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The Mechanics

Media Tue Mar 31 2015

Help Wanted: Politics Writers

Mechanics is looking for new contributors who are passionate about Chicago, Cook County and Illinois politics. If you are interested, we would love to hear from you.

As a contributor to Gapers Block, you would be expected to write at least one post a week for Mechanics. We are looking for writers who can cover politics in general, but we would be happy to discuss if there is a beat that interests you.

NOTE: Gapers Block is a volunteer entity; while the position is unpaid, writers benefit from building clips, receiving media access to press conferences and other events, and occasional non-political perks.

If you are interested in writing about politics for Gapers Block, please send two to three writing samples, a little note about yourself and why you would like to write for GB to mr@gapersblock.com with the subject of "Contributing to Mechanics."

Monica Reida / Comments (0)

Election 2015 Mon Mar 30 2015

Fioretti's Bewildering Endorsement

Ald. Bob Fioretti made the decision late Saturday night to endorse Mayor Rahm Emanuel in the runoff instead of Jesus "Chuy" Garcia.

Let me rephrase that in case you think I made something up to mess with you. Ald. Bob Fioretti is endorsing Rahm Emanuel for mayor.

Continue reading this entry »

Monica Reida / Comments (1)

Stump Connolly Mon Mar 30 2015

Stump Connolly Reporting In: Who's Watching The Debates?

There have been seven debates so far in this mayoral race, with one more scheduled Tuesday at 7pm on WTTW-Channel 11. Nielsen ratings show the encounters are drawing a relatively small TV audience: 98,000 viewers on public television and about 322,000 on NBC's first head to head debate. But three of those four viewers live outside the city of Chicago, so if you measure only registered voters in Chicago (and factor in 2011's turnout of 42 percent), the direct impact of the debates is negligible -- unless you add in the other media coverage. We asked reporters who have both moderated and covered the debates about the long tail of mayoral debates. In other words, who's watching?

Stump Connolly, chief political correspondent of The Week Behind, will be covering the Chicago mayoral race with his new pocketcam and offering periodic video reports exclusively on Gapers Block as the campaign unfolds.

Stump Connolly / Comments (0)

Law Fri Mar 27 2015

Loophole for DUI Checkpoints?

duicheckpoint.jpgBy Tesia Galvan

In an effort allegedly intended to protect innocent citizens from driving under the influence tickets, a Florida attorney has developed the Fair DUI Flyer.

The flyer, created in September 2013 by Warren Redlich, reads, "I remain silent; no searches; I want my lawyer," and varies state-to-state. Eleven state versions can be found on Redlich's website, fairdui.org.

Redlich, a New York attorney now based in Florida, said the flyer was inspired by Fair DUI: Stay Safe and Sane in a World Gone MADD, a book he published because of the experiences he had with clients in drunk driving cases and his desire for a better encounter with police.

Continue reading this entry »

Mechanics / Comments (1)

Event Thu Mar 26 2015

Your Kids Are in a Crisis: Robert Putnam's American Dream

"Everybody who went to college raise your hand," said Dr. Robert Putnam from the stage of Cindy Pritzker Auditorium. Without exception, every hand of the 400, white, middle-aged professionals in attendance went up. "You're who I'm talking about when I say 'rich kids,'" Putnam jested. The audience laughed at the recognition that, yes, they were all members of a privileged social strata. Putnam nodded and turned toward the PowerPoint behind him, "Today, I'm going to be talking about inequality."

Continue reading this entry »

Sam Rappaport / Comments (0)

Police Wed Mar 25 2015

ACLU Report: Chicago Police Use Excessive Stop-and-Frisk on People of Color

ChicagoPolice1_Brosious.jpg
Chicago police / Photo by Emily Brosious

The American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois released findings in a report Monday that show stop-and-frisks by Chicago police disproportionately target people of color -- and justification for these stops frequently fails to meet constitutional standards.

The ACLU also found Chicago far surpasses New York City as the nation's leader in the use of controversial stop-and-frisk procedures.

Continue reading this entry »

Emily Brosious / Comments (0)

Stump Connolly Wed Mar 18 2015

Stump Connolly Reporting In: The Politics of Exuberance

A Mexican and a Jew go to a Southside Irish Parade. Sounds like the beginning of a bad bar joke, doesn't it? So what do they do when they get there? Run from one side of the road to the other, handing out high fives like crazed lunatics. If you want to run for office, you have to throw yourself out there and do all kinds of silly things. Only in Chicago... in a close mayoral election. Happy St. Patrick's Day.

Stump Connolly, chief political correspondent of The Week Behind, will be covering the Chicago mayoral race with his new pocketcam and offering periodic video reports exclusively on Gapers Block as the campaign unfolds.

Stump Connolly / Comments (0)

Civics Mon Mar 16 2015

Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

Civics by Ramsin CanonIt's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot water.

The problem many Chicagoans have with Mayor Emanuel is not that their feelings were hurt because he's a mean-o.

People who have had their schools close, or seen friends, relatives or neighbors lose their jobs, or lose their mental health care, because of the mayor's policies, would not feel better because that news came to them by singing telegram.

Only a pronounced alienation from the reality of working class life in Chicago could cause someone to think the mayor's problem is one of tone and not substance.

Chicago is waiting for the early bus in the cold. It goes hard on you and it nickel-and-dimes you. You have to be hard to survive and creative to get on. Chicagoans have earned not only being listened to, but a part in running things themselves. Not just quietly obeying imported technocrats and unaccountable "social entrepreneurs."

Continue reading this entry »

Ramsin Canon / Comments (1)

Stump Connolly Fri Mar 13 2015

Stump Connolly Reporting In: Gordy's Barbershop

The key battlegrounds in the mayoral race are shaping up to be in Chicago's black communities. To find out what's on people's minds, we spent a day in Gordy's Barbershop, 1407 E. 75th St., listening to more than a few opinions on what the candidates should be addressing.

Stump Connolly, chief political correspondent of The Week Behind, will be covering the Chicago mayoral race with his new pocketcam and offering periodic video reports exclusively on Gapers Block as the campaign unfolds.

Stump Connolly / Comments (1)

Op-Ed Wed Mar 11 2015

Sifting Through Senator Kirk's "Chicago Will Become Detroit" Threat

By Dave Stieber

Last week Republican Senator Mark Kirk said that the citizens of Chicago should "re-elect Rahm or Chicago could end up like Detroit." Now the on the surface the comment seems to just imply that for whatever reason Senator Kirk believes that Rahm Emanuel will be more able to help with our city's finances than his challenger Chuy Garcia. It is odd that Senator Kirk believes this, because since Mayor Emanuel took over our city's bond rating has dropped five times. Clearly the mayor is great at raising money for his own re-election campaign, but raising money to help the city... not so much.

So let's go a little deeper into Mark Kirk's comments threatening that if Garcia is elected Chicago will become like Detroit.

Continue reading this entry »

Mechanics / Comments (0)

Stump Connolly Fri Mar 06 2015

Stump Connolly Reporting In: Running with Rahm

Last Saturday, we went "Running with Rahm" - a marathon attempt to hit seven campaign offices in a day (with a stopover to call on Willie Wilson). We caught up with him at the 27th and 45th ward offices and discovered the old Democratic machine is anything but dead.

Stump Connolly, chief political correspondent of The Week Behind, will be covering the Chicago mayoral race with his new pocketcam and offering periodic video reports exclusively on Gapers Block as the campaign unfolds.

Stump Connolly / Comments (0)

Election 2015 Tue Mar 03 2015

Optimism Amid the Neverending Election

It felt like the final precinct would never be called.

Cramped into a small bar in Albany Park, watching returns on a most unusual Election Night, pecking at smartphones, a motley crew dressed largely in red waited on vote totals from an unknown precinct to be added to the totals. Those totals didn't seem very hopeful, but this was a night where the most powerful mayor in the country had been humbled.

Suddenly, from the corner, a voice rang out:

"We've got a runoff!"

Continue reading this entry »

Phil Huckelberry / Comments (0)

Stump Connolly Mon Mar 02 2015

Stump Connolly Reporting In: Election Night

Ben Kolak contributed to this report.

Dueling campaign night headquarters. Rahm vs. Chuy. Only two blocks apart, across a chasm of differences.

Stump Connolly, chief political correspondent of The Week Behind, will be covering the Chicago mayoral race with his new pocketcam and offering periodic video reports exclusively on Gapers Block as the campaign unfolds.

Stump Connolly / Comments (0)

LGBT Fri Feb 27 2015

Transgender Teens Face New Struggles, Options

themash.com

By Laura Bartusiak, James Wendt & Maddie Mathie

Naperville North junior Adam Beaty sat in the back of a classroom with a group of friends giving him a pep talk. A teacher who knew Beaty before he transitioned to male stood at the front of the room.

"I was terrified. My heart was racing and I was like, 'This is going to go horribly,'" Beaty said. "I went up and I was like, 'So, about the name and everything.'"

But before he could finish his sentence, the teacher asked Beaty his preferred name, to which he responded, "Adam." Today, Beaty identifies as male, but he was born female.

Continue reading this entry »

Mechanics / Comments (0)

Civics Thu Feb 26 2015

When the Room Is Small and You Stink

Thumbnail image for Civics by Ramsin CanonWhen he aped his mentor Bill Clinton in his inauguration speech, one could guess that Rahm Emanuel would be going to an old playbook that may not work for him in the long run.

Rahm Emanuel may have unwittingly learned a lesson from his days in the Clinton White House, specifically during his central role in the passage of NAFTA: If the big money is behind you, it does not really matter how harmful a policy is. The effects will be diluted enough that you can market whatever narrative you want and drown out the rabble. The NAFTA campaign was a well-financed sales job, meant to convince the country not only that something bad was good, but that plenty of "jus' folks" were all for it. The "selling" of free trade was among Emanuel's greatest accomplishments. This was followed up by taking on the all-mighty welfare lobby with support from the rich and powerful. He helped end welfare as we know it.

But beating labor and the poor in the 1990's with big business behind you might give you an over-inflated understanding of your political prowess.

Continue reading this entry »

Ramsin Canon / Comments (4)

Feature

Goethe, Floyd, Rahm & Me

By Phil Huckelberry / 0 Comments

This is a story of life, love, and property damage. It is a story involving crystallized water, piled some 19 inches deep. The story forces us to confront greed, manipulation, logistics, and physics. The characters include the legendary and the ordinary, from Rahm Emanuel to a bus driver whose name we'll likely never know. More...

Civics

Substance, Not Style, the Source of Rahm's Woes

By Ramsin Canon / 1 Comments

It's not surprising that some of Mayor Emanuel's sympathizers and supporters are confusing people's substantive disputes with the mayor as the effect of poor marketing on his part. It's exactly this insular worldview that has gotten the mayor in hot... More...

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About Mechanics

Mechanics is the politics section of Gapers Block, reflecting the diversity of viewpoints and beliefs of Chicagoans and Illinoisans. More...
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Editor: Monica Reida, mr@gapersblock.com
Mechanics staff inbox: mechanics@gapersblock.com

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