All posts by DXO

About DXO

Executive Director of Smart Chicago Collaborative. Some dude on the Internet. Ethics: http://goo.gl/qxnUC

Technology, Equity, and Who’s Mayor

I read this article this morning, looking for myself, since I am in technology and I support the Mayor for re-election: “Can Chicago’s Tech Community Carry Rahm Emanuel To Victory?

I found lots of places and themes that are familiar to me (1871 as a hub for innovation, the growth in tech jobs, and the Mayor’s concrete efforts to make Chicago a more inviting place for tech businesses).

What I didn’t find is anything about the parallel growth in support for public computer centers, and the training in digital skills, and the support for the hundreds of technologists and regular residents I work with all the time in order to make technology work for everyone.

It’s a common oversight. There’s a natural tendency to focus on heroic tech people, gleaming downtown workspaces, and gaudy corporate job announcements. But we’ve got a pretty special sauce here in Chicago, and the Mayor’s policies and people have played a significant role in that.

Technology isn’t just a driver of raw economic growth— it’s an engine of equity for all. Where getting an email account is necessary for getting an entry-level job, where being connected to the Internet is essential for receiving social services, and where we can use networks to plan our lives together. I want more of that.

Public Computer Center, King Library, Chicago

Public Computer Center, King Library, Chicago

 

Virgin Mary Salt Stain Shrine Remains a Thing

When I first heard Tuesday of the Pray 4 Rose shrine beneath the Kennedy Expressway on Fullerton Avenue, my first thought was that people must have turned the Virgin Mary Salt Stain shrine into one for our man Rose.

So yesterday when I went to document the shrine, I went straight to the northeast corner, at the crash scene investigation site, to take a look. To my surprise, it wasn’t there, and the original shrine to the Virgin Mary remained.

As I noted nearly a decade ago, I believe whole-heartedly that this is a place where the Virgin Mary appeared in a salt stain. Why the hell wouldn’t I believe that? It’s easy.

Here’s pics of the place, as of yesterday.

Virgin Mary Salt Stain Shrine, Emergency Parking Only. Many shades of browns and tans. Water jugs and a broom.

Virgin Mary Salt Stain Shrine, Emergency Parking Only. Many shades of browns and tans. Water jugs and a broom.

Virgin Mary Salt Stain Shrine. A decade of visitors have left their marks, making this a sort of pass-on poem of epic proportions, with government cleaning supplies as a staccato harmony.

Virgin Mary Salt Stain Shrine in black + white. A decade of visitors have left their marks, making this a sort of pass-on poem of epic proportions, with government cleaning supplies as a staccato harmony.

Virgin Mary Salt Stain Shrine. All caps reminiscence.

Virgin Mary Salt Stain Shrine detail. All caps reminiscence.

Virgin Mary Salt Stain Shrine. Deep hues, boxes,, wall dance, and lime.  Anne Sexton kept right on going on.

Virgin Mary Salt Stain Shrine. Deep hues, boxes, wall dance, and lime. Anne Sexton kept right on going on.

We have holy places everywhere, if we want them.

The Sweater Ad, Feelings, and the Methods for Listening

Mayor Rahm Emanuel published a new campaign video last week.

The ad has gotten lots of attention and has been covered by media in the context of the runoff to be held on Tuesday, April 7, 2015.

The Washington Post put it this way: Rahm Emanuel’s remarkable confession.

The 30-second ad, which began running on Tuesday in Chicago, shows a very different side of Emanuel — all soft-spokenness and humility. “I can rub people the wrong way. Or talk when I should listen,” Emanuel acknowledges in the spot. “I own that.” Later, he admits: “I’m not going to always get it right.”

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Emanuel is trying to make a simple argument in this ad: I may be a jerk (and I know I am one and I’m sorry), but I’m your jerk. And don’t let my abrasiveness get in the way of the accomplishments I have racked up in my first four years.

I don’t know if “remarkable” is the right word for it, as it seems a completely reasonable and normal thing, when running for office, to address issues that voters have with you as a candidate.

As I’ve indicated before, I support Rahm Emanuel for Mayor (here’s a possibly helpful post re: where I’m coming from).

I take the Mayor at his word. He’s trying to address the feelings that people express about how he works and how his decision-making process runs. He doesn’t always make people feel good, but I think his policies are, in large part, winners.

One example is the minimum wage. The Mayor has supported “$13 minimum wage by 2018 that will inject $800 million into the Chicago economy and lift 80,000 residents out of poverty—including 8,000 single mothers.”

To me, that’s a win. It makes me feel good to know that Chicago is out front on this issue. But I’ve seen lots of issues with how he came to support it. Here’s a good timeline. To me, this seems a focus on process and feelings rather than results. By nature, I like results.

But I also appreciate processes and procedures, especially genuine ones that allow for real people to drive policy and solutions. I do a lot of this work in my professional life— I am deeply devoted hearing people and responding to their  needs. It’s the most human thing we can do for each other. The goal is better lives, and that feels better.

In a second Emanuel term, I would love to see more structures for listening to residents. This is what election are for— to elect the people we want, and to get them to make us feel the way we want to feel.

Let’s work with our Mayor on that.

Sometimes things don't feel good; sometimes they do.

Sometimes things don’t feel good; sometimes they do.

On Jesus, ISIL, and Brokenness

Last Thursday I read reports of ISIL fighters taking over Assyrian Christian villages in northeastern Syria. There was also some footage of people destroying artifacts in a museum in Mosul:

Being a Catholic, I was pretty bummed about the continued genocide of the Assyrians. Having received a degree in anthropology, the destruction of artifacts stung bad. Being a human on Earth, I found the entire situation untenable.

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