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The [Monday] Papers

"State prison officials hold close to 1,250 inmates beyond their release dates every year - not because they pose a threat to the public but because they cannot find a place to live that parole officers find suitable, according to court papers and interviews," the Tribune reports.

Well, that seems downright unconstitutional.

"Inmates have challenged the practice in court but have been unsuccessful. Most recently, inmate Johnny Cordrey asked the Illinois Supreme Court to rule the practice unconstitutional, saying it violated his equal protection and due process rights. Cordrey, who in 1993 was sentenced to 36 years in prison for kidnapping and rape, claimed he was imprisoned beyond his parole date because he was indigent and could not find housing.

"Cordrey was scheduled to be paroled for three years beginning in April 2013, but he could not find a home that met the requirements set by parole officers. On the day he was to be released, he instead was served with a parole violation and kept locked up at Menard Correctional Center downstate.

"He remained there for another 1 1/2 years before he was finally set free in October 2014."

Shit is fucked up, people. Real lives are involved.

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"Critics charge that the turnaround practice - as it is also known - has an outsized impact on the poor because they already face many obstacles in finding housing."

Do "critics" merely "charge" this, or is it demonstrably true? Seems to me that assertion can be stated as a fact.

Ernie Banks Was Not A Wind-Up Toy
Mr. Cub sure made a lot of white folk feel better about themselves by not complaining about the abuse he faced as the first African-American member of the franchise. Is that part of the reason he is so beloved? Good thing he wasn't angry!

On The Beachwood Radio Hour #41.

Also on the show: Do We Really Need More Police Officers? Neither Rahm Emanuel Nor His Challengers Really Wants You To Know.

And: The (Many) Problems Of Political Polls & The Failure Of Rahm's Challengers.

The Insidiousness Of Racism
Here's an example of something I hear all the time on sports radio and just in general. See if you can spot the problem.

Because, see, black people are naturally endowed with dancing ability. White people are naturally clunky and unable to dance with elan.

Now, I don't mean to bust solely on Hub Arkush; he's just the latest in a long line of sports commentators in particular, but also comedians and the culture in general, to make such a joke. (Dan Bernstein and Terry Boers on The Score frequently talk about slow white guys - you know, because black people are naturally endowed with speed.) I always find it offensive, and it demonstrates just how pernicious and deeply rooted racist thought is, even among people who may not otherwise have an ounce of bigotry in them.

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Here's another way the prism of race skews our discourse - this time coming from an ostensibly progressive black woman writing a column very similar to what angry white men have been writing in recent months.

"For months, that mantra has fueled marches, headlines, and public policy pronouncements in the wake of the police-related killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in Staten Island," Laura Washington wrote last month.

"Thousands have marched, harangued, looted, and burned to bring attention to the racial injustices wrought by our flawed criminal justice system.

"Black Lives Matter, they exhort. Black men and boys are being executed by racist police officers, they claim. They demand justice and change.

"Do black lives matter, in places like Chicago's Englewood, Roseland and Humboldt Park, when young black and Latino men and boys are shot down every day - by their own?"

This is a false equivalency. There is a big difference between the institutional racism and bigotry of white police officers targeting African Americans and treating them with utter disdain, and fucked up poor teenagers acting out in the only way they know because institutional racism has kept them under the floor of our economy with few ways out.

In the first instance, white people target black people. In the second instance, the essentially white power structure creates an environment which motivates a certain number of black kids to kill other black kids. Washington, however, blames the victims.

"We don't want to take responsibility. Chicago and other urban centers suffer from an epidemic of black-on-black crime," Washington writes.

"The mouths and megaphones scream bloody murder about cops who kill black men. Young African American males are stereotyped, targeted and demonized in our society, they cry. Law enforcement and public officials must address and police abuse of communities of color, they demand.

"When it comes to the (far greater) numbers of blacks who kill blacks, they sing the 'more' chorus. More jobs. More social programs. More cops.

"What about our own misconduct? Black men and boys in Chicago are far more likely to be murdered by a 'brother' than a cop of any color. More often the police are trying to protect us, from us.

"We must start by acknowledging the pathology and lack of personal responsibility at the root of these senseless crimes."

As I've written repeatedly, there is no such thing as black-on-black crime; there is poor-on-poor crime. Blacks aren't committing crimes against other blacks because they're black.

Race is not a motivating factor - nor even an ancillary factor. Poor black kids aren't racially profiling other black kids. The key to street crime is proximity.

That's why it's almost heartening to see poor black kids take out their frustration on North Michigan Avenue instead of in their own neighborhoods. Steal from the people who have the money!

I mean, really, you could solve "black-on-black" crime if kids from Englewood traveled to Winnetka to do their dirty deeds. Better?

Racializing the problems of the stomped-on underclass is just what the people who really won't take responsibility want us to do.

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"If black lives really matter, we should be marching - on ourselves," Washington writes.

I can't tell you how many times post-Ferguson, Garner et. al. that I saw commentary like this - almost always from white reactionaries like the John Kass caucus.

Guess what? Marches against violence in poor neighborhoods are depressingly common in Chicago. There has been no shortage of marching. Unfortunately, marching is not a policy.

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Diary Of A Lost Pregnancy, Part 5
D&Cs suck.

Chicagoetry: Chicago
I am an oligarchy / Of letters and laws, / Bettors, debtors / And broken jaws.

The Weekend In Chicago Rock
Featuring: Wild Skies, The Tornaparts, Negative Scanner, Soddy Daisy, Weird Science, and Hatebreed.

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BeachBook
* Western Illinois University Suspends Student Editor For Selling Campus Melee Video To News Outlets.

* The Five Wildly Excessive Mansions Of The Guy Who Wants You To Learn To Live With Less.

* Jim Rockford Warned Us About Google And Facebook Back In 1978.

* ESPN's Chad Ford Has Been Retroactively Editing His Draft Boards For Years.

* Halting Progress For 3 Chicagoans Held Up By Janet Yellen As Recession's Symbols.

* Failed Journalist Whose Troubles Began At The Sun-Times Finds Solace And Success In Poetry.

* Super Bowl City Still Reeling Over Sports Deals.

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TweetWood
A sampling.

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The Beachwood Tip Line: While you still can.



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Posted on January 26, 2015


MUSIC - The Week In Chicago Rock.
TV - Cricket vs. Brexit.
POLITICS - Trailer: Swing District.
SPORTS - Ryan Pace's Narratives Are Killing Us.

BOOKS - Chicago For Dummies.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - The Sears Motor Buggy.


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