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The [Wednesday] Papers

In no particular order.

1. Alleged Chinese Spy Was IIT Student In Chicago.

"A United States Army reservist from China was arrested Tuesday on allegations of secretly providing information about American defense contractor employees to a Chinese intelligence officer, law enforcement officials said. The Chinese government was trying to recruit them as informants, they said," the New York Times reports.

"The suspect, Ji Chaoqun, 27, was arrested in Chicago, where he attended graduate school before joining the Army Reserves, and charged with violating the Foreign Agents Registration Act, or FARA . . .

"Mr. Ji arrived in the United States on a student visa in August 2013 to earn his master's degree in electrical engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago."

2. Markham Mayor Mess.

"Previously barred from office due to a felony conviction, the top vote-getter in 2017's Markham mayoral race was sworn in Tuesday as the city's leader after Gov. Bruce Rauner intervened on his behalf," the Daily Southtown reports.

"The Cook County state's attorney had sued Roger Agpawa after last year's election, arguing his 1999 mail fraud conviction prohibited him from holding municipal office.

"A Cook County Circuit Court judge and a state appellate panel agreed, keeping Agpawa from taking office."

Rauner, however, issued a certificate of some kind overriding the courts. Agpawa's lawyer "said that Illinois' constitution gives the governor such authority, and that it was last used in 1970."

Well, it is an election year.


"It was unclear whether the governor's action indeed makes Agpawa eligible to hold office, and the state's attorney's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment."


Essentially, Rauner pardoned Agpawa (who is currently the fire chief in Country Club Hills, which apparently is a job ex-cons can hold.)


"Agpawa replaces David Webb, who was first elected Markham's mayor in 2001 but did not seek re-election last year amid a federal investigation.

"Webb was charged late last year with taking part in an alleged bribery scheme and pleaded guilty this past January."

Agpawa must have gotten his paperwork into Rauner first.

3. Loews The Latest Biometrics Hit.

"The Chicago Loews hotel violated the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act when it failed to ask for an employee's consent while using his fingerprints as part of a timekeeping system, the worker said in a proposed class action filed Monday," Law360 reports.

Wendy's was also hit with a BIPA suit this month - see item 1 in Monday's column.

4. Jesse White Tumbles?

"With just over a month to go before Illinois voters can begin casting early votes for the November general election, voting rights advocates would typically be busy with registration drives; Democratic candidates would typically be unified in a get-out-the-vote effort," WTTW reports.

"But Monday, the Just Democracy Illinois coalition and Democratic legislators who sponsored Illinois' automatic voter registration (AVR) law accused Secretary of State Jesse White, arguably the state's most popular Democrat as he runs for a record sixth term, of failing to properly implement AVR."



White via CapitolFax:

"The fact is the AVR program is up and running. It is going very well."

But . . .

Illinois PIRG's Hannah Kim:

"Despite Secretary of State White's claim, automatic voter registration is not up and running in Illinois."

5. Let The Damn Sun Shine In, Illinois.

"Rural counties are facing a lot of heat over Illinois' booming solar power development," NPR Illinois reports.

"The big push started in late 2016 when the state legislature passed the Future Energy Jobs Act. It sets aside between $180 million and $220 million yearly to help fund renewable energies like solar, which will help the state meet its goal of generating 25 percent of its energy from renewables by 2025.

"It seems like almost every day, we see a news article from somewhere around the state of a county board or a county zoning board meeting concerning solar projects" said Anthony Star, director of Illinois Power Agency.

"Star said many get approved, but some don't because of a community backlash."

Why? Who is against solar power? It's as innocuous as mom and apple pie!

"In 2017, less than one percent of the state's energy came from solar, but the state's solar production is expected to grow 20 times larger in the next few years, according to the Illinois Power Agency. Most of the growth will come from giant, utility-grade projects. However, it's the small projects that are causing the most hang-ups.

"At least a few dozen Illinois landowners want to take up community solar projects on their private property. They're built so that people can buy into the projects and possibly cash in on any savings from the solar field. However, this forces counties to not only adopt new solar zoning regulations - which some didn't have before 2016 - but also face arguments between neighbors over whether it should be allowed at all."


"Brian McFadden, Sangamon County's administrator, said the county started planning for solar when the Future Energy Jobs Act passed. Still, he said it has been a challenge balancing the concerns of rural residents who hate to see 'good black earth' going to waste and urban residents who fear a change to property values."


See also:

"A Chicago-based company wants to build what would be Ohio's largest solar power generating plant in the southwestern part of the state," the Columbus Dispatch reports.

"The reason why Hecate Energy wants to build in Highland County near the village of Mowrystown? It's the sunniest part of Ohio."

6. The Truth About Crime Rates.

"Violent crime in the United States decreased slightly in 2017, after a troubling rise the previous two years that became a major talking point in the presidential election," the New York Times reports.

"FBI statistics released this week showed that the rate of overall violent crime decreased by 0.9 percent, and the murder rate decreased by 1.4 percent. The rate of property crimes also declined, by 3.6 percent.

"A separate analysis released last week, by the Brennan Center for Justice, also projected that overall crime and murder rates would decline even further in 2018.

"The numbers remained stubbornly high in some places. Chicago, which has been battered by a high rate of violent crime for years, saw killings fall by 14 percent, to a total of 653. Ranking cities by murder rate - murder and non-negligent manslaughter per 100,000 inhabitants - it came in at No. 10."

Now, again, a citywide crime rate isn't necessarily a useful number because crime is not equally distributed. Neighborhood-level crime data really tells us what we need to know. But I - and a few others - have been fighting this battle about Chicago's murder rate for years now.


The city with the worst murder rate in the country? St. Louis.

Second? Baltimore.



"Overall crime has been steadily decreasing for the last 30 years in the United States. Inimai Chettiar, director of the Justice Program at the Brennan Center, said the F.B.I.'s statistics - and her organization's own projections - showed that the rise in crime in 2015-16 was most likely a blip in that trajectory, not the start of a crime wave."



"[The Brennan Center's report] predicted that the murder rate in the 30 largest cities would fall by 7.6 percent by the end of 2018, with sharp drops in San Francisco, Chicago and Baltimore. The report's authors say their data has tracked closely with national trends in previous years."

That's not to say current levels of violence are acceptable, and certainly that each and every case isn't heartbreaking. It's not to say we should be more dispassionate when discussing murder rates. It's to say that the better we understand what is happening, the better we can craft policies to continue making progress.


Also: It's not up to a phone company to solve gun violence. But a phone company can do its part by paying good wages, paying its taxes, and not screwing customers. Leave the public safety piece to the public safety sector.


As I've written before, I'm not fond of corporate philanthropy. Corporate giving papers over on the back end the damage corporations do on the front end, usually at whim of a CEO's personal interest or as part of a public relations effort that skews policy without a serious evaluation of what needs to be done.

7. Our Home, Our Lead.

"Illinois PIRG Education Fund today released first-of-its-kind analysis of new data obtained from the Illinois Department of Public Health finding that 78% of suburban Cook County schools tested positive for lead in at least one water fixture."

Here's an idea: Challenge Bruce Rauner to drink a glass of water from every county in the state. If he refuses, ask why he's failed to protect us of lead-filled water!

8. Surveillance State.

"Today, the Arab American Action Network, a grassroots community organizing and social services institution based in southwest Chicagoland, filed a federal lawsuit against the Department of Justice, the Department of Homeland Security, and the FBI to force them to release records about a secretive and controversial federal initiative called Countering Violent Extremism and how it has spread to Illinois

"The CVE initiative is a collection of federal programs and grants, allegedly designed to prevent homegrown terrorism by identifying potentially 'radicalized' people in local communities."


"We're very concerned about the intrusion of federal law enforcement into our local neighborhoods through this highly criticized program," said Muhammad Sankari, lead youth organizer of the AAAN.

"The people of Chicago need to know how and why the federal government funds police departments and community organizations to spy on our neighborhoods, using the very people we should trust: teachers, therapists, and religious leaders.

"The public needs to know what these programs are, how they work, and what information the government keeps about our community members, particularly young men, people of color, and Muslims."


"Every major civil liberties group in the country has raised the alarm about CVE," said Mary Zerkel of the American Friends Service Committee. "But the program has only grown and spread. Now that it's here in Chicago, the government needs to provide the public with records that show what it's doing here and why."

9. They're Laughing At Us Now.

The Rev. Jesse Jackson on Trump's showing at the UN on Tuesday:

"The world literally laughed at President Trump during his speech at the United Nations.

"Sadly, he wasn't trying to be funny. He gave a narrowly conceived, Red States' stump speech. He talked down to the nations of the world. There was no applause or hope in the august chamber as he spoke.

"Trump threatened immigrants. He threatened China and Iran. He threatened to impose more sanctions on North Korea while at the same time commending the North Korean leader for his recent peace efforts. It was a schizophrenic performance.

"The president also threatened Syria at a time when Russia is moving closer to that nation. Trump is putting America on a collision course with Russia.

"The United Nations is supposed to be a place of healing and building, not for threatening. But Trump sees the world through a keyhole and not a door.

"There are no more foreigners. Science and technology have all but erased distance and time. We must find creative ways to get along and live together in peace. We must choose co-existence over co-annihilation, mutual respect over threats."

10. BREAKING from 7/11:

"Steve, 30 days until your points expire."

This is how they get you.



I made a Chicago suburb name generator from r/chicago





Crystal Lotus Studios Artist Spotlight | Custom Handmade Signs | Chinba of Deft Chicago |



I Was Labeled The High School 'Slut.' It Affected My Whole Life.


The Mass Psychology Of Trumpism.


Facebook Has Removed More Than A Dozen Big Conservative And Liberal Pages Promoting LifeZette.


Swiss Beatz To The Art World: Pay Artists Royalties When Their Work Is Resold.


New York Times Hails MitraClip As A 'Huge Advance For Heart Failure' But Independent Sources Might Have Said Otherwise.


A sampling.


"Tronc is looking for a new director of labor relations, and one of the job responsibilities will be 'maintaining the non-union status of the unorganized employee population.'"


The Beachwood Tronc Line: Make it stop.


Posted on September 26, 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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