Chicago’s Magnificent Mile Ripped Up By Rioters

Very late last night (or early this morning depending how you define time) I was listening to the radio reports of total goonish behavior underway as rioters rampaged in the heart of Chicago.  Hundreds of people swept through the Magnificent Mile and other parts of downtown Chicago smashing windows, looting stores, and confronting police.

This area of the city is one that has long drawn my attention and love. James and I often would take the bus to Ohio Street and its Best Western where we would spend a weekend doing nothing more than walking the entire area and eating.  From what was then Tribune Tower on to Navy Pier and way off to LaSalle Street we would walk and thoroughly enjoy one of this nation’s grand cities.

Having been a listener to Chicago radio since an early teenager has created deep regard for the city.  Being a history buff I have loved to find out more of the famed city.  I am sure not a single one of the rioters last night was aware that 101 years ago the nation’s first aviation disaster–a blimp that catches fire, buckles and crashes into a bank located next to the Board of Trade Building near La Salle Street—had occurred. That was not so far from where the current madness was underway.

I am most certain that the rioters were not privy to the colorful tales of then-Mayor ‘Big’ Bill Thompson, the stunning elections, racial tensions, bombings, union strife, and so much more that took place in the Windy City that July.  What lessons were gained from that time is of no concern to the ones loading up cars with stolen merchandise.

So the news today from the ‘Mag Mile’ is just awful to hear—-and then later when I saw the results of the depraved activity–it just makes me most angry.  And what started the insanity was the inability for some to grasp the actual facts about an earlier shooting.

Sunday afternoon in the Englewood neighborhood there was a 20-year-old man who shot at police while they were pursuing him.   The criminal was taken to the hospital and is expected to survive.  No word on why he thought he should be shooting at the police.  But some on social media purported the shooter was a young teenager.  Social media did not explain how a teenager shooting at police made the situation more swallowable.

What resulted in the rioting is simply maddening. The looting and vandalism are caught on a bevy of cameras showing people streaming in and out of high-end stores, and throwing merchandise into rental trucks and other large vehicles before driving away.  Yes, this is all about social justice!

Reports mounted as the hours continued with people seen breaking large business windows and darting through broken store windows and doors along Michigan Avenue carrying shopping bags full of merchandise. Cars dropped off more people, the videos show, as the crowd grew.

I would be calling out the Illinois National Guard today with orders to stop the chaos.  This must not be allowed to start again tonight in Chicago.

Here is Walgreens on the iconic street.

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And Marcus.

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And Lamborghini store.

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And Telsa.

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And on and on.

Jessie Jackson is correct to blast those who took the criminal actions last night in Chicago.  “This act of pillaging, robbing & looting in Chicago was humiliating, embarrassing &morally wrong. It must not be associated with our quest for social justice and equality.”

There is a difference between those who truly seek remedies through the political process, and that can and does include peaceful marches, from those who trash businesses that make profits and generate tax dollars so to help fund government programs.  Therefore, it is incumbent upon respectable folks who desire to see justice to now call out the ones who created the shameful spectacle on the Magnificent Mile.

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QAnon Movement Needs To Be Flushed

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Crackpots and conspiracy theorists are nothing new in our nation. For example, I enjoy reading history about the mid-20th century and the ginned-up idea that homegrown traitors “lost” Eastern Europe and China to communism is laughable, and easily proven to be wrong.   Such ridiculous claims about all sorts of events and people percolate throughout our history.

Now, though, due to Donald Trump disdaining facts and pushing such behavior forward daily, it has given license to a new batch of dangerous ideas to be unleashed.  But thankfully there is now blow-back, and I am pleased as that is a healthy sign for democracy.

Our nation has been attacked, and that is an appropriate word to use, from Donald Trump.  Consider Trump and his ‘birther’ creepiness, “Obamagate” if you can even get the word to cross your lips due to its lack of seriousness, Morning Joe anchor Joe Scarborough being maligned, and the smear to Chinese people over a virus.   The depth and the stench from the maliciously created conspiracies from Trump have posed a true danger to the nation.  In part, because there is a segment of his base who are so under-educated they actually believe them, and as such, some of these theories have stuck more than others.

I applaud efforts to undermine conspiracies.  Consider why I hold that view.  It is one thing to claim something about UFOs in New Mexico which has no consequence to anyone.  But when a vile and vicious creation is aimed at a nationality, as Trump does with Chinese people, it has real harmful effects.

Tonight CNN’s Reliable Sources has a segment of their evening newsletter which deals with one such lunatic group, those who are known as the QAnon movement.   And the efforts from Twitter to say “Enough”.

In a sweeping crackdown, Twitter announced Tuesday evening that it will take action on accounts and activity associated with the QAnon movement. It marks the first time the company has taken widespread action against QAnon affiliated content. “We’ve been clear that we will take strong enforcement action on behavior that has the potential to lead to offline harm,” Twitter said in a statement. “In line with this approach, this week we are taking further action on so-called ‘QAnon’ activity across the service.”

Twitter outlined a series of steps it will take. The company said it will ban accounts tweeting “about these topics that we know are engaged in violations of our multi-account policy, coordinating abuse around individual victims, or are attempting to evade a previous suspension.” NBC’s Ben Collins and Brandy Zadrozny, who were first to report the story, said that so far approximately 7,000 such accounts have been taken down.

Twitter also said that it will take three more steps: “1. No longer serve content and accounts associated with QAnon in Trends and recommendations. 2. Work to ensure we’re not highlighting this activity in search and conversations. 3. Block URLs associated with QAnon from being shared on Twitter.” Those actions, Twitter said, will be “rolled out comprehensively this week.”

It’s hard to understate the importance of these actions. Joan Donovan, who studies disinformation as the director of technology and social change research at Harvard Kennedy School’s Shorenstein Center, explained that “the Q keyword has brought together a networked faction, aided by automation, that continuously spreads misinformation and inspires dangerous behaviors.” This will help curb access to this poisonous information…

Light and truth always prevail. Just like the ones who scorned Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, and the State Department over China have been tossed on the ash-heap of history, so too will Trump and his ilk find that to be their eventual home.

Until then we need to hold steady and give support to those who turn up the temperature on the unstable ones who harbor conspiracy theories that undermine the nation.

And so it goes.

Conservatives Content To Be Anti-Science

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I have always wondered how the business portion of the Republican Party, who grasps the economic impact that climate change will have on their profits, or the reason why a highly educated workforce is vital to their success can then cozy up to the most shallow and vacuous of candidates and leaders within their party?

That came to mind again today when Kayleigh McEnany, the dim-witted White House Press Secretary, made a supremely stupid comment before the media.

Stating how Donald Trump wanted schools to open during a pandemic she then added “and when he says open, he means open and full, kids being able to attend each and every day at their school. The science should not stand in the way of this.”

Trump continues to prove that he is willing to place anything ahead of reason and logic so to better his chances of the election come November.  His narrow self-centered focus is what we have come to expect, but what is most disconcerting are the many conservatives who now also readily follow suit. Putting children in the front lines for partisan gain is most unseemly.

To undermine science, as Trump and his supporters have done, is not new.  But to actually state it as McEnany did, was nothing short of stunning.

What can not be dismissed is that the damage to children–and the entire nation–was first done when Trump declared that the virus would just go away.  Again and again, he has trampled on data and medical facts to smear scientists and professionals who dare to speak the truth about COVID-19.  Trump can now prattle on about the damage to kids who are not in school but let us not forget that it was this White House’s abdication of duty to the nation to deal with a pandemic that has brought us to this most concerning  place in America.

Thursday Maryland Republican Governor Larry Hogan laid out his deep concerns with Trump concerning a lack of regard for science and also leadership.

I’d watched as the president downplayed the outbreak’s severity and as the White House failed to issue public warnings, draw up a 50-state strategy, or dispatch medical gear or lifesaving ventilators from the national stockpile to American hospitals. Eventually, it was clear that waiting around for the president to run the nation’s response was hopeless; if we delayed any longer, we’d be condemning more of our citizens to suffering and death. So every governor went their own way, which is how the United States ended up with such a patchwork response.

So many nationwide actions could have been taken in those early days but weren’t. While other countries were racing ahead with well-coordinated testing regimes, the Trump administration bungled the effort. 

Meanwhile, instead of listening to his own public health experts, the president was talking and tweeting like a man more concerned about boosting the stock market or his reelection plans.

I have posted my desire to have our young people educated this fall, with schools open.  But if the data and professional advice from the medical community says otherwise, then it will be long-distance learning for the year.

My husband was a college professor for many years in this city.  He noted the challenges which instructors will face this fall due to children not being proficient with last year’s classwork.  In addition, comes the reality that the economic disparity is playing havoc with remote teaching across our nation.

The digital divide is real. In many districts, the rush to build a remote learning plan began the old-fashioned way, with paper packets — enough to tide kids over while school leaders take stock. Namely, can they provide hardware and Wi-Fi access to every student who needs it?

The answer for many school leaders has been a dispiriting no.

“I would easily say that less than 50% of our students and families have access to either a consistent learning device and/or Internet access,” says Nikolai Vitti, the head of Detroit Public Schools Community District. “I think that’s our greatest challenge right now.”

I remind my readers it was Governor Scott Walker who turned aside federal monies for broadband expansion in our state.  In 2012 our state lost $23 million in federal money to expand broadband.  Our school children would have much benefited from that federal assistance.  It was a colossal and idiotic move from a conservative who thought he could wreck our state, and then use that harshness as a stepping-stone to the Republican nomination and the White House.  That idea was undone like a bug on a windshield, thanks to Governor Tony Evers in 2018.

The only thing that did not happen after the anti-science statement by McEnany was out-right laughter from the press.  Her statement was absolutely stupid.  But the press knows, as we all do, that the gravity of the time we find ourselves requires a determination to make it through to Election Day.

Then we can again vote for leaders who believe in and value science.  Even read books!

And so it goes.

Donald Trump Being Compared To Winston Churchill Most Embarrassing Moment Of The Week

Before we get to the heart of this post lets define a word.

Vacuous is having or showing a lack of thought or intelligence; mindless.

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(We see why Donald Trump hired her.)

On Wednesday, after a week that had already produced an embarrassing and simply bizarre episode where Donald Trump walked from the White House across Lafayette Square to silently hold up a Bible in front of St John’s Church, had law enforcement disperse a peaceful protest, and threatened to use the federal military against U.S. citizens, came yet another stunning event from this pathetic administration.

The vacuous White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany compared Trump at the church to demonstrations of strength and solidarity by Winston Churchill.

When the breathtakingly stupid McEnany was asked at a news briefing why the president thought it was important to walk over to the church for the cameras, she explained that Trump “wanted to send a very powerful message that we will not be overcome by looting, by rioting, by burning.” She added, “Like Churchill, we saw him inspecting the bombing damage, it sent a powerful message of leadership to the British people.”

The ditzy press secretary clearly is not aware that there are few historical episodes more well known than the Battle of Britain.  Had she an ounce of historical reference she could recall the words Churchill used to help save democratic civilization.  Who can forget “Their finest hour”, “Blood, sweat and tears”, “Never have so many owed so much to so few.”

Meanwhile, the Trump administration authorized the use of  “pepper balls,” a projectile munition that lofts irritant powder into the air, and “smoke canisters” to scatter the peaceful crowd then assembled Monday.  That was done so Trump could stand with a bible, just another book he does not read, in front of a church.  And McEnany thinks that merits comparison with Churchill!

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Earlier this spring I finished The Splendid and the Vile by Erik Larson.  It is a book that is sold in Washington, D.C. book stores and one McEnany seriously is in need of reading. (Someone can certainly help her with the larger words.)

On Winston Churchill’s first day as prime minister, Adolf Hitler invaded Holland and Belgium. Poland and Czechoslovakia had already fallen, and the Dunkirk evacuation was just two weeks away. For the next twelve months, Hitler would wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons.

Chapter 44: On a Quiet Blue Day

The day was warm and still, the sky blue above a rising haze. Temperatures by afternoon were in the nineties, odd for London. People thronged Hyde Park and lounged on chairs set out beside the Serpentine. Shoppers jammed the stores of Oxford Street and Piccadilly. The giant barrage balloons overhead cast lumbering shadows on the streets below. After the August air raid when bombs first fell on London proper, the city had retreated back into a dream of invulnerability, punctuated now and then by false alerts whose once-terrifying novelty was muted by the failure of bombers to appear. The late-summer heat imparted an air of languid complacency. In the city’s West End, theaters hosted twenty-four productions, among them the play Rebecca, adapted for the stage by Daphne du Maurier from her novel of the same name. Alfred Hitchcock’s movie version, starring Laurence Olivier and Joan Fontaine, was also playing in London, as were the films The Thin Man and the long-running Gaslight.

It was a fine day to spend in the cool green of the countryside.

The Luftwaffe came at teatime . . .

Just how many inept characters are in the Trump administration?  A shockingly high number as we are learning.

Simply embarrassing for the nation.

Guillotine At Wisconsin State Capitol During Protest Rally

It was disheartening to see 1,500 people gather at the Wisconsin State Capitol on Friday with a total lack of regard for the medical advice given so to keep people safe during this pandemic. It was disheartening to see these individuals not understand the science and the data that drives government to take actions such as Evers did with the closing down of businesses to stem the spread of the virus. It was disheartening to see these people have a disregard for the health and well-being of their fellow citizens at a time when bending the curve of this virus is in the best interest of all Wisconsinites.

But it was even more disheartening to see the malcontents and rabble that came out on the Capitol Square and mocked the common sense and decency of the majority of the people who reside in the state. They did that by demonstrating how little they think of their fellow citizens, who have stayed home and away from others to deny the virus the ability to travel.  The protesters, without knowing it, also demonstrated how little they respect themselves. No one with any ounce of dignity or self-worth would act in the fashion as these photos demonstrate.

To bring a guillotine to the Wisconsin State Capitol and to scorn the work that the majority of the state’s residents have demonstrated by their adherence to the medical guidelines underscores the true character of the protesters, or should I say, the lack thereof.

 

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Military Assault Weapons At Wisconsin State Capitol Rally

Shawn Johnson from WPR had this photo posted on his twitter feed this afternoon from the Wisconsin Statehouse rally. How in the hell do these folks put a pandemic and military assault weapon into the same thought?

Well, since they do not think it was my error in asking the question.

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Trump Asks If Medical Staff Stealing Masks!

There is no end to the complete absurdities that occur at Donald Trump’s press briefings. (This is just another reason why news operations are not taking the complete live feed of the press briefings as the need for objective truth rises above the partisan nonsense that Trump wishes to spew.)

National conservative columnist, Jonah Goldberg, makes the point most clearly. Consider what Trump said this weekend, and at the same picture in your mind the nurses and doctors that you have seen on television news and in the newspapers who are working feverishly on behalf of sick people from coast to coast.

“On Sunday, Trump, absent any hard evidence, suggested that large numbers of masks were being stolen from New York hospitals, citing an unnamed facility he had said had seen a huge surge in mask usage. “How do you go from 10 to 20,000 masks being used to 300,000?” Trump said and he didn’t stop there.

“Where are the masks going, are they going out the back door?”Trump asked. “somebody should probably look into that because I just don’t see from a practical standpoint how that’s possible.“

Perhaps, just perhaps the increased volume of masks being used is correlated with the emergence of a runaway highly contagious pandemic? I wonder if Joseph Stalin ever said during the battle of Stalingrad “this doesn’t make sense. Normally they only want 20,000 boxes of ammunition. All of a sudden they want 300,000? Somebody must be stealing the bullets.””

The following paragraph is not that of the columnists, but my point of view.

To stand before the nation as President of the United States, and insult the nurses and doctors and medical professionals all across this land who are doing their very best to stem the tide of this virus is simply unconscionable. I thought I had seen low moments in the Trump presidency over the past three years, but this week we have seen yet a new low.

A disgusting new low.

Madison Schools Put Lunacy, During Pandemic, Into Writing!

The most outlandish news story of the day comes from the Human Resources Department of Madison Public Schools.

The district sent a message to staff Thursday saying the expectation is for teachers with children at home to find a child care solution — either outside of or inside home — during the hours they work remotely.

“You cannot watch your children and work at the same time,” a message from the district’s Human Resources Department said.

What complete idiot thought up this ridiculous notion, then wrote it up?  Better yet, which higher-up then authorized such lunacy to be made public?  I see a place to thin the herd within the administration and save a few dollars.  Talk about raving BS from Madison schools!

Andy Waity, president of MTI, said in an email Friday the union sent a message to the district to reconsider its position as soon as possible.

“There is no childcare available for staff. It has been challenging for our community to find childcare for even essential services personnel,” MTI’s message said. “If the District intends to proceed with remote learning in the midst of a public health pandemic, the District needs to find a way for employees to do so while they manage their childcare, family responsibilities, and a public health pandemic.”

I know a state worker with twin boys working from home, as the boys learn and play.  Now there is a demand Madison teachers must secure child care while they teach in a virtual classroom during this time of crisis!

I would be telling the HR Dept to well…you know.   And in case no one has been in a classroom as of late, teachers are masters of multi-tasking!