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November 26, 2021

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #384: Another McCaskey Mess

But is Ryan Pace pulling the strings behind the curtain? Plus: Red Stars Wreckage; Back-To-Back Bad Bulls; Blackhawks Post Up; White Sox Sign Former Cub; Miguel Amaya Goodbyea; Illinois Upside Down; Chicago's Big Ten Rivalry; and NU's New National Champ.

Beachwood Radio Network · The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #384: Another McCaskey Mess

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SHOW NOTES

* 384.

* Biggs, Tribune: 10 Thoughts.

* The Chicago Bears' front office.

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48:37: Red Stars Wreckage.

* Correction: TRINITY Rodman.

*

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1:00:53: Back-To-Back Bad Bulls.

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1:02:36: Blackhawks Post Up.

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1:03:38: White Sox Sign Former Cub.

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1:05:22: Miguel Amaya Goodbyea.

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1:05:59: Illinois Upside Down.

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1:06:16: Chicago's Big Ten Rivalry.

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1:08:46: NU's New National Champ.

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STOPPAGE: 11:06

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:47 AM | Permalink

November 24, 2021

World Cup Host Qatar Used Ex-CIA Officer To Spy On FIFA

"An Associated Press investigation has found that World Cup 2022 host Qatar has for years employed a former CIA officer to help spy on FIFA officials as part of a no-expense-spared effort to win and hold on to the most popular sports tournament."

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Previously:
* World Cup Politics: Fixed Matches, Fascism & FIFA.

* FIFA's Radio Deals: Rigged?

* The 'Beautiful Game' Turns Ugly: New Mob Museum Display Explores Corruption Of FIFA.

* FIFA (Allegedly) Still Super Corrupt.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 9:20 AM | Permalink

November 20, 2021

Don't Let A Pet Drug Overdose Ruin The Holidays

Many diligent animal lovers "pet proof" their homes, making sure medications and other potential toxins are out of reach of inquisitive snouts.

This time of year, however, those same people welcome guests into their homes, or take their pets with them when they visit friends and relatives for the holidays. These unexpected guests may be exciting to pets and family alike, but their medications - even over-the-counter supplements - can be deadly to your four-legged household members. In fact, they could also pose a threat to any children and other vulnerable people living in the home.

Pet_Poison_Helpline_Logo.jpg

"While you may know exactly what types of medications are in your home, that probably isn't the case in other people's houses," said Dr. Renee Schmid, a senior veterinary toxicologist at Pet Poison Helpline. "During the holidays, many people host family and friends, and often these visitors bring their personal medications and supplements with them. We may also take our pets with us to other homes during the holidays, and it is possible that our pets can come in contact with dangerous materials that the hosts may not be aware are dangerous to pets."

Each November and December the toxicology experts at Pet Poison Helpline see an uptick in accidental human medication poisonings by pets, coinciding with two of the biggest family holidays of the year. This Thanksgiving and Christmas, pet owners are being advised to be extra vigilant when pets have access to guest's luggage, purses, backpacks and other containers that could have human medications hiding inside. This isn't a hypothetical warning - just ask Jasper the 11-year-old Bichon Frise who decided to investigate a visiting friend's ice chest.

Vitamin_Jasper.jpgJasper

"We recently had a guest come to our home in Oregon with a cooler that contained food items and medication that needed to be refrigerated," explained Bob Heller, who has homes in both Oregon and Tucson. "Apparently they also had a bottle of vitamin D3 inside the six-pack-sized container. Jasper is a big food scrounger. I'm sure he thought 'Oh, this cooler smells like food' and he dove in. The food and medication had been taken out, but the vitamins were still inside. I warn people he will get into anything with food inside of it, and apparently he did!"

It wasn't until Jasper started acting tired and displaying unusual behaviors several days later that Heller realized something was wrong.

"Jasper started getting very lethargic," said Heller. "He normally devours his food, but he stopped eating and I thought, 'This is not my dog.' We knew he had found and gotten into vitamin D3 but thought nothing of it at the time because it is just a supplement. Who knows how many he ate, but there were several strewn on the floor, some partially chewed."

Heller consulted with his regular veterinarian in Tucson, who advised him that Jasper needed an immediate full blood panel at a facility that could have same-day results. Heller started calling local veterinarians and animal hospitals, who advised him to take Jasper to the Veterinary Referral Center of Central Oregon (VRCCO). There he was told to immediately call Pet Poison Helpline.

"They were extremely helpful," said Heller. "I would have never known that vitamin supplements could be so dangerous to pets, and they consulted with VRCCO regarding toxicity and treatment. I definitely have Pet Poison Helpline's number saved in my phone now."

"Vitamin D3 poisoning can result in elevations to blood calcium levels," said Schmid. "This elevation may cause mineralization to tissues and organs throughout the body, with the kidneys being one of the most concerning. Acute kidney failure can occur if this increase in calcium is not treated quickly."

The veterinary team began immediate evaluation and treatment based on the Helpline's recommendations. The suspected dose Jasper ingested put him at risk for hypercalcemia and renal impairment. Based on the clinical signs that Jasper was presenting with, including vomiting, anorexia excessive water consumption/urination, the team evaluated bloodwork including a chemistry panel in order to check phosphorus, calcium and renal values. Unfortunately, Jasper's bloodwork showed an increase in blood calcium levels, so a medication was given to decrease his calcium levels. IV fluids were administered to provide protection to the kidneys. Jasper had to stay in the hospital two nights but has since returned home healthy.

Other dangerous items can make their way into your home in unexpected ways. When Will Seawell took his dog Nugget to visit his in-laws recently, he had no idea that something dangerous would make its way back when they returned home.

"We were visiting my wife's parents, and we took Nugget with us," said Seawell, whose family lives in Whitsett, NC, just outside of Greensboro. "While we were there, her dad gave her a cart for our house that Nugget seemed very interested in once we got it back home. It turns out, there was inhaler medication stuck to the bottom of the cart and Nugget found it. He started acting a little weird - energetic but tired at the same time. His heart rate really went up and he started walking sideways. When we investigated, we found he had chewed through two capsules" containing ipratropium bromide and albuterol sulfate, two ingredients used in inhalers to treat or prevent bronchospasm.

"Albuterol has a very narrow safety margin and can cause acute cardiovascular signs including tachycardia, hypotension or hypertension and arrhythmias," said Schmid. "Central nervous system signs, including agitation and restlessness or lethargy, and gastrointestinal upset, mainly vomiting, can develop. Severe hypokalemia and hyperthermia can also occur. This exposure had the potential to be deadly."

Seawell called his regular veterinarian, who said they weren't equipped to handle that type of case and suggested he call Pet Poison Helpline. After consultation with the toxicology experts at the Helpline, he was referred to Blue Pearl Pet Hospital in Durham. After two days of care, including IV fluids, sedation and monitoring his heart rate and rhythm using an ECG (electrocardiogram), Nugget was able to return home happy and healthy.

"Pets will look for surprises and treats throughout your home this holiday season, not just under the tree or in the kitchen," said Schmid. "If you have visitors, make sure their medications and other dangerous items are kept out of reach. If you're visiting a new location with your pet, try to keep them in your sight. It only takes a few minutes for them to get into a potentially deadly situation."

Pet Poison Helpline created Toxin Tails to educate the veterinary community and pet lovers on the many types of poisoning dangers facing pets, both in and out of the home. All the pets highlighted in Toxin Tails have been successfully treated for the poisoning and fully recovered.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 5:15 PM | Permalink

Foxconned

When then-President Donald Trump held the first White House press conference in 2017 to tout the prospect of a massive television flat-screen factory for the Taiwan manufacturer Foxconn coming to Wisconsin, Madison writer Lawrence Tabak was immediately intrigued.

"If nothing else, as a Wisconsin taxpayer, I was concerned that this was going to be a major spending event for all of us who live in Wisconsin," Tabak said in an interview. It also had a deja-vu quality.

Two decades earlier, Tabak had written a takedown for The Atlantic on the endless building spree of convention centers from one city to the next, driven by a revolving-door coterie of consultants who predicted they would revitalize local economies.

"It reminded me a bit of what I suspected was behind the enthusiasm for the Foxconn project," Tabak says. "Which turned out, of course, to be exactly the case."

Four years after that White House announcement, Tabak has written Foxconned (University of Chicago Press, 290 pp.), recounting the story of that ill-fated factory in the Racine County village of Mount Pleasant. The plant has yet to produce a single flat screen, and it has filled only a fraction of the 13,000 jobs that the administration of Gov. Scott Walker had promised in return for the state's $3 billion in tax credits.

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While local officials continue to profess faith in the future of the site, plans for what the factory will actually do keep changing. The latest blow came in October as the prospect of manufacturing electric cars evaporated.

More than an exposé of the Foxconn project itself, Tabak's book is a critique of the approach to economic development of which the project is emblematic: the notion that government largesse can lure big employers to relocate and bring jobs that will transform a community, region or state.

Foxconn's original promise of 13,000 jobs tripled to 35,000 in spillover jobs, and there were visions of a Foxconn-sparked technology cluster to be called the "Wisconn Valley." Walker handed out buttons emblazoned with the name at a meeting with business leaders in Milwaukee after he returned from that 2017 White House announcement of the project.

Tabak calls that "a ridiculous premise, as we've seen in what's happened over the last four years, but that was perfectly predictable."

"How did Detroit become Motor City?" he said. "How did Pittsburgh become the steel capital of the United States? How did Silicon Valley pop up in Northern California? It wasn't because a government entity and a city council or the city fathers sat around together and said, 'You know what? We need to give Henry Ford a couple million dollars to build a factory here.' These things happened organically."

Beyond the project's $3 billion price tag in the form of state tax credits, and the $1.5 billion in additional debt that the Village of Mount Pleasant has incurred to provide infrastructure support for the site, there has been a human cost.

Tabak describes the political fracturing in Mount Pleasant and the role of local political activist Kelly Gallaher, who through social media has focused attention on the fiscal strain that Foxconn would impose on the community. He also includes accounts of local homeowners whose homes were seized by the village under eminent domain to make room for Foxconn's plan, as well as Kim and James Mahoney, who were also threatened with losing their home but successfully fought back.

"I got to know some of these people who were devastated by this," Tabak said. Stories of how homes were destroyed by the project resonate across the political spectrum, he adds. "It doesn't matter if you're a progressive Democrat or a Tea Party Republican - that's one thing you can both agree on that's beyond the pale."

'Economic Development Complex'

Tabak sees Foxconn as an especially dramatic example of what he calls the "economic development complex" of consultants, contractors and public agencies or public-private partnerships driving relocation deals where taxpayers bear the cost. It places the narrative of the project's sale to Wisconsin and its subsequent merry-go-round of plans against larger, overlapping contexts that help explain why that sort of economic development finds such ready reception.

Globalized industry and capital have sent good-paying jobs around the world to lower-wage havens and automation is remaking workplaces, especially in manufacturing. Yet Foxconn and its Wisconsin champions promised good-paying, blue-collar jobs when, in reality, comparable plants around the world are heavily automated, with the high-salary positions requiring extensive education.

Even before lawmakers voted to approve the company's incentive package, Tabak researched a large-panel factory in Japan that was the most similar plant he could find to the one Foxconn was proposing.

"It was pretty much the model for what would be built in Wisconsin," he said. "It was operated by 1,000 workers" - less than 10% of the number pledged for Mount Pleasant.

Those jobs, and jobs at other, comparable plants he looked at, were mostly for engineers and technicians, not jobs that could be filled with high school graduates.

In August 2017 Tabak interviewed a Texas expert on automated production, Mark Fralick, who told him, "Foxconn has a long history of overpromising and underdelivering. I just hope the government entities and municipalities involved don't get screwed."

When Tabak wrote about those findings for the online outlet Belt magazine, he says, he found a "surprising lack of industry and exploration and curiosity from the politicians and state officials who were enthusiastically supporting the billions of dollars of incentives" that the Walker administration and the state Legislature threw at the company.

Foxconned observes other inconsistencies between how the company acted and what its government backers preached. The project's most enthusiastic supporters allied themselves with Trump, who had campaigned with harsh attacks on undocumented immigrants as "illegals." But Tabak visited a Foxconn plant in Indiana in 2017 and heard about the widespread use of undocumented immigrant factory labor there as well as the company's reliance on the federal H-1B visa program to hire "mid-career engineers from Asia who would work for less than a fresh engineering graduate from, say, Purdue University," he writes.

He also juxtaposes Assembly Speaker Robin Vos, "one of the biggest boosters of the project," with the lawmaker's advocacy for a bill in 2006 to rein in the very eminent domain powers that Mount Pleasant used to acquire a tract of land that sprawled over more than 6 square miles.

Those contradictions were "pure hypocrisy," Tabak said. "It was astounding to me that a group of people who declared themselves Tea Party Republicans, whose premise was free enterprise, small government and America First, could be so enthusiastic about giving our tax money to an Asian corporation with such a jaded history. It just made no sense."

The political leaders who embraced Foxconn, Tabak contends, were operating from a "kind of faith-based economic policy" that overlooked evidence visible from the start that the promises the company made weren't viable.

Hee writes off Walker's embrace of the project as a purely political calculation, "a huge splashy event that he thought would save his election" in 2018, he says - one that backfired in the end.

Tabak says he's not certain whether Walker and his associates knew it was a bad deal and didn't care because it served their political agenda, or whether they were simply duped by the company and its bargaining team.

Regardless of the answer, the beneficiaries of the project were "well-connected consultants and contractors," he says - "a small circle of insiders who have made out like bandits."

Government can play a role in fostering jobs and economic prosperity, Tabak said - not by doling out cash incentives to lure employers, but by investing in resources such as the university system that can be an "engine . . . for really high-quality jobs."

Since Gov. Tony Evers defeated Walker in that 2018 election, the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC) - which figures heavily in Tabak's book for its role in promoting Foxconn - has shifted to "more fundamental developmental work rather than big-ticket economic splashes," he says But he worries that the U.S. continues to be in the grip of bidding wars among states, to the detriment of communities and the economy as a whole.

The state's renegotiation earlier this year of the Foxconn agreement was arguably forced on the Evers administration, Tabak said. "It was in their interest to come up with a deal that would keep Foxconn active in Wisconsin, and incented to pay its property taxes."

Because of how the original tax credit deal was written, the state hasn't yet had to write checks to Foxconn. But Racine County and Mount Pleasant still have the local debt for roads and site development they incurred hanging over their heads, he observed, and Wisconsin is still bound by a "moral obligation" to support those bonds written into the original legislation.

"You and I and other Wisconsin residents," Tabak says, "are going to be paying the price of that - backing those bad decisions that were made by local officials."

Wisconsin Examiner is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity.

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See also:

* Gurnee Raises Alarm On $10 Billion Foxconn Plan In Wisconsin.

* Chinese Workers Foxconned.

* Wisconsin Assembly Sends $3 billion Foxconn Incentive Package To Governor.

* Foxconn To Get $230,000 In Incentives For Every Wisconsin Job Created.

* Foxconn Has A Long History Of Lying About Its Plans To Open Plants And Create Jobs.

* Tribune Editorial Page Hard-On For Foxconn.

* Gravity Of Precedent Fuels Challenge To Foxconn's Lake Michigan Bid.

* Item: Foxconn Job.

* Why States And Cities Should Stop Handing Out Billions In Economic Incentives.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:35 PM | Permalink

The McEnroes In Antarctica

LegendsAbroad.com will serve you a once-in-a-lifetime Antarctic expedition to the seventh continent. A limited number of lucky travelers will have the chance to spend 11 days with two of the sport's most iconic legends, and witness history as the game is formally played for the first time on a continent known for geographical isolation and exoticism. The trip is also meant to highlight the importance of conserving this unique region which is jointly governed by multiple nations and has an impact on climate around the world.

"I'm excited to travel to Antarctica and play my brother, Patrick, in the first-ever professional tennis match on the seventh continent, and to help raise awareness to the challenges facing one of the most remote and amazing places on the planet," John McEnroe said. "This will be an epic adventure and a one-of-a-kind expedition."

McEnroes.jpg

Said Patrick: "I am thrilled to continue our sibling rivalry with my brother, John, playing an exhibition tennis match in Antarctica this coming February. I have always wanted to explore the amazing landscapes of Antarctica, and how could I miss out on playing the first ever pro tennis match there against my own brother? I can only promise one thing, a McEnroe will win!"

The expedition, February 22 - March 5, 2022, is curated for an intimate group of tennis aficionados, and guests will have the opportunity to travel with the legends during the entire 11-day voyage. Some travelers will even have the chance to play the McEnroes as part of the experience.

A private chartered plane will transport guests from Orlando, Florida to Ushuaia, Argentina, where they will board one of the newest and most luxurious vessels in the polar regions - The World Navigator.

Ship.jpg

One of the most environmentally friendly ships at sea, World Navigator employs a clean-burning hybrid, electric-hydro propulsion and an anchorless positioning system. Crossing the famed Drake Passage, visiting unique locations across the South Shetland Islands and Antarctica Peninsula, beholding blue glaciers and snowy icebergs, travelers will visit sites that have amazed and inspired scientists, explorers, and sightseers alike for centuries. Antarctica experts and expedition leaders will present hands-on workshops on topics that include marine wildlife, glaciology, ecology, climate change, astronomy, photography and Antarctica history.

The trip is hosted in association with Octagon, the world's preeminent sports & entertainment agency. The expedition team will also promote the efforts of non-profits from America, Chile, and other countries that are leading the way in conserving this special ecosystem. Additionally, the tour will provide a carbon offset contribution for both the plane and ship.

Travelers will enjoy gourmet meals, an open bar throughout, and as many seventh continent activities and excursions as the weather permits on this all-inclusive voyage. All cabins feature luxurious amenities, complimentary 24-hour room service, and a private balcony with pristine ocean views.

Current COVID-19 guidelines require all travelers on this expedition to be fully vaccinated and present a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of boarding the chartered plane in Orlando. The ship will also administer an antigen test for each traveler prior to boarding the flight and all travelers will then stay in bubble protocol until everyone has boarded the World Navigator to prevent exposure prior to embarkation.

Visit LegendsAbroad.com for additional information on this expedition or contact us at: support@legendsabroad.com to secure your reservation.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:22 PM | Permalink

Vizio Makes More Money Selling Data Than TVs

Early this year, electronics company Vizio filed an IPO, and their newly-released third quarter earnings reveal an interesting business success: they made more than twice as much profit from their "Platform Plus" service, which includes advertising and data farming, than they did from actual TVs.

As The Verge explains:

When Vizio filed to go public, it described the difference between the two divisions. While Devices is easy to understand - 4K TVs, soundbars, etc. - Platform Plus is a little more complicated. It counts money made from selling ad placements on its TV homescreens, deals for the buttons on remotes, ads that run on streaming channels, its cut from subscriptions, and viewer data that it tracks and sells as part of the InScape program . . .

Where the numbers keep growing is in its number of active SmartCast accounts, which are now over 14 million, and how much money it makes from each user on average. That number has nearly doubled from last year, going from $10.44 to $19.89.

On the call with investors and analysts, Vizio execs said 77 percent of that money comes directly from advertising, like the kind that runs on its WatchFree Plus package of streaming channels, a group that recently expanded with content targeting. The next biggest contributor is the money it makes selling Inscape data about what people are watching.

To be fair, television manufacturing also has a much higher overhead - as the company's earning reports note, they netted $502.5M from devices, compared to $85.9M from Platform Plus. In terms of profit, however, this translated to $25.6M from devices . . . and $57.3M from Platform Plus.

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Previously:

* Own A Vizio Smart TV? It's Watching You.

* Vizio To Pay $2.2 Million To Settle Charges It Secretly Collected Viewing Histories On 11 Million Users.

* How Smart TVs In Millions Of Homes Track More Than What's On Tonight.

* Illinois Man: Bose Headphones Are Spying On Me! (He May Be Right).

* It's Not Just Your TV Listening In To Your Conversation.

* FBI: Beware Your Smart TV.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 4:04 PM | Permalink

Climate Deniers' Top 4 Scare Tactics

When fossil fuel companies found out about the link between their product and climate change decades ago, they did everything they could to hide it. They lied, manipulated, and deceived.

Today, denying the reality of climate change isn't as easy, and it is certainly more controversial. But that doesn't mean climate deniers - fossil fuel companies, lobbyists, and their allies opposed to climate action - have moved past the lies.

As catastrophic fires spread across the world and large swaths of land are flooded by extreme weather events or threatened by sea-level rise, outright denial is no longer the most effective strategy, or these days, the most common.

To better understand today's type of climate science denial, we analyzed over 300,000 tweets from the past five years. Our social media analysis found that climate deniers have been promoting at least four major narratives based on drumming up fears of government control in order to prevent effective climate policies, particularly in the United States.

Our research found that climate denial has evolved into a softer, more insidious type of misinformation, one that focuses on denying urgency and action - one that targets the solutions more than anything else. Key elements of this strategy include promoting confusion, doomist perspectives, conspiracy theories, and fabricating lies to convince the public that there is no real need for climate change policy, certainly not at the scale of what scientists say is needed to avoid catastrophic impacts - basically, supporting any effort to postpone or halt ambitious climate action and protect business as usual.

According to John Cook, research fellow at the Monash Climate Change Communication Research Hub in Australia, climate misinformation used to be more focused on undermining the science, but over time the strategies have been moving more towards attacking solutions and creating fear, as well as leaning towards "cultural-war" type misinformation.

"It's about scaring people and 'othering' people who care about climate change or who are concerned about climate change and advocating for action," said Cook.

At its core, this new approach relies on fear. When the IPCC published its latest report in August, the climate denial machine attempted to scale back the report's urgency and gravity by promoting the fossil fuel-savior narrative: that oil has provided wealth and a higher quality of life, and that banning fossil fuels only endangers lives and "drives humanity back to medieval times."

Of course, fear-mongering is as old as politics itself, but developments in the reach and power of social media, paired with a chaotic informational environment where disinformation runs amok, have made it easier for climate deniers to tap into the average person's uncertainties.

Through disinformation and scare tactics, climate change deniers seek to create a sense of fear and insecurity around climate policies - suggesting that they will cost too much, require giving up personal freedoms, and enable the much-maligned system of socialism. In this way, climate deniers have linked political action on climate to the demise of conservative values, the loss of freedom and, in extreme cases, global conspiracy theories.

Social media platforms have been a crucial tool for circulating anti-climate regulation propaganda. This is why, to analyze the evolution of climate-based fear tactics, we used the Twitter API, a tool for researching the platform's historical archives, to collect a total of 300,545 tweets posted since the Paris climate accord was agreed to - tweets between January 2016 and May 2021 - and which contain a number of commonly used denier hashtags such as #climatechangehoax, #climatechangeisfake and #climatecult.

Then, using a topic modeling algorithm, we isolated four prevalent scare tactics among climate deniers, all based on the underlying fear of enhanced state control, for a total of 20,860 tweets.

The resulting data provides a clear snapshot of some of the most significant elements of recent climate denier narratives, and in particular, it shows how fear tactics have evolved to become central to contemporary climate change denial, both on and off social media.

Doomsday Scenarios

Mounting studies are finding that the costs of current and potential future climate change are massive, including for the U.S. Indeed, in 2020 the U.S. experienced an unprecedented number of billion-dollar disasters - 22 events wrought devastation across the country from heatwaves and drought to seven hurricanes.

In stark opposition to this fact, the first and most widespread scare tactic we identified in the data - appearing in over 40 percent of all posts containing scare tactics - presents a doomsday scenario narrative in which global economic systems are wrecked by climate change policies.

Exploiting widespread fears of recession, poverty and higher taxation, tweets within this group often claim that climate policies will end up hurting the average household, which will be made poorer by environmental regulations.

The "higher-costs" narrative has also been applied by deniers to policy ideas such as the Green New Deal and, more recently, as we've already mentioned, to the latest IPCC report.

For instance, a widely circulated 2020 tweet claimed that the Green New Deal, a broad proposed environmental and social policy framework in the U.S., "would cost swing-states households around $75,000 in the first year," as Fox News described.

This "data" comes from a Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) publication where the libertarian think tank - which has received fossil fuel industry funding - used flawed assumptions and poor economic theory to claim that the policy would have an exorbitant cost higher than the median U.S. household income.

This approach creates an irrational sense of fear around policy ideas like the Green New Deal. However, CEI's number is grossly overestimated, likely intended to steer the public away from endorsing climate policy. For example, the article claims that under one policy promoted in the Green New Deal known as deep energy retrofits - in short, energy conservation and efficiency measures for residential buildings - the average U.S. household will have to pay $40,240 upfront in the first year, as per data from the U.S. Department of Energy. But while this total figure is correct, it would be financed over a 30-year time frame. On top of this, the CEI article omits the fact that thanks to the savings generated by improved energy efficiency, the median cost to the average house would actually be a mere $1 per month over a 30-year period.

A last strand of doomsday scenarios based on the 'higher costs' narratives revolves around blackouts and energy shortages. While renewable-based energy systems have been proven to be perfectly capable of providing affordable clean energy, opponents claim that a greater diffusion of renewables will lead to higher risks of blackouts and energy shortages, in an attempt to convince the public that if society moves away from fossil fuels they are at risk of losing access to reliable electricity sources.

A clear example of this blame-shifting game is evident in the Texas blackouts of February 2019. When natural gas pipelines froze, causing a statewide blackout, the state saw nearly twice as many power failures from natural gas, coal and nuclear compared to frozen wind turbines or solar panels.

But this didn't stop fossil fuels advocates and fearmongers from trying to shift the blame onto renewable energies. Climate science critic Alex Epstein, for example, claimed that "the root cause of the TX blackouts is a national and state policy that has prioritized the adoption of unreliable wind/solar energy over reliable energy."

A Trojan Horse To Socialism

Climate scientists agree that climate change is happening and is caused by human activity, namely by burning fossil fuels and cutting down forests. Scientific analyses also show that the world is on track for "disastrous" heating across the planet if nations fail to enact stronger climate policies.

Nevertheless, the second scare tactic we analyzed from this slice of tweets is based on the claim that climate change is a "trojan horse" meant to turn the United States into a communist or socialist regime. This argument is the most pervasive in our data in terms of both quantity and reach.

This scare tactic claims that climate policy was never about "fixing" the climate, but rather, about imposing a communist or socialist agenda. This conspiracy theory exploits decades-old "red threat" scares to polarize climate policy along political party lines, and is often propagated by well-known anti-climate change think tanks.

For example, a widely shared video featuring the Heartland Institute's Jay Lehr claims that "environmentalism is the perfect set-up for a communist world government" and that climate policy is a form of population control, a dystopian plan whereby the United Nations would come to rule the world.

The weaponization of climate action as a "red threat" is not a new concept. After the Cold War, environmental "skepticism" skyrocketed in the U.S.: it was the very emergence of a global environmental concern stimulated by the 1992 Rio Earth Summit that put environmental protection on the climate denier map.

The collapse of the Soviet Union in the 1990s, together with the Rio summit, led conservatives to substitute the disappearing "red threat" for the new "green threat" - communists now overlapped with environmentalists. The fossil fuel industry and conservative activists set up various lobby groups to prevent the passing of government regulation to curb climate pollution, such as the Global Climate Coalition or the Information Council for the Environment to name a couple.

A Threat To Hamburgers

A major source of greenhouse gas emissions comes from agriculture, including the methane from burping cows and their manure ponds. To address this pollution, the Green New Deal resolution introduced by Congressional Democrats in 2019 called for "working collaboratively with farmers and ranchers in the United States to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from the agricultural sector as much as is technologically feasible." There was no mention of banning burgers.

However, critics of the Green New Deal seized on a fact sheet about it (that was later withdrawn), which mentioned it would be difficult to "get rid of farting cows." As a result, the third prominent fear tactic we identified among tweets from over the past five years centers on claims that climate policy will be used by "alarmists" - which is how deniers brand environmentalists, climate scientists or anyone who pushes for climate action - to "take away America's burgers."

This narrative - the least common scare tactic in our data - is based on the idea that climate policy will ultimately lead to a ban on meat consumption. This argument is often used to radicalize the denier front and further polarize political debate. In this scenario, climate activists are oppressive, undemocratic, and keen on dictating what citizens are and aren't allowed to do or, in this case, eat.

Tweets containing this type of narrative are overcome with a clear and immediate sense of fear: several Twitter users go as far as urging others to "get an extra freezer and buy meat, as prices are going to soar."

Other claims of this kind include racist arguments, such as one in which the suggestion to eat less meat is actually an excuse to reclaim land and replace it with low-income housing, serving to motivate others to fight against this planned urban sprawl.

According to Cook, cultural misinformation - such as the socialism and burger arguments - is probably the most dangerous because it includes "tribal arguments" which "tap into very primal instincts of people."

"The simple myths tend to resonate more rather than complicated scientific myths or arguments," said Cook. "It polarizes the public and then that makes it harder to get consensus and progress."

Full-On Conspiracy Theories

Climate change deniers have often been shown to be attracted or vulnerable to conspiratorial thinking, and the final narrative we detected is the most extreme, as it exploits a tendency to create an alternative world which is very far from facts and allows deniers to avoid facing reality.

The fourth scare tactic we found relies on the assumption that the ultimate goal of climate policies is to trigger a society-wide "Great Reset," which will, in turn, lead to a totalitarian New World Order.

Drawing from the same conspiracy theories on hidden governments and deep states that fueled the rise of QAnon, this fear tactic claims that climate policy is part of a large-scale plan for world control, depopulation, and technological dominance. It often depicts images of a technological dystopia where machines run the world and human life has no value.

Many of the tweets in this category claim that any observable changes to the climate system are, rather than the logical result of centuries of humans releasing greenhouse gases, the result of governments manipulating the weather.

Some go as far as mentioning the idea of a "Great Reset," a conspiracy theory which originates from a 2020 World Economic Forum plan aimed at managing the consequences of COVID-19, which was distorted and twisted by conspiracists to represent a plan of global domination rather than a roadmap for recovery from the impacts of a deadly virus that has claimed the lives of millions.

Denier discussions in this area include the idea that the public is being brainwashed by "global elites" and that these efforts should be criminalized. Conspiracy theories are also falsely claiming that COVID-19 was a tool intended to reduce the world's population as part of a larger climate change plan. Depopulation is where COVID-19 and climate change denial conspiracy theories meet.

While some of these scare tactics may sound imaginative at best - and perhaps delusional at their worst - they do contain key insights into the climate change denial of today. These days, the merchants of doubt are seeding a different type of disinformation, focusing less on denying the basic science, and more on creating unrealistic, polarizing, and politicized debates to convince the public that climate action is unnecessary and, most times, outright harmful.

As our analysis demonstrates, narratives of denial and fear tactics are deeply interlinked, making them a dangerous self-feeding mechanism. This means that these tactics overlap within the tweets themselves - one tweet may contain elements from more than one scare tactic.

Climate change, socialism, COVID-19, a New World Order, and meat bans are all different sides of the same denial coin. And the message is a simple one: climate change is a dangerous plot to limit individual liberty, depopulate the Earth, and destroy national governments. In this scenario, discussing science is no longer relevant - climate change becomes exclusively a political matter, completely removed from science or facts.

The more we see climate action become a part of serious policymaking discussions, the more we can expect these types of fear tactics to become relevant. In fact, we saw in our data that use of these fear tactics always spiked around climate protests and key political moments, such as the 2019 proposal for the Green New Deal in the U.S. Senate and the September climate strikes that same year, also known as the Global Week for Future.

Whenever climate policy is under the spotlight, deniers fight back by spreading fear and uncertainty. It is fundamental to work towards breaking this link and expose the mechanisms behind these fabricated narratives, ultimately avoiding climate policy from being seen as catastrophic and divisive and making climate action more resilient to the disruption efforts of the climate denial machine.

"The general strategy against any form of misinformation is to explain to people how they're being misled because, no matter where people sit on the political spectrum, everyone is averse to being tricked," said Cook. "No one likes being deceived. So if you explain why there is a strategy that is being used to manipulate you, you can neutralize the strategy."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 8:16 AM | Permalink

Britney Spears' Conservatorship Mirrors Reality For Millions With Disabilities

"I have an IUD in my body right now that won't let me have a baby and my conservators won't let me go to the doctor to take it out," pop star Britney Spears told a court last spring.

Fans, influencers, activists and members of the public rallied in support of Spears, loudly condemning the pop star's treatment under the 13-year abusive guardianship, which granted her father legal authority to make decisions about her career, finances, and even her own body.

Spears is not alone. While the exact figures are not known, it is estimated millions of people with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities are deprived of legal capacity and placed under some form of guardianship. Just like Spears, this had led to a range of abuses, including forced medical treatment, forced contraception and coerced termination of pregnancies, involuntary confinement, forced living arrangements, and limited freedom of movement.

While investigating human rights abuses against children with disabilities in Serbia in 2015, I found authorities had forced many young women with disabilities to undergo coercive medical interventions while under guardianship. These included forced insertion of intrauterine devices (IUDs), administration of contraceptive pills without their knowledge, forced or coerced termination of pregnancy, and nonconsensual administration of pap smear tests. Medical staff acknowledged carrying out these interventions without consent of the women, but said the women's guardians had given consent, which, under problematic guardianship laws in Serbia and elsewhere, is sufficient.

One woman who lived with her partner in one of the institutions was forced to terminate her pregnancy while four months pregnant. She wanted to keep the baby but her legal guardian and the medical professional in the institution decided against her will.

What happened to Spears and is happening to the women I met in Serbia is a violation of their reproductive and other fundamental rights protected under international law, which requires governments to respect their rights to bodily autonomy, health, and to live free of violence. Restoring respect for these rights requires the guardianship system to be replaced by a system of supported decision-making that respects the autonomy, will, and preferences of all people with disabilities.

"I have not done anything in the world to deserve this treatment. It's not OK to force me to do anything I don't want to do," Spears said. She indeed does not deserve this treatment - nor do millions of other people living under guardianship across the world.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:45 AM | Permalink

November 19, 2021

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #383: We Want A Parade

Red Stars Spirit. Plus: Hot Bulls Learn Lesson; Post-Colliton Blackhawks Rolling; Breaking! Porter Moser Left Loyola; Illini (Maybe) A Top Ten Team; Stove Stuff; and Bears Prepare To Spoil Nation's Thanksgiving.

Beachwood Radio Network · The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #383: We Want A Parade

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SHOW NOTES

* 383.

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:40: Red Stars Spirit.

*

*

*

* CBC: Red Stars, Spirit Each Vie For 1st Title In Franchise History In Unexpected NWSL Final.

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8:50: Hot Bulls Learn Lesson.

* Wimbish, CBS: Bulls Crumble ln Second Half, Final Seconds.

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14:56: Post-Colliton Blackhawks Rolling.

* Dietz, Daily Herald: Blackhawks On Fire.

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21:30: Breaking: Porter Moser Left Loyola!

* Denzel Valentine's brother has taken his place.

* Also, Loyola leaving Missouri Valley Conference for Atlantic 10.

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28:55: Illini A Top Ten Team.

* Or maybe not!

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30:21: Stove Stuff.

*

*

McGrath, The Athletic: For Cy Young Winner Robbie Ray, An Unlikely Rise And Memorable Turnaround Season.

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40:36: Cubs Out Of Sync.

* Sharma, The Athletic: Cubs Mailbag.

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50:19: Bears Prepare To Spoil Nation's Thanksgiving.

* Jahns, The Athletic: Analyzing The Precarious Future Of Matt Nagy.

* Tanier, New York Times: Packers' Defense Is Their MVP.

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STOPPAGE:

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:14 PM | Permalink

November 18, 2021

How Sports Can Fight Climate Change

The past two North American pro-sports seasons have been exceptional in many ways: fewer games played, more regional travel and more same-city "baseball-style" series' with consecutive match-ups between the same home and visiting teams. It was an unusual experience for everyone involved, but a good one for the environment, writes Concordia researcher Seth Wynes.

In a new paper just published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, Wynes, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, writes that the drop in travel among the four major sports leagues in North America - Major League Baseball, the National Football League, the National Basketball Association and the National Hockey League - had a noticeable effect on their carbon footprints.

His analysis estimates that in 2018 the four leagues combined for about 7.5 million kilometers of air travel on 5,655 flights, generating nearly 122,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions. However, if travel patterns enacted due to the COVID-19 pandemic were permanently adopted, emissions from team travel would drop by 22 percent, more than 25,000 tons.

While that is a small fraction of total global annual emissions, cutting down air travel could also send an important message to the public, given sports franchises' high visibility and deep fan base.

"Athletes are role models," Wynes says. "If they can show that they are serious about fighting climate change, fans will see it, and it might inspire other business communities to step up the plate, so to speak, and get things done."

1637078760211.jpgAll trips taken during the 2018 season by league/Seth Wynes

Closer Cities, Fewer Trips

Many of the beneficial changes made were relatively minor. For instance, in 2020 the NHL used "baseball-style" series', when a team arrives at a city and plays multiple games in a row there, rather than immediately leaving and returning later in the season.

1637078820098.jpgAll trips taken during the 2020 season by league/Seth Wynes

Major League Baseball has been doing this for years and it explains why their emissions per game are substantially lower than other leagues. Teams can also play more games against opponents in nearby cities, rather than making frequent flights across the continent. These minor changes can add up quickly.

To determine the saved emissions, Wynes based his calculations on a per-regular-season-game basis.

1637078964963.jpgEmissions from air travel in 2018 per league/Seth Wynes

Data from the International Civil Aviation Organization was used for variables such as how flight distance varies based on traffic and weather, as well as fuel-burn rates. When no data on the type of aircraft used was available, Wynes assumed teams flew on Boeing 737s, which have a relatively low emissions intensity.

Because each kilogram of fuel burned results in 3.16 kilograms of CO2, Wynes was able to roughly calculate the amount of carbon dioxide emitted per team flight based on estimated fuel usage.

The same formula applied to both pre-COVID sports seasons and to pandemic-shortened, geographically re-sorted seasons revealed significant reductions in total emissions per game and trip.

1637079071935.jpgSeth Wynes

Good For Leagues, Players And The Environment

Enacting all these changes, including shortening seasons to reduce the overall number of trips, remains a challenge.

"Status quo bias represents a real obstacle - a lot of companies have an attitude that if it isn't broken, why fix it?" says Wynes. "And, depending on the league, these changes might require agreement from the owners and the players' union. Those are competing stakeholders with different interests. Plus the short-term incentives to instituting these changes during COVID are no longer there."

Emphasizing co-benefits to reduced travel, including a shorter schedule, might help convince stakeholders that the changes could be worthwhile, Wynes argues.

"More rest between games would cut down on injuries," he notes. "A couple of major injuries to star players could hurt ratings in the playoffs, and that might spur a league to address the rest issue."

The leagues could be more resistant to pressure to act on climate change but, he adds, "Perhaps a powerful social movement could spur them to act so that they can prove to their fans that they are dealing with this crisis."

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:56 PM | Permalink

November 17, 2021

Justin Bieber Should Speak Out

In three weeks, Saudi Arabia will host the Formula One Saudi Arabian Grand Prix in Jeddah, and a slew of global superstars - including Justin Bieber, Jason Derulo, A$AP Rocky, and David Guetta are scheduled to perform on the weekend after the first checkered flag falls on December 4.

On the surface, the festivities are meant to show race attendees an amazing time. But a look beneath the hood makes clear the Saudi government's intent is to use these celebrities to whitewash its abysmal human rights record.

Saudi Arabia has a history of using celebrities and major international events to deflect scrutiny from its pervasive abuses. Some celebrities, including Emily Ratajkowski and John Cena, have declined gigs in Saudi Arabia, citing a concern for human rights.

Human Rights Watch and other organizations have long documented ongoing abusive practices by Saudi authorities against peaceful dissidents and activists. Despite recent social reforms, including lifting travel restrictions for women and conditionally releasing some women who campaigned for the right to drive, many peaceful activists remain jailed or are under travel bans. Some face torture in detention while their families may be subjected to collective punishment. Criminal justice and labor rights reforms also fall woefully short of international standards and lack respect for basic rights.

Human Rights Watch's #SaudiRegrets campaign urges those who are courted for events sponsored by the Saudi government to speak out publicly on rights issues or, when reputation laundering is the primary purpose, not participate.

Bieber and his peer headliners have a prime opportunity to follow through on their public commitments to human rights and social justice.

Arwa Youssef is a pseudonym used to protect the identity of a Human Rights Watch staff member.

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Previously:

* Trump Let MBS Get Away With Murdering Jamal Khashoggi.

* China, Saudi Arabia, Turkey Are World's Worst Jailers Of Writers.

* Formula One's Dirty Saudi Deal.

* More Saudi sportswashing In Takeover Of Newcastle FC.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 7:57 AM | Permalink

November 15, 2021

Obama CBA Coalition's 6 Demands For South Shore

Over 70 residents and press gathered in South Shore on Sunday for the announcement of policy demands to protect renters and homeowners in South Shore. See below for the six demands and how they can be implemented. Download the one-pager and comprehensive details on the demands. A virtual event to teach about the demands is scheduled for Wednesday, December 1 at 6 p.m. - RSVP for the Zoom link here.

Construction of the Obama Presidential Center broke ground on September 28, 2021. Blocks away in South Shore, where the majority of residents are low-income Black people, longtime tenants and homeowners are being displaced, and affordable housing is disappearing. South Shore is the #1 neighborhood for eviction filings in 2021. South Shore is 93% Black, and 77% of residents are renters. Over half of South Shore residents are rent burdened (spending more than 30% of income on rent). Meanwhile, property values in South Shore have increased by 48% in the past year (Oct '20-'21). [sources: Census 2021; Redfin]

South Shore residents need protections to stay in their neighborhood, so that those who have been here can benefit from the Obama Presidential Center. We demand that the City of Chicago, Mayor Lightfoot, Alderwoman Leslie Hairston (5th Ward), and Alderman Greg Mitchell (7th Ward):

1. Ensure Equitable Development in South Shore

* Set aside 100% of the City-owned vacant lots in South Shore for affordable housing development. Developments on these lots should be truly affordable: 75% of the units reserved for 15%-30% of Area Median Income (AMI), with the other 25% of units reserved for 60% AMI.

* Create a South Shore pilot affordable housing overlay, requiring 60% of any new developments to be reserved for 30% AMI. Off-site units must be located within the pilot area.

2. Expand Tenant Protections

* Create and fund an Office of the Tenant Advocate.

* Create and fund a Rental Registry.

* Set aside $15 million in immediate rental relief for South Shore tenants; commit to $5 million annual allocation.

* Establish and fund a Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Program.

* Establish a cap on rental application fees, move-in fees, and security deposits.

* Expand the Fair Notice protections for South Shore residents.

* Guarantee the Right to Return when tenants are displaced due to City code enforcement activity; provide relocation assistance to tenants whose landlords cannot pay.

3. Preserve Affordable Housing

* Establish and allocate $5 million to a South Shore Loan Fund for purchases and rehabilitation of vacant single-family homes and multi-unit buildings, requiring 60% of units at 30% AMI and 40% at 60% AMI.

* Allocate $3 million annually to the PEAR Program for multi-unit buildings in South Shore

* Allocate $5 million to the Chicago Low-Income Trust Fund for subsidized units in South Shore.

4. Protect South Shore Homeowners

* Establish a Renew South Shore Program and allocate $12 million to the program to provide grants and down-payment assistance for South Shore residents.

* Allocate $20 million to the Long Term Homeowner Improvement Grant Program for South Shore homeowners.

* Forgive the $2.3 million in tax debt owed by primarily low-income residents of the 5th & 7th wards.

5. Prevent and Address Displacement

* Create and implement a Right to Return preference policy that prioritizes current and former longtime residents of South Shore in the awarding of any loans, grants, or subsidized units.

6. Hold Chicago Housing Authority Accountable

* Increase resources and access, and lower barriers for South Shore voucher holders to participate in the Choose to Own Homeownership Program.

* Use the REAP Program to purchase and convert newly developed South Shore properties to public housing.

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Previously:

* Why No Community Benefits Agreement For The Obama Library?

* Rhymefest Leads Obama Library CBA Effort.

* Jackson Park Community Football Team Holds What They Fear Will Be Their Final Homecoming Game On Field Where Obama Library Set To Be Built.

* "Woodlawn resident and community organizer Haroon Garel notes that 'the Obama Foundation has been very responsive when concerns were raised by wealthier white neighbors, such as condo associations and preservationists, in agreeing to make millions of dollars of infrastructure changes by moving the parking lot underground. However, when low-income working Black families demand a Community Benefits Agreement and guarantees against displacement we are ignored.'"

* "President Change needs a reported $175 million in taxpayer-funded roadwork for his 'library' but refuses to sign a Community Benefits Agreement (while chuckling that rents will go up 'a little' around Jackson Park but dislocated residents are out of luck because, oh well!)."

* Obama Library Already Displacing Residents.

* Did The Jackson Park Community Football Team Just Play Its Last Homecoming?

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 2:52 PM | Permalink

November 12, 2021

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #382: Blackhawks Dig Disgustingly Deeper

It keeps getting worse. Plus: Captain COVID; Bulls Rush; Bye Bye Bears; Rodon Rides On; Semi Stars; Illini High; Hitsville, Loyola; and more!

Beachwood Radio Network · The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #382: Blackhawks Dig Deeper

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SHOW NOTES

* 382.

* Bastian, MLB: Adding Miley 'A Great Way To Start' For Cubs.

* Zaidman, The Score: "I don't think at this stage of the Cubs development they need [an] ace."

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3:06: Blackhawks Keep Digging.

* Dear John McDonough, Stan Bowman & Co.:

* McIntyre, Free Press: "Several current and former Blackhawks, such as Duncan Keith, refused to participate in an independent investigation."

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28:04: Captain COVID.

+

*

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33:56: Bulls Rush.

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42:33: Bye Bye Bears.

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50:01: Rodon Rides On.

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53:05: Semi Stars.

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54:55: Illini High.

*

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59:53: Hitsville, Loyola.

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STOPPAGE: 7:37

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 11:11 AM | Permalink

November 7, 2021

TrackNotes: Modern Games

Charlie Appelby. The Japanese. A California-made betting scandal. Baffert won't be going away. Sweet profit. NBC is dead to me.

It could have been a comatose Breeders' Cup this weekend, but TrackNotes took the road less traveled and ended up on a bouncing buckboard hauled by a runaway team of horses. High highs and low lows.

With fog off the Pacific dueling with bright sunny skies all weekend, Friday was just a watching day for me. I don't have a dartboard that picks winners from these inscrutable Juveniles. The cards ended late here with the time zones, so I had the sammich makings pre-prepped.

Bobby Flay didn't look overly confident before the Juvenile Fillies Turf and he looked more concerned with getting the esteemed trainer Christophe Clement his first Breeders' Cup win. Pizza Bianca was running backwards and was even last coming into the turn. As they hit Del Mar's short stretch, with eight horses blanketed across the track, Jose Ortiz dropped to the two-lane and pushed Pizza' through a hole and daylight. It was the best closing job of the weekend.

In the last race of the day, the Juvenile Turf, it all hit the fan when the California stewards and the veterinarians, the most important officials in the house at the start of a race, completely screwed up and caused at least some bettors thousands of dollars.

QUIZ: Who won this race? Answer later.

The one horse, Modern Games, reared up in the starting gate. Frankie Dettori scrambled to get out of there. That set off the two horse, Albahr, a notoriously fractious horse in the gate, who reared up as well and even had one of his legs over the front door. Then he went down on his side UNDER the gate. Somehow, they got him back on his feet, facing backwards.

Meanwhile, they got the three horse out, and they opened the front gate to let the one horse, Modern Games - Modern Games and Albahr are both trained by Appelby - out into safety. That's when the confused incompetence set in.

The California Horse Racing Board set out on their spin quest. Initial reports said the vets thought Modern Games broke through the front of the gate, which happens, but he was let out, wisely, by a gate attendant.

A later report said that an assistant veterinarian, not the head vet Dr. Chuck Jenkins, prematurely called the stewards and advised them to scratch Modern Games. Albahr was already scratched by then. We learned that too many vets have access to the BatPhone to the stewards.

Only then did they examine Modern Games. They found him fit enough to run the race, but because they had already set the scratch in motion they allowed Modern Games to run for purse money only. They pleased the owners, and gave the bettors a big kick in the ass. Anybody who bet Modern Games -think about the multi-race horizontal bets - was given Dakota Gold (2.70-1, finished fourth officially) as he went off the favorite.

But wait, there's more!

Spinning on Saturday, CHRB revealed that Modern Games was reinserted into the wagering pools for more than seven minutes until he was taken out again. They said "consolation payouts" were made to bettors who had Modern Games. Who knows what that means.

QUIZ ANSWER: Modern Games! Big.

While Appleby had good and bad luck on the same coin Friday, Saturday was much better for him.

He won with Space Blues the BC Mile with a stalking, ground-saving closing job. His Yibir paid $19.00 to win in the 1.5-mile BC Turf. Both wins had talented Euro jockey William Buick aboard.

Japanese connections made a splash with Loves Only You in the Filly and Mare Turf and Marche Lorraine in the Distaff, but more on her later.

The betting day Saturday was like taking a stupid amusement park ride. Starts out sunny, then through the tunnel of darkness, and back out into daylight.

Whenever everybody says a horse is a lock, I stick my head out the screen door and look for somebody else. Such was Bob Baffert's Gamine in the race 5 Filly and Mare Sprint. Sure, she came in nearly undefeated but who had she beaten? Nobody in this race. Plus, it was Del Mar.

Gamine gamed the early lead with Bella Sofia right on her rear quarter. Thanks, Bella! The top four pulled away from the rest but straightened into the stretch when Gamine experienced a little bumping. Gamine, not used to that, started to fade. Ce Ce, running straight and true with Victor Espinoza, who's not far from a year off with a serious injury, took command. Edgeway took Place. I had the top two. I noticed Gamine's Show pool was almost as much as her win pool and tried to jump the bridge. Didn't work, though she did take Show.

Baffert put on his mopey woe-is-me act after the race. I wasn't buying it.

Then I entered the tunnel until race 8, after trying to beat a fantastic Life Is Good in the Dirt Mile. And missing Exactas, some of which didn't pay anyway.

It was the Sprint, and, once again, Jackie's Warrior was touted as unbeatable. Long story short, Dr. Schivel earned the lead as Jackie's Warrior, who had beaten only one of these, started running backwards. But look out! Here comes Aloha West flying from the sixteenth pole. It's all about real estate now and Aloha got up by a nostril in a photo finish. I had the top two, but needed the 11-1 Aloha'.

Former Arlington training king Wayne "Cat Man" Catalano was his nervous self before the race. When asked about his Aloha, with the implication of no chance: "We'll see. They don't just give the thing to you. That's why they run the race! It's horse racing."

Let's move on to the Distaff. With a previous win, it became plausible to me that the Japanese had come to play, and we know their program has been improving.

Again, we had a superstar, Letruska. Typically, she got into an early lead mode with Shedaresthedevil. On the turn, Irad Ortiz appeared to ease Letruska. The Japanese Marche Lorraine, who had come from way back and made her wonderful move on the turn, took a three-quarter lead in the middle of the track, but in the two/three lane, Dunbar Road chugged up on the inside.

Man, was I screaming for the wire. Marche was 45-1 and I had her! I tossed Dunbar Road, who hadn't won since July last year. Calm down, all you can do is wait for the photo. Wooo! Marche won by half a nostril and I was in the money. She paid $101.80, $41.00 and $18.80! What a way to end the season. I didn't care what happened next.

The Classic was very anticlimactic.

Knicks Go took the lead and never looked back. Hot Rod Charlie pumped a run after the sixteenth pole, but there was no way. Medina Spirit, the tainted Baffert horse, had a good run to finish second. Essential Quality, the $1.90-1 favorite, finished third. A tale of two races, the wiseguy "upsetters" might still be running.

However, Knicks Go was $3.20-1 on the board and I'll take that any day. So I did. So I won a few bucks there.

It was an interesting weekend, with so many speedy races, but not up to the hype of "the greatest racing ever." There were too many frontrunners who couldn't be caught. There were some closers. They were running fast and that had differing outcomes. I won with a combination of those.

TV Dinner
NBC is horrible.

Remember, the Peacock network also ran My Mother the Car.

NBC opened Friday's coverage saying the Breeders Cup starts "right now!" Instead, it jarringly jumps to a screaming announcer yelling about some Olympic swimmer winning a medal, who says, "I know what it's like to race against the whole world."

"And this idea that the winner is, without dispute, the greatest on the planet . . . I mean C'MON, how much better does it get?"

Um, no, Mike Nelson. A horse earns his greatest-in-the-world status over a number of races, or years. Sustained excellence. In any single race, an inferior horse can still win, as we saw.

I do like Britney Eurton, whose father Peter is a trainer, and Donna Brothers, a former jockey who gets the best out of the emotional winning jockeys in the on-track interviews. They both ask the right questions - although I don't think either of them interviewed Baffert; that was left to the guys. Baffert should have been turned over, shod by a farrier and asked the real questions.

Steve Kornacki runs the interactive big screen like it's the Utah primaries. Our friend Eddie Olczyk and the other guy made their bets. I don't know how well Eddie was doing, but it didn't look good. Again, Randy Moss and Jerry Bailey were stiffs, also defending the Breeders' Cup committee on its non-action toward Baffert.

But NBC is not for horseplayers. They scroll the odds on the bottom, you can't take them in, they barely show the splits, and they pop up the payouts faster than you can read them.

Early Saturday, they once again went to race announcer Larry Collmus to ask him how he keeps track of all the horses. Yeah, WE KNOW! Every damned year! He has flash cards. Want the insider's scoop? Larry also STUDIES the horses and silks all week! Howboutthat!

Plus, NBC is close to a minute behind the track feed. They don't show the odds enough, so using it as a visual accompaniment to wagering is impossible. They also show a lot of commercials and cross-promote all of the other bogus sports, like NASCAR, Notre Ugh Dame, and all the rest, that they show on TV.

That's what I did. I logged into the track feed. No commercials, although the in-program FanDuel promo torture was getting to me. Odds all the time.

Now, we were rubbing elbows a little to much with the TVG crowd, but their best were there. Simon Bray is honest. Acacia Courtney interviewed the top players and Michelle Yu was also all over the place. We got a little too close to the corpulent Todd Schrupp's pink sherbet jacket. He started out subdued and serious enough, but ended up losing it. If I hear him say "The Jimmy Durante Turf Course" one more time, I'm going to lock him in a room with a loop of all those bad Jimmy Durante movies and variety show appearances

But it was still better than NBC.

Groundbob Day
I'm sick of this guy, but another Baffertarian episode!

He's like dog shit that gets on your shoe. As unpleasant and however long it takes to get off of you sole, you'll still smell it for a long time.

The problem is that Baffert has not yet been banned by any official racing jurisdiction, which should domino to being banned everywhere. He's only banned from Churchill Downs.

Like a Mike Madigan, he's got his stooges on the board of directors of the Breeders' Cup itself to cover for him and do his bidding.

Joe Drape reports that he does or has trained for many of them, or owns interests in horses with more of them.

I'm not naive, but couldn't Kenny Rice or Laffit Pincay III have asked him how Medina Spirit was going to do without drugs? And there was also no lasix (an anti-respiratory bleeding medication) in this Breeders' Cup.

But for NBC, the Olympics are great, NASCAR is great, Notre Ugh Dame is great.

And Bob Baffert is great. With that white hair, he must be God!

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:24 PM | Permalink

November 5, 2021

TrackNotes: Perp Meets Surf

Cough-Cough-Cough!

Pardon me. I was just clearing out the chalk dust.

It's been that kind of year. Top horses don't battle each other as often, which makes it easier for favorites. However, there are a few dazzling runners taking each other on here and losses by some of them would cost them Eclipse Awards and, translationally, future breeding dollars.

While most of us will plug into the ol' Telstar, it's California here we come for the 37th Breeders' Cup World Championships from the beautiful Del Mar Thoroughbred Club, where The Turf Meets the Surf.

Appropriately, the BC Classic will be the race of the weekend, barring a chalk tornado, but we'll get to that.

And let's muck this right away. Stained trainer Bob Baffert, who has horses in six races Friday and Saturday, will have officials breathing down his neck via extensive pre- and post-race testing of all of his horses. They've been under surveillance and testing for weeks, and the Breeders' Cup is doing everything it can to maintain wagering integrity, at least for Baffert. Also good news, he'll be required to pay the freight on all those tests.

I'll watch Friday, but I won't be betting. It's the showcase day for all the 2-year-olds and they're too unpredictable. My goal will be to see how the track is playing, and whether we should look at frontrunners or closers. Which could change anyway Saturday. There are also horses that just don't or won't like the Del Mar surface, but who are they?

As always, consider the Europeans in the turf races. It's why they even come here.

In the Filly and Mare Sprint (Grade I, 7 furlongs dirt, $1,000,000), Baffert's Gamine is the 3-5 morning line favorite. She's undefeated in 10 races, but was DQ'd from purse money in last year's Kentucky Oaks, being one of Baffert's drug runners. She figures to get into a pace battle with Bella Sofia. If they torch each other, look for Ce Ce(4-1) to close.

Life Is Good (4-5) will avoid Jackie's Warrior in the Dirt Mile (Grade I, one mile, dirt, $1,000), but Silver State (7-2) and Ginobili (4-1), both coming in with fistfuls of triple-digit Beyer Speed Figures between them, will give LG everything he can handle. If it means anything to you, Life Is Good has never won a Grade I. This is totally irrelevant, but I bought an LG refrigerator earlier this year. When one of its selling points is the beautiful LG logo on the front, that's a red flag. It was so poorly engineered, 1/2-star review, and I exchanged it. And at what figures to be a ridiculous price, I'm not going to bet on this horse.

Jackie's Warrior (6-5) will be running in the BC Sprint. He comes in off three straight graded wins. You should get a price on Aloha West (8-1).

Letruska (8-5) is your superstar mare in The Distaff and she'll be very tough to beat. She's a fantastic 22-17-1-1 and comes in with five straight wins in prestigious stakes races. If she gets a bad trip, Malathaat (4-1), Clairiere (12-1) or Shedaresthedevil (4-1) would be capable with great trips.

The Classic (Grade I, 10 furlongs, 1-1/4 miles dirt, $6,000,000) will pit the dirt stars - three of the top four Derby finishers, but you know what I think of the Kentucky Derby - against each other. I believe low-priced horses will sweep the top three spots. In post-position order:

1. Tripoli (15-1 morning line odds, jockey Irad Ortiz Jr., trainer John Sadler)
The 4-year-old by Kitten's Joy was beaten by three of these in the Awesome Again last out. He won the Pacific Classic at Del Mar the race before and has three triple-digit Beyers in his saddle bag, all in stakes company. He looks possible to round out the superfecta.

2. Express Train (20-1, Victor Espinoza, John Shirreffs)
He bounces around Southern California. Even if he runs to his San Diego Handicap here three back, it would take a pace Chernobyl for him to beat this company.

3. Hot Rod Charlie (4-1, Flavien Prat, Doug O'Neill)
I don't know what it is with this horse. He gets all kinds of attention, just watch the tote board, and I can think of a lot not to love. He beat a tiring Midnight Bourbon last out in the Pennsylvania Derby, but against who? His 111 Beyer was his career top. In the Haskell two back, this loosey goosey, all-over-the-track horse was DQ'd from the win because he couldn't run straight. In the Kentucky Derby and the Belmont, he couldn't get the distance. With Indian Charlie in the family, I don't think he's got more than nine furlongs in him. He's 11-3-2-3 lifetime, which doesn't exactly pop. His first three races were here at Del Mar, all losses, and he went up the road to Santa Anita to break his maiden. Medina Spirit and Essential Quality have already beaten him. Top three? Anything can happen, but for what? A low price to ruin the exotics? Thanks a bunch.

4. Essential Quality (3-1, Luis Saez, Brad Cox)
This son of Tapit is perfectly situated to win this race. Distance is no problem as he won the 12-furlong Belmont, the 9-furlong Jim Dandy, and the 10-furlong Travers! Toss his Derby fourth, and he's 9-8-0-0 and runs for one of 2021's hottest trainers: 27 percent! His Dandy and Travers wins were by a half-length and neck, respectively. He's already beaten Hot Rod Charlie three times. Include, but don't expect a price.

5. Knicks Go (5-2, Joel Rosario, Brad Cox)
Cox is loaded. This horse first caught my eye in last year's wire job in the BC Dirt Mile. Since then, he's lost only the Saudi Cup and the Met Mile after the long trip home. He's got top Beyers in his last three, triple digits in seven of his last eight. Knicks' has never raced anyone in this field. He knows one thing: Take OFF and don't let 'em catch you. If he likes this track, what do you do? Stay with him and burn out? Hope he burns out? Both are risky. You will notice he's never run more than 9 furlongs. Hmmm. We can hope one of the lesser horses pushes him around the track.

6. Art Collector (8-1, Mike Smith, William Mott)
Since Mott's gotten control of this horse, he's won three straight, all with triple Beyers. Last out was a nicely tactical win in the prestigious Woodward by almost two lengths. Those victories saw him right on the lead, yikes. This son of Bernardini (A.P. Indy) should get the distance. I smell a decent price, so I'll include.

7. Stilleto Boy (30-1, Kent Desormeaux, Ed More Jr.)
Man, I haven't seen Desormeaux's name in a long time. Of all the horseplayers I've met, KD is one of the most hated jocks I've ever seen. He's the guy who pulled up Big Brown on the last turn of his Triple Crown-bid Belmont and to this day has never explained. Do you think the steel hoof sutures, acrylic patch - basically he was running on a mini-spare tire - had anything to do with it? He never should have been in the race. And Desormeaux developed a huge reputation for shying away from the battle and stopping riding in the shadow of the wire. I believe I saw it more than once. Oh, Stilleto Boy? Um, no. His claim to fame was a win in the Run for the Corn Tassels, the $250,000 Iowa Derby in July.

8. Medina Spirit (4-1, John Velazquez, Bob Baffert)
I think this horse is just a cut below. The tainted Kentucky Derby winner does come in with two straight wins, including the Awesome Again and the $100,000 Shared Belief here at Del Mar. He looks a tad shy in Grade I races. He's also a need-the-lead type and the front seat in this race looks awfully full. I just can't see it.

9. Max Player ( 8-1, Ricardo Santana Jr., Steve Asmussen)
This horse has been getting some buzz lately. He comes in off two wins, including a daylight job in the Jockey Club Gold Cup in September at Saratoga. Both were at this same distance. Perhaps his trip to Saudi Arabia was ill-advised, but he seems to have recovered. Santana had him near the lead in both races. It shouldn't mean much, but since a wonderful meet at Saratoga, Santana is 0-91 since then. He's a good jockey, but . . . If I see a price, and I think I will, I'll gamble on the upset.

This isn't a particularly large field, so some of these jockeys should be able to fashion good trips. I'll be hesitant with the Exactas and Trifectas in this race because I think it's a lock that a low-priced horse will either win or kill the exotics. My beliefs will be tested as I contemplate tossing Hot Rod Charlie, Medina Spirit and, gulp, Knicks Go. Therefore, I'm going to try to beat the big shots with a price horse. I will take 2-1 or better on Essential Quality.

Sky High
Before we close this curtain, I just want to say I hope everybody had a chance to watch the Chicago Sky win the WNBA Championship. I know it's late.

I got on the bandwagon when they "upset" number one seed Connecticut.

The Phoenix Mercury beat Las Vegas on what looked like muscle memory. And the Sky did what it took to get the all-important first game, and on the road! That was BIG! Then they broke the spirit of the boorish Mercury with a nitro-glycerin blowout, 86-50 and not that close, back in Chicago.

I'm not going to go down the roster because it was a complete team effort. You had to be there.

What I really liked is that they always took the extra pass or two to get the open shot and, oh my God, their defense, which they adjusted exquisitely after the Mercury's lone win in the series. I know I've got a jones for this, but they also hit their free throws. What a revelation!

I watched some Bulls last week, and all the NBA does is chuck up that ball like Chucky Chuckington.

Horse racing can be very nerve wracking when you've got a bet down.

Watching the Sky win that title was the most fun I've had watching sports in a long, long time. As far as I'm concerned, they own this town now.

I'll be looking to snare some ducats next year, and my favorite pizzeria has an outpost right across the street!

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

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 6:52 PM | Permalink

The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #381: Cleanse The Blackhawks

New name, new uniform, new players. Plus: A-Robbed; The Rodgers Rate; At Least The Bears Are Consistent; The Bulls Have The Floor; Congratulations, George Sun!; Pretty Soon We Won't Have Greg Brown To Kick Around Anymore; Kofi Cockburned; Rambler Women Make History; A Goth Ham; and Ryan Field Is Worse Than Ryan Braun.

Beachwood Radio Network · The Beachwood Radio Sports Hour #381: Cleanse The Blackhawks

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SHOW NOTES

* 381.

* Wallenstein: Toews & Kane Must Go.

* Mazurek, South Bend Tribune: What To Know About Ex-Notre Dame Assistant At Center Of Blackhawks Sex Abuse Reckoning.

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16:50: A-Robbed.

* Biggs, Tribune: Why Weren't They Sellers At Trade Deadline?

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31:42: The Rodgers Rate.

* Clarification: Rodgers: Braun Lied To Me.

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39:25: At Least The Bears Are Consistent.

* Fishbain & Jahns, The Athletic: "A 3-5 start to the season has been the norm for the Bears in the post-Lovie Smith era. This is the fifth time in nine seasons that they've won exactly three of their first eight games. Only one Bears team since 1990 started 3-5 and got back to .500 - the 2019 team that finished 8-8.

"That's not a good omen. And this team could lose an extra game, with the season now 17 games long. Only two of the 27 teams to start 3-5 over the past five seasons have made the postseason."

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41:00: The Bulls Have The Floor.

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46:45: Congratulations, George Sun!

* The Ex-Cub Factor.

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55:05: Pretty Soon We Won't Have Greg Brown To Kick Around Anymore.

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55:38: Kofi Cockburned.

* Borzello, ESPN: NCAA Suspends Illinois Star Center Kofi Cockburn 3 Games For Selling Apparel, Memorabilia.

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57:40: Rambler Women Make History.

* Bier, Loyola Phoenix: "In a historic match, the Loyola women's soccer team (11-2-2, 7-0-1) became the first team in MVC history to win four straight Missouri Valley Conference (MVC) regular season titles with its 5-0 win against Valparaiso University (10-5-2, 6-1-1) Oct. 28.

"Both Loyola and Valparaiso entered the game with a 6-0-1 record in the conference, with the MVC regular season title up for grabs. As close as the teams were in the conference standings, Loyola distinguished itself as the clear leader of the MVC by beating its second-place rival by a five-goal difference."

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59:09: A Goth Ham.

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Correction: Apparently this is already the playoffs? It sure didn't look that way on the schedule, but oh well . . .

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59:40: Ryan Field Is Worse Than Ryan Braun.

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STOPPAGE: 5:10

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

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 1:19 PM | Permalink

November 4, 2021

The United States Of Tax Havens

There are many ways in which the United States is not one country.

I'm not referring to red states versus blue states, or racial or ethnic divisions. What I mean is that the United States, where countless corrupt billionaires and dictators have stashed their loot, is not a single tax haven, but many separate tax havens.

The Pandora Papers, released in October, show that the United States is second only to the Cayman Islands in facilitating illicit financial flows. But it's not a simple picture.

Each state and territory has its own laws and regulations about financial transactions used for tax evasion or money laundering. And both red states and blue states are destinations for those who seek to hide their money from tax collectors and public scrutiny.

President Biden's home state of Delaware has long been renowned for its use as a tax haven, beginning in the late 19th century. Reliably Democratic in national politics, Delaware still ranks at the top among U.S. states providing secrecy for corporations and ultra-high-wealth individuals, both domestic and foreign.

But the Pandora Papers cite ruby-red South Dakota as an attractive destination for billionaires and others seeking to avoid estate taxes.

The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), which led the Pandora Papers investigation, obtained access to the records of the Sioux Falls office of Trident Trust. Among its clients were the family of Carlos Morales Troncoso, former president of Central Romana, the largest sugar plantation in the Dominican Republic - which is notorious for its exploitation of Haitian workers.

South Dakota led the way in providing such trusts, as reported in detail even before the current revelations. But other states, including Alaska, Florida, Delaware, Texas, and Nevada, have followed suit.

The Pandora Papers also document the luxury real estate holdings of Jordan's King Abdullah. Like many other politicians and oligarchs around the world, King Abdullah owns real estate in many places outside his country. The ICIJ found records of his purchases in London and Washington, D.C., among other cities, as well as three side-by-side mansions in a luxury enclave in Malibu, California.

Bottom line: Those seeking to track down the hidden wealth that dictators, criminals, or jet-setting billionaires have lodged in the United States must not limit their efforts to supporting changes in national legislation in Washington, D.C. They must also turn the spotlight on state and local communities around the country.

In February 2017, for example, the Washington Post called attention to the fact that U.S. relations with Gambia and Equatorial Guinea were not just "foreign policy" but also a local story in Potomac, Maryland.

Ousted Gambian dictator Yahya Jammeh lived at 9908 Bentcross Drive in the D.C. suburb. His counterpart Teodoro Obiang Nguema, who has ruled Equatorial Guinea since his successful coup in 1979, still owns the house at nearby 9909 Bentcross Drive.

The effects of these mechanisms to hide assets from taxation and siphon money to the rich are felt at all levels - from the failure to address global crises such as climate change and the pandemic to gross inequality in housing and other essential needs.

Exposing those mechanisms and building the political will to curb illicit financial flows requires action not only in national capitals and global institutions, but also in all the jurisdictions where wealth is hidden. Nowhere is this more true than for the United States.

In Washington, this message from the Panama Papers is beginning to be heard if not yet followed.

A recent Washington Post editorial stated that "States must stop letting the ultrawealthy dodge taxes - and the law." Despite the limited progress on national legislation, that fight can begin in states across the country - probably including yours.


Previously in tax scammage:

* McDonald's Breaks Promise To Raise Wages.

* Last Year, Amazon Paid No Federal Income Taxes. Now, It's Trying To Kill A Local Tax That Aims To Help the Homeless.

* Trump Vowed To Punish Companies That Moved Jobs Overseas. Is Congress Rewarding Them?

* After Long Career Bailing Out Big Banks, Obama Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner Now Runs Predatory Firm That Exploits The Poor For Profit.

* Jeff Bezos Just Became The Richest Person Ever. Amazon Workers Just Marked #PrimeDay With Strikes Against Low Pay And Brutal Conditions.

* A Sweet New Century For America's Most Privileged.

* With Nation Transfixed By Kavanaugh Monstrosity, House GOP Votes To Give Rich Another $3 Trillion In Tax Cuts.

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

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

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

* The Gang Of 62 Vs. The World.

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

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

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

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

* German Finance Minister Cries Foul Over Tax Avoidance Deals.

* Prosecutor Targets Commerzbank For Deals That Dodge German Taxes.

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

* How Milwaukee Landlords Avoid Taxes.

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

* Watch Out For The Coming Tax Break Trickery.

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

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

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

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

* State Tax Incentives To Corporations Don't Work.

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

* Triumph Of The Oligarchs.

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

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

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

* Less Than Year After GOP Tax Scam, Six Biggest Banks Already Raked In $9 Billion In Extra Profits.

* After Budget Cuts, The IRS's Work Against Tax Cheats Is Facing "Collapse."

* $6.5 Billion: A Low-Ball Estimate Of The Walton Family's Haul After 16 Years Of Bush, Obama And Trump Tax Giveaways.

* Illinois Could Recover $1.3 Billion Lost To Corporate Tax Loopholes.

* Whatever You Paid To Watch Netflix Last Month Was More Than It Paid In Income Taxes All Last Year: $0.

* Number Of U.S. Corporations Paying 'Not A Dime' In Federal Taxes Doubled In 2018.

* It's Getting Worse: The IRS Now Audits Poor Americans At About The Same Rate As The Top 1%.

* IRS: Sorry, But It's Just Easier And Cheaper To Audit The Poor.

* Corporate America's Tax Breaks Have Left Society More Vulnerable To Pandemic.

* Another Tax Loophole That's Making The Rich Even Richer.

* The Billionaire Playbook: How Sports Owners Use Their Teams To Avoid Millions In Taxes.

* The Tax Foundation's Mythical Taxpayers.

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Previously in The Paradise Papers:

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

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

* Development Dreams Lost In The Offshore World.

* Keeping Offshore 'Hush Hush,' But Why?

* Tax Havens Are Alive With The Sound Of Music.

* Today In Tax Avoidance Of The Ultra-Wealthy.

* Go To Town With This Offshore Leaks Database.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

* Last Stop: Chicago.

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

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Previously in The Panama Papers:

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

* The Panama Papers: Prosecutors Open Probes.

* The [Monday] Papers.

* Adventures In Tax Avoidance.

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

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

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

* The Laundromat.

'A widow (Meryl Streep) investigates an insurance fraud, chasing leads to a pair of Panama City law partners (Gary Oldman and Antonio Banderas) exploiting the world's financial system. Steven Soderbergh directs.'

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

* Patriotic Millionaires Vs. Carried Interest.

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

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

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

* Carried Interest Reform Is a Sham.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 10:29 AM | Permalink

Do You Have What It Takes To Be Named Cheese Board Champion By The State of Cheese?

MADISON - Wisconsin Cheese is on a nationwide hunt for the most creative holiday cheese boards. Their six-week competition opened Wednesday, and any aspiring cheese board aficionado could be named champion, winning a year's supply of cheese for themselves and a friend, plus a cheese donation to the food pantry of their choice. Enter now at WisconsinCheese.com/CheeseBoardAwards.

The Grand Prize winner for the Wisconsin Cheese Board Awards will take home a year's supply of Wisconsin Cheese for themselves and a friend, plus a cheese donation to the food pantry of their choice.

"In Wisconsin, we truly believe that great cheese makes the world a happier, tastier place, and we know that cheese lovers across the country will be gathering together over cheese boards this holiday season," says Suzanne Fanning, chief marketing officer for Wisconsin Cheese and senior vice president at Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin. "Since our fans will already be creating beautiful boards, we want to encourage everyone to share images, so cheese lovers can inspire each other, and we can honor best-in-class Wisconsin cheese boards from the holiday's most incredible hosts. We can't wait to see what people create!"

An esteemed panel of three judges who live and breathe all things cheese boards will review submissions every week to see who creates the most delectable cheese board. Judges include Marissa Mullen, the best-selling author, content creator and founder of That Cheese Plate, in addition to Cheeselandian and former cheesemonger Doug Clemens of @CheeseTrayGay and Alisha Norris Jones of Immortal Milk, an award-winning cheesemonger from Chicago.

So, what does it take to win? Here's what the judges will be looking for:

* Usage of Wisconsin Cheese. There are so many great varieties of Wisconsin Cheese. You must include a minimum of two, but you'll get extra love from the judges if you go above and beyond. The more, the merrier!

* Board Abundance. In the spirit of holiday giving, every corner of your board should be covered with Wisconsin Cheese and other cheese board accompaniments. Don't hold back - the more you add, the more you'll wow the judges.

* Color & Creativity. The holiday season is the perfect time to add some colorful, festive cues to your cheese board. Try something unique and let your creative side shine.

With over 25 prizes up for grabs, there is more than just a year's worth of cheese on the line! The judges will choose a winner every week to receive a cheese prize pack complete with a cheese board, cheese knives, cheese paper, $100 worth of Wisconsin Cheese and more. The entries placing second, third and fourth place each week become weekly winners and will receive a custom cheese board.

Over the contest's six-week period, the weekly winners as selected by the judges will be finalists for the grand prize. Finalists will be announced on the Wisconsin Cheese Facebook and Instagram channels, where judges will also be sharing inspirational content for award-winning creations. Professionals and amateurs alike can find additional inspiration to create cheese boards for the contest at WisconsinCheese.com.

All eligible entries must include three photos, including the final Wisconsin cheese board creation, the Wisconsin Cheese packaging and the creator with their masterpiece. Not sure where to find Wisconsin Cheese? Look for the Proudly Wisconsin Cheese® badge on packaging at retailers nationwide. Full contest details can be found in the Official Rules. Contest entries accepted through 12/16 at 11:59 p.m. CT. Thank you to Winona Foods for their generous donation of cheese to the food bank of the winner's choice.

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

* Tribute: The Mars Cheese Castle.

* Wisconsin Cheese Production Continues To Grow.

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

* Tips For Growing Blueberries In Wisconsin.

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

* The Top 10 Wisconsin Insect Trends Of 2016.

* Wisconsin's Penokees Are A Geologic Gem.

* Wisconsin Researchers Aim To Make Cows Happier.

* Wisconsin And The Extinction Of The Passenger Pigeon.

* The Life Of Land After Frac Sand.

* Blueberry Maggot Fly Poised To Expand In Wisconsin.

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

* How To Raise A Pizza.

* RECALL! Wisconsin Pork Sausage Patties.

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

* Who Is Stealing Wisconsin's Birch?

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

* Lakes, Cheese And You.

* When Oshkosh Was Sin City.

* Wisconsin Workers, Chicago Commuters And The Cost Of Living.

* Chicago vs. Wisconsin.

* Before Dairy Ruled, Wheat Reigned In Wisconsin.

* The Allure Of Destination Breweries As Rural Economic Engines.

* Green Bay Packers Fans Love That Their Team Doesn't Have An Owner. Just Don't Call It 'Communism.'

* When UW Arboretum Restoration Research Fired Up An Oscar-Winning Disney Doc.

* The National Bobblehead Hall Of Fame Has Opened In Milwaukee.

* Melted Cheese Tops Wisconsin Championship.

* Wisconsin's Big Marketing Cheese.

* Washed Away: Northwest Wisconsin Copes With The Costs Of A Changing Climate.

* Wisconsin Is America's Goatland.

* Lake Mendota's Muck.

* The Great Migration & Beloit's African-American Heritage.

* When Efforts To Halt Smallpox In Milwaukee Provoked Fear And Fury.

* Wisconsin's Winter Wonders.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:03 AM | Permalink

November 3, 2021

Toews & Kane Must Go

On their 10th try Monday night, the Blackhawks finally won a game, beating the Ottawa Senators 5-1. Patrick Kane, who had missed the previous four games because of COVID-19 protocol, scored a hat trick, while Jonathan Toews, the team captain, chipped in with three assists.

What a perfect time to dump both of them. Had the sordid sexual assault of prospect Kyle Beach, brought to light last week, never happened, trading the team's two stars still would make sense.

This team is going absolutely nowhere. They won't come close to making the playoffs. Their 36-year-old coach, Jeremy Colliton, is under fire for the team's poor performance. A streak of 535 consecutive sellouts ended 10 days ago. In the last pre-COVID season of 2019-20, an average of 21,444 fans filled the seats at the United Center. Monday's attendance was 15,946.

Aside from a rebuilding standpoint, the draft choices and prospects that could be accrued in exchange for Kane and Toews would signal that the franchise truly is serious about ridding itself of the toxic stain and misery that was created 11 years ago. There's no other team in professional sports that is so badly in need of a cleansing.

If there was any question about this scenario, Toews, with a sad assist from Kane, clinched the deal last week with his sorry, ignorant, and disgusting response to the Jenner & Block report about the sexual assault of Beach by a member of the team's coaching staff during the Stanley Cup playoffs in May of 2010.

After Toews said, "I wish I could have done something," which he surely could have, he continued, "At the end of the day, I feel a ton for what Kyle went through and what he's dealing with at this point too. I don't know what else to say."

He should have stopped there. Toews claimed that he knew nothing about the assault until preseason training camp the next season. "Not that [the alleged assault] was a joke, it was something that wasn't taken super seriously at the time," Toews said. "I thought that Brad [Aldrich, the perpetrator] being let go was the way it was dealt with. To me it was water under the bridge."

I have news for Toews. Sexual assault is nothing like a river. It's more like a cesspool.
Few need to be reminded that this comes from a guy who was the team's captain at the time and remains so today. Where's the outrage for what occurred? Where's any sincere empathy for Kyle Beach? In addition, according to Beach's interviews with Reid Schar, a former prosecutor and author of the Jenner report, "John Doe [Beach's pseudonym in the report] recalled that during the training camp [the next summer], multiple players called John Doe derogatory words and asked if John Doe missed 'his boyfriend Brad.'"

Clearly, Toews, as team leader, very well could have been a member of the cadre who didn't take Beach's situation "super seriously." On the assumption that he personally wasn't dishing out the abuse, as captain, he should have known about it and stood up for what was moral and right.

However, in his recent encounter with the press, The Captain very seriously reacted to the forced resignations of general manager Stan Bowman and vice-president Al MacIsaac.

"I have a ton of respect for them as people," said Toews. "[They] lose everything they care about and their livelihoods as well. I don't understand how that makes it [sexual assault] go away. They're good people."

Obviously Toews doesn't understand much of anything. He can't get a grip on the impact and lasting pain inflicted upon Beach, who has lived with the horror, guilt, and torment resulting from that night more than a decade ago. Bowman and MacIsaac might resurface in the front office of another team in the future while Beach will continue to deal with his horrific experience the rest of his life.

Aldrich, the Hawks' video coordinator at the time, focused on the Black Aces, a taxi squad of young players who traveled with the team during the 2010 playoffs and were a step away from joining the Hawks in the event of injury to one of the regulars.

Aldrich hung out with Beach and the other athletes, usually at bars in Chicago and on the road. Alcohol and available women were part of the equation as he groomed Beach and at least one other Black Ace, according to the Jenner report.

Beach was 20 at the time, a first-round draft pick (11th overall) in 2008, just a year after the Hawks tabbed Kane in the first round. At 6-foot-3 and 200 pounds, the North Vancouver, B.C. product rose through the ranks, netting 52 goals in 68 games, while amassing 186 minutes in penalties, in 2009-10 for Spokane of the Western Hockey League. His performance earned him a promotion to Rockford, just a step away from the NHL.

Meanwhile, Aldrich gained the trust of Beach by claiming that he could sing the praises of the youngster to the Hawks' coaching staff. Furthermore, Aldrich claimed that he was the clandestine messenger of the coaches' critiques, informing players of skills that required attention so that they'd be in the good graces of the coaching staff.

Both Toews and Kane in their comments last week called Beach a "happy-go-lucky guy," which indicated that they most probably had compared notes prior to meeting the media.

In their testimony with Schar, Aldrich and Beach described the sexual encounter with one major contradiction. Aldrich said it was consensual while Beach branded Aldrich as a bare-faced liar. A week or so after assaulting Beach, Aldrich groped the genitals of a Blackhawks front office intern in the back seat of a taxi amid the Stanley Cup celebration. In 2012, according to Miami (Ohio) University, Aldrich assaulted two individuals at a hockey camp, and in 2013 he was convicted of the sexual assault of a 16-year-old in his hometown of Houghton, Michigan, for which Aldrich spent nine months in prison.

Bowman, MacIsaac and coach Joel Quenneville, who resigned his position last week at the helm of the Florida Panthers, all were part of a hastily called meeting described in the Jenner report directly following the Hawks' victory in the Western Conference Finals, thus qualifying to meet Philadelphia for the Stanley Cup.

There are inconsistencies and disparities about a few of the details of this confab, but all participants agreed that the topic was what to do about Beach's account that he was sexually assaulted by Aldrich. Beach had disclosed as much to skating skills coach Paul Vincent who, according to the Jenner report, told Beach he would inform the "proper people." MacIsaac also admitted that he had heard rumors about the assault.

Quenneville, especially, said that team chemistry would be disrupted if any action were to be taken during the Stanley Cup finals. He could have benefited from a good dose of Ted Lasso. The outcome was that team president John McDonough said he would take care of the situation.

Now we know that Aldrich, after being allowed to take the Cup to Houghton for a day, as is the custom for each player and coach of the championship team, subsequently had a choice of an investigation or resignation. Needless to say, he took the latter - along with an approximately $35,000 severance package.

As for Beach, he was left to fight off demons as he lingered in minor league and European hockey since 2010. He's never appeared in an NHL game.

If the Hawks' management team felt there was substance to Beach's story, they could have done what the folks in Houghton did: Call the cops. Illinois guidelines are clear about sexual assault of minors, disabled people, and the elderly although not as clear - reporting is "encouraged" as opposed to mandated - when it comes to individuals over the age of 18.

However, if the authorities had been contacted, then future victims of Aldrich's behavior in all probability would have been spared. Since the Hawks covered up the assault and disclosed nothing to Aldrich's future employers, he didn't hesitate to strike at least four more times.

Watching Beach's emotional interview on TSN last week, you get a sense of the horror and lasting impact victims of sexual assault endure. I doubt whether Toews or Kane had seen that video when they faced the media. If they had and still responded as they did, then they truly need help. And they should get it some other place than in Chicago.

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Comments welcome.

Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:20 PM | Permalink

November 1, 2021

How Much Longer Will Major League Baseball Stay In The Closet?

In his 1990 autobiography, Behind the Mask: My Double Life in Baseball, Dave Pallone, a gay major league umpire who was quietly fired in 1988 after rumors about his sexual orientation circulated in the baseball world, contended that there were enough gay major league players to create an All-Star team.

Since then, attitudes and laws about homosexuality have changed. High-profile figures in business, politics, show business, education, the media, the military and sports have come out of the closet.

Athletes in three of the five major U.S. male team sports - the NBA, the NFL and MLS - have come out while still playing, with NFL player Carl Nassib and NHL prospect Luke Prokop coming out in summer 2021.

Meanwhile, according to OutSports magazine, at least 185 publicly out LGBTQ athletes - 90% of them women - participated in this summer's Tokyo Olympic Games, more than in all previous Summer Olympics combined.

But among the more than 20,000 men who have played major league baseball, not one has publicly come out of the closet while still in uniform.

What's taken so long? And is baseball ready for its gay Jackie Robinson?

Two Ex-Players Pave The Way

"I think we're getting close," Billy Bean, the only openly gay former major league player alive today, recently told me. "We're making incredible strides."

Bean played for the Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres for parts of six seasons, hiding his homosexuality from his friends, fans and teammates at great emotional cost. He quit baseball in 1995 and four years later publicly came out.

In 2003 he published a book, Going the Other Way: Lessons from a Life In and Out of Major League Baseball," in which he describes the anguish of being a closeted ballplayer. In 2014, then-Commissioner Bud Selig hired Bean as Major League Baseball's first Ambassador for Inclusion.

Bean was the second major league baseball player to come out of the closet after hanging up his spikes. The first, Glenn Burke, played for the Dodgers and Oakland Athletics between 1976 and 1979. He came out publicly in 1982 in an Inside Sports article, "The Double Life of a Gay Dodger."

Screen Shot 2021-11-01 at 4.42.32 PM.pngGlenn Burke/Mark Hundley, AP

"It's harder to be gay in sports than anywhere else, except maybe president," said Burke. "Baseball is probably the hardest sport of all."

In his autobiography, Out at Home, published shortly after he died of AIDS in 1995, Burke recalled: "I got used to the 'fag' jokes. You heard them everywhere then."

No other ex-major league baseball player - much less one still in uniform - has yet followed in Bean's and Burke's footsteps.

A Lingering Stain Of Homophobia

What's stopping LGBTQ baseball players from coming out publicly?

Perhaps they calculate that the personal or financial costs still outweigh the benefits. There is a strong current of fundamentalist Christianity within baseball, which could make life uncomfortable for openly gay players. One study of Bible verses in pro athlete's Twitter bios concluded that major league baseball players were "far and away the most overtly religious group of athletes of the four major sporting leagues."

There are also lingering strands of explicit homophobia.

In 2012, Detroit Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter told the Los Angeles Times that he'd be uncomfortable with a gay teammate, because "biblically, it's not right."

In 2015, Houston Astros slugger Lance Berkman, an evangelical Christian, campaigned against the city's Equal Rights Ordinance, designed to protect LGBTQ rights. "To me," Berkman said at the time, "tolerance is the virtue that's killing this country." The ordinance was defeated.

Other MLB players have made homophobic comments over the years, including John Rocker, Julian Tavarez, Yunel Escobar, Daniel Murphy and Todd Jones, along with manager Ozzie Guillen.

Changes Start At The Top

Even as players on big-league rosters stay in the closet, MLB and individual teams have taken steps to make baseball more inclusive for LGBTQ employees and fans.

In 2009, when the Ricketts family purchased the Chicago Cubs, Laura Ricketts became the first openly LGBTQ person to own (in part) a professional sports team. Billie Jean King, the former tennis star who, in 1981, became the first openly gay high-profile sports figure, is now part-owner of the Dodgers.

At least four teams - the Dodgers, Baltimore Orioles, San Francisco Giants and Arizona Diamondbacks - now have openly gay top-tier executives. Bean has started a program to recruit and mentor more LGBTQ people to work for teams' front offices at the major and minor league levels.

In 2000, a lesbian couple was ejected from Dodger Stadium for kissing. Today, out of 30 MLB teams, only the Texas Rangers have never hosted an LGBTQ Pride event of some kind.

Screen Shot 2021-11-01 at 4.45.09 PM.pngAdam Glanzman, Getty

Several teams have fined or suspended players, managers, and at least one broadcaster - the Cincinnati Reds' Thom Brennaman - for uttering anti-gay slurs. And despite the occasional homophobic epithet that continues to emerge from their ranks, more and more straight baseball players have expressed support for the LGBTQ community over the past couple of decades.

In 2003, former Cub and then Rockies first baseman Mark Grace told the Denver Post that most ballplayers wouldn't be threatened by the idea of a gay teammate. "I've played for 16 years, and I'm sure I've had homosexual teammates that I didn't know about."

Added Grace: "I think if you're intelligent at all, you'd understand that homosexuals are just like us."

In 2005, Reds outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. said that having a gay teammate "wouldn't bother me at all. If you can play, you can play."

And in 2018, after the media highlighted a rash of anti-gay slurs tweeted by several major league ballplayers, pitcher Sean Doolittle tweeted a full-throated defense: "Some of the strongest people I know are from the LGBTQ community. It takes courage to be your true self when your identity has been used as an insult or a pejorative."

No Perfect Time

The first active gay major league baseball player to come out is not a matter of if, but when.

A 2015 poll found that 73% of Americans - including a majority of white evangelical Christians - said they would support a pro sports team signing an openly gay or lesbian athlete.

Some hope the first pro ballplayer to come out will be a star. In 2014, Pallone, the gay former umpire, told Fox Sports that he wanted it to be "a player whose name rolls off somebody's tongue. That's what will do the most good."

Or the first gay big-leaguer could simply emerge from the prospect pipeline. In the past decade, two openly gay ballplayers - David Denson and Sean Conroy - played in the minor leagues. A third minor leaguer, Bryan Ruby, currently an infielder for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, part of an independent professional league in Oregon, came out in September.

There are growing numbers of openly gay college players, and the best of them could ascend the professional ranks into the majors.

"When I was playing, homosexuality was a taboo topic. We never talked openly about it," Bean said. "Gay athletes in high school, college and the minors now have role models."

There will always be some who will argue that the time isn't ripe for a major breakthrough. But as Jon Buzinski, the founder of OutSports, told me: "Everybody will say, 'We aren't ready.' Society was not ready for Jackie Robinson. If you are going to wait for everybody to be ready, nobody will do it."

Peter Dreier is a politics professor at Occidental College. This post is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Comments welcome.


Posted by Beachwood Reporter at 12:08 AM | Permalink

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