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Jussie Smollett and Kim Foxx caused harm to every legitimate victim of hate crimes

The Chicago Police Department did an outstanding job in this matter and should be recognized for its work. Smollett and Foxx should also be recognized for their work, but not in a good way.

Flanked by family members, supporters, attorneys and bodyguards, former “Empire” star Jussie Smollett walks into the Leighton Criminal Courthouse after the jury reached a verdict on Dec. 9.
Flanked by family members, supporters, attorneys and bodyguards, former “Empire” star Jussie Smollett walks into the Leighton Criminal Courthouse after the jury reached a verdict on Dec. 9.
Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Thousands of hours of investigative time and resources were spent on the Jussie Smollett hoax. The evidence that he was lying was overwhelming, and he was indicted by a grand jury, only to be let off the hook by Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx. At that point, he was given a deal that no honest victim of a hate crime would ever have taken.

His lies continued right to the witness stand, where he perjured himself under oath. Smollett blamed the investigation on racist cops and made a mockery of the court system.

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Now, he is a convicted felon and must be sentenced to prison time as a message to other would-be fakers. He must make restitution to the city for the investigative costs. I believe Foxx also should now resign. Hate crimes are a serious occurrence in our society, and must be investigated and prosecuted fully.

The Chicago Police Department did an outstanding job in this matter and should be recognized for its work. Smollett and Foxx should also be recognized for their work, but not in a good way.

John Laskey, Palos Heights

The more things change, the more they stay the same

In 1925, a high school teacher named John Thomas Scopes was put on trial in Dayton, Tennessee, for violating the Butler Act. His crime: teaching the theory of evolution to his high school students. Scopes was found guilty and fined $100, but the verdict was thrown out on a technicality on appeal. The Butler Act was not repealed until 1967.

Today, almost 100 years later, we see the same type of attacks on both scientists and science. Lara Logan, on Fox News, said Dr. Anthony Fauci “represents Josef Mengele, the Nazi doctor who did experiments on Jews ... in the concentration camps.” Tucker Carlson, also on Fox News, added, “Tony Fauci has morphed into an even shorter version of Benito Mussolini.” These people cynically spread these insane assertions to keep their viewers watching, viewers who are gullible enough to believe these outrageous lies.

Similarly, the right’s new “cause” is to attack historical truth, in the form of critical race theory, which argues that racism in the past affects institutions in the present. While this theory is actually taught only on a graduate-school level, GOP-led states have banned it from being taught in public schools.

Predictably, a Tennessee teacher, Matt Hawn, was recently fired in part for having his students read an essay by progressive journalist/author Ta-Nehisi Coates. Hawn was attempting to teach critical thinking skills.

Unfortunately for him and his students, Tennessee had recently passed anti-critical race theory legislation, banning educators from teaching students that any individuals are “inherently privileged, sexist, or oppressive” based on their race or sex. Hawn was fired for violating this law, just as Scopes was fired for violating the Butler Act.

So, here we are, again, almost 100 years later: more attacks on science and historical facts. I guess it’s true: The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Bob Chimis, Elmwood Park

Stop severe cuts to Medicare

Despite the urgent need for health care equity in neighborhoods across Chicago — and in our nation’s Medicare program — policymakers in Washington have proposed unbelievably deep cuts to senior specialty care services that are vital to our city’s communities of color.

Medicare’s planned “clinical labor” cuts threaten to impact health care specialists who care for patients living with chronic conditions that are most prevalent among our city’s diverse ethnic and racial communities.

For instance, Medicare plans to cut reimbursement to revascularization services used to clear blocked arteries by 22% — despite the fact that Black and Latino Medicare beneficiaries are three times more likely and twice as likely, respectively, to suffer a lower limb amputation due to a condition called peripheral artery disease.

Congress must intervene. Fortunately, Congressman Bobby Rush (IL-1) has introduced the Medicare Stability for Patients and Providers Act in Congress to stop these severe cuts. This legislation will go a long way in protecting patient access to community-based outpatient specialty care and improving health equity.

Further, Rush and his colleague Congressman Danny Davis (IL-7) are leading another effort urging congressional leaders to address the clinical labor cuts in their end-of-the-year legislative package, to ensure the cuts are not implemented on Jan. 1, 2022.

I commend Rush and Davis and urge all Illinois congressional members to support H.R. 6048 to block Medicare’s dangerous clinical labor cuts.

Sreenivas Reddy, MD, Vascular & Interventional Radiologist
President, Vein & Vascular Centers
Chair, Illinois State Medical Disciplinary Board