Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Yes, we knew it sometimes rains in Chicago

     Sometimes what you don't write is as important as what you do.
     For instance.
     On Thursday, I was trucking to the train after a long, soggy day at work—it wouldn't have been so damp had I stayed in the office, but I grabbed the No. 22 bus up Clark Street to stop by the Chicago History Museum to do some research, and that was closer to scuba diving than commuting.
    Anyway, I looked over the Orleans Street Bridge and notice that Rahm Emanuel's brand new section of River Walk was under an inch of water. 
     "You'd think the geniuses at the city would have factored in the idea that sometimes the river will rise..." I thought to myself. I wondered whether I should send the photographs immediately to the paper. Maybe they could splash them—pun intended—across the front page. "RIVER WALK ALL WET!" 
     But something stayed my hand. As safe a bet as assuming other people are stupid often is, you don't want that to be your default. I waited. From the radio that evening, I learned two inches of rain had fallen that day, the most rain in one day for the past 18 months. A rare event. 
   "What if ..." I thought. "The River Walk was designed to be inundated by the river, for an hour or two after freakish once-a-year deluges?" 
    As luck would have it, on Monday I spoke with Dan Burke, the chief engineer at the Department of Transportation. We were just winding up our conversation about an unrelated matter when I told him I had seen the submerged section. He said, in essence, yup, that's what's supposed to happen. 
     "Everything in the River Walk is designed to be flood tolerant," he said.
     The factuality of mainstream media is being emphasized a lot. But they also do the "pause and think" thing and the "do I have all the facts" thing and the "is this fair?" thing. Not everyone does, and we see the result.



  1. Yes- its nice when a newsperson sometimes takes a breath first, in this age of instantaneous internet borne "news" and conclusions that swirl round the universe so quickly that it is almost impossible to walk them back when the should be walked back.

    Refreshing, and all too rare these days.

    Thank you for being you.

  2. Ahem, pause and think or else the necessity of walking it back, an interesting topic. Has anyone bothered to tell the Rochelle Zell Jewish High School baseball team that it is safe to come out of hiding? It seems threats to various Jewish organizations was being perpetrated by various hoaxers like an Israeli teen, not associated with Trump or his supporters.

    1. Tell that to the black man murdered in New York. I'm curious Bernie, are you cognizant that you've become one of those people who latch onto a fact and decide it validates your entire view? It doesn't. The Israeli teen didn't vandalize those cemeteries, and we know haters are cowards and all they need is permission, which Trump grants them. The Zell team isn't "in hiding" -- they're taking precautions against a growing intolerance that you, for some reason, prefer to be cheerily oblivious to. We are not Nazi Germany. But we are spinning our wheels atop the slippery slope. One swallow does not a summer make.

    2. Oh my, vague allegations with no supporting facts, know I am not making excuses for Trump and his magnetic personality that attracts racists. It's tough keeping track of hundreds of commenters, leaving thousands of comments here. At times I've been known to mix up a few names of people who leave messages here. Allow me to refresh your memory and point to one of many comments I've made (December 17, 2015 at 7:47 AM) that illustrates the racism of Trump.
      One of my hobbies is visiting cemeteries, and as a member of "Find A Grave" documenting graves. I've seen vandalism first hand visiting relatives at Waldheim Jewish Cemetery. A popular pastime for red neck racists over the decades is target practice, aiming at porcelain photos on many gravestones in Jewish Cemeteries. Sure Trump's attitude makes it worse. It's sickens me, and I don't like the idea that our new culture of surveillance will be what it takes to curb this behavior.
      I've also criticized and highlighted with video links, the police murders of people like Walter Scott, Gilbert Flores, Jonathan Ferrell, and Laquan McDonald. And now you press my hot button by alluding to the murder of Eric Garner. His is a story that has been buried in lies and mis-truths promulgated by politicians, police, journalist, retailers, and big tobacco. Having helped homeless people in the past, I'm familiar with the sale of looses, buy a pack and sell individual cigarettes slightly marked up. It speaks to the heart of Jewish Culture in America, an immigrant off the boat buys a piece of cloth, cuts it up and sells the pieces. The market for looses exists because people don't mind paying extra, and buy loose cigarettes for many reasons. Reasons like they only smoke once a week, or if they buy a pack they can't resist the urge to smoke another, or others will bum cigarettes off them. The seller more often then not doesn't have an inside track to buying cheap untaxed cigarettes. That is the practice of convenience stores with plastic racks of cigarettes, tax stamps always visible, an untaxed pack being palmed off to anyone not looking to be undercover. The reason for the lies is the sale of looses cuts into the profits for big tobacco, cuts revenue for government, bolsters police statistics by providing easy targets for arrest, and makes for good stories spread by lazy journalist who don't walk the streets and listen to people. I don't include you in the last category because you listen to people and tell their stories well.

    3. No worries, Bernie, I only respond to what's in front of me.

  3. Professional.

    No gush of outrage, no flood of reproach. Just the facts. Delivered humbly after careful research.

    Expected of the professional. And delivered.


  4. The opposite of "Don't get it right, get it written."

  5. Good to know we can depend on facts being uncovered before jumping to a false conclusion. So our River Walk is supposed to offer us a little bit of river at times? Very apt, and charming I'd say.


  6. The bus on a rainy day? Call Uber.


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