Chicago

10 things you need to know today: July 20, 2014

A man picks through the wreckage of Flight 17

A man picks through the wreckage of Flight 17 Brendan Hoffman / Getty Images

The Week

Ukrainian rebels recover Flight 17’s black boxes, Israel ups its offensive in Gaza, and more.

1. Ukrainian rebels recover downed plane’s black boxes

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine collected the flight recorders from downed Malaysia Airlines Flight 17. A separatist spokesman, Alexander Borodai, said Sunday the rebels would turn the recorders over to international aviation experts. Armed militiamen also reportedly seized the remains of nearly 200 victims from the crash and loaded them on to refrigerated train cars bound for a rebel-held city, prompting complaints from Western leaders that the rebels were hampering recovery and investigative efforts. [Associated PressThe New York Times]

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2. Gaza death toll climbs above 400

Israeli forces ramped up their offensive in Gaza Sunday, moving armored vehicles into densely-populated areas and killing more than 50 while injuring around 200 more. It was the most intense fighting in the now two-week-long campaign aimed at crippling Hamas. An estimated 400 Palestinians have now died in the conflict, some 75 percent of whom were civilians, according to the United Nations. [Los Angeles TimesBBC]

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3. 22 shot in 12 hours in Chicago

A spate of shootings from Friday night into Saturday morning left one dead and more than 20 others injured in Chicago. Eleven-year-old Shamiya Adams was killed during a sleepover at her best friend’s house when a stray bullet flew through the wall and struck her in the head. [Chicago Tribune]

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4. R.J. Reynolds hit with $23 billion verdict

A Florida jury on Friday awarded a widowed woman a record $23 billion in her lawsuit against tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds. It was the single biggest legal payout in a wrongful death case in Florida history. The plaintiff, Cynthia Robinson, sued in 2008 claiming that the cigarette company hid the dangers of smoking and was thus culpable for her husband’s death, in 1996, at 36 years of age. [USA TodayReuters]

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5. Russia bans 13 in retaliation for sanctions

Moscow announced Saturday it was banning 13 Americans from entering the country in response to the new U.S. sanctions, announced last week, against Russian companies. Those barred from entry include Rep. James P. Moran (D-Va.) as well as several military officials linked to the Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prisons scandals. [The New York TimesThe Washington Post]

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6. Vikings suspend coach over anti-gay remarks

The Minnesota Vikings have suspended special teams coordinator Mike Priefer three games after an internal investigation determined he’d made homophobic remarks while on the clock. The investigation came after former punter Chris Kluwe — who is an outspoken LGBT advocate, and who claimed the team fired him for that advocacy — alleged Priefer taunted him with anti-gay remarks during practices. Kluwe has said he plans to sue the team if they do not make the full report on the investigation public. [Minneapolis Star TribuneESPN]

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7. Actor James Garner dead at 86

Legendary actor James Garner, best known for his role on the 1950s Western show The Maverick,passed away Saturday night at his home in Los Angeles. He was 86 years old. Police said Garner died of natural causes. [BBC]

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8. Massive wildfire spreads in Washington

Spurred on by extreme winds and dry weather, a sprawling wildfire in Washington state continued to grow over the weekend. Dubbed the Carlton Complex fire, the disaster had spread to cover more than 330 square miles as of Saturday, up from 260 square miles one day prior. The fire already destroyed about 100 homes late last week. [Associated Press]

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9. Rory McIlroy chases history at British Open

The final round of the British Open tees of Sunday with Rory McIlroy sitting comfortably in the lead. After three rounds, McIlroy finished at 16 under par, giving him a six-shot lead over Rickie Fowler. If he holds on to win, McIlroy will join Tiger Woods and Jack Nicklaus as the only golfers ever to win three majors by age 25. [ESPN]

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10. Moon landing celebrates 45th anniversary

Forty-five years ago today, Apollo 11 safely deposited the first humans on the surface of the moon. Though Neil Armstrong’s iconic remark about taking a “small step” on to the lunar surface may be a slight misquote, the statement and the landing itself remain defining, historic moments for the U.S. space program. [NBC]

Erika Harold, GOP Candidate, Targeted In Racially Charged Attack By Jim Allen, Illinois GOP Official

Apparently, Chicago politics are pretty rough and when it’s a Republican battle the rule of the day is “no holds barred”…

The Huffington Post

An Illinois Republican Party chairman apologized Wednesday after unleashing a racially charged attack on a black female congressional candidate.

In an email sent to Doug Ibendahl, a Chicago attorney who runs the independent website Republican News Watch, Montgomery County Republican Party chairman Jim Allen had harsh words for former Miss America and GOP congressional candidate Erika Harold, who announced earlier this month that she would mount a primary challenge against Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) next year.

“Rodney Davis will win and the love child of the D.N.C. will be back in Shitcago by May of 2014 working for some law firm that needs to meet their quota for minority hires,” Allen, a Davis supporter, wrote in the Tuesday email. “The little queen touts her abstinence and she won the crown because she got bullied in school,,,boohoo..kids are cruel, life sucks and you move on.. Now, miss queen is being used like a street walker and her pimps are the DEMOCRAT PARTY and RINO REPUBLICANS.”

Allen later walked back his remarks.

“My comments are very inappropriate and wrong, and I apologize to Miss Harold and her campaign and her supporters,” he told the State Journal-Register.

Davis’ camp also sought to distance itself from Allen’s tirade, calling the message “wrong.”

“Mr. Allen’s comments are misguided and wrong and certainly do not reflect the views of Congressman Davis or his campaign,” Davis spokesman Andrew Flach said in a statement. “Our hope is that supporters for all of the candidates conduct themselves in a positive manner and focus on the issues facing our country as the campaign moves forward.”

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Allen had been listed as a ‘Team 2014′member on Davis’ campaign website prior to the attack on Harold. Allen’s name has since been removed.

 

9 Things Said By Potential Jurors In Zimmerman Trial That Made Us Go “Hmmm?”

Looks like it might be a very long trial…

Global Grind

George Zimmerman’s trial is here. And though we’re all anticipating the outcome, we have to tackle first things first.

Jury selection. And that daunting process of choosing six jurors and four alternates is proving difficult, hilarious, sad, and LONG.

Let me break it down for you:

Circuit Judge Debra S. Nelson ordered the clerk of counts to summon a total of 500 potential jurors. Between 100 and 200 of those showed up the first day, and 100 more will show up each day as needed until the panel is seated. Each potential juror will be given a lengthy questionnaire to fill out. Nelson and lawyers will review them and then question the jurors individually.

And the questioning, if you haven’t been keeping up, is too interesting to miss. Here are a few things that were said that made us go HMMM????

Juror B-29: A lady from Chicago says she doesn’t watch news…she prefers Bad Girls Club.

Damn, so do we! We were just embarrassed to say…

Juror B-12: How did this woman react to her court summons? “Oh my goodness, I might be on Zimmerman!”

It’s not a show…so….

Juror B-51: Her family doesn’t have time to discuss Trayvon and Zimmerman. Why? Because they talk more about their “family dysfunction” than the news.

Yes…family dysfunction is REAL.

Juror B-37: When the state attorney asked her to describe Trayvon, she referred to him as a “boy of color.” Ummm…

Can we just retire “color” and all of its derivatives?

Juror B-37: Oh. She also only uses the internet to find recipes. Oh, and information on her 10+ pets.

You mean you don’t check GlobalGrind? Duh! Somebody is missing out!

Juror B-35: One of the two black jurors so far watches Fox News and Sean Hannity. He also doesn’t believe that the killing was racially motivated. He also called civil rights leaders who focused on racial aspect of the case “so-called.”

The defense’s dream guy…

Juror B-86: What she remembers about Trayvon? Her sons making fun of the “Skittles” that he was holding when he was shot.

Ummm…what?

Juror B-86: Thought she heard that Trayvon was expelled from school. That struck a chord because she’s “big on school discipline.” And so, she wasn’t so sure she could get over that detail in the case…

Uhhhhh…

And last but not least…AGAIN…

Juror B-86: If Trayvon wasn’t “expelled” from school, he might be alive today.

WOW WOW WOW WOW!

Westboro Baptist Church Pickets Roger ‘F@g Enabler’ Ebert’s Funeral

Anti-LGBT Westboro Baptist Church to picket movie critic Roger Ebert's funeral.

Anti-LGBT Westboro Baptist Church to picket movie critic Roger Ebert’s funeral.

Someone honestly needs to organize a picket against Westboro Baptist Church and their insidious hatred.  They are idiotic publicity hounds that have no real agenda except getting their name in a couple of news cycles on a regular basis…

Addicting Info

As fans mourn the passing of celebrated film critic Roger Ebert, Westboro Baptist Church is once again putting the “fun” in “funeral.” According to the Hollywood Reporter, the vehemently anti-gay Westboro Baptist Church sent out a press release yesterday announcing their plans to picket Ebert’s funeral because, “God hates f@g-enablers.”

Apparently the folks at Westboro didn’t like it when Ebert tweeted a link to Jeff Chu’s Salon article, “My Day At Westboro Baptist: ‘Yes Jesus hates you,‘ back on March 25th while he was still alive:

Chu is a gay Christian writer, and the author of “Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage in Search of God in America.” Ebert’s tweet read: “Just another day at Westboro Baptist.http://dld.bz/cs74b.” The Topeka, KS-based Westboro Baptist Church is known for hating gays (theirWeb site URL says God hates them, too) and for protesting at the funerals of thousands of gay advocates, public figures, members of the military, and others with the misfortune to run afoul of them. According to their Web site, they have disrespected the dead at 50,197 funerals so far.

Ebert was a beloved American journalist, film critic, and writer who had been living with cancer of the thyroid glands since 2002, and passed away at age 70 on April 4th, 2013. He and his dearly departed colleague, Gene Siskel, pioneered movie reviews for the modern age starting in 1986 with the thumbs up/thumbs down format of their long-running At The Movies television series. His funeral was held this morning, April 8th, at Holy Names Cathedral in Chicago, IL. Since the folks at Westboro are equal opportunity haters, their press release refers to this Catholic church as “PREISTS [sic] RAPE BOYS,” and further twist the knife of their contempt by misspelling the word “priests.” Either that, or they’re just no good at spelling.

The Chicago Tribune reported that people started lining up early on this cold, rainy morning to pay their respects. First in line was a 27-year-old admirer and film critic for Hollywood-Chicago — aptly named Matt Fagerholm — who said:

He was inspirational, both in terms of his depth of knowledge about film and his wisdom about life. He was always a joy to talk to, always so funny. I’m inspired by his life force, by his ability to keep going.

The Chicago Tribune also reported that as the funeral procession solemnly marched up the main aisle of Holy Name Cathedral, the choir sang, ”God has smiled on me, he has set me free.” If the folks from Westboro Baptist Church could hear the lyrics as they shivered outside in the freezing rain, they surely would have been gnashing their teeth. Well wishers are invited to send donations to the Ebert Foundation, c/o Northern Trust at 50 S. LaSalle Street, Chicago, IL 60603. In addition, a memorial tribute will be held tonight at the Chicago Theater (for more information, click here).

According to Jeff McMahon from Forbes magazine, Ebert was America’s “greatest movie reviewer,”

Not because he cared about movies, not because he told us what to think about movies, but because he told us just enough to care and to think for ourselves.

The full text from Westboro’s hateful press release reads as follows:

GOD HATES F-G ENABLER ROGER EBERT!

LORD WILLING, WBC TO PICKET IN LAWFUL PROXIMITY TO THE FUNERAL OF F-G ENABLER ROGER EBERT AT “PREISTS RAPE BOYS” HOLY NAME CATHEDRAL (730 N. STATE STREET, CHICAGO, IL), MONDAY, APRIL 8, FROM 9:15-10:00 AM

For 22 years Westboro has warned the people of Topeka, Kansas & America that the policies of sin of this land have brought the wrath of God upon you, your houses, your city, your state, & your nation. American entertainment industry publicity leech Roger Ebert took to Twitterverse to mock the faithful servants of God at Westboro Baptist Church, just days before he received the horrifying summons: “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: [now] whose shall [that silly vanity called a Pulitzer Prize] be, which thou has provided?” (Luke 12:20) This fool sold his soul for some fame & fortune, forgetting that God has made a simple declaration regarding His people: “Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.” (Psalms 105:15). Now the famed critic is in a new jurisdiction, where he can see the blessings poured out on God’s humble servants in heaven, from his seat of eternal torment & sorrow in Hell! It’s too late for the fool Roger Ebert! WBC will continue to bind those who still live in Doomed america to God’s eternal laws & Word, so you, like Roger, are without excuse!

Nostalgia Critic: posted a video remembrance about why Ebert’s so great.

Here’s the video

Joe Walsh – Michelle Obama Funeral Flap

Joe Walsh Michelle Obama Funeral

Some people just don’t know when to go home after the party is over.  Joe Walsh is one of them…

The Huffington Post

Making good on his threat promise that he’s not going away, ex-Congressman Joe Walsh reared his head Friday morning to blast the first lady for traveling to her hometown of Chicago to attend slain 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton’s funeral.

In a series of tweets first reported by DNAinfo Chicago, Walsh ripped Michelle Obama’s attendance at the funeral of the teen-aged inaugural performer as “political.”

 

 

News of Pendleton’s Jan. 29 shooting death struck a chord nationwide, prompting outrage over the honor student’s senseless slaying, gun control and the epidemic of shooting violence in Chicago.

After the King College Prep student was shot by a still at-large perp while standing under a park canopy to escape the rain, a petition was started urging President Obama to attend the teen’s funeral.

Thursday, a White House official said Michelle Obama would attend the funeral, along with senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan. Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn will also attend the funeral.

“As a mother and Chicagoan, the first lady was heartbroken to learn of the tragic lossof Hadiya Pendleton due to senseless gun violence,” Kristina Schake, Michelle Obama communications director, told the Tribune Thursday.

According to WGN, a Friday visitation for Pendleton will be held at Calahan Funeral Home, 7030 S. Halsted St., from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. The wake and funeral follow on Saturday beginning at 9 a.m. at the Greater Harvest Baptist Church at 5141 S. State St.

Walsh’s criticism of the first lady attending the Pendleton service is not the first time the Tea Party favorite has lashed out on the topic of Chicago violence following a headline-grabbing tragedy. Last spring, after the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin inspired Walsh’s then-congressional colleague Bobby Rush to don a hoodie on the House floor, Walsh said he hoped Rush would “be as outraged with all of the black on black crime going on in the city of Chicago weekend after weekend” as he was with Martin’s death.

No, the University of Chicago Isn’t Tearing Down Reagan’s Childhood Home to Make Way for an Obama Parking Lot

Fox Nation was leading the “outrage” over this fallacy…

Mother Jones

There’s a new rumor going around that the University of Chicago wants to pave what’s left of Reagan’s paradise and put up a socialist parking lot.

On Wednesday, the UK tabloid the Daily Mailpublished a story claiming that the university had plans to demolish Ronald Reagan’s childhood home in Chicago (832 E. 57th St.), to make room for a parking lot for a potential Barack Obama Presidential Library. It goes without saying that this would be flipping one gigantic bird to the American right.

It was at this apartment building that Reagan survived a severe bout of pneumonia. It’s also where the future president was living when his older brother was run over by a horse-drawn beer wagon (the incident wasn’t fatal, but left a long scar on his leg). In 2004, the University of Chicago bought the land encompassing the apartment building where the 40th President of the United States lived between the age of 3 and 4. Residents were ordered out in 2010. The Commission on Chicago Landmarks denied the structure “landmark status,” which gave the university the greenlight to take a bulldoze to the vacant six-flat building to make way for planned campus expansion.

“Some have said that the liberal Chicago establishment does not want a reminder that Reagan,a conservative icon, once lived in the city,” the thinly sourced Daily Mail report reads.

This story quickly found its way onto the Drudge Report, the Huffington Post‘s evening newsletterMediaiteMSN NewsNewsmaxTammy Bruce’s blogAmerican ThinkerDigital JournalExaminer.comThe inquisitor, and a variety of conservative websites. (Dave Weigel atSlate expressed his strained credulity in this brief eye-roll of a blog post.) UPDATE: As Ben Dimiero at Media Matters noted, Fox News’ Fox & Friends First and Fox Nation also promoted the claim.

The original Mail article was based on a Washington Times piece that ran last Friday on the paper’s “Communities” page. “Individual [Communities] contributors are responsible for their content, which is not edited by The Washington Times,” reads a disclaimer to the right of the item. “The opinions of Communities writers do not necessarily reflect nor are they endorsed by the Washington Times.”

The parking-lot claim made in this Washington Times post—the root of this latest conservative freak-out—is based entirely on speculation.

Currently, there is no actual evidence that the University of Chicago (an institution long famous for promoting economic theories that could fairly be classified as “Reaganomics“) is planning to flatten one of Reagan’s former homes for the sake of an Obama parking lot. First of all, the location of Obama’s inevitable presidential library hasn’t even been decided yet—the stiff competition has come down to the University of Chicago and the University of Hawaii. The university’s plans involve something that is more mundane and far less troll-y than any pro-Obama conspiracy: According to the school’s representatives, they’re just trying to build more facilities for scientific studies.

“832 E. 57th St. is one of a number of vacant buildings the University owns that will be taken down to allow for expansion of the medical and biological research campus,” Jeremy Manier, news director at the University of Chicago, wrote in a email to Mother Jones. “The University’s permit request currently is under review by the city. Recent media reports that have speculated on other potential uses of the property are inaccurate.”

Teenager Who Performed At Obama’s Inauguration Ceremony Is The Latest Victim Of Chicago Gun Violence

Hadiya Pendleton, 15 years old, was killed in Chicago on Tuesday.

Another young life taken over useless gun violence in Chicago…

Think Progress

Less than two weeks ago, Hadiya Pendleton was leading her classmates in the King College Prep School Marching Band down Pennsylvania Avenue on the afternoon of President Obama’s second inauguration. It would be an opportunity of a lifetime for any 15 year old, but for Pendleton, it was her last. On Tuesday, she was gunned down in a park a few blocks from school on the South Side of Chicago, less than a mile from the first family’s home.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Pendleton and another classmate, a 16 year old boy, were both caught in the middle of a gang war. The boy was still in serious condition on Tuesday evening, but Pendleton did not survive:

Friends of the slain girl said King was dismissed early today because of exams, and students went to the park on Oakenwald–something they don’t usually do.

Friends said the girl was a majorette and a volleyball player, a friendly and sweet presence at King, one of the top 10 CPS selective enrollment schools. Pendleton performed with other King College students at President Barack Obama’s inaugural events.

In the last year, Chicago has endured a surge of gun-related murders, more than quadruple the number of homicides in New York City and 58 percent more than the number of U.S. soldiers shot and killed in Afghanistan. During the recent debate over gun control, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel has sought to place his city at the front of the push for reform, instructing the city’s pension funds to divest from any gun manufacturer and supporting more gun buyback programs.

Joe Walsh Obamacare Opposition Prompts Tea Party Favorite To Suggest People ‘Break The Law’

Joe Walsh Obamacare

You did in fact lose your bid for re-election Mr. Walsh.  Perhaps you need to gather your marbles and go home.  Game over for you, sir.

Incendiary rhetoric only make you and your party look uh…”out of touch” with reality.

The Huffington Post

Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Ill.), a staunch opponent of the Affordable Care Act, suggested people “defy and or break the law and engage in civil disobedience” in response to Obamacare restrictions or new gun laws.

“We may have to shed blood every couple hundred years to preserve our freedoms,” Walsh told supporters at a rally, according to Chicago’s DNAinfo.

Walsh also criticized conservatives who don’t “understand we’re at war [with progressives.]” DNAinfo reports:

Walsh said there is a battle between the old values of freedom against the new emphasis on government control. “These two Americas are having it out,” he said, adding it was the old, traditional conception of America against the new, progressive America.

“I do want to go back,” he said.

Although he talked tough politically, saying, “We have no Republican Party in this state — none,” he added, “I’m not there yet with a third-party movement.”

He also said, “Don’t yet give up on the Republican Party.”

During his time in Congress, Walsh continually expressed opposition to the Affordable Care Act, once saying he “would have voted to repeal ObamaCare” once a month if he were the House Speaker. Walsh spent two years in Congress before being defeatedby Democratic challenger Tammy Duckworth in November.

Walsh isn’t the only tea party favorite to have a strong opposition to Obamacare. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) filed the first bill of the new legislative session “to repeal Obamacare in its entirety.”

The Battle Over The Obama Presidential Library: Chicago and Honolulu Both Want In

My preference would be Hawaii, but common sense says Obama’s Presidential Library will be in Chicago where he started  his political career.

Political Wire

Chicago Tribune: “Though Obama has not commented publicly about his plans for a library, every president since Herbert Hoover has established an archive in his home state to house papers from his White House tenure. That means the race could come down to Chicago — the city Obama most recently called home — and Honolulu — the city where he was born.”

“If Chicago is selected, the next hurdle would be to determine where the facility would be built. An Obama library likely would not open before the end of the decade, but already it is a hot commodity because of the prestige and economic vitality it would bring to the community.”

Rachel Maddow Describes Obama’s Accomplishments:

Supreme Court Inaction Boosts Right To Record Police Officers

Score another one for democracy…

The Huffington Post

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court  declined to review a decision by the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals blocking the enforcement of an Illinois eavesdropping law. The broadly written law — the most stringent in the country — makes it a felony to make an audio recording of someone without their permission, punishable by four to 15 years in prison.

Many states have similar “all-party consent” law, which mean one must get the permission of all parties to a conversation before recording it. But in all of those states — except for Massachusetts and Illinois — the laws include a provision that the parties being recorded must have a reasonable expectation of privacy for it to be a crime to record them.

The Illinois law once included such a provision, but it was removed by the state legislature in response to an Illinois Supreme Court ruling that threw out the conviction of a man accused of recording police from the back of a squad car. That ruling found that police on the job have no reasonable expectation of privacy.

The Illinois and Massachusetts laws have been used to arrest people who attempt to record on-duty police officers and other public officials. In one of the more notorious cases, Chicago resident Tiawanda Moore was arrested in 2010 when she attempted to use her cell phone to record officers in a Chicago police station.

Moore had come to the station to report an alleged sexual assault by a Chicago cop, and says she became frustrated when internal affairs officers allegedly bullied her and attempted to talk her out of filing the report. Moore was eventually acquitted.

The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, which is planning a police accountability project in Chicago that will involve recording police while they’re on duty. The organization wanted to be sure its employees and volunteers wouldn’t be charged with felonies.

The 7th Circuit Court found a specific First Amendment right to record police officers. It’s the second federal appeals court to strike down a conviction for recording police. In August 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit ruled that a man wrongly arrested for recording cops could sue the arresting officers for violating his First Amendment rights.

Continue reading here…