The Rundown: Rittenhouse takes the stand

Kyle Rittenhouse
Kyle Rittenhouse waits for the jury to enter the room to continue testifying during his trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021. Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool
Kyle Rittenhouse
Kyle Rittenhouse waits for the jury to enter the room to continue testifying during his trial at the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wis., on Wednesday, Nov. 10, 2021. Sean Krajacic/The Kenosha News via AP, Pool

The Rundown: Rittenhouse takes the stand

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Good afternoon! It’s Wednesday, and a big congrats to Rundown readers Mesmin and Michael on their new son, Lucien. Here’s what you need to know today.

(By the way, if you’d like this emailed to your inbox, you can sign up here.)

1. Takeaways from Kyle Rittenhouse’s testimony

Kyle Rittenhouse took the stand today at his murder trial and told jurors he went to Kenosha, Wis., with a rifle to give first aid and help extinguish fires.

Rittenhouse said he acted in self-defense when he killed two men and wounded a third the night of Aug. 25, 2020, when protests against racial injustice took place following the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

He described tense encounters with Joseph Rosenbaum, the first person shot and killed. Rittenhouse said he felt “cornered” and began to break down sobbing.

In his cross-examination of Rittenhouse, lead prosecutor Thomas Binger pushed the 18-year-old on his inexperience with the rifle and ammunition he took to the protests, as well as the fact he couldn’t legally buy them in Wisconsin at the time of the shootings.

Binger also questioned Rittenhouse over whether he expected to be in danger and if bringing a rifle made the situation more tense.

Binger was chastised by Judge Bruce Schroeder at one point for questioning Rittenhouse’s right to remain silent in front of the jury. Rittenhouse’s defense team later in the day requested for a mistrial with prejudice, which, if approved, would mean Rittenhouse could not be retried. [AP]

2. Daily cases of COVID-19 surpass 400 in Chicago

City officials are reporting a seven-day average of 403 cases per day as of Nov. 5, a 24% increase from the previous week that coincides with a push to get young children vaccinated before the holiday season.

The rise in infections also comes as about 30% of residents 12 years old and over are not fully inoculated, according to the city’s COVID-19 tracking system.

In recent weeks, Chicago’s top public health official said the city’s indoor mask mandate may be lifted if cases fall below the 200 mark. The mask mandate came back into effect in August when new cases were topping 400 per day.

The city’s positivity rate, currently 2.1%, is also rising. Hospitalizations and deaths, which often lag behind increases in cases, are decreasing. Chicago has reported more than 6,000 deaths from COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. [COVID Dashboard]

Chicago Public Schools canceled classes this Friday to boost vaccination rates among recently eligible children between 5 and 11 years old.

Dr. Allison Arwady, the head of the Chicago Department of Public Health, told WBEZ’s Sarah Karp that CPS didn’t widely utilize schools to administer shots because parents and guardians should first reach out to their children’s pediatrician for the vaccine. [WBEZ]

3. The U.S. saw its biggest surge in prices in about 30 years

The Labor Department today reported that prices rose 6.2% in October compared to a year ago, marking the largest surge in inflation since 1990, reports NPR. That’s bad news for President Joe Biden, as recent polls show 54% of Americans disapprove of his handling of the economy.

Price increases were widespread, with energy, shelter, food and vehicles all costing more. And while paychecks have grown as employers seek to attract workers, the wage increases are not keeping up with the rising cost of gas and groceries.

“For families, they’re feeling it right now,” says Mary Daly, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco. “If you got to a grocery store, you buy food that you usually buy, you then fill your gas tank on the way home so you can go to work or take your kids to school, you’re feeling this.”

“When you then look at the winter coming and you realize your fuel bill for heating your home is going to rise as the winter comes, you’re nervous,” she added. [NPR]

4. A draft of a U.N. climate accord calls for phasing out fossil fuels

Organizers of the COP26 climate summit in Glasgow today released a preliminary draft of an agreement on how world leaders will work together to tackle the climate crisis.

As The Washington Post reports, the draft calls on countries to specifically phase out coal and subsidies for fossil fuels, which were not mentioned in the Paris climate agreement.

But the draft does not outline one of the more contentious issues being discussed at the summit — how countries will measure and report their emissions to the U.N. [Washington Post]

The draft comes as U.N. researchers warn the world is on track to suffer the worst effects of climate change unless leaders take immediate action. [WaPo]

The U.S and China today made a surprise announcement that they will work together on curbing global warming during this decade. [WaPo]

5. Chicago’s Anti-Cruelty Society waives fees as shelters reach capacity

The Anti-Cruelty Society this week is waiving fees for cats, dogs and other pets as adoption rates have fallen and shelters run out of room, reports Block Club Chicago.

The organization says it is housing more than 420 animals and has 140 animals in foster care.

“The Anti-Cruelty Society is severely limited in housing additional animals, particularly dogs over 40 pounds that need larger living spaces,” Darlene Duggan, the rescue’s chief operations officer, said in a statement.

The fee waiver is available through Sunday. [Block Club]

Here’s what else is happening

  • Some late breaking news: The Chicago Park District’s board president is resigning amid a lifeguard abuse scandal. [WBEZ]
  • The Jan. 6 panel can gain access to records from former President Donald Trump, a federal judge ruled. [NPR]
  • Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown wants to fire a sergeant who oversaw the wrongful raid on Anjanette Young’s home. [Chicago Sun-Times]
  • Chicago could see its first snowfall of the season on Friday. [Chicago Tribune]

Oh, and one more thing …

One of the first Apple computers recently sold at auction for $400,000, reports NPR.

And you have to check out the computer. It looks like something from the Fallout games or the Loki TV series. The computer case is made of koa wood, which was widely available in the 1970s, but has become rarer due to cattle grazing and logging.

The Apple-1 computer was released in 1976 and originally sold for $666.66. [NPR]

Tell me something good …

The holidays are quickly approaching, and I’m buying presents earlier this year. So I’d like to know: What are your favorite places to shop locally?

Larry Gammel writes:

“Amazing Breads and Cakes is run by three sisters. There’s not many options for a ‘real’ bakery shop in Des Plaines. They actually closed for a day several weeks ago to pick apples for their apple pies.”

Joy Airaudi writes:

“My favorite place to shop for gifts (and gifts for myself) is Hazel on Montrose. I live nearby so I’m there all the time. The store is filled with beautiful vintage fixtures, and there are so many choices (jewelry, bags, accessories, bath and body items, kitchen accessories and drink-ware, children’s books and baby gifts … with lots of items made locally).

“The prices are reasonable, and they do free gift wrapping. Hazel Apparel down the street also has men’s and women’s clothing and more accessories. What I love most is the staff. They are friendly and chill, but spring into action if you need help. Hazel also regularly gives back to the community with donation drives and benefit days.”

Where do you like to shop? Feel free to email me at or tweet me at @whuntah, and your responses might be shared here this week.

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