WBEZ | NPR http://www.wbez.org/tags/npr Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en NPR's Kelly McEvers celebrates an anniversary, talks Cubs http://www.wbez.org/nprs-kelly-mcevers-celebrates-anniversary-talks-cubs-113453 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/FOR%20WEDS%20KellyMcEvers-8x10_2.jpg" style="height: 313px; width: 250px; margin-left: 10px; margin-right: 10px; float: left;" title="(Courtesy of NPR" /></p><p>NPR&#39;s Kelly McEvers is marking her one-month anniversary as one of the two new hosts of <em>All Things Considered</em>. She and fellow newcomer Ari Shapiro join Audie Cornish and Robert Siegal.</p><p>Kelly got her start right here in Illinois but many of us got to know her work during her time as a reporter on the national desk and as a Middle East correspondent.</p><p style="text-align: center;"><strong><a href="http://transom.org/2013/diary-of-a-bad-year-a-war-correspondents-dilemma/" target="_blank">&quot;Diary of a Bad Year: A War Correspondent&rsquo;s Dilemma&quot;</a></strong></p><p><em>All Things Considered</em> Host Melba Lara talked with McEvers about her career covering conflicts around the world, her ties to Illinois, and predictions for her &#39;Cubbies&#39;.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 21 Oct 2015 15:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/nprs-kelly-mcevers-celebrates-anniversary-talks-cubs-113453 Pell grants for prisoners: An old argument revisited http://www.wbez.org/news/pell-grants-prisoners-old-argument-revisited-112533 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/19407321_h38274460_slide-f233a67d0018562a34b055551e5caa2a8c778feb-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It&#39;s an old and controversial question: Should federal Pell grants be used to help prisoners pay for college?</p><p>Tomorrow, at a prison in Jessup, Md., Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Attorney General Loretta Lynch are expected to unveil a program to do just that. The new plan would create a limited pilot program allowing some students in prison to use Pell grants to pay for college classes.</p><p>The key word there is &quot;limited&quot; &mdash; because there&#39;s only so much the administration can do. To understand why, we have to go back to November 1993.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;"><strong>The Crime Bill</strong></span></p><p>The era of Three Strikes had begun, and lawmakers in Washington were in a bipartisan race to prove they were tough on crime.</p><p>U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a Texas Republican, introduced an amendment that would ultimately ban prisoners from receiving Pell grants. Her argument then: &quot;Because prisoners have zero income, they have been able to step to the front of the line and push law-abiding citizens out of the way,&quot; she said on the Senate floor (though Pell grants go to any and all who apply and meet the criteria).</p><p>Letting prisoners use federal dollars to pay for college, Hutchison insisted, just isn&#39;t fair. &quot;It is not fair to taxpayers. It is not fair to law-abiding citizens. It is not fair to the victims of crime.&quot;</p><p>Two decades later, Hutchison wants to be clear: She&#39;s not opposed to prison education. She just doesn&#39;t think federal Pell grants should pay for it.</p><p>&quot;I think it should be a state priority and a state initiative,&quot; she says.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;"><strong>&#39;Guys Were Having Study Groups&#39;</strong></span></p><p>Tyrone Werts says he watched lawmakers debate the crime bill on TV from his prison cell.</p><p>Werts had been convicted of second-degree murder for his role in a deadly robbery. At the age of 23, he arrived at Graterford Prison in Pennsylvania.</p><p>&quot;My reading scores was like second grade. My math skills was second, third grade,&quot; he says.</p><p>Behind bars, Werts studied. He earned his GED, then his bachelor&#39;s through a prison education program with Villanova University. It was paid for with Pell grants.</p><p>&quot;Graterford, when we had Pell grants, was actually like a college or university,&quot; he says. &quot;The arts flourished. Guys were having study groups. They were at the table, writing papers.&quot;</p><p>But Werts says that stopped when the money dried up.</p><p>After nearly 37 years in prison, Werts&#39; sentence was commuted. Now, he works for Temple University&#39;s Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program and helps released prisoners re-enter society.</p><p>&quot;I see a marked difference between those guys who went to college in prison and those guys who didn&#39;t go to school,&quot; he says. &quot;They think totally different.&quot;</p><p><a href="http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR266.html">A 2013 study by the RAND Corp. </a>found that education behind bars greatly reduces the likelihood of a former prisoner committing another crime.</p><p>But federal law still prohibits Pell grants for prisoners. Only Congress can roll back the law.</p><p>That said, the Education Department does have one option: It can waive certain rules for <a href="https://experimentalsites.ed.gov/exp/index.html">research purposes</a> and, thus, extend Pell grants to a small number of prisoners.</p><p>Think of it as an exception to the rule &mdash; not rewriting the rule itself.</p><p><em>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/ed/2015/07/30/427450422/pell-grants-for-prisoners-an-old-argument-revisited?ft=nprml&amp;f=427450422">via NPR</a></em></p></p> Fri, 31 Jul 2015 11:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/pell-grants-prisoners-old-argument-revisited-112533 The future of American history http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/future-american-history-112502 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/gettyimages-152461463-f3c8edde22c9febbb7fde899d945a971c2823e12-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>College history majors used to study&nbsp;<em>The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire</em>. Today perhaps they should also be studying the decline and fall of history majors.</p><p>Since 2010, the number of history majors at Ohio State University has dropped by more than 30 percent, according to a May 9<em>&nbsp;Columbus Dispatch</em>&nbsp;<a href="http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2015/05/09/technology-edging-out-humanities.html" target="_blank">story</a>. Meanwhile, the number of students majoring in history at the University of Cincinnati has fallen by 33 percent since 2010.</p><p>At the University of Illinois, the&nbsp;<em>Daily Illini</em>&nbsp;<a href="histohttp://www.dailyillini.com/article/2015/04/history-department-combats-decline-in-enrollmentry department combats decline in enrollment" target="_blank">noted</a>&nbsp;on April 2 that the number of students enrolled in the college&#39;s history department has fallen precipitously in the past 10 years &mdash; from 521 in 2005 to 167 in 2015.</p><p>These recent stories reflect a 2013&nbsp;<a href="https://historians.org/publications-and-directories/perspectives-on-history/april-2013/data-show-a-decline-in-history-majors" target="_blank">report</a>&nbsp;from the American Historical Association showing a downward trend in undergraduate students earning degrees in history.</p><p>So why is the number of history majors diminishing? &quot;Experts blame anxieties about the job market for steering students into fields they think will translate to jobs quickly after graduation,&quot; the&nbsp;<em>Columbus Dispatch</em>&nbsp;story observes. &quot;Often that&#39;s the STEM disciplines that politicians have championed &mdash; science, technology, engineering and mathematics.&quot;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">More Inclusive</span></p><p>Teaching American history in the contemporary classroom &mdash; and in the coming years &mdash; holds some particular, and complicated, challenges. To put the challenges in some context, we contacted a trio of American history professors.</p><p><em><strong>In your teaching experience,&nbsp;do students these days seem to be more interested in American history than students in the past, or less interested?</strong></em></p><p><a href="http://college.wfu.edu/history/faculty-and-staff/faculty/michele-gillespie/" target="_blank">Michele Gillespie</a>&nbsp;has been teaching American history since 1990. She is also Dean of the College at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N. C.</p><p>&quot;My students still gravitate toward American history,&quot; Gillespie says, &quot;but they are much more interested these days in seeing that history in a broader world context, whether we are looking at American slavery, the American Civil War, or social movements like civil rights.&quot;</p><p>Students today, Gillespie says, &quot;are much more likely to critique American and European scholars for only using Western comparative contexts, and my students are also inclined to bring comparisons from their other courses on African, Latin American, East Asian, South Asian and Middle East history into my U.S. history courses.&quot;</p><p>The result: &quot;It makes for a dynamic, exciting classroom, one in which my students, who see themselves as global citizens in many respects, are taking real ownership.&quot;</p><p><a href="http://dartmouth.edu/faculty-directory/annelise-orleck" target="_blank">Annelise Orleck</a>, a professor of American history at Dartmouth College, has also been teaching at the college level for 25 years. &quot;My classes are bigger and I am now getting quite a few students who are deeply interested, willing to do a great deal of work,&quot; Orleck says, &quot;especially because I teach American history in a way that is more inclusive and challenging of dominant myths than most of them were exposed to in high school.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Students are just as interested in history now as they were in the past,&quot; says&nbsp;<a href="http://allysonhobbs.com/" target="_blank">Allyson Hobbs</a>, an assistant professor in the history department at Stanford University. &quot;Students have always looked to history to better understand their worlds. Professors have the responsibility of making history accessible to students so that they can make better sense of their lives and so that they can see the connections and similarities between their life circumstances and the life circumstances of their parents and grandparents.&quot;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Dismantled Notions</span></p><p><strong><em>What are a couple of the particular challenges of teaching American history in 2015?</em></strong></p><p>&quot;Unfortunately,&quot; says Allyson Hobbs, &quot;there has been a decline in the value that many people place on history and the humanities, more generally. Particularly in Silicon Valley, there is a major emphasis on the technology industry, which leads many students to major in computer science or engineering. Still, computer scientists will create more useful and revolutionary products and services if they have a deeper understanding of the world around them, which comes from the study of history.</p><p>&quot;The value of history lies in its ability to help us to better understand the present,&quot; says Hobbs. &quot;This is particularly salient now given the tragedies of police violence, the massacre in Charleston, and the problems of economic inequality, poverty, educational disparities and mass incarceration. But this history is painful to face. It is a challenge for history professors to help students grapple with these societal issues.&quot;</p><p>The major challenge in teaching American history, according to Annelise Orleck, &quot;is that this is a wildly diverse nation and it is complicated to try to do justice to the stories of the many kinds of people who have made and lived American history.&quot;</p><p>Another major difficulty, Orleck says, &quot;is grappling with how to teach painful histories &mdash; histories of slavery, Native American genocide, Jim Crow and lynching, Japanese internment &mdash; in ways that are accessible and useful to students and that challenge them emotionally and intellectually while not making them shut down.&quot;</p><p>For Michele Gillespie, &quot;the fast-paced change in American society and the U.S. in the world over the last decade or so means students bring fundamentally different sets of questions and experiences to the table.&quot;</p><p>This is both a challenge and an opportunity, she continues. &quot;For example, President Obama&#39;s election was supposed to have launched a post-racial U.S., but subsequent events, including Ferguson, have dismantled that notion. Students really want to understand the historic underpinnings of racism in their embrace of the &#39;black lives matter&#39; movement. This creates a powerful opportunity to look at the close coupling of the rise of American democracy and slavery in U.S. history, and students have a deeper investment in that analysis.&quot;</p><p>In another example, Gillespie says, &quot;Not all students are convinced they need to know a great deal about U.S. history anymore. Some​ believe in the power of the global marketplace to shape their present and future lives, and therefore see our hallmark U.S. institutions &mdash; the Constitution, citizenship, federal government system ... ​and the histories attached to them &mdash; ​as arcane compared to the new worlds that technology, innovation and consumption are spawning.&quot;</p><p><em>&mdash; <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/npr-history-dept/2015/07/29/421624129/the-future-of-american-history?ft=nprml&amp;f=421624129">via NPR</a></em></p></p> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 13:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/future-american-history-112502 Planned Parenthood controversy proves complicated for Democrats http://www.wbez.org/news/planned-parenthood-controversy-proves-complicated-democrats-112501 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/gettyimages-482208094_wide-d6b4bf495f6d8dddc7f8c85a0d3e2b3a7ad8aaf7-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xw2xi9mhmuo">latest</a>&nbsp;in a series of undercover sting videos features a woman who says she worked for a company that harvested organs from fetuses aborted at Planned Parenthood.</p><p><a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dZUjU4e4fUI">Planned Parenthood leaders say</a>&nbsp;the videos are heavily edited and that they&#39;re not making money from facilitating fetal tissue donation for medical research. But the controversy over the videos is becoming a campaign issue &mdash; for both Democrats and Republicans.</p><p>At an anti-Planned Parenthood rally outside the U.S. Capitol on Tuesday, Kentucky senator and GOP presidential hopeful Rand Paul referred to a&nbsp;<a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjxwVuozMnU">video</a>&nbsp;released earlier this month by the anti-abortion Center for Medical Progress. It shows a Planned Parenthood doctor meeting over lunch with activists posing as representatives of a company that handles fetal tissue donations.</p><p>&quot;This callous disregard expressed over wine and cheese should inflame and infuriate us all, and we should stop once and for all any penny of money going to Planned Parenthood,&quot; Paul said.</p><p>Paul is proposing legislation to cut funds to Planned Parenthood. Federal funding for abortions already is illegal in most cases, but the organization receives public money for services like health screenings for low-income women.</p><p>Also taking the mic at the rally was Ben Carson, a retired neurosurgeon, and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. Cruz directed his jabs at the Democratic frontrunner.</p><p>&quot;I call upon our friends in the mainstream media to ask Hillary Clinton if she is pleased that she has so much passionate support from Planned Parenthood, an entity that appears to be a national criminal enterprise,&quot; Cruz said.</p><p>Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards has insisted that the organization has broken no laws. She told&nbsp;<a href="http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/video/cecile-richards-undercover-video-controversy-32692756">ABC News</a>&nbsp;this weekend that the videos are a product of a &quot;three-year effort to entrap doctors.&quot;</p><p>&quot;Planned Parenthood does not at all profit from fetal tissue donation, which is an important ... element of health care research in this country,&quot; Richards said.</p><p>As the videos have been released online, Clinton has largely defended Planned Parenthood as a longtime provider of health care for low-income women.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/news/hillary-clinton-defends-planned-parenthood-amid-video-controversy/">At a campaign stop</a>&nbsp;in South Carolina on July 23, Clinton said the attacks on the organization are an attack on women&#39;s Constitutional right to an abortion.</p><p>&quot;And I think it is unfortunate that Planned Parenthood has been the object of such a concerted attack for so many years,&quot; she said.</p><p>After a third sting video was released Tuesday, Clinton said in an&nbsp;<a href="http://www.unionleader.com/article/20150729/NEWS0605/150729073">interview</a>&nbsp;with the New Hampshire&nbsp;Union Leader&nbsp;newspaper that she had seen pictures from the videos and found them &quot;disturbing,&quot; but reiterated her support for Planned Parenthood&#39;s record as a provider of family planning and health services.</p><p>Other Democratic presidential hopefuls aren&#39;t exactly lining up to defend the organization. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders has said that Richards was right to apologize for the &quot;tone&quot; of a Planned Parenthood doctor featured in one of the videos.</p><p>It&#39;s a tricky issue for the left, says political scientist&nbsp;<a href="http://www.drake.edu/polsci/facultystaff/rachelcaufield/">Rachel Caufield</a>&nbsp;of Drake University in Des Moines.</p><p>&quot;It creates an environment where the pro-choice supporters have to be in a position to justify some of the practices of Planned Parenthood,&quot; she said. &quot;[Sanders] took a more measured tone and was less willing to defend Planned Parenthood outright, [and] recognized that this is not a practice that Americans are accustomed to hearing about and not something that they&#39;re particularly comfortable with.&quot;</p><p>Regardless, Americans are going to hear more about it. Paul has promised the Senate will take up his proposal to defund Planned Parenthood before leaving for the August recess. The issue also is likely to come up in next week&#39;s Republican debate in Cleveland.</p></p> Wed, 29 Jul 2015 13:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/planned-parenthood-controversy-proves-complicated-democrats-112501 NATO says it stands with Turkey in fight against ISIS http://www.wbez.org/news/nato-says-it-stands-turkey-fight-against-isis-112497 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/ap_295749276065_custom-d817a4135a6c5f79f33a8079a30e9add34cc3101-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>During a meeting with all 27 members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on Tuesday, Turkey said it wanted to give the members a heads up that at some point it may need their help fighting against the self-declared Islamic State.</p><p>Turkey called a rare&nbsp;<a href="http://www.nato.int/cps/en/natolive/topics_49187.htm">Article 4 meeting</a>&nbsp;of the NATO allies after it began an air campaign against ISIS targets in Syria.</p><p><a href="http://news.yahoo.com/nato-holding-rare-emergency-meeting-turkeys-request-174542971.html">As <em>The Associated Press</em> reports</a>, Turkey has been reluctant to join the U.S.-led war against ISIS, but recently an ISIS suicide bombing near the Turkish border with Syria left 32 people dead. Last week, Turkey decided to let the U.S. launch airstrikes from a base in the country and also began launching its own strikes.</p><p>&quot;If a NATO member country comes under attack, NATO would support it in every way,&quot; Turkey&#39;s president, Tayyip Erdogan, said,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/07/28/us-mideast-crisis-turkey-nato-idUSKCN0Q20RQ20150728">according to Reuters</a>. &quot;At the moment,<a href="http://www.reuters.com/places/turkey">Turkey</a>&nbsp;has come under attack and is exercising its right to defend itself and will exercise this right until the end ... but what we&#39;re saying is that there could be a duty for NATO, and we ask NATO to be prepared for this.&quot;</p><p><a href="http://www.wsj.com/articles/nato-meets-at-turkeys-request-to-discuss-crisis-in-syria-iraq-1438078682"><em>The Wall Street Journal</em> reports</a>&nbsp;that during and following the meeting, NATO offered political support to Turkey:</p><blockquote><div><p>&quot;Following the meeting, NATO issued a statement condemning the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.google.co.uk/url?sa=t&amp;rct=j&amp;q=&amp;esrc=s&amp;source=web&amp;cd=6&amp;cad=rja&amp;uact=8&amp;ved=0CDMQFjAFahUKEwiTmsaW2f3GAhUBGxQKHQ34Cbo&amp;url=http://www.wsj.com/articles/turkish-town-of-suruc-hit-by-deadly-blast-1437388272&amp;ei=E2S3VdPEOoG2UI3wp9AL&amp;usg=AFQjCNGHkhEp-bINhc_P_eJX_2wEWYNp9w&amp;bvm=bv.98717601,d.ZGU" target="_blank">attacks against Turkey</a>, adding that terrorism is &#39;a challenge that the international community must fight and tackle together.&#39;</p><p>&quot;Both before and after the meeting, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg repeatedly mentioned that the alliance stood with Turkey, brushing off questions about divisions within the allies over Ankara&#39;s approach.</p><p>&quot; &#39;All allies stand in solidarity with Turkey, we strongly condemn the terrorist attacks,&#39; Mr. Stoltenberg said.&quot;</p></div></blockquote><p>&mdash;<em><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/07/28/427032292/nato-says-it-stands-with-turkey-in-fight-against-isis">via NPR</a></em></p></p> Tue, 28 Jul 2015 16:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/nato-says-it-stands-turkey-fight-against-isis-112497 Ta-Nehisi Coates looks at the physical toll of being black In America http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/ta-nehisi-coates-looks-physical-toll-being-black-america-112359 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/009_coat_9780812993547_art_r1_slide-4df52283385472ac1bbf65bde10b599512ac09d9-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>When writer Ta-Nehisi Coates sat down at NPR&#39;s New York studios a few days ago, he got a little emotional.</p><p>It was the first time that Coates, <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/author/ta-nehisi-coates/">who writes for The Atlantic</a>, had held a copy of his latest book, <em>Between the World and Me</em>.</p><p>This book is personal, written as a letter to his teenage son Somari. In it, we see glimpses of the hard West Baltimore streets where Coates grew up, his curiosity at work on the campus of Howard University and his early struggles as a journalist.</p><p>Coates also reflects on what it meant, and what it means, to inhabit a black body in America. He gets at the physical consequences of slavery and racial discrimination, and he brings to bear his big fear that his life and the lives of his loved ones might end unnaturally.</p><p>&quot;When we think about the myriad evils that spring from racism, that spring from white supremacy,&quot; he tells NPR&#39;s Michele Norris, &quot;one of the realizations I had while writing this book was that ultimately, these all are things that endanger the body.&quot;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Interview Highlights</span></p><p><strong>On the West Baltimore neighborhood where Coates grew up</strong></p><p>It was a neighborhood which had been subjected to housing discrimination, right? So you had a group of people who physically could not move, who did not have the same sort of choices that other people did. You had a group of people who did not have the same sort of opportunities that other people did in terms of jobs and educations.</p><p>So the neighborhood tended to be a little more violent than other neighborhoods of the same economic description.</p><p><strong>On the physical repercussions of racism</strong></p><p>There can be no more physical process than somebody literally taking your body and putting it to whatever their selfish usages might be. Unfortunately, it doesn&#39;t end there. it proceeds right through Jim Crow. And all the laws, the horrible laws, passed during Jim Crow &mdash; the inability to work where you wanted, the inability to vote, the lack of mobility throughout the South &mdash; ultimately these laws were enforced though violence.</p><p><strong>On moving to a safer neighborhood, and then back</strong></p><p>I can remember for the first time in my life, a few years back, I lived in a neighborhood that was not majority black, that was not considered a &quot;ghetto.&quot; I quickly moved back.</p><p>But I think about how I would walk down the street, and how my need to constantly be on guard, to watch everything, was suddenly removed. I remember physically feeling different. My body felt different. I felt more at ease than I had in any other neighborhood that I had lived in, in my life.</p><p>We lived in that neighborhood for three years.</p><p>I left because I love black people. I love living around black people. Home is home. We suffer under racism and the physical deprivations that come with that, but beneath that we form cultures and traditions that are beautiful.</p><p><strong>On fear</strong></p><p>It was everywhere. It was even manifested in shows of strength, when people were trying to act like they weren&#39;t afraid.</p><p>We look at young black kids with a scowl on their face, walking a certain way down the block with their sweatpants dangling, however, with their hoodies on. And folks think that this is a show of power or a show of force.</p><p>But I know, because I&#39;ve been among those kids, it ultimately is fear. The very need to exhibit your power in that sort of way is really to ward off other people because you&#39;re afraid of what could actually happen to you.</p><p><strong>On what it means to love America</strong></p><p>I love America the way I love my family &mdash; I was born into it. And there&#39;s no escape out of it. But no definition of family that I&#39;ve ever encountered or dealt with involves never having cross words with people, never having debate , never speaking directly. On the contrary, that&#39;s the very definition in my house, and the house that I grew up in, of what family is.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">An Excerpt From <em>Between The World And Me</em></span></p><p><em>Reprinted by arrangement with Spiegel &amp; Grau, an imprint of Random House, a division of Penguin Random House LLC. Copyright &copy; 2015 by Ta-Nehisi Coates.</em></p><p>One day, I was in Chicago, reporting a story about the history of segregation in the urban North and how it was engineered by government policy. I was trailing some officers of the county sheriff as they made their rounds. That day I saw a black man losing his home. I followed the sheriff &#39;s officers inside the house, where a group of them were talking to the man&#39;s wife, who was also trying to tend to her two children. She had clearly not been warned that the sheriff would be coming, though something in her husband&#39;s demeanor told me he must have known. His wife&#39;s eyes registered, all at once, shock at the circumstance, anger at the officers, and anger at her husband. The officers stood in the man&#39;s living room, giving him orders as to what would now happen. Outside there were men who&#39;d been hired to remove the family&#39;s possessions. The man was humiliated, and I imagined that he had probably for some time carried, in his head, alone, all that was threatening his family but could not bring himself to admit it to himself or his wife. So he now changed all that energy into anger, directed at the officers. He cursed. He yelled. He pointed wildly. This particular sheriff &#39;s department was more progressive than most. They were concerned about mass incarceration. They would often bring a social worker to an eviction. But this had nothing to do with the underlying and relentless logic of the world this man in- habited, a logic built on laws built on history built on contempt for this man and his family and their fate.</p><p>The man ranted on. When the officers turned away, he ranted more to the group of black men assembled who&#39;d been hired to sit his family out on the street. His manner was like all the powerless black people I&#39;d ever known, exaggerating their bodies to conceal a fundamental plunder that they could not prevent.</p><p>I had spent the week exploring this city, walking through its vacant lots, watching the aimless boys, sitting in the pews of the striving churches, reeling before the street murals to the dead. And I would, from time to time, sit in the humble homes of black people in that city who were entering their tenth decade of life. These people were pro- found. Their homes were filled with the emblems of honorable life&mdash;citizenship awards, portraits of husbands and wives passed away, several generations of children in cap and gown. And they had drawn these accolades by cleaning big houses and living in one-room Alabama shacks before moving to the city. And they had done this despite the city, which was supposed to be a respite, revealing itself to simply be a more intricate specimen of plunder. They had worked two and three jobs, put children through high school and college, and become pillars of their community. I admired them, but I knew the whole time that I was merely encountering the survivors, the ones who&#39;d endured the banks and their stone-faced con- tempt, the realtors and their fake sympathy&mdash;&quot;I&#39;m sorry, that house just sold yesterday&quot;&mdash;the realtors who steered them back toward ghetto blocks, or blocks earmarked to be ghettos soon, the lenders who found this captive class and tried to strip them of everything they had. In those homes I saw the best of us, but behind each of them I knew that there were so many millions gone.</p><p>And I knew that there were children born into these same caged neighborhoods on the Westside, these ghettos, each of which was as planned as any subdivision. They are an elegant act of racism, killing fields authored by federal policies, where we are, all again, plundered of our dignity, of our families, of our wealth, and of our lives. And there is no difference between the killing of Prince Jones and the murders attending these killing fields because both are rooted in the assumed inhumanity of black people. A leg- acy of plunder, a network of laws and traditions, a heritage, a Dream, murdered Prince Jones as sure as it murders black people in North Lawndale with frightening regularity. &quot;Black-on-black crime&quot; is jargon, violence to language, which vanishes the men who engineered the covenants, who fixed the loans, who planned the projects, who built the streets and sold red ink by the barrel. And this should not surprise us. The plunder of black life was drilled into this country in its infancy and reinforced across its history, so that plunder has become an heirloom, an intelligence, a sentience, a default setting to which, likely to the end of our days, we must invariably return.</p><p>The killing fields of Chicago, of Baltimore, of Detroit, were created by the policy of Dreamers, but their weight, their shame, rests solely upon those who are dying in them. There is a great deception in this. To yell &quot;black- on-black crime&quot; is to shoot a man and then shame him for bleeding. And the premise that allows for these killing fields&mdash;the reduction of the black body&mdash;is no different than the premise that allowed for the murder of Prince Jones. The Dream of acting white, of talking white, of being white, murdered Prince Jones as sure as it murders black people in Chicago with frightening regularity. Do not accept the lie. Do not drink from poison. The same hands that drew red lines around the life of Prince Jones drew red lines around the ghetto.</p></p> Fri, 10 Jul 2015 11:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/ta-nehisi-coates-looks-physical-toll-being-black-america-112359 For same-sex marriage opponents, the fight is far from over http://www.wbez.org/news/same-sex-marriage-opponents-fight-far-over-112270 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/whitehouseap.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Supreme Court decision Friday that upheld the right of same-sex couples to marry was one for the history books.&nbsp;Obergefell v. Hodges&nbsp;was exalted by gay rights groups and their supporters, and condemned by those who believe that marriage should be reserved for one man and one woman.</p><p>Opponents of same-sex marriage say that the fight is far from over.</p><p>In fact, many of them did not wait long before raising the idea of passing a constitutional amendment to ban it. The prospect that the attempt will prove successful seems unlikely, though. Constitutional amendments are easy to talk about but rarely enacted &mdash; and polls show that a clear majority of Americans support the right of LGBT people to marry.</p><p>Still, opponents say that there are other avenues to pursue &mdash; in Congress, state legislatures and the courts.</p><p>Brian Brown, president of the&nbsp;<a href="https://www.nationformarriage.org/">National Organization for Marriage</a>, compares this week&#39;s Supreme Court opinion to the landmark&nbsp;Roe v. Wade&nbsp;decision making abortion a legal right. A future court, he says, could revisit the issue.</p><p>&quot;That&#39;s why it&#39;s critical that people of faith, others who understand that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, get out and support candidates that are committed to overturning this decision,&quot; Brown says.</p><p>More immediately, advocates on both sides say that the battle will now be fought in the lower courts and will involve religious liberty cases.</p><p><a href="http://ratiochristi.org/people/jeremy-tedesco">Jeremy Tedesco</a>&nbsp;of the Alliance Defending Freedom &mdash; a group representing a Colorado bakery owner who was sued after refusing for religious reasons to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple &mdash; also represents clients in several other, similar cases. Following the&nbsp;Obergefell&nbsp;ruling, he expects that same-sex marriage advocates will step up their legal challenges.</p><p>&quot;I think their efforts, as we&#39;ve seen already, are primarily targeted at businesses that are owned by religious folks who object to creating expression or are being forced to participate in marriage ceremonies that violate their religious beliefs,&quot; he says.</p><p>Opponents of same-sex marriage say that there will be a push now in state legislatures to adopt laws protecting those business owners who argue their religious beliefs prevent them from serving same-sex couples. But that&#39;s likely to be an uphill climb.</p><p>Arizona&#39;s conservative Republican Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed a religious freedom law last year, saying that it was too divisive. A few months ago, Indiana quickly rewrote its religious freedom law and added protections for sexual orientation to head off a threatened boycott.</p><p>The battle is likely to be about more than bakeries, printers and flower shops. Marcy Hamilton, a law professor at Yeshiva University&#39;s Benjamin Cardozo School of Law, says that the Supreme Court decision clearly makes exemptions for churches and ministers who don&#39;t want to preside over marriages of same-sex couples.</p><p>&quot;But I think what we&#39;ll see is a push for religious nonprofits, not just houses of worship,&quot; she says, &quot;to be able to get exemptions from having to provide services to same-sex couples.&quot;</p><p>To that end, same-sex marriage opponents are looking to Congress and a bill called the First Amendment Defense Act, or FADA.</p><p>Brown says that the bill would protect businesses and nonprofits &mdash; so-called 501(c)(3) groups &mdash; that refuse to provide services to same sex couples.</p><p>&quot;That means they cannot be stripped of the right for federal contracts,&quot; he says. &quot;They cannot be stripped of their 501(c)(3) status. They cannot be treated as if they are the functional equivalent of racists.&quot;</p><p>In his majority opinion,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf">Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote&nbsp;</a>that religious groups have a constitutionally protected right to advocate against same-sex marriage:</p><blockquote><div><p>&quot;It must be emphasized that religions, and those who adhere to religious doctrines, may continue to advocate with utmost, sincere conviction that, by divine precepts, same-sex marriage should not be condoned.</p><p>&quot;The First Amendment ensures that religious organizations and persons are given proper protection as they seek to teach the principles that are so fulfilling and so central to their lives and faiths, and to their own deep aspirations to continue the family structure they have long revered.&quot;</p></div></blockquote><p>Tedesco says that&#39;s a message from the court that the dispute over same-sex marriage is not like earlier battles over racial discrimination.</p><p>&quot;Culturally, we have to make the case that these things are completely different,&quot; Tedesco says. &quot;And I think the Supreme Court rightly recognized that, by recognizing that people who believe this do so in good faith.&quot;</p><p>For those who oppose this week&#39;s Supreme Court decision, that may be the most important battle.</p><p><em>&mdash;<a href="http://www.npr.org/2015/06/27/418038177/for-same-sex-marriage-opponents-the-fight-is-far-from-over">via NPR</a></em></p></p> Sun, 28 Jun 2015 20:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/same-sex-marriage-opponents-fight-far-over-112270 Classic of black cinema, 'Cooley High,' celebrates 40th anniversary http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/classic-black-cinema-cooley-high-celebrates-40th-anniversary-112246 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/colleyhigh_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A classic of black cinema celebrated its 40th birthday on June 25.&nbsp;<em>Cooley High</em>&nbsp;showed a slice of urban life rarely seen in &quot;<a href="http://www.theroot.com/articles/culture/2011/04/blaxploitation_films_40_years_after_sweet_sweetbacks_baadasssss_song.3.html">blaxploitation</a>&quot; movies of the time. Set in Chicago&#39;s Cabrini-Green housing project, it became a touchstone for filmmakers like John Singleton and Spike Lee.</p><p>The opening credits of&nbsp;<em>Cooley High</em>&nbsp;feature a wide shot of Chicago&#39;s iconic skyline. The camera then pans across high-rise apartments before zooming in on a drab row house. This was the heart of Cabrini-Green, where Rick Stone, who grew up here, got his first acting job four decades ago.</p><p>&quot;See where it says Starbucks?&quot; Stone says. &quot;That&#39;s where we were, right there.&quot; He recalls the day he and his friend Norman were shooting hoops when a white stretch limo pulled up. Inside was one of&nbsp;<em>Cooley High</em>&#39;s producers.</p><p>&quot;He was like, &#39;How would you guys like to be in a movie?&#39; &quot; Stone says. &quot;Man, get the hell out of here. We thought he was jiving... They were looking for two of the toughest gang-bangers around here and come to find out, it was the police that recommended us.&quot;&nbsp;<em>Cooley High</em>&nbsp;is not a documentary &mdash; but the two gang members essentially play themselves. Norman&#39;s character is called Robert, and Stone&#39;s is called...Stone.</p><p>In one scene, the two are shooting dice in the back of a diner when a girl interrupts their game.</p><blockquote><p>Norman: Hey mama, go walk somewhere else.</p><p>Brenda: Why don&#39;t you gamble someplace else?</p><p>Preach: Cause we&#39;re gambling here, sweet thing.</p><p>Brenda: This is a restaurant, not an alley.</p><p>Cochise: Hey, hey keep on stepping baby. If we wanted to be preached to we&#39;d go to church.</p><p>Brenda: Y&#39;all need to go to church.</p><p>Preach: Hallelujah, hallelujah, hallelujah...</p></blockquote><p>The character Preach, played by Glynn Turman, is best friends with basketball star and ladies man Cochise, who&#39;s played by Lawrence Hilton-Jacobs. Throughout the film, the pair cuts class, hops on the back of a CTA bus and tries to get to first base with their girlfriends.</p><p>For many viewers, what made&nbsp;<em>Cooley High</em>&nbsp;such a landmark film was its honest depiction of teenage life in the projects. Eric Monte wrote the film based on his time at the real Cooley Vocational High School. Although he&#39;s suffered several strokes in recent years, he remembers it well.</p><p>&quot;We had fun. Even poor, we had fun, fun, fun,&quot; he says.</p><p>But &mdash; spoiler alert &mdash;&nbsp;<em>Cooley High</em>&nbsp;takes a dark turn when Stone and Robert convince Preach and Cochise to steal a Cadillac. Afterward, Stone and Robert think the other two snitched on them. Cochise gets killed. Preach finds him lying motionless under the El tracks, and his screams of anguish are drowned out by the trains above.</p><p>Like so much of the movie, Cochise&#39;s death was also drawn from Eric Monte&#39;s life and memories of a friend who died. &quot;It&#39;s hard for me, even now,&quot; he says. &quot;I&#39;m 70 years old, but he was my man. And he died just like that. It was horrible.&quot;</p><p>After that incident, Monte hitchhiked his way out west. He worked on TV shows like&nbsp;<em>Good Times</em>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<em>The Jeffersons</em>, living out Preach&#39;s dreams of becoming a Hollywood screenwriter.</p><p><em>&quot;Cooley High</em>&nbsp;has such a strong message of positivity and breaking through barriers and becoming somebody no matter what your circumstances in life may be,&quot; says Jackie Taylor, who played Cochise&#39;s girlfriend in the movie. Taylor used her experience in the movie to launch Chicago&#39;s Black Ensemble Theater, which is still going strong today.</p><p>Rick Stone had a rougher go of it after&nbsp;<em>Cooley High</em>. His friend Norman, who played Robert, was killed in a corner stick-up, and Stone got eight years in prison for armed robbery. Finally, Stone&#39;s old friend Jackie Taylor intervened. &quot;Taylor called that day and said &#39;Ricky, what you doing?&quot; I said &#39;nothing.&#39; And she said, &#39;Come on down to the Black Ensemble Theater. I&#39;ve got something for you.&#39;&quot;</p><p>Taylor gave Stone a job as a janitor. Eventually he started acting again and has now appeared in more than 20 stage productions. He still lives in the area, in new mixed-income housing.</p><p>As for what used to be Cabrini-Green, it looks a lot different these days.</p><p>&quot;I got white neighbors now,&quot; Stone says. &quot;A white guy and his wife knocked on my door, they had a cake and were like &#39;Welcome to the neighborhood!&#39; I didn&#39;t have the heart to tell them that I&#39;d been over here all my life. I was like &#39;Thank you.&#39; &quot;</p><p><em>&mdash; via <a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2015/06/26/417185907/40-years-later-the-cast-of-cooley-high-looks-back">NPR&#39;s Code Switch</a></em></p></p> Thu, 25 Jun 2015 08:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/classic-black-cinema-cooley-high-celebrates-40th-anniversary-112246 Apple announces music streaming service http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/apple-announces-music-streaming-service-112157 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/gettyimages-476367236_wide-ad4e6bbbc061aabde5a879a9a4ff10b88af5303e-s800-c85.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Apple has announced the launch of Apple Music, an app that adds a subscription streaming service to iTunes, the largest music retailer in the world.</p><p>The announcement, made at Apple&#39;s annual Worldwide Developers Conference, comes more than a year after Apple acquired Beats Music, the streaming service founded by Jimmy Iovine, Dr. Dre and Trent Reznor. Iovine and Reznor both appeared in the presentation to explain and introduce elements of the service, which will include a live, &quot;24/7 global radio&quot; station and a social media-like feature called &quot;Connect&quot; where musicians can directly upload content like lyrics, videos and photos.<br />Does the world of streaming music change us, as listeners?</p><p>Apple Music will be available on June 30. The service, which will have no free option, will cost $9.99 a month for a single subscription or $14.99 a month for a &quot;family&quot; subscription that allows up to six people to share an account. In an indication of the company&#39;s hopes for its reach, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced that the service would be available on Android phones in the fall. Until now, iTunes has only been available on Apple devices.</p><p>From the stage, Iovine, a longtime music executive employed by Apple since the acquisition of Beats, recalled the moment he first saw the iTunes store. It was a &quot;simple, elegant way to buy music online&quot; in an era when the recording industry had been decimated by file sharing, he said. But Apple Music is entering a playing field already crowded by other streaming services such as Spotify, Rdio, Pandora and Tidal.</p><p>As NPR&#39;s Laura Sydell, who was in the audience at the event, tweeted, Iovine characterized the current streaming ecosystem as confusing and overwhelming, and he positioned Apple Music as &quot;a complete thought around music,&quot; a slightly awkward catchphrase later echoed in a video presentation by musician Trent Reznor. (That phrase might have been an oblique reference to the Beats Music feature The Sentence, in which users could create a playlist by describing their listening scenario. Get it? The Sentence ... a &quot;complete thought.&quot; Oh well.)</p><p>Announced after nearly two hours of presentations on how Apple&#39;s various operating systems will be updated in the coming year (promised developments: a new news app, open source programming language, Siri will be better, Maps will be better, Apple Pay continues to expand to more retailers), the introduction of the music service featured the participation of many well-known musicians including The Alabama Shakes, Pharrell Williams and The Weeknd, who performed a radio-ready new song.</p><p>Apple Music&#39;s global 24/7 radio station will be staffed by notable DJs hired from terrestrial and Web radio stations: former BBC host Zane Lowe, Ebro Darden of New York&#39;s Hot 97 and Julie Adenuga of Rinse FM.</p><p>Also part of the service, but relegated to a single mention at the end of the presentation, was the iTunes store itself, which Cook called &quot;the best place to buy music.&quot; If you&#39;re still into that kind of thing.</p><p>&mdash; <em><a href="http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2015/06/08/412908070/apple-announces-music-streaming-service">via NPR&#39;s The Two-Way</a></em></p></p> Mon, 08 Jun 2015 17:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/apple-announces-music-streaming-service-112157 Ex-speaker Hastert quietly tried to boost income http://www.wbez.org/news/ex-speaker-hastert-quietly-tried-boost-income-112154 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/hastert2_1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em><strong>▲LISTEN </strong>Former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert makes a scheduled appearance in a federal courtroom later this week. When he does, he will join a long line of Illinois politicians who have faced corruption charges. Hastert has not made any public statement since he was indicted last month on charges of lying to the FBI and trying to conceal payments he was making to hide past misconduct. NPR&#39;s Cheryl Corley reports.</em></p><p>Hastert looked for ways to increase his income around the time he is accused of paying someone to stay quiet about decades-old misconduct, according to a former business associate.</p><p>J. David John told <em>The New York Times</em> that he asked a financial adviser in 2010 how investments could be arranged to yield more cash and that he inquired on Hastert&#39;s behalf, without identifying him. John said he doesn&#39;t know whether the attempt to set up an annuity relates to the payoffs Hastert is accused of making.</p><p>Hastert is charged with evading bank regulations by withdrawing hundreds of thousands of dollars in smaller amounts and lying about why. The indictment says Hastert agreed in 2010 to pay $3.5 million to a person to compensate for and conceal past misconduct. He is scheduled to appear at his arraignment on the two charges in federal court in Chicago on Tuesday. If convicted, he could face a maximum five-year sentence and a $250,000 fine on each charge.</p><p><em>The Times</em> posted emails and other documents showing efforts by Hastert to grow his slow-starting lobbying and consulting business after he left politics.</p><p>A collection of emails, many between John and a Hastert assistant, suggests the former Republican congressman&#39;s schedule was picking up as he traveled to Singapore, Montreal and other sites of projects he was helping clients advance. Among them were efforts to move a golf tournament to the Middle East from the U.S., to bring Formula One racing to Chicago and to engage in a California land development.</p><p>In June 2010, John received an email from a financial adviser who was consulted about how to generate more cash for Hastert but given only limited details of the former congressman&#39;s finances and nothing identifying him. Hastert had amassed wealth in real estate but those investments were largely tied up. &quot;In general, he can probably get 4-6 percent in the annuity world,&quot; the adviser told John. &quot;This would provide him a steady stream of income and more than likely a guarantee that he would not run out of income in his lifetime.&quot;</p><p>According to the indictment, however, Hastert was heavily tapping his income that summer, withdrawing $50,000 at a time and making secret payments every six weeks.</p><p><em>The Times</em> obtained documents from a lawyer for John, who had a falling out with Hastert and has sued him.</p><p>A person familiar with the allegations told <em>The Associated Press</em> that the payments were intended to conceal claims that Hastert sexually molested someone decades ago. The person spoke to the AP on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is continuing.</p></p> Mon, 08 Jun 2015 11:51:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/ex-speaker-hastert-quietly-tried-boost-income-112154