Music for early March


While in Mexico City, I went to “El Chopo”, a punk street market and got an Eskorbuto patch. It made me excited to listen to this band.

Smino – S!CK S!CK S!CK EP

Smino is a Chicago (via St. Louis) rapper performing March 2 as part of “The Come Up” series.

Watercolor Paintings – Red Scarf

My friend Mooj, who’s all over a bunch of cool radio/podcast projects made this music video.

Watercolor Paintings – Red Scarf from Zadie on Vimeo.

Muncie Girls – From Captain to Belsize

I read an article about this band that a friend shared on Facebook and they sounded really interesting.

Upgrading Homebrew-installed Postgres 9.3 to 9.5

I didn’t read the instructions when I let PostgreSQL get upgraded from 9.3 to 9.5 with brew upgrade. This is what I had to do to migrate my data after I had already upgraded:

# Switch back to the previous version of postgres, postgis
brew switch postgres 9.3.5_1
brew switch postgis 2.1.4_1
# Start the server (run this in a separate shell)
postgres -D /usr/local/var/postgres
# Dump all my databases
pg_dumpall > pg_dump
# Stop the server
pg_ctl -D /usr/local/var/postgres stop
# Switch back to the up-to-date version of postgres, postgis
brew switch postgresql 9.5.0
brew switch postgis 2.2.1
# Move the old data directory out of the way
mv /usr/local/var/postgres/ /usr/local/var/postgres9.3
# Initialize the data directory for Postgres 9.5
initdb /usr/local/var/postgres
# Start the server
postgres -D /usr/local/var/postgres
# Import the database dump
psql -d postgres -f pg_dump
# Delete the dump file
rm pg_dump
# Stop the server
pg_ctl -D /usr/local/var/postgres stop
# Start the server with launchctl
launchctl load ~/Library/LaunchAgents/homebrew.mxcl.postgresql.plist


I played three different shows, with three different bands in 48 hours. So different playing for a handful of folks below the Loyola Red Line, in a crowded basement and on a giant stage. It was a hectic weekend, but ultimately, after the dust settled, I feel lucky to get to do all this.

Defiance, Ohio playing at the Fest, 2015.  Photo by @jimmyvague (

Defiance, Ohio playing at the Fest, 2015. Photo by @jimmyvague (

“Rabbit Bucket” playing next to the Loyola Red Line. Photo by Roberta.

Defiance, Ohio playing at the Fest, 2015.  Photo by @waxwingsmusic (

Defiance, Ohio playing at the Fest, 2015. Photo by @waxwingsmusic (

Property tax increases and renters

There’s been a lot of coverage of the mayor’s property tax increase, and some provisions to reduce the burden on low-to-moderate income homeowners. My first thought went to renters, though:


In-real-life data visualization of Chicago Budget


Originally from:

Sincere. Fucking. Curiosity. Above all things.

New Music for Early August

Janelle Monáe + Wondaland Records – Hell You Talmbout

This references a bonus track off of Monae’s 2013 release, I think.

Mick Jenkins – Wave[s]

Mother Cyborg – Tough Femme Mix

Aye Nako – White Noise

Here’s a Pitchfork review of the track. From the review:

Dixon elaborated on the song, saying it’s about how “whiteness is centered in everything, how it taught me to hate myself for being black, how when I was a kid I used to pray to God that I could be white… how it scares me that white supremacy doesn’t even need white people to perpetuate it.”

Tunde Olaniran – Transgressor


Gold Paint Boy – little engine

Programmatically reshaping data

Yesterday at work, my coworker needed to reshape a data table, from CSV. The data was a time series, with one row per date. He wanted to reshape the data so there was one row per day of the year with a column for the desired variable for each year. He observed that there were 93 distinct days of the year for each year and used some clever Excel functions and auto-fills to do this in about 5 minutes. I spend considerably more time figuring out how to do this in PostgreSQL, Python and R.

CPS School Budgets


On Monday, July 13, 2015, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) released preliminary spending plans for the 2015-2016 school year. Many schools face significant budget cups. We made a simple [news app to let users explore how different school budgets changed](

Additional coverage:

* [CPS Budget: Deep Cuts For Neighborhood Schools, Cash Infusion For Charters]( (DNAinfo Chicago)
* [Chicago Public Schools’ budgets spend $500 million district doesn’t have](

Chicago Police Department accountability coverage

Updated September 21, 2015

Video of a police raid on a tanning salon in 2013 shows Chicago Police officers engaging in potentially criminal activity. Some of that activity was reviewed by the Independent Police Review Authority, but other potential crimes by cops were ignored by the agency tasked with rooting out police misconduct in Chicago. It raises serious questions about IPRA and its commitment to police accountability, questions that IPRA has refused to answer.

Updated September 14, 2015

In a 2013 police raid caught on video, an officer makes racists comments to an Asian- American woman he’s arresting, and then he threatens her and her family with death. IPRA has recommended a 25-day suspension for the officer.

Andy Kang with Asian Americans Advancing Justice said Scott Ando defended that decision in a meeting Monday.

“For those that engage in police brutality, I think the message unfortunately, what it tells us is that those officers will get a slap on the wrist,” said Kang.

The police allegedly approached Roberts’ vehicle with their guns drawn, ordered him to exit it, and then pushed him to the ground.

Roberts says one of the officers said to him, “Don’t make me fucking shoot you!” even though he had done nothing but comply with the officers’ orders.

One of the officers pulled Roberts’ wallet from his pocket, and discovered Roberts’ identification as a supervising investigator with the authority.

“Moments later, Defendant Ellison ran back to his vehicle and turned off his vehicle’s video recording equipment,” Roberts claims. Police assert that there is no video or audio recording of what next conspired even though two other police cars were present.

The complaint states that Roberts, “who was approximately 315 pounds at the time, was placed in a single set of handcuffs that were clearly too tight.”

He says he pleaded with the officers to loosen the cuffs, but they refused.

Update August, 17, 2015

Update July 27, 2015

Update July 24, 2015, allegations by ex-IPRA investigators of pressure to change findings

Update July 19, 2015, more stories

A few weeks ago, the Trib published a story about the review of complaints against Chicago Police Department officers to which I contributed data analysis. This week, a couple of stories about Chicago’s Independent Police Review Authority (IPRA) came across my radar, so I wanted to share them here: