The Rundown: Lightfoot’s backfire on carjackings

Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks to reporters after visiting preschool classrooms at Dawes Elementary School in Chicago, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times via AP, Pool
Mayor Lori Lightfoot speaks to reporters after visiting preschool classrooms at Dawes Elementary School in Chicago, Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Chicago Sun-Times via AP, Pool

The Rundown: Lightfoot’s backfire on carjackings

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Good afternoon! It’s Tuesday, and HBO renewed “South Side” for another season. Here’s what else you need to know today.

1. Lightfoot blames a surge in carjackings on schools going remote. But city stats put a dent in that claim.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot this week linked a wave of carjackings to schools going remote in the early days of the pandemic, saying, “For many of these kids, some of whom had no prior involvement in the criminal justice system, this was pure boredom.”

But carjackings were already increasing before schools went remote in March of 2020, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The newspaper reports: “City data shows through March 1, 2020, weeks before students went remote, Chicago had recorded 148 carjackings, a 68% increase compared to 2019’s 88 incidents during that time.”

The mayor’s comments were almost immediately ripped by the Chicago Teachers Union.

“Every child in our public schools in Chicago deserves an apology from the mayor today, who claimed with zero evidence that there was a correlation between remote learning in 2020 and an increase in carjackings, which have been growing across the nation,” the union said in a statement. [Sun-Times]

2. A former coach with the National Women’s Soccer League is accused of abusing young players in the Chicago area

Rory Dames was the longest-tenured coach with the league before he resigned from the Chicago Red Stars last year as The Washington Post reported on allegations he verbally and emotionally abused players.

Now, the newspaper reports that Dames faced similar allegations decades ago at a youth soccer program in Chicago. One player told the Post that Dames was “grooming” her and pressured her into having sex with him once she turned 18.

Several players spoke with police, but the investigation was closed after the accusers declined to file formal complaints and prosecutors decided to not pursue the case, the Post reports.

“We tried to make it come to light 25 years ago, and nobody believed those teenagers,” Megan Cnota, who was in the youth program and contacted police, told the newspaper. [WaPo]

3. A major border crossing between the U.S. and Canada is blocked as truckers protest COVID-19 mandates escalates

The Canada Border Services Agency today said the Ambassador Bridge — which links Windsor, Ontario, to Detroit — was temporarily closed after being obstructed by truckers who are protesting vaccine mandates and other health measures.

The blockage began on Monday, and it is not clear when it may end. It marked a sharp escalation in the demonstrations that have resulted in a state of emergency being declared in Ottawa, where many businesses have closed or reduced their hours because of the unrest.

The Ambassador Bridge serves as a crucial trade link, particularly for the auto industry, with more than 40,000 commuters and truck drivers crossing it each day. [NPR]

4. Don’t read this section if you don’t want any spoilers about the Winter Olympics

Controversy erupted at the Games today when five women ski jumpers were disqualified because officials said their jumpsuits did not comply with the rules.

The disqualified jumpers represent four of the top ski jumping teams in the world: Sara Takanashi of Japan; Daniela Iraschko-Stolz of Austria; Katharina Althaus of Germany; and Anna Odine Stroem and Silje Opseth of Norway.

“We just pulled the crap card. That is how you destroy nations, development and the entire sport,” said Germany’s Althaus, who previously won silver in Beijing in an individual event. [NPR]

Meanwhile, a gold medal for U.S. figure skater Nathan Chen looks well within reach, after setting a world record in the men’s short program. [NPR]

Jessie Diggins won the first-ever U.S. Olympic medal in cross-country sprint. [NPR]

And U.S. skier Ryan Cochran-Siegle won a silver medal 50 years after his mom won a gold medal at the Winter Olympics in Japan. [NPR]

5. Lady Gaga and Spider-Man: No Way Home are among this year’s Oscar snubs

The Oscar nominations are out, and nope, the latest Spider-Man movie is not up for best picture. Guess it was a “swing and a miss.” (Editor’s note: Cue the sad trombone.)

Speculation had been building that Spider-Man: No Way Home would get a best picture nod, seeing as it was the biggest movie of the year and the sixth highest-grossing film ever.

Instead, the best picture nominees are The Power of the Dog, Belfast, West Side Story, Dune, Licorice Pizza, King Richard, Coda, Don’t Look Up, Drive My Car and Nightmare Alley.

Other notable snubs include Lady Gaga and Jared Leto for their roles in House of Gucci. [NPR]

Here’s what else is happening

  • The Kremlin denies reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin struck a deal with French President Emmanuel Macron to de-escalate the standoff over Ukraine. [AP]
  • More Democratic governors are dropping mask mandates for schools. [Washington Post]
  • Opening statements were made today in the federal trial of Chicago Ald. Patrick Daley Thompson, who is accused of income tax fraud. [Chicago Sun-Times]
  • Residents of Chicago’s South Side, pointing to city data, say they got shafted on snow removal after last week’s winter storms. [Block Club Chicago]

Oh, and one more thing …

If you’re in Taiwan and hear Beethoven playing, that’s your cue to take out the garbage.

Garbage collectors will play “Für Elise” and “Maiden’s Prayer” as a heads up for residents that it’s time to take out the trash, reports The New York Times. It’s not clear why those songs were selected.

“Some say a health official chose the Beethoven song after overhearing his daughter playing it on the piano,” the newspaper reports. “Others say the trucks came preprogrammed with the melodies.”

Taiwan has a policy that “trash is not allowed to touch the ground,” and officials and residents say hand delivering garbage helps keep the nation clean and fosters a stronger sense of community. [NYT]

Chicago should think about playing this when the garbage trucks roll up.

Tell me something good …

NPR asked an interesting question this week: Which great books by Black authors should be brought to the screen? And I’d like to know what you think.

@NancyJane_13 tweets:

“I’d love to see The Vanishing Half turned into a movie! Big thanks to @NerdettePodcast and @gretamjohnsen for turning me onto it.”

And ask and you shall receive. Nerdette host Greta Johnsen says HBO is adapting the best-selling novel. [Elle]

What books from a Black author would you like to see turned into a movie? Feel free to email or tweet me, and your response might be shared in the newsletter this week.