Residents of Chicago Want to Be Safe

Chicago is not safe, and it’s getting worse. 2 kids slain among 79 shot in July 4th weekend gun violence; 3rd weekend straight of children dying.

Chicago is in the grip of a wave of violence the likes of which hasn’t been seen for decades.

On Saturday night, 7-year-old Natalia Wallace died after being shot while visiting her grandmother at a party in Austin. [That’s a neighborhood in Chicago on the far west side of the city.]

In each of the past 3 weekends, at least one child has been murdered.

And the national narrative isn’t really playing all that well in the city.

“Defunding police is the stupidest thing to say,” [activist Jacqueline] Baez said. “We need police. We need to feel safe in our communities … I don’t feel safe letting my kids play outside.”

And people are putting the blame where it belongs.

In a news conference in Little Village, Raul Montes Jr. called the weekend gun violence a “carbon copy” of the last few weeks and blamed [Mayor] Lightfoot for allowing protests to devolve into looting while “giving a nod to Antifa,” a far-left anti-fascist group. [Actually, they may claim to be anti-fascist, but they remind me a lot of Blackshirts in Italy]

The criminals have been told there will be no consequences. No bail. No prosecution in some cases. Charges reduced via plea, and now the powers-that-be seemed shocked that crime is skyrocketing.

I don’t expect the name Natalia Wallace to become known nationally, because it doesn’t forward the agenda of anyone on the Left or in the media. (But I repeat myself.) Just like I don’t expect Secoriea Turner to become nationally known.

Irony and Karma

Irony as comedy may be illegal, but reality didn’t get that memo. Play Stupid Games, Win Stupid Prizes.

Summer Taylor, a 24-year-old, died after she was hit by a car on I-5 in Seattle. She was part of a “protest” blocking the highway. Diaz Love, 32 was also struck and has serious injuries.

So . . . white women blocking a freeway to protest on behalf of #BlackLivesMatter were hit by a black man driving a white Jaguar.

Karma is not only a bitch, she also has a well-developed sense of irony.

Did Secoriea Turner Matter?

This is what happens when you let the Rule of Law breakdown. Police identify 8-year-old girl killed after shots fired into car near burned Wendy’s.

The person driving the car had tried to turn into a parking lot that the protestors rioters had blocked off. That was an UNFORGIVABLE sin, and worthy of a death-penalty (you disrespected their authority! What does that sound like?) and they opened fire into the car.

The location of the shooting was in a parking lot across the street from the now burned-out Wendy’s, which has been occupied by demonstrators since Brooks’ death at the hands of an Atlanta police officer.

She will be just be another statistic, because there is no way to blame her death on anyone but the 2 people reported to have opened fire on the car. No one will have seen anything. No one will name names. No one will testify. There will be no national protest. Because there isn’t a way to advance anyone’s agenda.

Defund the Cops? Chicago Adds More OT

Because Chicago is in the grip of a crime catastrophe. CPD to put 1,200 extra officers on street starting Thursday.

Chicago Police Supt. David Brown announced Monday that 1,200 additional officers will hit the streets for the historically violent Fourth of July weekend.

Starting Thursday, the surge in officers will be deployed in “hot spots” for violence, according to Brown. Acknowledging “tired cops make mistakes,” he said every officer on duty over the weekend will get a day off.

Does that sound like Defunding?

Hat tip to Second City Cop – “Extra” Cops.

Meaning canceling at least one of everyone’s days off for yet another failure of the political set to keep criminals behind bars where they belong:

He also has the Over/Under on the weekend numbers for the upcoming holiday weekend. Which I think that according to HeyJackass! will run from Thursday afternoon to Monday morning. Happy 4th of July.

The Nightmare that is Qualified Immunity

JusticeSo bureaucrats can violate your constitutional rights, and you have no recourse. UConn not liable for unconstitutional punishment of athlete because she flipped the bird on national TV.

The judge said they violated the first amendment and granted them immunity anyway.

Harris noted that the rationale for the creation of qualified immunity was to protect public officials from “the constant fear of liability for ‘reasonable but mistaken judgements about open legal questions.’”

Asked how qualified immunity could be more “reasonable,” Harris told The Fix she understands that public officials need “breathing room.” Yet the current standard lets public officials off the hook for almost any reason, while at the same time “private employees do not have such protections!”

Chicago’s Financial Problems Are NOT From COVID-19

Chicago and Cook County have been ignoring problems for so long, they don’t know what actually paying the bills would look like. Maybe it is just Standard Operating Procedure at this point. In any event they want the federal .gov to solve their problems.

Meep at STUMP continues on the review of states/cities in trouble with Polities Under Fiscal Pressure: Chicago and Cook County.

I wanted to quote one of Meep’s titles for the title of this post, but there are so many choices picking one is hard. “Deep in the Suck” or “A Big Ball of Bad Ideas” were contenders, but I also appreciated the reference to the Stevie Smith poem “Not Waving But Drowning.”

As you can guess by the list of past posts on the fiscal state of Chicago, below, or the few I’ve mentioned already, things are not good in Chicago. Things are not a lot better in Cook County.

They both want bailouts. They are both trying to blame the pandemic.

There are snippets from interviews with Chicago Mayor, Lori Lightfoot, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, and even a few words form Ammar Rizki, Cook County’s Chief Financial Officer. But really all you have to do is look at the litany of woe of past posts by Meep, which she has thoughtfully collected for us.

It’s much, much worse.

Now, that may seem like a lot of posts, but more are here in my Chicago post compilation [which stops around 2017… I really should go back sometime.]

The compilation post is truly massive. And to think people accuse me of picking on Chicago, but they make it so damn easy.

Chicago is in for a bumpy ride, but it really doesn’t have much to do with COVID-19. You should definitely review the link at the top of this post. There is a lot of material. But the most important is that Chicago and Cook County expect you to pay for their insanity from the past decades.

Your Tax Dollars at Work

Because they’re incompetent. The Feds Sent More than 1 Million Coronavirus Stimulus Payments to Dead People, GAO Says.

More than 1 million stimulus payments totaling nearly $1.4 billion were sent to deceased Americans during the federal government’s unprecedented emergency spending in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The IRS says it must be returned. But that isn’t even the worst bit. The SBA is in even more disarray.

Hat tip to Clayton Cramer, who notes…

As long as they keep voting!

The War on (Some) Drugs™ and the Problems with Policing

Because the War on Drugs has been going on so long that is has become (yet another version of) Forever War. Breonna Taylor and the Moral Bankruptcy of Drug Prohibition.

First, the Quote of the Day.

She would still be alive if politicians did not insist on using violence to enforce their pharmacological prejudices.

And so now the cop who fired blindly into her apartment has lost his job. What a penalty! (I used to say, “I was looking for a job, when I found this one…” Oh, and the union will be appealing in 3, 2, …)

In the most ridiculous bit if propaganda I’ve heard in a long time, the cops say that despite the fact they had a no-knock warrant, they knocked and announced their presence. Right.

Although Hankison and his colleagues were serving a no-knock search warrant, they say they nevertheless announced themselves before breaking in the door with a battering ram—a claim that Walker and neighbors disputed. Even if the cops did identify themselves, that information could easily have been missed by terrified people awakened in the middle of the night

But nothing can stand in the way of the War on Drugs, or the War on (Some) Drugs™ because reasons. Freedom? That’s been gone for a very long time.

Distributed Denial of Secrets Hits Law Enforcement

DDoSecrets is an alternative to Wikileaks. ‘BlueLeaks’ Exposes Files from Hundreds of Police Departments.

The data is from Fusion Centers, and comprises nearly 270 Gigabytes.

KrebsOnSecurity obtained an internal June 20 analysis by the National Fusion Center Association (NFCA), which confirmed the validity of the leaked data. The NFCA alert noted that the dates of the files in the leak actually span nearly 24 years — from August 1996 through June 19, 2020 — and that the documents include names, email addresses, phone numbers, PDF documents, images, and a large number of text, video, CSV and ZIP files.

And as per usual in these cases, a single point of failure, shared among a large number of Fusion Centers. In this case a single service provider.

The data also includes some banking data, in the form a ACH transfer numbers.

What it probably doesn’t include is any data of interest to the Woke crowd about possible police misconduct. It might put some people’s lives in danger if they are cooperating, or have cooperated, with police on investigations.

Someday, people will take data security seriously. But today is not that day.

What Happens When You Turn Criminals Loose?

You get more crime. Shock: Here’s What’s Happened After NYC Released Hundreds of Inmates from Rikers.

I can’t even work up an, “I’m shocked – Shocked!…” response, because absolutely no one is shocked. Except perhaps Mayor de Blasio.

Hundreds of inmates were released from Riker’s Island in New York City to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in the prison. Officials knew the risks. And those fears have been realized, hundreds of times. New reporting from Melissa Russo reveals that at least 250 prisoners out of the 2,500 who were released early have gone on to commit at least 450 more crimes.

But hey. New Yorkers are soooo much smarter than you. Just ask them. (Hat tip to Daley Gator.)

The Good People of Deep Blue Illinois Are Waking Up

Too late? Maybe. Surge In FOID Card Applications After Recent Violence Leads To Backlog.

In the two days after violent looting across Chicago and the suburbs, Illinois State Police saw a massive surge in applications from people who want to own guns, but processing delays are growing as well.

State police told CBS 2 Investigator Megan Hickey staffing is an issue, and their staff is working about 40 hours of overtime every month. They are still not able to process those cards in the 30 days required by law.

Because in Illinois you have to ask, “Please Mr. Government Man, can I exercise my rights under the Constitution?” Without a Firearms Owners ID card, you cannot even pick up a firearm at a gun store to see if you might like it. Freedom? What’s that?

Hat tip to Second City Cop: Gun Up, who notes…

Decent law abiding people are waking up to what’s happening. The police aren’t permitted or are outright forbidden to protect you and your property is a foregone conclusion. You will lose everything if the mob comes for you.

Groot (otherwise known as Mayor Lightfoot) labeled anyone hoping to buy a gun as “vigilantes” and “racists.”

What Happens If You Try to Tell a City They are Under Attack?

Under attack by ransomware, that is… So you try to tell a city they are under attack by ransomware, and they ignore you for 24 hours, tell you they have stuff under control, and then go toes-up. Florence, Ala. Hit By Ransomware 12 Days After Being Alerted by KrebsOnSecurity.

It is hard to feel sorry for them at this point.

The initial call was on May 26th.

My call was transferred to no fewer than three different people, none of whom seemed eager to act on the information. Eventually, I was routed to the non-emergency line for the Florence police department. When that call went straight to voicemail, I left a message and called the city’s emergency response team.

That last effort prompted a gracious return call the following day from a system administrator for the city, who thanked me for the heads up and said he and his colleagues had isolated the computer and Windows network account Hold Security flagged as hacked.

Read that again. Isolated “the computer” because ransomware only ever attacks one person at a time…

They are going to pay $291,000.

Florence Mayor Steve Holt confirmed that a cyberattack had shut down the city’s email system. Holt told local news outlets at the time there wasn’t any indication that ransomware was involved.

However, in an interview with KrebsOnSecurity Tuesday, Holt acknowledged the city was being extorted by DoppelPaymer, a ransomware gang with a reputation for negotiating some of the highest extortion payments across dozens of known ransomware families.

The payment is apparently to stop exfiltrated data from being sold on the dark web, though it doesn’t say what that data may be.

Life Without Police – “Rapes, robberies and all sorts of violent acts”

Report from Seattle. So How is this better?

I looked for the video on the news channel’s website, but it appears to have been scrubbed, which is not surprising. The “News Organization” in question doesn’t seem to like to call the rioters anything except “peaceful protestors.” Media bias? What media bias?

CDC, COVID-19 and Math

Because they never published the stats. CDC warns antibody testing still too inaccurate to use for coronavirus-related policy decisions.

The math is the point, but the upshot is that about half of the positive antibody tests are false positives.

In other words, less than half of those testing positive will truly have antibodies.

It is crazy, that they are only telling us these stats now.

People Are Beginning to Push Back

Push back on Governors and other politicians who want to trample their civil rights, that is. As several people have noted, the ACLU has been strangely quiet on a lot of these cases.

First up, Kentucky. Lawsuit alleges Gov. Beshear infringed on protesters’ First Amendment rights.

A federal lawsuit filed on behalf of four protesters alleges that Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear violated First Amendment rights over restrictions to keep protesters at a distance during daily COVID-19 briefings.

North Carolina: ‘We’re concerned that our First Amendment rights are being trampled underfoot’ | Winston-Salem pastor files lawsuit against Governor Cooper.

The lawsuit alleges the Governor’s executive orders preventing gatherings of more than ten people violate the Constitution.

In media news… ‘Protected by the First Amendment’: Media consortiums back Fox News amid coronavirus coverage lawsuit.

It seems a bunch of Karens have decided that Fox News opinion personalities are not entitled to First Amendment protection of their opinions. Not when broadcast on cable television. And while the ACLU can’t be reached for comment, two groups that support journalists, The Internet & Television Association and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, have stepped up to defend Fox.

As usual, the Babylon Bee has perhaps the best take on the issue. ‘I Can’t Believe Christians Think It’s Safe To Go Back To Church,’ Says Woman In Line At Walmart.

I found these stories, and many more, when I went looking for more info on the Mississippi Church burning.

Keystone Added to I-74 Arch Bridge

I am usually writing about failed or rotting infrastructure. But not all stories are doom and gloom. Crowds come out to watch crews complete first I-74 bridge arch. The piece was installed May 5th.

The I-74 bridge across the Mississippi River between Illinois and Iowa is old, and in bad shape. To fix that 2 new spans are under construction. True-arch, basket-handle bridges are being built just upstream of the existing bridges. They will carry 4 lanes in each direction.

The bridge joins Bettendorf, Iowa and Moline, Illinois, and is pretty much right in the middle of The Quad Cities region. The other 2 cities are Rock Island, Illinois and Davenport, Iowa. The first span of the existing bridge was built in 1935. A second bridge built to the same design was added in 1961. It is handling almost twice the number of vehicles the design called for, and it is NOT up to interstate highway standards.

While on a tour at the base of the bridge in Bettendorf in May 2012, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said that, in comparison with other bridges that he has seen in other states, the current I-74 Bridge is one of the worst he’s seen.

The keystone, or center piece of the arch, of the first span was put in place during the first week in May. A 100,000 pound chunk of steel. raised about 200 feet in the air. The video at the news story linked at the top of this post is about 2 minutes long, and is not too annoying. Other videos will play after the first video if you take no action.

This is a short video, about 1 minute, from April showing the stage of construction just prior to the keystone being placed. You can see the temporary towers and cables supporting the arch as it is built, and get a feeling for the size and the design. It isn’t my favorite video, but at a minute, it seems to capture what is important. There are more videos, and they are easy enough to find, that are in the 5-6 minute range, taken anytime from January through Easter, if you’re interested in more detailed views of the construction.

You can find an artist’s rendering of the new design at this link.

There is a longer video of the process of getting the keystone in place, but it is 45 minutes, or more, and not particularly interesting. I can’t really recommend it, but I include if for completeness.

Blue State Blues

I hope Meep is planning to do all of the states eventually, or at least of of the states in fiscal distress. But that is a tall order. To date she’s done California and Illinois.

First up: States Under Fiscal Pressure: California.

The second one is that, unlike the federal government, they don’t have a money printer, and they really need tax revenue.

Governor Newsom of California announced yesterday that he is relaxing the statewide lockdown sooner than he had said he would.

What gives? I think Newsom is finally recognizing tradeoffs. He started the fiscal year with an expected budget surplus. He now expects a state government deficit of $54.3 billion.

At least they had a surplus going in to this mess. It shows some level of discipline. Unlike Illinois.

Illinois has some serious problems. States Under Fiscal Pressure: Illinois.

They’ve been issuing bonds with some of the highest yields in the muni market because of course they are.

So let’s hit the issues, in no particular order.
Illinois looking to raise public employees’ salaries

Wirepoints: Big raises for Chicago Teachers Union, state’s AFSCME shows where federal aid to Illinois will end up – Wirepoints

As hundreds of thousands of Chicagoans are getting laid off or seeing their pay slashed as a result of the economic shutdown, Chicago’s Mayor Lori Lightfoot has been quietly finalizing the $1.5 billion, five-year contract she negotiated with the Chicago Teachers Union six months ago.

So they’re broke. Beyond broke. And they are handing out raises, and holding their hand out for a handout from the rest of us. Yeah, count me out.

Infrastructure Problems

A number of infrastructure problems have come to light due to all the rain.

News Flash: Chicago’s Lower Waker Drive is close to the level of the river. (That’s one of the reasons there is an Upper Waker Drive.) Chicago Weather: Recent Storms Break May Record For Rainfall.

Flooding also overwhelmed Lower Wacker Drive, prompting Fire Department crews to use inflatable boats to help rescue at least six homeless people who were left stranded Sunday night.

The flooding on Lower Wacker Drive also has left Willis Tower without power since early Monday morning, after a ComEd substation was knocked out. Crews were still working to pump out floodwater from the basement of the iconic skyscraper on Tuesday. ComEd said they are not yet able to estimate when power will be restored.

Cars parked in the sub-streets have been destroyed by flooding.

Willis Tower (previously known as Sears Tower) is still without electricity, though it should be restored over the weekend.

Another dam is in danger of failing. This one in Virginia. More than a dozen homes in Roanoke being evacuated due to potential dam failure.

Roanoke City officials say that the Spring Valley Dam located near Lake Dr. is in danger of failing, which would cause flooding in the area surrounding the dam.

The video at the link seems to show the outflow from the spillway. Definitely a potential to cause erosion, and the level of the lake behind the dam is in danger of overtopping the weir. It may have overtopped the weir briefly, but there is no sign of erosion.

Joliet, IL has also had trouble with flooding. Joliet’s Route 53 Closed, Road Damaged From Floods.

That part of Route 53 through Joliet is actually the old Route 66 through that part of the country. So that infrastructure is probably as old as the photos make it look. And viaducts always have problems with flooding. It is easier to dig out a trench for the road, than to build a hill for the train. They always flood, and occasionally a semitrailer will get stuck under the railroad bridge. (Don’t rely on Google Maps to tell you where Route 66 is. They are confused, though you could search for Route 66 raceway in Joliet.)

There are other stories of drownings, and flooding, but not so much tied to infrastructure.

Michigan Also Killing People In Nursing Homes

The governor must be taking cues from New York. Michigan considers change to controversial nursing home policy.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer last week extended her Executive Order that placed coronavirus patients in with COVID-19 negative patients. It expires Wednesday. She’s now considering changing that policy.

Nursing home deaths account for about 30% of all COVID-19 deaths in Michigan.

How do governors have the authority to issue stupid orders, that clearly expose vulnerable populations to a deadly disease? Democrats are geniuses. Just ask them, they will tell you they are.

Edenville Dam Collapse

It was apparently not a surprise to some people that the dam was in danger. Feds revoked failed Edenville dam’s license in 2018 over inability to handle big floods.

Federal regulators in 2018 revoked the hydro-power generating license for the collapsed Edenville Dam in Midland and Gladwin counties, citing years of failure by the dam’s owners to address safety problems — especially the dam’s ability to withstand a major flood.

The Edenville Dam ruptured Tuesday after heavy rains

There is a short video, 35 seconds or so, at the link above that shows the extent of the flooding.

The details on the dam…

The Edenville Dam is a 6,600-foot [1.25 miles or just over 2 kilometers] earthen embankment up to 54.5 feet in height, spanning both the Tittabawassee and Tobacco Rivers in Midland and Gladwin counties. The dam creates a 2,600-acre reservoir known as Wixom Lake, with a gross storage capacity of about 40,000 acre-feet [4.934×107 cubic meters] of water and a 49-mile-long shoreline when full. The dam was equipped with two, 2.4 megawatt turbine generators and was licensed for hydro-power generation in 1998.

According to the Wiki, the dam was completed in 1925. So probably there were both design and maintenance issues with a dam that old.

Apparently they had been trying for 14 years to get some safety concerns addressed, before they finally revoked the license.

So with no ability to generate power, were the turbines just closed off, and not able to help drain the lake? It doesn’t say anywhere that I can find. And in any event, the dam seems to have been designed only to handle about 50% of the “probable maximum flood.” Which is apparently what they got. Water in that quantity over the spillway caused erosion of the earthen structure, and we see the result.

And while politicians are busy doing all the things that are popular today, like art in the park, and funding cultural centers, or whatever, infrastructure is left to crumble.

A 2018 report card on Michigan dams by the state chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers found that while the state had improved its D-grade from the society’s 2009 report card, it still had persistent issues.

“There are approximately 2,600 dams in Michigan, of which about two-thirds are older than their typical 50-year design life. In the next five years, about 80 percent of Michigan’s dams will be over 50 years old,” their report stated.

There were 19 high-hazard dams in unsatisfactory or poor condition in Michigan in 2018, ranking 20th among the 45 states and Puerto Rico for which The Associated Press obtained condition assessments.

This won’t be the last dam to fail, or even the last one in Michigan. And I doubt politicians even think about infrastructure.

Nothing lasts forever. And an earthen dam built in 1925 is going to need some maintenance, and maybe even some improvements, and eventually it will need to be replaced. The “What could go wrong?” attitude has got to stop.

There is fairly good video of the breached dam at this link. It is only 35 seconds or so, but part of the video is a clear view of the breach in the dam from an airplane. Not the best video. (People hold your phones horizontal, when taking videos!) but it is clear. There are a few seconds at the end that show the breach from the shore.