I watched the first Presidential Debate of this season folding clothes rather than taking notes for a post, but that’s fine since the professional writers will hash out a lot of the fallout on their sites. However, I think there’s one thing that they are missing that particularly pertains to how former VP Joe Biden comes off to the black community, in particular, and I think it’s devastating.
First of all, let me show you a short video that was posted by a black Trump supporter during the debates: (NSFW, language, drug references, etc.)
In short, the narrator of the video is blown away that President Trump managed to get Joe Biden to admit that Hunter Biden has had drug problems. I was also surprised that Biden would just blurt this out. As the man in the video says, it’s a “Boss move” on Trump’s part.
Many people, black, brown, white, purple, deal with the realities of drugs, drug addiction, and the effects drugs have on loved ones on a daily basis. I think most people have some sympathy toward that, which may have been why Biden said what he did – he’s always been one to play the sympathy card.
The thing that I think was killer, though, was that Trump made the case that not only was Hunter eminently unqualified for the jobs that he had, but that he had a long-standing drug problem as well. However, Hunter Biden hasn’t served a day in prison for his drug crimes, but rather has been reaping the benefits of million-dollar paydays for doing nothing.
Why does this matter? Think about it. In the black community, there is a lot of resentment with the notion that with drug crimes, in particular, blacks get punished much more severely than whites. White Privilege, if you will. Systemic Racism. For Biden to stand up there and admit, yes, his son has a drug problem, but it’s okay for him to rake in the millions instead of being punished for it is not just a slap in the face, but a body-slam to the black community. Look at how many minorities are barred from having more than the most menial of “real” jobs, because a drug conviction haunts them for the rest of their life. But Hunter Biden can be caught multiple times, and he’s point person for “business” in China, Russia, and Ukraine. The hypocrisy is amazing.
In recent months, there has been a lot of news about the scams and bribes done to get the children of “elite” members of society into universities that their offspring can’t get into on academic merit. Some people are looking at jail over this. For many, though, this whole scandal is more an issue of the “privileged” in general – how many black kids, growing up in the ‘hood of Chicago with inferior public school educations, are seriously looking at going to elite universities? Very few. However, the fact that many drug convictions will keep that kid from getting past hourly-wage-earner at the local big-box store matters a whole lot more. Drug crimes and addictions are serious, but it’s obvious to everyone who watched that exchange that Joe Biden believes that his son is exempt from the consequences of the laws for little people.
Please note: The pictures and descriptions are from September 5th. I’ve been working on this post in fits and starts after that, but I didn’t have a huge block of time all at once to get the post done. I think this post is still important; after all, the residents of Kenosha are still left picking up the pieces, and as far as mayhem goes, they’re still not out of the woods, as evidenced by this that happened last night (on 14 September): Woman arrested near I-94 prior to downtown protest; she, others were in cars with license plates covered
[Update: To make the pictures show up better, I’ve added a gallery of all photos at the end of the post.]
Kenosha has always been near and dear to my heart. I’ve spent lots of time there, but there’s a lot of the city that I don’t know well. With the riots that took place here in August, I think a lot of people suddenly realized that these issues that so many larger cities have been dealing with – protests, riots, fires, mayhem – are not limited to those larger cities, but are quickly exported to smaller locales as well. There aren’t a lot of cities in the US with over a million people, but those in the “small city” range, say, 50,000-150,000 people are plentiful. So Kenosha is “Any Town USA”, on one hand, but like so many of these small cities, on the other it is unique and beautiful with a long history.
Kenosha is home to right around 100,000 people, directly on Lake Michigan, and slightly larger than Racine, which is about 10 miles north. Although the city is in Wisconsin, and developed as a community independently of Chicago, it’s also considered the outermost northern community of the “Chicago area”, to the extent that the commuter rail which serves the Chicago area has its end station in Kenosha. Kenosha is probably about the only place in Wisconsin where one can be a Bears fan and not get too much grief about it, and baseball fans are probably about 50/50 Cubs and Brewers.
There are a lot of former Illinoisans who have found their way to the other side of the “Cheddar Curtain”. Most enticing is that the taxes north of the border are much less than the basketcase state to the south. Not only that, but there is a ton of shopping to be had in Kenosha and Pleasant Prairie, just to its south, and at the big grocery stores and at the outlet mall and at the big box stores in the area, usually about half the cars have Illinois plates. I’m not saying all of them came up from the Chicago area – there are the little communities of Winthrop Harbor, Zion, and Antioch in Illinois that belong to the Kenosha circle of influence, but if you look at the windshields of those Illinois cars, at least half probably have Chicago city stickers there.
Wisconsin life is generally a bit slower. People like to be outdoors, like the wide-open spaces and the opportunity that presents them. Hunting, fishing, boating, biking, etc. Kenosha, though, has had some fame. It was where AMC Motors was headquartered, and it’s where Jockey (the underwear brand) is located still.
In my opinion, Kenosha has always had a bit of an early 1950s vibe, whether it be the downtown buildings or the streetcar or the art-deco decorations around. Of course, the whole city isn’t the downtown, and there’s a lot that I don’t understand as far as where all the neighborhoods are and when they were built. The older stock of houses tends to be on smaller lots, and there are a few of these types of neighborhoods very close to downtown. For those of you reading this who are Orthodox, there’s an OCA church in town, and it’s in one of these older neighborhoods. One hundred years ago, that neighborhood was nearly all Slavic, and that continued for many years, and is still reflected in a few business names. (Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of that today.) As far as I know, there was no unrest near the church, though some of the worst of the rioting and burning took place less than two miles south of there. Being as Kenosha has been in the news recently, I decided to take some pictures to share.
Sheridan Road runs along Lake Michigan all the way from Chicago. It’s the main thoroughfare through the east side of Kenosha. Carthage College is on Sheridan, closer to the northern limits of the city. In some places, Sheridan is the western boundary of properties that are actually along Lake Michigan, but most of downtown Kenosha lies east of Sheridan. Kenosha uses a double numbering system for streets; the avenues run east-west and the numbers increase the further south, and the streets run north-south and increase as one heads west. I drove into Kenosha driving south on Sheridan. (Forgive me in advance for some of the photo issues – most photos were taken from a car, which isn’t the easiest thing to do.)
Dairy Queen on 43rd Street was the first boarded-up building I saw. Truthfully, though, it didn’t surprise me, as it seems sometimes that it’s only open about 3 weeks of the year, and sometimes those weeks end up being in November. (St. Nicholas is just west of here.)
This was the first indication that something really bad had happened here, not just because the place was pre-emptively boarded up, but because of the message on the boards letting potential rioters know that by burning the business, they could potentially be killing children.
Then we get to the places where the rioting actually happened, still along Sheridan, truly in downtown. Two weeks later, roads were still blocked off or severely limited. Two things to note – the police car at the far right hand side of the next picture and the tagging on the sides. The street here – 54th Street – dead-ends about 2 1/2 blocks west of this intersection, but it’s an incredibly important place, as both Kenosha’s main police station and Kenosha’s Metra (commuter rail) station are located here.
It’s about at this point where buildings that suffered damage are apparent. Both the bank and the post office suffered extensive damage, to the point where the Kenosha Post Office was closed until September 8.
City Hall here, which I think was spared much damage.
Past here is one of the areas where some of the worst rioting occurred. Car Source, a business built up from a dream and six cars, suffered somewhere in the neighborhood of $2.5 million dollars in damages, with 139 cars destroyed. The rioters were looking for things that go BOOM! and were specifically targeting car lots and gas stations. From here south to 63rd street is where the situations with the shootings took place just before midnight on August 26th. The church behind here is the one made famous by the famous burning sign proclaiming “Black Lives Matter”. The sign was destroyed by that fire.
Notice here, as in the first picture, the stumps of street lamps. It appears that the fire was so hot that they twisted and broke with the heat of the fires.
Car Source is running a GoFundMe drive. As of this writing, they are just shy of $43,000. It’s nothing to sneeze at, and I’m sure greatly appreciated, but even if they hit their goal of $500,000, it doesn’t come close to paying for the damage.
I believe this Boost Mobile was looted, but they’ve got “BLM” on the boarded up door, showing there are no hard feelings, apparently.
This is where #KenoshaStrong really started to bug me. It feels like everyone’s trying to pull together like after a tornado or other natural disaster. However, the truth of it is that this was all intentional, and it was planned.
Once I got to 75th Street, I knew I had gone too far, and things here were pretty much “normal”. However, two tidbits I heard from people who live in Kenosha. One was that there was a pallet of bricks found in the parking lot of the old Sears store much further down (off of 75th and Pershing) and that even further west, the Meijer off of 75th and Green Bay Road had its windows smashed. Neither of these two locations are anywhere near where any of the actual rioting took place, but lends credence to the rumor that if allowed to continue, the rioters were planning to take the rioting to the neighborhoods.
I ended up heading west on 75th until I found a good place to turn back north (Roosevelt). The irony of the initials “BLM” here surrounded by a heart under the “Have Grace” artwork is there for all to see.
My first sighting of a destroyed building. I almost passed it before I saw it. Both City Kicks (to the left) and V’s Boutique (now burned out) were looted on May 31st. The renovation of V’s Boutique was just about done and now the place is totally burned out. (Their GoFundMe page.) What dawned on me for the first time was that not all the buildings that were destroyed are together in the same place. What you can’t see here, though, is that most of the store there with the pink awning was also destroyed, which is much clearer in aerial shots of the area.
Now, heading east on 63rd, everybody had windows boarded up, some, like this framing store, trying to make the plywood interesting.
Then I was back to Sheridan, and noticed that I was on the corner where the other part of Car Source was located. (This is right across the street from Froedert Hospital.)
The other side of the Boost Mobile building shown earlier –
I don’t know if over here on the other side of Sheridan is considered “downtown” Kenosha, but making it over to the park on Lake Michigan, it could have been any lovely end-of-summer Saturday morning.
And then heading to the business district…
Almost every street sign over here was “tagged”. This one is strangely ironic.
Kenosha has been a Democrat town for a long time, but more in the style of the Democrats from the 1950s, the union guys who aren’t hard leftists. The rest of Kenosha County is redder, and the combination generally leads to a county that “leans Democrat”. From what I can tell, that may have changed, as there is a LOT of anger toward the Democrats right now for not giving the Kenosha Police Department the help that they needed and basically letting the city burn. Both the statements from Governor Evers and Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes made the situation worse. Both President Trump and former Vice-President Biden made trips to Kenosha last week, however, as far as I know, Governor Evers hasn’t bothered. Furthermore, President Trump actually did something to save the city and is promising aid to help rebuild; Governor Evers could only manage to offer $20,000 state loans to affected businesses. Even so, I find the people at this house to be brave souls.
I think this is some sort of community center or something. I love that they’ve got the “BLM” thing there along with the phrase “If we all work together, we win.” Well, it certainly does help if some people weren’t working to tear stuff down, doesn’t it?
Downtown in earnest. Everything boarded up.
A sickening memorial to a certain Huber. I’m not sure how to crop images with WordPress (if that’s possible at all), but the one section reads “The world will sing with you. Huber the Hero.”
You can paint all the plywood in the world, but it’s still eerie. I have no idea how many of these places were actually damaged or looted, or if they were boarded up just to try to protect the places. Kenosha has some lovely early- to mid- century buildings which give the city character. Almost every place has “BLM” somewhere. In some cases, they may have been tagged after the fact, but in this way, it feels more like a case of a city under Stockholm Syndrome rather than rebuilding after a natural disaster.
In the heart of downtown. These condos currently go for between about $250,000 and $285,000 for 1200 feet. Not expensive by Chicago downtown standards, but who will want to stay if the city isn’t protected?
This street heads down to one of the lighthouses on the harbor, but I ended up turning before going in that direction.
Along the way, a table to sign to recall Governor Evers and Lt. Governor Barnes. Evers still maintains that he has “no regrets” about he way he handled (or didn’t handle) the rioting in Kenosha, but he hasn’t exactly been on the forefront of denouncing the rioting in Madison either. I don’t know of a single person, Republican or Democrat, in the Kenosha area now who approves of the governor. I hope they’ve collected lots of signatures!
The somewhat surreal juxtaposition of all this stuff being damaged and boarded up, and seeing people flocking to a farmer’s market.
There are three parts to the Kenosha Public Museum “system”. The Kenosha Public Museum, the Civil War Museum, and the Dinosaur Discovery Museum. These two pictured are in the middle of downtown Kenosha, the Dinosaur Discovery Museum is on the other side of Sheridan Road, and it was a target both nights of the rioting. On the first night, the diplodocus statue was destroyed (who knew there were Confederates in the Jurassic period!) and on the second night – the night that saw the fatalities – the dinosaur museum was broken into and, per the police scanner radio, apparently trashed with accelerant spread all over it in preparation of having the place burned to the ground, like the one building belonging to the Kenosha County Board of Corrections. If my information is correct, at one point, there were 25 police units over there (while Car Source burned) and the damage is so extensive that it is now closed indefinitely, having only reopened to a limited degree on July 7 due to Covid-19.
After this, I looked for a way to get out of downtown, but there were lane restrictions and/or closures on 56th Street that prevented me from going straight across Sheridan, where I actually would have been able to see the Dinosaur Museum. Before I left downtown, a couple more scenes.
Jockey Factory store, who obviously had at least one of their window boards professionally painted. Talk about wanting to please all sides with the “#KENOSHASTRONG panel!
Anytime fitness, playing off the lighthouses in the city with “Be the Light”. Question – does that include the light of the burning buildings?
I had a bad feeling coming back this way. Lots of things boarded up, but I’d heard about the Danish Brotherhood Lodge and what have you. I’m not sure where I ended up on 22nd Avenue, but it was further north than most of the destruction. The thing about 22nd over here, though, is that in the past, I’ve travelled this stretch of road more times than I can count, so not only was the destruction stunning just as a sight, but as something that happened to a place that is so familiar.
I didn’t manage to catch it with my camera, but there was a building whose plywood had the requisite “BLM” along with “Black Businesses Matter”. But when the rioting starts, that doesn’t really make a difference, does it?
Now for the area at 22nd Avenue and 63rd Street. Roosevelt Avenue comes in here at an angle, and in the winter, I always would know this was my turn because one of the city’s big Christmas trees was in the little park at the intersection. Now there’s just total devastation.
There were many more buildings damaged or destroyed, but I only had about an hour, so I tried to make the most of that. There was a furniture store that was completely destroyed, and I heard from a friend that there was a restaurant – run by a Hispanic family – where they had saved up for decades to get it going, got it going in the past year, had all the Covid-19 restrictions hit, and now had the place completely trashed by these riots.
Heading out of Uptown, west on 63rd
And, an ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America) “Outreach Center”. Again the #KenoshaStrong nonsense, but also “Choose Love Always”. Reading that, I felt like I had entered some bizarro Marianne Williamson alternate universe.
All of the people I know who live in and around Kenosha are okay. Definitely shaken. Definitely of the opinion that it wasn’t locals who could have just destroyed their own city so easily, and the arrests seem to bear out on that. Very upset with Governor Evers for not sending in enough National Guard after the first riots on Monday night, and with the powers that be for basically tying the hands of law enforcement. It was the Republican lawmakers of the area – US representative Brian Steil, the Kenosha-area Republican lawmakers in the state House and Senate, who appealed to President Trump for help, and in the end, President Trump who put pressure on Governor Evers to allow for a large enough National Guard contingent to put an end to this nonsense.
It’s a good thing too… On Wednesday night, finally, the curfew in Kenosha was finally enforced. Gas pumps in the city were turned off after the curfew kicked in. The Antifa “reinforcements” from the west coast were showing up, including a caravan of a bus, a bread truck, and a van. They were stopped at a gas station – one I’ve passed approximately 17 million times (it’s quite close to St. Nicholas Church) and across the street from a restaurant I’ve eaten at multiple times – and arrested. The news stories talk about how there were nine people who were filling up gas cans, but what was reported on the police scanner was that the top of the bus was also covered in accelerant, so the plan was obviously not just to set buildings on fire, but to set the bus on fire somewhere as well.
There is certainly fear and nervousness. One friend watched live on YouTube on Monday as a police officer was hit over the head with a brick, which barely got mentioned with all the other chaos. Most of them are armed, but use of those weapons are reserved for when people might be at the door. It makes me wonder, though, if that’s why it seems certain groups are using fire as opposed to riots for other smaller places.
Konevets Quartet featuring John Sutko – The Twelve Brigands
Memory Eternal, John Sutko!
John’s name is probably not familiar to most people, but he’s a quiet giant in Orthodoxy in America. He started conducting the Slavonic choir at Ss. Peter and Paul Orthodox Church in Chicago when he was 18, and took over the English choir two years later. He would remain the church’s choir director for over sixty years. During that time, he would go on to direct and sing for Patriarchs and princes, but to know him was to know that he was also a very humble man and always did his best to bring out the best in the others around him. He always made an effort to reach out to those who couldn’t make it to church or had somehow drifted away. When he spoke to someone, he had a knack of making them feel like you were the center of his attention.
In the 1970s, John spent 10 years creating official musical translations of the canon of Church music from Old Church Slavonic to English for the newly independent Orthodox Church in America. This included everything from feast day commemorations to daily stikhera, paying close attention not just to the translation of the language, but that the English translations also adhered to the way Church music is traditionally written.
In his secular career, he was a high school music teacher, and twice was nominated for Illinois’ “Golden Apple” award, recognizing the most outstanding teachers in the state.
Had this been a normal year, I’m sure there would have been at least hundreds who would have come to his funeral. From what I understand, though, because of the restrictions on OCA churches at this point due to Covid-19, the funeral was a small affair, where not even all his family was allowed to attend.
I’ve been busy, and now I’m up to something like 17 entries started because I can’t seem to finish anything. On the other hand, kids. Kids who are at ages where they cling to me. Forget social distancing; I’m lucky if I can get my toddler to use her own pillow at night (because even if she starts in her bed, I wake up with the little fuzzball snuggled next to me).
I write this with a child asleep across me; it seems inevitable at this stage of life that there is a child near, and it seems that at least half the time, said child is in physical contact. Then again, we humans are hard-wired for this; babies are naturally in extreme proximity to their mothers when very small; it’s a place where so many basic needs are met – comfort, protection, and sustenance. Parents work to help these little ones become independent, but this is a process of years – my toddler, for example, still loves nothing more than crawling up on my lap to simply be there for awhile; in her case, “distancing” sometimes amounts to her using her own pillow as she falls asleep, as opposed to snuggling as close to me as she can get on mine.
Maybe it’s just the age (mine I mean), maybe it’s having seen the older children whiz past this stage, but I want to treasure it for the fleeting moment that it is here. We filled out the census recently; I wanted the kids to see it because it’s probably the one the kids have the best chance of seeing themselves on, but it captures a moment in time when they are all here and we are all together. Next time around, there’s a very good chance that the oldest, at least, will be filling out the form separately. Having spent countless hours looking at census records for genealogy research, it amazes me how much they do capture, but also serve as a stark reminder that all those who walked this earth in 1880, for example, all the people represented by the names on the forms, are all gone, along with all the day-to-day joys and cares of their lives. And before too long in the greater scheme of things, all those whose names appear in this census will also return to dust. (And isn’t it amazing, dust that we are, that God not only loves us so completely, but he has loved every generation the same way!)
I know, it’s kind of a cheap-shot pun here, what with all that’s going on right now, but at least I’m managing to get something posted!
In all seriousness, though, I have a lot of thoughts that I’d like to write, but once again, I’ve been insanely occupied with merely trying to keep up with “day-to-day” stuff. All is well and good to talk about social distancing and what have you, but as the mom to a toddler, the amount of “distancing” I can convince “my shadow” of is to use her own pillow as opposed to mine!
Stay healthy, stay safe, I hope to actually sit down and write at some point here!
Yes, it’s a Bob Dylan song, and I’m still of the opinion that an awful lot of Dylan’s songs are better when others sang them, mostly for his voice, but also because other groups tended to have richer instrumentation and, in some cases, such as “All Along the Watchtower”, probably a superior interpretation.
However, Bob Dylan’s influence on the period can’t be denied. Yes, he’s certainly known as a wordsmith, but with this song, for example, where the lyrics hardly seem to make sense, that he was able to glue it together with a melody that actually makes the piece memorable is amazing.
Of course, the most memorable line is from the refrain – “Oh, but I was so much older then/I’m younger than that now”. It cuts to the heart, not exactly regret, but perhaps of wasted time; that in one’s younger days, it’s easier to make decisions without being bogged down by secondary considerations. I don’t know. Sometimes it’s recklessness, but sometimes being able to do that is a much-needed attribute.
Recently, one of my aunts died. Due to family issues, I hadn’t talked to her in more than 25 years, and the last time she saw me, she made the comment that I “must be crazy”. Not someone with whom I ever wanted to have any further dealings, to say the least, especially considering that when I was a child, she regularly did something that put a lot of people in some pretty serious danger, including myself. (Think along the lines of falling asleep in bed while smoking, but not quite.)
I know it was another aunt who put together the obituary, another person I haven’t had any contact with in over 25 years. And so I find it audacious that in this obituary, it states that this woman was the “devoted” aunt of me (First Name + Last Name), as well as assorted other cousins. I am furious, yet I don’t think there’s anything that I can do, as the funeral home, Legacy.com, findagrave.com, etc. don’t know me from Adam, and wouldn’t take it down even if I contacted them… and there’s a LOT of sites that copy out those obituaries.
And to let you know how horrible all of them are, not even my mom or sister bothered to let me know that this happened. My husband ended up letting me know because none of these people know how to lock down their Facebook accounts for privacy, so he gets all kinds of notifications in regards to them for the simple fact that he’s “friends” online with a couple of my relatives.
Of course, too, the obituary also blathers on about what a “devout Christian” she supposedly was. Because, apparently, obituaries. Funny she didn’t mention the man she married and never bothered divorcing! But that would be horrible to bring up now, wouldn’t it? Can’t speak ill of the dead or something.