Dissent in Detroit

Earlier this year I wrote about dissent in the arts, but specifically in music. In that post, I said,  “I hope dissent in the concert halls and theaters across this land makes encourages more civil discourse because this country needs to understand one another more than ever.”

It may not have happened in a concert hall, but we need to talk about Eminem’s freestyle at last night’s BET Awards. It is straight up bananas.

It doesn’t mince words, but it doesn’t have to – it’s a rap freestyle. It’s supposed to make you uncomfortable. You’re supposed to rap and talk shit about your opponent. But Eminem does more than talk shit: he scorches the Earth. The ferocity of his verses, the herky jerky delivery, and the end where he tells his fans that if they support Trump they can fuck off is impressive. Eminem has always struck as a mad, perhaps madder than Onyx – who always sound pissed off, but the madness sounds sincere and palpable.

In these times of supposed culture wars where salvos come daily from Twitter, it’s incredibly refreshing to see a cogent salvo against those in charge come from a format outside of print and social media.

Let’s Talk. Progressively.

Note: I know the author of the book reviewed in this post.

When it comes to politics, I want concise and salient talking points spoken by politicians and myself. Sadly, the former does not possess this and the latter possess more passion than saliency. In these times of polarization, I returned to John K. Wilson’s book How The Left Can Win Arguments and Influence People to see if talking points made almost 20 years ago hold up and to see if I could apply them to today’s political conversation. Sadly, they’re still relevant.

Continue reading “Let’s Talk. Progressively.”

Fun With FOIA: How I Created a City of Chicago FOIA Dashboard using Power BI

I was inspired by my colleague Neal Levin’s recent blog posts where he combined his passion for data and insights with interests in other areas. I’m passionate about government transparency so I wanted to see if I could build a dashboard that would shed some light on the City of Chicago’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests using Power BI.

This blog walks through how I built my solution. I plan to do a follow up post on the insights.

Continue reading “Fun With FOIA: How I Created a City of Chicago FOIA Dashboard using Power BI”

Fun With FOIA: Downers Grove Public Library

Since late last year I’ve become very interested in the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). If I had to point fingers, I’d have to say that Jason Leopold’s reporting has really made me aware of not only what I can get from FOIA, but also his reporting illustrates the frustrations of a reporter as government agencies try to obfuscate, redact, and be obstinate.

I took the dip this year and started writing some FOIA requests of my own. This new series will document my experiences with FOIA.

Continue reading “Fun With FOIA: Downers Grove Public Library”

One On The Way

People always ask if I have kids. I used to reply “Just a dog.” A lot of people liked that.

Chloe flaunts it all the time.

Now that my wife and I are expecting, when asked the same question, I reply, “One on the way!” to which is almost always followed by, “Oh – is this your first?”

I think “one on the way” succinctly answers their question. If I had more than one, wouldn’t I reply  ,”A two year old and one on the way” or “Yes. I have n  many children”?

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