WBEZ | News http://www.wbez.org/news Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en McDonalds to phase out chicken raised with certain antibiotics http://www.wbez.org/sections/food/mcdonalds-phase-out-chicken-raised-certain-antibiotics-111656 <p><p>Chicken McNuggets may never be the same--starting in two years.<br />Oak Brook-based McDonald&rsquo;s announced a new policy Wednesday&nbsp;that would ban chickens raised using antibiotics that are vital to treating infections in humans.</p><p>The chain&rsquo;s suppliers can still treat sick animals with antibiotics, but that meat can&rsquo;t end up in McDonald&rsquo;s food supply, according to the policy.&nbsp;</p><p>Health and environmental groups have been urging the world&rsquo;s largest fast food chain to make the move for almost two years. Among them is the Natural Resources Defense Council whose Food and Agriculture director Jonathan Kaplan had mixed feelings about the announcement.</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s great news and I think its a game changer for the poultry industry here in the U.S.,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;We are still concerned about [McDonald&rsquo;s] global policy that has a loophole that could allow the routine use of antibiotics to continue.&rdquo;</p><p>The move would affect the roughly 14,000 stores in the U.S. but not the 22,000 abroad. Additionally, it does not affect the chain&rsquo;s beef and pork suppliers.&nbsp;</p><p>Still, the company&rsquo;s thinking has evolved since it first released a policy on antibiotics in 2003. In its new Global Vision on Antibiotic Stewardship document McDonald&rsquo;s says &ldquo;As the body of scientific evidence grows and scientific consensus emerges, we recognize the importance of continuing to evolve our position on antimicrobial usage.&rdquo;</p><p>Indeed, the world&rsquo;s medical community now agrees that the overuse of antibiotics in human medicine, as well as meat production, has contributed to the rise of antibiotic resistant bacteria and infections that kill 23,000 Americans a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p><p>When small regular doses of antibiotics are administered to animals--largely for growth promotion and disease prevention--some weak bacteria die, but stronger bacteria can survive, thrive and evolve into &ldquo;superbugs&rdquo; that can&rsquo;t be treated with the drugs.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/600Chicken_nuggets_-_10pc.jpg" style="float: left;" title="(J.smith Wikimedia Commons)" />Although Chik-Fil-A and Chipotle have already committed to sourcing meat raised without antibiotics, McDonalds is the first of the large chains to raise its antibiotics standards.</p><p>The move comes just three days after McDonald&rsquo;s new CEO Steve Easterbrook assumed leadership of the company, and just five months after the arrival of Mike Andres who heads the chain&rsquo;s U.S. division.&nbsp;</p><p>Wednesday Andres, released a statement saying&nbsp; &ldquo;Our customers want food that they feel great about eating... and these moves take a step toward better delivering on those expectations.&rdquo;</p><p>A coalition of health advocates called Keep Antibiotics Working applauded the move today and noted that it had been in talks with McDonald&rsquo;s on the issue since 2003.</p><p>Last month, the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, and its Illinois chapter, launched a campaign to urge the chain to get antibiotics out of its meat production. And just yesterday, Illinois PIRG&rsquo;s Dev Gowda, says he dropped off a petition in Oak Brook with 30,000 signatures to that effect. Still, he said the move took him completely by surprise. He now hopes the chain will follow suit with its beef and pork supplies.<br /><br />Rep. Louise Slaughter (D-NY), who is the only microbiologist in Congress, praised the move and chalked it up to the power of pressure from the &ldquo;educated&rdquo; consumer.&nbsp; Still, she said that the country needs &ldquo;enforceable and verifiable limits on antibiotic use.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>She has often sponsored House legislation to restrict the use of all medically important antibiotics in livestock production. Another bill in the Senate aims to track where and how antibiotics are being used in the U.S. Estimates indicate that 70 to 80 percent of antibiotics purchased in the U.S. are currently used in meat production alone.</p><p>In December 2013 the US Food and Drug Administration issued guidance to pharmaceutical companies asking them to voluntarily stop labeling and selling the drugs exclusively for &ldquo;growth promotion.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>Health advocates complain that voluntary guidance to end growth promotion uses is too weak. They worry that producers will continue to use the same drugs for &ldquo;disease prevention&rdquo; which they feel only enables farmers to raise animals in crowded unsanitary conditions.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 04 Mar 2015 16:13:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/sections/food/mcdonalds-phase-out-chicken-raised-certain-antibiotics-111656 Controversial Netanyahu speech is latest glitch in U.S.-Israel relations http://www.wbez.org/news/controversial-netanyahu-speech-latest-glitch-us-israel-relations-111648 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/ap410033752031_wide-5b5c6c6f496eafa21a0e1548a1385ca9d17f36f7-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Israel&#39;s Prime Minister is expected to deliver a stern warning when he speaks to a joint meeting of Congress Tuesday morning. Benjamin Netanyahu says the nuclear deal that the U.S. and other countries are pursuing with Iran could threaten Israel&#39;s survival.</p><p>That&#39;s not a new message from Netanyahu, but it&#39;s drawing extra attention because of the way the speech came about: Republican congressional leaders invited the prime minister with no involvement from the White House.</p><p>&quot;Never has so much been written about a speech that hasn&#39;t been given,&quot; Netanyahu joked on Monday&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/03/02/390144135/u-s-israel-partnership-transcends-politics-ambassador-power-says">during a sneak preview f</a>or the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC.</p><p>Some Democratic lawmakers plan to boycott Tuesday&#39;s speech. Vice President Joe Biden, who would ordinarily attend, is conveniently out of the country. President Obama has also declined to meet with Netanyahu, citing Israel&#39;s election in just over two weeks.</p><p>Netanyahu tried to downplay the dispute as a disagreement within the U.S.-Israeli family. And like a lot of family disagreements, this one has a long history. The friction dates to at least 2010 when the Israeli government embarrassed the White House by announcing controversial plans for settlement construction in East Jerusalem during a visit by Vice President Biden.</p><p>The following year, Obama was inadvertently recorded disparaging Netanyahu while meeting with the leader of France.</p><p>During the 2012 re-election campaign, Netanyahu hosted a chummy dinner for Obama&#39;s Republican rival Mitt Romney. And when Israel responded to rocket attacks last summer by moving troops into Gaza, Obama offered only qualified support, warning the U.S. and its allies were &quot;deeply concerned&quot; about &quot;the loss of more innocent life.&quot;</p><p>&quot;I describe it as an ongoing series of soap opera episodes,&quot;says Aaron David Miller, a Middle East scholar at the Wilson Center. He added the repeated clashes between Obama and Netanyahu result not just from different personalities but from two very different strategic visions &mdash; especially when it comes to Iran and its nuclear program.</p><p>Obama has long argued that diplomacy is the best way to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Netanyahu sees little room to negotiate with a country that has pledged to destroy Israel. He worries the longer talks go on, the closer Iran might come to carrying out its threat.</p><p>&quot;American leaders worry about the security of their country. Israeli leaders worry about the survival of their country,&quot; Netanyahu told AIPAC.</p><p>America&#39;s U.N. Ambassador Samantha Power says it&#39;s natural for even close allies to disagree at times about the best way to achieve a common goal. In this case, though, the policy debate has been saddled with additional weight of partisan politics, both in the U.S. and Israel.</p><p>&quot;Debating the most effective policy both within our respective democracies and among partners is more than useful,&quot; she said. &quot;It is a necessary part of arriving at informed decisions. Politicizing that process is not. The stakes are too high for that.&quot;</p><p>Obama argued in an interview with Reuters on Monday that the timing of Netanyahu&#39;s speech makes it appear the U.S. is taking sides in Israel&#39;s upcoming election. What&#39;s more, it injects the Israeli prime minister into an ongoing foreign policy debate between Obama and his Republican critics.</p><p>Netanyahu told AIPAC he did not intend to show Obama any disrespect. &quot;The last thing that anyone who cares about Israel, the last thing that I would want, is for Israel to become a partisan issue,&quot; he said. &quot;I regret that some people have mis-perceived my visit here this week as doing that.&quot;</p><p>Netanyahu insists the friendship between the U.S. and Israel will weather this disagreement and grow stronger in the future.</p><p>Middle East scholar Miller, who served as an adviser to both Democratic and Republican administrations, agreed, calling the partnership too big to fail. But that doesn&#39;t mean it will be easy.</p><p>&quot;I think there will be an effort made over the next several days to tone this down and dial it back,&quot; Miller says. &quot;But we&#39;re talking here five years of dysfunction. That sort of rift is going to take time and a good deal of cooperation in order to mend.&quot;</p><p>Obama told Reuters that the dust-up is &quot;a distraction&quot; that&#39;s not &quot;permanently destructive&quot; to relations with Israel. He added he&#39;ll continue to work with Netanyahu in the future, if the prime minister is re-elected.</p><p><em>-via <a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/03/03/390351226/netanyahu-speech-is-latest-glitch-in-u-s-israel-relations">NPR News</a></em></p></p> Tue, 03 Mar 2015 08:44:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/controversial-netanyahu-speech-latest-glitch-us-israel-relations-111648 After ugly brawl, Northwest Indiana hoops teams are cleared to play http://www.wbez.org/news/after-ugly-brawl-northwest-indiana-hoops-teams-are-cleared-play-111646 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Indy-BBall-2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A judge in Northwest Indiana issued a temporary restraining order on Monday that will allow two suspended high school basketball teams to compete this week in the state tournament. &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>It&rsquo;s been nearly a month since the bench-clearing brawl near the start of a boys&rsquo; basketball game between Griffith and Hammond high schools. A video of the Feb. 7th fight was posted to YouTube and soon the national media took it up, including ESPN.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0l4I3QFEtyw" width="560"></iframe></p><p>Days later, Bobby Cox, head of the Indiana High School Athletic Association, handed down what some had dubbed the &ldquo;death penalty&rdquo;:</p><ul><li>Suspension of the last remaining games of the season, meaning Griffith forfeited six games and Hammond four.</li><li>A fine of $500 paid to each school the teams were supposed to play on the road.</li><li>No tournament play.</li><li>Completion of an online course about sportsmanship.</li><li>10 players from each team were also suspended by their respected schools for five days.</li></ul><p>Cox said the IHSAA was trying to send a message that such brawls would not be tolerated. It was the first major fight since another big brawl of two high school football teams in October 2013. A task force was set up to recommended stiffer penalties for the future. &nbsp;</p><p>But a team of lawyers representing Griffith and Hammond high schools argued that Cox went overboard. And on Monday &mdash; after nearly six hours of testimony &mdash; Lake County, Indiana Superior Court Judge John Pera agreed.</p><p>&ldquo;The action by (IHSAA) was illegal, arbitrary, excessive and contrary to law,&rdquo; Pera stated from his bench in Crown Point in extending the Temporary Restraining Order.</p><p>The TRO allows both teams to practice to compete in the opening rounds of the Indiana state basketball tournament. Both teams will open tournament play against other teams at Gavit High School in Hammond. Griffith plays Thursday and Hammond on Friday.</p><p>&ldquo;These kids have gone through a lot the last two or three weeks and it&rsquo;s good for them to get back on the court and have an opportunity to compete in the tournament,&rdquo; said Larry Moore Sr., Hammond High&rsquo;s Athletic Director whose son is head coach for the team. &ldquo;That&rsquo;s what it&rsquo;s all about. Indiana basketball.&rdquo;</p><p>Meanwhile, Cox said he was disappointed in the judge&rsquo;s ruling.</p><p>&ldquo;We felt like we were enforcing our rules. We had a just penalty and the court has decided that&rsquo;s not such,&rdquo; Cox said who sat in the courtroom next to the IHSAA&rsquo;s attorney Robert Baker.</p><p>In court, Baker listed a number of brawls at recent high school football and basketball games. The last one, in October 2013, involved football coaches and players fighting on the field. Players were suspended for one game but the teams were allowed to compete in the state tournament that season.</p><p>After that, Baker said the IHSAA created a task force that recommended tougher penalties for future incidents. For the first incident, a one game suspension. For the second offense in the same year, a two-game suspension.</p><p>But Michael Jasaitis, one of the three attorneys on the case for the high schools, said Cox went well beyond the recommendations for tougher penalties.</p><p>&ldquo;Compared to prior punishments issued by the IHSAA the last four years, this was disproportionate and excessive,&rdquo; Jasaitis said. &ldquo;Everybody involved has already expressed remorse, has apologized and doesn&rsquo;t condone those activities. However, punishments need to be consistent.&rdquo;</p><p>Another issue that came up in court is that the suspended students had no grounds to challenge the penalties. That&rsquo;s because under the association&rsquo;s own rules, the students were not &ldquo;affected parties,&rdquo; only the schools were.</p><p>Judge Pera found that argument to be &ldquo;disingenuous&rdquo; by the IHSAA.</p><p>The attorneys for the students said the players were &ldquo;the most affected&rdquo; parties of anyone in the case and should be allowed to challenge the suspensions.</p><p>Another concern for players was that in missing the state high school basketball tournament known as &ldquo;Hoosier Hysteria,&rdquo; they might lose out on potential scholarships.</p><p>Griffith senior Anthony Harris testified that offers from local colleges to play ball next year have all but evaporated. Harris said he had been fielding offers from South Suburban College in South Holland, Ill., and Purdue University Calumet in Hammond.</p><p>&ldquo;I apologize to Bobby Cox,&rdquo; Harris said from the stand. &ldquo;We all make mistakes.&rdquo;</p><p>Hammond and Griffith hope to use the episode as a &ldquo;teachable moment.&rdquo; The schools will sit down together for dinner later this month and learn about sportsmanship from E&rsquo;Twaun Moore, a former East Chicago, Ind. standout who now plays for the Chicago Bulls.</p><p>&ldquo;Both Hammond and Griffith young men made a bad judgement but they both did everything they can to show their remorse for it and we think the court&rsquo;s order was appropriate,&rdquo; said veteran Northwest Indiana attorney Rhett Tauber representing Griffith in the case.</p><p>Baker said he&rsquo;s unsure if the IHSAA plans to appeal the decision.</p></p> Tue, 03 Mar 2015 07:47:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/after-ugly-brawl-northwest-indiana-hoops-teams-are-cleared-play-111646 Chicago ends standoff, agrees to give new state test http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-ends-standoff-agrees-give-new-state-test-111644 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/IMG_1631_0.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago Public Schools ended its <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/standoff-over-new-state-school-test-continues-111626">standoff with the State of Illinois</a>&nbsp;over the new mandated standardized state test. &nbsp;</p><p>All students in the Chicago district will have to take the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or <a href="http://parcc.pearson.com/">PARCC</a>, exam this spring. Schools will start giving the test next Monday, March 9th.</p><p>&ldquo;I continue to personally and professionally believe that to administer PARCC this year is absolutely not in the best interest of our students,&rdquo; CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett said Monday. &ldquo;However, given the threat from (the state), there is absolutely no choice.&rdquo;</p><p>The Illinois State Board of Education <a href="https://www.scribd.com/collections/13631879/CPS-ISBE-on-PARCC">sent a letter to the district on Friday</a> reiterating its stance that if CPS only gave the test at 10 percent of its schools, &nbsp;it could risk losing $1.4 billion in funding.</p><p>The requirement means that CPS students will now face <a href="http://cps.edu/Performance/Documents/AssessmentCalendar_District.pdf">a barrage of tests</a> for the remainder of the school year.</p><p>&ldquo;There&rsquo;s barely a week without a testing window. It&rsquo;s just horrifying,&rdquo; said Wendy Katten, head of the parent group Raise Your Hand. &nbsp;The organization has been increasingly vocal about the overuse of standardized tests.</p><p>Indeed, there are just three weeks between now and the end of the school year when CPS will not be giving some kind of standardized test. One of those weeks is spring break. Of course, not all students will have to take all of the tests and not all students are taking the test every day. But, Katten said, it&rsquo;s still disruptive to the school environment.</p><p>&ldquo;Some schools might have 30 computers and 800 kids; they&rsquo;re probably going to take the whole window of testing,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>In all, 230,000 CPS students will take the PARCC. John Barker, the district&rsquo;s chief of accountability, said 3rd through 5th graders will take the PARCC exam on paper, while 6th through 8th and high school students in Algebra 1 and English 1 will take the test on computers.</p><p>A second phase of the PARCC exam will be given between April 27th and May 22nd. Additionally, CPS will give the final phase of the district-mandated NWEA MAP test to all kindergarten through 8<sup>th</sup> grade students between May 11th and June 12th. The last day of school is June 16th.</p><p>In that same time, CPS students will also take a series of tests, called REACH, that are used to evaluate teachers. The ACT is being given to high school juniors March 3rd, and students enrolled in Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate programs will be tested the second and third weeks of May.</p><p>Chicago Board of Education President David Vitale said students who would have otherwise spent three hours taking tests will spend roughly 13 hours doing so.</p><p>Katten said her group and others will continue to push for an Illinois &ldquo;opt-out&rdquo; law that would allow parents to remove their child from testing. Currently, Illinois has no such provision and state officials say the only way around taking a test is if the student refuses it.&nbsp;</p><p><i>This article has been updated to reflect that students enrolled in Algebra 1 and English 1 will have to take the PARCC exam. &nbsp;</i></p></p> Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:23:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-ends-standoff-agrees-give-new-state-test-111644 White Sox icon Minnie Minoso dies http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/white-sox-icon-minnie-minoso-dies-111639 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Minnie Minoso 1955 AP crop site_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><strong>▲ LISTEN&nbsp;</strong><em>WBEZ&#39;s Yolanda Perdomo talks with Morning Edition host Lisa Labuz about Minoso&#39;s life and career.</em></p><p style="text-align: center;">...</p><p>Minnie Minoso, the seemingly ageless Cuban slugger who broke into the majors just two years after Jackie Robinson and turned into the game&#39;s first black Latino star, has died, a medical examiner in Illinois said Sunday.</p><p>The Cook County medical examiner&#39;s office did not immediately offer further details. There is some question about Minoso&#39;s age but the Chicago White Sox say he was 90.</p><p>Minoso played 12 of his 17 seasons in Chicago, hitting .304 with 135 homers and 808 RBIs for the White Sox. The White Sox retired his No. 9 in 1983 and there is a statue of Minoso at U.S. Cellular Field.</p><blockquote><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/dynamic-range/minnie-minosos-first-game-106394"><strong>Hear Minoso tell the story of his first game in Comiskey</strong></a></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/white-sox-icon-minnie-minoso-dies-111639#obama"><strong>Obama: Minoso will always be &#39;Mr. White Sox&#39;</strong></a></p></blockquote><p>&quot;We have lost our dear friend and a great man,&quot; White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf said in a release. &quot;Many tears are falling.&quot;</p><p>Minoso made his major league debut with Cleveland in 1949 and was dealt to the White Sox in a three-team trade two years later. He became major league baseball&#39;s first black player in Chicago on May 1, 1951, and homered in his first plate appearance against Yankees right-hander Vic Raschi.</p><p>It was the start of a beautiful relationship between the slugger and the White Sox.</p><p>Minoso, regarded as baseball&#39;s first black Latino star, was a Havana native who spent most of his career in left field. He is one of only two players to appear in a major league game in five different decades. He got his final hit in 1976 at age 53 and went 0 for 2 in two games in 1980 for the White Sox, who tried unsuccessfully over the years to get the &quot;Cuban Comet&quot; into baseball&#39;s Hall of Fame.</p><p>&quot;When I watched Minnie Minoso play, I always thought I was looking at a Hall of Fame player,&quot; Reinsdorf said in an informational package produced by the team for a 2011 Cooperstown push. &quot;I never understood why Minnie wasn&#39;t elected.</p><p>&quot;He did everything. He could run, he could field, he could hit with power, he could bunt and steal bases. He was one of the most exciting players I have ever seen.&quot;</p><p>Saturnino Orestes Armas Minoso Arrieta was selected for nine All-Star games and won three Gold Gloves in left. He was hit by a pitch 192 times, ninth on baseball&#39;s career list, and finished in the top four in AL MVP voting four times.</p><p>Despite the push by the White Sox and other prominent Latin players, Minoso has never made it to Cooperstown. His highest percentage during his 15 years on the writers&#39; ballot was 21.1 in 1988. He was considered by the Veterans Committee in 2014 and fell short of the required percentage for induction.</p><p>&quot;My last dream is to be in Cooperstown, to be with those guys,&quot; Minoso said in that 2011 package distributed by the White Sox. &quot;I want to be there. This is my life&#39;s dream.&quot;</p><p>Minoso, who made his major league debut with Cleveland in 1949, hit .298 for his career with 186 homers and 1,023 RBIs. The speedy Minoso also led the AL in triples and steals three times in each category.</p><p>Playing in an era dominated by the Yankees, Minoso never played in the postseason.</p><p>&quot;Every young player in Cuba wanted to be like Minnie Minoso, and I was one of them,&quot; Hall of Fame slugger Tony Perez said. &quot;The way he played the game, hard all the time, hard. He was very consistent playing the game. He tried to win every game. And if you want to be like somebody, and I picked Minnie, you have to be consistent.&quot;</p><p>Minoso appeared in just nine games in his first stint with the Indians, but he took off when he was dealt to Chicago as part of a three-team trade in 1951 that also involved the Philadelphia Athletics. He went deep in his first plate appearance against Yankees right-hander Raschi, and hit .375 in his first 45 games with the White Sox.</p><p>Minoso finished that first season in Chicago with a .326 batting average, 10 homers and 76 RBIs in 146 games for the Indians and White Sox. He also had a major league-best 14 triples and an AL-best 31 steals.</p><p>It was Minoso&#39;s first of eight seasons with at least a .300 batting average. He also had four seasons with at least 100 RBIs.</p><p>&quot;I have baseball in my blood,&quot; Minoso said. &quot;Baseball is all I&#39;ve ever wanted to do.&quot;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">President Barack Obama&#39;s statement about Minoso<a name="obama"></a></span></p><blockquote><p>For South Siders and Sox fans all across the country, including me, Minnie Minoso is and will always be &ldquo;Mr. White Sox.&rdquo;</p><p>The first black Major Leaguer in Chicago, Minnie came to the United States from Cuba even though he could have made more money elsewhere.&nbsp; He came up through the Negro Leagues, and didn&rsquo;t speak much English at first.&nbsp; And as he helped to integrate baseball in the 1950s, he was a target of racial slurs from fans and opponents, sometimes forced to stay in different motels from his teammates.&nbsp; But his speed, his power &ndash; and his resilient optimism &ndash; earned him multiple All-Star appearances and Gold Gloves in left field, and he became one of the most dominant and dynamic players of the 1950s.</p><p>Minnie may have been passed over by the Baseball Hall of Fame during his lifetime, but for me and for generations of black and Latino young people, Minnie&rsquo;s quintessentially American story embodies far more than a plaque ever could.</p><p>Michelle and I send our thoughts and prayers to his family and fans in Chicago, Cleveland, and around the world.</p></blockquote><p><span style="font-size:24px;">More from the WBEZ archives about the baseball legend <a name="playlist"></a></span></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="380" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/playlists/85470411&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Sun, 01 Mar 2015 12:49:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/white-sox-icon-minnie-minoso-dies-111639 Concerns raised over interrogation tactics aren't unique to Homan Square http://www.wbez.org/news/concerns-raised-over-interrogation-tactics-arent-unique-homan-square-111635 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Chicago Police_Flickr_Isador Ruyter Harcourt.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A few years ago, Maurice Harris got in a car accident on the city&#39;s West Side. He said an &ldquo;unruly mob&rdquo; started to gather so he moved his car halfway up the street.</p><p>He said a police officer came up quickly and started questioning him. Harris offered his drivers license and insurance.</p><p>&ldquo;After that he asked me to step out of the car. He handcuffed me. I&rsquo;m like &lsquo;Officer, what&rsquo;s going on?&rsquo; He gave me no answer,&rdquo; Harris said.</p><p>The police took Harris to a hospital for a blood alcohol test. Then he was taken to a nearby police station.</p><p>&ldquo;I continue to ask him, &lsquo;Officer, am I being charged with anything. What&rsquo;s going on? Let me know something.&rsquo; He did nothing but laugh. I didn&rsquo;t ask for a lawyer then because I didn&rsquo;t know to ask for a lawyer,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Harris estimated he was in a West Side station for four hours and wasn&rsquo;t read his Miranda rights. He was handcuffed to his seat during interrogation and was eventually charged with fleeing the scene of an accident.</p><p>&ldquo;I would say it&rsquo;s the norm,&rdquo; said Cliff Nellis, the lead attorney at Lawndale Christian Legal Center.</p><p>CPD tactics have been scrutinized this week as its Homan Square facility on Chicago&rsquo;s West Side <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/26/police-black-site-chicago-washington-politicians-human-rights">drew national attention</a> (Harris was held at a different facility). While lawyers have raised concerns about illegal interrogation tactics there, many say the problems run across the Chicago Police Department.</p><p>Nellis has provided legal aid to Harris and others. In one case, Nellis said police were transferring a minor from one station to another. The boy&#39;s parents were following the squad car.</p><p>&ldquo;[The police] turned their lights on, blew a red light and bolted and ditched them. So that (allegedly) they could take him back to the crime scene and then interrogate him there, interrogate this 15-year-old there,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Nellis said people taken in by Chicago cops aren&#39;t always read their Miranda rights, namely a right to remain silent and a right to an attorney during questioning.</p><p>&ldquo;They don&rsquo;t want people to be exercising their rights, particularly our young people on the West Side of Chicago while they&rsquo;re in police custody. They don&rsquo;t want attorneys present. They make it abundantly clear,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Nellis said he&rsquo;s had good experiences with police that follow procedure exactly. But he&rsquo;s also had officers yell at him saying they&rsquo;ll let him know if, and when, he can talk to someone in police custody. He and other attorneys agree people are too often mistreated and illegally detained under Chicago police custody.</p><p>In fact, the city paid more than $16 million to settle a 2004 class action lawsuit that claimed people were deprived of adequate sleeping conditions and detained more than 48 hours before receiving a judicial hearing. Separate from those claims, the city settled lawsuits alleging torture from the 1980&rsquo;s under Police Commander Jon Burge.</p><p>A CPD officer spoke to WBEZ under the condition of anonymity. He has worked at the Homan Square facility and said police make sure arrestees know their rights.</p><p>But the officer also admits police might use long stretches of time to sweat a person.</p><p>&ldquo;Law enforcement has the legal right to hold an individual up to 24 hours without charging. At the 24 hour mark you either need to charge the person or release them,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>He also said officers don&rsquo;t want to risk not reading Miranda rights because that could invalidate the case in court.</p><p>Eliza Solowiej is the executive director for First Defense Legal Aid. She said it&rsquo;s true police could hold a person who chooses to remain silent. But if the person doesn&rsquo;t fully understand their rights, they might talk without an attorney.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s reasonable to think that people would hedge their bets and think &lsquo;I better advocate for myself, let me explain why it wasn&rsquo;t me and why I was there on the scene.&rsquo; Well, that&rsquo;s the exact evidence police need to charge you with the crime,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Solowiej said in 2013 police records show only 0.2 percent of people arrested were visited by defense attorneys.</p><p>CPD officials could not confirm this number, nor were they available to comment on this story.</p><p>Solowiej said arrestees should be allowed a phone call early on, rather than before lock up. She says that&#39;s often the first time it&rsquo;s even mentioned.</p><p>She said there&rsquo;s been talk from CPD about posting information about legal aid at police stations for people who are arrested.</p><p>CPD this week released a statement in regards to Homan Square saying the department abides by all laws related to interviews of suspects or witnesses at all facilities.</p><p>&ldquo;There are no issues of access to counsel and making phone calls out of Homan Square or anywhere. I take that to be true at the moment of their release. And I&rsquo;ll hold them to that,&rdquo; Solowiej said.</p><p>Solowiej said the records will show if that does not hold true, and there will have to be accountability.</p><p>Still, Maurice Harris, who has had an number of run-ins with police, said that&#39;s not enough. He now works with youth at the Lawndale Christian Legal Center. He&rsquo;s even seen police incidents with the students he mentors.</p><p>&ldquo;I&rsquo;m a law abiding citizen. I stand for justice and laws that are put in place. But when those police powers are abused, I do not agree with it at all. And every day police are abusing their powers. That is the norm,&rdquo; Harris said.</p><p>And he said people in the community are starting to accept that this is how it will be.</p><p><em>Susie An is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her @soosieon.</em></p></p> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 10:06:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/concerns-raised-over-interrogation-tactics-arent-unique-homan-square-111635 Chicago Police's so-called 'black site' mischaracterized http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-polices-so-called-black-site-mischaracterized-111629 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/daley-homan-square.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Lawyers and local crime reporters say <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/24/chicago-police-detain-americans-black-site" target="_blank"> a widely-shared article from <em>The Guardian</em></a> mischaracterized&nbsp;a Chicago Police Department facility called Homan Square as the equivalent of a CIA &quot;black site.&quot;</p><p>Black sites house detainees who undergo interrogation in highly secretive prisons. But the non-descript Homan Square building on the city&rsquo;s West Side is not exactly off-the-books.</p><p>In the past few years WBEZ reporters and other journalists have been to the facility for tours and interviews as well as press conferences.</p><p>The <em>Chicago Sun-Times</em>&rsquo; Frank Main says reporters on the police beat know Homan Square. He&rsquo;s visited 20 or 30 times during his career. He said the massive building located at 1011 S. Homan was once a Sears Roebuck warehouse.</p><p>&ldquo;The reasons I&rsquo;ve been there is going for essentially &lsquo;show and tells&rsquo; where the police will show huge amounts of drugs that they&rsquo;ve seized in various cases. And in those situations you&rsquo;ll have lots of media; television cameras, radio,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Main said Homan Square is a secured site. Visitors need to show ID and give a reason for their visit.<br /><br />&ldquo;There&rsquo;s some sensitive police bureaus there,&quot; he said. &quot;For example, there&rsquo;s the organized crime bureau which runs gang investigations and drug investigations. And a lot of people in those units are undercover.&rdquo;</p><p>The Chicago Police Department says advertising the location would put their lives at risk. A spokesman says gang members have been known to stake out the place to catch glimpses of undercover cops, a reason why some people might be denied access. But the building also has a public entrance where people can pick up stolen property and items inventoried in crimes.</p><p>If people know about this place and the media is invited for press conferences, can it be characterized as a &ldquo;black site&rdquo;?</p><p>&ldquo;No, it wasn&rsquo;t a mischaracterization,&rdquo; said <em>Guardian </em>reporter Spencer Ackerman of <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/feb/24/chicago-police-detain-americans-black-site">his story&rsquo;s headline describing Homan Square</a> as such. &ldquo;You can find certain black sites in Romania and Poland that are out in the open. It&rsquo;s not the visibility of the facility, it&rsquo;s what goes on in the facility that makes it secretive.&rdquo;</p><p>Ackerman reports arrestees are kept out of official booking databases and attorneys are denied access. He also notes a detainee at Homan Square who endured a beating, another a prolonged shackling and one who even died.</p><p>&ldquo;That&rsquo;s what makes it, or as [lawyers] characterize, that&rsquo;s what makes it analogous to a black site,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>A CPD statement stands by the department&rsquo;s claim to always record arrests, and that&rsquo;s no different at Homan Square.</p><p>A few lawyers contacted for this story said clients, unfortunately, are sometimes held without being booked and attorneys are delayed in getting to clients, but that could happen anywhere in Chicago.</p><p>Flint Taylor, an attorney with the People&rsquo;s Law Office, was quoted in <em>The</em> <em>Guardian</em> story. He praised the article for highlighting the lack of police transparency, and said it&rsquo;s concerning that such things would happen in a centralized location. However, Taylor said he might&rsquo;ve used different analogies to describe Homan Square. In the end, he said he&#39;ll leave it to the reporter to do the characterization.</p><p>Craig Futterman, a clinical professor of law at the University of Chicago, said prisoners are held without being entered into the system all over the city, not just Homan Square.</p><p>Futterman says it&rsquo;s an exaggeration to call it a &quot;black site.&quot;</p><p>&ldquo;If there&rsquo;s a risk, I think it&rsquo;s elevating this facility,&rdquo; Futterman said. &ldquo;And making it look like there&rsquo;s a problem in one particular station, as opposed to there&rsquo;s a broader systemic problem to people who are very vulnerable who are denied their basic fundamental constitutional right.&rdquo;</p><p>If similar complaints happen at other police facilities, these practices aren&rsquo;t unique to Homan Square. Ackerman said these practices happening at other places around Chicago is disturbing. But would those facilities also be considered black sites?</p><p>&ldquo;If it&rsquo;s not what goes on in Homan Square that you&rsquo;re disputing, the characterization I leave to people then to look at for themselves once they aggressively investigate the facts of what&rsquo;s going on here,&rdquo; Ackerman said.</p><p>Meanwhile, Futterman said policing practices everywhere in Chicago need to be reviewed.</p><p><em>Susie An is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/soosieon">@soosieon</a></em></p></p> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 10:04:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/chicago-polices-so-called-black-site-mischaracterized-111629 The FCC's Net Neutrality vote: Here's what you need to know http://www.wbez.org/news/fccs-net-neutrality-vote-heres-what-you-need-know-111627 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/ap409790524380_custom-6eb32bf55f0f5f0d01d82957ef85080a5bb1c2e1-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Later this morning, the Federal Communications Commission will take a vote on adopting new rules that would keep the Internet neutral.</p><p>Here&#39;s a guide to what all of this means.</p><p><strong>&mdash; What does net neutrality mean?</strong></p><p>Here&#39;s the Cliffs Notes version from NPR&#39;s Elise Hu:</p><blockquote><p>&quot;Net neutrality is the concept that your Internet provider should be a neutral gateway to everything on the Internet, not a gatekeeper deciding to load some sites slower than others or impose fees for faster service.&quot;</p></blockquote><p>In other words, it&#39;s a concept in which Internet service providers (ISPs) don&#39;t discriminate when it comes to Internet traffic.</p><p>Without net neutrality rules, ISPs could theoretically take money from companies like Netflix or Amazon to speed up traffic to their sites.</p><p>NPR&#39;s Laura Sydell&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2014/01/15/262641067/court-fcc-cant-enforce-net-neutrality">explained one hypothetical like this</a>:</p><blockquote><p>&quot;More than 30 percent of Internet traffic at peak times comes from Netflix, according to studies. So Verizon might say, &#39;Netflix, you need to pay us more.&#39; Or maybe Verizon strikes a deal with Amazon and says your prime video service can get speedier delivery to the home and we&#39;re going to slow down Netflix.&quot;</p></blockquote><p><strong>&mdash; What is the FCC voting on?</strong></p><p>The Federal Communications Commission is voting on whether to reclassify broadband access as a &quot;telecommunications service under Title II.&quot;</p><p>In layman&#39;s terms, the FCC is looking to reclassify broadband as a utility, which would give the commission more regulatory power over Internet providers.</p><p><strong>&mdash; What prompted this FCC vote?</strong></p><p>Back in 2010, the FCC actually passed rules to keep the Internet neutral. But those rules were challenged by Verizon and in January of 2014,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2014/01/15/262641067/court-fcc-cant-enforce-net-neutrality">the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that the FCC did not have the regulatory power over broadband to issue those rules</a>.</p><p>The court, however, said that the FCC could reclassify broadband and that would give it broad regulatory powers.</p><p>FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler decided&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/02/04/383782683/fcc-proposal-would-classify-internet-as-a-public-utility">to go that direction in February</a>.</p><p>Earlier this week, Republicans in Congress&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/25/technology/path-clears-for-net-neutrality-ahead-of-fcc-vote.html?_r=0">dropped opposition to the proposed rules</a>, saying they were not going to pass a bill without any Democratic support.</p><p><strong>&mdash; What would the proposed rules do?</strong></p><p>The proposed rules are pretty lengthy, but&nbsp;<a href="http://media.npr.org/documents/2015/feb/fcc-wheeler-openinternet.pdf">from an FCC fact sheet</a>, here are the three things that the rules would ban that matter most to consumers:</p><blockquote><p>&quot;<strong>No Blocking:</strong>&nbsp;broadband providers may not block access to legal content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.</p><p>&quot;<strong>No Throttling</strong>: broadband providers may not impair or degrade lawful Internet traffic on the basis of content, applications, services, or non-harmful devices.</p><p>&quot;<strong>No Paid Prioritization</strong>: broadband providers may not favor some lawful Internet traffic over other lawful traffic in exchange for consideration &mdash; in other words, no &#39;fast lanes.&#39; This rule also bans ISPs from prioritizing content and services of their affiliates.&quot;</p></blockquote><p><strong>&mdash; What does John Oliver have to do with all this?</strong></p><p>The comedian John Oliver brought this issue to the forefront when he dedicated 14 minutes on his program to explain why net neutrality is so important.</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/fpbOEoRrHyU" width="560"></iframe></p><p>He called on his viewers to write to the FCC to encourage them to adopt new rules. His call &mdash; and the enormous response &mdash;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/06/03/john-oliver-broke-the-fcc-website_n_5439694.html">broke the commission&#39;s website</a>.</p><p>A bunch of big Internet sites &mdash; Netflix, Etsy and Foursquare among them &mdash; joined the chorus in September when they took part in &quot;Internet Slowdown Day,&quot;&nbsp;<a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2014/09/10/347157134/your-favorite-sites-will-slow-down-today-for-a-cause">presenting their users with symbolic loading icons</a>&nbsp;&quot;to remind everyone what an Internet without net neutrality would look like.&quot;</p><p><strong>&mdash; When is the FCC voting?</strong></p><p>The FCC is voting during an open meeting at 10:30 a.m. ET. The commission is<a href="http://www.fcc.gov/live">providing a live stream of its meeting here</a>.</p><p><em><a href="http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/02/26/389089145/the-fccs-net-neutrality-vote-heres-what-you-need-to-know">http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2015/02/26/389089145/the-fccs-net-neutrality-vote-heres-what-you-need-to-know</a>-via NPR News</em></p></p> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 08:03:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/fccs-net-neutrality-vote-heres-what-you-need-know-111627 Standoff over new state school test continues http://www.wbez.org/news/standoff-over-new-state-school-test-continues-111626 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/IMG_5715.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>All Illinois school children are supposed to take a new state test just a few days from now, but those enrolled in the state&rsquo;s largest school district remain caught in a political standoff.</p><p>The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, or PARCC, is replacing the old ISAT statewide exam. But public backlash against the new test and its corresponding standards &ndash; called the Common Core &ndash; has gotten louder than ever.</p><p>Chicago Public Schools is defying a state mandate that all schoolkids be tested. The district has declared that only 10 percent of city public schools will give the new test.</p><p>The Illinois State Board of Education has told CPS it must give PARCC to all student in third through eighth grades and all eleventh graders or it&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20150130/BLOGS02/150139992/standoff-escalates-over-cps-snub-of-federal-testing-rules">will lose millions in state and federal money</a>.</p><p>&quot;CPS risks anywhere from $400 million to $1.4 billion by not administering this test,&quot; said Illinois State Board of Education spokeswoman Mary Fergus. She noted the state could decide to&nbsp;remove CPS&#39;s recognition status, which could mean a loss of state aid.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">A Chicago campaign gimmick?</span></p><p>The state&rsquo;s strong response to Chicago&#39;s resistance left some wondering if the whole thing was a campaign gimmick to win votes from parents who oppose standardized testing.</p><p>Jennifer Biggs, a member of the parent group Raise Your Hand, said now that the election is over, she expected CPS to quickly take a more clear stand on the issue.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;I really thought today there was going to be a solid PARCC decision announcement,&rdquo; she said at Wednesday&rsquo;s Board of Education meeting.</p><p>Boxes full of test materials <a href="http://catalyst-chicago.org/2015/02/parcc-tests-begin-to-arrive-at-schools/">have been delivered to schools across the city</a> in the last week and Biggs said teachers are frantic.</p><p>&ldquo;They are being told to move forward as if everyone is going to be tested,&rdquo; Biggs said. &ldquo;I am here to ask you to please tell us what is going on. Make a statement please.&rdquo;</p><p>But no statement came.</p><p>At the end of the meeting, Board president David Vitale quietly reiterated that the district&rsquo;s stance has not changed&mdash;only ten percent of schools will take the new test&mdash;but he said they&rsquo;re still talking with the state. &nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re caught between a rock and a hard place and we&rsquo;re trying to find a way out,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>At a hearing in Springfield, CPS Chief of Accountability John Barker testified to the same effect.</p><p>&ldquo;We do have serious reservations about a full implementation this spring,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;And so, we plan to do an expanded pilot of PARCC, administering it to 10 percent of schools, rather than opting to fully implement this year.&rdquo;</p><p>Barker said the district believes Common Core and the PARCC exam are the right move for the state, but CPS is just not ready.</p><p>Chicago Teachers Union Vice President Jesse Sharkey disagrees.</p><p>&ldquo;The PARCC is the wrong thing to do,&rdquo; Sharkey said. &ldquo;We shouldn&rsquo;t give this test. It&rsquo;s longer than the bar exam, for God&rsquo;s sakes. It&rsquo;s longer than the MCATs. It&rsquo;s longer than the exam you need to go to medical school. What are we doing? We&rsquo;re over-testing kids. It&rsquo;s gone too far.&rdquo;</p><p>The state board says districts should not administer the 9-hour test in one day. They recommend giving it to students over several days.</p><p>They&rsquo;ve also been encouraging parents and even reporters like me to try some sample questions. I took a handful of <a href="http://parcc.pearson.com/practice-tests/">sample questions</a> from the 5<sup>th</sup> grade math portion of PARCC. One question took me 20 minutes, another took just two.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Not just Chicago</span></p><p>The new test is part of a years-long effort to adopt more uniform standards across the country. Illinois and dozens of other states signed on to PARCC and the Common Core. Several have since backed out, including nearby Indiana.</p><p>The groundswell of opposition comes from all different directions. &nbsp;Some worry that because it&rsquo;s a more rigorous test, schools could end up with lower scores. Others have a problem with a national exam that takes away local control. And many, including the CTU, argue students are way over-tested.</p><p>Suburban parents gathered downtown Thursday to express their own concerns with the test. They want state lawmakers to approve an opt-out bill (<a href="http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/fulltext.asp?DocName=&amp;SessionId=88&amp;GA=99&amp;DocTypeId=HB&amp;DocNum=306&amp;GAID=13&amp;LegID=84067&amp;SpecSess=&amp;Session=">HB306</a>) that would give parents the right to refuse to have their children tested. As it stands now, by law, the only way to refuse the test is for students to verbally state they won&#39;t take it.&nbsp;</p><p>&quot;They need to say to their teacher, every single time that test is presented, &#39;No&#39;,&quot; said Nicole Keough, a parent of twins in 3rd grade in Palos School District 118.&nbsp;</p><p>It can be a difficult thing for students to do, said Gina Mathews, parent of a 4th&nbsp;grader and a 7th&nbsp;grader at District 36 in Winnetka. She said parents and families are circulating a list of students who plan to &quot;opt-out&quot; so children can know their friends are also refusing the test.&nbsp;</p><p>But one mother, Violeta Gerue, said it&#39;s imperative Illinois lawmakers pass a bill that gives her, as a parent and taxpayer, the ability to speak for her children. Both have autism.</p><p>&quot;I think it is very difficult for children who can speak to do this, and it is impossible for kids who are nonverbal, who have no ability to say it,&quot; Gerue said.</p><p>Fergus said any parent who does not want their child tested should discuss it with local administrators. She said districts are able to implement local policies for handling those situations, but she said, any school that does not test at least 95 percent of its students is in jeopardy of losing state and federal money. That&#39;s the situation CPS is in.</p><p>Fergus also noted that the new test is low-stakes this year.</p><p>&quot;This is just the baseline year,&quot; she said.&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 17:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/standoff-over-new-state-school-test-continues-111626 Photos from Election Night in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/news/photos-election-night-chicago-111619 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/chuyfan3_ag.jpg" alt="" /><p></p> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 18:25:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/photos-election-night-chicago-111619