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Liz Cheney speaks at podium after losing primary

Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., speaks Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022, at a primary Election Day gathering in Jackson, Wyo. Cheney lost to Republican opponent Harriet Hageman in the primary.

Jae C. Hong

The Rundown: Liz Cheney for president?

Good afternoon! It’s Wednesday, and one of my favorite Chicago photographers, Barry Butler, has a new exhibit at Navy Pier that totally looks worth checking out.

1. Liz Cheney may run for president in the 2024 election

Liz Cheney is hinting at running for president in 2024 after losing in her House primary in Wyoming last night, the New York Times reports.

Cheney lost the primary by more than 35 percentage points to Harriet Hageman, whom former President Donald Trump endorsed.

If she runs for president, her candidacy would test the strength of a conservative, anti-Trump platform on a national scale. Cheney initially avoided the question of running on NBC’s Today Show on Wednesday morning.

But when host Savannah Guthrie pressed her, Cheney said: “It is something that I am thinking about, and I’ll make a decision in the coming months.” [New York Times]

Cheney’s loss last night shows how much power Trump still wields over the Republican Party. Ten House Republicans voted to impeach him after the Jan. 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol — only two of those representatives have made it past primary elections in their respective states. [New York Times]

2. CTA receives $29 million to buy electric buses

Thanks to another round of grants from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the CTA has almost $29 million to help purchase electric buses and modernize its electrical, communications and safety systems at bus garages, reports my colleague Manny Ramos at the Sun-Times.

CTA officials said they want an all-electric bus fleet by 2040.

About $3.4 million of the funds will be used to buy 10 electric buses, while $13.2 million will go toward upgrading the Chicago Avenue Garage in Humboldt Park.

As the Sun-Times reports: “That garage serves an area whose population is 93% minority; 86% of residents also are considered low income, according to a CTA spokesperson. Prioritizing this garage to support CTA’s bus electrification effort will help bring environmental benefits to areas where air quality is often worse.”

As of now, the CTA has about 20 electric buses in its fleet, all of which operate on route No. 66.

For comparison, other large transit agencies received significantly more for new electric buses and charging equipment. The Massachusetts Bay Authority received $116 million, New York City $116 million and Los Angeles County $104 million. [Chicago Sun-Times]

3. CPS scrambles to comply with a privacy law after a recent breach

Illinois school districts had until July 2021 to meet the requirements of the Student Online Personal Protection Act (SOPPA), which regulates student data collection and use by schools, the State Board of Education and educational technology companies.

But Chicago Public Schools didn’t join other districts in a consortium that gives districts tools and resources for vetting vendors’ student privacy safeguards — and chaos ensued, the Chicago Tribune reports.

Teachers say they can’t use the curriculum they want, putting CPS students at a disadvantage compared to their suburban peers.

In one case, Lane Tech high school students used Adobe InDesign to lay out their newspaper — but had to learn a new system last year because Adobe products weren’t approved for use at the beginning of last school year. The school also stopped paying the newspaper’s web-hosting provider, SNO Sites, at one point because it wasn’t clear if the program was SOPPA-approved.

CPS says there are now more resources for processing agreements but still needs to scrutinize each of the many vendors the district considers working with.

And because CPS didn’t block unapproved programs like it said it would, some teachers say they had to “weigh their curriculum needs against possible discipline for using such programs.” [Chicago Tribune]

4. Chicago police are investigating racist and homophobic posts by someone claiming to be a cop

The person making the posts bragged on 4chan, a website considered a hotbed for racism and extremism, about profiling people and being involved in two on-duty shootings, according to the Sun-Times.

Like other users on the site, the person is only identified with a serial number.

As the Sun-Times reports: “The posts on 4chan began on Aug. 3 when the purported officer started a thread soliciting questions and including a photo of a shirt with a police patch. In the thread, the user spouted slurs for Mexicans and gay men and blamed the city’s violent crime solely on Black people.”

A spokeswoman for the Civilian Office of Police Accountability says the agency received a complaint about the posts on Monday and forwarded it to CPD’s Bureau of Internal Affairs.

Police spokeswoman Maggie Huynh only confirmed an investigation has been opened. [Sun-Times]

5. In the world of esports, the stakes are high — and respect is elusive

A facility in a Vernon Hills mall opens a door into the world of competitive video gaming, where young pros vie for top rankings and prize money, Isi Frank Ativie reports for WBEZ.

BHOP Esports Gaming Community Center is a training ground for a group of internet athletes dominating electronic sports, a form of multiplayer video gaming that started in the 1970s.

The atmosphere looks friendly, sociable and vibrant, but the competitors are going for college scholarships, prize money into the millions and even professional careers.

Despite the high stakes, not everyone respects the field.

“It’s really hard to view these players as athletes when they’re sitting in a chair,” said Sam Oanta, owner of Ignite Gaming Lounge in Skokie. “There’s still a stigma with playing video games; definitely so in America. Less so in Southeast Asia where gaming culture is much more mainstream.” [WBEZ]

Here’s what else is happening

  • The CDC laid out a plan to become ‘more nimble and accountable’ after criticism for its COVID-19 and monkeypox responses. [Washington Post]

  • U.S. retail sales were flat in July as inflation continues to be top of mind for consumers. [AP]

  • Rudy Giuliani appeared before the Atlanta grand jury investigating former President Donald Trump. [New York Times]

  • Girl Scouts added a new raspberry cookie to its lineup. Yum. [CNN]

Oh, and one more thing …

Charles Stepney’s compositions powered groups like Rotary Connection; Earth, Wind & Fire; The Dells; and blues musician Muddy Waters. But because of Stepney’s untimely death at the age of 45 in 1976, the soul man hasn’t received the recognition due to him.

A concert tomorrow evening in Millennium Park seeks to change that, publicizing some of the vast catalog of work Stepney left behind.

In the decades since his death, Eibur Stepney and her sisters, Chanté and Charlene, have made it a mission to bring their father the spotlight deserving of a front man.

Tomorrow’s concert (6:30 p.m. at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion; free) will be the first public airing of Step on Step, an album put together from two of the 90 musical reels Charles Stepney stored in the basement of his family’s South Side home.

“It will be a celebration for our family to be able to see our dad honored respectfully in this manner,” Eibur Stepney said. [WBEZ]

Tell me something good ...

I saw Lady Gaga at Wrigley Field on Monday night. And I’d like to know what is one of your favorite concerts or shows you’ve seen, whether it’s a band, comedian, drag queen or anything else.

Bill McGrath writes:

“Taking my 13 yr. old daughter to Hordefest years ago. When an incredible thunder storm forced everyone to stand on their seats because of the 4" of water flowing down towards the stage where Neil Young and Crazy Horse were sliding/playing on stage, she pulled me towards her, and asked me, “Is this a good concert?” to which I happily replied, ‘This is what rock and roll is all about!’ ”

Christina writes:

“Backstreet Boys! I’m turning 36 this year, so I was in the core BSB fan group back in the day. I wasn’t allowed to go to concerts as a kid, so when I saw that they’d be at Summerfest this year, I naturally dragged my husband to the concert, and it fulfilled my inner 13-year-old’s dreams. I couldn’t stop smiling and laughing as they sang all my old favorites, thinking about how I used to write the lyrics to their songs in my diaries...it was such a nice reminder of a more carefree time (and they still sound great!).”

And Rick Schlude writes:

“The best show I’ve seen in a while was the band Low at Pitchfork this year. Pure ear shattering distortion and noise was the backdrop for 2 beautiful voices in harmony. I just threw my hair down in front of my eyes, head-bobbed, and wept as they played all of their cathartic album “Hey What.” It was better than church.”

Feel free to email or tweet me, and your response might be shared in the newsletter this week.

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