Hey there! It’s Friday, and I completely forgot! I’m a little under the weather and thought it was Thursday. I guess I April fooled myself. Anyway, here’s what you need to know today.
1. Defendants on electronic monitoring can move freely two days a week. And some are getting into trouble.
A Chicago Sun-Times investigation found that since the beginning of the year, two dozen people in home confinement have been arrested during a time period in which they are not being actively monitored.
A new provision took effect this year that allows defendants a minimum of two days a week to roam freely so they can do things like go to work, look for jobs and attend school, according to the state law.
During these “essential movement” days, one man was accused of armed robbery and two others were shot dead, the Sun-Times reports.
The news adds another layer in the heated debate over electronic monitoring, which critics partially blame for a surge in violent crime.
Now, Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart said the “essential movement” days should be cut.
While the two dozen arrests amount to just 1% of those who are on electronic monitoring, the figure might be an undercount because many shootings and other crimes don’t result in arrests, Dart said. [ST]
Workers at a massive Amazon warehouse in Staten Island today voted to unionize by a wide margin, marking the first successful organizing effort for the online retail giant. And the news is being hailed as one of the biggest union victories in recent history.
Now, organizers are hoping their grassroots strategy can be replicated at other warehouses, including ones where unionizing efforts fell short.
“I’m excited that we’re making history,” said Amazon worker Tristan Dutchin, who hopes the union will improve workplace conditions. “We’re about to unionize a multibillion, trillion-dollar company. This will be a fantastic time for workers to be surrounded in a better, safer working environment.” [NPR]
Meanwhile, the U.S. economy still favors workers over employers. The federal jobs report for March shows there is a high demand for workers, with high levels of job openings and the number of employees leaving their jobs. [AP]
The lawsuit, filed in federal court, argues the law violates the constitutionally protected rights of free speech, equal protection and due process of students and families.
“This effort to control young minds through state censorship — and to demean LGBTQ lives by denying their reality — is a grave abuse of power,” the lawsuit says.
The “Don’t Say Gay” law bans public school teachers from discussing sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade. Critics say the law is written so vaguely that talking about a student’s same-sex family could be considered illegal.
It comes as LGBTQ rights have taken the spotlight in the nation’s culture wars, with several conservative states introducing legislation aimed at eroding protections for gay and trans youth. [AP]
A Trump endorsement used to be a golden ticket in Republican primaries, but this year will test just how far a nod from the former president will go with voters.
That’s because Trump is backing more longshot candidates against incumbents who did not overturn the 2020 presidential election based on his false claims of widespread voting fraud.
In the battleground state of Georgia, some Republicans are not confident Trump will be able to oust incumbents like Gov. Brian Kemp.
“Georgia voters know that Kemp stood up against mask mandates, that he cut their taxes, that he’s strongly pro-life, that he’s passed gun rights expansions,” said GOP strategist Brian Robinson. “You can’t give them a half story — because they know the full story. It’s got to match up with what they already believe to some degree.” [NPR]
Nearly two dozen people who worked with Bruce Willis said the actor had been showing signs of cognitive decline in recent years, and they questioned “whether the actor was fully aware of his surroundings on set,” reports the Los Angeles Times.
“Filmmakers described heart-wrenching scenes as the beloved Pulp Fiction star grappled with his loss of mental acuity and an inability to remember his dialogue,” the newspaper reports.
“An actor who traveled with Willis would feed the star his lines through an earpiece, known in the industry as an ‘earwig,’ according to several sources. Most action scenes, particularly those that involved choreographed gunfire, were filmed using a body double as a substitute for Willis.”
Earlier this week, the actor’s family announced he would retire due to aphasia, a cognitive condition that affects a person’s ability to communicate. [LA Times]
Here’s what else is happening
- Young Russians are worried they will be drafted into the war in Ukraine. [AP]
- A jury awarded protesters $14 million in Denver, a move that could resonate in other cities. [AP]
- Chicago officials are expected to soon release an updated plan for tackling climate change. [WBEZ]
- More than 300 mental health workers are urging Mayor Lori Lightfoot to rethink how the city handles mental health emergencies. [WBEZ]
Oh, and one more thing …
So how did April Fools’ Day begin? Apparently no one knows exactly, according to NPR.
The station reports April Fools’ Day customs date back to Renaissance Europe, but it’s likely they go back even further.
Some historians have traced the day to the ancient Roman festival of “Hilaria,” where people would celebrate the resurrection of the god Attis by dressing up in disguises and imitating others.
Another clue is the medieval celebration of the Feast of Fools, where a mock bishop or pope was elected and church customs were parodied. [NPR]
Tell me something good …
What are one or two of your favorite songs?
Steve Longo writes:
“I have to say ‘Cold Little Heart’ by Michael Kiwanuka is probably one of the best songs of the last 10 years. Play that song in the car and it makes wherever you are going, whatever you are doing feel cool and epic at the same time.”
Brett Newton writes:
“The songs that instantly fill my shoulders with joy, beginning with the first notes of their pulsating rhythms are ‘Boogie Wonderland’ by Earth Wind and Fire (1979) and ‘Car Wash’ by Rose Royce (1976).
“Play either of them and I dare you not to bob around the aisles of any Walgreens at any hour shaking your shoulders and hips. Peppy pants and delicious happiness!! Try them with roller skates too. Hahahaha!”
Thanks for all the responses this week! I’m sorry I couldn’t share them all, but it was nice hearing from you!