As TV actor Jussie Smollett told the tale, he was the victim of a politically motivated hate crime on a downtown Chicago street at 2 a.m. on a January morning. That's the story the Chicago Police Department investigated for more than three weeks.
Political compromises in Washington aren't easy to find these days, but for how long can an obvious solution to a standoff be ignored? As he reiterated in his address to the nation Tuesday, President Donald Trump wants $5.7 billion to begin building a wall on the southern border; congressional Democrats refuse. You know the surround: Without a budget agreement, the government went into partial shutdown mode — roughly 25 percent of federal operations — last month.
The not-quite-as-ubiquitous plastic grocery bag took another big hit Thursday. The nation's largest grocery chain, Kroger Co., declared it would phase out single-use plastic bags from its nearly 2,800 stores by 2025. Kroger orders about 6 billion bags a year, so this isn't a minor ripple. It should accelerate the slide of plastic bags into oblivion, at least in the U.S. We realize dog owners will have to find another means to scoop, and workers will have to find another vessel in which to ferry lunch.
Last season provided a number of NFL landmarks that remind us why the game is so popular. One record, however, was a reminder of the serious challenges to the popularity and long-term viability of professional football. In the 2017 season, 291 concussions were diagnosed, affecting one out of every 11 players. In other words, of the 22 players you see trot out onto the field for the first play from scrimmage, you can expect that two of them won't finish the season without an acute traumatic injury to the brain.
One place to meet and discuss the significance of Roseanne Barr being fired for a racist tweet would have been the local coffee shop — but not Starbucks. All 8,000 company-owned locations closed Tuesday afternoon for racial sensitivity training. Do those two events — Barr is punished while Starbucks reassesses — constitute progress in the struggle against discrimination? Or are they signs of the depths of bigotry and hate in America? Many lattes could be sipped over such a conversation.
Imagine the outrage that gripped Paige Stemm when she opened a box of Junior Mints and found it was not filled to the brim with the luscious peppermint-filled dark chocolate buttons. Did she complain to the management at Walgreens, where she paid about $1 for the box? Did she fire off an angry tweet or email to the company, shaming its owners with her discovery of the too-empty (in her opinion) container?
For every human problem, it has been said, there is a solution that is clear, simple, and wrong. The Chicago City Council, unfortunately, has embraced one of those. In February, Chicago Police Commander Paul Bauer was fatally shot while trying to detain a suspect outside the Thompson Center, a city-government office building. The felon arrested and charged was reportedly carrying a 9mm Glock pistol — and wearing body armor. That got some aldermen busy on an ordinance to keep protective vests off the streets.
Did you get sticker-shock opening your initial home-heating bills this winter? They can be an unfortunate reminder that the tiny gaps in your house or apartment are really little heat-sucking vampires costing you money.
If you're a victim of sexual harassment and you work for Congress, you can't complain to the human resources department. You can't file a lawsuit, either — at least not until you've gone through months of mandatory counseling and mediation designed to keep such complaints out of court. And out of the public eye. That's all spelled out in the laughably named Congressional Accountability Act, a special set of rules designed to protect the people who wrote them.
Are you afraid of, a) spiders, b) snakes, or c) clowns? We can't help anyone who chose icky "a" or wriggling "b," because we don't have space to analyze arachnophobia or ophidiophobia. We're here to discuss your fear of clowns.