Chicago Police Department accountability coverage

A few weeks ago, the Trib published a [story](http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-chicago-police-citizen-complaints-met-20150613-story.html#page=1) 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:

* [Review board recommends Chicago cop be fired for off-duty shooting](http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-chicago-cop-firing-off-duty-shooting-met-20150629-story.html)
* [IPRA recommends the firing of a Chicago police officer involved in a shooting](http://www.chicagoreader.com/Bleader/archives/2015/06/29/ipra-recommends-the-firing-of-a-chicago-police-officer-involved-in-a-shooting)
* [City to pay $3 million for police shootings](http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/ct-chicago-police-shooting-settlements-met-0613-20150612-story.html)
* [City pays $2 million to family of 19-year-old killed by Chicago police](http://www.wbez.org/news/gun-could-never-have-been-fired-112226)
* [Who polices the police? In Chicago, it’s increasingly ex-cops](http://www.wbez.org/news/who-polices-police-chicago-its-increasingly-ex-cops-111194)


Become a Better Programmer Through Mundane Programming

“Become a Better Programmer Through Mundane Programming” is a session that Dan Nguyen and I did at SRCCON this year. Here’s the description from the session page

One of the most difficult challenges for learning programmers is being able to go beyond basic lessons to building “the next Facebook”, or even just applying programming to your work projects. The secret is that programming can be practiced — and used — on everyday, somewhat “mundane” computational tasks. When you learn how to program to do things that are helpful to you, you not only become a better programmer, but you gain insight on how programming fits into the bigger projects you hope to build.

This session will involve both discussion of everyday programming and demonstrations of creating and refining “mundane” programming scripts, with the goal of brainstorming ideas and use cases to expand the scope of problems we can use programming to solve.

The most validating experience was one of the participants showing me some shell script she had written using the t Twitter client to auto-follow SRCCON tweeters.

Resources:


Tribune analysis: Cops who pile up complaints routinely escape discipline

Activists bearing posters of Mayor Rahm Emanuel and police Superintendent Garry McCarthy protest police treatment of residents during a demonstration in front of the mayor’s City Hall office in February 2015. (Nancy Stone, Chicago Tribune)

This is a story that Jeremy Gorner and I wrote from police complaint data that Gorner got from an FOI request. Read the story, Tribune analysis: Cops who pile up complaints routinely escape discipline


Introducing Clarify

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Source has a blog post that Derek Willis and I wrote about Clarify, a small Python library for parsing data from Clarity Election Night Reporting (ENR) systems.

This was developed during OpenNews’ Elections Code Convening, which was really fun, productive and a compelling alternative to hackathons as a model for collaborative hacking.


Cleaner Data

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Along with David Eads, I gave a talk on cleaning data based on my experience working with convictions and elections data at the Chicago School of Data Conference. The session detail page is here and my slides are here. You might find my speaker notes helpful. They’re in the GitHub repo for the slide deck.

Image: Mud Volcanos creative commons licensed (BY-ND) flickr photo by “Caveman Chuck” Coker


New music for back to school

Prince (the other one)

I work up this morning to the din of the first day of school. Even being out of school for a while, I feel like the fall still has this sense of beginning to me, even as the summer comes to the close.

Out of curiosity looked up the current band of a friend I’ve fallen out of touch with and was instantly pulled in by what I heard. Have you ever been haunted by a song and found yourself playing and replaying the same song a dozen times to see if the lyrics match up with the music’s powerful first impression? That’s what happened to me when I heard “How ya been feelin'”, a track from a forthcoming 7″ from Austin’s Prince. It has such a great combination of energy and sadness. The lyrics are direct, but use imagery that evokes something more than the words. The other recordings on the band’s Bandcamp page are pretty great as well.

Una Bèstia Incontrolable and Iron Lung

Last week I saw Una Bèstia Incontrolable and Iron Lung play and I enjoyed hearing two bands play interesting heavy music that’s still grounded in punk and hardcore idioms. It’s hard because seeing heavy bands live sometimes feels like the way we engage with the music is so predictable compared with the music.

I really enjoyed this Noisey interview with Iron Lung because it revealed some surprising influences that I hadn’t listened to very intently including Flipper’s “Generic Flipper” and Rudimentary Peni’s “Death Church”.

Dystopian Society

Some dear friends just moved to Florence, Italy and I was curious what was going on in local music. This death rock band is the first thing that came up when I google “Florence Italy DIY punk”.


Tools for visualizing network graphs

Tools for extracting structured data from a PDF file

These are tools that have been suggested to me to extract structured data from a PDF files:


New music for early August

Richard The Third by Richard Album and The Singles

I play in a cover band with the drummer of the Singles and he had a great one-liner describing this band which was something like “theatric power pop”. This is their new record and they’re on tour now.

Black Rainbow

They played Chicago this week and it was one of the best performances I’ve seen in a while. Direct but not boring punk music.

Sorrows and In School

Chicago’s queer punk fest, Fed Up Fest was a few weeks ago. It was really great. Good music, and a vibe that felt fun and purposeful. While I was excited to finally get to see Limp Wrist, even if they hadn’t played their unannounced set, I would have been satisfied to see some awesome bands that I had never heard of before. Two of my favorites were New York hardcore bands Sorrows and In School.


Lock straps


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I love my Soma Porteur Rack and I love how it helps me take weight off of my body and onto my bike.

However, my small u-lock didn’t securely fit on the rack with a single bungee chord.

So, I sewed these straps out of 1 1/2″ velcro.

I’m interested in seeing if the velcro makes lock-ups more annoying and how the velcro holds up to getting wet and dirty.