Light projection project planned for Merchandise Mart
Merchandise Mart

Elyssa CherneyContact Reporter
Chicago Tribune
One of the most iconic buildings along the Chicago River will soon become the city’s largest art canvas.

Starting in 2018, images will be projected on the Merchandise Mart’s nearly 3-acre river-facing wall, Merchandise Mart and city officials announced Sunday. The art installation is being designed to illuminate the Chicago River.

Publicizing the privately funded plan, Mayor Rahm Emanuel said the project reflects the city’s commitments to investing more in public art and increasing access to the recently extended 1.25-mile Riverwalk.

“The redevelopment of Chicago’s riverfront is vital to our ongoing efforts to attract 55 million visitors annually to the City of Chicago by 2020, creating new jobs and injecting millions of dollars into our local economy,” Emanuel said in a news release.

The Merchandise Mart is 25 stories tall and stretches across two blocks, according to Myron Maurer, chief operating officer of Vornado Realty Trust, which owns the building. In addition to the river, the building is bounded by Kinzie, North Orleans and North Wells streets.

A company drafted to take up the project has done similar work for the St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, the Empire State Building in New York City and other landmarks across the world.

A+I architects and creative studio Obscura Digital, the firms working on the project, are studying the feasibility of accomplishing the feat. City officials say the project also aligns with their mission of increasing public art, which in 2017 will draw $1.5 million in city funding.

echerney@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @ElyssaCherney

Copyright © 2017, Chicago Tribune

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LOGOHave a meeting of the Chicago Literary Club to chair tonight in town, so snow storm or not, taking the train in from Harvard to the Ogilvie Transportation Center for the night’s festivities. Wish me luck!

To all my friends on Facebook: I am tired of the political bickering here largely based upon divisive left vs right party issues. As of right know, if you post such, I will read less of it and respond even less, unless I think I must, which perhaps might be too often, until I get used to ignoring you.I am not blocking anyone now for these reasons because I believe in open communications, but at my age, I don’t have to put up with any junk I don’t like. But I am tired of this BS, and it is making me increasingly tired of Facebook. One thing I swear to do is look vastly less at supposed news posted, real or fake, on Facebook, and I will turn again to direct news sources, which is easy enough to do with a few spare seconds. Thanks for the sparring, but no more, please!

One nice thing about getting to be an older man is that one no longer needs to give a damn about taking a strong position, and after just watching Trump in what was billed as his first press conference as President-elect, I’d rate him a one on a scale of ten, as he might say in commenting on young actresses.

Nice try, Mr. Trump. No, he didn’t even try.  In my 40 years of conducting scores of corporate news conferences and press briefings, I’ve never seen even the most calcitrant and abused CEO treat the press with as much open disdain as Trump did today. He courts the most intense scrutiny from the press any President has ever seen. I spent my career trying to build honest-broker relations with the press. In that respect, Trump is a total disaster, and if that is what his “base” wants to see, they are only confirming how “base” they are.

The loser in all this is not the press, it is you who are reading this, because of the questions not allowed to be asked and the questions remaining unanswered. You know, the French have had 13 governments since the original French revolution. That means they have peacefully thrown their entire government out 13 times. At this early stage of Trump’s reign, I’m sad to say it seems we may be due.

I just saw an announcement that the Army has called for proposals from agencies for its recruiting account because the number of qualified young adults enlisting has been dropping. The fees available for such a new account, currently held by McCann Worldwide is shown to be up to $4 BILLION over a ten year period! That’s a lot of dough for recruiting.

Wouldn’t this be a good time to create a universal draft, which could not only save most of that $4 BILLION tagged for recruitment, but much more importantly, provide a training and service opportunity for all qualified young Americans in both the military and other federal service (such as rebuilding infrastructure throughout the nation)? It would expand employment and training opportunities for young people after high school, and perhaps before college or other technical career training.

One other by-product of a universal draft is that the citizenry, not only those doing federal service but their families, would be more engaged with the federal government, and develop a keener sense of what it takes to be a true American citizen. And, there would also be closer citizen oversight and participation in our federal government, because families across the land would be engaged in serving their nation, as well as benefit from the work of these engaged young Americans.

Sure, I want the Presidency to serve our nation well. Maybe Trump as President is not the same man we saw before his election. Maybe he’s not the same man I witnessed a decade ago when he verbally demeaned the news media while also demeaning  a large audience comprised substantially of professional women. Maybe he’s not the same man I watched announce his candidacy by calling Mexicans rapists, and calling for a wall with Mexico and the removal of 11 million people living in this country. Maybe he’s not the same man who called for barring Muslims from the U.S. Maybe he’s not the same man who invited Russian intelligence to undermine the U.S. election. Maybe he’s not the same man who said other countries ought to have the atom bomb, and that the hard-won multi-national anti-nuclear agreement with Iran should be torn up.

Maybe he’s not the same man…

Once again, it appears, subject to final reports, that the dangerously antiquated Electoral College has “trumpted” the will of the people by delivering the Presidency to the person who came in 2nd place in the popular vote — the real American vote, just as happened in 2000. When will we learn? When will we fix this travesty and blow against democracy?

Here’s the link to my essay on the Electoral College and what to do about it.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/ClubExpressClubFiles/11539/documents/Ebeling_-Collage.htm?AWSAccessKeyId=AKIAIB6I23VLJX7E4J7Q&Expires=1478725159&response-content-disposition=inline%3B%20filename%3DEbeling_-Collage.htm&Signature=IbLBksbCNV0NHjZj9wV42DMpM9Y%3D

 

And here is what NPR is reporting this morning :

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton finds herself on the wrong end of an electoral split, moving ahead in the popular vote but losing to President-elect Donald Trump in the Electoral College, according to the latest numbers emerging Wednesday.

As of 10 a.m. ET, Clinton had amassed 59,299,381 votes nationally, to Trump’s 59,135,740 — a margin of 163,641 that puts Clinton on track to become the fifth U.S. presidential candidate to win the popular vote but lose the election.

Neither candidate got more than 50 percent of the vote — as of 10 a.m. ET, Clinton stood at 47.7 percent and Trump at 47.5 percent.

Thanks to the archaic Electoral College system of electing American Presidents and Vice Presidents, approximately 50% of votes cast are thrown out. Any my vote in Illinois is worth about 1/6th of a vote in Alaska. Corrupt? No, it’s the law. How could this be?

How to fix it? Rewrite the 24th amendment which established the Electoral College. Good luck with that. The other way is to support the National Popular Vote legislation in your state (Google it), which would at least assure the winner of the popular vote wins. You will hear a lot about the importance of the Electoral College between now and the election, as the campaigns game the system, but you won’t hear much now, and less after the election, about how it is stealing your vote.

Here’s how the EC works (from Wikipedia):

The United States Electoral College is the body that elects the President and Vice President of the United States every four years. Citizens of the United States do not directly elect the president or the vice president; instead they choose “electors”, who usually pledge to vote for particular candidates.

Electors are apportioned to each of the 50 states as well as to the District of Columbia. The number of electors in each state is equal to the number of members of Congress to which the state is entitled, while the Twenty-third Amendment grants the District of Columbia the same number of electors as the least populous state, currently three. Therefore, there are currently 538 electors, corresponding to the 435 Representatives and 100 Senators, plus the three additional electors from the District of Columbia. The Constitution bars any federal official, elected or appointed, from being an elector.

Except for Maine and Nebraska, all states have chosen electors on a “winner-take-all” basis since the 1880s. That is, each state has all of its electors pledged to the presidential candidate who wins the most votes in that state. Maine and Nebraska use the “congressional district method”, selecting one elector within each congressional district by popular vote and selecting the remaining two electors by a statewide popular vote. Although no elector is required by federal law to honor a pledge, there have been very few occasions when an elector voted contrary to a pledge. The Twelfth Amendment, in specifying how a president and vice president are elected, requires each elector to cast one vote for president and another vote for vice president.

The candidate who receives an absolute majority of electoral votes (currently 270) for the office of president or of vice president is elected to that office. The Twelfth Amendment provides for what happens if the Electoral College fails to elect a president or vice president. If no candidate receives a majority for president, then the House of Representatives will select the president, with each state delegation (instead of each representative) having only one vote. If no candidate receives a majority for vice president, then the Senate will select the vice president, with each senator having one vote. On four occasions, most recently in the 2000 presidential election, the Electoral College system has resulted in the election of a candidate who did not receive the most popular votes in the election.

  • Two things collided: I voted early today, and Tom Hayden died. We were not far from the same age. He helped organize the 1968 convention anti-war riot in Chicago. I was shipped to Vietnam a couple months later. That was 11 Presidential elections ago, and I’m still voting, but none of the 58,000 Americans listed on that long black wall in D.C. are now voting, nor the legions of their unborn potential progeny. That could add up to hundreds of thousands, perhaps over a million in uncast

 votes. Elections have been won and lost on less. So, if you wonder if your vote counts, think of all those votes lost because of decisions made 40 years ago, and the potential consequences of your vote, even 40 years from now.

This afternoon, Vicki and I stumbled upon the 1998 film, “You’ve Got Mail,” which I’d remembered capturing the discovery of email as an intimate yet secretive new form of communication. But what the film really brought back is how much I miss the big box bookstores, which were then ascendant, as well as the more personal small stores they were replacing.

I recalled growing up with the likes of Kroch and Brentanos in Chicago, a high-quality small store where the best in books and bookish advice could be had, then the advent of Rizzoli’s in Water Tower Place, where they carried beautiful collectible photo and art books, and where I would spend hours soaking them up. When they closed, I recall stopping by Rizzoli’s original store whenever I got to NYC, to again wade among the wonderful books there.

And then there is Barnes and Noble, where I’ve enjoyed the coffee and croissants and magazines and book browsing ever since. When we run off to Naples in Florida in the winter, once we run out of beach and shops to visit, which is pretty fast, we always wind up at Barnes and Noble, wandering among the comfortable rows of books and magazines, and sipping coffee and rolls in the cafe.

Now, in 2016, it seems all the bookstores are increasingly disappearing — both the wonderful big stores and the charming small ones they replaced. I hear that millennials don’t care much for books — one has to find a place to keep them and everything is available online. I guess we are of another time. I have two small libraries of books, one at our Chicago apartment and another at our Wisconsin lodge, and another four rooms between the two places with bookshelves aplenty. As I wrote in a recent essay for the Chicago Literary Club, my books are like walls of old friends. Like old friends, they offer familiar retreats into good times and wisdom, plus new revelations, given a closer look.

Books I’ve read many times, and those as yet unread, all get my respect. Occasionally we sort out the wheat from the chaff among our collections, but, just like the now familiar internet and the ever-present Google-gate to knowledge, books continue to offer insight and intelligence unmatched except by the best of friends. And I miss those increasingly scarce bookstores, like those operated by Meg Ryan and Tom hanks in the movie, like so many homes away from home.

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