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The [Tuesday] Papers

1. McCain's Moment Assignment Fulfilled!

The Washington Post contacted Gayle Quinnell, the subject of Item 1 in Monday's column.

Quinnell's daughter told reporters that her mother did not have access to the Internet and had read that Obama was a Muslim during a visit to the library. At the time, Quinnell worked supervising children with mental disabilities during school bus rides . . .

Quinnell is 85 now and still in Minnesota. On a Sunday morning she picked up the phone at her house. Asked what had made her want to attend the rally 10 years ago, she said, "I like Palin."

She then announced that it was too early in the morning to talk. She was tired. She hung up.

Little did we know that Quinnell was a canary in Donald Trump's coal mine.

When McCain responded to Quinnell, polls showed that about 12 percent of Americans thought that Obama was a Muslim. By late 2015, as Trump campaigned for the presidency, the number had surged to about 30 percent of the population, according to a CNN/ORC poll. A stunning 45 percent of Republicans and 54 percent of Trump supporters said Obama was a Muslim.

In the years that followed, Palin would become a Fox News and reality TV personality. Trump would first become a leading champion of the "birther" conspiracy, which played on suspicions about Obama to suggest incorrectly that he was not born in the United States. Eventually, Trump would slam Muslims, Latinos and immigrants as he made his way to the Oval Office.

From the New York Times in September 2015:

Donald J. Trump is not often criticized for remaining silent, but on Friday, other presidential candidates rebuked him for not correcting an apparent supporter who said Barack Obama was a Muslim who was not born in America.

At a town hall event held on Thursday evening in Rochester, N.H., Mr. Trump took the man's question, which began with the statement: "We have a problem in this country. It's called Muslims."

The audience member continued, "We know our current president is one." And as Mr. Trump responded, perhaps reflexively, "Right," the man added, "You know he's not even an American."

Mr. Trump, in a statement released late Thursday through a spokeswoman, defended his decision not to correct the man. "The media wants to make this issue about Obama," Mr. Trump said in the statement. "The bigger issue is that Obama is waging a war against Christians in this country. Christians need support in this country. Their religious liberty is at stake."

That, my friends, isn't even a non-denial denial, but a full-stop steaming pile of dog-whistling bigotry on multiple levels. And every Trump supporter owns it.

- h/t: John Kuczaj, who directed me to the Post piece

2. Imperfect Produce Assignment Fulfilled!

On Friday, in Item 3 of that day's column, I asked the Assignment Desk to activate for a second look at Imperfect Produce's entry into the Chicago market. Lo and behold!

"[A]s Imperfect Produce has surged in popularity in the Chicago area and nationally, some smaller local farmers have watched the deep-pocketed newcomer with wariness and resignation," the Tribune reports.

"For years, farmers have been selling imperfect produce in boxes. It's a practice known as community supported agriculture, or CSA, and it operates as a subscription service of sorts for fresh, local produce. But despite the still burgeoning farm-to-table movement, sales directly to consumers and at farmers markets have flattened or declined for many small farmers in recent years as larger grocery chains increasingly market local and organic produce, said Cliff McConville, chairman of Band of Farmers, a coalition of about 45 farms that offer CSA shares in the Chicago area."

If you go back and read Friday's item, though, you'll see that the issues surrounding Imperfect Produce aren't just about increased competition, though it is in part about increased competition from large corporate entities.


I'm not sure how deeply reported this Trib piece is. For example, from Friday's item, here is part of what Phat Beets in Oakland asserts:

Imperfect Produce is only able to make a profit by working with the larger global agribusinesses, not the picturesque small and mid-sized farms they project in their marketing campaign.

They donate the "leftovers of their leftovers" to non-profits and the very place that surplus produce would've gone to in the first place, food banks.

The only thing the company has done is to fulfill their bottom line by creating another market for agribusiness' systemic overproduction.

It's a clever money-making scheme, but it certainly doesn't help small, local farmers or address the source of waste: overproduction by industrial farms as they produce the "perfect" produce sold in supermarkets.

The Trib sort of flicks at some of this, but doesn't really delve into it with enough vigor for my tastes (no pun intended) to really determine the reality on the ground here. For example, if what Phat Beets asserts is wrong, debunk it straightaway, point-by-point, instead of kinda, sorta dismissing it wishy-washily. But Phat Beets isn't even mentioned, must less interviewed. (I know Phat Beets is in Oakland, but they laid out the arguments against Imperfect Produce in depth, and it certainly isn't wrong - it's right! - to check in with other cities to see what their experience has been like.)

3. America To Us.

Steve James' new documentary, America to Me, examining inequity at Oak Park and River Forest High School, reminded me of a New York Times Magazine piece from 1994 by Buzz Bissinger called "We're All Racist Now," which examined racial inequity and strife at nearby Proviso West.

I haven't been able to watch America to Me yet - I hope to catch up with it - but the Bissinger piece may make for good companion reading.

Meanwhile, here, belatedly, is the trailer for the James series, which began Sunday on Starz:


Plenty has already been written about America to Me, and there's plenty of commentary on Twitter too, some of it from our local press corps; I'll just offer up this snippet from a Times review by James Poniewozik:

"The filmmaker Steve James, who followed two African-American high school basketball players in Hoop Dreams, spent a year with students, teachers and parents at Oak Park and River Forest (O.P.R.F.) High School in suburban Chicago. In this integrated, progressive school he finds a community of white and black students whose education is not separate, but whose experience is not equal.

"O.P.R.F. is the sort of school you might think would have race figured out better than others. In the 1960s, its community resisted white flight as black families moved in, along with liberal whites. Now, the school has a faculty conscious of diversity and reflective about bias.

"But for all the good intentions, students of different races find themselves on different tracks, in different classes, with different outcomes, in a school that one teacher says 'functions as two schools in one.'"

And to think in Bissinger's piece it seemed like Oak Park was the place that had it all figured out.

4. Verdict Wordicts.

"Paul Manafort's defense team held talks with prosecutors to resolve a second set of charges against the former Trump campaign chairman before he was convicted last week, but they didn't reach a deal, and the two sides are now moving closer to a second trial next month, according to people familiar with the matter," the Wall Street Journal reports.

"The plea discussions occurred as a Virginia jury was spending four days deliberating tax and bank fraud charges against Mr. Manafort, the people said. That jury convicted him on eight counts and deadlocked on 10 others."

I have a problem with the word "deadlocked." It connotes a split jury that couldn't come to agreement on charges that therefore appear to have been shaky. But that's not what happened in the Manafort case - the "deadlocked" jury consisted of one holdout juror; everyone else was in agreement. Call it a quibble, but the connotation bothers me.

5. Horse Sense.

"Horse-drawn carriages have trotted along Chicago's downtown streets for decades, but an ordinance making its way through City Council could outlaw that industry for good," Chicago Tonight reports.

"An ordinance proposed by Alds. Brendan Reilly and Brian Hopkins would prevent the three horse-drawn carriage companies operating in Chicago from renewing their city licenses.

"Reilly said the move follows calls of animal cruelty from activists and his own concerns of increasing traffic congestion downtown."

"I don't think many people contemplated horse-drawn carriages to be co-mingled with semi-trailers and CTA buses and tour buses and Uber and Lyft and taxi cabs and everything else we've got out there on the right-of-way."

True, and the health of the horses should be paramount (congestion, conschmestion), but I would miss them. Maybe the answer is horse lanes!


Obligatory Seinfeld clip:



Anyone else sick of the the guy on state street in the loop with the microphone telling people they're going to hell for smoking? from r/chicago





Chicago Area Couple Survives Jacksonville Shooting At Gaming Tournament.



Sen. Wyden Confirms Cell-Site Simulators Disrupt Emergency Calls.


Nonprofit Half Access Aims To Make Live Music Accessible For All.




The Beachwood Tronc Line: It's not you, it's them.


Posted on August 28, 2018

MUSIC - Chief Keef Changed The Industry.
TV - Vizio's Best Product Is You.
POLITICS - UIC: Soda Taxes Work.
SPORTS - More McCaskey Malpractice.

BOOKS - All About Poop.


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