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September 30, 2020

What FBG Duck's Mother Says

"LaSheena Weekly, the mother of FBG Duck, sat down for her first-ever VladTV interview, where she addressed her son's recent murder.

"She started out speaking about her personal life growing up in Chicago and becoming a mother as a teenager with FBG Duck's older brother, the late FBG Brick. LaSheena then spoke about FBG Duck's childhood and their family centering around their matriarch, the rapper's late great-grandmother, who had a hand in raising LaSheena and FBG Duck."

"During the interview, LaSheena also detailed the moments leading up to FBG Duck's murder, and she revealed that the woman he was with while shopping on Chicago's prestigious Oak Street, fired back at the shooters. LaSheena then vowed to get justice for her son, and she added that his murder was way deeper than music."


Previously: Remembering FBG Duck.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:47 PM | Permalink

The Comedic LA Dodgers

Not sure if there are more recent examples, but for Hollywood sitcom writers running out of ideas, the hometown Dodgers were always an easy plot line to turn to.

To wit:

Herman Munster Tries Out For The Dodgers.


Mister Ed Takes Dodgers Batting Practice.


Don Drysdale Visits The Bradys.


The Dodgers On The Joey Bishop Show.


The Dodgers Want To Sign Jethro.


Curb Your Enthusiasm Goes To A Dodgers Game.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:09 AM | Permalink

Heed The Lessons Of The Wilmette Man Who Translated The Nazis To Death

Peter Less died a year ago this week in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He was 99 and left a large swath of history for us to consider.

Not that it matters much, but you would have liked him. He had witnessed too much evil and pain in his life to be gregarious. He had seen goodness, some of which he shared with all of us.

He was measured and serene. He coveted his private thoughts. He seemed to have found a path.

Less was at peace, which was a state he had earned.

And for us, he left lessons to be absorbed if we are mindful of that history, too.

When I interviewed him five years ago at the little Wilmette home he had shared for more than 50 years with his late wife, he had decided to close shop on his legal practice. But his decision did not follow from some infirmity at 94. Indeed, he could do regular push-ups, drove to work in Chicago's Loop every day, and mowed his yard with an old-fashioned push cutter.

Until the very day he stepped away, he practiced sharp-edged family law. He had a devotion to justice.

"But I don't want to give clients the idea that I'm old, and that my age makes a difference," he said as he sat in his living room.

Less had been internationally famous for 70 years when we met, though he did not trade on that fame. He was quiet and erudite. When people asked about his life, he told them, but he was not much for self-promotion. It was another reason to like him.

Not merely as clarifying exaggeration for effect, but Less was the man who metaphorically shut the casket lid on Reichsmarschall Hermann Goering, the inventor of the Gestapo and Adolf Hitler's right hand.

Less did it with his mind, skill and morality.

With his parents' approval, he had fled Germany as a teen. He was a refugee and studied simultaneous translation at a Swiss university. He never forgot the pathway to a new life that Switzerland and its generous people gave him.

But he was decidedly famous. He might well have been the only person in the world who could have made the Goering trial work. The transcripts of that trial are Less speaking in two languages flowing together.

Less was the official simultaneous translator for the Goering trial at Nuremberg at which the strutting Nazi architect was convicted and sentenced to hang. He escaped that fate by taking a cyanide pill on the night before his Oct. 16 date with the noose.

When Less and I talked that day in Wilmette, no other person living had seen and heard what Less had.

What Goering heard in that trial was Less's translation into German; what the prosecutors and judges heard from Goering were the English words Less produced.

That trial belonged to Peter Less. He gave that trial to the world.

He's been revered ever since by the practitioners of the translation art form as one of its first geniuses.

Less was the ultimate witness in the room where it happened.

But his lessons predate that month on the world-historical stage.

He wanted me to know especially about the years of his youth in his beloved Konigsberg, a city then of 370,000 that had served as the capital of Prussia since 1255. It was a thoroughly ancient, elegant German metropolis. It was Old Europe.

It was the home of philosopher Emmanuel Kant.

Past the age of 90, Less still missed the city's old homes, one of which he shared with parents, grandparents, siblings. He missed the concert halls, parks and sumptuous department stores, one of which his family owned and ran.

People are murdered by war, but old lovely cities are killed, too. Oddly enough, Goering was the designated president of Prussia in Less's youth in 1933.

Less got to see Goering up close. But Prussia was mostly a convenient platform for Goering's thievery and pillaging. Nazism was not invented to suit him. He had always been a Nazi.

in 1940, Hitler promoted Goering to the rank of Reichsmarschall des Grossdeutschen Reiches (Reich Marshal of the Greater German Reich), a custom-made pedestal that made him senior to all field marshals in the military, including the Luftwaffe.

Goering was handy for Hitler. He invented the Gestapo secret police.

And, of course, Less wanted me to know the truth of Hitler, whose name gets tossed cheaply into the debate about Donald Trump's functional politics. Less was unaware of Trump then. He was a TV performer with aspirations.

Is Trump a fascist, and what would that mean in 21st century terms if he were?

Labels lose all their vitality when the motives that animate them are forgotten. But humanity's temptation to self-loathing endures, and while there is nobility in our species, there also is deep depravity.

Less saw all of that. The light and dark of souls. He brought his nobility to argue for justice and prevailed when nothing but his conscience demanded it. We should listen to such people.

What does it mean to a nation when many of its citizens are segregated into "irrelevant" status? That is the essence of fascism - the legal labeling and division of some as valuable people and others as valueless. The evil flows less from political differences than from the loss of shared self-hood.

Humanity's self-hate is our oldest and most violent sin.

The underlying lesson of Germany in 1932 was that it would not, or could not, purge itself of inherent, ancient racism against all non-Germans. Racism is a wallowing, self-pitying view of strangers, and anti-Semitism ran deep there, as it did in all of Western civilization.

A nation that sired great artists and thinkers could not give up its hate. Sound familiar?

Less wanted it understood, in his earned standing as a German man, a lifelong scholar of letters and law, that Germany was not tricked into giving power to Hitler. It was not duped into the Holocaust. Germany gets no pass as it if were inept.

There was no dialectic sleight of hand, though Hitler was gifted at polemics. Hitler merely told Germany what it wanted to hear. He knew where the darkness was and knew how to rouse it for his own uses.

Less said he and most other observant citizens had understood very clearly as a young teen where Germany was going.

The 65 million who perished in World War II did not do so as a result of a clever ruse. This was merely hate writ on the largest human canvass. By 1933, the Germany that had breathed for centuries no longer survived and would never return.

In Less's clear recollection, there was no confusion about who Hitler was, nor was there misunderstanding in the votes that eventually made his power permanent and absolute. Fascism is always absolute because it can tolerate no alternatives to itself.

When Less sat across the central interpreter's table for months and peered into the chilled blue eyes of Hermann Goering, he knew exactly who he was seeing. He was seeing evil. He was seeing humanity's twisted instinct to kill itself and profit from the murder. But Less was not there for vengeance. Less was the designated face of reason and justice.

He spoke for civilization.

The citizens of Germany, or at least too many to allow stopping it, knew the name of Hitler's evil, and what he would do. He told them face to face. They believed him.

He was the first world leader whose existence was the direct result of announcing what he would do, and then doing it. After 1933, there would be no more national elections in Germany until 1949.

Paul von Hindenburg won the 1932 presidential election with 19 million votes, and Hitler was second with 13 million. But von Hindenburg died a year later, and the Nazis won two successive federal elections and took control of the parliament.

It was essentially the electoral power of Germany's Congress that elevated Hitler, along with the authority of armed thugs in the street pretending to offer order at the end of rifle butts.

In essence, Hitler gained control of Germany by winning fewer national votes, but finding enabling toadies in the legislature over which he exercised total control. Hitler had armed men (Brownshirts) in the street to make sure protests were contained.

But the conspiracy of political dunces gave Germany to Hitler because they wanted him to punish Europe and the Jewish people for World War I.

The voters of Germany had spoken.

Does the pattern of punishing "others" for their "otherness" not seem familiar?

Less believed the precise sin for which Germany had been punished for 75 years was not only a thoughtless choice. Germany was punished for its own evil, and also because it did not cauterize that evil when it could at the ballot box.

It was punished for moral laziness and for allowing six million Jews to be labeled "life unworthy of life."

The entire world would pay for Germany's racism, though there is less evidence the world has learned that reverence for others is a survival trait for all of us.

But Less helped put an end to it, at least for a while. He stood in the gymnasium adjacent to the Nuremberg courthouse just after dawn and watched the 10 most vile architects of Nazism hang. It was Oct. 16, 1946 - 74 years ago next month.

World War II was the ultimate expression of "white grievance" and its permanent handmaiden, "white supremacy." You will forget their evil if you forget what the evil inspires.

Malevolence has a price.

The grand old European cultural center of Konigsberg paid its price. It no longer exists. Allied bombing and Soviet artillery reduced it to rubble. When the Russians occupied the city in 1945, they rounded up all the survivors and killed most of them.

The 430,000 new citizens no longer populate a city named Konigsberg. Only Russians live there. Now it's called Kaliningrad, a part of Russia, and shows few signs of ever having a Germanic history.

The end of Konigsberg haunted Less as a lost love taken from him. It was his golden childhood, and a lost, loving family. A shadow crept over Less's face when he spoke of the old, lost city.

The Gestapo that Goering invented rounded up all of Less's family and took them away one day after Less had fled to Zurich. They were not Jewish. They were intellectual free-thinkers.

The Germans also called this law and order.

Less never learned the details of what happened to them.

They were never seen again.


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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:31 AM | Permalink

September 29, 2020

Tweeting Foles

Geez, if the Bears had named Nick Foles the starter at the beginning of the season, they might be undefeated!

Here's what the tweeps are saying.








Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:36 PM | Permalink

Charles "Entertainment" Cheese's Halloween Boo-Tacular

Chuck E. Cheese, the number one family entertainment venue, is bringing out all the tricks and treats to make this year's Halloween celebration a truly safe and Boo-tacular delight.

"At Chuck E. Cheese, we know how much kids and families look forward to the Halloween season," says CEC CEO David McKillips. "This year, we know celebrations will look a little different and want to make sure Halloween is as safe and special as possible for our families.

"We're introducing a fully immersive Halloween experience that can be enjoyed safely in-store, at-home and online. This includes new entertainment content, exclusive menu items, touchless in-store trick or treating, daily online activities and exclusive party packages for dine-in, carry-out and delivery - to make it easy for kids of all ages to celebrate safely with Chuck E. Cheese this year and for many years to come."

A Boo-tacular Takeover
When guests visit their favorite Chuck E. Cheese, they will be immediately immersed in a Boo-tacular experience, including everything from a spooky new menu design to Halloween-themed, age-appropriate décor and photo spots.

Cast members will be dressed in costume and guests will be entranced by Chuck E.'s new Boo-tacular Dance!

Families are sure to be mesmerized by the flavors of the new holiday-inspired menu items, which include:

* Pumpkin-shaped pepperoni pizza featuring the friendliest Jack-O-Lantern smile.

* Dippin' Dots® Eye Scream with gummy worms.

* Boo-tacular Oreo® Brownie that's dangerously delish.

* Candy Corn-Colored Orange Cotton Candy that's out of this world.

* Not-So-Scary Chuck E. Cheese Halloween Theme Kids Masks available for sale individually or with the Halloween Boo-tacular Bundle.

IN-STORE: More Halloween Fun to Scream About
The treats don't stop there!

As a part of Chuck E. Cheese's Boo-tacular, guests will find more to enjoy, including:

* Throughout October any guest wearing their costume during their visit, or any guest who purchases a 30-minute All You Can Play Card, will receive a free treat bag filled with candy, stickers and other fun surprises.

* The debut of "Mr. Munch's Monster Mash-Up," an exciting new entertainment show including vignettes, music videos and a cast member-led Chuck E.'s Boo-tastic Dance every hour.

This new dance was produced with all CDC guidelines in mind and reinforces our strict safety standards and social distancing as part of the content show.

* Every Friday and Saturday night in October, Chuck E. Cheese will also host DJ Munch's Glow Parties from 6 p.m. until close.

For $14.99, guests will receive a treat bag with a collectible play band loaded with 30 minutes of All You Can Play; candy; three glow bracelets; and glow tattoos that may be worn as the lights are dimmed and the high-energy Halloween playlist is turned up.

Plus, kids can get their trick-or-treat fix safely from three designated areas within the restaurant. Cast members will use tongs for a "touchless trick or treating" experience.

Safety is Our First Priority
For the Chuck E. Cheese locations that have reopened, guests can expect enhanced health and safety protocols. These safety protocols include, but are not limited to:

* Temperature checks taken upon entrance and all guests asked to wear their masks.

* A Kid Check® Selfie, which replaces the traditional hand stamp.

* Hand sanitizing stations accessible throughout the play and dining areas.

* All games spaced out to local guidelines, or at a minimum of 6 feet apart.

* Team members sanitize all play and dining areas as well as restrooms continuously.

* In-store contactless payments and online ordering available for carryout.

* Upgraded hospital-grade air filters at each of our open locations.

* Limited capacity in each location; all entertainment is produced and hosted for the safest experience possible with all social distancing guidelines met.

Additionally, to enhance guest safety and ensure a more touchless experience, the brand recently launched e-tickets, eliminating paper tickets and the Ticket Muncher.

Instead, guests can see all of their e-tickets earned through their play card and can easily claim individually wrapped prizes at the Gift Shop.

AT-HOME & ONLINE: Bring The Halloween Fun Home With KIDZ BOP®
Halloween celebrations with Chuck E. aren't limited to in-store only - families can bring home the fun too!

With convenient carry-out and delivery services, Chuck E. Cheese is offering a Boo-tacular Family Party Package, featuring:

* Two large one-topping pizzas, a Boo-tacular Oreo® Brownie, two treat bags each including $5 in games to use on your next visit, as well as a free KIDZ BOP® Halloween activity sheet and glow-in-the-dark temporary tattoos to enjoy at home, all for $39.99 ($54.99 Canada).

Families can keep the party going with a variety of entertainment options available on the Chuck E. Cheese website and social media channels, including its Afternoon Fun Break™ featuring character vignettes, music videos, crafts and interactive activities for kids. This year Chuck E. Cheese will also debut the new Boo-tasic Dance online for kids and families to dance along at home.

For a special treat, Chuck E. Cheese and the #1 music brand for kids, KIDZ BOP®, have partnered to help guests create the ultimate At-Home Halloween Party. All carry-out and delivery specials will include an activity sheet and glow-in-the-dark temporary tattoos from KIDZ BOP® while supplies last.

Throughout the promotion, families can visit to enjoy Halloween entertainment from Chuck E. Cheese and the KIDZ BOP® Kids, including KIDZ BOP's newest album, KIDZ BOP Halloween Party!, music videos, and DIY At Home party activities.

For more information and details on which locations have reopened for games and dine-in, guests can visit

About CEC Entertainment, Inc.
CEC Entertainment is the nationally recognized leader in family entertainment and dining with its Chuck E. Cheese, Peter Piper Pizza and, delivery only, Pasqually's Pizza & Wings brands.

As the place where a million happy birthdays are celebrated every year, Chuck E. Cheese's goal is to create positive, lifelong memories for families through entertainment, food and play.

Committed to providing a fun, safe environment, Chuck E. Cheese helps protect families through industry-leading programs such as Kid Check®.

The Company and its franchisees operate a system of 570 Chuck E. Cheese restaurants and 122 Peter Piper Pizza stores, with locations in 47 states and 16 foreign countries and territories. 


Previously in Chuck E. Cheese:
* FALSE: Police Did Not Find A Satanic Ritual Dungeon In The Basement Of A #Chicago Chuck E. Cheese.

* Fight Club At The Oak Lawn Chuck E. Cheese.

* Exclusive Interview With Clark Cub.

* The Salad Bar Series: The Batavia Chuck E. Cheese.

* Weekend ChicagoTube: Phase 3 Artifacts/Art Chicago | Chuck E. Cheese's Illinois.

* Chuck E. Cheese Staying Private After Failed Merger.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:30 PM | Permalink

Bust 'Em All: De-Monopolize Tech, Telecoms And Entertainment

The early 1980s were a period of tremendous foment and excitement for tech. In the four years between 1980 and 1984, Americans met:

* The Vic-20 (1980)

* The Commodore 64 (1981)

* The IBM PC (1982)

* The PC-compatible ROM (1984)

But no matter how exciting things were in Silicon Valley during those years, even more seismic changes were afoot in Washington, D.C., where a jurist named Robert Bork found the ear of President Reagan and a coterie of elite legal insiders and began to fundamentally reshape U.S. antitrust law.

Bork championed an antitrust theory called "the consumer welfare standard," which reversed generations of American competition law, insisting that monopolies and monopolistic conduct were rarely a problem and that antitrust law should only be invoked when there was "consumer harm" in the form of higher prices immediately following from a merger or some other potentially anti-competitive action.

Tech and lax antitrust enforcement grew up together. For 40 years, we've lived through two entwined experiments: the Internet and its foundational design principle that anyone should be able to talk to anyone using any protocol without permission from anyone else; and the consumer welfare standard, and its bedrock idea that monopolies are not harmful unless prices increase.

It's not a pretty sight. Forty years on and much of the dynamism of technology has been choked out of the industry, with a few firms attaining seemingly permanent dominance over our digital lives, maintaining their rule by buying or merging with competitors, blocking interoperability, and holding whole markets to ransom.

Thankfully, things are starting to change. Congress's long-dormant appetite for fighting monopolists is awakening, with hard-charging hearings and far-reaching legislative proposals.

And yet, anyone who hangs out in policy circles has heard the rumors: this was all cooked up by Big Cable, the telecom giants who have been jousting with tech over Net Neutrality, privacy, and every other measure that allowed the public to get more value out of the wires in our homes or the radio signals in our skies without cutting in the telecoms for a piece of the action.

Or perhaps it's not the telecoms - maybe it's Big Content, the giant, hyper-consolidated entertainment companies (five publishers, four movie studios, three record labels), whose war on tech freedom has deep roots; given all their nefarious lobbying and skullduggery, is it so hard to believe they'd cook up a fake grassroots campaign to defang Big Tech under color of reinvigorating antitrust?

In any event, why selectively enforce competition laws against tech companies, while leaving these other sectors unscathed?

Why indeed? Who said anything about leaving telecoms or entertainment untouched by antitrust? The companies that make up those industries are in desperate need of tougher antitrust enforcement, and we're here for it.

Who wouldn't be? Just look at the telecom industry, where cable and phone companies have divided up the nation like the Pope dividing up the "New World," so that they never have to compete head-to-head with one another. This sector is the reason that Americans pay more for slower broadband than anyone else in the world - and the pandemic has revealed just how bad this is.

When Frontier declared bankruptcy early in the COVID-19 crisis, its disclosures revealed the extent to which American families were being victimized by these monopolies: Frontier's own planning showed that it could earn $800,000,000 in profits by providing 100gb fiber to three million households, but it did not, because the company's top execs were worried that spending money to build out this profitable fiber would make the company's share price dip momentarily, and since a) these execs are mostly paid in stock; and b) none of those households had an alternative, Frontier left nearly $1 billion on the table and three million households on ancient, unreliable, slow internet connections.

The big telcos and cable operators are in sore need of adult supervision, competitive pressure, and Congressional hearings.

And things are no better in the world of entertainment, where a string of mergers - most recently the nakedly anticompetitive Disney-Fox merger - has left performers and creators high and dry, with audiences hardly faring any better.

Anyone who tells you that we shouldn't fight tech concentration because the telecom or entertainment industry is also monopolistic is missing the obvious rejoinder: We should fight monopoly in those industries, too.

In boolean terms, trustbusting tech, entertainment, and cable is an AND operation, not a XOR operation.

Besides, for all their public performance of hatred for one another, tech, content, and telcos are perfectly capable of collaborating to screw the rest of us. If you think tech isn't willing to sell out Net Neutrality, you need to pay closer attention. If you think that tech is the champion who'll keep the entertainment lobby from installing automated copyright filters, think again. And if you think all competing industries aren't colluding in secret to rig markets, we've got some disturbing news for you.

Surviving the 21st Century is not a matter of allying yourself with a feudal lord - choosing Team Content, Team Tech or Team Telecom and hoping that your chosen champion will protect you from the depredations of the others.

If we're gonna make it through this monopolistic era of evidence-free policy that benefits a tiny, monied minority at the expense of the rest of us, we need to demand democratic accountability for market abuses and demand a pluralistic market where dominant firms are subjected to controls and penalties, where you finally realize birthright of technological self-determination.

If Big Cable and Big Content are secretly gunning for Big Tech with antitrust law, they're making a dangerous bet: that trustbusting will be revived only to the extent that it is used to limit Big Tech, and then it will return to its indefinite hibernation. That's not how this works. Even if tech is where the new trustbusting era starts, it's not where it will end.


Previously by Cory Doctorow:

* Abolish Silicon Valley.

* "Don't Believe Proven Liars" - The Absolute Minimum Standard Of Prudence In Merger Scrutiny.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:22 AM | Permalink

Easton's Iconic Green Bat Is Back

Easton Diamond Sports, the industry leader in baseball-softball product innovation, is bringing back the most storied baseball bat in the game.

The B5 Pro Big Barrel, also commonly referred to as "The Green Easton," originally debuted in 1978 and quickly gained legendary status with elite high school and college players in record-shattering numbers, propelling Easton to the forefront of bat innovation for over 40 years.

Now, Easton has produced a new breakthrough worthy of the B5 Pro Big Barrel name - a definitive game-changer that has arrived at a pivotal time for this generation's top players.


Bringing back a true classic, Easton announced this month the launch of a reinvented "Green Easton" baseball bat with breakthrough performance, feel and sound - and with a remix of the classic look.

The original B5 Pro became the favorite of many iconic players of the '70s and '80s before they went on to celebrated professional careers - countless MVP's, All-Stars and even Hall-of-Famers.

Superstar Major League Baseball players who chose The Green Easton in their high school and college playing days include: Bo Jackson, Tony Gwynn, Barry Larkin, Mark McGwire, Jeff Kent, Matt Williams, Paul O'Neill, Luis Gonzalez and Tino Martinez, to name a few. Former MLB players-turned-managerial greats like Terry Francona trusted the B5 Pro too.

Even pro football Hall-of-Famer John Elway, a two-sport standout at Stanford, used the original bat throughout college before his illustrious NFL career.

When Easton shared its plans to bring back The Green Easton with a retro look and all-new tech, during a time when not only the innovation warranted it but also with baseball activities finally beginning to return around the world, both current players and baseball's legends alike were thrilled.

"The entire Easton team is deeply proud of this latest achievement and excited to be bringing back one of the most iconic bats in our company's storied history," said Easton President Dan Jelinek.

"Almost 42 years ago, Easton introduced the original B5 Pro Big Barrel bat to the baseball world and it forever changed the game for millions of amateur players. It set the standard for bat innovation then and ever since. Now, the Green Easton is back, and we believe the performance will be as transformative for today's players as it was before."

The new B5 Pro features a ringless barrel with varying wall thicknesses. This premium Advanced Thermal Alloy Construction (ATAC) produces a bigger sweet spot and smoother feel for B5 Pro than any other bat of its kind. Combining its construction with Easton's Speed Cap™, the B5 Pro also provides a more flexible and responsive barrel.

Additionally, the bat's Natural Pro Balance Swing Weight results in a balanced feel for both speed and power. Its Extra-Stiff ATAC Alloy Handle transfers maximum energy into the ball for a more professional feel and performance, while its VRS™ Handle Insert reinforces the handle to reduce vibration and create an even more solid feel. The B5 Pro also has a premium grip, which provides the ultimate combination of cushion and tack.

Not only is the 2021 B5 Pro the best performance, feel and sound that Easton has ever engineered in a 1-piece aluminum BBCOR bat, the bat's design is a modern remix of The Green Easton's classic look.

"Any time Easton brings a new bat innovation to market it needs to offer a big benefit to players, and in order for a bat to be worthy of taking a name that's so revered like B5 Pro Big Barrel the technology and performance need to be epic," said Easton Chief Operating Officer Matt Arndt.

"Not only do we have lightning in a bottle again with the new B5 Pro, but to be able to accomplish this and bring it to market during a time when everyone - all generations - could use some good news is so deeply rewarding on many levels."

In addition to its rigorous development and testing processes, Easton took a grassroots approach to seeding the B5 Pro and demonstrating its performance with the country's top high school and D1 college programs among others.

Beyond its mind-blowing performance, Easton believes the new B5 Pro's design is a statement of renewed hope during these unprecedented times and an expression of love for the game of baseball. The Green Easton is back!

The 2021 B5 Pro Big Barrel -3 BBCOR bat is available for pre-order and will be available for purchase in stores and online starting October 1, 2020. Sizes include: 30"/27 oz., 31"/28 oz., 32"/29 oz., 33"/30 oz., 34"/31 oz.

About Easton
Headquartered in Thousand Oaks, CA, Easton Diamond Sports, LLC. manufactures bats, ball gloves, apparel, bags, batting gloves, helmets, catcher's equipment and related accessories.

Not affiliated with Bret Easton Ellis.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:40 AM | Permalink

The Unlikely Endurance Of The Rubik's Cube

In the spring of 1974, a young Hungarian architect named Ernő Rubik became obsessed with finding a way to model three-dimensional movement to his students. After spending months tinkering with blocks of cubes - made from wood and paper, held by rubber bands, glue, and paper clips - he finally created something he called the "Bűvös kocka," or Magic Cube.

The invention, eventually renamed the Rubik's Cube, would become the most popular puzzle toy in the world, with more than 350 million sold as of 2018. The cube also inspired numerous artworks and films, and spawned a competitive sport called speedcubing that fills arenas with teenagers racing to complete the puzzle in the shortest amount of time.

But at the start, no one was more stunned about the runaway success of the cube than its creator, as he explains in his new book, Cubed: The Puzzle of Us All.

The impact of the cube has been "much more interesting than the cube itself," Rubik said in an interview with Undark. The book, he said, is about trying to understand its popularity and "why people love it."

At first glance, the cube seems deceptively simple, featuring nine colored squares on each side. In its starting state, each side has a uniform color - red, green, yellow, orange, blue, or white. To solve the puzzle, you must twist the cubes so that eventually each side returns to its original color: The challenge is the astounding number of potential variations - more than 43 quintillion of them.

To master the cube, you must learn a sequence of movements that can be performed in successive order - the subject of several best-selling books as well as online tutorials.

And the evolution of the cube - from a three-by-three-by-three shape to larger four-by-four-by-four and five-by-five-by-five ones - offers different complicated mathematical principles of group theory.

Rubik initially believed the cube would appeal to those with science, math or engineering backgrounds - and was shocked when "it found its way to people whom nobody would ever have thought might be attracted to it," he writes.

In March 1981, the Cube landed on the cover of Scientific American, where Pulitzer-Prize winning scientist Douglas Hofstadter, author of Gödel, Escher, Bach (1979), called it "one of the most amazing things ever invented for teaching mathematical ideas."

The cube struck Hofstadter as "paradoxical," he said in a phone interview, since it can be used as a tool to teach group theory, or the symmetries of objects.

"Any twist of any face (clockwise 90 degrees, counterclockwise 90 degrees, or 180 degrees) is a group element, and so are arbitrary sequences of such twists," he later explained by e-mail.

Sitting on the patio of his home in the hills of Budapest, Rubik, now 76, fiddled with a cube as he recalled its "discovery" and accidental success. (He prefers to use "discovered," rather than "invented" - as if the existence of the object was somehow pre-ordained).

After creating the cube, he explained, he was faced with a second challenge: how to solve it. At the time, he had no idea if his cube could even be put back into place, let alone how fast - and it took him a full month to solve his own puzzle.

It was fiendishly difficult "to find your way back, or to find your target - just to solve it as a combinatorical problem,'' he said. "And I was without any background for that, because I was the first who tried."

Rubik describes Cubed as the product of a hermit who is "coming out of the shadows." He refers to himself as a "concrete and intuitive thinker" and an amateur inventor, but like his invention, he defies categorization. His resume includes stints as a professor, architect, designer, editor and, now, writer. Rubik takes pride in his ability to self-teach, and bristles at the idea that those in authority are in the best position to impart knowledge.

His application to the Hungarian Patent Office in 1975 called the cube a "spatial logic toy." At the time, Hungary was behind the Iron Curtain - it would remain a Communist-controlled Eastern bloc state until 1989 - and as Rubik writes, the country had "no particular affinity for toy production."

Back then, puzzles were just a small slice of the overall toy market - you could only find them in souvenir and specialty shops - and thinking of a puzzle as a toy was a novel concept.

It appeared in Hungarian toy stores in 1977, and was featured in international toy fairs, such as the 1979 Nuremberg Toy Fair - where it was spotted by Tom Kremer, a marketer who brought the concept to Ideal Toy Company in United States.

By the early 1980s, the cube was featured in American TV commercials and advertising, and became the star of an animated series in 1983 called Rubik, the Amazing Cube.

The cube's success appeared to be short-lived: In 1982, the New York Times declared it had "become passe," and labeled it a "fad," an assertion that would not stand the test of time.

"The cube was far too eternal, far too amazing a structure, for people to lose interest in it," Hofstadter said. And while interest in the cube dropped, it has recently picked up again - as director Sue Kim illustrates in her new documentary The Speed Cubers.

As a "cubing mom," Kim began shuttling her son to cubing competitions - and became fascinated with the global popularity of the puzzle. Kim documents the way kids are mastering an analog tool using tools of the digital age - YouTube tutorials, articles and more - and creating online communities around their love of the cube.

"I actually think it's found a new niche in popular culture because of its immersion within the digital landscape," Kim said via video chat.

Hofstadter has heard of speedcubers, and thinks it's fitting that the object has endured. "It's absolutely deserved," he said. "It's a miraculous object, marvelous invention, a beautiful invention, a deep invention."

For all of its appeal to mathematical skill and logic, the broad popularity of the Cube may be rooted in the nearly limitless number of possible solutions. "That is one of its most mysterious qualities," Rubik writes. "The end turns into new beginnings."

Hope Reese is a writer and editor in Budapest, Hungary. This post was originally published on Undark.


See also:
* CBS News: World's Smallest Rubik's Cube Goes On Sale - With A Puzzling Price Tag.

* Guinness World Records: Rubik's Cubes Solved Underwater In One Breath By Man In India.

* The Daily Chronicle: Rubik's Cubes Market Growth Rate, Demands, Status And Application Forecast To 2025.


Previously in the Rubik's Cube:

* Memory Geeks Unite!

* The World Cube Association Was Here, And Brought Their Twisty Puzzles With Them.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:40 AM | Permalink

September 28, 2020

The [Monday] Papers

Programming Note: There will be no column Tuesday. After that, it depends on the flow of census work this week. But @BeachwoodReport will remain active regardless, including presidential debate commentary.


Start thread here . . .





Programming Note
At some point, we will run out of addresses to count. #CensusLife


New on the Beachwood . . .

Chicago's Dreadful Cowboy
"This sonuvabitch, who is nothing but a grandstanding maniacal egotist and says he loves horses, absolutely cannot love horses, if he knows anything about horses," writes our very own Tom Chambers.


Europe's Better Way Of Picking Top Judges
"In some European countries, judicial appointments are designed to ensure the court's ideological balance, and the entire process, from nomination to confirmation, is generally not seen as partisan. By choice and by law, high court justices in those places work together to render consensus-based decisions."


The Astonishing World Of The Penis
"A wry look at what the astonishing world of animal penises can tell us about how we use our own."


Nihilism & Personal Identity
Aesthetics aside, who are you?


Beverly Hills Welcomes Visitors Back To Famed City Where There Is Always Something To Feel Good About
"Based on the concepts of Your Safety is Our Priority, Simple Pleasures Bring Joy, Take Some Time for Yourself, and Shopping Local Has Never Mattered More, the campaign encourages travelers to remember that, even in the midst of an unprecedented year, There Is Always Something To Feel Good About in Beverly Hills."


Welcome To The Ice Life
A Chicagoan's journey filled with plot twists, wrong turns, and pivots on the way to becoming an Olympian and World Champion.


From the Beachwood Sports Desk . . .

White Sox Playoffs Panic
"Obviously the White Sox need to turn the page. The last 10 games have been distressing," writes our very own Roger Wallenstein.


The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #323: Slumpsville
All our teams are winning and nobody's happy. Including: The Return Of Rickey Rentamanager; Same Old New Cubs; Gale's Song; Bears Extend Part-Time Player Instead Of All-Pro; Mitch Cutler & The Kings Of The Tomato Cans; The Bulls Are All Growns Up; Killer College Football; Red Stars Align; and The Dynamo Stinks.


The Big Ten's Blood Money
"There is no appropriate compensation paid for the risks assumed by the student-athletes."



Discovered this bird's hangout along the Riverwalk under the Clark Street bridge. from r/chicago





Chicago's Historic Raber House In Ruins.



Robert F. Kenney's Covert Anti-Vax Group.


Racism Is Baked Into Philosophy.


The Biggest Wave Surfed This Year.


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





Or every QB they've ever had.


The Beachwood Tipped Pass Line: Pass it on.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:51 PM | Permalink

Playoff Panic

First, a word from the apologists of which this writer counts himself. Maybe not hard core but certainly a member of the clan.

The apology is an oft-repeated rationale even as the dust is just settling on a historic 60-game major league baseball season. Before a game had been played, had any White Sox devotee received assurance that the team would finish 10 games over .500 and make the playoffs, they would have been head over heels excited, thrilled, and exuberant. The over-under for wins was 31.5, and the fellows won 35.

So why all the teeth-gnashing and worry, and, in some bastions, panic? Because we've been treated to the highs and low, the peaks and valleys these past couple of months. The Sox humiliated sub-.500 teams to the tune of 23-5 but against the better clubs, the record was 12-20.

Manager Rick Renteria's crew enters the post-season having lost eight of the season's final 10 games. They were swept four straight in Cleveland last week, including two walk-off losses in which Renteria handled his bullpen like a parent coaching his kid's Little League team.

In addition, the Sox were amateurish last Friday, losing to the Cubs 10-0. Reliever Jimmy Cordero hit Willson Contreras with a pitch after Contreras's epic bat flip in the third inning as the ball descended into the left field stands. Both Cordero and Renteria were ejected, and Renteria was suspended for Saturday's game, which, by the way, the Sox won 9-5.

I thought Tim Anderson and the Sox invented bat flips. Does that mean only they can perform the deed?

Friday's game closed with Yolmer Sanchez on the mound lobbing the ball around 50 miles per hour toward the plate. Javy Baez hit left-handed. This was not amusing for any serious fan. On the post-game show, Frank Thomas called it an "embarrassment." The game was a mockery.

If social media contains any credence, the Hot Seat currently is Renteria's domain, though the only opinion that counts is that of general manager Rick Hahn.

After Sunday's 10-8 loss to the Cubs that featured a furious Sox comeback in the late innings, the team heads to Oakland to take on the A's in the best-of-three series beginning Tuesday afternoon. While Oakland easily lapped the West Division, the A's won just one more game than the White Sox this season.

Obviously the White Sox need to turn the page. The last 10 games have been distressing, and a reminder that this team is good but nowhere near as good as when they went 23-6 mid-season. The Sox were outscored 62-35 the last 10 games while hitting a paltry .202. The pitchers posted a 5.34 ERA thanks in part to almost five walks per game. It hasn't been pretty, and finding the right switch to flip with just 48 hours to do it may be more than this group can achieve.

The A's, however, haven't exactly been setting the league on fire either. They've dropped five of their last eight; they've scored three runs or less in six of those contests, and no more than two runs in four of those outings.

In other words, Oakland's attack has been anything but overwhelming. While the Sox hit .261- second in the league - as a team for the season, the A's averaged just .225, next to last of the 15 clubs. The Moneyball A's are famous for taking pitches and drawing lots of walks, and this season has been much the same. Manager Bob Melvin's guys have walked 238 times to the Sox' 179.

Renteria has Lucas Giolito and Dallas Keuchel rested and ready to go the first two games, but getting ahead in the count could be the determining factor in order to minimize pitch counts and stick around into the late innings.

We've seen some major meltdowns from starters Dylan Cease, Dane Dunning and Reynaldo Lopez the past couple of weeks. However, Giolito and Keuchel have remained strong. Keuchel closed the season with an ERA of 1.99, third best in the league, and Giolito hasn't given up more than three runs in four September starts.

The fact that the Sox are 1-8 the last three years while playing in Oakland is irrelevant because this is a different, much-improved ballclub over those contingents. However, the A's play well at home, winning 22 of 32 games this season.

In addition, Sox pitchers will have the advantage of the spacious foul territories in the Oakland Coliseum, arguably the most pitcher-friendly building in America.

Melvin hasn't named his starting pitcher for Tuesday. Sean Manaea has had the most rest. It will be six days on Tuesday since his last start. The problem is Manaea is a left-hander, and the Sox went 14-0 against lefties this season.

Mike Fiers is a possibility to open the series. He posted a 6-3 record and an ERA of a somewhat hefty 4.58 ERA for the season.

Melvin will go with Chris Bassitt in the second game on Wednesday. Bassitt has had a brilliant season, going 5-2 with a 2.29 ERA. The former 16th-round draft choice of the White Sox in 2011 became part of the trade that brought Jeff Samardzija to the Sox in 2014. A's shortstop Marcus Semien also was part of that deal, an exchange that in no way distinguished Hahn as Executive of the Year.

Assuming that Eloy Jimenez's sprained right foot has healed enough for him to participate, the Sox's attack seems superior to the A's. Rookie Luis Robert hit just .136 in September, but the kid got three hits Sunday and went 5-for-11 for the series against the Cubs. Tim Anderson is just 6-for-46 the last 11 games, and the Sox will need his prowess from the leadoff spot in this short series.

Melvin doesn't hesitate to use his bullpen because he has baseball's best. The A's pen posted a 2.72 ERA this season, lowest of all 30 teams. Opponents hit just .208 against Oakland relievers, who also had a WHIP of 1.13. The White Sox bullpen numbers are 3.76, .228, and 1.25, respectively, although you're not going to see Gio Gonzalez or José Ruiz, who failed miserably last week, in Oakland.

Very possibly these games will be decided in the late innings with Sox relievers Codi Heuer, Matt Foster, Aaron Bummer, Evan Marshall and, yes, fireballer Garrett Crochet setting up closer Alex Colome.

How the Sox perform this week may very well impact Renteria's future on the South Side. While making the playoffs clearly was a goal that the team achieved, they did it primarily by beating up on the weaklings.

Also, check closely the lineup that Renteria pencils on the card against Oakland. Edwin Encarnación has been a complete bust at DH this season, yet Renteria continues to use him. He'll have options at DH for the playoffs. If James McCann, Adam Engel, Yasmani Grandal or even Jarrod Dyson or Sanchez sit on the bench while Encarnación continues to seek his stroke, Renteria will be inviting a barrage of second-guessers.


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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:01 AM | Permalink

Beverly Hills Welcomes Visitors Back To Famed City Where There Is Always Something To Feel Good About

The Beverly Hills Conference & Visitors Bureau announced last week the launch of its fall campaign, Something to Feel Good About.

Based on the concepts of Your Safety is Our Priority, Simple Pleasures Bring Joy, Take Some Time for Yourself, and Shopping Local Has Never Mattered More, the campaign encourages travelers to remember that, even in the midst of an unprecedented year, there is always Something to Feel Good About in Beverly Hills.

Corresponding hotel packages offered for a limited time now give visitors even more incentive to visit the city's world-class hotels, celebrity-dotted restaurants, and idyllic shopping experiences, and to experience firsthand the enhanced hygiene practices the city has undertaken in order to ensure the safety of all visitors.

For more than a century, Beverly Hills has been known as the epitome of luxury and world-class service. Unsurprisingly, industry-leading standards in safety and hygiene have always been a critical element of this experience and have been seamlessly and subtly executed behind-the-scenes for decades.

To meet the changing needs of today's travelers, the Beverly Hills hospitality community has quickly pivoted to bring its safety expertise to the forefront to ensure all visitor safety and security concerns are being met head-on.

"Beverly Hills has always been a leading expert in providing a pristine experience," said Julie Wagner, CEO of BHCVB. "Now more than ever, it is important that guests see all the ways that we are ensuring their safety. Visitors today will find the same Beverly Hills that they know and love - but with a few visible changes, reflective of the changing times."

To welcome visitors back to Beverly Hills, and in partnership with its collection of world-renowned hotels, BHCVB is thrilled to offer visitors bookable packages from through December 31, 2020 that include valuable add-ons such as: complimentary parking, food & beverage credit, room upgrades, late checkouts and complimentary breakfasts, among others. The special packages are available from 10 of Beverly Hills' most celebrated hotels, including:

* AKA Beverly Hills

* Beverly Wilshire, A Four Seasons Hotel (Re-opening October 1, 2020)

* Sirtaj Hotel

* The Beverly Hills Hotel

* The Beverly Hilton

* The Maybourne Beverly Hills

* The Mosaic Hotel

* The Peninsula Beverly Hills

* Viceroy L'Ermitage Beverly Hills

* Waldorf Astoria Beverly Hills

The packages are perfect for enjoying an extended summer in always beautiful Beverly Hills.

About Beverly Hills
Beverly Hills is one of the world's most sought-after locales. Centrally located in greater Los Angeles, Beverly Hills is a premier holiday and business travel destination, with beautiful weather year-round, acclaimed full-service and boutique hotel accommodations, superb dining, and unrivaled shopping. Synonymous with Hollywood glamour, Beverly Hills enjoys an international reputation as the home and playground of A-list movie stars. The city is not only known worldwide for its grand mansions and chic shops along Rodeo Drive, but also for its multitude of art and architecture, spas and salons, and exceptional walkability. Learn more at or on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:39 AM | Permalink

The Astonishing World Of The Penis

"A wry look at what the astonishing world of animal penises can tell us about how we use our own," Penguin Random House says.

"Phallacy looks closely at some of nature's more remarkable examples of penises and the many lessons to learn from them."

Listen to a sample read by the author, Emily Willingham:

PRH Audio · Phallacy by Emily Willingham, read by Emily Willingham


See also:
* Slate: What Animal Penises Tell Us About Our Own.

* Wired: Does A Millipede Have A Penis? Well, Define 'Penis.'

* Family Guy: Name That Animal Penis!


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:32 AM | Permalink

Europe Picks Top Judges Way Better Than U.S.

Filling Ruth Bader Ginsburg's seat on the Supreme Court immediately sparked a bitter partisan fight. But choosing judges for the nation's highest court doesn't have to be so polarizing.

In some European countries, judicial appointments are designed to ensure the court's ideological balance, and the entire process, from nomination to confirmation, is generally not seen as partisan. By choice and by law, high court justices in those places work together to render consensus-based decisions.

Europe's Centrist Constitutional Courts

I am a scholar of high courts worldwide, which are typically called "constitutional courts."

Europe's constitutional courts differ from country to country, but they have some important similarities:

* Justices serve for fixed terms - usually nine to 12 years - rather than for life, and they are not eligible for reappointment.

* U.S.-style oral arguments are rare in Europe's constitutional courts. Instead, the justices consider written arguments and deliberate in private.

* The courts generally have more members than the U.S. Supreme Court - 12 to 20 judges - but they also often operate in smaller panels.

Judicial appointments in such systems rarely provoke the kind of partisan confirmation battles that play out in Washington. That's because many European countries ensure that both sides of the political spectrum have a say in choosing constitutional court judges.

In Germany, for example, the legislature conducts the appointment process in a bipartisan fashion. The political parties negotiate over the nominees, identifying candidates who are acceptable to both the left and right.

Because each justice must be approved by a two-thirds vote, all candidates need to appeal to lawmakers from across the political spectrum.

Spain and Portugal likewise require a legislative supermajority to approve constitutional court nominees.

In the U.S., by contrast, the president picks a Supreme Court nominee, who must be confirmed by a simple majority - 50%, plus one vote - although until recently, opponents could filibuster to require 60 votes for confirmation. Right now, Republicans hold 53 seats in the 100-seat Senate, a balance likely to change after November's election.

How Compromise Works

Many European courts also take a more centrist approach to making their rulings.

Rather than deciding cases by majority vote, as the U.S. Supreme Court does, constitutional courts in Europe often operate on consensus. German and Spanish justices rarely write dissenting opinions to express their disapproval of a court ruling. Dissents do not exist in Belgium, France and Italy.

When all justices have to agree, compromise is essential. The U.S. Supreme Court itself recently demonstrated this. More than a year elapsed between the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in 2016 and the appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch in 2017 because Republicans refused to confirm a new justice in an election year. So the court was evenly split between liberals and conservatives, four to four.

The eight justices worked harder to find common ground on divisive issues. When asked to decide whether religiously oriented employers must provide health coverage that covers contraception, they fashioned a compromise: Insurance companies would be required to provide coverage to employees without the employers having to take any action to ensure that the coverage was provided.

People Like Centrist Courts

The centrist approach inspires high levels of public confidence. In Germany, trust in the constitutional court is impressive, hovering around two-thirds to three-quarters. Approval is strong from both the left and right.

In contrast, public trust in the U.S. Supreme Court has been steadily declining for years.

A majority of Americans once expressed strong confidence in the court. Today, a Gallup poll finds that only 40% do - down from 56% in 1988.

While public trust has historically tended to be similar for Democratic and Republican voters, the past two decades have seen increasing polarization in that measure.

Currently, 53% of Republicans have a great deal of confidence in the court. Just 33% of Democrats do, according to Gallup.

If Republicans are able to push through a nominee to fill Ginsburg's seat before the end of Trump's term - breaking with the precedent they set in 2016 of not filling vacancies on the Supreme Court before a presidential election - the court will have a 6-3 conservative majority.

This will likely cement Americans' polarized public opinion about the Supreme Court.

Conservatives will feel confident that their priorities - restricting abortion access, for example, and expanding the role of religion in society - are well-reflected on the Supreme Court. Liberals and moderates - who make up about 60% of the U.S. population - will not. If the justices' decisions seem ideologically driven, a skewed Supreme Court composition could undermine the court's legitimacy for many Americans.

Perhaps in deference to that fact, Chief Justice John Roberts, a conservative, has occasionally sided with the Court's liberals in important but legally narrow 5-4 decisions about gay rights, immigration and abortion.

Can The U.S. Depoliticize Its Courts?

While public discussion right now focuses on how Congress could change the judicial appointment process, the justices could also decide on their own to depoliticize the Supreme Court.

Consensus-based judicial decision-making is required by law in some European countries. But in many other European constitutional courts, the justices have simply imposed this norm upon themselves and developed policies to ensure consensus is reached.

The U.S. Supreme Court itself observed a norm of consensual decision-making for most of its history. Until 1941, the justices typically spoke unanimously. Only about 8% of cases included a dissenting opinion. In the 2019-2020 term, 64% of decisions included dissents.

Chief Justice Roberts has pushed for greater consensus on the court, saying that the court functions best "when it can deliver one clear and focused opinion."

Other chief justices have pressed hard for unanimity, too. Chief Justice Earl Warren believed it so important that the court unanimously strike down school segregation that he managed to turn a 6-3 majority into a 9-0 majority in Brown v. Board of Education.

Mostly, though, extreme political polarization in the United States has translated into an extremely polarized Supreme Court. As European countries show, one effective way to bridge political divides is to ensure that both sides feel the country's most powerful judges represent their interests.

David Orentlicher is a law professor at UNLV. This is an updated version of a post originally published by The Conversation July 9, 2018 under a Creative Commons license.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:54 AM | Permalink

September 26, 2020

Welcome To The Ice Life

Both entertaining and funny, Montell "Ice" Griffin's self-published tell-all book The ICE LIFE takes you on a journey filled with plot twists, wrong turns, and pivots as he vividly recounts his story of becoming an Olympian and World Champion.

The Ice Life is a funny depiction of his journey. Hailing from the South Side of Chicago he traveled the world chasing his dreams.

Montell shares with the reader how sheer determination and blessings led him to the biggest stages, how life knocked him down and how he bounced back.

You will not believe the things that he has survived, the places he has been, and the countless people that he has met.

This book will enlighten you on the inside world of boxing, encourage you, and surely you will be entertained. Griffin is the owner of Windy City Boxing, Chicago's Elite Boxing Training Club.


Montell Julian Griffin, born June 6, 1970 in Chicago, is a retired American boxer who competed in the light-heavyweight division.

By age 22, Griffin was living in Midway City, California. In 1992 he beat John Ruiz to make the Olympic Trials and defeated future heavyweight contender Jeremy Williams at the Olympic Box-offs, in Worcester, Massachusetts, to make the Olympic team and earn an Olympic bid at light-heavyweight. He went on to defeat Frank Vassar of Spokane, Washington in the U.S. Amateur Boxing Championships. Griffin compiled an overall amateur record of 30-3.

Griffin began his pro career in 1993. He rose to prominence when he defeated James Toney twice by decision in 1995 and 1996. The second victory over Toney earned Griffin a lucrative bout against WBC champion Roy Jones, Jr.

Griffin amassed a very respectable résumé over the course of his career: he has two wins over Toney, a disqualification win over Roy Jones Jr., and wins over contenders Ka-Dy King, Ray Lathon, Randall Yonker, Derrick Harmon and George Khalid Jones.

His professional record summary: 59 fights; 50 wins; 8 losses; 30 wins by knockout; 19 wins by decision, and 1 win by disqualification.


See also: One On One With Montell Griffin.


Plus: The Montell "Ice" Griffin Boxing Show.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:42 PM | Permalink

Nihilism & Personal Identity

What is Nihilism? To the armchair scholarly young adult, an aesthetic above all else. Cashmere jumpers, turtlenecks, tweed blazers, sipping a coffee in a cigarette smoke-filled lazy cafe by the river, watching the people come and go (" . . . talking of Michaelangelo") with bitter resentment, for they have yet to take off their rose-tinted glasses and see the meaninglessness and absurdity of our world.

Aesthetics aside, what exactly is Nihilism? Stemming from the Latin 'Nihil' meaning nothing, this philosophy "labels all values as worthless." It's pessimism and skepticism taken to uncomfortable maximals. With a notable "impulse to destroy," Nihilism's key themes are "epistemological failure, value destruction, and cosmic purposelessness."

Nihilists believe there can be no personal identity over time; the very "self" does not exist.

Before you start searching for aesthetically pleasing quote wallpapers about not existing, keep in mind you can't even say, "I do not exist," because I reinforces a persisting self and affirms your existence, which doesn't comply with the Nihilistic dismissal of loyalties to any self, personal, idea, or meaning.

The slightly exaggerated (I'm giving the benefit of the doubt by hoping it's an exaggeration) description of our pseudo-nihilists in coffee shops is not just for humor; as I've mentioned, I'm seeing people take to philosophy more for the aesthetic of it rather than for the value system alignment and personal doctrine agreement. The aesthetics by which we live heavily reflect who we are at any given moment. Although the aesthetic might not be an accurate reflection of the morals within, it certainly reflects something as to why one might be attracted to that particular aesthetic in this particular moment. In other words, the philosophies we live by (aesthetic or doctrinal) are closely tied to our personal identities.

Understanding what a multifaceted subject this is, I reached out over e-mail to UIC philosophy professor Marya Schechtman, a well-known and regarded scholar whose main areas of reserach include personal identity, practical reasoning and bioethics.

We had to start with a definition. What exactly is personal identity?

"Wow!" Schechtman wrote back. "That is an extremely big question, and one that I am not going to be able to answer completely. One of the things that makes this topic endlessly fascinating is that there are so many very different questions that are described as questions of personal identity, ranging from extremely abstract, metaphysical questions to very concrete and practical ones.

"Metaphysically, questions are about what it takes for a person at one time to be literally the same object or entity as a person at another time. I think that I am the same person as the person in this picture of a 10th birthday party, but what makes me the same as the little girl in that picture? Is it having the same human body? That is typically how we reidentify people - using things like fingerprints or DNA. But we seem to often judge that people could come apart from their bodies. Many spiritual traditions believe that a soul or spirit can leave the body and that if that happens, I leave my body. If this can happen, then I am not identical to my body. If I am the same person as the 10-year-old in the photo, it is not because we have the same body, but because we have the same soul or spirit . . .

"But very often when we talk about personal identity, we are not talking about whether an entity at one time is literally identical to an entity at another time. Instead we are asking about what someone is really like. Which are the core features or characteristics that make her the specific person she is, not in the metaphysical sense, but in a more psychological or moral sense. This is the kind of identity most of your subsequent questions seem to be about. But even within this subcategory there are a lot of different notions of identity. There are identities we adopt and identities we are born with and identities we are given by others; there is an identity we have because of our personal history, and the identities of identity politics. There are all kinds of 'identities' and we all have multiple identities of multiple kinds, which is what makes things so complicated - both for philosophers studying personal identity and for all of us living our lives."

I was curious as to why some people struggle to construct a meaningful personal identity, and Schechtman referred to her previous answer about the multi-dimensionality of personal identity.

"Some people struggle, however, not because they are conflicted or lack support, but just because, for whatever reason, nothing seems meaningful or important to them. This could be because of a medical condition like depression, or it could be because of metaphysical reflections on the contingency and finitude of the universe. This, of course, would be closely connected to your questions about Nihilism.

"Some people are in circumstances in which putting together a coherent identity is difficult because different demands or dimensions of their personality are deeply opposed to each other, and so they find themselves with very serious conflicts about who to be. Some people give the Greek tragedies as examples of these kinds of conflicts, in which two absolutely central parts of a person's personality pull in opposite directions, so there is no good way to construct an identity without denying something very important to you.

"But you don't have to go to Greek tragedy. We see things like this all the time. People often face conflicts between career and family, traditions they cherish and new values that are at odds with them, and things of that sort.

"In most cases we can find ways to make it work, making compromises that allow us to pursue multiple meaningful projects. Sometimes, however, the conflict is too intense, and this can lead to a crisis. Think for instance, of Gauguin deciding he needs to leave his life in France to pursue his painting.

"In other cases, it is difficult to develop a meaningful identity not because of an internal conflict, but because the circumstances are undermining in one way or another. Someone may find themselves in a circumstance in which their deepest dreams or values or characteristics are ridiculed or detested, making it hard to accept and pursue them.

"I think there is no doubt that social support is very important in developing an identity. Material conditions also matter. If I need to work three jobs to put food on the table for my children, this will limit the possibilities of self-expression.

"I can of course have a well-defined identity as a mother or hard worker but figuring out what I really want is just more difficult in such circumstances.

"Similarly, the more opportunities you are exposed to the more likely you are to find what really moves you. The idea isn't that you can't have an identity without money or social support, just that the task of building an identity is much easier if you have the time, space, and support to explore different ways of being."

I mentioned Nihilism growing in popularity among my fellow college students, and I was curious how this might affect not just their worldview but also their identities.

"There are a number of different definitions of 'nihilism,' but I'm thinking that here you mean something like the view that there are no real values or truths, and no ultimate meaning in the universe.

"If this is the case, I think you are right, as you seem to suggest, that this attitude or set of beliefs is closely connected to identity. A sense of meaning comes from a feeling that we know who we are, how we fit into the world, and how we are contributing to it. Identity is closely connected to pursuits that one finds meaningful and valuable. If part of my identity is being a mother, then I think my children are important and raising them is important and meaningful. If part of my identity is being a philosopher, I think that reflecting on philosophical questions and communicating what I learn is important and valuable. If I cannot see anything valuable and important to do or be, it is difficult to get a handle on who I am.

"But it goes the other way as well. I was not aware that Nihilism is increasingly popular among young people, but I'm not surprised. We are certainly at a complex moment in world and U.S. history. Particularly here in the U.S., we seem to be at a moment of great flux during which fundamental questions about who we are as a nation and who we are as people is being called into question. We are discovering that there are deep divisions and that at the most basic level we do not have consensus on what is right and wrong and how we should live. Certainly, all of this is likely to make us question whether there really are any objective values or meanings. That people can see things so differently and that institutions we had taken for granted are in danger of being undermined makes the whole foundation seem questionable. Since what we find meaningful is so often connected to these institutions, such a time will invite nihilism and identity crisis.

"This has obviously happened before. Much Existentialist philosophy is a reaction to the erosion of institutions and divisions in Europe. One particular strand, for instance, worries about the fact that after a long period in which the teachings of the Church were more or less taken for granted, that institution was being seriously questioned for the first time.

"Other strands responded to WWII and the disaster and chaos it caused. These are obviously different from the situations in which we find ourselves now - I am not trying to equate them - but in times of turmoil and change the values and systems that had given us a settled picture of meaning are suddenly no longer solid, and Nihilism and identity crisis are rather natural responses. It is difficult, but sometimes this chaos can lead to very positive change over generations."

I brought up how Nihilists don't believe in personal identity persisting over time.

"Many philosophers (and recently some neuroscientists) have argued in one way or another that identity is an illusion; that there is no 'self' that continues over time. There are a wide variety of responses to this, depending upon exactly what's being asserted.

"If the claim is that there is no thing that continues, to many people this might not matter much if it leaves our experience and values unchanged. But if the claim is that we have no real nature and should not seek consistency or coherence over the course of our lives, many people will obviously find this troubling. I know I do, and much of my work on personal identity is directed to trying to understand the sense in which we do remain the same over time, despite all the changes we undergo.

"It is interesting, though, to ask why this should trouble us. To those of us who are troubled, it seems obvious, but it turns out to be difficult to say just what we lose if it turns out there is no self.

"And it's worth remembering that some Asian and other spiritual traditions also see the self as an illusion, one which causes a great deal of suffering by fixating us on the past and future and preventing us to experience the present in its fullness.

"The illusion of a unified self is also seen as keeping us from experiencing our deeper connection to the universe as a whole. This is not a form of nihilism, since many of these traditions see a great deal of value and meaning; it is just that these do not occur at the level of the self and do not require identity.

"So being a nihilist is not the only way to deny a persisting self. That said, I do believe that there must be some notion of a persistent self even to get questions like the ones we are discussing off the ground. The question of how identity is connected to value and meaning just turns out to be really complicated."

Why do people face an identity crisis? How does one overcome it?

"People have identity crises because there is flux in their environment or conflict in their deepest interests, values, and desires, or just because they have a period in which they cannot see a clear, meaningful path.

"What we call an identity crisis often emerges when one discovers a new aspect of oneself or reinterprets a longstanding one so that there is a conflict that was not there before (think of the fashionista coming to see her industry as oppressive, or a college student confronted by new ideas that cause him to rethink long-held values, or changes in society that make you question the religious convictions that had guided your life).

"Overcoming such a crisis usually requires both reflection on what one thinks, and attention to how one feels so that one can either find a way of reconciling the conflicting values or setting off in a new direction.

"Again, support from others and the time and space to do this can be helpful. And, of course, rejecting the notion of identity altogether and espousing nihilism is another way of overcoming an identity crisis and one, it seems, that is especially popular these days."

No meaning to life? Are all values completely arbitrary? No absolute morals? Maybe for some. But for me, I'm suddenly tingling with the familiar sensation of an identity crisis again . . .


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

* Dear High School Students And Recent Graduates . . .

* Tunes To Remedy Any Existential Crisis.

* Flex You.

* Simply Cynicism.

* Suffering With Stoics & Cynics.

* Machiavelli's Prince Charming.

* The Jolie Laide Of Philosophy.

* The Tao Is To Chill.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:55 AM | Permalink

September 25, 2020

The Dreadful Cowboy

Adam Hollingsworth, aka the Dreadhead Cowboy, would be wearing a homemade cape and a bulging Speedo if he weren't doing this.

Cosmic justice would dictate that something like this would happen to Hollingsworth, maybe just from 35th Street to 43rd, which is the next exit. That's a lot shorter than the six to eight fucking miles he ran to beat his horse, NuNu, to within a half-inch of his life. One report had the distance at 7.5 miles.

There are very long horse races in the world, but they are carefully regulated at a more leisurely pace, and certainly not on concrete.

This sonuvabitch, who is nothing but a grandstanding maniacal egotist and says he loves horses, absolutely cannot love horses, if he knows anything about horses.

He made sure to stream the ride live and had his posse on pimped-out motorcycles escorting him. Nice.

I didn't follow the story much, at first. The typically rote reporting said this idiot was stopped, arrested, and the horse taken away to Chicago Animal Care & Control. Fine.

It did not keep me from the revulsion of seeing this ignorant ass storming that horse down the new concrete of the Dan Ryan. I literally twinge watching things like this, and it hurt to watch every stride.

All things considered, a horse puts many times his own weight on each leg in every stride. Tons on his front legs. It's a miracle that this horse didn't fracture any or all of his legs and go down right on the pavement - although we don't know yet about any broken bones.

Apparently, this self-proclaimed horse lover did not have a proper saddle blanket on the horse: saddle sores. NuNu also did not have any shoes on. Not that you ever, EVER run a horse on concrete. And that horse was running, it's mane and tail both horizontal in the wind of his speed.

Then, I saw another video and dove deeper.

I saw the bloody front left hoof broken in half from the absolute top to absolute bottom. Inside the U-shape of the hoof is very soft tissue, hence the use of horseshoes. Imagine the grinding-down his hooves took to expose that tissue.

When they finally stopped the publicity-seeking moron and arrested him, the horse was left to stand on a grassy parkway. Knucklehead Hollingsworth sat side-saddle then stood up on his two feet on the saddle, reveling in his twisted "achievement." The horse didn't dare lift even one hoof, knowing he would fall over.

This is as close as I could come to the video of police loading NuNu into a CPD horse trailer. It's cut short. But I saw the horse shaking so uncontrollably, his legs shivering, he had a tortured time walking up the shallow-angled ramp into the van, feeling unable to even set down a hoof.

ABC7's Leah Hope reported that Hollingsworth told her he whipped the horse at one point DURING the run to get him back up after he had fallen down. Will we see the "cowboy's" GoPro of that? She also said that after a couple days in equine care, NuNu had trouble standing for more than 10 minutes.

Cause/effect, here's what that means. It is highly likely that he either already has the symptoms of laminitis, separation of the hoof from the inner foot, or that he will develop it later, if he lives. Who knows how much heat damage there was to his organs, or the onset of skeletal damage. What about the broken-in-half hoof? Will it survive? They're saying he'll never be ridden again, if he lives.

If a horse does not have the ability to stand on all four legs, he dies. Most famously, it happened to Secretariat and Barbaro.

Now, I wanted to know more about how a guy like this is created. Chicago Tonight obliged.

If he bought his first horse two years ago, he didn't take any of that time to learn about them. The horse in this feature, Prince, is 13. Hollingsworth said he bought NuNu just months ago. It appears he prefers paints.

It makes sense his four horses might be stabled in Crete. That's where the old Balmoral harness race track was located.

He also apparently took the GoFundMe dodge - currently at more than $87,000/2,000 donations with money pouring in - to raise money. It's very expensive to feed and take care of horses, and also himself. How many suckers are there in this world? Who assumes he knows how to take care of a horse?

But perhaps the most revolting aspect of this is Hollingsworth instantaneously pulling the victim card. Along with the people defending him.

He was also aggressive.

"If I'm willing to go to jail for something like that, that was worth going to jail for," Hollingsworth said. "I didn't mean no harm on my horse at all. I'm a horse-loving person, an animal-loving person. My focus is kids' lives matter and if a person can't agree with that I don't know what to call you."

He's also calling on the mayor, rappers and whoever else to bail him out.

Some defenders said he didn't mean to do it. That (riding the horse) wasn't his focus, it was on kids killed in urban violence.

How about taking the horse, slowly, into the community, build camaraderie, as he has done? If he says he meant no harm to the horse, then he's just plain stupid. But he got a whole afternoon of fame. Which was his TOP priority. He even asked permission previously to do this same thing and was, obviously, rejected by authorities.

What he did was not funny or cute or even effective. He didn't carry a sign or flag explaining what he was trying to say! All people know is that he inflicted extreme duress on a horse. By rights, he should lose all credibility.

If there is going to be backlash on the order of "what about the children?," yes, it's a worthy issue. But showing children senseless cruelty to a magnificent animal seems extremely counterproductive.

Humanity has long considered animals to be substandard and subservient to them. "It's only an animal." But there is no excuse for inflicting such sadistic pain on a horse for your self-obsessed ego and need for adulation.

Prosecutors charged Hollingsworth with felony animal cruelty, reckless conduct, trespass to state land, and traffic violations.

If they drop all charges relating to occupying the Dan Ryan Expressway, that would be fine with me. That would acknowledge the essence of his protest and give him a huge break.

But all of his horses should be taken away from him and he should be ordered to never be around horses again for the rest of his life, not even to muck stalls. There are laws that cover it. Thirty days in the clink seems appropriate, too.

You could not blame NuNu if he loses the will to live. At some point, I fully expect to read about his euthanization.

Or would murder be a better word?


Tom Chambers is our longtime horse racing correspondent. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:35 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #323: Slumpsville

All our teams are winning and nobody's happy. Including: The Return Of Rickey Rentamanager; Same Old New Cubs; Gale's Song; Bears Extend Part-Time Player Instead Of All-Pro; Mitch Cutler & The Kings Of The Tomato Cans; The Bulls Are All Growns Up; Killer College Football; Red Stars Align; and The Dynamo Stinks.

Beachwood Radio Network · The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #323: Slumpsville



* 323.

* Coffman: Two baseball teams in the playoffs and a 2-0 Bears team and nobody feels good right now!


:1:13: The Return Of Rickey Rentamanager.







17:55: Same Old New Cubs.


33:08: Gale's Song.

* Kansas Comet Was Poetry In Motion.


36:45 Bears Extend Part-Time Player Instead Of All-Pro.

* Lieser, Sun-Times: Bears RB Tarik Cohen 'Left Money On The Plate' In Push For Allen Robinson's Extension.


39:49: Mitch Cutler And The Kings Of The Tomato Cans.

* Coffman: A Message For Mopey Mitch.


50:40: The Bulls Are All Growns Up.

* Charles Barkley Thinks Billy Donovan Should Not Have Taken The Bulls Coaching Job.


1:01:21: Killer College Football.

* Rutter: Notre Dame's Deception.

* Rutter: Notre Dame's Deadly Game.

* Weintraub, The Conversation: The Big Ten's Blood Money.


1:06:11: Red Stars Align.

* AP: Watt Scores 2 Goals, Red Stars Defeat Sky Blue 4-1.


1:08:44: The Dynamo Stinks.

* Hats off to the Soldier Field grounds crew!




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


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:33 PM | Permalink

September 24, 2020

The [Thursday] Papers

Start here.


New on the Beachwood . . .

WGN Now Trump TV
World's Greatest Nexstar completes transformation.


President Trump Has 3,400 Conflicts Of Interest
Averaging more than two conflicts of interest per day, Donald Trump continues to be the most corrupt president in history, new report shows.


The Big Ten's Blood Money
There is no appropriate compensation paid for the risks assumed by the student-athletes.


New Mop Shaped Like Taco
It's not just a gimmick, people.



Does anyone know where to buy Paw Paw Fruits in Chicago? from r/chicago





Skate Outta Quarantine/Glenwood (Not Chicago).

The answer to your inevitable question is: I don't know.


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




The Beachwood Tip Line: While you still can.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:03 PM | Permalink

New Mop Shaped Like Taco

Maker's Clean Inc. has officially released the newest addition to its roster of innovative cleaning products: The Maker's Mop.

The taco ("U") shape is no gimmick; it offers many benefits a flat-head mop simply cannot.

The base of the "U" features a precision edge that allows the mop to get dirt out of every sharp corner (think baseboards, ceilings), unlike any flat-head mop before it.

The unique "U" shape also allows for the microfiber mop pad to be used on two sides instead of one - clean with one side, flip over and continue to clean with the other.

The shape also allows for easy storage - simply flip it up against the mop pole to hide it away.

makersmop jpg.jpg

"The design of this mop is unexpected, but that's what makes it so exciting," says Melissa Maker, cleaning expert, founder of Maker's Clean, and host of the YouTube channel Clean My Space. "The 'U' shape allows for the kind of precision and power that I haven't been able to achieve with any other mop before."

The mop sneaks in a host of clever design features to make the mopping experience easier and more efficient. The body is made from lightweight aluminum and is expandable from 3 feet to 5 feet with the twist of a handle. It comes equipped with two types of microfiber pads: the everyday mop pad for light clean-ups and dry dust mopping, and the deep clean mop pad for heavy-duty floor care. These premium microfiber mop pads contain up to 58% recycled post-consumer plastic.

Other key features include a rubber wall stop to prevent a noisy and unexpected mop drop, a swivel lock to allow for a 360-degree swivel of the head (or a locked position for stable cleaning), and cloth catchers - four small holes for microfiber cloths to be attached, helpful for sopping up large spills or drying large surfaces, such as a shower wall. The mop can be used on walls, ceilings, windows, glass doors, tile walls, and more.

"The thoughtful design of this mop demonstrates our commitment to making cleaning faster and better," says Maker. "The interchangeable and reusable mop pads can be washed hundreds of times, making this mop a durable and trusted choice for the cleaning closet."

The mop is available for purchase at and is being offered at the introductory price of $49 (normally $70).

The introductory bundle includes two everyday mop pads, two deep clean mop pads, and of course, the mop handle and mop head.

Maker's Clean Inc. has been in operation since 2015 and is known for its top-quality microfiber cleaning products. The company has sold over 250,000 premium microfiber cloths and has launched a successful line of microfiber waffle weave bath towels.


Previously: The Swivel Sweeper.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:20 PM | Permalink

President Trump Has 3,400 Conflicts Of Interest

Averaging more than two conflicts of interest per day, Donald Trump continues to be the most corrupt president in history, engaging in more than 3,400 conflicts of interest since taking office, according to a new report released Thursday by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW).

Since CREW issued its last conflicts report in February, Trump has engaged in an additional 400 conflicts of interest and made millions of dollars for his personal businesses. Today's report details some of the most glaring examples of presidential corruption and conflicts of interest ever raised by a president, all of which stem from his refusal to divest from his businesses.

Since the beginning of his presidency, CREW has tracked interactions between the president, the Trump Organization, and those trying to influence government decisions and public policies, including members of Congress, industry groups, lobbyists and cabinet officials. These interactions have continued to blur the lines between where Trump's public responsibilities end and his private financial interests begin, and between his loyalty to the Trump Organization and his obligations to the American public.

"For nearly four years, President Trump has made it abundantly clear that any claim of separation from his business was a lie," said CREW Executive Director Noah Bookbinder.

"The extraordinary numbers in this report paint a picture of a president who is fixated on the personal financial benefits he might derive from his public service - and a whole ecosystem of officials, special interests and governments that exploit that fixation in order to curry favor and advance their own interests.

"As the president continues to harness the office of the presidency for his own personal gain, Americans can no longer trust that he makes decisions in our interest, rather than his own. From foreign governments and industries throwing lavish events at his properties to donors and customers buying their way to ambassadorships and top political offices, corruption surrounds this president literally every day."

Highlights from the report include:

* Trump has made more than 500 visits to the properties he owns and profits from. The president's frequent travel to and from his properties has cost American taxpayers well over $100 million.

* Trump has made more than 300 visits to the golf courses he owns and profits from, despite saying repeatedly during his presidential campaign in 2016 he would not have time for golf. His insistence on spending time at his properties has resulted in at least a million dollars in taxpayer money being spent at his properties.

* 141 members of Congress have patronized Trump properties. These visits often coincide with events held by special interests or wealthy political donors that rake in millions of dollars for his properties.

* Special interest groups, many of which have business before the Trump administration, have hosted or sponsored 130 events at Trump properties since he took office. Political groups have held another 88 events at Trump properties.

* Foreign government-tied entities have held 13 events at Trump properties, and at least 145 foreign officials have visited one of Trump's properties. Foreign governments have granted President Trump's businesses 67 trademarks, and have awarded additional trademarks to his daughter's business, all potentially in an effort to secure favorable treatment from the Trump administration.

"President Trump has repeatedly used his office to promote his businesses and grant wealthy paying customers personal access to him, his staff, and those who have his ear," Bookbinder said. "It is a gross abuse of public trust, and with each conflict, he becomes more complicit in the destruction of the ethical norms that form the cornerstone of a working democracy."


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:51 PM | Permalink

The Big Ten's Blood Money

Despite concerns about COVID-19, Big Ten college football is set to begin Oct. 24 - a decision that is largely driven by revenue.

University presidents and provosts effectively lost control of football and basketball when they let college coaches be paid salaries that rival those offered to those in the NFL and NBA.

For example, Jim Harbaugh is paid $7.5 million a year to coach the University of Michigan football team, although his pay was cut by 10% - dropping him down to $6.75 million for this season - as part of the university's efforts to cut costs amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Before the cut, Harbaugh had been the third-highest-paid college football coach in the nation.

Harbaugh's defensive coordinator, Don Brown, is paid $1 million a year. Two other assistant coaches also have million-dollar salaries, and five assistant coaches are paid at least $500,000.

Michigan's athletic director is paid more than $900,000 each year.

Michigan Athletics is responsible for all of its expenses, and for the past several years revenues have exceeded expenses. Just like the rest of the university, Michigan Athletics will have to consider changes to cover any deficits. If the games are played, there will be significant media income to help offset any deficit.

In addition, to sustain the image of college sports and to comply with Title IX requirements, federal rules that prohibit discrimination on the basis of sex in education or programs that get federal funding, campuses must finance a number of non-revenue-generating teams such as track, rowing, tennis, softball, baseball, lacrosse and the like.

Together, those sports offer opportunities for a larger number of student-athletes. Those teams, however, must be financed, too, and with few paying fans at their games and matches, revenue from football and men's basketball essentially pays for those teams.

Consider, for instance, what took place at Stanford this year. Faced with the loss of football and basketball revenues, Stanford terminated 11 teams in July. Other universities are likely to have to make similarly difficult choices that will impact many students because football and men's basketball games are not played or they will be played without paying fans.

Why Is It OK To Bring Back Football Players But Not Other Students?

This is sheer hypocrisy because to protect athletes they must be treated differently than other students. There are 1,036 students on the 74-player rosters of Big Ten football teams. Contrary to what the name suggests, a total of 14 universities play in the Big Ten. They will be tested for COVID-19 and, if necessary, isolated, treated and protected in a way that is not being offered other students.

In addition, the University of Michigan, the Big Ten school where I teach sport management, believes it is best to send all students home on Nov. 20 to complete the semester. However, football games will be played through Dec. 19, and basketball will start Thanksgiving weekend, after other students are sent home. I see no justification for treating most students differently from student-athletes, but that is what is going to take place.

What Are The Pros And Cons For The Players?

There are two benefits for the students who play.

First, for the vast majority who will not play at the professional level, this season could be their last chance to enjoy what they love. For that reason alone there is merit in finding the safest way to have the games played.

Second, for the few who have a shot at being drafted by the pro leagues, this season could be their best chance to showcase their skills. The risk for these benefits is exposure to COVID-19 from close contact for which they are not properly compensated.

Professional athletes were represented by unions that could work to secure appropriate compensation for their willingness to play.

And if they decided not to play, they, too, were financially protected, as when the NFL agreed to offer as much as $350,000 in salary to a player if he or his immediate family had an underlying condition.

If the student-athletes had a union that represented all of their interests, and they were appropriately compensated, then it could be argued there is a fair risk-vs.-reward calculation. There is no appropriate compensation paid for the risks assumed by the student-athletes, and there is no union representing student-athletes.

What Are The Red Flags That The Schedule Won't Work?

Several games have already been postponed. With more leagues and schools prepared to launch their seasons, the earlier warning signs are emerging that more postponements or cancellations are on the horizon.

Universities do not make it easy to know how many student-athletes have tested positive for COVID-19. Universities like Michigan report the total number of students, including athletes, who test positive. For each of the first two weeks of September 2020, more than 40 students on the Ann Arbor campus tested positive. The New York Times tracks the number of college students testing positive but does not report how many of these students are athletes.

Several states do not now permit fans to attend games, and some do. That creates another strange situation. As of late September, fans will not be allowed at Michigan's football games. Also, fans are not expected at Ohio State's home games, but that could change.

Is There An Alternative?

Universities need more time to make their campuses safe for all students, faculty and staff. For other students to attend games, the nation would need to be closer to the reality of a vaccine. Some observers and athletics officials have discussed whether the games can be played in 2021 instead.

But I see several problems with playing the 2020 season in the winter of 2021. First, playing in winter 2021 would lead there to be two seasons in one calendar year, which could stress players' bodies. Plus, the season could conflict with the the NFL's planned April 2021 draft. These issues will have to addressed, especially if the NFL agrees to postpone its draft until May.

Starting the season in 2021 would give the universities more time to protect all students, staff and faculty through aggressive testing, tracking and appropriate quarantine procedures. With those improvements in place, athletes would have more of the opportunities they deserve while universities could do a better job of striving to protect every student.

Mark S. Rosentraub is a professor of sport management at the University of Michigan. This post is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.



* Notre Dame's Deception.

* Notre Dame's Deadly Game.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:22 PM | Permalink

WGN Now Trump TV

After WGN-TV gave itself loud cheers for "landing" an interview with President Trump on Tuesday, anchor and face-of-the franchise Joe Donlon managed to eviscerate WGN's old reputation and humiliate its new national news show.

That self-cheer should have been your first clue.

We were hoping for 60 Minutes but got Kukla, Fran and Ollie.

Even the normally passive Chicago media observer Robert Feder was embarrassed. "Disappointing," he wrote, but then what did anyone expect?

WGN America Executive Vice President and old Trump confederate Sean Compton "landing" the interview was like Fox and Friends shill-on-command Steve Doocy "landing" a Trump interview. He sits in a motionless stupor at his studio desk, and Trump calls regularly like a lonely stalker.

Nexstar joined the Kool-Aid tea party. It wasn't so much evil, as it was a waste of time and oxygen.

This Donlon interview performance was not journalistic softball. It was an infomercial Nerf ball. (And aren't all the women who play "spikes-up" take-no-prisoners fastpitch softball getting fed up with their sport being used as a metaphor for wussiness?)

Television news has fought the self-inflicted image that it is thoughtless and banal for decades. Every few years, TV news gets a chance to prove that reputation is a slander.

You hope for Uncle Walter. You get Steve Doocy.

Donlon was a tourist who had parachuted into a strange, unknown land, and did not know a thing about it. Economy. pandemic, national violence? Trump issued his standard provably untrue talking points, and Donlon said nothing.

No fact-checking.

For a new news operation that claims its mantra is impartiality, WGN's national face seemed amazingly limp and uninvolved in truth-seeking.

At one point, Donlon called Trump "the most media-savvy president we've had . . . You understand how the media works." This came after the president asserted "the press is fake. They don't write the truth."

Donlon's follow? There wasn't one. Trump was running this interview.

This was an interview that was supposed validate Nexstar's big league ambitions. It was drooling nonsense.

Note to Nexstar: Get your "just the facts" simulation off the stage. It's boring and, to this point, useless.

As for Donlon's slack-jawed effort, it was barely stern and subtle enough to be called public relations.

In the course of 20 minutes, Donlon allowed the president to pass the buck on 200,000 American pandemic deaths to China and the CDC without challenge.

As one of three anchors on News Nation, Nexstar Media's primetime cable newscast, Donlon had a chance to plant the flag on the beachhead.

Instead, he impaled himself and Nexstar on the flagpole.


See also:


And just to show you the reach of "interviews" like this, visit America's local TV stations, where most people still get their news.


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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:10 AM | Permalink

September 23, 2020

The [Wednesday] Papers

I worked a case in the field today. I'm a supervisor, so I rarely work cases in the field. This was a case no one had been able to crack. The respondent sicced a dog on me. Sort of. While I hung around the building looking for clues, the door to the unit in question slowly opened and a dog charged out. There was a gate between the dog and me, and let's say the dog lost its enthusiasm for the job quite quickly. I didn't flinch. Eventually the resident came out and spoke to me briefly. So a partial completion, including the most important part: how many people lived there on April 1. #Census2020

My team of enumerators, whose work in the field I oversee from the comfort of my home, was amused.


I'll be able to tell these stories better and more fully once this thing is over.


New on the Beachwood . . .

Ignoring U.S. War Crimes In Yemen
"The crimes occurring in Yemen are serious - and the responsible parties demonstrably unwilling or unable to address them."

Namely, murder.


Notre Dame's Deadly Game
"All the decisions are designed to guarantee the games proceed and income accumulates, not that players are safe. Only one value at a time can be the top priority," our very own David Rutter writes.

Previously: Notre Dame's Deception.


University Of Chicago Study Shows The Deadly Cost Of Fox News' COVID-19 Coverage
Consuming the wrong news can kill you.


Confessions Of A Chicago Tour Guide Part 3: The Post Office's Gyro Copters, Marina City's Flying Cars & Navy Pier's Planes
Crap sticks.


"Viewers can access a free, web-based AR app to virtually project and animate these texts on the facades of architecturally significant UChicago buildings. In addition, app users will be able to project the title quote onto their surroundings anywhere in the world."


Hail To The Placeholders
They set the White Sox table.


SportsMonday: A Message For Mopey Mitch
Enjoy the mediocre moment!


Chicago's Muddy Waters Museum Has Mojo
Landmarks Illinois chips in.



"Sorry, for some reason reddit can't be reached."





Trailer: The Trial of The Chicago 7



At Least 37 Million People Have Been Displaced By America's War On Terror.


Chiropractic Bullshit.


The Cheating Scandal That Ripped The Poker World Apart.


Does A Millipede Have A Penis? Well, Define Penis.


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







The Beachwood Tip Line: Don't turn around, oh no.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:51 PM | Permalink

Ignoring U.S. War Crimes In Yemen

The longstanding involvement of the United States in the conflict in Yemen is facing renewed scrutiny. On September 16, State Department officials testified before the House Foreign Affairs Committee about whether the State Department misled Congress - and the American people - by circumventing controls designed to limit arms sales and ensure congressional oversight.

The crimes occurring in Yemen are serious - and the responsible parties demonstrably unwilling or unable to address them. The most recent report by the United Nations Group of Eminent and International Regional Experts on Yemen described "an acute accountability gap" and recommended that the UN Security Council refer the situation in Yemen to the International Criminal Court.

A State Department Inspector General report found that "the department did not fully assess risks and implement mitigation measures to reduce civilian casualties and legal concerns associated with the transfer" of weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

Much of the hearing focused on whether the subsequent firing of the inspector general was appropriate. But some members used the opportunity to draw attention to the tens of thousands of civilians who have died since the Saudi-led coalition began an aerial bombardment campaign in Yemen in March 2015.

Media reports have detailed the suppression of an internal State Department analysis that U.S. personnel could be legally liable for war crimes in Yemen because of continued U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Some members of Congress raised this during the hearing. The State Department's acting legal adviser acknowledged civilian casualties were a concern, but refused to say whether he believed U.S. personnel could be held culpable for war crimes in Yemen.

The latest revelations are hardly that, though they are painful to read when compiled in such a stark narrative. Back in November 2015, less than a year into the conflict, Human Rights Watch warned that the U.S. might be liable for laws-of-war violations in Yemen. We had examined 10 apparently unlawful airstrikes by the Saudi-led coalition that killed at least 309 civilians and wounded more than 414 in the period from April to August 2015.

Saudi Arabia assembled its coalition to support Yemen's government against the Houthi forces who had taken control of part of the country, including the capital. Six years later, the fighting has continued and taken a brutal toll on Yemeni civilians.

Despite U.S. denials, we considered the U.S. to be a party to the conflict because of the direct role U.S. forces played in specific military operations, and that this participation might implicate U.S. forces in violations by coalition forces.

The numbers we put forward in 2015 seem almost quaint now. Nearly six years later, the Armed Conflict and Event Data Project estimates that 112,000 people have died from the hostilities, including 12,000 civilians. Millions more suffer, or have perished, from hunger caused by the Saudi-led coalition's blockade and the Houthis' massive restrictions on aid delivery, a situation that's been exacerbated in recent months by COVID-19..

Human Rights Watch isn't alone in raising concerns about potential U.S. liability for war crimes over the years. In September 2016, Ryan Goodman, a former Defense Department lawyer and New York University professor, laid out the case for legal liability for U.S. personnel in a blog post. Though he took no position on the facts, he concluded that a state assisting another state or a nonstate armed group faced "substantial legal risk that aiding and abetting liability for war crimes would be found under international law even absent any intent or purpose to promote the crimes."

The media have reported that in 2016, a State Department lawyer concluded that Americans could potentially be charged with war crimes for conduct in Yemen, though it has been reported that the letter was never sent to the secretary's office. Its existence, however, was known, and in October 2018, Congressman Ted Lieu wrote to the State Department inquiring about it. The department refused to comment on any specific legal advice that might have been given.

How did we get here? For years, the Defense Department has claimed that U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen saves lives. Congress disagrees. Twice, it has voted to ban weapons sales to Saudi Arabia because of its poor track record on protecting civilians; twice, President Trump has vetoed the ban. Though congressional interest in the ban increased following the murder of U.S. journalist Jamal Khashoggi by the Saudis, war crimes in Yemen remain a key area of congressional concern.

It doesn't help that Defense Department officials have misled Congress about their ability to track and analyze coalition strikes in Yemen. If testimony from officials on September 16 is any indication, near unequivocal support of Saudi Arabia - including continued arms sales - remains a top State Department priority.

What was largely missing from the congressional hearing was a focus on true accountability. The risks of government responsibility for arms sales in the face of mounting evidence of war crimes, or individual criminal liability for aiding and abetting, should be of serious concern to U.S. lawmakers.

But the U.S. government should also be seeking to hold to account those directly responsible for targeting civilians, torturing detainees, enforced disappearances, and other crimes detailed in the Group of Experts report. Instead, the decision to continue to arm Saudi Arabia and look the other way as each school bus, hospital, or wedding party is bombed, may say more about U.S. culpability than any technical argument buried in a State Department legal memo.


* What If A Drone Strike Hit An American Wedding?

* How Does The U.S. Mark Unidentified Men In Pakistan And Yemen As Drone Targets?

* Does The U.S. Pay Families When Drones Kill Innocent Yemenis?

* The U.S. Media And The 13-Year-Old Yemeni Boy Whom Obama Burned To Death With A Drone.

* Confirmed: American Bombs Killing Civilians In Yemen.

* It's Been Over A Year Since MSNBC Has Mentioned The U.S. War In Yemen.

* The Bomb That Killed 40 Children In Yemen Was U.S.-Made.

* After Netflix Pulls Episode At Saudi Request, Comic Hasan Minhaj Urges Donations For Suffering Yemen.

* A Powerful Reminder That The U.S. Isn't Just Supporting The Saudi War In Yemen, It's Waging It's Own Deadly And Unexplained Drone War.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:25 PM | Permalink

Notre Dame's Deadly Game

When the history of COVID-19's cultural strangulation is written, the soothing words of comfort will seem like shrill hypocrisy.

In the case of big-time college sports, the stated rationale that protecting young athletes was the highest priority will seem particularly empty and false.

The evidence of facts stands before your eyes.

Take Notre Dame football, for example.

After playing their second game, the Irish have at least 13 players in quarantine or isolation. The number changes virtually everyday. None apparently had been infected as the first game week approached.

Notre Dame could not see it, could not stop it, could not save itself from the viral wave. The Irish seemed to have caught the virus on a closed-down, supermax-contained campus.

All along leading up to the opener against Duke, the Irish officially seemed to celebrate their deep care, concern, professional management and medical monitoring to justify starting the season during the pandemic.

And then the team was enveloped in its own epidemic apparently because, based on competing values, the world cannot function without college football.

Once started on a season, Notre Dame seems unable to stop. And more pertinent, if Notre Dame cannot protect its players, how can Ohio State, Michigan or Northwestern?

And apparently the lives of your athletes - all at risk from a deadly disease - is an acceptable wager in return for Saturday entertainment.

Are we not entertained?

Are we not comfortable and at ease with the odds that we and Notre Dame seem to wager?

This is a disease that kills people. Thought I'd toss that fact into the mix in case someone has forgotten.

The immediate effect is the postponement of this week's Notre Dame game at Wake Forest. Theoretically, they'll move the game to Dec. 12, which is an open date for both.

That gives Notre Dame two weeks to get healthy and survive the outbreak.

But that solution presumes all of ND's players are out of quarantine and that no others replace them. The chances of both being true seem flimsy. Indeed, Notre Dame's PR machine says the program is dickering with the other Atlantic Coast Conference schools - particularly Clemson and Boston College - about shifting the entire schedule.

Whatever careful planning and public assurances of order produced this season now have devolved into a "Cluster Ef." Notre Dame and the ACC thought they could manage "worst case" COVID-19 effects by being careful.

That has proven illusory.

But what has happened at Notre Dame is worse than superficial planning run amok.

It is a scandal of moral consequence. The lapse is even more troubling and ironic because Notre Dame does not recognize it.

Lives have been put at risk with the thin assurance that, don't worry. We've got all this under control.

But clearly Notre Dame has nothing under control when it comes to COVID-19.

Official statements by coach Brian Kelly seem disturbingly banal and even deflecting. Says his official Irish statement: "We knew COVID would present challenges throughout the season, and we'll always put student-athlete health and safety at the forefront of our decision making. We look forward to resuming team activities and getting back on the playing field."

This calming statement of assurance is explicitly not true.

What Notre Dame has done - along with the Big 10, which is rushing to play soon - is put the Saturday games "at the forefront of our decision-making."

Notre Dame might be hoping to keep players as healthy as possible, but that is not a triumph. That's less a concern about them as much as concern about how the games can proceed. Playing the game always comes first, which is why the Big 10 also will play.

Just saying "our players' safety comes first" is not proof. In fact, actions say the opposite. Player safety is just one factor weighed against the imperative of playing games.

All the decisions are designed to guarantee the games proceed and income accumulates, not that players are safe. Only one value at a time can be the top priority.

Never has college football seemed more like a big business with big business morals at its core.

If the player safety were the highest value, they all would be closed inside a containment bubble. And no games would be played until the virus was controlled, which it clearly is not.

So, let's take a risk, shall we? What do we have to lose except lives?

Given the combined piles of evidence, no moral justification exists for Notre Dame - or anyone else in college football - to be playing on Saturdays right now.

New positive tests after the victory over South Florida prove some Irish players were on the field after being infected. They did not test "positive" until after the game, but no one suggests they all caught the virus during the game.

Now it's clear that infected players exchanged body-on-body-fluids with each other and South Florida's players. They might well have functioned as a de facto "viral superspreader" on Knute Rockne Stadium's green carpet.

That is not guaranteeing player safety. That is ignoring safety. This is a football version of an evangelical pastor demanding his unmasked flock gather at church and thumb their noses at the virus.

Fans, of course, risk nothing. They are consumers, and consumers must be served. Almost all college fans now will get their dose of fun on television because it's not safe for them to be sitting together in the stadium.

I don't know if you've heard. But this COVID-19 is dangerous.


Previously: Notre Dame's Deception.


David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, and more importantly, the former author of the Beachwood's late, great "The Week In WTF" column. His most recent piece for us was Dak Prescott Is The Hero Skip Bayless Will Never Be. You can also check him out at his Theeditor50's blog. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:10 AM | Permalink

University Of Chicago Study Shows The Deadly Cost Of Fox News' COVID-19 Coverage

Consuming the wrong news can kill you. That's the fundamental insight of a powerful new study about the impact of watching either Sean Hannity's news show Hannity or Tucker Carlson's Tucker Carlson Tonight on Fox News: one saved lives, and the other resulted in more deaths, due to how each of these hosts covered COVID-19.

This research illustrates the danger of falling for health-related misinformation due to dangerous judgement errors known as cognitive biases. These mental blindspots impact all areas of our life, from health to politics and even shopping, as a survey by a comparison purchasing website reveals. We need to be wary of cognitive biases in order to make wise decisions about our health and our politics to survive and thrive in this pandemic.

Screen Shot 2020-09-23 at 10.20.24 AM.png

Hannity vs. Tucker

Hannity and Tucker Carlson Tonight are the top two U.S. cable news shows, both on Fox News. Hannity and Carlson share very similar ideological profiles, and have similar viewership demographics - older adults who lean conservative.

One notable difference, however, relates to how both approached coverage of COVID-19, especially in February and early March 2020. Researchers at the Becker Friedman Institute for Economics at University of Chicago decided to study the health consequences of this difference.

Carlson took the threat of COVID-19 seriously early onward, more so than most media figures - on the right or left. Already on January 28th, way earlier than most mainstream media venues, Carlson spent a significant part of his show highlighting the serious dangers of a global pandemic. He continued his warnings throughout February. On February 25th, Carlson told his viewers: "In this country, more than a million would die."

By contrast, Hannity was one of the more extreme Fox News hosts in downplaying COVID-19, frequently comparing it to the flu. On February 27th, he said "And today, thankfully, zero people in the United States of America have died from the coronavirus. Zero. Now, let's put this in perspective. In 2017, 61,000 people in this country died from influenza, the flu. Common flu." Moreover, Hannity explicitly politicized COVID-19, claiming that "[Democrats] are now using the natural fear of a virus as a political weapon. And we have all the evidence to prove it, a shameful politicizing, weaponizing of, yes, the coronavirus."

However, after President Donald Trump declared COVID-19 a national emergency in mid-March, Hannity - and other Fox News hosts - changed their tune to align more with Carlson's, acknowledging the serious dangers of the virus.

Consequences Of Coverage Differences

The Becker Friedman Institute researchers investigated whether the difference in coverage impacted behaviors. They conducted a nationally representative survey of more than 1,000 people who watch Fox News at least once a week, evaluating both viewership and behavior changes in response to the pandemic, such as social distancing, improving hygiene, and so on.

Next, the study compared behavior changes to viewing patterns. The researchers found that "viewers of Hannity changed their behavior five days later than viewers of other shows (p < 0.001), while viewers of Tucker Carlson Tonight changed their behavior three days earlier than viewers of other shows (p < 0.01); the difference in coefficients is also highly statistically significant (p < 0.01)."

Did these behavior changes lead to health consequences? Indeed.

The paper compared the popularity of each show in specific counties to data on COVID-19 infections and deaths. Controlling for a wide variety of potential confounding variables, the study found that areas of the country where Hannity is more popular had more cases and deaths two weeks later - the time that it would take for the virus to start manifesting itself.

"Effects on cases start to rise in late February and peak in mid-to-late March before starting to decline, consistent with the convergence in coronavirus coverage between Hannity and Carlson," the paper found. "A one standard deviation greater viewership difference is associated with approximately 2 percent more cases on March 7 (p < 0.01), 5 percent more cases on March 14 (p < 0.01), and 11 percent more cases on March 21 (p < 0.01) . . . Deaths follow a similar trajectory on a two-week lag."

The authors concluded that "Our findings indicate that provision of misinformation in the early stages of a pandemic can have important consequences for health outcomes."

Cognitive Biases And Misinformation

It's critically important to recognize that the study's authors did not seek to score any ideological points, given the broadly similar ideological profiles of the two hosts. The researchers simply explored the impact of accurate and inaccurate information about COVID-19 on the viewership. Clearly, false information had deadly consequences.

Such outcomes stem from excessive trust that our minds tend to give those we see as having authority, such as media figures whom we follow. This excessive trust - and consequent obedience - is called "authority bias."

When Hannity told his audience to ignore concerns about COVID-19, he led many to delay taking necessary safety measures by five days compared to the average Fox News consumer, with corresponding infection and death outcomes. By contrast, Carlson telling his audience to protect themselves led to them changing their behavior three days earlier.

A related mental pattern is called "emotional contagion," where we are unwittingly infected with the emotions of those we see as leaders. Emotions can motivate action even in the absence of formal authority, and are particularly important for those with informal authority, including thought leaders like Carlson and Hannity.

Thus, Hannity telling his audience that Democrats used anxiety of the virus as a political weapon led his audience to reject fears around the pandemic, even though fear of the virus and consequent behavioral changes was the right response to COVID-19. Carlson's highlighting of the deadly nature of this illness motivated his audience to take actions.

Authority bias and emotional contagion facilitate the spread of misinformation and its deadly consequences, at least when we don't take the steps necessary to figure out the facts.

Such steps can range from following best fact-checking practices to getting your information from news sources that commit publicly to being held accountable for truthfulness.

Remember, the more important and impactful such information may be for your life, the more important it is to take the time to evaluate it accurately to help you make the best decisions.

Gleb Tsipursky co-founded the Pro-Truth Pledge, a project open to anyone who cares about creating a united constituency of all who care about truth and facts. He has authored a number of a number of books, most notably The Truth Seeker's Handbook: A Science-Based Guide.


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


See also:

* Media Matters: Fox News Largely Ignored National Death Toll, One They Helped Create With Misinformation And Lies.



* The Fox News Coronavirus Misinformation Machine.

* The Fox "News" Lie.

* Paying The Price Of Science Denialism - Again.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:34 AM | Permalink

Confessions Of A Chicago Tour Guide Part 3: The Post Office's Gyro Copters, Marina City's Flying Cars & Navy Pier's Planes

"Satellite's gone/way up to Mars/Soon it'll be filled/with parkin' cars." - Lou Reed, "Satellite of Love"

After my first column in this occasional series, Busting The Myths Of Chicago Architecture, a Concerned Reader who is a crew member on a Chicago River tour boat e-mailed us that they had recently overheard a guide on yet another company's passing boat claim that the open-air parking garages at the base of Marina City were designed, among other things, to accommodate the flying cars of the future.

It sounds preposterous and I suspect it is. I hesitate to be definitive only because Confessions is privy to contemporary promotional materials for what became Old Main Post Office which included a landing pad on the roof for "the auto-gyros of the future."

So either the guide in question is purposely full of it, which I doubt, or more likely, he or she has learned a bad habit based on something that not only sounds cool - "sounds cool" is critical here; it's why crap sticks - but does in fact apply to another building. To wit, via Adam Selzer:

Auto Gyros at Old Main.PNG

And from deep in the bowels of Tribune archives:

* Mail Test Runs By Helicopters.

* Rain, Actress Christen New Mail 'Copter.

* Mail 'Copter Sets Down In Railroad Yard.

* Mail-Carrying Copter Landed Safely In Field.

We want, hell, we crave crap (particularly Pre-Digested Crap)! We want flying cars! We want to be Insiders! We want melodrama, romance and, yes, violence. Sometimes (often, anymore?) we want the bad guys to win. We make them stars. And it's no Giant Post-Modern Leap from there to see how we, furthermore, make them gods.

Dr. Binder brings it back to Greek myth: "The human mind sometimes has trouble handling 'we don't know.' And it turns to myth to fill that void: 'Hera and Zeus were fighting and Hera was in favor of this guy and then Zeus stepped back in.' It has to be deterministic." And he agrees that part the gratification of being a responsible but compelling guide is offering alternative, often more complex explanations regarding common misconceptions.

Our e-Tattler, who asked us not to use their real name, also reported hearing another guide, one who is certified by the Chicago Tour-Guide Professionals Association (CTPA: a sound organization which can't possibly monitor every word of every tour), claiming that during WW2 "planes landed on Navy Pier."

Not at the pier, mind you, which is true, but on the pier, which is not. You can, though, picture it, looking at the pier from a nearby boat.

Indeed, during WW2 Navy Pier was an active navy training base. Pilots were trained on "mock" aircraft carriers (e.g., converted old, unused steamers) docked at the pier in taking off from and landing back onto these ships. It was safer to do that here in the Great Lakes than along vulnerable coastal shores. That much is true. Trainees, like the first President Bush, landed on the carriers docked at the pier, not on the pier itself.

I was a young guide once myself, striving to appear knowledgeable, especially about surprising, alluring trivia. But I grew up in Naperville. My friends and I would come downtown to lark about in various disreputable fashions (e.g., shopping for records and clothes), go to concerts and see sports, but I didn't know factual Chicago Jack.

At my first summer on the open-air double-decker buses downtown, in 1986, my BOSS, the OWNER OF THE COMPANY, told me that the red steel of the CNA Center downtown was, in fact, a special kind of steel known as COR-TEN, or Corrosive-Tensile; steel designed so the surface would decay slightly to create a rust color without affecting stability.

That's a wild one, man. I was into it. And it was a total fucking crock resulting in epic fucking failure. First time I trotted that canard out, one gentleman gets - and I mean literally - apoplectic, rendered mute with agonizing, overwhelming outrage.

He was right.

That COR-TEN steel shit is real. I just had the wrong building. That would be the Daley Center, boss.


* Confessions Of A Tour Guide Part 1: Busting The Myths Of Chicago Architecture.

* Confessions Of A Chicago Tour Guide Part 2: Myths Of The Mob.


See also:

* Kogan: Poet J.J. Tindall Finds Freedom In Guiding Boat Tours.

* J.J. Tindall's Chicagoetry.

* Tindall: Ballots From The Dead.

* Tindall Music.

* Tindall: Interpretive Jazz Dance 1: The Match Game Theme.


Comments welcome.


1. From Steven Dahlman:

I have no useful skills and my understanding of Chicago history in general is charmingly flimsy but I have studied and written about the history of Marina City (City Within A City: The Biography of Chicago's Marina City and and I can assure you the parking ramps were not designed to one day accommodate flying cars. It was never mentioned in any news account or document or in any recollection of anyone with a connection to the design, planning, or construction of Marina City. My understanding of the people directly involved is that they were pragmatic and frugal and probably not drawn to any idea that could not immediately be useful.

Cool idea, though!

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:48 AM | Permalink

September 22, 2020

The [Tuesday] Papers

This is really good. Y'all like the wrong things. I'd even say it's brilliant.


This is also really good. Like, really really good. Better than most anything else out there.


Progamming Note
Census work coming to a close soon - or in another month, depending on how the courts rule. Posts on this site will appear accordingly.


By the way . . . one particularly egregious story that should get the reporter fired, a lot of unverified bullshit in other stories, and the usual scattering of mediocre pre-set narratives and stenography.


Also, the Supreme Court isn't a legislative body and doesn't exist to reflect the political leanings of the country but to interpret the Constitution. You'd think a conservative more than anyone would understand that.




Continuing to place Soviet-style political officers in each agency.


Putin, man. Destroying America. What a historical figure. How weak - as bin Laden noted - we are.


This stuff doesn't even make the (non-Daniel Dale) news - didn't in 2016 either.


You know what hasn't gotten enough coverage? Who nominated Trump.


Direct endorsement of the Confederacy. Nbd.


Journalism has a quality issue it neither understands nor wants to talk about.


Huge reporting fail. The Illinois GOP, for example, cries (rightly) about Michael Madigan's corruption. What about . . .


From Richard J. Daley to Joe Berrios and now the CTU's Toni Preckwinkle.

Democrats, also, can't seem to hear what they're simultaneously saying.



Not all rich people are horrible, but most of them are. That's why they are rich.


We could actually find a way to thrive if we got rid of all the greedy people. We don't need them the way people seem to think we do.


The Beachwood Tip Line: Do. Your. Job.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:45 PM | Permalink

Chicago's Muddy Waters Museum Has Mojo

Landmarks Illinois has awarded the first grant through its new Timuel D. Black, Jr. Grant Fund for Chicago's South Side to the Muddy Waters Original Jam Out (MOJO) Museum, a nonprofit working to preserve blues legend Muddy Waters' former home in North Kenwood and convert it into a museum and cultural center.

The MOJO Museum has received a $2,500 matching grant from Landmarks Illinois Timuel D. Black, Jr. Grant Fund for Chicago's South Side. Landmarks Illinois launched the new grant fund in May 2020 in celebration of the life and work of acclaimed civil rights leader Timuel D. Black, Jr.

Generous contributions made at Landmarks Illinois' 2020 Legendary Landmarks Celebration in March, where Black was honored as a Legendary Landmark, helped fund the new grant program. The fund provides small planning and capital grants to support organizations and people working to preserve the history, culture and architecture of Chicago's South Side, where Black has spent the majority of his life living and promoting African-American history.

The MOJO Museum will use Landmarks Illinois' grant funds to help make critical repairs to Muddy Water's former home as part of the first phase of the four-phase restoration and redevelopment plan for the 131-year-old structure. Phase 1 work includes repairing the roof of the home, replacing and repairing windows, conducting masonry repairs to the exterior of the home and completing interior repairs due to water damage.

Landmarks Illinois has long advocated for the Muddy Waters House, located at 4339 S. Lake Park Ave. and built in 1889. McKinley Morganfield, aka Muddy Waters, purchased the brick two-flat in 1954 and lived in it until the 1970s. The building is part of the North Kenwood Multiple Resource District, a Chicago Landmark District designated in 1992 due to its architectural significance.

The home is also eligible for individual Chicago Landmark designation, and a nomination is underway.

In 2013, Landmarks Illinois included it on its Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois due to a demolition threat and deferred maintenance on the long-vacant house that was at the time in foreclosure.

"We are proud to offer free technical assistance and financial support to the MOJO Museum board as it strives to celebrate Muddy Waters and share his influential music with all generations of music lovers," said Bonnie McDonald, President & CEO of Landmarks Illinois. "The revitalized home will become a community asset and a focal point for the incredible musical culture Chicago is known for."

Chandra Cooper, Waters' great-granddaughter and president of the MOJO Museum, purchased the Muddy Waters house as a way to preserve her family's history. Earlier this year, Landmarks Illinois helped Cooper and the MOJO Museum develop a restoration plan for the structure and aided in the organization's successful application for a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation's African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund. Landmarks Illinois thanks the architecture and engineering firm of Klein & Hoffman, and contractor Berglund Construction, for donating their services to develop the plan.

"We are honored and so grateful to be recipients of this grant fund," said Cooper. "The Muddy Waters MOJO Museum is excited to be working with Landmarks Illinois in preserving our Chicago blues treasure!"

Muddy Waters, a six-time Grammy winner and a member of both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Blues Foundation Hall of Fame, created a rehearsal space in the home's basement while he lived there. The MOJO Museum envisions returning the home's basement to a jam session space, with a recording studio and lounge. The first floor of the home will be dedicated to museum space that promotes blues education to young people and provides music class space.

"This exemplary project is precisely why Landmarks Illinois created the Timuel D. Black, Jr. Grant Fund for Chicago's South Side," said McDonald. "We believe the MOJO Museum contributes to telling the Bronzeville neighborhood's incredible history and, in this way, honors Mr. Black's legacy of civil and human rights activism."

Future Grant Application Opportunities
Nonprofits, community organizations as well as faith-based and educational institutions are encouraged to apply for funding through the Landmarks Illinois Timuel D. Black, Jr. Grant Fund for Chicago's South Side. The next round of applications for the grant fund are due October 15, 2020.

Grants will provide financial support to people working to restore significant structures or sites located on Chicago's South Side that are under threat of demolition, imminent deterioration or are of such architectural importance that their preservation will benefit the public and community. Structures or sites on the South Side named to Landmarks Illinois' recent Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois are also eligible for funding.

Grants through the Landmarks Illinois Timuel D. Black, Jr. Grant Fund for Chicago's South Side will range from $500 - $2,500 each, depending on need, and will require a one-to-one match. Visit to view complete grant guidelines and to submit a grant application.


See also:
* Rolling Stone: Muddy Waters' Former Chicago Home To Be Converted Into Museum.

* Guitar World: Muddy Waters' Former Chicago Home To Be Turned Into Community Center And Blues Museum.

* Pitchfork: Muddy Waters' Former House To Be Converted Into A Community Center.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:33 PM | Permalink


The University of Chicago will debut a new public art commission by world-renowned artist and alumna Jenny Holzer (EX'74), YOU BE MY ALLY, premiering October 5 on the UChicago campus and worldwide through a web-based augmented reality app.

The text-based artwork is Holzer's first augmented reality (AR) project using virtual projections in the United States and her first work created in collaboration with a university's students and faculty. Holzer received UChicago's Rosenberger Medal in 2019 in recognition of her wide-reaching impact on public art.

from Truisms (1977-79), 1982.jpgTruisms

YOU BE MY ALLY features 29 excerpts from historically significant readings from UChicago's Core curriculum, including works by distinguished writers W. E. B. Du Bois, Helen Keller, Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Friedrich Nietzsche, Plato, Mary Shelley, and Virginia Woolf.

The title of the project itself is an excerpt from If Not, Winter: Fragments of Sappho, a translation by classicist Anne Carson that is among the Core readings.

Starting October 5th, viewers can access a free, web-based AR app to virtually project and animate these texts on the facades of architecturally significant UChicago buildings. In addition, app users will be able to project the title quote onto their surroundings anywhere in the world. On October 30, additional quotations will become available to project anywhere.

Text selections from the Core curriculum will also be featured on LED trucks driving throughout the UChicago campus, South Side, and downtown communities October 5 and 6, bringing the experience to diverse audiences in an unexpected manner. Text excerpts for the project were selected in collaboration with UChicago students and faculty.

Another component of Holzer's work will incorporate original texts in support of nonpartisan get-out-the-vote efforts. These texts, selected by Holzer from various sources including submissions by UChicago students, will be displayed on LED trucks driven throughout the city on October 24 and 30.

VOTE YOUR FUTURE, 2018.jpgVOTE YOUR FUTURE, 2018, © 2018 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY. With March For Our Lives. Photo: Collin LaFleche

YOU BE MY ALLY operates at the edge of arts and technology, responding to the challenges of participation in the arts during a pandemic. It enables a broad audience to engage these historic texts, and to consider the impact of public speech in a democracy in the weeks and days leading up to the 2020 election.

"Ever since her early - 1995! - creation of an interactive internet artwork, I have admired Jenny Holzer's resolute mobilization of viewer participation and unexpected media, now including AR app technology," said Christine Mehring, the Mary L. Block Professor in the Department of Art History and an adjunct curator at the Smart Museum of Art.

"Jenny is known for the fiercely critical interventions in public space that lead her to seize those media, but hers is a profoundly generous art all the same: inviting our students to submit content, welcoming the full campus community and general public to engage in the kind of close reading we teach at UChicago, opening the boundaries of academic discourse and a liberal arts education, providing a safe and meaningful experience of art amidst the converging contexts of the pandemic, calls for social justice, and the election season."

AR experiences for YOU BE MY ALLY will be hosted on the web platform 8th Wall and can be activated by users at specific points outside buildings on the UChicago campus: Cobb Lecture Hall (designed by Henry Ives Cobb), D'Angelo Law Library (Eero Saarinen), Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts (Tod Williams and Billie Tsien), Joe and Rika Mansueto Library (Helmut Jahn), School of Social Service Administration (Ludwig Mies van der Rohe), Cummings Life Science Center (I. W. Colburn), and Rockefeller Memorial Chapel (Bertram Grosvenor Goodhue).

Off campus, viewers can experience the work by accessing the app on 8th Wall. Holzer's projects have long been inextricably linked to the built environment of their settings. YOU BE MY ALLY will invite viewers to interact with their surroundings and forge new cultural and architectural meanings from the juxtapositions of historic texts and lived urban environments.


Previously in Jenny Holzer:

'I'm Frightened, Dismayed, Disgusted' - Jenny Holzer On How Artists Can Use Outrage To Expose The Hypocrisies Of Our Time.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:44 AM | Permalink

September 21, 2020

Notre Dame's Deception

While the Big 10 revs up in the bullpen, Notre Dame is the only big league college football operation at work in the neighborhood.

Whatever happens in South Bend is an object of interest even in normal times, but these days you can see patterns developing about what rules they'll apply to their games. Notre Dame has sent unambiguous signals to the Big 10 about how to navigate the pandemic.

One of the big rules in display last weekend was deception and secrecy as a perhaps natural result of shutting down external observations.

You will never know if half the Irish players have active COVID-19 infections until just before game time. That process essentially describes what happened Saturday during Notre Dame's 52-0 bug-squashing of South Florida when eight players listed on the two-deep chart did not play, but would have without COVID. They all were called "unavailable" in the pre-game roster. "Unavailable" is the new code word for "pandemic."

It was a strange game in which the Irish found out nothing of significance about itself because the opposition was too weak. ND did discover that its fourth-stringers were lots better than South Florida's starters. That won't matter much the rest of the season.

Example? The celebratory game ball went to sophomore linebacker Jack Kiser, who had eight tackles as a starter though he was a scout teamer on Monday.

Even South Bend Tribune beat writer Eric Hansen, the one consistently reliable source on Irish issues, offered a vague description of Coach Brian Kelly's explanation for the reality blackout. Hansen either did not know what was occurring, or knew and decided to keep it secret, too.

Hansen wrote that Kelly "meandered around the question, (and) there was a bit of decoding involved in ascertaining that his Notre Dame football team's first serious COVID-19 ordeal came this week in waves." Kelly implied to Hansen that he did not know until two hours before the 1:30 kickoff who would be benched.

Does that timeline seem plausible?

Was this COVID wave a bad break and just one of those odd, one-of-a-kind random things, or could it be the first pandemic onslaught that might wreck a season?

The answer had no effect except puzzlement this week because South Florida was too untalented to make any difference and suffered its worst loss ever. But what if Notre Dame loses half of its starters before playing Clemson or Boston College on the road? Or what if quarterback Ian Book and the entire backfield comes down with the virus three days before the North Carolina road game?

For that matter, who will play this Saturday at Wake Forest, and who is ruled out by quarantine? Shush. It's a secret.

Because outside access to Notre Dame athletics - and the campus itself - is locked down and tightly regulated, nobody could ask that question. Shouldn't someone ask if lives are being placed jeopardy?

Deception on that issue might be school policy, but it does not signal trustworthiness.

A seeming multitude of media outlets - commercial, public and fan-oriented - keep the Irish in a comfortable, protected cocoon. None of them seemed to know what happened either, even as the game was being played.

Only the irascible old-guy-driven Rock's House is relentlessly belligerent. They are running constant lotteries and contests on the best plan to kidnap Kelly and replace him with Knute Rockne, who is dead and will remain so. They don't care.

None of the irascible old guys seemed to know either.

Legally speaking, a college player's health is not a matter of public record. The private university gets to decide what it reveals because it has no fiduciary responsibility to fans.

Notre Dame enforces that principle religiously, so to speak.

Different rules apply to the NFL, where fear of tricking gamblers with bad information or no information, is a guarded, regulated issue. The NFL is a business that functions with government protection, which means it must reveal the facts of its commerce, if not the truth.

So revealing NFL player availability is a business-required commandment because the business is fundamentally gambling. We used to like pro football because of the game; now we like it because of the point spreads.

For myself, I always thought duping gamblers into bad bets was one of the moral balancing aspects of that risk. Sort of applied cosmic justice.

In fact, I once pondered a commercial business to troll deliberately false sports information and dupe betting books into moving the odds slightly - and then bet on the false shift. You'd have to be accurate only intermittently to keep the suckers on the line.

Notre Dame can do whatever it wants and rationalize the conduct - both good and bad - as it sees fit. Inside the moral confines of the religion it claims to represent, of course.

But if you are a sports "journalist" (a term I apply with high amusement), what's your excuse for hiding the truth rather than revealing it? What's your excuse for not knowing the truth? What function do you serve in the universe except as used car salesman trying to unload a bent-frame, rusting Yugo?

The mini-COVID outbreak did produce several winning moments. Seventeen players made their Irish debut, including most of the 17-player freshman class. One was freshman defensive end Alexander Ehrensberger, an immigrant from Germany who spent the summer locked down there over COVID-related travel restrictions. He got in the game, and made tackles.

Then there's linebacker Jack Lamb, who has been eclipsed by intense recruiting for his spot and has seen his playing time diminished.

Before South Florida, he might have been on his way to another school, or even out of football.

Said Kelly: "I'm sick about losing any player that has committed so much time and effort to the cause and their commitment to Notre Dame football. But I'm also so excited when I get to see a Jack Lamb, who might have been a couple of days from thinking about he may never play again and now he's out there playing and there's a smile on his face. Where there is unfortunate circumstances, there's great opportunities, and that's kind of how we look at it . . . We look at it as not adversity, but as opportunity. So it's really just the way you look at it and that's how we choose to look at it."

Maybe all that's true, though it seems like one of those "meandering" Kelly explanations of which Hansen noted. It requires a giant leap of mind-altering, logic-twisting gymnastics to turn COVID-19 into a good thing, even in the South Bend cocoon.

The virus has killed 200,000 Americans. It's not been particularly good for anyone.


David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, and more importantly, the former author of the Beachwood's late, great "The Week In WTF" column. His most recent piece for us was Dak Prescott Is The Hero Skip Bayless Will Never Be. You can also check him out at his Theeditor50's blog. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:46 PM | Permalink

Hail To The Placeholders

Many years ago I was teaching fourth- and fifth-graders math, or arithmetic to be more precise. Managing to stay one lesson ahead of the eager scholars, I used the term "placeholders" to explain what to insert in the tens or hundreds column, when, in fact, there was nothing there. Not surprisingly, zero was and remains the placeholder.

I'm unaware if math teachers today continue to utilize the term "placeholders," but the world of baseball, thank you very much, easily can embrace the concept.

For instance, judging from social media, Nomar Mazara is very much a placeholder today as the regular right-fielder for the White Sox. The impatient and frequently ignorant Tweeters complain that Mazara is merely holding the right-field real estate open when in reality it is empty. General manager Rick Hahn no doubt figured that Mazara would be a respectable integer - let's say a 5 - when he traded minor leaguer Steele Walker to Texas for the 25-year-old Mazara. Mazara had averaged 20 home runs the prior four seasons while batting .261. Not only that, but the Sox lineup filled with hitters from the right side made the lefty Mazara relatively attractive.

I doubt whether Mazara's first home run of the season in Saturday's 5-0 blanking of the Reds will silence his critics. That will take more time than this 60-game season allows, although if Mazara comes to life during the post-season he would vastly improve his chances to be loved. That seems to be the rationale of the most vocal and cruel critics.

Prior to the rebuild, Hahn's strategy was to engineer trades and free-agent signings to bring in position players like Todd Frazier, Jimmy Rollins and Brett Lawrie along with pitchers James Shields, Mat Latos and closer David Robertson, all of whom occupied prominent places at the outset of the 2016 season. Hahn had followed this strategy for enlisting Melky Cabrera, Adam LaRoche, Jeff Samardzija, Geovany Soto, among others, when Robin Ventura was the manager. Yonder Alonso came along after Ventura vanished.

There was only one problem with this venture: It didn't work. Aside from Robertson, a few provided a boost, but taken altogether, there was no magical elixir. The 2016 team finished a less-than-mediocre 78-84; Ventura retired to California and Chris Sale was dispatched to Boston for prospects Yoan Moncada, Michael Kopech and two others. Hence the Five-Year Plan was hatched. It had worked on the other side of town so the template already existed.

And now, just four years into the rebuild, the White Sox prepare for their first post-season appearance since 2008. Nevertheless, only the uninformed would argue that the team doesn't have deficits that manager Rickey Renteria must take into account. The product is unfinished, but Renteria knows how to deal with placeholders. He's had ample practice.

The cupboard was bare when Renteria was promoted from bench coach to manager upon Ventura's departure. The lone proven major leaguer was José Abreu, the leading contender for MVP this season. José Quintana was dealt to the Cubs mid-season in Renteria's first year, resulting in the bounty of Eloy Jimenez and Dylan Cease, but this wasn't a quick fix. More seasoning was required.

Think of the placeholders offered to Renteria when it came to pitching. The Sox trotted out the likes of Derek Holland, Miguel Gonzalez, Mike Pelfry, Ivan Nova, Dylan Covey and the aforementioned James Shields on a regular basis. With the exception of Covey, they all had big league experience. The possibility of any of them regaining their previous efficiency was a risk Hahn easily could take since he had little choice. The youngsters simply weren't ready, and shelling out millions for free agents wouldn't have made much difference. Rebuilds depend on placeholders. They are part of the process.

While placeholders unfairly can be labeled bums and nobodies, there is much to like about them. Remember "Rickey's Boys Don't Quit?" When Matt Davidson, Daniel Palka, Nicky Delmonico, Ryan Cordell, Trayce Thompson, Tyler Saladino, Charlie Tilson and others saw playing time the past few seasons, you had a bunch of young guys living their dream of making the major leagues.

They ran full speed on routine ground balls. They showed up every day to put in the work to improve. They hustled on and off the field. They picked the brains of the older guys for any tidbits they could digest to help them improve. They valued every at-bat and defensive replacement when given a chance.

Some even showed promise. Davidson's 26 home runs in 2017 were second only to Abreu's 33. Palka slammed 27 dingers two years ago before struggling to get so much as a single last season at the big league level. He did, however, hit another 27 round-trippers at Charlotte, and today he's playing in the Korean League. Palka is just 28, a placeholder vying for just one more shot.

All these fringe players have filled an important role in the Sox' success. They plugged the gaps while the Lucas Giolitos, Luis Roberts and Nick Madrigals piled up valuable experience in the minor leagues. Meanwhile, someone had to take the field at The Grate. The games needed to be played the last three seasons, and the placeholders not only were the willing participants but expressed their gratitude by giving 110 percent in hopes that they might escape the placeholder label to become a legitimate major leaguer.

Despite dropping two of three games in Cincinnati over the weekend, the Sox are on the cusp of being a very good team. Only Tampa Bay, The Little Small Market Team That Could, has a higher winning percentage than the Sox in the American League.

The Sox also proved their mettle last week by taking three of four games from the defending division champion Twins at The Grate. The Sox were the ones with the swagger.

Leaving Mazara out of the mix, you don't find any placeholders for the other seven positions. It would be nice if DH Edwin Encarnación would produce more than an occasional home run. The good news is that valuable placeholders Adam Engel and Jarrod Dyson and either of the catchers, James McCann or Yasmani Grandal, could fill in for Encarnación.

Which brings us to pitching. The bullpen has been strong with heretofore unknowns Matt Foster and Codi Heuer helping the relievers post a 3.59 ERA in the team's 53 games. Last season that number was 4.33 over a full schedule. However, because Kopech opted out, Carlos Rodon can't get healthy, and you never know which Reynaldo Lopez will show up, the starting staff is shallow.

There are a number of young arms - top draft choice Garrett Crochet, he of the three-digit fastball, has created quite a buzz in just two innings of work - in the organization to engender a dose of optimism although after Trevor Bauer, whom the Sox beat Saturday, the free agent market is somewhat thin for pitchers.

How high this team can fly will be determined by starting pitching, not only this season but in the near future. Take your pick of Dane Dunning, Jonathan Stiever, Cease and Lopez. Chances are one or more will take the ball every fifth day and get batters out.

Meanwhile, the days of placeholders have pretty much been exhausted for this ballclub. A few years from now we won't even recall their names. While we still remember many of them, a tip of the hat would be appropriate.


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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:31 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: A Message For Mopey Mitch

Someone needs to put on a real good mask, grab Mitch Trubisky by the shoulders and give him a good, extended shake/pep talk while deploying extended eye contact. The message? "Dude! You're 26 years old and you're not just being paid to play football, you're being paid to be the starting quarterback for the Chicago Bears! And you're 2-0!

"We know you're feeling the pressure this year and that your performance has been uneven at best, but you need to find a way to enjoy these games man, especially the wins! You never know how many you're going to get. And, most importantly, you need to make sure your teammates enjoy them as well. You can't do that if you are moping around."

Trubisky relishing these games, and most importantly not allowing himself to get down after things go poorly, is critical in numerous ways. Perhaps no other position in sports is as important to a team's collective mental state as the signal-caller. And while we're here Coach Nagy, a reminder to you as well: The Bears may have played "Just OK" yesterday but they played better than they did the week before. In a topsy-turvy season with no fans in the stands and a pandemic lurking around every corner, every early win is huge. In other words coach, you're not allowed to be a mopey little bastard either. Ever.

Trubisky has now led his team to a victory on the road and one at home to start the season. You wouldn't think that was such a big deal, especially given the strength of the competition, but the simple fact is, NFL teams that start 2-0 have a much, much better chance of making the playoffs than ones that go 0-2. And if the Bears make the playoffs in any way, shape or form, that will be a huge win.

Of course you don't want to be the team that squeaks in or just misses the playoffs every year. But that almost never happens in the NFL. Teams fluctuate all over the place whether they make a calculated decision to tank or not. Just look at the Jaguars this season. It sure seemed like they were tanking when they traded away Leonard Fournette, but they were a late field goal away from going 2-0 on Sunday. And who knows whether Trevor Lawrence will be better than Gardner Minshew in the NFL anyway. Have you looked at MInshew's numbers from the first two games? Good luck matching that performance in your first two games as an absolute NFL starter Trevor.

Not coincidentally, the weak-assed Bears haven't started a season 2-0 since 2013.

But every time the cameras have found Trubisky during these first two games, he has looked shellshocked, like he is suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. That was especially the case after his first interception yesterday - the one that was almost entirely his fault (Allen Robinson could have done a better job coming back for the ball but the throw was late and therefore ill-advised). It is now time for us to wrap up our little chat with the quarterback:

"Mitch, bubbie, hopefully this is the start of the time of your life. Hopefully this is the beginning of a season in which you get your quarterbacking career back on track. Enjoy every last bit of it(!), especially as long as your team has more wins than losses. Because we all know it is fleeting, right? You are still a long way away from quieting the doubters and you of course will never be nearly as good as Pat Mahomes.

"But there is joy to be had if you can snap out of the funk you've been in. We all know it is tough to dance a jig when you've been a crushing disappointment for the last year-plus. But this is a new season and you and your team are catching the breaks so far. Ride that wave, big guy!"

Another thing that should put a smile on Mitch's face is that it is now crystal clear that general manager Ryan Pace completely blew another critical quarterback evaluation last offseason.

The man who refused to take Dak Prescott with pick after pick after pick in the fourth round in 2016, who gave Mike Glennon $18 million, who picked Trubisky ahead of . . . you know the story . . . that man chose to give up a fourth-round pick and three years' worth of guaranteed salary totaling $21 million for Nick Foles.

If Pace had been just a tiny bit more patient (and he is the most impatient GM in the league - something that will be a huge part of his eventual downfall), he could have had former Super Bowl quarterback Cam Newton - who became a free agent after the Panthers were forced to release him - for no draft pick and a tiny fraction of that guaranteed money.

I mean, how bad do you have to be at evaluating the most important position in the game before you slink away, too embarrassed to continue to call yourself the general manager of this storied fran . . . we should stop saying that. This franchise has sucked too often for too many decades. If it is a story, it is one that is so tragic in a sporting context that it is comic.

Did anyone see the Sunday night game? That was when Newton put together a heroic performance as he came within one yard of leading the Patriots to a remarkable upset victory at Seattle. He is so much better than Foles (and Trubisky) it makes me nauseous just to write about him. The Bears could have had him at the ultimate bargain rate (OK, OK, they probably would have had to pay him slightly more than the Patriots did. But they wouldn't have had to pay him a guaranteed $21 mill, that's for damn sure).

But one guy benefits from the Bears bringing in Foles instead of Newton - Pace's beloved Trubisky. And the quarterback took advantage of the opportunity with decent play for long stretches Sunday as the Bears took a substantial first-half lead and then held on for dear life at the end against the desperate Giants. Trubisky still has so much more to prove, but the first thing he needs to do is to stop looking like he has no clue on the sideline. And oh by the way the second interception was almost completely Robinson's fault.

"Hey Allen," we might say. "Twenty-five-million­-a-year wide receivers (or however much Robinson's agents are insisting on in contract negotiations) make that catch or at least they don't let the ball get into their body (as opposed to being caught by their hands), which made what 'never in a million years should have been an interception' an interception."

In conclusion, I'm starting to think that 6-10 (my preseason prediction) is probably not going to happen. My guess is now 7-9. And yes, I know I've allowed the euphoria of this start to the season to go straight to my head. I'll try not to let that get completely out of control.


Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:20 AM | Permalink

September 19, 2020

The Weekend Desk Report

"Jupiter and its enticing moon Europa shine in a new photo by the Hubble Space Telescope," AP reports.

"Hubble snapped the picture last month when the planet was 406 million miles (653 million kilometers) away, and the Space Telescope Science Institute in Baltimore released it Thursday. "

How is that even possible?


Lightfoot vs. FOP
"Amid ongoing contract talks with the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Friday again ripped union President John Catanzara while insisting that any deal must include enhanced police accountability measures," the Tribune reports.

"I don't have a lot of good things to say about him in particular," Lightfoot said. "But I care deeply about the men and women of the Chicago Police Department."

Here's the problem: The men and women of the Chicago Police Department comfortably voted for Catanzara - an oft-suspended, unapologetically loud Trumpist - to be their representative. And the incumbent he beat was no picnic, either. There is simply no way to separate noxious police union leadership from the department's rank-and-file, no matter how much Lightfoot would like to or the way the media constantly does. This is Exhibit A of the systemic nature of CPD's problems.

For godsakes, this - the chief post-Laquan McDonald reform - is still a problem.


"The FOP's last contract expired at the end of June 2017. Lightfoot has offered the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police a 10% raise for thousands of rank-and-file cops over a 4-year period - along with changes to how the city handles disciplinary issues involving allegations of misconduct.

If the rank-and-file thought that was a good deal, Catanzara would be under tremendous pressure to accept it. He isn't.


"Lightfoot has had a rocky relationship with the FOP since becoming mayor in May 2019, particularly over police accountability measures. Before becoming mayor, Lightfoot was head of the Chicago Police Board, the panel that rules on police discipline, and chaired Mayor Rahm Emanuel's police accountability task force, which suggested sweeping changes to Chicago's policing practices.

"At the same time, she has been criticized by activists who say she has been too friendly with law enforcement."

False equivalence alert. The activists' criticism, most commonly messaged as "Lori is a cop," is driven by ignorance and teachers union politics in their drive to install their own apparatchik in the mayor's office.

Now, it's true that Lightfoot "loves" law enforcement officers. She believes their job is righteous, and necessary. She will never be an abolitionist. But her record shows she's personally offended by officers who don't follow the rules. The real debate is about whether her relative incrementalism when it comes to reform is good enough to produce necessary change. To me, the union's relationship with officers, as well as the COPA video example, says it all: Incrementalist reform isn't good enough because it's never enough to overcome culture.


Programming Note
Census door-knocking in Chicago has been extended from its end date of . . . today. We've still got a pulse. That also means this space will be spotty until we get the job done.


New on the Beachwood . . .

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #322: The Bears' Bad Day
Karma chameleons. Plus: Colin Kaepernick Still Screwed; White Sox vs. Dodgers; Cubs Somehow Still In First Place; Assisting Courtney; Red Stars Return To The Geek; and Lionel Messi Not Signing With The Fire.


Really, COPA? Vaunted Police Video Policy Not Working
Inspector general finds noncomplicance with chief post-Laquan McDonald reform.


When Bigotry Masquerades As Choice
"Choice has always been a term a racist can love."


NU Discovers Site Of Male Sexual Desire In Mice
Actually in the big head, not the little one.


The Tao Is To Chill
The most meaningful and impacting actions are often the ones we don't take.


Weekend ChicagoReddit

Da Midnight Jewel(s) from r/chicago


Weekend ChicagoGram


Weekend ChicagoTube

Playing In An Old School Chicago Bocce League.


Weekend BeachBook

What Ails America.


A History Of Anti-Fascist Punk Around The World In 9 Songs.


Groundhog Day.


Buying Myself Back.


Shady Contracts, Raw Deals: Inside The Industry Of Managing Video Game Stars.


The Accidental Invention Of Play-Doh.


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










The Weekend Desk Tip Line: Void where prohibited.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:11 AM | Permalink

September 18, 2020

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #322: The Bears' Bad Day

Karma chameleons. Plus: Colin Kaepernick Still Screwed; White Sox vs. Dodgers; Cubs Somehow Still In First Place; Assisting Courtney; Red Stars Return To The Geek; and Lionel Messi Not Signing With The Fire.

Beachwood Radio Network · The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #322: The Bears' Bad Day



* 322.

* Room 222.

* "The Games Bunkers Play."

Lionel: Yeah, just once I'd like for you to talk to me like I was Lionel Jefferson, and not a representative of the whole black race.

Mike: Oh, come on, Lionel, I don't do that!

Lionel: Sure! What's the first thing you say whenever I see you? Always something about the black problem, right?

Mike: Well, what do you want me to talk about, the weather?

Lionel: Sometimes, yeah. I mean, black people have weather too, you know!


5:54: The NFL Owes Colin Kaepernick Much More Than A Lame, Institutional Apology.

* Robinson, Yahoo: This Is Why Colin Kaepernick Ripped NFL Videos On Social Justice

* Negley, Yahoo: Colin Kaepernick's All-Black Nike Jersey Sells Out Immediately.


11:18: Underreaction Friday.

* Coffman: Bears Outluck Lions.

* Karma chameleons.

* Seligman, AP: Robinson Expects To Stay With Bears For Rest Of Season.

* Barnwell: Stats & Nuggets!


38:08: Better Than The Dodgers?

* Abreu's edge.

* McCann's the man.

* Dallas has a problem.


49:48: Cubs Somehow Still In First Place.

* Rhodes: "The offense is still broken, Jim!"

* Mooney, The Athletic: How The Cubs Targeted Alec Mills Trying To Trade For The Next Kyle Hendricks.

* Phillies Hoped For More When They Invested $75 Million In Jake Arrieta?


1:06:22: Assisting Courtney.


1:07:40: Red Stars Return To The Geek.


1:08:13: Lionel Messi Not Signing With Fire.




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


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:06 PM | Permalink

September 17, 2020

The Tao Is To Chill

"The clouds above us join and separate. The breeze in the courtyard leaves and returns. Life is like that, so why not relax?" - Lu Yu

According to cultural standards and influences, here's what our day should look like: A joyous awakening at precisely 4:30 a.m., giving us exactly enough time to squeeze in a workout, journal about our feelings, work on our novel, practice our Japanese, iron our clothes for next month, work on our side-hustle, take a shower, fix a nutritious yet unusually delicious breakfast, and finally head to work, where we'll bustle away the eight hours productively and meaningfully, only to come home to a delicious dinner, a clean house, and a delightful, yet complex piece of classic literature we'll cozy up with after our warm bath.

A fantastic day indeed. The problem is, it seldom works out like that. The closest most of us get is consistently wishing we had such a routine. Some of us get a bit further; we'll actually eat breakfast before work (the jury is still out on just how nutritious said breakfast is).

Complete a baker's dozen of not-so-practical tasks before you've had your morning cup of tea; if you can't, bathe in the guilt of being a lazy procrastinator who will never amount to anything. We are told to believe that a hyperactive, hyperproductive approach is the only way to lead a meaningful life. This mode, of course, can bleed into an unsustainable and unhealthy lifestyle. The results? Quite unfavorable. We're left feeling the need to do all these fantastic things without ever really understanding why or how to go about them; worst of all, we never even get close.

We're often told we live in a hyperactive society. That might be true, but I submit it's truer to say we live in a hyperwishful-of-being-productive society. We're embedded with the desire to do so much before we've even fully understood what it is we're trying to do or why we're doing it, which inevitably sets us up for failure. Take action, take control, do something, achieve something, hustle, hustle, hustle! For what? For the sake of merely saying how busy you are? How many tasks you have crossed off your to-do list? What's the point in consistently trying to do everything when you end up doing nothing? What's the point in doing everything, anyway? It almost feels like people are overloading themselves for the aesthetic of being productive, rather than for the actual achievements productivity brings. Surely there must be a less spasmodic, hyperenergetic alternative that's just as effective.

A suggestion comes from the East by the name of Taoism (or Daoism). This ancient Chinese philosophy stresses "universal, holistic, and peaceful principles such as living in harmony with nature and natural order." This philosophy believes in "valuing balance and a necessary unity of all extremes," with the Yin Yang dichotomy often used to illustrate this relationship. As explained in the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Taoists are uninterested in constraining labels and dichotomies; instead, they focus on "understanding the nature of reality" through a series of rituals to order life morally, regulate consciousness, and increase longevity.

The Tao, meaning "the way," cannot be defined exactly, but it is often equated with being the universe. It is, in fact, beyond human comprehension, "beyond what we can express in language." Nonetheless, the philosophy's main figures Lao Tzu and Chuang Tzu were concerned with wuwei, or effortless action. This concept suggests that very often the most meaningful and impacting actions are the ones we do not have to take. The Tao is in every action, even the non-actions that are often overlooked - particularly today in Western societies, because surely if you're not doing anything, there can't be anything purposeful or effective about you.

Consider a stone in a river. The water naturally flows; it does not force itself to wake before the crack of dawn to first do 100 push-ups, write the next greatest satirical novel of our age, and then shoot down the path of the river. It merely flows as it naturally is meant to, at its natural pace, on its natural course, without the impediment of social constraints that'll yield nothing that the natural process cannot yield. It is with this slow, graceful, natural but purposeful action that the natural consequence is yielded: erosion of the stone. Certainly the alternative could have been taking large, heavy buckets of water and sloshing it over the stone once every few months when nearby villagers get the sudden urge to reclaim their lives through meaningless, mundane, fruitless actions. But what does violently splashing the stone once in the while do that a steady, slow stream cannot? Indeed, the answer is that the latter does much more than the former will ever, all without the unnecessary strains, pains and pressure one feels attached to the former.

Taoism is often misunderstood as being a philosophy that champions passivity. In fact, what Taoism suggests is that life should unfold in the natural flow it is meant to be in; there is "no need for human tampering." Examples of these mankind interferences include our rigid interpretations of morals, aesthetics and laws, which only further our suffering. Good and evil, according to Philosophy Terms, are merely man-made illusions. One needn't rely upon mundane rigidity, isolating labels and harsh categories. What matters in Taoism is essence.

The Taoist approach to life is a laissez-faire one where one withdraws not from life itself but rather "from conventional values and the demaractions made by society." The Tao embodies the "process of reality itself" and the natural, often unforeseen unity and transformation of various elements. Inherent to this is change. While the structures and standards by which we live prevent fluidity of life and reality, Taoism encourages the acceptance of change. The change found in the ebb and flow of nature should be our source of inspiration. Nature has a profound, poetic tranquility associated with it, despite there being dynamic changes occurring all of the time. Nature does not resist; it embraces whatever is happening and flows with it. If we look closely, we might find in nature the very wisdom we're starving of.

There's a line to be drawn between ambition and addiction to ambition. We have to always be doing something, it seems. We have to achieve something brilliant and fantastic before we're 22. We have to have long, impressive to-do lists that get checked off with enough time for us to get in a bit more work on our passion projects in the evening. With the overstimulation, hyperactivity and hyperproductivity we're surrounded by (all promising burn out before we're even in our 30s, but let's not talk about that), we might take refuge in the tranquility and acceptance the Taoist's way of handling the situation offers. But if you haven't got the time for ancient philosophies because you're too busy ticking items off your to-do list, you can start by just chilling the hell out.


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

* Dear High School Students And Recent Graduates . . .

* Tunes To Remedy Any Existential Crisis.

* Flex You.

* Simply Cynicism.

* Suffering With Stoics & Cynics.

* Machiavelli's Prince Charming.

* The Jolie Laide Of Philosophy.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:43 AM | Permalink

September 16, 2020

When Bigotry Masquerades As Choice

President Trump regularly sows racial division and fear, invoking age-old stereotypes through his words and policy. It was clear he was promising to protect suburban whites from an incursion of Black and Brown people when he wrote in his now infamous tweet about the "Suburban Lifestyle Dream" that suburbanites would "no longer be bothered or financially hurt by having low income housing built in your neighborhood." This isn't dog-whistle language. We all hear and recognize the racist undertones of the policy he was pushing.

The Trump administration's new housing rule is titled "Preserving Community and Neighborhood Choice." It rescinds an Obama-era mandate that encouraged local municipalities that receive federal funds to address systemic bias. Trump promised housing prices will go up and crime will go down in the suburbs, once the rule, meant to make housing more equitable, was removed.

This is poorly veiled bigotry rooted in negative perceptions about poor and Black people. No, poor and Black people don't bring housing prices down. Negative beliefs about Black people do. Similarly, Black schools aren't failing: They've been starved of needed resources and hampered by prejudice and systems organized against their success.

"Choice" has always been a term a racist can love. In theory, choice means allowing people the freedom to choose the home, neighborhood and school that's best for them. In practice, choice is frequently a code word for preserving white preferences - in housing and schooling - and excluding Black and Brown people. In education, the word "choice" too often accompanies statements about the need to escape failing schools and zip codes. Read: Black schools and neighborhoods.

In a February 2020 Op-Ed published in the South Florida Sun Sentinel, Mercedes Schlapp, formerly the White House Director of Strategic Communications in the Trump administration, accused Democrats who oppose school choice of wanting to keep "children trapped in failing schools with insufficient resources." Similar language has been used on the opposite end of the political spectrum. Shavar Jeffries, national president of Democrats for Education Reform, wrote about the need for choice to avoid children being "trapped in a persistently failing educational system."

In spite of the longstanding history of white aggression against predominately Black schools and neighborhoods, people wrongly use passive language about students being trapped in failing schools as if we don't know the source of inequality: discriminatory policies.

Related: Defund Private Schools

The nonprofit EdBuild found that predominantly white school districts received $23 billion more in funding in the 2015-16 school year than districts that serve mostly students of color. This is largely a result of the choice made by many white people to live in segregated housing and in gerrymandered districts that hoard resource for those communities.

Black advocates of school choice have hoped to turn this legacy on its head, dismantling traditional systems because of their oppressive design and giving Black families choices they've been denied. But the history of choice is too laden with anti-Black bigotry for it to be considered liberating. Black people don't need to escape schools and neighborhoods as much as we need to be freed from racism.

Trump didn't brand choice, he's leveraging it. He and the people in his administration know choice won't solve the problem of structural racism. It will reinforce it. School choice will continue to be ineffective if it continues to sidestep the root causes of disparities in schools - policy choices that privilege whiteness.

And there's another problem with Trump's racist language: It is not only racist in content, but based on a racist assumption that suburbia remains lily white. But that is no longer true. Plenty of Black people have already exercised the choice to move to the suburbs. A new great migration and movement within metropolitan areas have reshaped urban, rural and suburban communities, but this movement has yet to transform our country's deeply held racism.

As of the latest census estimates (2017), there are 1,262 Black-majority municipalities, an increase of more than 100 during this decade alone, according to research I conducted, along with my Brookings Institution colleague, David Harshbarger, on the rise of Black-majority cities. Many of these places are suburban municipalities. The suburbs of Atlanta, Houston, Washington, D.C. and Dallas experienced the largest increases in Black population during 2000-2010, according to Brookings demographer Bill Frey. The Black share of the U.S. population rose slightly from 11.1 percent in 1970 to 12.6 percent in 2010. Meaning, Black people are moving between and within metropolitan areas.

Moving from school to school, or from neighborhood to neighborhood is not a practical way to improve performance or solve real structural inequities. Besides, Black people shouldn't have to move schools or communities to gain the resources they need to thrive. Differences in school performance and life outcomes between Black and white students persist, because racism follows Blackness. The idea that we must escape ourselves to achieve our potential is the biggest trap of them all.

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


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

* Why Black Lives Matter Should Take On Charter Schools.

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

* "Wraparound" Services Are Not The Answer.

* Youth Aren't Props.

* NOLA's Secret Schools.

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

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

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

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

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

* Charter Schools Are Complicit With Segregation.

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

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

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

* When High School Officials Suppress Students' Free Speech.

* Disrupting Education The NFL Way.

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

* Charter School Leaders Should Talk More About Racism.

* Bold, Progressive Ideas Aren't Unrealistic.

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

* The Importance Of The 1619 Project.

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

* Making Elite Colleges White Again.

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

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

* What's Wrong With White Teachers?

* Defund Private Schools.

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

* Why We Should Cancel Black Grads' Debt.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:14 PM | Permalink

September 15, 2020

NU Discovers Site Of Male Sexual Desire In Mice

The locus of male sexual desire has been uncovered in specific regions of brain tissue where a key gene named aromatase is present, reports a new Northwestern Medicine study in mice.

The gene regulates sexual behavior in men, and thus can be targeted by drugs to either increase its function for low sexual desire or decrease its function for compulsive sexual desire, scientists said. Aromatase converts testosterone to estrogen in the brain, which drives male sexual activity.

The study was published Sept. 10 in the journal Endocrinology.

Aromatase's full function in the adult brain had not previously been known.

"This is the first key finding to explain how testosterone stimulates sexual desire," said senior author Dr. Serdar Bulun, chair of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern Medicine. "For the first time, we demonstrated conclusively that the conversion of testosterone to estrogen in the brain is critical to maintain full sexual activity or desire in males. Aromatase drives that."

When Northwestern scientists knocked out aromatase selectively in the brain, sexual activity in male mice decreased by 50%, despite their having higher levels of blood testosterone levels (compared with control male mice).

"Male mice partially lost interest in sex," said corresponding study author Dr. Hong Zhao, research associate professor in obstetrics and gynecology at Feinberg. "Aromatase is the key enzyme for estrogen production. Estrogen has functions in males and females. Testosterone has to be converted to estrogen to drive sexual desire in males."

If a normal male mouse is put with a female one, Bulun said, "it would chase after her and try to have sex with her. If you knock out the aromatase gene in the brain, their sexual activity is significantly reduced. There is less frequency of mating. The male mice are not that interested."

The finding can contribute to new treatments for disorders of sexual desire, the scientists said.

Low sexual desire, clinically known as hypoactive sexual desire disorder, is a common condition and can be a side effect of widely used medications such as a category of antidepressants known as SSRIs. A treatment to boost aromatase in this disorder could heighten sexual desire, Bulun said.

On the flip side, compulsive sexual desire is another condition that can be treated by an existing systemic aromatase inhibitor, but that treatment has side effects such as osteoporosis. Now, new selective drugs that suppress only the brain promoter region of the aromatase gene can be developed, Bulun said. These new selective medications would not cause the side effects of the currently existing aromatase inhibitors.

Other Northwestern authors include David Brooks, John Coon, Cihangir Ercan and Hongxin Dong.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:53 PM | Permalink

Really, COPA? Vaunted Police Video Policy Not Working

The Public Safety Section of the Office of Inspector General (OIG) conducted a review which finds that the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) is not in full compliance with the Video Release Policy (the Policy), which requires that the City publicly release video and audio files and certain police documents related to use-of-force incidents within 60 days of the incident.

Criteria for releases under the policy include: certain types of firearms discharges, taser discharges resulting in death or great bodily harm, and use of force against individuals in police custody resulting in death or great bodily harm.

COPA is responsible for identifying eligible use-of-force incidents and releasing materials publicly on its online Case Portal. COPA relies on the Chicago Police Department's (CPD) Crime Prevention and Information Center (CPIC) for notification of certain use-of-force incidents and depends on other agencies, notably CPD and the Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC), to provide certain video and audio files. However, this process has not always resulted in the timely release of all relevant files.

OIG's review uncovered internal conditions at COPA that inhibited the timely release of materials, as well as deficits involving other City agencies. In some cases, COPA miscalculated a release deadline or was late to identify an incident as one for which the Policy mandated the release of materials. In others, COPA did not receive video and audio files from OEMC in time to post them within the 60-day window required by the Policy.

OIG's review also revealed a need for clearer policy, guidance and training for CPD members assigned to CPIC on their duties to notify COPA of certain Policy-implicated incidents.

Finally, OIG found that COPA exercised inadequately guided discretion in releasing materials beyond those mandated for release by the Policy. OIG commends efforts undertaken in the pursuit of transparency, but subjectivity and inconsistency in COPA's treatment of these extra-Policy matters may raise public concern about the rigor of its implementation of the Policy.

OIG made several recommendations to ensure COPA is notified and releases materials for all Policy-mandated incidents in the 60-day timeframe required:

* COPA needs to improve certain internal processes and collaborate with OEMC and the Mayor's Office to develop interagency processes that support the timely delivery of material requested from OEMC.

* COPA and CPIC should co-develop notification guidelines that are clear and binding, and train CPIC staff to execute them. CPD should also adopt these guidelines into a binding directive.

Further, OIG recommended that the Mayor's Office, the Department of Law (DOL), and COPA should review the Policy's criteria for release, discern whether additional criteria or guidance should be included, and DOL should then update the Policy accordingly.

In response, COPA, CPD, OEMC, and the Mayor's Office agreed with OIG's recommendations. COPA committed to working with CPIC to develop quality assurance measures, including data-driven performance improvement processes, to ensure that COPA is notified of all appropriate incidents.

CPD will work with COPA to develop clear guidelines for notifying COPA, as well as draft a directive outlining CPIC's responsibilities. OEMC will work with COPA and the Mayor's Office to adjust processes and enhance technology and personnel resources to improve the timeliness with which it provides materials.

Finally, the Mayor's Office has committed to working with each agency to address the identified issues and recommendations.

"The City of Chicago was a proactive national leader in adopting the Video Release Policy in 2016 in immediate response to the initial recommendations of the Police Accountability Task Force," said Deputy Inspector General for Public Safety Deborah Witzburg.

"In the midst of the continuing, complex national conversation about police accountability, the City's full vindication of the original intentions of the Policy has never been more important or urgent.

"COPA, CPD, OEMC, and the Mayor's Office must work together more effectively to meet the City's transparency imperatives around use of force by the police, while appropriately attending to privacy and procedural fairness in the police disciplinary system.

"Solutions here depend upon the cooperative efforts of several City agencies, each of whom have acknowledged opportunities to improve the current process. A failure to do so risks the City failing to meet its mandate to render public accountability for the use of force by Chicago's police."


See also:
* Sun-Times: Oversight Agency Failed To Release Video, Audio, Documents Within 60 Days Of Police Use-Of-Force Incidents.

* WTTW-TV: Officials Are Failing To Release Video, Documents Swiftly After Police Use Force.

* Tribune: IG Finds Failures In City's System For Promptly Releasing Video In Chicago Police Use-Of-Force Cases.


Previously: Busted: Chicago Police Oversight Agency Improperly Closing Investigations.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:30 PM | Permalink

The [Tuesday] Papers

I hope to return on Thursday.

"President Barack Obama entered the White House in 2009 during a brutal recession, quickly pushed through a sizable stimulus package and then spent the next several years realizing it wasn't nearly big enough. Joe Biden is determined not to have the same regrets if he wins," Politico reports.

"In Obama's early years in the White House, liberals complained about the influence of some of his more center-left advisers including former Treasury Secretaries Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner.

"Some progressives spent years criticizing Obama for decisions they saw as too friendly to Wall Street. They also saw Obama's roughly $800 billion stimulus package as too small to address the scope of the Great Recession, a mistake they say helped lead to years of slow growth - for which Obama and Biden are still getting hammered politically - and increasing income inequality."

You know whose name isn't in this piece? The person who "spearheaded" the stimulus package, and that wasn't Joe Biden. It was Rahm Emanuel.

"When economic advisers pressed for a stimulus package that would exceed $1 trillion, Emanuel warned that the price tag would create a kind of sticker shock. His argument prevailed and the stimulus was held to $787 billion," the Tribune reported upon Rahm's departure from the White House in 2010.

Rahm argued that the word "trillion" was bad optics - no matter the human cost of falling short of what people and the economy needed. Obama agreed, and as he did so often, negotiated against himself by defining down the ask and letting Republicans bargain for even less.

But then, Rahm always seems to escape accountability - perhaps because of his cozy relationships (including as a source) with elite journalists who keep him on TV and on the nation's leading Op-Ed pages. One of the most noxious players in our political lives has managed to inoculate himself from responsibility for his actions.

Take this March account from Vox comparing the 2008 financial scandal that wrecked the economy to today's coronavirus-wracked economy.

"Former Obama chief of staff Emanuel spearheaded the administration's 2008 stimulus negotiations with lawmakers," Vox notes. Then Vox lets him get away with blaming the too-small size of the stimulus on Republicans and paint himself as heroic for trying to push money out the door as fast as possible. Not that Republicans didn't deserve blame, but Rahm and his boss lowballed themselves before even picking up the phone to start negotiations.

"There was an obvious tension between the warning about the extent of the financial crisis, which would require large-scale spending, and the warning about the looming federal budget deficits, which would require fiscal restraint," Ryan Lizza reported for The New Yorker in 2012.

"The tension reflected the competing concerns of two of Obama's advisers. Christina Romer, the incoming chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, drafted the stimulus material. A Berkeley economist, she was new to government. She believed that she had persuaded Summers to raise the stimulus recommendation above the initial estimate, six hundred billion dollars, to something closer to eight hundred billion dollars, but she was frustrated that she wasn't allowed to present an even larger option. When she had done so in earlier meetings, the incoming chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, asked her, 'What are you smoking?' She was warned that her credibility as an adviser would be damaged if she pushed beyond the consensus recommendation."

Rahm's credibility, however, is seemingly invulnerable. He could cover up the murder of a man on Fifth Avenue and get away with it.


"Even as the severity of the economic crisis became clear, Obama and Congress worked together to make the stimulus smaller," Lizza reported.

And something like a third of the package was non-stimulative tax cuts designed to lure Republican votes that never came.

But Rahm is still out there dispensing advice, having somehow cadged his way into a reputation as a political genius despite a dismal record at everything he's touched except the media manipulation that's gone along with it.



Moved to Texas in 06 haven't had this beer in forever is anyone able to lead me in the right direction? can't seem to find anyone online to deliver so I've turned to Reddit. So like I said does anyone have any old style for sale ? from r/chicago





Chicago Bulls Pancake Art




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





The Beachwood McTip Line: At select locations only.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:46 AM | Permalink

September 14, 2020

Home Field Hankering

Missed the Saturday dance
Heard they crowded the floor
Couldn't bear it without you
Don't get around much anymore

- Music by Duke Ellington, lyrics by Bob Russell

I find myself mouthing the words to this old standard with near shocking frequency these days because, I suppose, I actually don't get around much anymore. And when I do, I'm careful to mask up and social distance. I've always enjoyed the song, but nowadays those lyrics have far greater significance than when they were written in 1942.

Take Friday night, for instance. The White Sox were returning home a game ahead in the AL Central Division. They had won 17 of their last 22. Everything was pointing to the playoffs. A hint of fall was in the air, yet these late summer evenings remain blissful now that the 90-degree heat and humidity have bid us adieu for the season. This should have been the perfect night to watch the most exciting team in years on the South Side, not on television but at the ballpark.

Last season when the Sox lost 89 games, 20,026 fans showed up for the only Friday night game in September. We'll never know, but my guess is that the gate would have been as high as 30,000 for the Sox' exciting 4-3 win over Detroit last Friday.

Fifteen years ago as the Sox were streaking to a pennant and eventual World Series championship, they drew more than 28,000 on two September Fridays and 36,000 for a mid-week game against pursuer Cleveland.

Similar to that gleeful 2005 season which keeps shrinking in our rear view mirrors, the 2020 edition of the ballclub on 35th Street already has surpassed all expectations after Sunday's 5-2 conquest of the Tigers, earning the Sox a three-game sweep and an astounding nine victories in 10 games against the Motor City Nine. The Sox are 21-3 when facing the Tigers, Royals and Pirates.

Sunday's win came on the heels of Saturday's 14-0 pasting of Detroit in which José Abreu launched two three-run homers to further his bid for Most Valuable Player. Of course, that was exhilarating, but being in the ballpark, drinking a beer or two to wash down a red hot with mustard and extra onions, celebrating with folks whom you've just met, and watching those missiles settle into the outstretched arms of bleacherites is one of life's pleasures for those of us who bathe in this kind of exuberance.

A slap back to reality reminds us that people are dying, the West is on fire, millions are out of work, and serving something for dinner other than breakfast cereal have become daily nightmares for far too many folks. Surely the chance to witness a big league ballgame in person doesn't even make the Top 100 of issues that need solving. But that's just it. What we have always taken for granted has been robbed from us.

Perhaps we should be thankful that we have any kind of baseball this summer. The cruel coronavirus could have put the brakes on all competition on the field of play. The stadiums not only would be empty, but NBC Sports Chicago would have been featuring Larry King infomercials. We all should be grateful that not only are we witnessing 60 games, but our highest aspirations for our talented athletes are being realized.

But still. As illogical and self-serving as it sounds, Friday got to me. I wanted to be there.
This hankering, if you will, to be able to buy a ticket and spend three hours or more in a major league park most assuredly is felt by many fans. What's interesting is that the home teams, judging solely by their performance, couldn't care less.

By that I mean teams playing at home have been winning at about the same pace this season compared to past years when thousands of fans were cheering for them from their stadium seats throughout the land. In their entertaining book Scorecasting, Tobias Moskowitz and L. Jon Wertheim, the former a professor of finance at the University of Chicago and the latter a sportswriter for Sports Illustrated, pointed out that between 1903 and 2009 (when the book was published) home teams were victorious 54.1 percent of the time.

As of this morning, clubs playing at home with zero fans have posted a winning percentage of 54.4 percent.

In other words, those silly cutouts, piped-in crowd noise, walk-up songs that only the players hear, and all the other gimmicks apparently have been more than sufficient to spur on the home team to victory. Who needs 30,000 people roaring their approval?

Moskowitz and Wertheim investigated a number of factors which might explain the home teams' advantage. Aspects like sleeping in one's own bed, being with family, and not having to travel were discarded when they looked at intercity series' like the Cubs versus Sox, where each team enjoyed the comforts of home. Across all the major sports, the team playing in its own stadium or arena won at the same clip as when entertaining out-of-town opponents.

Familiarity with their own ballpark and teams tailored to perform in those parks also diminished in relevance when the authors pointed out that the majority of players perform equally well (or poorly) both at home and on the road.

Case in point: the Sox this season. They've actually played a bit better on the road with a 16-7 record while going 14-9 at home. But offensively they're about even in stats like batting average (.278 road; .270 home), runs scored (123 home; 130 road) and home runs (43 home; 35 road). However, Sox pitchers have been somewhat more effective on the road with a 3.15 ERA compared to 3.91 at home.

After examining mountains of data, Moskowitz and Wertheim wrote, "What we've found is that officials are biased . . . but they're biased not against the louts screaming unprintable epithets at them. They're biased for them, and the bigger the crowd, the worse the bias. In fact, 'officials' bias' is the most significant contributor to home field advantage."

Then are we to believe that without the possibility of home fans' displeasure, umpires have retained their home team bias? Those cutouts are mute as far as I can tell.

If the home team does get an edge from the umpires, it couldn't come at a better time this week with the powerful Twins, still one game behind the White Sox, invading The Grate for four games starting tonight. However, Minnesota is a subpar 9-13 playing on the road. This will be interesting.

Regardless of this week's outcome, the two clubs will continue to tangle amid lonely seats. Long balls will echo off the bats, cheers will emanate only from the dugout, and foul balls and home runs will bounce aimlessly in the stands before resting alone in the aisles.

Bill Veeck perhaps summed it up best 35 years ago while sitting in the centerfield bleachers in an empty Wrigley Field while being interviewed for A Man for Any Season, a TV show produced by my friends Jamie Ceaser and Tom Weinberg.

"I guess I have seen everything in this country that is known to be one of the unusual things of nature," Bill began. "Whether it'd be Yosemite, Old Faithful, or whether it'd be the Grand Canyon from the bottom or the top, Bryce Canyon, the Natural Bridges, the Painted Desert, even the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty. I've seen them all. [But] . . . the most beautiful thing is a ballpark filled with people. Other people can have great acts of nature. That's mine. And the next most wonderful thing is a ballpark half-filled with people."


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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:30 AM | Permalink

The [Monday] Papers


If Trump really did not want to cause a panic, what's his excuse now for downplaying the virus? C'mon.


Trump goes from state to state telling people lies about the places where they live - and they believe it. (Last week he told folks in Michigan that he had brought them "so many car plants." How many, in reality: 0.)


They knew. I said it at the time, when so many thought Fauci was a hero, that he was an enabler. And I dubbed Deborah Birx "Baghdad Birx." Pay closer attention, people.



USPS, the Census Bureau, the CDC . . .


Also: the coverage of Tom Seaver's death focused on Lewy body dementia, but much of it ignored the fact that it was COVID-19 that did him in.


Right before our eyes.



The president of the United States is telling his supporters to vote twice. Don't underestimate what we are up against. This is the moment.


You don't have to be a socialist to understand how Americans are as indoctrinated as anyone else - if not more, because elsewhere people tend to know they're being lied to because the propaganda is so obvious. Here, it's not only textbooks but advertising, Hollywood and your local newspaper and TV stations.



Screen Shot 2020-09-14 at 10.22.07 AM.png

Hmm, I wonder . . .

Screen Shot 2020-09-14 at 10.14.47 AM.png





Local news organizations should be embarrassed to be so wrong about perhaps the most salient fact of Chicago census operations, but I learned a long time ago they are incapable of embarrassment.



New on the Beachwood since my last column . . .

Busted: OIG Slams COPA's BS On CPD
Agency improperly disposing of police misconduct allegations.

Just stop to let it sink in that police misconduct is such a systemic issue we need multiple layers of oversight to address it - and even that doesn't work.


Why Mocking The Marines At Belleau Wood Is A Blood Libel
"They likely saved France that month in 1918," our very own David Rutter writes. "They might have saved Western civilization, at least until they had to do it all again with Adolf Hitler. All they had to do was what we always ask of them. Be our heroes, and die."

The news cycle - i.e., life - has moved on, but take a minute to read this angry, exasperated tribute/scolding to understand why Donald Trump's failure to attend this ceremony was particularly egregious.


Illinois' best historic preservation projects of the year.

Click through - and click through again! - to see some really cool projects that show us how it can be done.



Searching For The World's Largest Owl
"They turn out to be just as otherworldly as the harsh landscape itself - 'defiant, floppy goblin(s),' and 'like one of Jim Henson's darker creations.'"



🚨 Michael McDonald Alert System
Will headline security, strategy and technology events.


Shtupping America
Some people, like genital warts, just never go away.

P.S.: We can now add this guy to the list.


Critics Hated Comic-Con@Home. Fans Loved It.
'The sense of community mattered more than the relative absence of Hollywood buzz and hype.'

Screen Shot 2020-09-14 at 11.19.59 AM.png


Recall! Cher-Make Sausage
429 pounds, some of it shipped to Illinois.


From the Beachwood Sports Desk . . .

SportsMonday: Bears Outluck Lions
Jim "Coach" Coffman stands by his 6-10 prediction - unless they go 4-12.


Home Field Hankering
"Surely the chance to witness a big league ballgame in person doesn't even make the Top 100 of issues that need solving. But that's just it. What we have always taken for granted has been robbed from us," our very own Roger Wallenstein writes.


Dak Prescott Is The Hero Skip Bayless Will Never Be
John Edward "Skip" Bayless II owns decades of insufferable arrogance as a sports opinionator; seldom has he seemed so clearly trapped in the wrong century, our very own David Rutter writes.


The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #321: The Bears Will Not Win 8½ Games This Year
Beachwood taking the under. Plus: NFL Lifts Lid With Mitch Bowl; George And Virginia Really On It This Year; The White Sox' Superlicious Schedule; Cubs Cling To Lead Over COVIDY Cards; Sky Falling, Crying; Fire Down Below; Red Stars Restart; Breaking Baffert, and more!


The Robust Undercurrent Of The Sports Flooring Market
Rising investments in athletic and fitness facilities.



Smoke from fires out west causing hazy skies in Chicago from r/chicago



View this post on Instagram

My favorite rock #biketravel

A post shared by Gretchen Hasse (@gbhasse) on



Tuner Evolution Chicago 2020.

Held Saturday outside the Schaumburg Convention Center, which isn't in Chicago but 🤷‍♂️.



The Layered Deceptions Of Jessica Krug, The Black Studies Professor Who Hid That She Was White.


Shere Hite, Who Challenged Myths Of Female Sexuality, Dies At 77.


One Sperm Donor. 36 Children. A Mess Of Lawsuits.


In The Woodpecker Kingdom, War Is A Spectator Sport.


Wesley Willis In Madison.


The Real Deep State.


The Beachwood Tipping Point Line: Tip it over and point.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:52 AM | Permalink

SportsMonday: Bears Outluck Lions

I'm not going to say it, yet.

I'm going to start by writing that that was a hell of a comeback by the Bears on Sunday, featuring Mitch Trubisky's best fourth quarter as a pro on his way to a 27-23 victory over the Lions.

After displaying the accuracy issues that have plagued him for more than a season now for the first three, grim quarters, Trubisky hit his stride down the stretch. He stopped with the tunnel vision for Allen Robinson and found a variety of receivers for three touchdowns. It all culminated in a perfect deep pass down the right sideline that Anthony Miller hauled in in stride just inside the pylon for the game-winning touchdown with just under two minutes left.

And then the defense, which was looking up at mediocre all day, blew the game until they didn't, thanks to the worst dropped pass you will see all season. Running back D'Andre Swift had the ball in both hands right in front of him. All he had to do was hold onto it and fall in to the end zone. Instead he tried to move the ball into position to run with it and in the process of making the switch lost the handle on it.

That play was so lucky for the Bears that if there is karma, they won't see the likes of anything like it for at least the next five games.

OK, now I'm going to say it: the Bears benefited greatly from the fact that the Lions had one of the worst defenses in the NFL last season and it would surprise no one if the Lions finished in the bottom five again this year. In case that wasn't enough of an advantage, and it wasn't, the home team finished the game with three of their top four cornerbacks sidelined by injury.

And it was a lousy game for the Bears defense except for two plays: The first was the team's one and only takeaway when an ill-advised Matt Stafford pass was deflected into the air by either Eddie Jackson or Jaylon Johnson and hauled in by Kyle Fuller.

The second was when Akiem Hicks recorded the team's only sack to push the Lions out of easy field goal range midway through the fourth quarter.

Then Matt Prater sent his 55-yard field goal attempt off the right upright and out. The kick had started between the uprights but then slowly faded to the side. If it had been a 50-yarder (and maybe a couple yards farther) it would have gone through.

Danny Trevacant
Danny Trevathan was terrible. When he wasn't shooting the wrong gaps on big Adrian Peterson runs (93 yards on 14 carries), he was getting beaten badly in pass coverage. He looked like the slowest guy on the field on play after successful play for the Lions.

Looks like general manager Ryan Pace choked when he decided to bring back the veteran inside linebacker rather than signing at least one of the two younger faster guys the Bears had successfully developed into quality players at that position.

It really would have cost too much to give new contracts to Nick Kwiatkowski and/or Kevin Pierre-Louis? And you really thought Trevathan's ability to call the signals for the defense outweighed his physical deficiencies? Every indication is that this was yet another brutal screw-up by Pace.

Graham Cracker
Tight end Jimmy Graham needs to learn to finish running through his routes. He blew a touchdown and a 20-plus yard reception by gathering himself to jump early for balls rather than continuing to sprint his way under touch passes. Happily Graham acknowledged as much after the game.

And there are two bright sides: One, Graham was open enough for Trubisky to drop in catchable big-play passes both times. Two, those are the sort of timing plays that take time for a quarterback and a tight end to perfect - there is reason to be optimistic about that part of the offense getting better as time goes on.

Final Thought
My prediction that the Bears will go 6-10 still looks real good, unless they go 4-12.


Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:57 AM | Permalink

September 12, 2020

Critics Hated Comic-Con@Home. Fans Loved It.

With the vast majority of North America's thousand-plus fan conventions cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual conventions (called cons) have been a bright spot for fans in an otherwise bleak year. Although organizers have experimented with different ways to run an online convention, none had as high expectations as the San Diego Comic-Con's Comic-Con@Home.

The virtual event, held July 22-26, featured content distributed across several platforms, including video panels, a virtual exhibition hall and a cosplay masquerade on Tumblr. From the beginning, it promised not only to fill the Comic-Con-shaped hole in regular attendees' summers but also to make a Comic-Con experience accessible to fans who ordinarily can't attend or are turned off by the scramble for badges and hotel rooms or by endless lines.

Comic-Con@Home inevitably drew comparisons to the in-real-life event, but some critics promptly branded it a failure - perhaps most prominently in Variety, the entertainment industry trade magazine.

But calling Comic-Con@Home a flop for not having enough exclusive movie reveals or failing to produce enough social media buzz assumes too much. Not all participants share the same goals as the largest industry players.

While Comic-Con has always had a relationship to Hollywood, to many fans, gaining virtual access to panels that might have been otherwise capped by space constraints and the sense of community matter more than a simplistic analysis about metrics or interactivity.

Industry Views Of Comic-Con

Variety's Adam B. Vary's story, "Why Comic-Con 'At Home' Was A Bust," cites data from social media analytics firm ListenFirst, which found "tweets that mentioned Comic-Con@Home were down 95 percent from 2019's live convention." Vary is unimpressed by YouTube views of around 15,000 per panel, and he laments the lack of fan interaction - "the most elemental reason for Comic-Con's 50-year success" - in Comic-Con@Home's video panels, which were prerecorded and disabled user comments.

But the relationship between fans, Comic-Con and big media companies has often proven a point of tension. When a major studio skips a presentation in the celebrated Hall H or an apparent cult classic in-the-making bombs at the box office, the media are quick to speculate whether Comic-Con attendees have lost their most favored audience status.

If anything, Variety's focus on analytics proves that, when it comes to the entertainment industry's attempts to shape and define the Comic-Con experience, the virtual con wasn't really all that different than others.

Another Look At The Numbers

Evaluating at-home participation by the same yardstick as an in-person event doesn't account for differences in format and mode of engagement. These metrics need to be understood in context. Even then, they don't tell the whole story of Comic-Con@Home.

For instance, the more-than 84,000 views logged for AMC's The Walking Dead panel, (now over 95,000) would be an impossibility in Hall H, which seats 6,500 fans.

This same panel also aired on gaming and entertainment site IGN's official Comic-Con hub, which did feature live chatting among users. (As of this writing, the IGN version of The Walking Dead panel has garnered another 63,000 views, and their livestream of that day's programming was accessed over 180,000 times.)

Add the 11,900 tweets about this panel alone, cited in Variety, and these impressions and engagements begin to rival, if not exceed, the 103,000 social media mentions logged by The Walking Dead in 2017.

And let's not forget fan- and community-led panels. Their views this year frequently outstripped the capacity of the rooms they are typically assigned in the San Diego Convention Center. For example, this year's Super Asian America panel has received 1,700 views on YouTube so far; in 2019, it was scheduled in room 5AB, which has a maximum capacity of 504.

Sense Of Community

Throughout Comic-Con@Home, fans used social media, blogs and forums to share memories and connect with friends they made at previous Comic-Cons. Some went so far as to travel to San Diego and hold socially distant meet-ups, including cosplay photo shoots, in beloved locations nearby.

The San Diego Convention Center's video tribute prompted an outpouring of love for the building, which for many attendees symbolizes the experience of Comic-Con (an "I Miss SDCC" pin featuring the convention center sold out in two minutes).

Fans even bonded over negative experiences, such as the glitches in the online sales of exclusive merchandise. In these moments, the sense of community mattered more than the relative absence of Hollywood buzz and hype.

Contrary to Variety, the largest fan-run SDCC blog stated, "we had an amazing time," a sentiment echoed by many virtual attendees.

Experiences like these are absent from industry-oriented assessments of Comic-Con@Home.

Comics Go Beyond Hollywood's Needs

Instead of definitively capturing the meaning of Comic-Con@Home, criticisms of the event illustrate how media companies still claim pop-culture pride of place for themselves, even as the popularity of Comic-Con and other con events is frequently cited (often by these same outlets) as evidence of fandom's growing influence.

This is not to suggest that cultural industries should be understood in simplistic, fan-versus-industry terms.

But with fan events moving mostly online for the foreseeable future, the debate about Comic-Con@Home is a useful reminder that these relationships don't start and end with Hollywood's needs.

Benjamin Woo is an associate professor of communication and media studies at Carleton University; Erin Hanna is an assistant professor of cinema studies at the University of Oregon. Melanie E.S. Kohnen is an assistant professor of rhetoric and media studies at Lewis & Clark. This analysis was collaboratively authored by the members of the Swarming SDCC project team, including Anne Gilbert, Felan Parker, Suzanne Scott and Matthew J. Smith.


This post is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.


Previously: The Family Guy (Virtual) Panel At (Virtual) Comic-Con 2020 Is (Virtually) Really Funny.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:40 PM | Permalink

Recall! Cher-Make Sausage

Cher-Make Sausage Company, a Manitowoc, Wisconsin establishment, is recalling approximately 429 pounds of fully-cooked meat sausage products due to misbranding and an undeclared allergen, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced Friday. The product contains milk (cheese), which is not declared on the packaging label.

The product labeled as "Old Fashioned Wieners" may contain cheddar wieners product. The product was produced on July 23, 2020. The following products are subject to recall:

* 5-lb. vacuum sealed packages labeled as "OLD FASHIONED WIENERS COURSE GROUND FULLY COOKED" with sell by date "11/26/20" and lot number "2020503" on the product label.

The products subject to recall bear establishment number "EST. 2420" inside the USDA mark of inspection. These items were shipped to retail locations in Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin and may have been sold intact or from a counter display as individual sausages.

The problem was discovered after the firm received a complaint from a store employee who observed cheese in the product.

There have been no confirmed reports of adverse reactions due to consumption of these products. Anyone concerned about an injury or illness should contact a healthcare provider.

FSIS is concerned that some product may be in retailer and consumers' refrigerators. Retailers who have obtained these products are urged not to sell them. Consumers who have purchased these products are urged not to consume them. These products should be thrown away or returned to the place of purchase.

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

Consumers and members of the media with questions about the recall can contact Tom Chermak, Cher-Make Sausage Company president, at or by calling (920) 683-5980.

Consumers with food safety questions can call the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1-888-MPHotline (1-888-674-6854) or live chat via Ask USDA from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Eastern Time) Monday through Friday.

Consumers can also browse food safety messages at Ask USDA or send a question via e-mail to

For consumers that need to report a problem with a meat, poultry, or egg product, the online Electronic Consumer Complaint Monitoring System can be accessed 24 hours a day at


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:03 AM | Permalink

Busted: Chicago Police Oversight Agency Improperly Closing Investigations

The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General's (OIG) Public Safety section has released an advisory to the Civilian Office of Police Accountability (COPA) regarding the agency's practice of administratively terminating police disciplinary investigations short of an investigative finding.

OIG found that administrative termination is ill-defined and frequently misapplied, and therefore each investigation in which it is used represents a risk that an allegation of police misconduct is improperly disposed of without ensuring either accountability or vindication for a Chicago Police Department (CPD) member.

OIG - which, on an ongoing basis, reviews individual closed disciplinary investigations conducted by COPA and CPD's Bureau of Internal Affairs and makes recommendations to inform and improve future investigations - recommended that COPA implement the following changes:

* Add policies, as well as clear and specific criteria, on the use of administrative termination to its Investigations Manual.

* Ensure that all potentially appropriate dispositions are considered and refrain from administratively terminating investigations based solely on the age of the complaint or to increase case closure capacity.

* Ensure that the chief administrator's approval is sought when appropriate.

* Review investigations recently closed by administrative termination to ensure their dispositions were appropriate.

Although COPA agreed with many of OIG's recommendations and acknowledged that, "[i]n the past, operating practices were not as systematic and consistent as those to which we aspire," its written response to OIG contradicted, in places, the statements of its employees and its own internal documents. These contradictions underscore the need to clarify and codify the requirements surrounding the application of administrative termination.

"A transparent and robust investigative process for allegations of police misconduct is profoundly important to fostering trust between the police department and the community it serves. Members of the public and CPD members are plainly entitled to a police accountability and disciplinary system in which they believe, and COPA fulfill its responsibilities in that system by conducting and documenting thorough, accurate, and consistent investigations," said Deputy Inspector General for Public Safety Deborah Witzburg. "As we look forward to COPA implementing our recommendations, and recognizing the bedrock importance of the accountability process, we will continue to make recommendations to inform and improve police disciplinary investigations."

Here is the full advisory and COPA's response.


See also:
* Sun-Times: COPA Improperly Ended Some Police Misconduct Investigations: OIG.

* Block Club Chicago: Police Oversight Agency COPA Improperly Ended Misconduct Investigations, Inspector General Finds.

* WBBM Newsradio: Watchdog: Some Police Misconduct Investigations Wrongly Closed.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:43 AM | Permalink

September 11, 2020

Dak Prescott Is The Hero Skip Bayless Will Never Be

Even the Asshole Opinion Fraternity to which many of us claim long affiliation and fraternity has some rules.

First, you can't fear scrutiny or being mocked. Eventually your opinions will inspire you to say or do something worthy of public scorn. Especially because we no longer have wise people - we called them "editors" - to prevent those awful instincts from reaching the public airwaves and ethernet.

We do not live in a world where public scorn is in short supply.

So those of us in good standing among the Asshole consortium concentrate on the powerful, mean-spirited, self-dealing, greedy, venomous, and indifferent because they all deserve to be smacked for their false superiority. None of those qualities is missing these days, either.

But most fundamentally, you can't be Skip Bayless, and do what Skip Bayless has done. Not on your worst days. If you do become Skip Bayless, you become like the cruel nabobs you ridicule for thoughtless injury to others.

You become talented, but cruel.

When Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott admitted that his brother's suicide and pressures of the pandemic had led him to seek professional help for depression, Bayless responded on his Fox Sports show Undisputed this way:

I don't have sympathy for him going public . . . If you reveal publicly any little weakness, it can affect your team's ability to believe in you in the toughest spots, and it definitely can encourage others on the other side to come after you . . . You just can't go public with it in my humble opinion. We all went through COVID, some sort of depression, right? I don't have sympathy for him going public with 'I got depressed, I suffered depression.' I'm going to ask our audience to feel free to go ahead and condemn me if you choose as cold-blooded and insensitive on this issue.

He went on to suggest the feeble-spirited Cowboys would never trust such a person to be their CEO-level franchise leader because, you know, MENTAL PROBLEMS.

Bayless has written three books about the Cowboys, including Hell-Bent, in which he spent six pages assessing how coach Barry Switzer's "people" feuded with quarterback Troy Aikman, and damned Aikman's fitness by insinuating he was gay.

He delivered a very Bayless-esque technique by seeming to anguish over the question without knowing the answer, and wondering if it even was a fair topic. Bayless could claim he did not actually claim Aikman was gay, only the rumor of it.

Making the rumor's existence the topic is literary bait. A purposeful pose.

All the while, the local homophobic audience was writhing predictably in delicious debate. It sold books.

There are several obvious points about Bayless's Prescott proclamation. First, he has never had a "humble opinion," so this would be his first if he ever were humble.

Second, giving listeners his permission to view him as "cold-blooded and insensitive" is unnecessary flummery. Don't worry. Skip. They already do think that.

And third, it's not as if the National Football League is not rife with personality disorders and psychological quirks - and that's just the owners.

As for Prescott, he responded by suggesting that he believed in transparency and honesty. And seeking help was no admission of weakness.

It was an admission of his humanity. And perhaps suggested that others who felt the same anguish could - and should - seek the same help.

Is this not the testimony and revelation of a leader?

This indeed was a moment of exemplary strength and maturity. And if the Cowboys are anything as noble and resolute as they proclaim themselves to be, they will value him even more.

After all, Prescott showed everyone he was a person to be trusted with hard self-realizations. He did not hide from himself, or anyone else.

"I got the help I needed, and I was very open about it. Emotions can overcome you if you don't do something about it," Prescott told reporters. "Mental health is a huge issue, and it's a real thing in our world right now, especially the world we live in."

He was a grown-up, who acted like one.

As for John Edward "Skip" Bayless II, he owns decades of insufferable arrogance as a sports opinionator beyond the Aikman episode, and often has held and expressed brazenly bizarre views, even back to his days as a columnist for the Chicago Tribune.

We easily forgive all those transgressions because that is the big-money media world we inhabit. Banality reigns, as do bad ideas. But Bayless is paid as a provocateur. And there hardly are any more consistent practitioners of banality than Bayless.

Bayless was merely making a buck the same way he always has - by being insufferable.

But when he shamed Prescott this week, Bayless crossed the invisible Maginot Line into a different land of old men who have stayed too long and grown too little. He's pushing 70.

He has seldom seemed so clearly trapped in the wrong century.

He was not only just a smug know-it-all (aren't we all?), now he was punishing a man's admission of frailty and concern.

He was cleverly lacerating a man for admitting he was wounded, in pain and needed help. He needed understanding. He shared the truth of himself because hiding only gives depression a comfortable place to hide.

That hiding spot is what gives depression its power in our culture.

Prescott had committed the multiple sins of clinical depression, affluence and vulnerability. And worst of all, he had admitted to all three in public.

That honesty does not make Prescott weak, as Bayless suggested.

Prescott showed everyone that there is no good in hiding pain.

That honesty did not make him flawed. It made him a hero.


David Rutter is the former publisher/editor of the Lake County News-Sun, and more importantly, the former author of the Beachwood's late, great "The Week In WTF" column. His most recent piece for us was Why Mocking The Marines At Belleau Wood Is A Blood Libel. You can also check him out at his Theeditor50's blog. He welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:13 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #321: The Bears Will Not Win 8½ Games This Year

Beachwood taking the under. Plus: NFL Lifts Lid With Mitch Bowl; George And Virginia Really On It This Year; The White Sox' Superlicious Schedule; Cubs Cling To Lead Over COVIDY Cards; Sky Falling, Crying; Fire Down Below; Red Stars Restart; Breaking Baffert, and more!

Beachwood Radio Network · The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #312: The Bears Will Not Win 8½ Games This Year



* 321.

1:44: NFL Lifts Its Lid With The Mitch Bowl.

* Bears also missed out on Tom Brady.

* Coffman's chalky favorites: Chiefs, Ravens, 49ers.

10:35: George And Virginia Really On It This Year.

* Same stories, new season.

11:47: Defensive Maneuvers.

* Undercovered holes at all three levels.

13:40: Stop Repeating That Meaningless Lions Statistic.

* Unless he gets hurt, Stafford (and Kenny Golladay) will light Bears up.

* Trubisky unlikely to do the same to the Lions.

16:03 The Mighty Quinn?




* Leonard Floyd is on a one-year deal with the Rams.

17:10: Bilal Nichols Is No Eddie Goldman.

* Or EG's been overhyped all these years.

18:57: Safety Valve.

* Eddie Jackson will play alongside garbage again.

22:12: Lions The Favorite Except Among Bears Media.

* Another Chicago coinkydink.

23:20: Biggs Time.

* Montgomery mystery.

* Coffman: Bears Lose QB Competition.

28:00: Well Played, Parkins.

* A whole new Mitch - again.

* Improved footwork is a means not an end.

30:36: Robbing ARob?

* The one blue-chip player on offense they have.

33:13: The White Sox' Superlicious Schedule.

* Twins, Cleveland, Cubs.

* Triple Crown?

40:41: Cubs Cling To Lead Over COVIDY Cards.

* The Dodgers are the best by a long shot, though.

* Wavin' Will.

* Ian's Happening.

* Yu Too.

* Baby Baez.

* Lester losing it.

* The Texas Bubble.

* Martinez, Sousa, yeesh.

57:15: Army Sucks.

* So does Navy.

59:27: The Sky Is Falling/Crying Pick Your Cliche Or Song Reference. Maybe it's Empty.

* Four consecutive losses.

1:00:24: Red Stars Restart.

* Open Fall Series on Saturday.

* Return to The Geek on the 20th.

1:02:15: The Fire Down Below.

* Multi-goal shellackings.

1:02:57: Breaking Baffert.

* Chambers: Authentically Depraved.




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


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:59 PM | Permalink

September 10, 2020

🚨 Michael McDonald Alert | To Headline Security, Strategy & Technology Events

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Michael McDonald, an enduring force in popular music, will headline three Forrester virtual events: Security & Risk Global 2020; Data Strategy & Insights North America 2020; and Technology & Innovation Global 2020, the company announced Thursday.

In 2020, McDonald was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of the Doobie Brothers. In celebration of the group's 50th anniversary, McDonald will tour with the band for the first time in nearly 25 years. Wide Open, McDonald's first full-length record of all-new music in nearly a decade, came out in 2017 and received extensive critical acclaim.

Hailing from St. Louis, McDonald first honed his talents as a studio musician before becoming an integral part of the band Steely Dan. In the mid-1970s, McDonald was invited to join the Doobie Brothers, serving as singer, keyboardist and songwriter on such Top 40 singles as "Takin' It to the Streets" and "What a Fool Believes." Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, McDonald's solo career saw a string of hits, including "I Keep Forgettin' (Every Time You're Near)" and the Grammy-winning James Ingram duet "Yah Mo B There."

Upcoming Forrester events that Michael McDonald will be headlining include:

* Security & Risk Global 2020, September 22-23, will showcase Forrester's latest research for cybersecurity professionals to help them combat emerging cyberthreats, stay abreast of new regulatory requirements, and help them learn the latest tools and strategies needed to keep enterprises secure, especially as new threats emerge and attackers grow more sophisticated.

* Data Strategy & Insights North America 2020, October 14-15, will feature more than 20 Forrester analysts and offer guidance to chief information officers, chief data officers, chief compliance officers and other IT leaders to help them shape data, analytics and AI strategies to transform their organizations into insights-driven businesses.

* Technology & Innovation Global 2020, taking place November 4-5, will demonstrate for CIOs and other tech leaders how successful businesses are deploying adaptive behavior and technology across their respective enterprises to respond to continually evolving technology, customer expectations, workforce issues and economic factors.

"Michael McDonald is a consummate professional who has spent his career adapting his unique style to complement legendary bands and artists, and we are truly excited for him to headline a 'tour' of our H2 2020 events." said Lisa Riley, vice president of global events at Forrester.


Editor's Note: We used to have a Michael McDonald Alert System in our forums, when we had forums. As I reminded readers on May 15, 2019:

"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."


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:44 AM | Permalink


Landmarks Illinois is excited to announce the nine recipients of the 2020 Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards. The annual awards program, now in its 27th year, honors exceptional historic preservation projects and the people saving important places in Illinois.

Projects and individuals in Aurora, Chicago, Galena, Moline, Rockford and Watseka will receive awards in the categories of Adaptive Use, Rehabilitation, Restoration, Advocacy and Lifetime Achievement. The 2020 award winners will be honored at a virtual awards ceremony October 21, 2020, the details of which are below. In addition to an award, recipients receive a $1,000 prize.

"Our 2020 award recipients represent a wide range of Illinois preservation projects, from multi-million dollar redevelopments in large cities to grassroots, local efforts in small towns," said Bonnie McDonald, President & CEO of Landmarks Illinois. "One thing these award-winning preservation efforts all have in common, though, is how they will each play an important role in revitalizing our Illinois communities in the months and years to come. While we cannot gather in person this year to celebrate the incredibly dedicated people who led these inspiring projects, Landmarks Illinois is as proud as ever to recognize their contribution to saving our historic places."

A jury of historic preservation professionals selected this year's winners. Projects are judged on their impact to the community and how it inspires others, the quality and degree of difficulty of the project and the degree to which the project aligns with Landmarks Illinois' mission. The 2020 Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Award recipients are listed below. Visit our website to read more details on each project and project leaders.

Aurora Arts Center, Aurora: Award for Adaptive Use

3_Aurora_Arts_Center_at_Night_-_credit_Mark_Ballogg.jpgMark Ballogg

Located in two downtown historic buildings dating back to the 1920s, the Aurora Arts Center offers affordable housing for artists, job opportunities and arts education space. The adaptive reuse project led by the nonprofit developer group, The Community Builders, has contributed to the revitalization of the city's downtown district, providing new economic opportunities and greater access to the arts for all residents.


Cook County Hospital Administration Building, Chicago: Award for Adaptive Use

10._CCH_North_Facade_After_Photo_by_Dave_Burk_SOM.jpgDave Burk

Civic Health Development Group led the $140 million rehabilitation of the long-vacant Old Cook County Hospital, which has completely revived the 1913 Beaux Arts building and the Illinois Medical District on Chicago's Near West Side. The project was 20 years in the making and has transformed the threatened building - named four times to Landmarks Illinois' Most Endangered Historic Places in Illinois - into a mixed-use complex that includes a Hyatt hotel, Cook County medical office facility and retail space.


Lathrop, Chicago: Award for Rehabilitation

Lathrop 1 Courtesy Related Midwest.jpgRelated Midwest

Lathrop Community Partners, a development partnership between Related Midwest, Heartland Housing and Bickerdike Redevelopment Corp., have rehabilitated the historic Lathrop Homes on Chicago's North Side. Originally built in 1938 as a Works Progress Administration project, the new Lathrop Homes includes a renovation of 16 of the original 32 historic buildings to produce 414 mixed-income residences, green space along the Chicago River, community gathering space, administrative buildings and more.


University of Chicago Keller Center, Chicago: Award for Adaptive Use

2_Main_Entrance Photo Credit Tom Rossiter.jpgTom Rossiter

The University of Chicago-led restoration of the 1962 Edward Durrell Stone-designed Keller Center has been thoughtfully and sustainably reimagined, creating 125,000 square feet of usable and enjoyable space for both the academic and larger university community. Home to the university's Harris School of Public Policy, the transformed building now serves as a learning laboratory where students can witness real-world challenges and solutions through design.


The Mark Twain, Chicago: Award for Rehabilitation

Mark Twain 3 Courtesy The NHP Foundation.jpgThe NHP Foundation

The NHP Foundation, a nonprofit real estate corporation, has rehabilitated the 1930 Art Deco building in Chicago's Gold Coast neighborhood, creating 140 single-room occupancy affordable housing units. The project impeccably restored the historic character of both the interior and exterior of the building while also meeting all Department of Housing SRO requirements.


Marilyn and Carl Johnson, Galena: Joe Antunovich Award for Leadership, Lifetime Achievement


The Johnsons are being honored for their nearly 50 years of dedication to historic preservation in their home city of Galena. Through advocacy, education and hands-on practice, the Johnsons have helped preserve a number of historic buildings in Galena, and co-founded the Galena Foundation, which continues to promote the city's unique history and heritage.


Garfield School Senior Residences, Moline: Award for Adaptive Use

Garfield 2 Credit Courtesy Garfield School Senior Residences.jpg.JPG

Gorman and Company led a sustainable and energy efficient adaptive reuse of the former Garfield school campus, constructed in 1902 and vacant since 2014. The former school now is home to senior residences that feature historic character from the building's original design. The project has brought needed affordable senior housing to Moline and revitalized an aging and once-neglected property.


Friends of Ziock, Rockford: Award for Advocacy

_44_photos_ESRR_4-2 Photo Credit JW Aerial Image.jpgJW Aerial Image

The longtime advocacy efforts of the Friends of Ziock group resulted in the much needed rehabilitation of Rockford's Ziock Building. The former daylight factory built between 1912 and 1950 and listed on the National Register of Historic Places has been transformed into a hotel and convention center that can attract economic activity and tourism to Rockford. The redevelopment of the former factory, led by Gorman & Company, would not have happened without the dedicated individuals who continued to push for the building's reuse for nearly a decade.


Roff House, Watseka: Award for Restoration

1_Roff_Home_View_of_Front_of_Home_-_Photo Credit Pedro Brito.jpgPedro Brito

John Whitman is being honored for his loving restoration of the Roff House, an 1868 Italianate-style historic home in Watseka widely known for its supernatural lore and for attracting thousands of visitors a year. Whitman undertook a meticulous five-phase restoration of the home to honor its history and its original architectural features, resulting in a revived local landmark.


The Awards Ceremony
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Landmarks Illinois will host its first virtual Landmarks Illinois Richard H. Driehaus Foundation Preservation Awards Ceremony on October 21, 2020, at 6 p.m. The awards ceremony is free to Landmarks Illinois members and $10 to members of the public or non-Landmarks Illinois members. Registration is required to attend the virtual event, and registered guests will receive a custom link and information on how to access the online ceremony prior to the event.

Guests are also welcome to register and attend Breweries Saving Buildings: A Virtual Happy Hour hosted by the Skyline Council of Landmarks Illinois that begins at 5 p.m. directly before the awards ceremony on October 21, 2020. This special event will focus on how craft breweries are revitalizing historic buildings and surrounding neighborhoods in Illinois. Brewmasters and owners from past preservation award-winning projects Eris Brewery & Cider House of Chicago and Prairie Street Brewing Company of Rockford will take guests on a virtual tour of their historic homes and lead us in an online taste testing of their beer and ciders. Registration is required and tickets are $5 for all attendees. Guests will be able to purchase beer and cider tasting kits that include specific craft brews from Eris and Prairie Street Brewing prior to the event.

Please visit our website for more information on these events and to register for both.


About Landmarks Illinois
We are People Saving Places for People. Landmarks Illinois is a membership-based nonprofit organization serving the people of Illinois. We inspire and empower stakeholders to save places that matter to them by providing free guidance, practical and financial resources and access to strategic partnerships.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:40 AM | Permalink

September 9, 2020

The Robust Undercurrent Of The Sports Flooring Market

A number of indoor and outdoor sports and fitness facilities need flooring that is durable, easy to install, and shock absorbent. Demand for sports flooring with better materials is constantly growing in tennis, basketball, squash, gymnasium, group fitness, and cardio fitness activities.

Worldwide, gyms, yoga centers, Zumba, and indoor sports centers have expanded their spending on new flooring and renovations, thus increasing the revenue potential in the sports flooring market.

The appetite is high in Asia Pacific, with the regional market expected to clock CAGR of 5.5% from 2020 to 2030.

The sports flooring market is expected to clock CAGR of ~6% from 2020 to 2030, globally, and reach worth of $19.5 billion by the end of 2030.

Request for COVID-19 Impact Analysis on Sports Flooring Market

TMR analysts opine that both governments and private players will play crucial role in the rising investments in the development of sports facilities, and hence in the expansion in the sports flooring market. This will pave way to the demand for new flooring materials, notably which are sustainable and environment-friendly.

Key Findings of Sports Flooring Market

* Among the various product types in the sports flooring market, artificial turf flooring has been contributing sizable revenues.

* Artificial segment garnering revenues from its extensive demand in flooring for soccer, football, lacrosse, baseball, and hockey.

* Wood flooring is also a lucrative segment.

* Of the various applications, outdoor sports held a promising share.

* Of the various end-users, commercial is expected to be the leading segment during the forecast period of 2020-2030.

* Of the various sports, football held a promising market share, vis-à-vis volume and value, in 2019

* Among the various key regions, North America is a lucrative market

Sports Flooring Market: Key Driving Factors And Promising Avenues

* Rapid pace of urbanization in several parts of the world has also stirred the populations to take active part if sports and fitness activities, thereby spurring the number of well-maintained sports facilities, especially for indoor sports.

* Rise in private sports clubs especially in the developed world has bolstered the demand in sports flooring market.

* The demand for high-end and low-maintenance sports flooring among facility managers has paved way to adoption of sustainable, environmentally friendly, and high-performance materials.

* Demand for safer and more comfortable flooring in sports facilities, and fitness activities has also created new revenues in the market. In this regard, synthetic urethane, vinyl, and rubber flooring are gathering steam.

* The use of sports flooring for branding activities is also expanding avenues for stakeholders in the sports flooring market.

* Over the years, governments of numerous countries have been increasingly promoting Olympics, ICC Cricket World Cup, FIFA World Cup, and Wimbledon competitions. This has fueled the demand for sports flooring for commercial use.

Sports Flooring Market: Regional Landscape

Of all the regions, North America has been a prominent share in the global sports flooring market. The regional market has seen vast spending on improving sports infrastructure in both indoor and outdoor facilities. In particular, the governments in these regions are fervently spending on sports and recreational facilities. In particular, the U.S. is expected to witness sizable revenues.

Sports Flooring Market: Competitive Landscape

Most players are leaning on spending on expanding their production facilities in developing and developed countries. The competitive landscape is highly fragmented. To consolidate their shares, the top players are getting into acquisitions and strategic partnerships.

Well-entrenched players in the sports flooring market include Bauwerk Boen Group, LG HAUSYS, Interface, Inc., Tarkett Group, and Shaw Industries Group, Inc.

The Sports Flooring Market can be segmented as follows:

Sports Flooring Market, by Product Type
* PVC Flooring

* Wood Flooring

* Polyurethane Flooring

* Rubber Flooring

* Polypropylene Flooring

* Artificial Turf Flooring

* Others (including Synthetic/Acrylic Flooring and HDPE Flooring)

Sports Flooring Market, by Application
* Outdoor

* Indoor

Sports Flooring Market, by End Use
* Commercial

* Residential

Sports Flooring Market, by Sports
* Track & Field (Running, Jumping, and Throwing)

* Football

* Basketball

* Volleyball

* Badminton

* Tennis

* Gym, Dance, & Aerobic Studio

* Others (including Pickleball)


Previously in markets:

* Global Chewing Gum Market On Fire.

* Global Chainsaw Market On Fire.

* Automatic Labeling Machine Market On Fire.

* Tube Packaging Market Worth $9.3 Billion By 2021.

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

* Global Condom Market On Fire.

* Global Sexual Lubricant Market On Fire.

* Industrial Lubricants Market Booming.

* Global Electric Guitar Growth.

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

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

* The Global Premature Ejaculation Market Is Exploding Quickly.

* Pressure Sensitive Adhesives Market On Fire.

* Global TV Market Spikes With Pandemic.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:00 PM | Permalink

Why Mocking The Marines At Belleau Wood Is A Blood Libel

The president of the United States mocked the late John McCain's torture by the Vietnamese, smirked at the 50,000 who died in Vietnam when he would not risk himself, and generally spat on the American military he has used as a stage prop for four years.

But he did something even worse. He called those who fell wearing the nation's uniform "suckers" and "losers." The Atlantic reported all the hideous details, and Donald Trump has found no way to refute what he has said. Generals heard him say it.

This was not merely a mistake. It was a mortal sin by a man who has committed far too many with no consequences.

But it's even worse.

When Trump refused to visit Belleau Wood's nearby cemetery in 2018 because rain might spoil his hairdo and besides only "suckers" were buried there, he managed to become immortal for his stupendous ignorance.

He does not know this sin, or acknowledge it. He cannot ask for forgiveness.

What's the worst of ignorance? We have found it. He laughed at dead soldiers for being dead.

More specifically, he mocked the U.S. Marine Corps and the 1,800 of them buried barely 60 miles east of Paris.

As the witness replied to red-baiter Joe McCarthy's callous cruelty, perhaps we all now may have found our "At long last sir, do you have no decency?" moment. Maybe this is the moment when we all decide that some insults and distortions cannot be forgiven, ignored or rationalized.

This is not communication "style." It is vile indifference and some evil even more deeper and insidious.

Calling Marines "suckers" for dying at Belleau Wood is a blood libel to all Marines who have spilled plenty of blood to save all of us. It is a blood insult to the nation.

The blood Marines spilled that June in France is sacramental and holy. But it's clear that Trump does not understand either the motive and character of those who died, or why we should honor them, except as a PR stunt.

They likely saved France that month in 1918. They might have saved Western civilization, at least until they had to do it all again with Adolf Hitler.

All they had to do was what we always ask of them. Be our heroes, and die.

The chances are that almost no one other than a Marine knows precisely what Belleau Wood was. We are a nation of amnesiacs. To many Americans, it's just another old forgotten name of a forgotten battle in an old forgotten war.

But the entire nation of France remembers.

The French do not call the old hunting preserve Belleau Wood anymore. They renamed it "Bois de la Brigade de Marine" ("Wood of the Marine Brigade") in honor of the Marines. They awarded the Fourth Marine Brigade and its 5th and 6th Marine Regiments the Croix de guerre, their highest award.

It was not for one Marine, but all of them.

Though the Marines have compiled centuries of heroism and valor - it's their business - Belleau Wood and June 1918 stand at the spiritual center of their history. The Marines were introduced to modern industrialized warfare that month.

No other time, or place, or set of horrific conflicts so splendidly places the Marines Corps in sharper clarity. It remains who the Marines are now.

The Corps has used Belleau Wood's lessons to shape its heroism at Guadalcanal, Iwo Jima, and Fallujah.

Its spirit was forged.

Words were shouted that month by soldiers facing death from massed machine fire that still stand as the heart of the Corps' legacy.

When told to retreat by an experienced French officer, Capt. Lloyd W. Williams replied, "Retreat, hell! We just got here!" He commanded the 51st Company, 2nd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment. Williams would die in Belleau Wood nine days later, blinded by gas and eviscerated by German shrapnel.

When they charged the machine guns, Gunnery Sergeant Daniel Daly yelled at this platoon, "Come on, you sons of bitches, do you want to live forever?"

Daly won the Medal of Honor twice and was nominated for a third. One Marine, Gunnery Sergeant Fred Stockham, was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for giving his gas mask to a wounded comrade whose mask had been shot off. Stockham then died of gas poisoning.

That's who the president mocked.

In spring 1918, the vast American military had not yet arrived in France. It was coming in full force, and the Germans knew it. They threw dozens of fresh divisions at the front after Russia quit fighting hoping to overwhelm the British and French allies, take Paris and make the Yanks' arrival moot.

It almost worked. But the Marines essentially stopped the surge at Belleau Wood, the Marne River, Château-Thierry, and Hill 142.

It was nonstop brutality. Point-blank artillery, poison mustard gas, machine guns, pistols, bayonets and hand-to-hand. Exploding shells splintered the trees, and swelled the ground with deadly wood splinters and metal shrapnel.

The Marines stood and fought.

No one escaped it. No one ran.

The Marines held their ground everywhere along the front.

It was the single, grandest month of bravery the nation can remember or honor.

Every minute of that month is etched in the soul of every Marine. Those minutes and every drop of blood the minutes cost are taught to Marines as part of their instruction.

Marines learn not only what they must do, but why. They learn about Belleau Wood.

The knowledge has the weight and significance of Scripture.

When the battle at Belleau Wood was over, the ground was soaked with the blood of nearly 10,000 American casualties, including more than 1,800 killed. The Marines suffered more casualties in that battle than it did in its entire history to that point. But Paris was safe.

That's who and what the president of the United States mocked.

In honor of that heroism, French President Emmanuel Macron used the occasion of his 2018 state visit to gift the United States with a sessile oak sapling. It came from Belleau Wood.

According to Le Monde, the oak sapling given by Macron died in required quarantine of natural causes.

There was no sign that President Trump knew about Belleau Wood, and what the 5-year-old tree's spiritual significance was.

Or why, most profoundly, anyone would honor the "suckers" who paid for it.


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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:23 AM | Permalink

Searching For The World's Largest Owl

In Russia's Far East, meeting a person alone in the wilderness is usually a bad thing. Some recluses in this remote region might be criminals of one kind or another; those hiding from law enforcement or those hiding from other criminals. But when conservationist Jonathan C. Slaght ran into a man with "a crazy look in his eyes" and one missing finger living alone in an abandoned World War II hydroelectric station, rather than make a quick exit, he took the hermit up on his offer to spend the night. The night turned into weeks and the hermit soon became a valued field assistant (albeit one who regularly asked questions like "Did the gnomes tickle your feet last night?").

In Owls of the Eastern Ice: A Quest to Find and Save the World's Largest Owls, Slaght transports readers to the remote wilds of Primorye to join him on his quest to study one of the world's least-known owls. Like Amur tigers (also known as Siberian tigers), Blakiston's fish owls are top predators. They feast on salmon and thrive in the inhospitable wilderness of northeast Asia, primarily in Russia but also Japan and China.

Prior to Slaght's five-year project, conducted for his doctoral research, only a smattering of scientific studies - many of them decades-old - existed on the species. Fewer than 2,000 fish owls still survive in the wild, and logging and new roads are increasingly infringing on the endangered bird's habitat. The more scientists can learn about the species, the better equipped they will be to propose effective protections.


Slaght was uniquely qualified to find answers in this particular corner of the world. An American citizen, he lived in Moscow in the 1990s with his diplomat parents and later spent three years in the country's Far East with the Peace Corps. He speaks the language fluently and considers Primorye - where he continues to work for the Wildlife Conservation Society's Russia program - a second home.

He is also versed in Primorye's fascinating history. In 2016, he published a new translation of Across the Ussuri Kray, a collection of travel writing by the naturalist Vladimir K. Arsenyev. Slaght references Arsenyev in Owls of the Eastern Ice and his study locations sometimes overlap with those of the 20th-century explorer's.

Primorye's stark realities seem to have hardly changed in the hundred-odd years between Arsenyev and Slaght's visits. As Slaght describes, it's a place of "pine and shadow," where primordial dichotomies - "hungry or satiated, frozen or flowing, living or dead" - still define existence.

The pace and feel of his narrative are also reminiscent of Arsenyev's; both offer intimate, hard-earned portraits of Primorye's natural history, interspersed with colorful anecdotes about the hunters, hermits, and indigenous communities who call the rugged environment home.

12.-Gafitskii_01-crop-1480x833.jpgA Blakiston's fish owl pauses in shallow river water with its fresh kill, a young masu salmon, before swallowing it whole/Sergey Gafitski

Slaght's study aimed to answer what he describes as a deceptively simple question: What landscape features do fish owls need to survive? The answer did not come easily, as evidenced by chapters with titles such as "The Monotony of Failure" and "The Banality of Road Travel."

Over the course of 20 months spent in the field - much of it in the subzero Russian winter - Slaght painstakingly built his study from scratch, first by finding fish owl pairs, then by learning to trap the birds through trial and error, and finally by equipping them with tracking devices.

At each step, Slaght faced an onslaught of challenges: near strandings in the remote wilderness due to flooding; melting ice bridges and vehicular break-downs; gastrointestinal nightmares; forest fires; mosquitoes galore and parasites trying to inhabit his beard; blizzard delays and frozen equipment; equipment destroyed by owls; an overly talkative field assistant with a urine fetish; and splitting hangovers from complying with the Russian social tradition of finishing an open bottle of vodka (or, in one case, cleaning ethanol).

Slaght approaches the stream of mishaps, setbacks, and mini-disasters with dry humor and grit. At times, he even seems to derive a masochistic joy from the hardships. "Field work," he notes, "is often regular repetition of challenging or unpleasant activities, an application of persistent pressure to a question until the answer finally emerges."

The fish owls reveal themselves slowly, both to Slaght and to the reader. They start out as phantoms, their presence only hinted at in palm-sized, K-shaped tracks left on snowy river banks. and in eerie, deep-throated duets that waft out of the thick of the Primorye forest.

Slowly, through Slaght's hard work and persistence, they come into sharper focus. They turn out to be just as otherworldly as the harsh landscape itself - "defiant, floppy goblin(s)," and "like one of Jim Henson's darker creations."

2.-FishOwl_moss_Slaght-scaled-e1598990858987.jpgA Blakiston's fish owl, about the size of an eagle, alert and with ear tufts erect/Jonathan C. Slaght

Fish owls are the size of eagles, with 6 1/2-foot wide wingspans that sprout from comically fluffy, portly bodies, "as if someone had hastily glued fistfuls of feathers to a yearling bear."

They have prodigious ear tufts, but because they hunt fish (a visual task rather than auditory one), they lack the facial feather disks that many other owl species use to amplify their hearing.

When threatened, fish owls can be aggressive - "a creature braced for battle," as Slaght describes one captive - and a number of Slaght's research subjects drew blood from him and his field assistants. The researchers got away easy, though: Slaght heard of a hunter who lost a testicle to a concealed fish owl fledgling when he squatted in the brush to use the bathroom.

In the end, all the suffering and perseverance paid off. Slaght's findings about fish owl territory sizes and choice hunting and nesting grounds - valley forests with large, half-rotted old trees and rivers that do not freeze year-round and brim with plenty of fish - were used to create a conservation plan for the species. By overlaying his findings onto a map of Primorye, Slaght was able to determine that only 19 percent of prime fish owl habitat was protected, a discovery of great relevance for policymakers.

The findings also led to a number of victories in the private sector. One major logging company agreed to stop harvesting the types of old, rotting (and nearly commercially useless) trees that fish owls need for nesting - a public relations win at little cost to the loggers, Slaght writes. Some companies also agreed to start blocking unused logging roads and remove bridges, helping to reduce the chances of fish owls becoming roadkill (a serious threat) and to limit salmon poachers' abilities to reach pristine stretches of river.

Owls of the Eastern Ice is a vivid, immersive account of existence in one of the planet's most extreme intact wildernesses. Slaght has done his part to ensure that Primorye remains a place "where humans and wildlife still share the same resources," and where fish owls continue to announce from the forest that Primorye remains wild.

This post was originally published on Undark.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:09 AM | Permalink

September 8, 2020

The [Tuesday] Papers

Programming Note: I hope to be back Thursday. Census is killing me.


A: We wanted to screw with Rhodes.


New on the Beachwood today . . .

Bears Lose QB Competition
Nick Foles must have really sucked.


Shtupping America
Like genital warts, some people never go away.



Has anyone planned or gone to a funeral recently in the Chicago area? from r/chicago





Hall & Oates at Park West, 1978


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








The Beachwood Hangry Line: Stop the war.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 3:30 PM | Permalink

WTF Special Edition: Shtupping America

Greetings, celebrity shtupping fans. WTF has just flown in from a fortnight in Majorca with big news. And, boy, are his wings tired.

Have you noticed that some people won't go away? You cannot miss them because they never leave. You want them to exit, pray for it, but they won't. They're like genital warts.

Only a premature death can rid us of Jay Cutler, Sara Huckabee Sanders, all the offspring named Trump (you don't really need DNA to test their paternity), Rahm Emanuel and Kanye West.

Modern culture makes them immortal. True, it's a sin to wish harm on others, but we can deal with the guilt.

Oh, lord, when will the veil of their continued existence be lifted from your chosen people?

CUTLER: The ethernet superhighway is bustling with news that he is "dating" Fox News celeb Tomi Lahren. It's a match made in mindless heaven.

We all are gripped by a fevered curiosity about who Jay Cutler efs, doinks or shtups if you prefer Yiddishisms. No, Tomi and I are not shtupping, he assures. No, Jay and I are not shtupping, Tomi reiterates.

We all care where Cutler is hiding his pickle because he spent a decade shtupping the Chicago Bears and their fans. So It's natural that former shtupp-mates remain captivated by his pickle-hiding preferences.

Cutler's shtupping proclivities are a mini media industry.

We hope he stays in-species.

SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS: WTF would make up this story if necessary, but doesn't have to. It's actually really true.

That devil-may-care romantic dog Kim Jung-un has a "thing" for Sarah. We don't know exactly what the Korean dictator word for "thing" is. But it rhymes with shtupping.

At one of the Prez's photo ops summits in a murderous dictatorship, the Little Rocket Man (Mini-shtupper?) winked lasciviously at the former press distorter. The Prez told Sarah she would have to "take one for the team." (Cross my heart and hope to die. She proudly confirms the story without shivering in revulsion in her new book).

The Prez is pimping his press secretary to a short, ugly, mass executioner. This new version seems to be just like a very old version of transactional pimping.

She said no because she's married and wants to be governor of Arkansas. You can be governor of Arkansas if you shtupp farm animals, but not Korean mass murderers. (Note: He has killed all 2,442 barbers who did his hair).

We bet original press secretary incumbent Sean Spicer is really glad he got out when he did.

RAHM EMANUEL: We all loved him as Chicago's two-term mayor because his name was not Daley and also because . . . well . . . that was about it.

The highlight of his eight years was inefficiently hiding the police murder of Laquan McDonald and permanently damaging the Chicago police's reputation even further, as if they needed help doing more self-harm. Didn't work out so well for them or Rahm either.

But good news for him, though not for the rest of us. Now he's the Eddie Haskell of ABC's TV commentariat. Mixed reception. Even Democratic firebrand Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told him to shut-the-shtupp-up. He won't.

He won't ever leave the stage. He won't do something good for humanity. He won't even exit existence for the good of everyone. As Scrooge noted: "If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population."

Sorry, no luck with Dickens' advice.

But however rancid his post-mayorship, Rahm cannot top his 2010 appearance on the The Charlie Rose Show. Just go to Google and type in "Rahm Emanuel Farts." If smell-a-vision functioned, we'd all be dead.

Emanuel once mailed a decomposing fish to a pollster he was unhappy with, which made him the perfect Charlie Rose guest. Speaking of Charlie Rose. Is he still alive and who is he attempting to shtupp?

THE TRUMP BRAND: You do know, don't you, that defeating Donald Trump in two months will not free us from our national nightmare? The Trumps will go on tweeting and being insipid forever. And people will be paid to pass along their views.

The Trump Brand includes people named Trump, people related to someone named Trump, someone once married to a Trump and people who have been paid to shtupp people named Trump. This number constitutes the equivalent of the population of Arkansas.

And someone will dutifully report what Don Jr., Eric and Ivanka think about . . . well . . . almost everything.

It will be the Three Stooges gone viral. Not the funny Stooges. The later versions.

KANYE WEST: To this point, he has spent $6.5 million to be elected president, of which all but $56.33 was a loan he gave himself.

He is a financial genius. Ask anyone.

Is this political safari a narcissistic waste? Actually, no. WTF considers that any time West wastes his money this way, that means someone else - maybe a normal human being with kids and mortgage - will get it. It's an economic mini-tidal wave of cash transference that requires only that Kanye West is a self-shtupping boob.

Try talking with someone who thinks West is a musical genius. Gibberish. We do know he's giving schizophrenia a bad name: Shtuppophrenia?

But enough for now. WTF has no time to chat. Our plane to Majorca is warming up.


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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:09 PM | Permalink

Bears Lose QB Competition

Nick Foles must have really sucked.

That is the only explanation for Mitch Trubisky keeping the starting quarterback job after a miserable 2019 season that featured him, in his third season as the Bears' primary starter, regressing in every way, He regressed in ways we didn't think possible, leaving him rated 30th or lower among quarterbacks in a host of categories.

Ryan Pace held a press conference Monday in which he said Mitch Trubisky had risen to the challenge of a competitive training camp. No sports fan in Chicago other than Lou Canellis of Fox Chicago believed him. And may I just say right here, bless your amazingly optimistic heart Lou! 99 percent of Bears fans including me think you go overboard at times but you gotta be you!

I have long believed that more teams should do what the Bears did this preseason, i.e., have that open quarterback competition. But yes, I have also heard those who think they are very clever as they become the 1,000th character to repeat some iteration of "a team that has two quarterbacks has no quarterbacks."

Be that as it may, sometimes the best course forward is to give multiple guys a real shot. And I think the Bears did that. And I think Foles was terrible.

Maybe the Jaguars, who were good enough in 2017 to give the Patriots a huge scare in the AFC championship game before stumbling in 2018 and collapsing last year, had legitimate reasons for choosing Gardner Minshew over Foles, eh? (The gazillionaire who owns the Jags, Shahid Khan, is a proud U. of I. guy by the way. Just so you know.)

So where does that leave us? Well, fellow Bears fans, we don't have a paddle and we are way up the Chicago River after a big storm.

Yes, Trubisky has more experience with a couple critical individual receivers, Allen Robinson in particular, and that must have given him a sizable edge in training camp.

I suppose there is a small chance that Trubisky has improved in a few small ways and there is a slightly better chance that he was significantly hampered by a shoulder injury more than we know for the last couple months of last season. How will we know if the quarterback has improved this time around? Here's an easy one: He needs to run the ball at least a half dozen times in the first game.

Perhaps the most irritating thing about Trubisky last season is that after a successful season in 2018 that featured him running the ball reasonably frequently, someone told him to stop running (a parent? an agent?) and he made a determined effort to do so. That may have made a little bit of sense after he hurt his shoulder a handful of games into the season but overall, it was a brutal miscalculation. Running the ball, and even more the threat of running the ball as he moves up in the pocket, needs to be one of Trubisky's primary weapons. And if he gets hurt, well, the Bears have a nice expensive backup, don't they?

Of course, there is also a chance free agent tight end Jimmy Graham has miraculously regained the Pro Bowl form that deserted him a long time ago. That would be the chance between razor slim and none, but still! Not absolute zero! Virtually every analyst who broke down which teams did best and worst in NFL free agency this past offseason cited the Bears overpaying an almost certainly over-the-hill Graham as one of the worst moves.

Why did I just say "virtually every analyst?" It was absolutely every analyst.

But that was just the latest episode of major malpractice carried out by Pace. Let's review, just in terms of the quarterback position: He traded up to draft Trubisky second in 2017 (with Pat Mahomes and Deshaun Watson still on the board - the two of them signed contracts this past offseason worth a combined $660 million), but he kept former head coach John Fox, a defensive specialist, to oversee Trubisky's initial development.

Strangely enough, that did not go well. Also in that offseason, Pace signed free agent quarterback Mike Glennon to a contract that paid him a guaranteed $18.5 million. Glennon was so bad the Bears faced a fan revolt that season and Trubisky was pressed into service way before he should have been.

Does everyone remember how Pat Mahomes started his now glorious NFL existence? In 2017, despite his clearly possessing potentially overwhelming talent, he backed up veteran Alex Smith until the last game of the year, which just so happened to be meaningless to the Chiefs, who had already clinched their playoff position. Smith then started the playoffs for the Chiefs. It didn't go well but it didn't go terribly.

Nevertheless, between the '17 and '18 seasons, the Chiefs traded Smith and made Mahomes the starter. He has since won the league MVP one year and the Super Bowl MVP the next.

Of course Trubisky should have sat out all of '17. Of course he was only brought in to start after four games not because it was time, given his development to that point to do so, but because Glennon had failed so miserably.

The year before that, rather than drafting Cowboys star Dak Prescott with one of his three picks in the fourth round (the Cowboys took him toward the end of the fourth, after the Bears had passed once, twice, three times a quarterback), Pace went through the draft without taking a signal-caller in any round.

Apparently he thought it was more important not to offend returning starter Jay Cutler than it was to at least take a shot with a late-round quarterback. And another thing . . . actually, my mental health requires me to stop at this point.

And yes, the defense has the potential to finish in the top five in the league this fall. Some of that depends on rookie out of Utah Jaylon Johnson (late-round pick Kindle Vildor has also apparently shown potential in training camp at cornerback, so you have that going for you) stepping right in competently at cornerback. Some of that also depends on someone stepping up at safety next to Eddie Jackson. But the most important thing is that human earth-mover Akiem Hicks is back on the defensive line after missing most of last year with an elbow injury.

Sadly, when an offense is as bad as the Bears project to be, it wears down the defense no matter how good it is.

My prediction? 6-10.


Jim "Coach" Coffman welcomes your comments.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:21 AM | Permalink

September 7, 2020

The [Monday] Papers





Programming Note
I honestly thought Labor Day was last weekend until about midweek when people started talking about it as if it hadn't happened yet.


New on the Beachwood today . . .

Are CEOs Worth $20 Million?
"I don't mean are they worth $20 million in any moral sense. I am asking a simple economics question; does the typical CEO of a major company add $20 million of value to the company that employs them or could they hire someone at, say one-tenth of this price ($2 million a year) who would do just as much for the company's bottom line?"


TrackNotes: Authentically Depraved
"Aided and abetted by NBC Sports, Churchill Downs shape-shifted its 146th Kentucky Derby in the service of turning its back on the modern world," our man on the rail Tom Chambers writes.


A Craftsman Remembers Tom Seaver
The Tom Seaver folks knew in Napa had traded in his spikes and glove for a shovel and pruning shears. His passion switched from striking out big league hitters to growing cabernet grapes on 3½ acres of Diamond Mountain outside of Calistoga, our very own Roger Wallenstein writes.



I, too, will smile when Trump is out of office and I take a 5 lb victory dump. Seen outside of the church on Wilson and Hermitage. from r/chicago





Chicago Tornado Siren But . . .


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


Stop hurting America, AP.





The Beachwood Establish The Run Line: Establishit.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:55 PM | Permalink

Are CEOs Worth $20 Million?

This simple and important question does not get anywhere near the attention it deserves. And, just to be clear, I don't mean are they worth $20 million in any moral sense. I am asking a simple economics question; does the typical CEO of a major company add $20 million of value to the company that employs them or could they hire someone at, say one-tenth of this price ($2 million a year) who would do just as much for the company's bottom line?

This matters not only because a thousand or so top executives of major corporations might be grossly overpaid. The excessive pay of CEOs has a huge impact on pay structures throughout the economy. If the CEO is getting $20 million it is likely that the chief financial officer (CFO) and other top tier executives are getting in the neighborhood of $8-12 million. The third echelon may then be getting paid in the neighborhood of $2 million.

And these pay structures carry over into other sectors. It is common for university presidents to get paid in the neighborhood of $1 million a year. The same applies to the heads of major charities and foundations, including those that have combating inequality as part of their mission.

This story would look very different if CEOs got paid 20 times to 30 times as much as a typical worker, as would have been the case in the 1960s or 1970s. In that case, CEOs would be getting $2-3 million a year. The CFOS and other top-level executives would presumably make $1.5 to $2 million, with the third tier likely getting high six figures. In that world, the presidents of universities and top executives of major foundations would likely earn $400 -$500 thousand a year.

More For The Top Means Less For Everyone Else

If it is not obvious, more for those at the top means less for everyone else. If their pay is not actually justified by their productivity, they are taking a larger chunk of the same pie. This means smaller slices for everyone else.

As I like to point out, if the minimum wage had kept pace with productivity growth since 1968, as it did from 1938 to 1968, it would be $24 an hour today. In that world, a full-time minimum wage worker would be earning $48,000 a year. A two minimum-wage earner couple would be earning $96,000 a year.

While that may sound pretty good to many of us, it is not possible in an economy where the CEOs are getting $20 million, when they only add $2 million to the company's bottom line, and the next in line get $8-$12 million, and university and foundation presidents pocket more than $1 million a year. This is a story where we would see excessive demand in the economy, leading to serious problems of inflation.

If we want to raise pay for the bottom in a big way, we have to drive down pay at the top. This would be a problem if we actually had to pay the CEOs $20 million to get them to perform well, from the standpoint of producing profits for the company or returns to shareholders, but the evidence is that we don't.

Evidence Of Whether CEOs Earn Their Keep

The best place to start on the evidence is Pay Without Performance, by Lucian Bebchuk and Jesse Fried. While this book is now somewhat dated (it was published in 2004), it compiles much of the literature available at the time on the relationship of CEO pay to returns to shareholders. It includes many studies that show CEOs pay often bear little resemblance to what they do for shareholders. For example, the pay of oil executives skyrockets when the world price of oil rises, an event for which they presumably are not responsible. Another study found that CEOs tend to get big pay increases when they appear on the cover of a major business magazine, even though returns to shareholders generally lag the overall market.

A more recent study found that corporate boards seem to have stock option illusion. (This is a variation of the concept of "money illusion," which economists often argue is a problem for workers not recognizing the impact of inflation on their wages.) Corporate boards did not reduce the number of options issued to CEOs and top executives in the 1990s, even as the rising stock market caused their value to soar. Another study of a large number of companies over a 10-year period found a negative relationship between CEO pay and shareholder returns, implying that the high pay of CEOs and other top executives was coming at the expense of returns to shareholders.

A couple of years ago, Jessica Schieder and I did a study where we looked at the impact of the Affordable Care Act's limit on the deductibility of CEO pay for health insurance executives on their pay. Since the corporate tax rate at the time was 35 percent, the ACA's cap on deductibility effectively raised the cost of CEO pay to the company by more than 50 percent. (Before the ACA, a dollar of additional CEO pay cost the company 65 cents. When it was no longer deductible, it cost the company $1.)

We tried every plausible specification for regressions, controlling for profit growth, revenue growth, stock appreciation and anything else that might reasonably be expected to affect CEO pay. We could not find any evidence that the loss of the deduction had any negative impact at all. This means that while each dollar of CEO pay cost the company 50 percent more, the companies were still paying CEOs just as much as before.

If we accept that CEOs are not producing returns to shareholders consistent with their $20 million paychecks, the question is why? After all, would we expect to see companies paying cashiers or dishwashers $200,000 a year when the going rate in other companies is one-tenth as much?

Why Is CEO Pay Out Of Whack?

The problem is with the governance structure of the corporation. CEO pay is most immediately determined by corporate boards, who largely owe their jobs to top management. Furthermore, keeping their jobs depends almost entirely on keeping other board members happy. Board members who are nominated for re-election win well over 99 percent of the time. Since these jobs typically pay several hundred thousand dollars a year for a few hundred hours of work, board members generally want to keep their jobs.

One sure way of pissing off other board members is asking questions like, "Can we get another CEO who is just as good for half the pay?" It is a safe bet this sort of question is almost never asked in corporate board rooms, even though this is supposed to be precisely the question they should be asking all the time.

In principle, the board's primary responsibility is to ensure top management is not ripping off shareholders. In reality, their allegiance is instead overwhelmingly to top management, as detailed in Steven Clifford's The CEO Pay Machine. Clifford was the CEO at a mid-sized company who later sat on several corporate boards, so he has much first-hand experience of the process.

In this story, the problem is that we have the CEO's pay, and that of other top executives, being determined by a board that is loyal to them rather than shareholders. The most obvious remedy is to find a mechanism that will give more control of the CEO's pay to shareholders, so that it can be brought back down to Earth.

To be clear, I am not talking about fundamentally changing control of corporations. Many people, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, have proposed giving workers a substantial say on corporate boards. This is a reasonable proposal. Germany has had a system in place for decades that gives workers half the seats on corporate boards, with no obvious ill-effects for its economy.

But this is not the issue I am raising here. I am simply saying that shareholders should have more control over what the CEOs and other top executives get paid. My personal favorite is a modest change to the "Say on Pay" referendums that were put in place in the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation.

Under this provision, the shareholders get to vote on the compensation package for their CEO every three years. This is a simple yes or no proposition. There is no direct consequence for the CEO, the board or the pay package of losing a say on pay vote. It is non-binding. As it stands, more than 97 percent of pay packages are approved.

The rules for Say on Pay could be changed so that there are explicit consequences. Suppose the directors sacrificed their own pay if a CEO's pay package was voted down. With the vast majority of pay packages being approved, most directors would likely think they have nothing to fear. However, when a few packages did get voted down, it is likely that directors would start to ask whether they could get away with paying their CEO less. This could put some serious downward pressure on CEO pay.

This may not be sufficient to get CEO pay back to Earth, but it seems like a good place to start. From a political perspective, it seems hard to argue with the idea that shareholders should be able to determine what they pay their CEO and top management.

If this was successful in bringing down CEO pay, we would be in a very different world. As noted earlier, we would see pay scales at the top reduced across the board. Not only would the top echelons of the corporate hierarchy get paid less, but we would see lower pay at the top of other institutions as well.

It is sort of striking that conservative economists can get completely bent out of shape over the idea that some workers may get paid a dollar or two above the market wage because of the minimum wage. But few progressive economists seem especially troubled by CEOs getting paid many millions above the market wage because of a corrupt corporate governance structure. Paying a bit more attention to the market here might be a good idea.

In response to the mass protests following the police killing of George Floyd, there has been a renewed interest in opening doors to Blacks and other disadvantaged groups so they have more opportunities to get higher paying and higher prestige jobs. While these efforts are important, seeing the little progress we have made in the last half-century, it is hard to believe that longstanding barriers will be eliminated any time soon.

As much as we need to eliminate racism and other forms of discrimination, the consequences will be much less in a world where the university president is getting $400,000 a year and the custodian is getting $48,000 a year than the world we have today.

There is certainly no excuse for rigging the market in ways that redistribute money from everyone else to those at the top. This disproportionately hurts Blacks and other victims of discrimination now, but even if we managed to somehow eradicate racism there is no reason to rig the system so that it needlessly forces so many people to live miserable lives.


See also: Remember Bill Clinton's Phony Executive Pay Cap? It's Even Less Effective Than We Knew.


Previously by Dean Baker: Boeing vs. Public Broadcasting.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:38 AM | Permalink

From One Craftsman To Another: A Tom Seaver Remembrance

"He was riding around on an ATV," remembered Joe Winograde, a painting contractor in Napa, California. "You could tell he was digging it. He wore bib overalls and a flannel shirt. Pretty sure he had his dogs up there, too."

That was the Tom Seaver folks like Joe, who happens to be my nephew, knew in the Napa Valley long after Seaver had traded in his spikes and glove for a shovel and pruning shears. His passion switched from striking out big league hitters to growing cabernet grapes on 3½ acres of Diamond Mountain outside of Calistoga.

Without identifying the client about a dozen years ago, a general contractor hired Joe's company to wash and restain the siding of a home overlooking the famous valley.

"Turned out it was Tom Seaver's house," Joe told me in a phone conversation last week after Seaver died at 75. "I was excited as a baseball fan about working on his house, more so than a regular celebrity."

Winograde's bevy of scrapers, sanders, painters, sprayers, and stainers has worked on a multitude of fancy Napa homes and wineries over the past 26 years. I've accompanied him on a number of jobs, and the work is specialized, intricate, and professional. He knows the area like the native Napan that he is.

"(Diamond Mountain) is one of the most spectacular hillsides in Napa," Joe told me. "The wine is premium on that side of the valley from volcanic eruptions that happened long ago so the soil is one of the best areas to grow grapes. There's a ton of grapes all over Diamond Mountain."

Forget about finding Seaver's cabernet at your local Binny's or corner wine shop. The production is limited to about 400-500 cases per vintage, and it sells anywhere from $150 to $400 per bottle. It's almost as rare as Seaver was as a pitcher, that combination of raw talent and intelligence which translated into 311 big league wins over 20 seasons, including 2½ with the White Sox. Perfection was Seaver's game whether it was pitching or growing grapes.

Once Joe got the job at Seaver's house, he called me with the news but said he was hesitant to engage the Hall of Fame pitcher in casual conversation.

"I saw him around the property when I was up there with my guys a few times, and thought, 'Man, it would be great to talk to him,'" Joe said, "but, you know, I don't just approach people or whatever. That's when I called you."

I appreciate any memory refresher I can get, so I now recall what I told Joe. I figured the usual inquiries about the Miracle Mets and even his 300th victory when he was a member of the White Sox were commonplace for Tom Terrific. Instead, I advised my nephew, ask him about pitching for the Alaska Goldpanners in the mid-60s when he was a college student at USC majoring in dentistry. No doubt this would pique Seaver's curiosity.

Based in Fairbanks, the Goldpanners were organized in 1960 by a guy named Red Boucher, who wanted to bring the top collegiate talent in the country to Alaska for a summer of baseball. A league was formed in the 49th state, and, in addition, because Boucher could raise funds, the Goldpanners barnstormed all over the Pacific Northwest and as well as Hawaii.

The 'Panners' signature event was and remains the Midnight Sun Game every summer solstice, beginning at 10:30 p.m. and ending before the sun briefly dips below the horizon.

Boucher, a ceaseless promoter, died in 2009, but his ballclub is very much alive today. Seaver pitched two summers (1964-65) in Alaska, reaching the finals of the National Baseball Congress tournament in Wichita in '64 before getting beat. Teammates included future major leaguers Rick Monday, Craig Nettles and Curt Motton. Among the approximately 300 Goldpanner alumni who advanced to the major leagues are Barry Bonds and Dave Winfield.

Joe finally got an opportunity to meet Seaver and his wife Nancy. "I said something like, 'My uncle is a baseball historian,'" Joe said. "I propped you up a bit and said some untruths about you. I was armed with the [Goldpanner] information and hoping just for a chance to break the ice. That really worked.

"From that conversation he took an interest in talking to me and invited me into his office. He showed me his collection of baseball memorabilia, which was impressive. The thing he really wanted to show me was his collection of Hall of Fame bats all signed in cases and mounted perfectly on this big wall. That was pretty cool."

The past few years were not kind to a man who made time to take an interest in my nephew, who is as hard-working and dedicated to his craft as Seaver was to pitching and farming. Suffering from Lewy body dementia, the national icon was sequestered in the home that Joe painted until Seaver passed last week.

In a moving and emotional report last October in Sports Illustrated, Tom Verducci described a final visit to the Napa Valley of former Mets' teammates Bud Harrelson, Jerry Koosman, Art Shamsky and Ron Svoboda. The photo of the men at a local lunch spot, far from the main stage of New York where Seaver rose to notoriety a half-century ago, gave credence to the uncomplicated life that one of baseball's greats embraced long after his playing days. He lived close to the land, among family and friends, far removed from the adoration once attributed to such an illustrious star.

As Joe's work neared completion, the general contractor called Joe to say he had something for him ,which turned out to be a signed baseball. "To Joe. Many thanks. Tom Seaver, Hall of Fame '92."

Seaver Ball.jpg


The Games Continue
Meanwhile, as the platitudes and tributes to Seaver streamed across the nation, the surging White Sox carved up the Kansas City Royals four straight after stumbling Tuesday and Wednesday against the Twins in Minneapolis.

The formula whereby a team splits with the top teams and beats the tar out of the also-rans is approximately half the story for the Sox, who stand at a season-high 11 games over .500 and in first place in the American League Central. They've won 16 of their last 20, a record matched only by Tampa Bay.

After sweeping the Royals, the Sox are a whopping 15-2 against Kansas City and Detroit but just 4-8 when tangling with Minnesota and Cleveland. Digesting this information results in a couple of conclusions: Regardless of the talent and performance of the Tigers and Royals, the Sox have played their best baseball against those clubs. And despite their sub-.500 records, at last investigation major league baseball still is being played in Detroit and Kansas City.

But Rickey Renteria's fellows haven't played particularly well against the Indians and Twins. In a painful 8-1 loss to Minnesota on Wednesday, the Sox committed four errors, and pitcher Reynaldo Lopez was yanked in the second inning and presented with a bus ticket to Schaumburg.

In six games against Cleveland, the Sox have scored a tick under three runs a game. That number is close to six against all other opponents. Of course, credit Cleveland's pitching, but the Sox will need both to pitch and hit better against the Tribe in order to turn around their record.

Eight of the final 14 games of the season will pit the Sox against Minnesota and Cleveland, starting with a four-game set at The Grate next week after five games this week against Pittsburgh and the Tigers, who have a combined record of 31-46. We all can be excused for our enthusiasm and excitement about this ballclub. It is vastly improved. We'll know just how much the last half of this month.


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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:07 AM | Permalink

September 6, 2020

TrackNotes: Authentically Depraved

You could have handicapped it.

Aided and abetted by NBC Sports, Churchill Downs shape-shifted its 146th Kentucky Derby in the service of turning its back on the modern world.

The good news is that any discussion vis a vis Triple Crown and asterisks is now dead.

A lot of people called it an upset, but like I said Friday, who's he really beaten? This was a more accomplished field.

As for the particulars, Authentic (8-1), a horse trainer Bob Baffert ID'd way back in the beginning, broke adequately from the far outside post, right next to the 7-10 favorite Tiz the Law, and worked hard to get the lead by the time they got to the clubhouse turn.

A model of consistency, Hall of Fame jockey John Velazquez, who won his third Derby and 200th Grade I race, parceled Authentic's speed and effort throughout. He had never sat on the horse's back even once before Saturday. Now, they were controlling the race, in the lead.

But Tiz the Law loomed. Getting his dance steps in order on the turn, Tiz' drew almost nose to nose immediately into the stretch, which only seemed to aggravate Authentic, who pushed his lead to a neck. It was over. Manny Franco worked hard to keep a tired Tiz the Law in a straight line and Authentic drew off to win by 1-1/4 lengths.

Baffert's sixth Derby win tied him with the legendary Ben Jones, who trained Whirlaway, Citation and many others for the iconic Calumet Farm.

There was drama before and after the race, cycloned around Baffert.

His other runner, Thousand Words, got spooked in the paddock as he was being saddled, reared up on his hind legs and fell over. His body cushioned most of the fall, but he did hit his head on the grass edging. The vet immediately scratched him. Baffert's assistant trainer Jimmy Barnes fell and broke his arm in the ruckus.

After the races, with Authentic and way too many people gathering in the winners circle, the horse got agitated and spun around, perhaps looking for an out. Trying to get away from the horse's right hindquarter Baffert backpedaled and his posterior was planted in the turf. Both horses and Baffert are alright.

I kept my vow and did not wager one dollar at Churchill on either Oaks or Derby Day. I did make Derby picks and would have had the winner. Saturday, I played Saratoga and cashed in every race I bet, making a modest profit on the day. Churchill Downs Inc. did take a major hit in all-sources wagering. Betting on both Oaks and Derby days were down nearly by half from last year.

The racing was generally very good both days, with decent payouts. Shedaresthedevil, at 15-1, upset favorites Gamine and Swiss Skydiver in the Oaks. She set a new record for the race.

TrackNotes Notes
Musings from the couch, in no particular order.

* Churchill Downs Inc. began in earnest its nod to social conditions Friday afternoon with a press release that was a sequence of self-flagellation, appreciation for black jockeys who had been effectively banned for many decades, and a promise to "do better." No specific plans or programs were announced.

"We are committed to taking real, concrete action to address institutional roadblocks to progress and playing our part in advancing the changes America so desperately needs." Um, OK. The last graf of the release implied that Churchill might cancel presentation of the Stephen Foster song "My Old Kentucky Home, Good-Night!"

"The atmosphere of the Kentucky Derby will be different this year as we respond to those calls for change. This will be a Derby unlike any other. As it should be." After a moment of silence, Churchill's bugler played the song as the post parade began.

* When it comes to horse racing coverage, NBC and especially Mike Tirico have GOT to go.

Kudos to Eddie Olczyk, Kenny Rice, Britney Eurton, Laffit Pincay III, and former jockey Donna Brothers on horseback. They're fine. With a better script, Hall of Fame jockey Jerry Bailey and analyst Randy Moss could be better. But alpha sports guy Tirico, with only some knowledge of racing, brings it all down like the guy who can't hold up the pole in the circus tent. If he's ever made a bet on a race, we don't know it.

NBC has always had a "top sports guy" who pops up at almost all the events it televises. At least when it was Little Bobby Costas he would come on and say, "I know next to nothing about horse racing" or "this rain is REALLY coming down" and stay out of the way. Oh for the days of Kenny Mayne on ESPN, who knew the game and extolled the big scores and bad beats. He's been there.

Maybe Tirico is only doing what he's told, but his job seems to be to introduce video segments, which were the same both days, and promo NBC shows. He kept asking Bailey and Moss the same questions, mainly, who do you like in the Derby, and it became Tiz the Law ad infinitum. "Tiz the Law is your favorite." "Who might beat Tiz the Law?" He failed to point out how a few other horses were taking money, and that if Tiz' gets beat, there's a lot of value on the board.

The real reveal came when they started gearing up the hype on a Houston-Kansas City football game. When J.J. Watt Skyped in, Tirico's eyes popped out, he stood up straighter, and machine-gunned with Watt all the delicacies of such a game. He looked like a kid in Goodell's Candy and Toy Shoppe. Immediately after, he and NBC used the fact one Derby horse was named South Bend to do a big plug for the Notre Dame football game. Tirico clearly loves football.

* NBC reneged on its promise to cover fully the protests outside a Churchill Downs so fortified it made Fort Knox look vulnerable.

It had a piece pre-recorded with file footage of Louisville protests over the last months. NBC's news division reporter did her stand-up from inside the Churchill fence, with a slew of armored vehicles behind her. She never went to the protesters live to help viewers get a feel for what was happening.

You had the track grounds with a big fence around it. A street. Same fencing on the other side of the street. Both sides of the street using police vehicles as another barrier. The best NBC could muster was sending up a drone to show protesters peacefully marching outside all that fencing.

* With the race imminent, the moment for "My Old Kentucky Home" arrived. The PA announcer said how Frederick Douglass approved of the song, and then called for a moment of silence to "recognize the inequities that many in our country face." What they basically said is "maybe things will get better." Like I said, Churchill has some great statement writers.

* After the race, Tirico spoke of Tiz the Law's connections' "disappointment that there will be no Triple Crown for Tiz the Law." Mike, even with the bogus Crown this would have been, nobody talks about it until you win the first two. Tirico betrayed his narrow perspective by constantly harping on the Triple Crown! Everybody talked about this horse like he's a lock in a walkover. Signing off: "No Triple Crown this year." Sheesh.

* Promising an analysis of the race afterwards, sponsored by Guaranteed Rate, all they showed was the break from the gate, not even Authentic getting the lead, and then showing the stretch run. Howzabout Authentic dictating the race all the way on the backside?

* Will somebody tell Sports Illustrated's Tim Layden and His Drama Orchestra to leave? He's inherited the old sap mantel from Jack Whitaker. Neither one of them is Heywood Hale Broun.

Whenever somebody calls himself "a storyteller," it's a sharp pain.

Layden did a decent feature on the disqualification of Maximum Security in last year's Derby, giving Country House the roses. It showed that it was a good call then and remains a good call. But then Layden implied passively aggressively that some other horse should have been elevated to first, because Country House "clunked up for second and was never going to win. The best horse did not win because that's the way we adjudicate races in this country." Country House, who escaped most of the scrum, did finish second. Layden implied that one of the five horses Maximum Security nearly wiped out should have been elevated. Who?

Then he weighed in on the comments from Tiz the Law's trainer Barclay Tagg last week about the "rioters" in Louisville. "I don't know what these guys are gonna do, these rioters. Who knows? All I know is you're not allowed to shoot them and they're allowed to shoot you, that's what it looks like to me," Tagg said.

* Layden said he wants his interviewees to be "candid and open and honest" with him. "To say what Barclay Tagg said in September of 2020 in Louisville, Kentucky, the home of Breonna Taylor, the home of Muhammad Ali, a city that has been on edge for months, that was at best tone deaf and at worst irresponsible and really could put lives at risk."

Tell us Tagg, who said what he believes, revealed himself and said a bad thing, but don't self-appoint the power to monitor comments and then authoritatively predict the consequences.

* Rutledge Wood, the resident jovial hipster, was hosting a Derby party at his house, somewhere down south, and was also throwing remotes to similar parties around the country. There seemed to be fewer masks than there should have been, even at the buffets. Aren't buffets a no-no with the COVID-19?

* Ray Daniels, a Black co-owner of Necker Island, made a short, inspired statement as he was interviewed on the walk from the barns to the paddock. Kenny Rice tried to cut him short, but was unsuccessful.

"I am thinking about the significance (of this) wholeheartedly. I just want the world to know that we support the protesters. Black lives, the Black Lives Matter movement, we support Breonna Taylor's seeking of justice, her family. A wise man told me this morning, we cannot pick protest versus progress. For us, this is progress. We want to promote both. We got in this with the goal of opening this up to more African-American ownership groups."

* When everybody on the NBC crew except Wood (Thousand Words), picked Tiz the Law to win, I knew he was toast. Pincay had him romping. Afterwards, some wondered if the Travers, also 10 furlongs, took too much out of him. I say no. Franco geared him down in the final sixteenth. But I do think it's possible the Churchill surface itself may have tired him out.


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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:16 PM | Permalink

September 5, 2020

The White Supremacist Origins Of Modern Marriage Advice

When I was conducting research for my new book on the destructive aspects of modern heterosexual relationships, I started looking into the archives of early 20th-century books about courtship and marriage written by physicians and sexologists.

In the process, I made a discovery that would radically alter my understanding of why so many parts of heterosexual culture remain mired in violence and inequality.

Screen Shot 2020-09-05 at 5.39.54 PM.png

Almost all of the original self-help books for couples were written by proponents of the eugenics movement, an ostensibly scientific project that aimed to encourage reproduction among the white middle-class, while discouraging or preventing population growth among people of color and the poor.

These early marriage manuals revealed that the project of defining healthy heterosexual marriage in the United States was also a white supremacist campaign designed to help white families flourish. As the marriage counseling industry evolved in the 20th century, some of the key assumptions made in these original manuals would persist, even influencing marriage advice aimed at Black families.

Far From Perfect Unions

By the early 20th century, many prominent eugenicists were concerned about the state of marriage. White women, cowed by abusive husbands, were unwilling to have sex, and marriage increasingly seemed to be an exercise in mutual misery.

This, in their view, could limit the ability of the best elements of the human gene pool to propagate. So, with the support of the Eugenics Publishing Company, they set out to educate white readers with tips for how to achieve a friendly and harmonious marriage.

These texts reveal some common assumptions made about early 20th-century marriage. Women were not expected to feel an easy or instinctive attraction to men, nor were men expected to concern themselves with women's emotional or physical well-being. One point nearly all sexologists agreed upon: Women needed to understand that men were naturally inclined toward aggression and sexual selfishness, so they should cut their husbands a little slack.

William Robinson, an early 20th-century sexologist, hoped that his marriage advice manuals would address the "disgust," "deep hatred" and "desire for injury and revenge" that heterosexual couples felt for one another.

Marie Stopes, a British eugenicist, wrote at length about how most new brides were repulsed by the revelation of their husbands' naked bodies, and were "driven to suicide and insanity" by men's violence during "the first night of marriage."

Harland William Long, another eugenicist writer, agreed, observing that "many a newlywed couple have wrecked the possibility of happiness of a life time" because "the great majority of brides are practically raped on entrance into the married relation."

The British sexologist and eugenicist Havelock Ellis argued that this violence was natural, and explained that a husband took "a certain pleasure in manifesting his power over a woman by inflicting pain upon her."

But Ellis also insisted that "the pain he inflicts, or desires to inflict, is really part of his love," and that, with proper training, a man could be taught to express this "love" with more gentleness, and mitigate the "repulsion and passivity" that seemed to be a normal part of women's experience of sex.

Eugenicists were well-aware that white men regularly raped white women, so it's striking that this period coincided with the widespread lynching of Black boys and men falsely accused of raping white women.

Yet eugenicists described white men's rape of women not as criminal, but as an inherent masculine impulse in need of suppression. Of course, they didn't advocate for the lynching of these men. Instead, education and good hygiene would do. Sexologists promoted soaps, perfumes, makeup, douches and corsetry as the key to marital happiness. If women and men smelled better, maybe, the thinking went, men wouldn't need to force their wives to have sex with them.

Old Ideas Live On

Some of the core tenets of those first self-help books written by eugenicists - incompatibility and deference to men - persist in modern marriage advice.

With the rise of the self-help industry, late 20th-century marriage advice shifted from men's and women's repellent bodies to their incompatible personalities.

Relationship counselor John Gray's Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus sold over 50 million copies and was the best-selling nonfiction book of the 1990s. The book's central message is that men and women do not naturally like or respect one another, and need to learn to accept and accommodate their innate gender differences for the sake of their relationships.

The central themes found in these self-help books are now marketed to straight Black readers, too. For instance, Steve Harvey's 2009 New York Times bestseller Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man sold over 3 million copies and repackaged many well-worn marriage tropes for Black women readers.

In it, Harvey argues that men and women are fundamentally at odds, that straight couples must work to be attractive to each other and that Black women need to accept men's limitations for the good of Black families and communities.

Men, Harvey writes, have "got to feel like we're king, even if we don't act kingly." A man, he continues, "needs that from his woman" so that he can have "the strength to keep on doing right by you and the family." Because Black men suffer the burden of anti-Black racism, it is in their homes and relationships, according to Harvey, that they must be treated like royalty.

Omitted from all of this, of course, is Black women's experience of anti-Black racism, and the various ways it is compounded by the unique forms of misogyny that Black women endure - what queer Black feminist Moya Bailey has termed misogynoir.

Much has been written about the hardships endured by queer people. Almost all of us are familiar with queer suffering. Yet we tend to overlook the miseries of straight culture.

Relatively honest accounts of these miseries exist in the past and present world of self-help books, or what I call the "heterosexual repair industry."

Inside the volumes of marriage advice for straight couples, one message has been clear: forging modern heterosexuality is a difficult accomplishment, one undeniably shaped by the intersections of white supremacy and misogyny.

Jane Ward is a professor of Gender and Sexuality Studies at the University of California-Riverside. This post is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:19 PM | Permalink

Area Companies Among Safety Award Winners

The Elgin-based Fabricators & Manufacturers Association, International® (FMA) is pleased to announce the recipients of this year's Safety Awards. Open to all FMA company members, the program recognizes metal fabrication companies committed to excellence in safety. Award winners are determined by the FMA Safety Council and the awards are sponsored by CNA.

The 2020 Safety Award of Honor is presented to companies having perfect safety records (no recordable injuries or illnesses for the calendar year 2019).

Companies receiving the 2020 Safety Award of Honor are:

• Vanner Inc (651) - Hilliard, Ohio

• ETNA Products Inc - Chagrin Falls, Ohio

• Fountain People - San Marcos, Texas

• Nova Group Inc - Napa, Calif.

Tower Metalworking Fluids - Chicago

• Nisshin Automotive Tubing LLC - Versailles, Ky.

• Vanner Inc (81Z) - Hilliard, Ohio

• BTD Manufacturing (Heywood Avenue) - Lakeville, Minn.

• BTD Manufacturing Inc - Buford, Ga.

• Eberl Iron Works - Buffalo, N.Y.

• Eskay Metal Fabricating - Buffalo, N.Y.

• Feralloy Processing Co - Portage, Ind.

• Worlds of Wow - Denton, Texas

Chicago Tube & Iron - Romeoville, Ill.

• Chicago Tube & Iron-Laser - Romeoville, Ill.

• Integrity Stainless - Latrobe, Pa.

The 2020 Safety Award of Merit is presented to companies posting an injury and illness incidence rate for the calendar year 2019 that is better than the published Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) rate by 10% or greater, based on their North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code.

Companies receiving the 2020 Safety Award of Merit are:

• AK Tube - Walbridge, Ohio

• AK Tube - Columbus, Ind.

• Applied Vacuum Technology - Waconia, Minn.

Mech-Tronics - Melrose Park, Ill.

• Optimation Technology Inc - Rush, N.Y.

• Anderson Dahlen Inc - Ramsey, Minn.

• BTD Manufacturing - Washington, Ill.

• BTD Manufacturing (Cedar Avenue) - Lakeville, Minn.

• BTD Manufacturing - Detroit Lakes, Minn.

• BTD Manufacturing - Dawsonville, Ga.

• Buhler Aeroglide - Cary, N.C.

• The Dupps Company - Germantown, Ohio

• GH Metal Solutions Inc (Airport Rd) - Fort Payne, Ala.

• GH Metal Solutions Inc (Williams Ave) - Fort Payne, Ala.

• GT Grandstands - Plant City, Fla.

• GT Grandstands - Lakeland, Fla.

• Indiana Pickling - Portage, Ind.

• SafeRack LLC - Andrews, S.C.

• Tampa Tank Inc - Gibsonton, Fla.

Voestalpine High Performance Metals Corp - Elgin, Ill.

The 2020 Safety Award - Honorable Mention is presented to companies posting an injury and illness incidence rate for the calendar year 2019 that is at least equal to but less than 10% better than the published BLS rate based on their NAICS code.

Companies receiving the 2020 Safety Award - Honorable Mention are:

• GSM Industrial - Lancaster, Penn.

• Olympic Steel - Winder, Ga.

The 2020 Most Improved Safety Record was awarded to BTD Manufacturing (Heywood Avenue) - Lakeville, Minnesota, for being the Safety Award winner with the greatest percentage of improvement over the prior year.

"On behalf of FMA, I'm pleased to announce this year's FMA/CNA Safety Award Winners," said Edward Youdell, president and CEO of FMA. "These companies have set standards for safety excellence. FMA, along with CNA, are proud to recognize them for their achievements in the area of safety."

To be eligible to receive recognition, companies were required to submit OSHA Form 300A and Summary of Work-Related Injuries and Illnesses for the period of January 1, 2019, through December 31, 2019. Firms of all sizes were eligible. Winners were determined based on NAICS code categories and BLS injury and illness incidence rates.

The awards were to be presented at a recognition dinner at the annual FMA Safety Conference, which was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Recognition will now take place during FMA's Virtual Annual Safety Conference in October. For more information on the awards program, the Virtual Safety Conference, or FMA membership, please visit or call 888-394-4362.

About FMA
Based in Elgin, Illinois, FMA is a professional organization with more than 2,500 individual and company members working together to improve the metal processing, forming, and fabricating industry.

Founded in 1970, FMA brings metal fabricators and equipment manufacturers together through technology councils, educational programs, networking events, and FABTECH® - the industry's leading trade show.

The official publications of FMA are The FABRICATOR®, The Tube & Pipe Journal®, STAMPING Journal®, The WELDER®, The Fabricator en Espanol, Canadian Metalworking®, and Canadian Fabricating & Welding®.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:36 AM | Permalink

Farm Aid 2020

Farm Aid announced this week that the organization will mark its 35th anniversary with a virtual at-home festival experience.

Farm Aid 2020 On the Road, scheduled for Saturday, September 26, from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. EDT, will include performances from more than 20 artists. The 3-hour event will be streamed at, on Farm Aid's YouTube channel, AXS TV and

Farm Aid 2020 On the Road artists include Farm Aid board members Willie Nelson and The Boys, John Mellencamp, Neil Young, and Dave Matthews, as well as Black Pumas, Bonnie Raitt and Boz Scaggs, Edie Brickell with Charlie Sexton, Brandi Carlile, Chris Stapleton, Jack Johnson, Jamey Johnson, Jon Batiste, Kelsey Waldon, Lukas Nelson & Promise of the Real, Margo Price, Nathaniel Rateliff, Particle Kid, The Record Company, Valerie June, and The War And Treaty, with other artists to be added.

"This pandemic and so many other challenges have revealed how essential family farmers and ranchers are to the future of our planet," said Farm Aid President and founder Willie Nelson. "Farm Aid 2020 is going to give the whole country a chance to learn about the important work of farmers and how they're contributing to our well-being, beyond bringing us good food."

Farm Aid's 35th anniversary comes at a time of unprecedented uncertainty, suffering and upheaval in our country. The COVID-19 pandemic, economic stress and the racial justice movement are urgent concerns that all of us share. The impacts of COVID-19 have revealed the fragility and injustice in our food system. As a result of the compounding challenges family farmers face, thousands are at risk of going under. There is now even more urgency and a critical need for a national response to keep family farmers on the land.

"Since we started in 1985, Farm Aid has kept its finger on the pulse of farm country and deployed funds and resources to help farm families confront the challenges they face," said Executive Director Carolyn Mugar. "It's clear that this is a critical moment for farmers and ranchers. We risk losing their important contributions to our communities and our families if we do not adequately respond as a country."

The virtual festival also will showcase stories from farmers from across the country who were invited to share why they farm, how they manage to stay resilient, and their vision of the future of agriculture.

This year, more viewers will have unprecedented access to Farm Aid's annual festival than ever before as Farm, Farm Aid's YouTube channel, AXS TV and will offer a multiplatform experience, streaming the event at no cost to viewers. Additional viewing options will be announced later. To find AXS TV in your area, visit

Farm Aid will again offer exclusive trips and artist-signed memorabilia, including a number of "from the vault" guitars and prints from previous Farm Aid festivals, for auction. The online silent auction will launch the morning of the festival, Sat., Sept. 26, and close on Friday, Oct. 9, with proceeds to benefit the organization.

The goal of the virtual festival is to raise critical funds for and awareness of the organization and its mission, which it typically does through ticket sales to the annual in-person music and food festival. Farm Aid accepts donations year-round at

For event updates, follow Farm Aid on Twitter, on Facebook and on Instagram, and visit Viewers are encouraged to use the hashtags #FarmAid2020 and #OnTheRoad to join the conversation on social media around this year's virtual festival.

Sponsors include ButcherBox, Horizon Organic, Pete & Gerry's Organic Eggs, Patagonia Workwear and Lundberg Family Farms. Farm Aid welcomes the participation of the business community. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, contact Glenda Yoder at

About Farm Aid
Farm Aid's mission is to build a vibrant, family farm-centered system of agriculture in America.

Farm Aid artists and board members Willie Nelson, Neil Young, John Mellencamp and Dave Matthews host an annual festival to raise funds to support Farm Aid's work with family farmers and to inspire people to choose family farm food.

For more than 30 years, Farm Aid, with the support of the artists who contribute their performances each year, has raised nearly $60 million to support programs that help farmers thrive, expand the reach of the Good Food Movement, take action to change the dominant system of industrial agriculture and promote food from family farms.


Previously in Farm Aid: Farmers Still Fucked 30 Years After Farm Aid Founded.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:28 AM | Permalink

Straight To Vape

A groundbreaking new report released this week by Truth Initiative - the national public health organization behind a youth smoking, vaping and nicotine prevention campaign - finds that youth and young adults with high exposure to tobacco imagery in streaming and TV shows are three times more likely to start vaping compared to their peers with no exposure.

Straight to Vape: Pervasive Tobacco Imagery in Popular Shows Poses New Threat, Making Youth More Prone to E-Cigarette Use is the first study to establish a direct link between smoking imagery on the small screen and youth e-cigarette use.

This new vaping data come as the most popular shows among young people aged 15-24 years old continue to prominently feature tobacco images, and as streaming grows even more rapidly amid the COVID-19 pandemic with many young people spending more time at home.

With youth e-cigarette use already at epidemic levels, and a recent study showing young people who have vaped more likely to be diagnosed with coronavirus, it is clear that tobacco content on the small screen is a growing and urgent health risk for young Americans.

Truth Initiative first called attention to the prevalence of tobacco imagery in streaming content in 2018 with its groundbreaking report, While You Were Streaming.

The second installment of the report came out in 2019, showing that the re-normalization of tobacco in TV and streaming content most popular among youth and young adults had skyrocketed, exposing millions of young viewers to tobacco use.

This year's report underscores how smoking imagery in popular shows poses a new threat making youth more prone to e-cigarette use.

Similar to the first two reports, Netflix's hit show Stranger Things once again tops the list as the biggest offender with 721 total instances, quadrupling in its latest season compared to its first season.

Overall, 73% of the top 15 most popular programs among youth and young adults featured tobacco or smoking imagery in 2018 and 2019, exposing more than 27 million young people to tobacco, including more than 8 million teens.

The show Shameless had 226 depictions of tobacco and The Simpsons, Family Guy and Big Mouth each had over 50 tobacco incidences in their 2018 seasons. In its latest season in 2019, tobacco incidences in Big Mouth jumped to 130. Walking Dead had 39 and Orange is the New Black - another repeat offender from previous reports - had 38.


"Truth Initiative was the first to sound the alarm on the resurgence and glamorization of tobacco imagery on the small screen and its negative impact on young people," said Robin Koval, CEO and President of Truth Initiative. "The alarm is blaring even louder this year as new data clearly demonstrate that tobacco content is directly fueling the youth e-cigarette epidemic. Put simply, the more tobacco use a young person sees in shows, the more likely they are to start vaping e-cigarettes. As Big Tobacco reinvents itself with electronic products to lure young people to a lifetime of addiction, the entertainment industry should not be complicit and must do more by implementing policies that can limit ongoing tobacco exposure."

The vaping data contained in this peer-reviewed report published in Preventative Medicine earlier this month used a nationally representative sample of 4,604 youth aged 15- to 24-years-old who had never previously used a tobacco product. In addition to the key finding that tobacco exposure triples a young person's likelihood of starting to vape, researchers also found that the higher the exposure to tobacco imagery, the greater the odds of subsequent vaping initiation; younger age was also linked with increased likelihood of e-cigarette use.

Vaping is the dominant type of tobacco use today among young people and vapes are often the first tobacco product tried. Youth e-cigarette use has doubled among high school students, from 11.7% in 2017 to 27.5% in 2019; and tripled among middle school students from 3.3% to 10.5%. On top of growing evidence that e-cigarettes impact lung and heart health, young people who have ever used e-cigarettes are up to seven times more likely to start smoking cigarettes than their peers who do not vape.

Though cigarettes are still the primary form of tobacco depicted in episodic content, vaping imagery in shows is on the rise. In 2018, there were 16 e-cigarette instances in the three most popular shows among youth, which grew to 22 instances in 2019's top five shows. In addition, an estimated 2.5 million youth and young adults watched season one of HBO's Euphoria, which had 67 incidences of e-cigarette use across eight episodes.

The new data around the ongoing exposure of young people to tobacco imagery on the small screen come at a time of unprecedented content consumption driven by COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. In March 2020, the number of children and teen viewers grew by nearly two-thirds, according to Nielsen tracking. The percentage of youth reporting that their most-watched shows aired on streaming platforms nearly tripled, from 29% in 2018 to 84% in 2019.

To help halt the youth e-cigarette epidemic in its tracks, Truth Initiative calls for a comprehensive set of policies to curb tobacco imagery in movies, TV and streaming content that increases the likelihood that young people will start vaping:

* Ratings system. Designate new titles with smoking as TV-MA and include tobacco imagery as an explicit rating factor in TV Parental Guidelines.

* Anti-tobacco and anti-vaping ads. Deploy anti-smoking and anti-vaping messages that illustrate the harmful effects of tobacco.

* Tobacco payoffs. Ensure that no parties or persons involved with a production received anything of value in exchange for including smoking or vaping in a show.

* State public subsidy policies. Change state-level production subsidy policies to remove tax and other incentives for productions that feature tobacco use.

* Education and outreach. Educate directors, writers and producers about the importance of keeping tobacco out of their shows.

* Ongoing research. Continuously monitor tobacco imagery in popular media, including how it is portrayed and who is watching.

Truth Initiative's latest analysis also spotlights the renormalization of tobacco imagery in movies, video games and music videos. The organization continues to monitor the dangers of the entertainment industry's normalization of smoking and highlight the need for actionable solutions. For research, resources and more information, please visit


Previously: Dramatic Increase In Smoking On Shows Popular With Young People.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:22 AM | Permalink

September 4, 2020

The [Friday] Papers


New on the Beachwood today . . .

TrackNotes: Their Old Kentucky Home
"The Derby is a palpable vestige of post-war antebellum yearnings, a gripping continuum defiantly nurtured and fiercely defended," writes our man on the rail Tom Chambers, in another gem.


The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #320: Premature Exuberation
There will almost certainly not be a Red Line World Series. Plus: Bears Lose QB Competition; Kiss The Sky; Soccer Wubble; Mubble; and Their Old Kentucky Home.



Part 6 in my scifi tribute to Chicago music venues: Beat Kitchen in the Twenty Second City from r/chicago





Weird Armor Traction Elevator, Undisclosed Chicago Location


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






The Beachwood Chop It Up Line: Chop it good.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:30 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #320: Premature Exuberation

There will almost certainly not be a Red Line World Series. Plus: Bears Lose QB Competition; Kiss The Sky; Soccer Wubble; Mubble; and Their Old Kentucky Home.

Beachwood Radio Network · The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #320: Premature Exuberation



* 320.


:42: There Will Almost Certainly Not Be A Red Line World Series.

* Coffman: The White Sox have a nice one-two punch. The Cubs have just one punch.

* Long-hauler.

* New world.

* Jarrod Dyson vs. Cameron Maybin.

* ESPN: Why MLB's Minor Leagues As You Know Them Will End Sept. 30.

* Riese, Cubs HQ: What's Next For Albert Almora Jr.?

* Coffman: Treading Water.

* Brew Crew: What To Expect From Daniel Vogelbach.


36:00: Bears Lose QB Competition.

* Brad Biggs' Mailbag.

* Cordarelle Patterson is a niche role player whose role is of increasingly less value, not more.


58:31: Kiss The Sky.

* AP: Sky-Mystics Preview.

* Wubble Life.


1:04:20: Soccer Wubble.


1:06:01: Mubble.


1:07:56: Their Old Kentucky Home.

* Chambers: "The Kentucky Derby is a palpable vestige of post-war antebellum yearnings, a gripping continuum defiantly nurtured and fiercely defended."




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


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:35 PM | Permalink

TrackNotes: Their Old Kentucky Home

The Kentucky Derby is a palpable vestige of post-war antebellum yearnings, a gripping continuum defiantly nurtured and fiercely defended.

Layers of a State Fair onion growing for 145 years, 146 after Saturday.

And I have a decision to make. Pour me an Old No. 7.

There are really very few singular sporting days in America. Forget ball or puck sports. They've ruined the Daytona 500, where having the fastest car counts for nothing now. In 2020's Indy 500, they let the race whimper to a finish instead of responsibly throwing a red flag and restarting. The Iditarod dogs, without snow anymore, are sometimes drugged. The Super Bowl might be one, but only because the nation spends two harried weeks bathing in its hype: Oh for such unity on COVID-19!

The two days of the Breeders' Cup takes that long only because it needs to spread out so many good races. It is, an event.

One of the most hallowed, the Masters, is played in an unreal Eden that has nothing in common with its outside-the-wall environs. It's a lot like the Derby. Latitudes under about 37.5 pop to mind.

But this Kentucky Derby (Grade I, 10 furlongs dirt, 1-1/4 miles, $3,000,000, no fans), pushed to Labor Day by way of the virus, is already one of the most interesting and should be the most educational installment I've ever seen. Little of it has to do with the race.

Forget the headline, but the New York Times' Joe Drape rounds out the hook of Greg Harbut in this year's race. He's an owner of the 11 horse, Necker Island. Harbut is Black.

But wait, Harbut's great-grandfather Will was the stallion supervisor of none other than Man o' War. His grandfather, Tom, owned a horse, Touch Bar, that ran in the 1962 Derby, but because of Jim Crow, Tom was not allowed to sit in the stands at Churchill Downs back then.

The next Derby runner with a black owner, Shirley Cunningham Jr., was Curlin in 2007. Look at the gaps: 1962/2007/2020. There's no time now to go over the distribution of wealth to explain the dearth of black owners at the highest levels of racing.

Let's remind ourselves about the Black jockeys, who won 15 of the first 28 Derbies. Oliver Lewis won the first in 1875 on Aristides. Isaac Murphy, Alonzo Clayton, Willie Sims, Jimmy Winkfield, who won two in a row and was the last black jockey to win a Derby. 1902. Winkfield ended up bouncing around Europe and landing in Russia for a spell. He was appreciated there. In season, all these guys rode the Chicago circuit, where the money was the best.

For 79 years up until 2000, no black jockeys rode the Derby.

Surely, Harbut received even a few calls to boycott the race, but that would be ridiculous.

"My grandfather bred (Touch Bar) and owned part of him and, at the time, his role in what is one of the most prestigious races in the world was not acknowledged," Harbut said. "This is part of my family's legacy, and it is a chance to remind people on a big stage - the biggest stage - that horse racing history here begins with African Americans."

Although he looks way overmatched, what if Necker Island wins?

Louisville freelancer Josh Wood in the Washington Post, let the outsiders talk about how Churchill Downs, the behemoth that must surely cast a large shadow, shapes their community and how they see it.

"Most people in the African-American community sort of look at that Derby thing as a time for richer, Caucasian members of the city to have a good time, spend their money and enjoy life," Yashia Crawford, 38, said at a recent protest where dozens of people were arrested.

That doesn't even include the thousands of people coming from other places for the race.

"What I don't understand is how the city thinks we just go to some celebratory event while this city is hurting," said Black poet and activist Hannah Drake, 44, who lives near the track. "To just go on like that didn't happen, to me is a slap in the face."

Louisville, like so many places, seems a tale of two cities: Churchill Downs and the University of Louisville, and then all the rest. Breonna Taylor lived with the rest. Whatever her address, she lived far away from the half-acre hats, deer-in-the-headlights QBs, straw fedoras and cigars, and sweetened bourbon sludge the occupy the minds of many.

Then, there are calls to ashcan the playing of "My Old Kentucky Home, Good-Night!" as the post parade begins. There have been conflicting interpretations of the song since the day it was written by Stephen Foster in 1853, but you can't deny the romanticization of empty social echoes that will not be acknowledged, understood or dealt with.

When the Kentucky legislature approved it as the state song in 1928, it replaced "darkies" in the lyrics with "people." Even today, we see the zeitgeist still runs real deep. Wow.

For its efforts, Churchill Downs Inc. continues its typically brilliant PR and media spins. It's very good at it.

CDI holds out hope it will cancel the song, but it doesn't say say it will. CDI says there's "not a more moving experience for both spectator or participant." Um, ok. I don't believe Churchill will cancel the song. But you might ask, will NBC play it if they do play it? Although CDI probably has a lot of clout into race day programming.

How important is such a song? Maybe the folks down there will have to hash it out, but as Churchill has made the Derby national, if not global, at least some of it might be out of its hands.

There will be protesters outside, and NBC's news and sports divisions promise they will cover it both days. I just envision protesters marching in front of gates they never have entered and never will penetrate, and the frustration of not being listened to.

That's why I call this year's Derby interesting and educational. Will racing, Churchill Downs in particular, be able to demonstrate in any way that it is listening, or that it will do something? Does it even have the will for such things? Louisville is one of the many American epicenters of dialogue so critical; the whole damn thing looks like it could go over the rail.

Will NBC push, and I mean HOUND CDI CEO Bill Carstanjen for answers? Will they push, hard, for Louisville's politicians to speak truth to the relationship between the people and the neighborhoods, and the horse track that looms as large as an unreachable Oz?

I believe Churchill pushed the Derby to Labor Day on the hunch bet it could have fans. The shadow of the wire has risen and set since the first Saturday in May, or early June, so I'll get off that.

Keep in mind: the handle. Sure, on-track handle is gone, but most of those people will still bet from afar. Churchill waffled on the crowd. No fans/23,000 fans/No fans. As it should be. They'll make money.

Now, decision time.

All of the important issues orbiting this Derby have made it easy. I won't be wagering on any races from Churchill on Friday or Saturday. And there will be some great races. The Kentucky Oaks will be the race of the weekend. With what CDI has planned for Arlington Park, the way it conducts itself, its depth of indifference for racing itself, I will not stuff its coffers.

I will certainly watch every minute of Churchill coverage (NBCSN Friday, the big NBC Saturday). TrackNotes will report, but it also has to live with itself.

Full disclosure, the Saratoga air bags will deploy with state breds Friday and a sweet card Saturday highlighted by The Woodward. I know you're happy to hear I'll have action.

As for the Derby itself, 3-5 favorite Tiz the Law, from the 17 post, appears, on a normal day, unbeatable. Before you say "He's a GREAT horse," and while he has been visually impressive, who has he beaten? I'm on the side that none of these other three-year-olds are really any good. Now, if the 17 door doesn't open . . . After all, it's a brand new starting gate.

In many ways.


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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:32 AM | Permalink

September 3, 2020

The [Thursday] Papers

"I read a remarkable statistic tonight," our very own Tim Willette wrote to me in an e-mail Wednesday. "If Biden wins the popular vote by less than a percentage point, 538 gives him a 6% chance of winning the EC. Six! I thought that it might be interesting if the Emmys adopted the EC rules for their awards show later this month or at least show how that criteria would change the award winners vis-a-vis the vote winners. Maybe better would be the People's Choice awards - person X won the popular vote, but still lost. The pop culture media would be scandalized, right? But when it comes to who rules the country, the stupidity is business as usual."


Programming Note
There was no column Wednesday.


Chicago Code Chodes
"The Chicago Code Blue Facebook page shared a meme mocking Jacob Blake, who was paralyzed after being shot in the back by a police officer in Wisconsin in August 2020," Snopes has verified.


"We should note this is not the official Facebook page of the Chicago Police Department. However, previous investigations into this page revealed that many of its members are either current or former members of law enforcement."


COVID Chovids
"Five businesses were temporarily closed this weekend for violating COVID-19 reopening guidelines," the Tribune reported Tuesday. (I'm just catching up.)

"Among them were four food and beverage establishments."

I'm gonna make you click through to see who got caught.


"All business were closed for one night and allowed to reopen the next day."

For attempted manslaughter? Lame.


"The enforcement team investigated 93 businesses, eight of which were at residential locations. Since June 3, BACP has conducted 1,488 investigations and issued 106 citations."


A day before that report, the Tribune called the wahmbulance: 'It Feels Like We're Blocked At Every Turn' - With Threats Of $10,000 Fines For COVID-19 Violations, Some Restaurants Say The Punishment Doesn't Fit The Crime Of Endangering Lives.

They're right!

Er, I guess that headline ended at "Crime," so it doesn't mean what it could have meant.

Among the crybabies: Beermiscuous.


But . . .

"Out of nearly 200 businesses cited for violating COVID-19 guidelines between June 5 and July 22, about one in five were food and beverage establishments, according to city records the Chicago Tribune acquired through a Freedom of Information Act request."

And frankly, the city isn't asking for much.

"More restaurants and bars have since been cited and, in some cases, temporarily shut down until they could present better safety strategies. Among them were Cork & Kerry in the Beverly neighborhood, Second Time Around and Barba Yianni.


"Receiving a $10,000 fine would decimate a business, several owners said."

And receiving COVID-19 would decimate your customers, but you do you.


"Others said they are frustrated that the officials they typically look to for leadership seem to be fumbling the reopening."

They should be grateful there's a reopening at all. I was against it; it was premature.


"And as city officials continue to issue citations, the business owners say they're starting to see the city as less of a partner and more as a punisher."

Oh, wah!


Virginia Thomas of Beermiscuous, you are Today's Worst Person In Chicago.



Turkitch, a Turkish restaurant in Lincoln Park, was one of the restaurants cited for violating COVID-19 guidelines. Owner Ozkan Yilmaz blamed an angry customer for catching the city's attention.

In his retelling, a customer came into the restaurant on one of its first days after reopening and got upset because indoor seating was not permitted, in line with city guidelines. The customer threatened to call inspectors as a way of punishing the restaurant, Yilmaz said.

When investigators came, they cited Yilmaz for not having enough social distancing signage posted. Yilmaz had already ordered more signs, but they hadn't arrived in time for the inspection, he said. He didn't receive a $10,000 fine, but Yilmaz said he can easily envision how such a fee would shutter a small operation like his.

Signs on order are not very effective! It's like keeping your mask in your pocket. If you don't have the signs, don't open your business. (And he wasn't even fined, c'mon, what's the problem, Ozkan, can't take a little gentle persuasion by a non-fining inspector?)


"Turkitch has not received any loans or assistance from government relief programs, and restaurant staff work masks even before coronavirus, Yilmaz said."

Why not? Even I got an economic injury loan from the SBA.


"But between uneducated customers, skyrocketing prices for kitchen and sanitizing supplies, and increasingly demanding landlords, reopening has been tough, Yilmaz said."

Yes, it's tough. We're in historic global pandemic that is well on its way to killing a million people. Have some fucking perspective!


"Keeping abreast of the latest guidelines to ensure compliance is no small feat."

It's not? What's so hard about it?


"At Beermiscuous, Thomas said she has worked with three aldermen to make sure she has the correct information - an experience that 'feels laughable and almost insulting,' as even the elected officials express having difficulty keeping up with each development, she said."

Laughable and insulting is a good way to describe most interactions with aldermen, but is her business simultaneously located in three wards? (And I know it's hard for aldermen to keep up, but regular people?)


"Thomas wants to add a patio and get a food license for the beer cafe, but is worried about the additional costs it would put on top of the struggling business."

That's life - even without a pandemic! I mean, I would like to add those things to my struggling business too, but I'm not whining about it.


"We only want good things for our customers and communities and our business, but we're just not being given the tools," Thomas told the Trib.

How about give them the good thing of not giving them a deadly disease. The city is giving you the exact tools you need to not do that.


"Some restaurant owners, however, believe the $10,000 fine is fitting - and at times, even necessary."

Thank you!

Michael Lachowicz, owner of George Trois Group (Aboyer, George Trois and Silencieux) in Winnetka, said he's tired of hearing complaints from both inside and outside the restaurant industry. The mayor's office has supplied months' worth of briefings, which he said should be sufficient for any business owner to know what the rules are.

After consulting for bars and nightclubs in River North, he hypothesized that, for the spots that are normally huge money makers, a $10,000 fine would be seen as merely a "slap on the wrist."

"What I'd like to see happen is that we all help each other, not complain about being punished for doing something wrong," said Lachowicz, who has been in the restaurant industry for 35 years. "I don't believe that any of the problems we're having in our city or state (are) the problems of the guest. The problems are driven by irresponsible ownership."

With ample access to information from media reports and the Illinois Restaurant Association, business owners have little excuse for breaking the rules, he said.

Those who are fined for violations like being over capacity "were doing a cash grab to try to catch up," Lachowicz said. "And it doesn't work that way."

Congratulations, Michael Lachowicz, you are just the fifth recipient of our Today's Best Person In Chicago award. Amen.



Are we supposed to wear the mask outside? Do you? from r/chicago


Wear your mask. Outside, too. The world's top scientists are still learning about this virus - and as one Redditor points out, you never know what kind of situation you'll find yourself in outside, like unexpectedly assisting someone who is hurt, or suddenly finding yourself in a crowd. You have nothing to lose except a minor convenience. Determining how far you can go to feel slightly more comfortable for a few minutes is a perverse way to calculate whether you will endanger the lives of others.



View this post on Instagram

W 100th St. Beverly.

A post shared by Brick of Chicago (@brickofchicago) on



King Anderson x Chicago Vibes





Emma Cline: "We Are Forced To Imagine What's Going On In The Minds Of Men."


Sony Softened Concussion To Placate NFL.


The Reason Pharmacies Are Usually Located In The Back Of A Store.


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









The Beachwood McRibTipIsBackLine: Limited time only.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:43 AM | Permalink

September 1, 2020

The [Tuesday] Papers


Programming Note
I was off from the census today and it still kicked my butt. #Phase2


There was no column on Monday.


New on the Beachwood . . .

Patronizing Evil: The Nonprofit Sector Perpetuates The Worst Legacies Of Capitalism
A tour de force that resonates with my depressing experience engaging the nonfprofit sector.


Companies Flagrantly Flout Labor Department Rules To Report Workplace Injuries
Who's lawless now? Including two Chicago-based behemoths.


America's Racist Presidents
An objective historical examination finds it's most of 'em!


UIC vs. The Breakfast Club
Participants were asked to describe crowds they encountered in high school, and their feedback led to the identification of nine peer crowds used in the study: "populars," "jocks," "smarts," "fine arts," druggies/stoners," "emo/goths," "anime/mangas," "troublemakers," and "loners."


The Jolie Laide Of Philosophy
Congratulations - or condolences - you're free!


From the Beachwood Sports Desk . . .

Running Bases
With a team that's posted 11 wins in its last 13 games and finds itself tied for first place with Cleveland, why focus on the one play that made them look downright silly on Friday night? Because that's what makes baseball great.


Treading Water
Breaking even on the road the rest of the way probably puts the Cubs in position to hang on to the top spot in the Central.


NBA Players Secure Use Of Stadiums For Polling Stations
"NBA players are doing more to make voting accessible than our own government."



For those who have been working at home since March, do you missing working in the office? from r/chicago





Prince at the Riv in 2000.



Can A College Course Teach Students To Unlearn Racism?


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Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:01 PM | Permalink

America's Racist Presidents

The fury over racial injustice that erupted in the wake of George Floyd's killing has forced Americans to confront their history. That's unfamiliar territory for most Americans, whose historical knowledge amounts to a vague blend of fact and myth that was only half-learned in high school and is only half-remembered now.

If their historical knowledge is lacking, Americans are not any better informed about the role of presidential leadership - and lack of leadership - on racial issues. They may have heard that five of the first seven presidents owned slaves, and they know - or think they do - that Abraham Lincoln "freed the slaves."

But even those tidbits of fact are incomplete. Several other presidents, including Ulysses S. Grant, owned slaves. And Lincoln, whose Emancipation Proclamation was more symbolic than practically effective, hated slavery but never considered Blacks equal to whites.

An honest assessment of American presidential leadership on race reveals a handful of courageous actions but an abundance of racist behavior, even by those remembered as equal rights supporters.


Our book, Presidents and Black America: A Documentary History, examines the record of the first 44 presidents on racial issues, and explores their relationships with African Americans. What emerges is a portrait of chief executives who were often blatantly racist and commonly subordinated concerns for racial justice to their own political advantage.

Here are a few examples:

Rutherford B. Hayes, president from 1877-1881, claimed to be a friend of African-Americans' rights.

At his inauguration, he said that "a true self-government" must be "a government which guards the interests of both races carefully and equally."

But he cut a shady deal to win the presidency in the 1876 election, whose result was as hotly disputed as the 2000 Bush-Gore contest. In that deal, he agreed to withdraw federal troops from Southern states where they'd been protecting Blacks from the Ku Klux Klan and white supremacist depredations.

Over the next two decades, Southern whites drove virtually all Black elected officials from office, often by fraud and sometimes at gunpoint, and about 1,500 Southern Blacks were lynched.

William McKinley, president from 1897-1901, delivered an inaugural address extolling equal rights, and declared, "Lynchings must not be tolerated."

However, he remained silent when white supremacists in Wilmington, North Carolina, staged an 1898 coup that ousted all Black elected officials and killed at least 60 Blacks.

His lack of response to lynchings prompted a Black-owned newspaper to observe, "The Negroes of this country turn with impatience, disappointment and disgust from Mr. McKinley's fence-straddling and shilly-shallying discussion of lynch law."

Theodore Roosevelt, president from 1901-1909, believed in white superiority while simultaneously advocating educational opportunity regardless of race.

In a letter to a friend, he wrote, "Now as to the Negroes! I entirely agree with you that as a race and in the mass they are altogether inferior to the whites."

Woodrow Wilson, president from 1913-1921, promised fair treatment for African Americans in his 1912 campaign.

But once elected, he defended his Southern Cabinet members who segregated workers in federal departments that hadn't been segregated, writing that "It is as far as possible from being a movement against the negroes. I sincerely believe it to be in their interest."

Black Democrat Robert Wood of New York unsuccessfully urged Wilson to reverse the segregation policy: "We resent it, not at all because we are particularly anxious to eat in the same room or use the same soap and towels that white people use, but because we see in the separation in the races in the matter of soup and soap the beginning of a movement to deprive the colored man entirely of soup and soap, to eliminate him wholly from the Civil Service."

In a testy White House exchange, Wilson chastised William Monroe Trotter and other Black leaders, asserting that "Segregation is not a humiliation but a benefit, and ought to be so regarded by you gentlemen. If your organization goes out and tells the colored people of the country that it is a humiliation, they will so regard it . . . The only harm that will come will be if you cause them to think it is a humiliation."

Franklin D. Roosevelt, president from 1933-1945, was widely admired among African Americans. While his New Deal programs did not benefit Blacks and whites equally, Blacks did receive benefits.

But FDR's actions were always guided by his need to appease Southern segregationists in Congress to pass his other agenda items. And his attitude could be condescending, as when he met with Black leaders about integrating the military.

He advised a gradual approach, particularly with the Navy: "We are training a certain number of musicians on board ship. The ship's band. There's no reason why we shouldn't have a colored band on some of these ships, because they're darn good at it."

Political calculation has always been at work in presidential dealings with African Americans, from George Washington to Donald Trump.

But often, those dealings also reflected condescension, indifference, racial bias and outright racism in chief executives who took a solemn oath to serve all American citizens equally.

Stephen A. Jones, is an adjunct professor of history at Central Michigan University. Eric Freedman is a journalism professor at Michigan State.


This post is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:00 PM | Permalink

NBA Players Secure Use Of Stadiums For Polling Stations

Following a multi-team strike protesting police brutality and systemic racism in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake, players and league officials reached a deal Friday not only to resume the NBA playoffs, but to use the league's stadiums as voting locations for the November general election.

In a statement, National Basketball Players Association executive director Michele Roberts and NBA commissioner Adam Silver listed three developments that resulted from talks with players and league leaders last week.

The deal includes establishing a social justice coalition - with representatives from players, coaches, and governors - to be focused on "increasing access to voting, promoting civic engagement, and advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform." In addition, the league will sponsor advertising spots during each playoff game "promoting greater civic engagement in national and local elections and raising awareness around voter access and opportunity."

The portion of the deal that has earned the most attention is the agreement to use NBA stadiums as voting centers in the upcoming November election.

"In every city where the league franchise owns and controls the arena property, team governors will continue to work with local elections officials to convert the facility into a voting location for the 2020 general election to allow for a safe in-person voting option for communities vulnerable to COVID," the statement reads. "If a deadline has passed, team governors will work with local elections officials to find another election-related use for the facility, including but not limited to voter registration and ballot receiving boards."

Players, journalists, and civil rights advocates celebrated the announcement as details continue to emerge about the police shooting of 29-year-old Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Blake is alive and recovering in a hospital but is paralyzed from the waist down, according to his family. At a protest decrying his shooting last Tuesday night, a white 17-year-old gunman killed two people and injured another.

"We're all tired of just seeing the same thing over and over again," Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul said in an interview. "And everybody just expects us to be OK just because we get paid great money. We're human. We have real feelings and I'm glad we got a chance to get in a room together to talk to one another."

"Just because something hasn't happened doesn't mean it can't happen," Doc Rivers, former NBA player and coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, told Yahoo! Sports. "Don't give into something that hasn't happened. Keep pushing, keep working."

"We needed a moment to breathe. It's not lost on me that George Floyd didn't get that moment. But we did, and we took it, and the players took it . . . I slept very well last night, thinking that our young people spoke. That was fantastic."

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


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:31 PM | Permalink

Companies Flagrantly Flout Labor Department Rules To Report Workplace Injuries

More than 100,000 U.S. workplaces required to submit injury and illness records flouted a new federal requirement to electronically submit their logs, keeping dangerous employers cloaked in secrecy.

Only about 60% of the establishments expected to submit 2016 data to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration responded, according to an analysis by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting.

The next two years were no better. OSHA received 2017 and 2018 data from less than half of the roughly 463,000 workplaces required to report in each of those years, according to statements made by a top agency official in court filings.

The poor compliance rate by employers surfaced in court documents filed by OSHA in response to a lawsuit brought by the public interest group Public Citizen after the agency refused to release electronic injury and illness records. Reveal filed a parallel suit challenging the government's refusal to release the injury logs, known as Form 300As, in response to a Freedom of Information Act request. A federal judge sided with Reveal and the 2016 records were released last week.

Establishments with 250 or more employees and workplaces in high-risk industries with 20 or more workers, such as agriculture and construction, are required to submit the Form 300A, which summarizes how many people were injured or killed on the job each year.

OSHA had intended to use the information to help prioritize its investigations. With just 862 federal inspectors covering millions of workplaces as of Jan. 1, OSHA has sought to focus its resources on the most dangerous industries and workplaces. The agency also announced in 2016 that it would post the data on its public website.

Just a tiny fraction of employers that failed to submit these reports have been penalized. As of Aug. 16, OSHA had issued only 259 citations carrying total fines of $127,000 to employers that did not send in their electronic injury logs. That's an average penalty of less than $500 per employer. Only 30 of these penalties were imposed on large employers with at least 250 workers, a Labor Department spokesperson told Reveal.

The records are mandatory under an Obama-era rule that required companies to electronically submit injury and illness records, starting with 2016 data.

After Donald Trump was elected president, OSHA officials said that while employers still had to report the information, the data would not be made public.

That changed last week. The U.S. Department of Labor released more than 237,000 injury and illness records from U.S. workplaces in response to the lawsuit brought by Reveal, a blow to government secrecy that allows the public to identify some of the nation's most hazardous companies.

Reveal went to court to challenge the federal government's refusal to release the injury logs, which the nonprofit news organization requested in February 2018.

"This court decision is a game-changer," said David Michaels, who led OSHA under President Barack Obama and is now a professor at George Washington University's Milken Institute School of Public Health. "Public disclosure on injury rates will reshape how employers, workers and the public think about the social cost of the goods and services we consume."

A Reveal analysis of the roughly 60,000 company names in the 2016 data found that even some Fortune 500 companies neglected to fully report their data. McDonald's and Home Depot appeared to be missing entirely, while only one establishment with 58 employees appeared for Boeing, one of the nation's top federal contractors. Representatives for McDonald's, Home Depot and Boeing did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

But even the spotty reporting did reveal some companies with high injury rates for their sectors. Ford Motor Co. reported injury and illness rates at two establishments that were 80% higher than the rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics for automobile manufacturers overall. One even reported a death. A Ford spokesperson did not immediately respond to queries, requesting additional time to review the data.

Injury and illness rates at facilities of other large companies - such as Dollar Tree, Southwest Airlines and Eli Lilly - were about twice the industry rates in some sectors, as reflected in their injury and illness reports. Dollar Tree's rates were elevated, for example, in its warehouses, while Eli Lilly's rates were elevated in its biological manufacturing facilities.

"A safe workplace for our associates is our highest priority," Kayleigh Painter, a Dollar Tree spokesperson, said in an e-mail. "We are focused on maintaining a safe environment that complies with all health and safety regulations at our facilities."

In response to questions about Southwest Airlines' injury and illness cases in 2016, Brian Parrish, a company spokesperson, said in an e-mail: "The safety of our employees and customers is always the uncompromising priority at Southwest Airlines and a responsibility that we take very seriously. Since 2016, the Southwest Team has worked together to achieve a significant decrease in the number of annual injuries, and the airline is now pleased to be posting the lowest injury rates in our recent history - a downward trend demonstrated in the numbers reported to OSHA over the past several years."

A spokesperson for Eli Lilly did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Beginning with 2019 data, employers were required to submit their 300As with employer identification numbers, unique numbers assigned to each company or organization that will allow OSHA to view company performance as a whole.

But the data released to Reveal was collected between 2017 and 2018 and lacks unique numbers. In addition, the company names associated with each establishment are inconsistent in the 300As - misspelled or abbreviated differently - or missing entirely.

"If OSHA doesn't know the connection between different workplaces, if they have the same owner, it makes it difficult for OSHA to follow up at other facilities owned by the same company," Michaels said.

OSHA's Form 300As have been critical to Reveal's past reporting, though Reveal has had to obtain the records by other means, such as through labor unions and workers' attorneys. Last year, Reveal collected injury records for some of Amazon's warehouses through current and former employees, and showed that the injury rates for these sites surpassed the industry average.

Before that, Reveal combed through Tesla's internal records and found some cases were missing from the company's official logs - again, obtained from employees.

Yet another Reveal investigation relied on injury records - obtained from a variety of sources, including workers and Freedom of Information Act requests - to show how a major shipbuilder for the U.S. Navy altered a power tool, ignoring the manufacturer's warnings and creating a saw that company executives called "a Widow Maker" after it maimed dozens of workers.

Reveal won the public records suit in June when Magistrate Judge Donna M. Ryu of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ordered the federal Labor Department to release several months' worth of the logs.

The government had denied Reveal's request, citing an exemption in the law that shields government records collected for law enforcement purposes. After Reveal filed suit, Justice Department attorneys defending the case abandoned that argument. Instead, they asserted that the injury logs could not be disclosed because they were confidential business records.

But Ryu found that "the Form 300A information is both readily observable by and shared with employees, who have the right to make the information public."

Rather than appeal, Justice Department lawyers complied with the court's order and agreed to release the injury data to Reveal.

"OSHA reports have long been recognized as public information necessary for public health and safety - not confidential business information," said D. Victoria Baranetsky, Reveal's general counsel. "We are glad the court recognized that, too."

Companies have been required to record injuries and illnesses for nearly 50 years. Some of that data is available on OSHA's website. But that program ended in anticipation of the new reporting requirements launched under the Obama-era rule.

Reveal has made the original dataset of OSHA 300As provided by the Labor Department available to the public: Download the data and data dictionary.

Jennifer Gollan can be reached at Melissa Lewis can be reached at Follow them on Twitter: @jennifergollan and @iff_orr. Will Evans contributed to this story. It was edited by Esther Kaplan and Soo Oh, and copy edited by Nikki Frick.


This post was originally published by Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting, a nonprofit news organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area. Learn more at and subscribe to the Reveal podcast, produced with PRX, at


See also: Meatpacking Companies Dismissed Years Of Warnings But Now Say Nobody Could Have Prepared For COVID-19.


Previously in OSHA:
* Feds Let BP Off The Hook.

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

* Special Report: Small White House Office Puts The Brakes On Life-Saving Regulations.

* How To Investigate Workers' Comp In Your State.

* Injured Worker In ProPublica/NPR Story Testifies Before Illinois Legislature.

* State Legislators To Investigate Workers' Comp Opt Out.

* Tyson Foods' Secret Recipe For Carving Up Workers' Comp.

* The Workers' Comp Industrial Complex Parties Hearty.

* Corporate Campaign To Ditch Workers' Comp Stalls.

* U.S. Labor Department: States Are Failing Injured Workers.

* Life After Workplace Injury.

* OSHA Orders Wells Fargo To Reinstate Whistleblower, Fully Restore Lost Earnings In Banking Industry.

* How Central American Migrants Helped Revive The U.S. Labor Movement.

* Illinois Coronavirus Inbox: Prisoners & Workers Plead For Protection.

* Millions Of Essential Workers Are Being Left Out Of COVID-19 Workplace Safety Protections, Thanks To OSHA.

* OSHA Probing Health Worker Deaths But Urges Inspectors To Spare The Penalties.

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


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:49 AM | Permalink

UIC vs. The Breakfast Club

Adolescents transitioning into high school encounter a large number of unfamiliar peers, who they quickly label into groups by using an individual's appearance as their guide.

But how do visible cues of high school cliques correlate with what youth say about themselves?

Are adolescents who are stereotyped by peers as jocks actually more sports-oriented, populars more well-liked, and loners more lonely than the average high schooler?

A new study led by University of Illinois-Chicago researcher Rachel Gordon, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Texas-Austin, examines the accuracy of these peer group classifications based on similar values, behaviors and interests.

The study, which is published in Social Psychology Quarterly, shows that peer crowd classification predicts aspects of unknown peers' mental health, academic achievement, extracurricular involvement, social status, and risk-taking behaviors.

"This study offers insights into the link between perceptions and reality and the social-psychological shortcuts that can, on the one hand, make youths' lives easier and, on the other hand, pigeonhole others into categories different from their true selves," said Gordon, a sociology professor and fellow of the Institute for Health Research and Policy at UIC.

The researchers, who build on their earlier work on modern-day adolescent experiences, used video and survey data from a subgroup of U.S. youth who were born in 1991 and attended high school in the mid- to late- 2000s. These children were recruited at birth for the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development's Study of Early Child Care and Youth Development.

To determine relevant peer crowds, the researchers assembled 10 focus groups totaling 61 approximate same-age peers as the youth in the previous study. Participants were asked to describe crowds they encountered in high school, and their feedback led to the identification of nine peer crowds used in the study: "populars," "jocks," "smarts," "fine arts," druggies/stoners," "emo/goths," "anime/mangas," "troublemakers," and "loners."

Participants were also asked to view seven-second video clips of 15-year-olds and classify them into one of the groups. Ratings based on the short video clips were compared to what the depicted youth actually said about themselves.

For each outcome of the students' self-assessment, the researchers placed crowds into sets predicted by the focus group members to fall into low, middle, and high levels. The hypothesized low mental health group reported more depressive symptoms and loneliness than the middle group, as predicted. In terms of sports participation, the hypothesized high group was more involved in sports than both the middle and low groups. Lastly, the hypothesized high risk-taking group reported engaging in a higher average number of risks compared to the middle group.

"In many cases, these associations were consistent with expectations, based on what same-age focus groups predicted would be the hallmarks of various crowds," said Gordon, who chairs the Institute of Government and Public Affairs' working group on education and learning.

Other notable findings include:

* Focus groups did not consider "smarts" to be part of the low mental health group, despite "smarts" reporting greater loneliness than other crowds.

* Both the "fine arts and "anime/mangas" were assumed by focus groups as having middle levels of achievement. Members of the "fine arts" group had relatively high achievement in terms of their GPAs and advanced English enrollment. "Anime/mangas" had high GPAs but were among the crowds with the lowest enrollment in advanced English courses.

* "Smarts" had unexpectedly low sports participation compared to other crowds, although focus group members viewed them as all-around engaged in extracurricular activities.

* Despite being placed by focus groups in the middle, "jocks" had lower arts participation than almost all other crowds.

* "Smarts and "anime/mangas" engaged in less risk-taking than other crowd members, although focus groups expected them to fall in the middle.

Co-authors of the study are Lilla Pivnick, a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, and Robert Crosnoe, associate dean of liberal arts and sociology professor at UT-Austin, where he is also a research associate of the Population Research Center.


See also:


Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:41 AM | Permalink

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