educator Anna Vo of Portland, Ore.; a panel discussion about trans voices and allyship; a hands-on bookbinding workshop by Beth Hetland of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago; and a roundtable discussion of zinemakers' first creations hosted by CHIPRC's Zine Club, a monthly book club-style event for people who read zines.

There also will be hands-on activities for all ages provided by Ag47 Collective, Spudnik Press Cooperative, and The WasteShed. There will be a photo booth by GlitterGuts, a hair styling station by Haircuts 4 Change, food trucks, a bake sale, and more! Also onsite will be the Read/Write Library's BiblioTreka mobile bike library, and Chicago Books to Women in Prison will be accepting book donations.

The fest wraps up with the CZF 2019 Official Afterparty featuring Shameless Karaoke with Joe and Liz Mason. The party gets started at 8 p.m. Saturday, May 18 at the Emporium Logan Square Pop-Up Space, 2367 N. Milwaukee Ave. This event is 21 and older.

Sponsors of the 2019 festival include Quimby's Bookstore, DePaul University Special Collection and Archives, The University of Chicago Library, Perfectly Acceptable Press, Broken Pencil Magazine, Cards Against Humanity, Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce, Field Notes, and Threadless. The CZF 2019 artwork was created by one of Chicago Zine Fest's founding organizers, Neil Brideau.

All CZF 2019 events are free and open to the public. Visit chicagozinefest.org for more information.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:59 AM | Permalink

Playing The Game Right Now

I care not a bit what American League Player of the Month Tim Anderson does with his bat after he hits a home run. The direction, height and speed of said missile doesn't interest me in the least. I do experience a jolt of optimism and euphoria when the ball settles into the outfield seats, but any added appreciation for a drive that lands in the last row, as opposed to the first, is lost on me. Regardless of distance, Tim's homers are good for one run, no more, no less. And the time the ball takes to reach those seats is irrelevant as far as I'm concerned.

Tim keeps telling us that he plays for fun and that he's not going to change. Go by most any park in this city in mid-July, and you'll find all kinds of kids playing the game for the very same reason. You're not alone, Tim. Sorry, pal, you're not unique in that regard.

Major League Baseball continues to combat its inferiority complex with its current public relations movement aimed at making the game more attractive to kids and millennials. It's cool and encouraged for guys like Bryce Harper, Anderson and others to celebrate home runs and other hair-raising feats. MLB is doing its damnedest to shed its "old school" image, illustrated recently when the Royals took issue with Anderson's bat flip by throwing at and hitting him in the butt with the first pitch of his next at-bat.

"Playing the game right" now includes fancy fist bumps and pumps, bullpen dancing, rehearsed dugout celebrations, shimmying and hair flips. "Let the Kids Play" is the newest mantra. Apparently the Royals didn't get the memo.

All of this silliness, of course, is in response to the slow pace of the game, the disparity between the elites and the rebuilders, and decreasing attendance and TV ratings. How's the reboot working out? Apparently not very well.

ESPN and Yahoo Sports pounced last week on the near-empty ballparks in Kansas City and at Guaranteed Rate Field where doubleheaders were played on Wednesday after rainouts of regularly-scheduled games the day before. Predictably, both ballparks were near empty when the first pitches of the first games in mid-afternoon were thrown. Despite the fact that these were make-up games, the optic was pathetic, giving the media motivation to note that attendance is down once again with a fifth of the season now behind us.

Empty Grate.jpgEmpty Grate

However, gloom and doom don't pervade every place on the map. Teams like the Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals, Phillies and Yankees are doing just fine. You notice anything those four clubs have in common? Yes, they all are winners. They, and other frontrunners, do just fine at the gate because winning provides the good times and fun that put people in the seats.

Despite the meager turnout last Wednesday, the White Sox, who are improved this season, just drew more than 66,000 fans for two weekend games against the Red Sox, boosting their attendance 13 percent compared to their first 18 homes dates last season. However, that fact so far has gone unreported.

Beginning with the championship season of 2005, the White Sox drew more than two million fans for seven consecutive seasons. In 2006 when they qualified for the post-season, almost three million of the faithful filed through the turnstiles. Bat flips and exit velocities hadn't been invented, but fans arrived in droves because they entered the park with expectations of watching the White Sox win.

For fun we had Game 2 of the '05 World Series when Konerko's grand slam put the Sox ahead before Scotty Pods' walk-off homer put the boys up two games to none.

Or how about a week or so prior in Boston when El Duque entered the third game of the ALDS with the bases loaded and no one out? After two infield pop-ups, he got Johnny Damon to strike out on a nasty pitch in the dirt to preserve the White Sox' one-run lead. On that unseasonably warm October evening, my compadre Tom, who had been sitting nervously on the sofa beside me, leaped up when Damon whiffed, threw his arms into the air, and made solid contact with the ceiling fan, which was in full operation. Luckily no broken bones resulted. In today's parlance, he was on the IL with a contusion, but even a broken hand wouldn't have interfered with the joy and fun. To this day, if the two of us are having lunch in an establishment with a ceiling fan, all I have to do is point to it, and he knows exactly to what I am referring.

It's these kinds of stories that make the game attractive and compelling. In today's game, home runs account for almost half the runs scored, and highlights are filled with long blasts replete with exit velocities and distances and a host of other statistical trivia, thrown at us like a hailstorm.

Where is the romanticism? Baseball clearly is a statistically-oriented endeavor, especially when comparing different eras of the game. However, there are limits. Let the bean counters in the inner sanctums of club offices mull over spin rates, weighted runs created plus (wRC+), isolated power (ISO), and Total Zone with Location Data (TZL).

Our memories are legends like El Duque. After his masterful performance 14 years ago, teammate Aaron Rowand said, "Normal people don't do that" - a far better description than any number.

Years ago when the Sox played at Comiskey Park, there were "roof shots," balls hit by people like Greg Luzinski and Ron Kittle that landed upon or over the left field roof of the double-decked stadium. Fans didn't know or care how far the ball actually traveled. "Roof shot" said it all. Regrettably today the term refers to entertainment in apartment buildings as in, "Hey, youse guys wanna come over and hang out on the roof for some shots and beers?"

You can be excused for thinking, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, just another guy extolling how things were better in the old days." But consider the two walk-off victories last week for the present edition of the White Sox. On Wednesday in the second game of the doubleheader with the Orioles, Yonder Alonso's opposite field two-out single scored two runs, turning a one-run deficit into a 7-6 Sox win. The hit came around 11 p.m., and there were about the same number of observers in the park as there were when the teams started play eight hours earlier.

Then the next night, things appeared bleak for the South Siders against the defending champion Red Sox. That is, until Nicky Delmonico surprised even himself by stroking a three-run shot to right center in the bottom of the ninth inning that just cleared the fence and the glove of Jackie Bradley Jr. I may have missed it, but I don't think the exit velocity or distance was emphasized. Nicky's hit accounted for three runs, the same as it would have if his drive had landed in Kankakee.

However, the fun was short-lived as the Bosox slammed the local Sox the next three games, outscoring the South Siders 30-5. Former White Sox ace Chris Sale silenced Ricky Renteria's boys 6-1 on Friday before an embarrassing nine-run third inning doomed Ricky's guys 15-2 on Saturday. A horrendous seven-run, eighth-inning outburst on Sunday in which the White Sox contributed two errors sank the South Siders 9-2.

Meanwhile, Tim Anderson doesn't appear to be having nearly as much fun as he was the first month of the season. In his last seven games, Anderson has four hits in 28 at-bats, dropping his average from .402 to .333.

After 32 games, the Sox are 14-18. A year ago they were 9-23 so we must be having more fun than this time a year ago. Patience is a lovely commodity with these rebuilding projects, but sooner or later there is no substitute for winning. Bat flips and dugout celebrations only go so far. Winning is what keeps bringing us back.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:28 AM | Permalink

Sinclair Broadcast Group To Acquire 21 Regional Sports Networks From Disney At A Valuation Of $10.6 Billion

Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: SBGI) ("Sinclair" or the "Company") and The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) ("Disney") announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Sinclair will acquire the equity interests in 21 Regional Sports Networks (the "RSNs") and Fox College Sports, which were acquired by Disney in its acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc. ("21st Century Fox").

The transaction ascribes a total enterprise value to the RSNs equal to $10.6 billion, reflecting a purchase price of $9.6 billion, after adjusting for minority equity interests. Completion of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the approval of the U.S. Department of Justice.

The RSN portfolio, which excludes the YES Network, is the largest collection of RSNs in the marketplace today, with an extensive footprint that includes exclusive local rights to 42 professional teams consisting of 14 Major League Baseball (MLB) teams, 16 National Basketball Association (NBA) teams, and 12 National Hockey League (NHL) teams. In calendar year 2018, the RSN portfolio delivered a combined $3.8 billion in revenue across 74 million subscribers.

The RSNs will be acquired via a newly formed indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Sinclair, Diamond Sports Group LLC ("Diamond"). Byron Allen has agreed to become an equity and content partner in a newly formed indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Sinclair and an indirect parent of Diamond ("RSN Holding Company"). Mr. Allen, who bought The Weather Channel in 2018, is the Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer of Entertainment Studios, a global media, content and technology company.

Sinclair's existing sports business consists of Marquee Sports Network (a recently announced joint venture with the iconic Chicago Cubs), Tennis Channel and Tennis Media Company (dedicated to live tennis events and tennis lifestyle), Stadium (a joint venture focused on college sports and professional highlights), Ring of Honor Wrestling (professional wrestling), and robust high school sports programming (with Friday Night Rivals and Thursday Night Lights).

"This is a very exciting transaction for Sinclair to be able to acquire highly complementary assets," commented Chris Ripley, President and CEO of Sinclair. "While consumer viewing habits have shifted, the tradition of watching live sports and news remains ingrained in our culture. As one of the largest local news producers in the country and an experienced producer of sports content, we are ideally positioned to transfer our skills to deliver and expand our focus on greater premium sports programming."

Mr. Ripley continued, "The transaction is expected to be highly accretive to free cash flow and brings consolidated net leverage to 4.7x and 5.1x through the preferred financing. This acquisition is an extraordinary opportunity to diversify Sinclair's content sources and revenue streams with high-quality assets that are driving live viewing. We also see this as an opportunity to realize cross-promotional collaboration, and synergistic benefits related to programming and production."

"We are pleased to have reached this agreement with Sinclair for the sale of these 21 RSNs, subject to the conditions of the consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice," said Christine McCarthy, Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, The Walt Disney Company.

Last year, Disney and 21st Century Fox entered into a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice that allowed Disney's acquisition of 21st Century Fox to proceed while requiring the subsequent sale of the RSNs. Sinclair's purchase does not include 21st Century Fox's equity interest in the YES Network, the disposition of which is also required as part of the consent decree. Disney completed its $71 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox in March.

The RSNs to be acquired by Sinclair are: Fox Sports Arizona, Fox Sports Detroit, Fox Sports Florida, Fox Sports Sun, Fox Sports North, Fox Sports Wisconsin, Fox Sports Ohio, SportsTime Ohio, Fox Sports South, Fox Sports Carolina, Fox Sports Tennessee, Fox Sports Southeast, Fox Sports Southwest, Fox Sports Oklahoma, Fox Sports New Orleans, Fox Sports Midwest, Fox Sports Kansas City, Fox Sports Indiana, Fox Sports San Diego, Fox Sports West, and Prime Ticket. Also included in the acquisition is Fox College Sports.

Sinclair expects to capitalize Diamond with $1.4 billion in cash equity, comprised of a combination of approximately $0.7 billion of cash on hand and a contribution of $0.7 billion in the form of new fully committed debt at Sinclair Television Group, Inc. In addition, the purchase price will be funded with $1.0 billion of fully committed privately-placed preferred equity of a newly-formed indirect wholly-owned subsidiary of Sinclair and direct parent of RSN Holding Company. The remainder of the purchase price is being funded by $8.2 billion of fully committed secured and unsecured debt incurred by Diamond. The transaction will be treated as an asset sale for tax purposes, with Sinclair receiving a full step-up in basis.

The transaction has been unanimously approved by the Board of Directors of both Sinclair and Disney.

Advisors: Guggenheim Securities, LLC, Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., RBC Capital Markets, Pursuit Advisors, and Moelis & Company are acting as Sinclair's financial advisors. Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson LLP, Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP, Latham & Watkins LLP and Thomas & Libowitz P.A. are acting as legal advisors to Sinclair in connection with this transaction.

Allen & Company LLC and J.P. Morgan are acting as Disney's financial advisors. Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and Covington & Burling LLP are acting as legal advisors to Disney in connection with this transaction.

Financing: JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., Deutsche Bank AG New York Branch, Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., Royal Bank of Canada, and Bank of America N.A. and Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Smith Inc. are providing committed debt financing. Committed preferred equity financing will be provided by JPMorgan Chase Funding, Inc.

Investor Call:The senior management of Sinclair intends to hold a conference call to discuss the RSN acquisition on May 6, 2019 at 9:00 a.m. ET. The call will be webcast live and a slide presentation will be available during the call and can be accessed at www.sbgi.net under "Investors/Webcasts." After the call, an audio replay will remain available at www.sbgi.net. The press and the public will be welcome on the call in a listen-only mode. The dial-in number is (844) 602-0380.

About Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.: Sinclair is one of the largest and most diversified television broadcasting companies in the country. The Company owns, operates and/or provides services to 191 television stations in 89 markets. Sinclair is a leading local news provider in the country and is dedicated to impactful journalism with a local focus. The Company has multiple national networks, live local sports production, as well as stations affiliated with all the major networks. Sinclair's content is delivered via multiple-platforms, including over-the-air, multi-channel video program distributors, and digital platforms. The Company regularly uses its website as a key source of Company information which can be accessed at www.sbgi.net.

About The Walt Disney Company: The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries, is a diversified worldwide entertainment company with operations in four business segments: Media Networks; Studio Entertainment; Parks, Experiences and Products; and Direct-to-Consumer and International. Disney is a Dow 30 company and had annual revenues of $59.4 billion in its Fiscal Year 2018.

About Entertainment Studios/Allen Media: Chairman and CEO Byron Allen founded Entertainment Studios, one of the largest independent media companies, in 1993. The Entertainment Studios portfolio includes nine television networks serving nearly 150 million subscribers: THE WEATHER CHANNEL, THE WEATHER CHANNEL EN ESPAÑOL, PETS.TV, COMEDY.TV, RECIPE.TV, CARS.TV, ES.TV, MYDESTINATION.TV, and JUSTICE CENTRAL.TV, as well as the LOCAL NOW streaming service. The company also owns Entertainment Studios Motion Pictures - one of the world's leading independent movie finance and theatrical distribution companies.

Forward-Looking Statements: Certain statements and information in this communication may be deemed to be "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the Federal Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements may include, but are not limited to, statements relating to Disney's and Sinclair's objectives, plans and strategies, and all statements (other than statements of historical facts) that address activities, events or developments that Disney and Sinclair intend, expect, project, believe or anticipate will or may occur in the future. These statements are often characterized by terminology such as "believe," "hope," "may," "anticipate," "should," "intend," "plan," "will," "expect," "estimate," "project," "positioned," "strategy" and similar expressions, and are based on assumptions and assessments made by Disney and Sinclair's management in light of their experience and their perception of historical trends, current conditions, expected future developments, and other factors they believe to be appropriate. Any forward-looking statements in this communication are made as of the date hereof, and Disney and Sinclair undertake no duty to update or revise any such statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance. Whether actual results will conform to expectations and predictions is subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties, including: general economic, market, or business conditions; risks associated with the ability to consummate the RSN acquisition and the timing of the closing thereof; the risk that a regulatory approval that may be required for the proposed transaction is delayed, is not obtained or is obtained subject to conditions that are not anticipated; pricing fluctuations in local and national advertising; future regulatory actions and conditions in the television stations' operating areas; competition from others in the broadcast television markets; volatility in programming costs; the ability to successfully integrate the RSN operations and employees; the ability to realize anticipated benefits of the RSN acquisition; the potential impact of announcement of the RSN acquisition or consummation of the transaction on relationships, including with employees, customers and competitors; and other circumstances beyond Disney's and Sinclair's control. Refer to the section entitled "Risk Factors" in Disney's, 21st Century Fox's and Sinclair's annual and quarterly reports filed with the SEC for a discussion of important factors that could cause actual results, developments and business decisions to differ materially from forward-looking statements.

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Previously in Sinclair:
* Item: Former Trump Aide Joins Sinclair.

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

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

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

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

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

* Tribune's Disastrous Sale To Sinclair.

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

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

* Sinclair's Flippant FCC Ruling.

* FCC Presses Sinclair For Answers On Tribune Merger.

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

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

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

* Local TV News Is About To Get Even Worse.

* Trump's Secret Weapon Against A Free Press.

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

* Trump FCC Opens Corporate Media Merger Floodgates.

* FCC Wraps New Gift For Sinclair.

* FCC Inspector General Investigating Sinclair Rulings.

* Behind Sinclair's 'Project Baltimore.'

* Don't Be Fooled By Sinclair's Shell Games.

* Free Press Sues The FCC For Dramatic Reversal Of Media Ownership Limits That Pave Way For Media Mergers.

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

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

* The Sinclair Sham.

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

* Surprise FCC Move Maims Sinclair-Tribune Merger.

* Sinclair Makes Last Ditch Effort To Salvage Tribune Merger. Will FCC Bite?

* Sinclair-Tribune Deal On Life Support.

* Sinclair-Tribune Deal Is Dead.

* Tribune Media Lawsuit: Belligerent Sinclair Blew A Sure Thing.

* Tribune Executives Will Get Bonuses After Sinclair Deal Collapses.

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See also:

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

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

* Sinclair's New Media-Bashing Promos Rankle Local Anchors.

* Sinclair's Latest "Must-Run" Segment Defends Tear-Gassing Refugees.

* Nexstar-Tribune Deal Is Bad News For Communities And Local Media.

* Dear FCC: Further Weakening Media-Ownership Limits Isn't The Answer.

* Free Press To FCC: Revoke Sinclair's Licenses If They Lied To You.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:50 AM | Permalink

May 3, 2019

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #250: Ryan Pace Is A Draft Disaster

The anti-Belichick can't win at this game. Plus: Cubs Progress To The Mean; White Sox Suddenly Not As Bad As You Think They Are; Sixers-Warriors; The NHL's Deadly Denial; Wrigleyville Literally The Worst; and Dragging The Derby.


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SHOW NOTES

* 250.

:50: Bill Barr's Bears Draft.

* Setting narratives that confuse the issues.

* Future U.S. Senator Casey Bednarski:

* Media props.

* 538: No Team Can Beat The Draft.

* Vox: How NFL Teams Ignore Basic Economics And Draft Players Irrationally.

* NBC Sports: Bill Belichick: Every Team Uses The Same Draft Chart.

* Ryan Pace Is Not Some Kind Of 4th-Round Guru, People!

* "Conviction" Is Not A Virtue!

* Morrissey: David Montgomery Fills The Hype Vacuum For Bears' Draft.

* You can't teach speed!

* What a three-down back means in a Matt Nagy offense.

* Old enough to remember when Jordan Howard was considered Pace's best draft pick ever!

* David Montgomery Sears.

* Riley Boo Ridley.

* Riley Wrong-Way Ridley.

* The Bizarro Kevin White.

* JP Morgan Chase Daniel Jones Day.

* Duke Pete Shelley.

* Let's Get Real With College Athletes About Their Chances Of Going Pro.

44:25: Cubs Progress To The Mean.

* Coffman: Hossa > Lester.

* El Mago.

* FanGraphs: Jason Heyward's Surprising New Strategy For Success Will Shock You.

* P.S.: Addison Russell.

59:09: The White Sox Suddenly Not As Bad As You Think They Are.

* Coffman/Keuchel 2020!

1:06:41: Sixers-Warriors.

1:07:24: The NHL's Deadly Denial.

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Postscript:

* 911 Call Data Confirms Wrigleyville Is A Terrible Place To Be During Cubs Games.

* TrackNotes: Dragging The Derby.

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STOPPAGE: 10:23

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:45 PM | Permalink

TrackNotes: Dragging The Derby

Just like I can't separate an egg, it's the same with sports.

When strikeouts outnumber hits and two-dollar hitters are appreciated, it's not baseball. When a touchdown catch becomes a Zapruder exam, it's not football. And it's pop-a-shot, not basketball.

There's corollary with Thoroughbred horse racing, even though 20 jockeys each straddling a nearly three-quarter ton critical mass of power and speed has really never changed and it demonstrates much more simplicity. The lords of racing are the real drag.

On the eve of the 145th Kentucky Derby, we can't separate the races from the reality that the game faces a defining moment of its five-century existence, potentially staring down its very mortality. It almost happened early in the 20th century when teetotalers and puritanical ideologues nearly shut down racing. Only the development of parimutuel wagering and governments' thirst for tax money brought racing back.

In 2019, this age of laser-fast, tidal wave demand by people who want EVERYTHING they want and want it immediately, the deaths of 23 horses through the first quarter of the year has unleashed a torrent of the all-or-nothing outlawing of racing demanded from people ranging from I-never-knew-but-now-I-hate-horse-racing to I-always-knew-and-have-always-hated-horse-racing and everyone in between.

Just days ago, I was fully jazzed, in the racing sense, for this Derby and Kentucky Oaks weekend, with a Derby field brimming with legitimate depth if not identifiable greatness. Like a jock checking his ride on the far turn, the full state of the game re-entered the conversation, reminding those who care that it's all always there. Much like a tennis match. We can see the entire court, but this week, the races hold serve. Next week, I promise, the other side of racing will have TrackNotes advantage.

In the early handicapping, we had all kinds of news: good, bad and part-of-the-game. And once again, a professional and spiritual letdown by humans, a wolf named Wolf and a man named Smith.

In an evenly matched field, Omaha Beach, the impressive Arkansas Derby winner and son of War Front, was installed the 4-1 favorite and drew a good post in the 12-hole. Just Wednesday evening, 'Beach was scratched from the big race with an entrapped epiglottis, an inflammation of tissues in the back of the throat that obstructs breathing passages and affects swallowing mechanisms. He underwent a minor procedure Friday morning. He'll be back.

Chilling without a gig, 'Beach was downright flirting with NBC's Britney Eurton as she interviewed a clearly shaken Richard Mandella.

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These things happen, and this scratch is not as big as that of I'll Have Another scratched out of the third jewel of his Triple Crown miss.

Good news is that automaton announcers, Aaron Rodgers and all the ladies with hats will be truly baffled and not have the chance to bet Omaha' into oblivion. And the rest of the tote board should be fair and attractive.

One downer will be the weather. Coming off the wettest Derby in history last year, there will be lots of rain both days. The track will be off all weekend. The turf course will be problematic.

So let's ring the bell on this Kentucky Derby (Grade I, three-year-olds10 furlongs, 1-1/4 miles, $3,000,000). Morning line odds are adjusted for the scratch and taken off the TV screen because Churchill Downs is already too busy counting its filthy lucre to update its website.

1. War of Will. (Morning line: 15-1; Jockey: Tyler Gaffalione; Trainer: Mark Casse; Record: 8-3-1-1)

With pedigree more suited for the turf, this one is a Derby eligibility points accumulator with wins in the prep pyramid of the LeComte and Risen Star, and then a bomb out ninth in the Louisiana Derby, all at Fair Grounds in New Orleans. Daily Racing Form is reporting that War of Will may have caught himself (kicked his own front leg with his back hoof). I dunno. His prep winning Beyer Speed figures were flat and I question the company he's kept. He's also in the dreaded one-hole. But his workout tab has been solid and he's won in the slop at Churchill Downs. I liked him once, but he'll have to go against the grain of his racing cycles so far to win.

2. Tax. (20-1, Junior Alvarado, Danny Gargan, 5-2-2-1)

Tax took the Big Apple route with a win in the Grade III Withers and sandwiched second in the Wood Memorial with Saturday gate mates Tacitus and Haikal. His Beyers have been firmly in the mid-90s, decent enough. He should have no problem with the distance and has in fact already run three races at nine furlongs already. This horse was once claimed for $50,000. Funny Cide was the last Wood graduate to win the Derby, in 2003. With the two-post, lots of questions here.

3. By My Standards. (15-1, Gabriel Saez, Bret Calhoun, 5-2-2-1)

I railed against this horse after he won the Louisiana Derby less than a length over Derby runner Spinoff and my pick, Sueno, which could constitute good company. After slogging through four maiden races, his Beyer jumped 11 points to a very respectable 97 at Fair Grounds. He's not bred for this distance and might not be able to dodge traffic. But he's dangerous because some, including Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey, say the light bulb popped on before and during the gumbo derby. I'd be anxious if his odds drop, but that's why we watch the tote.

4. Gray Magician. (50-1, Drayden Van Dyke, Peter Miller, 8-1-3-2)

Why is he even here? Because he finished second to Plus Que Parfait in the UAE Derby in late March. No distance breeding and no Derby winning.

5. Improbable. (5-1, Irad Ortiz, Bob Baffert, 5-3-2-0)

Baffert won the Triple Crown last year and has three Derby entries Saturday. After acting up in the gate, he finished a good second to Omaha Beach in the Arkansas Derby. Along with inattentiveness in the Rebel Stakes, where he got caught from behind, he's carrying a label of "green." His Beyers are as solid as can be, with a 99 in his last. Out of City Zip, he won't be known for distance. With so many horses in this race, he'll have a lot going on all around him and will be left behind if he doesn't grow up and act the professional. This isn't Oaklawn, where he didn't win anyway.

6. Vekoma. (15-1, Javier Castellano, George Weaver, 4-3-0-1)

This one's got a real chance, but he'll have to stay on the improve. He's run against a few of these, including Win Win Win and Code of Honor. He woke up too late in the Fountain of Youth, but the jockey change to Castellano paid off in the Blue Grass Stakes, where he won by almost four, although some have questioned that race's quality. He should be able to keep them close and would benefit from even a minor pace breakdown. At least include in the exotics.

7. Maximum Security. (8-1, Luis Saez, Jason Servis, 4-4-0-0)

The paper shows two triple Beyers, best in the field, and open lengths in all four races/wins. The Florida Derby was really weird as he popped out to the lead, put all the others to sleep on a slow pace, and wired the field, like the only kid on the merry-go-round. Now, he's in a real horse race. His odds will intrigue, even if they lock in at 8-1 all the way to post time.

8. Tacitus. (8-1, Jose Ortiz, Bill Mott, 4-3-0-0)

His odds will fall, based on big Beyer jump-ups in Tampa Bay Derby and Wood Memorial wins. A decent improvement from 97 in the Wood would be plenty. You must include this son of Tapit, out of Close Hatches (First Defence). Anything 6-1 or better tantalizes.

9. Plus Que Parfait. (30-1, Ricardo Santana Jr., Brendan Walsh, 7-2-1-2)

So this one is stinkin' it up, bouncin' around south of the Ohio River. Then he goes to Meydan and wins the UAE Derby and an automatic bid to Saturday. But what's that? He was necked out of the win in the Grade II Kentucky Jockey Club at two in November in the slop. At Churchill. For his top Beyer of 84, Oui? Non.

10. Cutting Humor. (30-1, Mike Smith (replacing Corey Lanerie), Todd Pletcher, 6-2-2-1)

Todd Pletcher and Starlight Racing's Jack Wolf are officially The Worst Persons of Derby Weekend. Friday morning, they replaced supremely Churchill-savvy Lanerie with Mike Smith, the Hall of Famer available because of the Omaha Beach scratch. This is a classic example of a chump owner who caught Derby Fever by entering through the back door, Sunland Park. Pletcher went along.

First, Wolf was happy to get Lanerie; then he said he was thinking of making a change anyway. Business is business, but keep in mind Lanerie's wife, Chantal, died last June of breast cancer. Who tells Lanerie's young daughter that, first, Corey deserved a Derby ride and, then, he didn't?

And nobody knows Churchill better than Lanerie. Instant karma's gonna get these men and nothing against the horse, but I hope they finish dead last.

Lanerie will get the same dollars Smith might win Saturday. Thanks a bunch, Wolfie. And what about Smith? A self-professed Man of God saved by his lord Jesus Christ, the money to Lanerie makes it alright? I just hate it when they talk the Christ, but don't live the Christian. I think jockey Jesus would have sat out this one.

Say what you want about Baffert, but he came out and said he'd make no rider changes when Smith, who he tag-teamed with last year to win the Triple Crown, became available. Baffert said he talked to Geroux and Florent asked him if he was off the horse. "No, I'm all in (with Florent). I could never do that."

As for the horse, there's a difference of opinion here by some touts, but he'll take some civilian money because of Smith.

Totally blah, he ran his top Beyer, 95, in a close win in the Sunland Derby over Anothertwistafate, the best horse he's faced. But it was Sunland.

I wouldn't be surprised if this isn't a horse who shouldn't be here and will do better as a miler, either on dirt or turf.

11. Haikal. (30-1, Rajiv Maragh, Kiaran McLaughlin, 5-3-1-1)

Haikal was scratched Friday morning with a foot abscess that wasn't going to heal in time. There will not be another also-eligible allowed to get into the Derby. With this, stewards might leave the one-post empty, which is fine. Because the track layout can't frickin' accommodate the one-horse, who has to angle right to avoid the damn rail a few steps out of the gate.

12. Omaha Beach. SCRATCHED.

(From here on, Derby runners will shift left one spot in the starting gate with the also-eligible gating from the 20-hole. Program numbers remain the same.)

13. Code of Honor. (12-1, John Velazquez, Shug McGaughey, 5-2-1-1)

Eddie Olczyk just picked him on NBC. This one's had some weird races. He romped in race one, did a face plant at the start of the juvenile showcase, the Champagne, but still finished second. He was ill and missed the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He won the Fountain of Youth over then-wiseguy Bourbon War, but was a victim in the merry-go-round Florida Derby. Shug seems to have him ready vis a vis the work tab. He'll need to jump up from the 91-95 Beyers in his two last. His breeding seems enough. Now, he just has to go out and do it.

14. Win Win Win. (12-1, Julian Pimentel, Mike Trombetta, 6-3-2-1)

Waiting for this one to strike. In the two important races he's run, it was third in the Tampa Derby and second in the Blue Grass, at an average 88.5 Beyer. Grandsire Sunday Silence and damsire Smarty Jones, both Derby winners, are the appeal here, but WWW has to do the running. A monster workout last Saturday has the Vulcan wiseguy ears perked. I don't like him, especially at 12-1.

15. Master Fencer. (50-1, Julien Leparoux, Koichi Tsomuda, 6-2-2-0)

He's got so much going against him, coming from Japan because Churchill is jonesing for international cred. He's never run in a group or graded race, had to make the long trip from Japan and last won in a cheapie in Kyoto in January. Leparoux will keep him safe.

16. Game Winner. (9-2 favorite, Joel Rosario, Bob Baffert, 6-4-2-0)

This looks like Baffert's best chance. The son of Candy Ride won the Breeders' Cup Juvenile here in November. He lost the photo to Omaha Beach in the second division of the Rebel Stakes and used up too much real estate while losing to Roadster in the Santa Anita Derby. People are calling that run a winning effort, even though he didn't. He ran a 93 Beyer in his first stakes at two, but seems to have flattened out in his three-year-old season, although his figures are near the top of the field. Baffert has put longer workouts into Game Winner, so that could be an admission that he needs foundation. His routine was disrupted when Santa Anita was closed by the horse deaths and the San Felipe was cancelled. That's why he went to Hot Springs for the Rebel. Don't be surprised by this horse. Win or lose.

17. Roadster. (5-1, Florent Geroux, Bob Baffert, 4-3-0-1)

Then again, maybe this is Baffert's best chance. His 81-89-93-98 Beyer progression is sweet as can be. Mike Smith opted to ride Omaha Beach, so Geroux gets a tremendous chance. Roadster displaced his soft palate and had corrective surgery, the similar neighborhood Omaha' finds himself in. Losing the savvy veteran Smith will hurt at least some. This Quality Road colt also has the hot breeding for now. The 17-post could enable Roadster to avoid more of the mud splash than many of the others. Brad Free of the Racing Form wants 10-1 or better. I don't see it. If Geroux can understand what's going on around and underneath him, you know Baffert will have him ready.

18. Long Range Toddy (30-1, Jon Court, Steve Asmussen, 8-4-1-1)

Pros: Plenty of foundation with eight races. At 58, Court would become the oldest jock to win the Derby, which would also be his first. Bill Shoemaker was 54 when he won in 1986 aboard Ferdinand in one of the greatest rides I ever saw. Beat Improbable in the first division of the Rebel with a career high 95 Beyer. Cons: Seems one-dimensional as an Oaklawn horse for the course. Despite that, finished a bad sixth in the Arkansas Derby to three other Derby runners. That race was in the slop, as is expected Saturday. Thursday, on national TV, Asmussen said "Who knows?" when the topic of mud came up. The bet: At no less than 20-1 or maybe 30-1, your angle is his battle-tested experience, that's all.

19. Spinoff. (30-1, Manny Franco, Todd Pletcher, 4-2-1-1)

He's another one with a sweet Beyer sweep in four races with 60-75-84-95. The son of Hard Spun shows classic races on both mom's and pop's side, so distance looks gettable. His two wins were at $75,000 and below, but he had a tougher trip than By My Standards in Louisiana before that one ran him down. If you look at that one as a toughener, you're in business. The rider is a downgrade from Velazquez, but Pletcher has won this race. Get yourself some tote and a flyer maybe.

20. Country House. (30-1, Flavien Prat, Bill Mott, 6-1-2-1)

Big Brown won from the 20-hole, but this one is no Big Brown, even from the 19th door. His only win was a $43K maiden special weight at - ugh - Gulfstream. He ran a mere 91 Beyer in Arkansas. He's run against five of these, but it's got the distinct feel that he may have had to buy a ticket to get in. As mentioned previously, he's had Maragh, Alvarado, L. Saez and Rosario aboard before and Prat is a very fine jockey. But, his fevered connections will give him a shot here and then Mott will find better things for him to do, if he continues training him.

21. Bodexpress. (30-1, Chris Landeros, Gustavo Delgado, 5-M-3-0)

This one's a maiden! The last maiden to win the Derby was Brokers Tip in 1933. His Beyers do tick up, including a 96 in his Place finish in that merry-go-round Florida Derby. He's the son of Bodemeister (Empire Maker) who finished second in both the Derby and Preakness, both to American Pharoah as we fondly remember. Bodemeister also sired 2017 Derby winner Always Dreaming. But, geez, either his connections didn't put him in a position to win or he has seconditis. He flailed in the slop at Gulfstream three back and doesn't even know what winning feels like - going into the Kentucky Derby. It's Back to Miami for him.

I'm liking By My Standards (never thought I'd say that), Roadster, Spinoff, Tacitus and Game Winner. Also, reluctantly, I will look at Improbable, War of Will, Tax and Maximum Security. Flyers on Vekoma, Code of Honor and Long Range Toddy. It's a process, driven by prices.

If you take in both days, Friday you'll enjoy Newspaperofrecord, the fine Irish filly in the Edgewood. Bellafinia is the belle of the ball in the Oaks, the 2-1 favorite. Look out for Chocolate Kisses and Champagne Anyone too.

Your chance to voyeur the Churchill party comes via NBC. Corporate TV wonks the world wide see events like this as an opportunity to cross-program and promote. So it's become hugely more the extravaganza to exploit and monetize than just a day at the races, albeit a big one. Therefore, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will be roaming the grounds, sticking his nose in. If he plays the wide-eyed racing newbie, that would be fine. New drinking game: Every time Earnhardt asks a celebrity why they like a certain horse, it's a shot of Kentucky whatever. We will be suffering Rutledge Wood, just another hairdo transplanted from the jiffy lube pit at NASCAR. I have one question: When you look at a guy like this rocking styles that are at least six years old, how are we supposed to take him seriously?

Do pray Ahmed Fareed stays in the anchor chair throughout. He's good. Mike Tirico would be a real Debbie Downer.

Your local listings:

Friday: Kentucky Oaks undercard coverage NBCSportsNet 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and the Oaks from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Saturday it's pre-race at 11 a.m. on NBCSportsNet and then full boat from 1:30 to 6:15 p.m. on NBC 5.

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:32 PM | Permalink

May 2, 2019

The [Thursday] Papers

"Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot said Thursday there is 'no muscling of anybody' involved in her request for corporate donations to help bankroll her abbreviated transition and May 20 inauguration, calling the controversy 'much ado about nothing," the Sun-Times reports.

"The Chicago Sun-Times reported this week that Lightfoot's transition team, operating under the non-profit umbrella corporation known as Better Together Chicago, had asked Chicago's movers-and-shakers to make five- and six-figure contributions in time to meet a May 1 deadline."

I wrote about the paper's revelation on Wednesday, awarding a three-way Worst Person In Chicago designation to a trio of Lightfoot staffers.

"There's no muscling of anybody. There are people across the city who enthusiastically reached out and asked how they could be supportive . . . of transition efforts and supportive of inaugural efforts. We are directing them in different ways they can be helpful," she said.

"We're doing everything we can to respond, but do it in a way that's consistent with my views around good government . . . This is very standard. We have a process by which we have to ask in a timeline. This is kind of much ado about nothing."

Okay. But why the refusals to name the donors, explain the solicitation process, discuss guard rails for inevitable conflicts-of-interest from contributors who have or will have business with the city, and all around refusals to comment?

Sun-Times: "On another subject . . . "

Or, in Internet-speak: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Unasked question for Lightfoot: Does your commitment to good government standards include opening up the books and answering our questions about how you are funding the transition and inaugural?

It's not hard.

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"Also during a wide-ranging interview Thursday, Lightfoot refused to disclose the size of the budget shortfall she is inheriting.

Lightfoot recently emerged from a meeting with Mayor Rahm Emanuel's financial team calling the shortfall "dire" and infinitely worse than she anticipated.

"There'll be an appropriate time for us to talk about the particulars. But I want to talk about them in the public when we have specific solutions to some of these challenges that we're facing. And now is not that time," she said.

Sun-Times, again: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Unasked question for Lightfoot: I thought you promised to be more transparent than your predecessor. You know, not withhold public information for political reasons so you can develop a message around it and spin it for your own purposes.

Alternate question for Lightfoot: So we're going to have to FOIA the size of the budget shortfall? Okay, hang on a second, I have a FOIA form right here . . .

*

"I don't think it's fair to residents and taxpayers to talk about this on the fly without having a very specific plan of action to address the challenges."

Unasked questions for Lightfoot: How is it not fair to residents and taxpayers to tell them the truth when it becomes known to you? How is it fair that you are withholding budget information from residents and taxpayers? Is this a case of the mayor deciding the public can't handle the truth? Is that really a change from the previous administration?

But one at a time.

In other words, learn how to conduct an interview!

That's quite a different activity than showing up with a microphone and notebook and saying, "Go!" You might as well have just had Lightfoot write the article.

*

Administrations change, but reporters don't.

*

"Lightfoot said she 'finds it curious' that her former colleagues at the U.S. Attorney's office have asked to push back the deadline yet again - this time, until June 7 - to indict Ald. Edward Burke (14th), deposed chairman of the City Council's Finance Committee."

"Whatever is coming, let it come and come quickly. It's not a good thing for the health and well-being of our city - and certainly the legitimacy of the government - to have these clouds hanging overhead and not knowing when the storm is gonna break," Lightfoot said.

"I don't know what the particulars are. I don't know the nuances. I don't know who the targets of the investigations are - obviously beyond Burke and [former Zoning Committee Chairman Danny] Solis. But, we can't have people who have committed crimes functioning as elected officials and doing business with the city. That curtain needs to be drawn back. We need to see it - sooner rather than later. Whatever it is, we'll deal with it."

Sun-Times, again: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

*

Unasked questions for Lightfoot: Are you really asking federal agents to rush their investigation for the sake of your agenda? You were a federal prosecutor once, how would you have felt then if a mayor asked you to hurry up so the city could operate without 'clouds' hanging over its head? Doesn't the city always have clouds hanging over it?

*

The thing about interviewing is this: You have to listen. Then respond to what you're being told. Don't just accept a first-level answer filled with typical non-answer rhetoric. If you do, that's all you get - and you'll be known for accepting just that.

And your job isn't to ask questions, it's to get answers. Those who think the job is to just ask questions just tick off a list of topics. Asked. Asked. Asked.

But when you view your job as getting answers, your list looks a little bit different.

*

"Yeah, but no matter how much I press, they won't answer!"

Sometimes this is true, and quite often it isn't. It's still your job. And you'd be surprised how much a subject will engage with you once you demonstrate your persistence and knowledge of a topic. Turn the interview into a conversation and see how much that changes the dynamic. Instead, it's like putting on a little play, with each side understanding their role. "I'm going to ask you a bunch of predictable questions, you will answer with evasive rhetoric, and we'll all be home for dinner." This makes it easier on everyone, but it's not what the job is.

*

"But if I stick with one question until I get an answer - or exhaust my options for trying to get an answer, I won't have time to ask my other questions!"

So! Decide what the most important question you have is, and stick with that. If that's all you get to, so be it! Nobody needs a "round-up" story of prepared answers. Again, you could just have the subject's staff mail that in. Don't be afraid to have one-subject interview. You might be surprised the places that will take you. And more importantly, your readers. Because that's who you do this job for. How are they benefiting from your interview style? Because that's the point. Asking questions is not like putting another widget on the assembly line. "I asked my five questions; now my shift is over and I'm going home!" Again, that's not the job.

Getting answers is.

*

"But it's not that easy! Have you ever tried getting answers from [CPS, CPD, the mayor's office]?"

Yes. Yes I have. Only the worst reporters respond that way - and that's because they are rarely the ones who try. The job is not easy. And you don't always get the answers you want. But the job is to at least try. To learn the techniques and skills to get there. Plenty of reporters do it every single day. They just don't tend to be the ones covering City Hall, and that baffles me.

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New on the Beachwood . . .

Serving The Servant
Former Nirvana manager Danny Goldberg's new book about Kurt Cobain, in interviews and excerpts.

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ChicagoReddit

Looking for a puppy we fostered in south Arkansas before being taken to Chicago for adoption from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

SportsVision Commercial Breaks, 1988.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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*

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Means and ends.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:48 AM | Permalink

May 1, 2019

Serving The Servant

Former Nirvana manager (and well-known record exec) Danny Goldberg talks about his new book, Serving the Servant: Remembering Kurt Cobain.


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servetheservant.jpg

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Read a sample here.

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See also from Rolling Stone:

* Excerpt: When Nevermind Changed Everything.

* Goldberg interview: What Everyone Gets Wrong About Kurt Cobain.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:07 PM | Permalink

The NHL's Deadly Denial

"Todd Ewen, a former professional hockey player, took his own life in September 2015 in the basement of his St. Louis home," the Atlantic reports.

"Ewen had been suffering from depression and memory loss since his retirement from the NHL, in 1998. Before his death, he confided in his wife, Kelli, that he feared he may have chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE - a neurodegenerative disease that most experts agree is linked to repetitive head trauma."

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See also:

* New York Times: Doctors Said Hockey Enforcer Todd Ewen Did Not Have CTE. But He Did.

"A new analysis of Ewen's brain tissue confirms he had the degenerative brain disease, despite what a Canadian doctor initially found. That doctor went on to work for the NHL."

* KMOX: Kelli Ewen To Gary Bettman: 'Stop Sticking Your Head In The Sand.'

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And: NHL In Chintzy Tentative Concussion Settlement: Not Our Fault.

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Previously:
* Bob Probert's Broken Brain.

* NFL Players Killing Themselves Because They Miss Football So Much.

* The College Football Report: Dementia Pugilistica.

* Blackhawks Playing Head Games.

* Jay Cutler Should Consider Retiring.

* Dislike: Friday Night Tykes.

* Hurt And Be Hurt: The Lessons Of Youth Sports.

* Chicago Soccer Player Patrick Grange Had CTE.

* Sony Softened Concussion To Placate NFL.

* Ultra-Realistic Madden To Simulate Game's Debilitating Concussions.

* Dear Football: I'm Breaking Up With You.

* Dead College Football Player's Brain Leaves Clues Of Concussions' Toll On Brain.

* More Bad Concussion News For Young Football Players.

* NFL Tried To Fix Concussion Study.

* The Week In Concussions: Another Enforcer Down.

* Teen Concussion Rate Rising Significantly.

* Conflict Of Interest For NFL Doctors To Report To Teams: Harvard Study.

* U.S. Supreme Court Ends Fight Over $1 Billion NFL Concussion Deal.

* U.S. High School Soccer Concussions On The Rise.

* Youth Football Finally Listening To Coach Coffman.

* Many Kids Still Don't Report Concussion Symptoms. How Can We Change That?

* Brain Damage In Former Players Fuels Soccer 'Heading' Fears.

* Canadian Youth Hockey Injuries Cut In Half After National Policy Change.

* More Teen Knowledge About Concussion May Not Increase Reporting.

* High School Boys Fear Looking 'Weak' If They Report Concussions.

* Pro Flag Football Is Now A Thing - Starring Former NFL Players!

* Nearly All Donated NFL Brains Found To Have CTE.

* Female Athletes Are Closing The Gender Gap When It Comes To Concussions.

* Whoa. Perhaps The Smartest Player In NFL History - He's In Math PhD Program At MIT - Assesses Situation And Decides To Save His Brain.

* Study: CTE Affects Football Players At All Levels.

* Dan Jiggetts Is Right About CTE.

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

* Tackle Rings?

* CTE Season Preview.

* The CTE Diaries: The Life And Death Of A High School Football Player Killed By Concussions.

* Study: Youth Football Linked To Adult Problems.

* Can Weed Save Football?

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:45 AM | Permalink

The [Wednesday] Papers

Head to @BeachwoodReport for essential Barr-Mueller commentary.

"Citadel CEO Ken Griffin bought a $238 million penthouse condo in New York City earlier this year and is expanding his Park Avenue offices, but Illinois' richest man says he's staying put in Chicago," the Tribune reports.

Drats. I'd rather not have him around to kick anymore.

Transition Kitchen
"Mayor-elect Lori Lightfoot is asking corporate Chicago to dig deep to help bankroll her abbreviated transition and May 20 inauguration," the Sun-Times reports.

"Lightfoot transition spokesperson Anel Ruiz refused to say how many corporations were being solicited or why some companies were being asked for $25,000 while others were being asked to contribute $100,000."

Uh-oh.

"Ruiz also refused to disclose the overall fundraising goal and the precautions being taken, if any, to avoid potential conflicts with companies either regulated or taxed by the city or holding city contracts."

Uh-oh.

[A] solicitation letter obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times requested a $25,000 contribution by Wednesday.

"The purpose of this committee is to celebrate the election of Lori Lightfoot as Chicago's next Mayor and to assist her in the momentous task of transitioning to this office," the letter states.

"It shall be tasked with hiring support staff, collecting information from the public and from institutions throughout Chicago, providing the mayor-elect with recommendations and hosting a citywide celebration of this historic election."

The Sun-Times is not naming the company that provided the letter at the recipient's request.

But, it states that, "Because of your great standing and dedication to the public good, we humbly request your assistance in this matter. The committee's work is great and the time available to meet its needs is short. Therefore we request the donation . . . be made available by May 1. All contributions will be voluntarily disclosed by the committee."

The letter was signed by Laurel Appell Lipkin, president of Better Together Chicago. Questions were referred to Christina Nowinski Wurst, who refused to comment.

Uh-oh.

*

How great would it have been for Lightfoot to get her administration off on the right foot by making the inauguration and transition process totally transparent? What harm could come of that?

*

If this is what your Resistance looks like, Anel Ruiz, I don't want any part of it.

Screen Shot 2019-05-01 at 1.09.19 PM.png

*

If this is how you define Better Together, Laurel Appell Lipkin, I'd rather be alone.

*

Christina Nowinski Wurst, late of the Bill Daley campaign, is also the executive director of the Illinois Women's Institute for Leadership Training Academy. I guess I just have a different idea than she does of what constitutes leadership.

You are all Today's Worst People In Illinois.

The Mundanity Of Making Money
"[McDonald's] on Tuesday that promotions such as free bacon, a deal to buy two items for $5 and stick-shaped doughnuts helped woo U.S. customers [in the first quarter]," the Wall Street Journal reports.

At many times in human history - the vast majority of times, in fact - the ability to coax higher receipts out of stick-shaped doughnuts would not have been a skill rewarded by society. But in this day and age, that skill has made a small number of mostly men very rich.

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I've just always been fascinated by the mundanity behind most accumulations of wealth. It's a strange reward system we have.

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Trump's White Male TV Universe
FCC at it again.

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The NHL's Deadly Denial
Doctors said Blues enforcer Todd Ewen didn't have CTE. He did. Now he's dead.

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ChicagoReddit

Demolition of The Heartland Cafe from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

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ChicagoTube

1993 Tourism Commercials.

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BeachBook

New Documents Reveal DHS Asserting Broad, Unconstitutional Authority To Search Travelers' Phones And Laptops.

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Surprise, The Los Angeles Olympics Needs To Increase Its Budget.

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TweetWood

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The Beachwood McRibTipLine: Barr none.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:44 AM | Permalink

Trump's FCC Turns Its Back On Broadcast Diversity

Free Press condemned the Federal Communications Commission on Monday for failing to prioritize broadcast diversity in the agency's quadrennial-review proceeding on media ownership.

The Trump FCC is considering changes to - or the elimination of - three primary rules: the local radio-ownership rule; the local television-ownership rule, and; the dual-network rule. Each was put in place to help fulfill the agency's central mandate: promoting localism, diversity and competition over the public airwaves.

"The Commission must preserve all three rules to protect the public from the harms of further runaway broadcast media consolidation," Free Press argues in submitted comments. "There is substantial evidence that media concentration has caused irreparable harm to the public, and Free Press members are still reeling from the harmful impacts of the Commission's most recent deregulatory efforts."

In 2017, the FCC determined that women own just 7 percent of FM radio stations, and people of color own less than 3 percent. The numbers for television stations are barely better.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has told the FCC in three previous rounds of litigation that before proceeding with rule changes the agency must first consider the impact those changes would have on diversity across the industry - something it has thus far failed to do.

"The FCC is weighing several strategies for deregulation, hoping to hand the nation's largest broadcast conglomerates the rule changes they demand so they can exert even more control over local radio and television," Free Press policy manager Dana Floberg says. "Even considering any of these proposals shows the agency's appalling disregard for broadcast-industry diversity and the benefits it brings to the public, which still depends on TV and radio stations for critical local news and information.

"If the FCC once again weakens its ownership limits, it would be rejecting its central mandate to promote diversity, localism and competition and ignoring the needs of underrepresented communities across the country. Giving more of the public airwaves to a few massive conglomerates isn't how you create a more diverse and democratic broadcast sector.

"The FCC launched this quadrennial review because it's required to. But it's done so without completing the analysis that the court mandated in three previous rounds of this fight. To charge ahead with more deregulation would be premature and destructive.

"The Trump FCC is clearly intent on abandoning the public-interest standard by ditching the remaining ownership rules and changing its definitions to serve a handful of powerful broadcast conglomerates. Any proposal that increases consolidation does a disservice to the public, and disproportionately harms disadvantaged groups, including poor communities and people of color. The FCC should retain the existing ownership rules and finally commit to conducting the court-mandated analysis that would allow it to accurately evaluate and promote diversity in broadcast ownership."

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Also:

"As of Tuesday morning, 882 sets of comments have been filed in the FCC's Quadrennial Review of broadcast ownership rules," All Access reports.

"Many of the comments are copy-and-paste filings with identical one-paragraph submissions from musicians offering general opposition to loosening the rules, warning that, 'If the commission changes the rules, many locally-owned stations are going to disappear . . . '

"[T]he Multicultural Media, Telecom and Internet Council pointed to the 'embarrassingly low' level of minority and female ownership of broadcast licenses and opposed the loosening of ownership caps, contending that doing so would 'spell the end of the incubator program before it has a chance to succeed.'"

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:43 AM | Permalink

MUSIC - How Africa Adopted Jimmie Rodgers.
TV - Sinclair, ABC Light AOC On Fire.
POLITICS - SCOTUS's Border Wall Fiasco.
SPORTS - Black Athletes' Underused Trump Card.

BOOKS - The Hidden Places Of World War 2.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - Wisconsin Is America's Goatland.


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