It said: “The neighborhood has seen modest decreases in theft, car thefts and robberies. But what few shootings and homicides the neighborhood saw over the past 10 years has stayed relatively consistent in the single digit range.”
Let me tie a few of this week’s stories together — all them anchored in my neighborhood, at least one literally right across the street from me.
First, the utterly horrific and senseless murder of Hadiya Pendleton, the King College Prep sophomore who was shot dead at a little park on a very quiet street two blocks from my house. I’ve driven by that park literally hundreds, if not thousands of times, since I moved here more than a dozen years ago. I strolled by there with my son last fall, looking forward to when he was old enough to go down that slide.
I woke up to this Facebook status yesterday from a friend whose child attends King: “Damn. I hope this is the first and only time I have to give one of my kids grief counseling — a friend of my 14yo was shot and killed while she was walking home today. This world is rough.”
The Republican obsession with repealing Obamacare continues, no matter that a Republican appointee on the Supreme Court provided the vote to determine its constitutionality. No matter that people rejected the party's presidential ticket-- which ran on the premise of repealing the law on the first day of their term.
The Republican-led U.S. House has voted to repeal the law 33 times, with a new effort underway already in the 113th Congress sponsored by Rep. Michelle Bachman. And now the U.S. Senate, where we have come to expect a bit more reason, has a new GOP sponsored bill to consider which would eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate, thus rendering it useless by uncoupling its programs from its funding mechanism.
But León won’t be making history, like Blanco, as the first Latino to give the blessing this time. That’s because he was the first Latino to give the blessing in 2005, for President George W. Bush.
Daring the GOP -- polls strongly support the White House on this issue -- Obama also promised to bypass Congress and executive order his way to increased enforcement of existing laws and better communication among federal agencies on gun matters.
Talking tough, right? Talking legacy, eh?
Not according to a group who believes this is the result of a carefully planned conspiracy to take away U.S. guns and lead us closer to a fascist state.
I encountered Yann Martel’s Life of Pi with a chip on my shoulder, determined not to like it. A controversy whirled around it, not just because the premise was almost identical to Moacyr Scliar’s Max and the Cats, but because Martel -- though freely acknowledging the inspiration -- had been a total dick about it.
“Why put up with a brilliant premise ruined by a lesser writer?" Martel had said by way of explaining why he’d never read Scliar’s brilliant little book but took its idea for his own.
As an admirer of Scliar’s, I was disgusted by Martel and went into the pages of Pi looking for evidence of the lesser writer. What I found instead was a beautiful story that hooked me from the go: I loved the writing if not the writer.
I have no idea what the Rev. Louie Giglio thinks about gay people these days. But in a sermon from 15 years ago, he called homosexuality a sin and sought to entice repentance from followers who engaged in it. And that, apparently, is what got Giglio disinvited from the presidential inauguration, where he was set to to give the benediction.
Believe me, I was pretty dismayed to see President Obama invite yet another evangelical preacher with a negative focus on queers to come celebrate the beginning of his second term after he had Rich Warren, whose record of inflammatory anti-gay preaching is pretty clear, at his historic first inaugural.
Several years ago, long after we’d met -- though I don’t remember where we met, exactly, somewhere writerly or Cuban or both -- Richard Blanco and I were at a bar here in Chicago during an AWP event and he said, “You know your mom’s friendis my mom, right?”