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The [Thursday] Papers

"A man at the center of a race-related incident last month at the Buffalo Wild Wings in Naperville was known to restaurant staff for making racist comments and would send back food unless it was served by a white employee, according to Naperville police reports," the Tribune-owned Naperville Sun reports.

Whoa. That certainly adds another level to the story. Instead of botching one incident, the Naperville restaurant tolerated this customer over time, adding culpability to what happened in October when a group of patrons was asked to move because a customer didn't want to sit next to black people.

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"A group of 18 customers, some of whom were multiracial and African American, were at the restaurant on Oct. 26 to celebrate a child's birthday, but they said they were asked by employees to move to other tables because a nearby white customer didn't want to sit near black people.

Chief Robert Marshall said Naperville police got involved after the incident drew widespread media attention because the business received threatening phone calls, including one person who said he wanted to burn down the restaurant.

According to the police report, a man with a swastika tattoo and his female acquaintance told police they had been regulars at the restaurant for the last two to three years, visiting almost every Saturday to watch college football and hockey.

The couple had been sitting at a table for four in the restaurant for about two hours when staff seated the group of 18 directly behind them, the police report said.

Both the man and woman told investigators they never spoke with any of the members of the large group nor did they ask employees to move the group.

The woman told police she pulled their table 5 to 10 inches away from the group so servers could move more freely between the tables.

According to police reports, the man told an investigator that Buffalo Wild Wings employees "had heard him make racist jokes and comments in the past." As a result, some members of the staff "took it upon themselves to tell the large group of (redacted) that they needed to move due to (redacted) being a racist."

So the racist customer didn't even make the request to move the group? The staff took it upon themselves? Another whoa.

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"A restaurant manager told police that after the Oct. 26 incident, several employees reported past inappropriate conduct from the couple. The manager said he had been unaware of the previous conduct.

"If someone other than a Caucasian employee would bring them food, (redacted) would refuse the food and send it back to the kitchen," the police report stated.

Obviously the man - a couple, actually - should have been told to leave and never come back. And then officially banned and reported to Buffalo Wild Wings HQ - maybe even alerted to other area establishments.

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Two Wild Wings employees have reportedly been fired.

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I don't get, though, how this is a "Yes, It Can Happen Here" example, as if this incident crosses a new racist threshold. After all, we live in a city where police ran a torture chamber in a police station basement to force false confessions out of black men, among a host of other horridly racist indignities big and small. What happened in Naperville should really barely register, but I guess it's easier to contemplate than institutional and structural racism that ruins lives.

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I recognize that I just said this story "should really barely register" and yet I featured it at the top of this column. Frankly, I think the entirety of the (national!) coverage has been more than warranted, but it offers journalists (and citizens) a clear shot at expressing their racial righteousness.

The added elements that this was a repeat customer (actually a couple, apparently) and that they didn't ask that the group be moved, but that the staff took it upon themselves to do so, illuminates a more important aspect of how racism works than just one awful human being (or couple).

I guess that new Buffalo Wild Wings training is necessary after all, though it's hard to understand why employees have to be trained to not tolerate racism.

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See also:

"A Tinley Park high school has disciplined students and added extra officers after an alleged series of racist incidents led to a fight on Tuesday," the Sun-Times reports.

"In a letter shared with families, Victor Andrew High School Principal Bob Nolting said a video of a 'culturally insensitive act' was AirDropped to students' phones before the start of the school day, resulting in a 'physical altercation.'

"A parent of a high school sophomore shared a video with the Sun-Times that shows the racist photos allegedly shared with students.

"The video shows photos of two people with apparently darkened faces with the captions "I'm a ni--a" and 'blackface is sweeping the nation.'"

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See also: Before Joining White House, Stephen Miller Pushed White Nationalist Theories.

Since then, too.

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Also, don't forget who the president is.

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So it's not so much about whether it can happen here; it's been happening here since day one. Here's a different approach: Ask every Republican who speaks out against the Buffalo Wild Wings incident if they will similarly denounce Donald Trump, withdraw support from him and work to remove him from office, if not now, in 2020. Because if you can't tolerate that kind of behavior at a Buffalo Wild Wings, I don't see how you can tolerate it in the White House.

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If I had a traditional newspaper column, that's probably the way I would approach this: connect the lines between Wild Wings and Trump and put some folks on the spot. But I don't, so I just work shit out here.

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Pritzker Consolidating Wins
"The Illinois Senate overwhelmingly approved Thursday Gov. J.B. Pritzker's plan to consolidate 650 downstate and suburban police and fire pension funds, delivering the first-term governor his top priority during the fall veto session," the Tribune reports.

"The bill, which now heads to Pritzker's desk, would pool the funds from hundreds of downstate public safety pension funds into two statewide funds. The funds - one for police and one for firefighters - would be combined for investment purposes but remains in separate accounts within the larger funds."

Of course, this is not just a political win for Pritzker, but a win - as far as I can tell - for pensioners and taxpayers. It seems like a no-brainer (someone correct me if I'm wrong) but then the previous governor was a one-term wonder.

Also:

"Many previous attempts to consolidate pension have failed to gain traction in the General Assembly as police and fire unions and other interests have pushed to retain local control."

Pritzker was able to break through that.

"Th[e] legislation is slightly different from what Pritzker originally proposed, in that active and retired firefighters would have majority representation on the board overseeing the funds. That move was part of a compromise reached late last week that brought on board the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police, which previously had opposed the legislation."

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The win also comes on top of an enormously successful first regular legislative session for Pritzker.

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Dorothy Brown's Wrench
"Federal prosecutors want a judge to send a longtime Dorothy Brown worker to prison for more than two years after they said she lied to a grand jury, 'threw a wrench in the wheels of justice and ground them to a halt,'" the Sun-Times reports.

"They also said the lies Beena Patel told the grand jury investigating job-selling allegations in the office of Brown, the clerk of the Circuit Court of Cook County, 'directly impacted the government's ability to charge those most culpable in the illegal activity.'"

Boom, there it is.

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"It's been four years since the FBI seized a cell phone from Brown. Brown still denies wrongdoing and has not been charged with any crime. But Patel's trial earlier this year made clear Brown had been squarely in the feds' sights."

Squarely.

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I can't help recall this Curtis Black column for the Chicago Reporter last February:

"Of the handful of 'establishment' mayoral candidates leading the polls, none so far has been able to emerge as a real frontrunner because many have ties to Ald. Edward Burke, whose legal troubles have thrown City Hall into turmoil.

"So it was a bit odd when Amara Enyia, who presents herself as a progressive reformer, embraced the endorsement of Cook County Clerk Dorothy Brown, who herself faces extensive legal and ethical issues.

"Accepting the endorsement last Thursday, Enyia claimed both she and Brown are 'focused on . . . breaking away from an establishment that's mired in corruption.' The next day, the two met with the Chicago Sun-Times to attack Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle for, in Enyia's words, 'accepting a system and culture of corruption.'"

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New on the Beachwood today . . .

Chicago Didn't Know What It Had In Sam Kerr
And now she's gone.

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Verböten
Evanston's man-about-music Jason Narducy has written a musical.

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ChicagoReddit

But they keep pouring all that money into it . . .

O'Hare Ranked Fifth Worst Airport in the US per WSJ (Phoenix Named Best, Newark Comes in Last) from r/chicago

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ChicagoGram

View this post on Instagram

Mexican folk mask of el Diablo

A post shared by Nuco (@n_u_c_o) on

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ChicagoTube

BJ the Chicago Kid at NPR's Tiny Desk last week.

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

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The Beachwood Sideshow Tip Line: In this case, my desire to do high quality children's programming.



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Posted on November 14, 2019


MUSIC - The Banditos Spooktacular.
TV - 24 Hours With Showtime Women.
POLITICS - The Fed Vs. Your Retirement.
SPORTS - Tony La Rusty Dusty, Crusty.

BOOKS - Ed's E-Books' Artificial Scarcity.

PEOPLE PLACES & THINGS - A Slow Look: Monet & Chicago.


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