Friday, March 3, 2017

Chance the Rapper becomes Chance the Scrapper after disappointing meeting with Governor Rauner

Posted By on 03.03.17 at 02:58 PM


Chance the Rapper wears many hats in addition to his omnipresent "3" ball cap: Grammy Award winning musician, community organizer—and now, believe it or not, state budget negotiator.

Today the hip-hop artist was obviously unsatisfied as he exited the Thompson Center after his much-hyped summit on school funding with Bruce Rauner. His message to the Illinois governor: "Take our kids off the table" in the state's partisan budget battle.

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Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Some advice for Chance the Rapper when he meets with Governor Rauner

Posted By on 03.01.17 at 11:53 AM

Chance the Rapper meets with students from west-side Scammon Elementary School in May 2015. - BRIAN JACKSON/FOR THE SUN-TIMES
  • Brian Jackson/For the Sun-Times
  • Chance the Rapper meets with students from west-side Scammon Elementary School in May 2015.
At some point in the near future, Chance the Rapper will meet with Illinois governor Bruce Rauner to discuss funding Chicago's public schools. (They were supposed to meet today, but the meeting got canceled because of the tornadoes in central Illinois.)

The idea for the get-together came about after Rauner tweeted to congratulate Chance for winning three Grammys. In response, Chance requested a meeting with the governor.

It's a rare opportunity—one that I'm hoping will give Chance a, well, chance to really press the governor on all the ways he's contributed to the CPS funding mess.

So as a civic service, I'd like to offer some advice to help Chance get through all the BS Rauner is about to throw his way.

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

Columbia College prof Michael Fry says he quit after being used and disrespected

Posted By on 02.23.17 at 03:58 PM

  • Courtesy Michael Fry
  • Michael Fry

Michael Fry, one of Columbia College Chicago's most celebrated faculty members and a tenured associate professor, resigned January 20, citing discrimination and racial insensitivity in the television department, where he's been a full-time faculty member since 2007. He began teaching at Columbia as an adjunct in 1997.

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Are some ideas too 'dangerous' for the University of Chicago?

Posted By on 02.15.17 at 05:50 PM

University of Chicago students protested Wednesday the invitation of former Trump adviser Corey Lewandowski to speak the Institute of Politics. - SUN-TIMES MEDIA
  • Sun-Times Media
  • University of Chicago students protested Wednesday the invitation of former Trump adviser Corey Lewandowski to speak the Institute of Politics.
It's never the wrong time to post a ringing endorsement of free speech. Here's one:

I believe in freedom of expression with all my heart, and I also believe in being careful about that freedom when there are folk who will be incensed by that freedom. I am not sure what should be done.
As an uncompromising assertion of principle I'd put that alongside the immortal declaration, "Give me liberty or give me—well, what else you got there?"

The above words were spoken in November 2008 by the dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska. The dean was wrestling with a question that seemed huge at the time: whether to renege on a longstanding invitation to Bill Ayers to speak on campus.

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Friday, February 10, 2017

After Sundance, the impact of the Chicago Media Project’s films continues

Posted By on 02.10.17 at 02:30 PM

Whose Streets?
  • Whose Streets?
During the 2017 annual Sundance Film Festival—which took place January 19 to 29 in Park City, Utah—the U.S. changed presidents. On January 20, Donald Trump took the oath of office and succeeded Barack Obama as president of the United States; in the week that followed, protesters rallied in support of women's rights and Muslim immigrants in major cities and small towns across the country, including in Park City. By the time the festival wrapped, the mood, according to LA Times film critic Justin Chang, had shifted. As he described on the National Public Radio program Fresh Air, it was like "you went up the mountain in one regime, came down the mountain in another . . . it seemed to be like, film is important, but it's not all about film."

Fortunately, the challenge of how to make films that have real and lasting social and political impact has been the linchpin of the Chicago Media Project (CMP) from its inception. Since its official launch in March of 2014, the member-based, nonprofit organization has followed through on its mission to "foster community and provide support for social impact documentary media" by backing films that bring social issues to the fore.

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Thursday, February 9, 2017

Rahm tells a few Trump-like whoppers in his Stanford talk

Posted By on 02.09.17 at 11:13 AM

Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke to Standford graduate students Monday. - COURTESY STANFORD GRADUATE SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
  • Courtesy Stanford Graduate School of Business
  • Mayor Rahm Emanuel spoke to Standford graduate students Monday.

On Monday, Mayor Rahm Emanuel sat down with graduate students at Stanford University's business school to tell them what a wonderful job he's doing in Chicago—as though his experiences would help them achieve their entrepreneurial dreams.

Meanwhile, back home, Chicago Public Schools principals were circulating a central-office directive, warning teachers to clear their classrooms of personal appliances, like coffee makers, so the dead-broke system could save a few dollars on its electric bills.

I tell you this to reveal the disconnect between the Chicago that is, after five years of Rahm's reign, and the one that exists in his imagination.

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Monday, January 23, 2017

DeVos decision delayed, but here's what we know

Posted By on 01.23.17 at 03:30 PM

  • Andrew Harnik

After I wrote about Betsy DeVos, Donald Trump's choice for secretary of education, a few weeks ago, I started getting e-mails from the Friends of Betsy DeVos.

Every day in the run-up to her Senate committee hearing, one or more missives would arrive telling me how great DeVos is, and how many people are endorsing her.

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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

After a 15-month search, Smart Museum gets Gass

Posted By on 01.11.17 at 12:15 PM

Alison Gass will head the Smart Museum - COURTESY SMART MUSEUM
  • Courtesy Smart Museum
  • Alison Gass will head the Smart Museum

In 2005, when Anthony Hirschel was just starting his job as director of the University of Chicago's Smart Museum of Art, the little academic institution was poised for a big expansion.

Smart—which opened in 1974 and is named for its original funders, Esquire magazine founders David and Alfred Smart—was looking at a $30 million construction project that would have increased its permanent exhibit space by 50 percent and quadrupled its special exhibition area.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Looking for certainty in allegations against the Wash U. men's soccer team

Posted By on 12.28.16 at 11:21 AM

Washington University in Saint Louis recently suspended its men's soccer team. - VIA WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY FACEBOOK
  • Via Washington University Facebook
  • Washington University in Saint Louis recently suspended its men's soccer team.

America has shown itself capable of electing a president who's black—but not yet capable, even eight years later, of electing a president who's a woman. Of course, Hillary Clinton wasn't running against a mere John McCain or Mitt Romney; her bad luck was facing an opponent with the rare gift of reminding the electorate by word and deed, and on virtually a daily basis, that women have no more worth than men allow them.

It's obvious now that this attitude is still widely shared. An interesting story broke earlier this month in Saint Louis, my hometown: Washington University suspended its men's soccer team. Details have been sketchy since then, but we know the university judged comments the men's team made last year in an "online document" about members of the women's soccer team to be "degrading and sexually explicit." Last Wednesday night the women brought these comments to the university's attention; the men's team was promptly suspended pending an investigation.

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Thursday, November 17, 2016

Dear president-elect: Chicago grade schoolers write letters to Trump

Posted By on 11.17.16 at 12:31 PM

"Congrats on becoming president. Although you will be president now I worry about some things you have said." - AP PHOTO/CHRISTINE ARMARIO
  • AP Photo/Christine Armario
  • "Congrats on becoming president. Although you will be president now I worry about some things you have said."
My daughter Molly wiped away her own tears as she entered her grade school classroom last Wednesday morning. Molly was as prepared as she could be. Already that morning the head of Near North Montessori had sent the faculty a teaching tolerance article meant to help teachers like Molly process the election with their students. What her kids needed to know, Molly tells me, was "that they were safe, and that their feelings were valid, regardless of what they were."

But this wasn't the outcome anyone expected. Molly teaches a classroom of 29 fourth- , fifth- , and sixth-graders. "The children came in that morning with varying degrees of awareness. It seemed a number of them had been crying," she says. "There were a number of questions about the wall. There were some questions about their Muslim friends. One girl asked if someone would stay with Trump at all times to make sure that he didn't molest anyone. It was extremely hard for me to keep my feelings off of my face. I did my best, though I'm sure my more perceptive students knew exactly how I was feeling . . .

"I told them that they were safe, that their friends were safe, and that there are many people in our country, myself included, committed to making sure that nothing bad happens to them. I couldn't say that any of his plans wouldn't happen. I could say that some of his plans would be very difficult to execute. We talked about what it means to live in a Democracy."

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