Notes for January 7, 2015

Stealing Lunch Money

The Inspector General for the Chicago Board of Education revealed Monday in its annual fiscal report that a CPS operations employee, along with several colleagues and vendors, stole more than $876,427 from the district. The CPS employee, referred to throughout the report as “Employee A,” resigned and was placed on a “do not hire” list. The alleged fraud involved the billing of several vendors for goods and services never delivered, while the CPS employee received kickbacks, and the submission of fake reimbursement forms for school items. The report also revealed that some districts had misclassified dropouts, falsely labeling around 300 of them as transfers, and that at least twelve students applying for selective enrollment schools gave false information for their address, increasing their chances of admission in the competitive process.

Progress as Usual

As the NYPD reneged on broken windows policing for the second straight week, with its officers making half as many arrests as they did in the same period a year ago, Bob Fioretti once again announced his plans to hire more police officers if elected. He said he would put 500 more officers on the street, something he has said for much of the past year. Two weeks ago, Jesus Garcia, the other progressive challenger to Rahm Emanuel, raised the stakes and announced his own plan to hire another 1,000 officers. Though some important issues have been raised—whether officers know and have the trust of their neighborhoods, why the city continues to pay officers $100 million in overtime every year—there are other issues being ignored, like whether police officers are really the most central route to safer communities. One wonders whether Rahm’s reformist challengers should be playing the politics of fear—as one wonders whether Eric Garner would still be alive if the NYPD had been this reticent last summer. He’d only been selling loose cigarettes.

Weather as Usual

The weather, having hovered at suitably warm temperatures for a few months—temperatures at which one could, among other things, leave one’s home, put one’s hands in the open air, and walk across the street without feeling like one’s cheeks had been sheared off—has, in fact, just as the new year was getting off to a good start, just as one’s resolutions were starting to seem (for once) attainable, plummeted from its former temperature down to a new temperature, this temperature being a temperature at which it is not only impossible to do all of the things listed above but at which it is also difficult to do such things as get out of bed in the morning, administer to one’s daily responsibilities, and maintain an even semi-positive outlook on most things, a temperature that goes by many names, among them: “cold,” “freezing,” “frigid,” “Arctic,” “Antarctic,” “maliciously cold,” and “it’s so fucking cold.” It is so fucking cold.

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