WBEZ’s Daily Newsletter For Sept. 11, 2019 | WBEZ
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The Rundown: WBEZ's Daily Newsletter

Newsletter: Trump’s No-Good Week, And It’s Only Wednesday

Good afternoon! It's Wednesday and the 18th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Here’s what you need to know today. And FYI: If you'd like this newsletter delivered to your inbox, you can sign up here


1. Democratic challengers are polling ahead of Trump

Another day, another poll from The Washington Post and ABC News. This one shows President Donald Trump trailing potential Democratic challengers in next year’s election.

The survey tested Trump in early one-on-one matchups with Democratic candidates, finding he trails well behind former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders. Trump is also slightly behind Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris. [Washington Post]

Meanwhile, in the fallout from Trump’s abrupt firing of national security adviser John Bolton, some congressional Republicans are worried Trump has abandoned a long-held GOP doctrine of projecting America’s military might. [New York Times]

And it appears more turmoil is bubbling within Trump’s inner circle. The president’s acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, reportedly told Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to pressure a federal scientific agency to disavow any forecasts of Hurricane Dorian that contradicted Trump’s incorrect claim the storm would hit Alabama. [New York Times]

And a recent win for the GOP might not be entirely great news. A Republican candidate narrowly won a special election for an open House seat in North Carolina last night. The tight race was in a district held by the GOP for six decades, raising questions about the party’s eroding support in suburbs ahead of the 2020 elections. [AP]

2. U.S. will propose a ban on flavored e-cigarettes

Amid mounting concerns over teen vaping and a deadly lung disease linked to vaping, President Trump said he will propose banning thousands of flavored e-cigarettes.

The Food and Drug Administration will develop a plan to remove most e-cigarette flavors from the market, targeting ones favored by minors, said Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar. [AP]

Federal health officials say at least six people have died from the mysterious lung illness and hundreds have been sickened. The cause of the illness remains unknown, but scientists have found a link to an oil added to some THC vaping products. [Washington Post]

The first known death from the illness was reported in Illinois. Sen. Dick Durbin this week said Illinois has seen 42 confirmed cases. [Chicago Sun-Times]

3. Whistleblower says Guantánamo is a “gross financial waste”

The U.S. military prison and court in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, cost more than $380 million a year even though it currently houses only 40 prisoners, according to an NPR investigation. Taxpayers have spent more than $6 billion on Guantánamo since it opened in 2002.

Now, a former top attorney at Guantánamo alleges the military court and prison is unnecessarily wasting money on questionable expenses. The whistleblower says an “eye-popping” amount of money is spent on a host of things like construction, investigators, vehicles, hundreds of attorneys and computer systems. [NPR]

4. Cook County clerk accused of running an “illegal patronage” operation

And for once we’re not talking about Cook County Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown.

We’re talking about Cook County Clerk Karen Yarbrough, also known as the other Cook County clerk.

Veteran attorney Michael Shakman, who has fought many legal battles against political patronage, says Yarbrough is “running an illegal patronage employment system.” In a legal filing, Shakman says Yarbrough asked county employees for political contributions.

Yarbrough told the Chicago Tribune that Shakman’s claims are “outrageous” and “preposterous.” [Tribune]

5. More high schoolers in Chicago are earning college credit

But a WBEZ investigation found that educators are worried some students actually might not be prepared for college.

The number of high school students taking college classes from City Colleges of Chicago has grown since 2014, when 1,055 students were enrolled. Last school year, there were 3,655 students earning college credit.

But some City Colleges faculty and college admissions officers said they’re worried the courses are watered-down and give lower-performing students the false impression they are ready for college-level work. A third of the classes don’t have any requirements to get in. For the others, students must prove they meet the college-ready standard set by City Colleges, which is low. [WBEZ]

Here's what else is happening

  • The Illinois Supreme Court picked Justice Anne Burke, who is married to indicted Ald. Ed Burke, to serve as chief justice. [Chicago Tribune]

  • Parts of the world are already past a crucial climate change threshold. [Washington Post]

  • There’s two new episodes of South Side Stories, the only WBEZ podcast with a warning for “explicit content.” [Apple]

  • My boss’s boss’s boss is now the interim head boss. [WBEZ]

Oh, and one more thing …

As you probably already know, recreational pot will be legal in Illinois on Jan. 1, meaning that New Year’s Eve is probably going to be 50 shades of cray cray.

But there’s a ton of things about the law that you might not know. WBEZ put together this handy guide that answers readers’ questions about what happens when the law goes into effect, touching on anything from where you can light up to whether you can cross state lines. [WBEZ]

Tell me something good ...

WBEZ has a number of job openings, and that’s got me wondering, what is/was your favorite job?

Sharon Bowen writes:

“My favorite job was the one I did for 35 years. I ran my own violin shop. I handled every aspect of the business. Buying and selling instruments, repairs and rentals. I loved the customer contact. I loved my “patients,” making them look and sound their best again.”

Feel free to email at therundown@wbez.org or tweet me at @whuntah.

Have a nice night! I'll see you tomorrow. And if you like what you just read, you can subscribe to the newsletter here and have it delivered to your inbox.

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