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Welcome to the Reader's morning briefing for Friday, August 25, 2017. Have a great weekend!
Governor Bruce Rauner has fired his new communications team, saying they were "good people trying to do good work" but not the right fit, according to the Tribune. The fired staffers were hired only about six weeks ago, after his first round of mass firings in July. The nail in the coffin for the new team was a statement issued by a spokeswoman addressing the recent controversy surrounding a controversial Illinois Policy Institute cartoon deemed racist by many: "The cartoon was removed days ago. And the governor—as a white male—does not have anything more to add to the discussion." Rauner discussed the firings in a conference call with his remaining staff Thursday morning and reportedly said that "the intensity of the battle is going up." "The reality is in addition to the enemies on the other side of the aisle, we have enemies in the media and enemies who should be on our side, some of them former members of the administration," he said, according to a Tribune source. Two of the staffers fired were previously at the IPI. [Tribune]
Former Chicago Public Schools chief executive officer Barbara Byrd-Bennett will report to Federal Prison Camp Alderson in West Virginia Monday to start serving her four-and-a-half-year prison sentence. Former alderman Sandi Jackson and Martha Stewart also did time at the prison, which has been dubbed "Camp Cupcake." Byrd-Bennett pleaded guilty to her role in a CPS contract kickback scheme nearly two years ago. [Sun-Times]
Former Northwestern University professor Wyndham Lathem is living in Cook County Jail after being charged with first-degree murder for allegedly stabbing his boyfriend Trenton Cornell-Duranleau to death July 27. But the former microbiologist doesn't want to give up teaching while he's behind bars. "My client would like to be involved in the jail's educational programs," his attorney Adam Sheppard told the Sun-Times: "He is a scientist who wants to serve in a capacity to help others inside the jail while his case is pending. He hopes to be able to receive his books and is being as cooperative as possible." Lathem's codefendant, Oxford University employee Andrew Warren, is also in jail and charged with first-degree murder in the slaying. [Sun-Times]
Two South Loop bars near Soldier Field are refusing to show NFL games until Colin Kaepernick is signed by an NFL team. Velvet Lounge and the Bureau Bar announced their decision to boycott the NFL in support of Kaepernick, who when playing for the San Francisco 49ers last year knelt during the National Anthem in protest of police brutality against black people. No football team has signed Kaepernick, who's now a free agent, and many people blame it on the controversy surrounding his activism. [DNAinfo Chicago]
About 30 protesters gathered at the Italo Balbo monument in Burnham Park Wednesday to demand its removal. The monument was a gift to Chicago from Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, made in honor of Balbo's trans-Atlantic flight from Rome to Chicago for the 1933 Century of Progress World's Fair. The statue "celebrates fascism, and to me, represents the United States has a real systemic problem with white supremacy and racism," event organizer John Beacham said. "I'll say straight up to Mayor Emanuel, 'You need to take this monument down.' There's no excuse." [DNAinfo Chicago]
Burrito chain Dos Toros, which specializes in mission-style burritos (i.e., large and stuffed with fillings including rice and melted cheese), is opening its first location outside New York City in the Loop Monday. Eater Chicago has pictures of the new fast-casual Mexican restaurant, at 1 N. Dearborn. [Eater Chicago]