Showing posts with label Chicago. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chicago. Show all posts

Thursday, September 3, 2015

[VIDEO] Police may have video of killers of Illinois cop

Police hunting the killers of an Illinois cop may have caught a break when a resident in the area of the murder turned over security footage that could have captured the individuals responsible.
George Filenko, commander of the Lake County Major Task Force, said during a Thursday afternoon press conference that a “private resident” turned over “home video security footage” Wednesday night that allegedly showed “individuals” in the area where Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz was shot and killed Tuesday morning.
The suspects have been described only in vague terms so far as a black male and two white males. That description is based on what Gliniewicz radioed to his dispatcher before he was killed.
Filenko twice described the development as “significant,” and said the footage had been turned over to the Department of Homeland Security.
“Homeland Security has got advanced equipment,” Filenko said. “This video in particular is on a particular type of hard drive that they have the technology to retrieve it off of.”
Filenko said, in his experience, some home security systems are more advanced than those employed by businesses.
“Some of those are very sophisticated, they’re high-definition security systems,” he said.
While it was initially reported that Gliniewicz was found stripped of his gun, and possibly his pepper spray and police radio, Filenko said Gliniewicz’s gun had been “recovered” and didn’t believe there was now any equipment missing from the scene. While he wouldn’t describe the suspects as “armed,” he still cautioned the public to be wary if they believe they’ve spotted any of them.
“I would consider anybody who murdered a police officer as being extremely dangerous,” said Filenko, who added that there's a "good probability" the suspects are "still somewhere in the area."
Filenko told CNN on Wednesday night that authorities believed the suspects may have been familiar with the area where they encountered and ultimately murdered Gliniewicz.

Monday, August 24, 2015

The man building Barack Obama’s future

CHICAGO — President Barack Obama’s post-presidential center will return full circle to his community organizing days, making an outreach program to help the historically underprivileged South Side a focus. Obama is expected to pick a community engagement director to lead the effort before leaving the White House.
The search is already underway.

Story Continued Below.
Details of the Obama Foundation’s mission and organization were shared with POLITICO in an exclusive interview with Marty Nesbitt, Obama’s best friend and the chairman of the foundation. Nesbitt said the planning includes a concerted effort to learn from the experiences of past presidents, including avoiding the financial tangles stemming from Bill Clinton’s decision to separate his presidential library in Little Rock and his family foundation in New York.

As much as the Obama team admires the work of the Clinton Foundation, Nesbitt said, “his [Clinton’s] physical presence is separate from his library. We will be all in one place. Everything that the president does will be from one central entity.”

When Obama leaves office in January 2017 at age 55, he will begin what could become the longest post-presidency in U.S. history. He is unlikely to be drawn back into politics, as Clinton was through his wife, already a senator and prospective presidential candidate by the time he left office.

Nesbitt sketched out a vision of an actively changing agenda that’ll keep Obama moving around the country and the world.

“I don’t see this being one thing forever,” Nesbitt said.

Nesbitt said that in contrast to other former presidents, Obama’s Chicago-based library will be an all-in-one institution — a presidential library, museum, archive, foundation and center — and it will serve as the primary platform for both Barack and Michelle Obama, who has ruled out any future in politics.

Fundraising isn’t expected to begin in earnest until after Obama’s left office, limiting the leverage and access he can use to woo donors, potentially putting him far behind on fundraising for a project that’s yet to land on a final price tag.

The center will also incorporate an academic component, potentially through partnered professors either at the University of Chicago a few blocks away, or with Obama’s alma mater Columbia University, the University of Illinois at Chicago and another satellite location still very much under discussion in Hawaii.

“We want to be able to have that academic perspective, to add to the social perspective,” Nesbitt said.

Obama’s mentoring program for black youth, My Brother’s Keeper, and the scaled-down version of his grass-roots campaign network, Organizing for Action, are both expected to become part of the institution as well.

“I know, just from our conversations, that in whatever idle time he has, he’s been thinking through what comes next,” said Obama’s former adviser, David Axelrod, saying those conversations date back years.

Via: Politico

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

CHICAGO: ‘Social justice’ protesters launch hunger strike to save school with 10% student proficiency

CHICAGO – Parents and social justice activists in Chicago’s Washington Park neighborhood are starving themselves in an attempt to force Chicago Public Schools to adopt their “global leadership and green technology” plan for Dyett High School.

CPS voted to close Dyett High School in 2012 because of years of abysmal academic performance and declining enrollment, with plans to reopen the campus in 2016-17 as a new school,Progress Illinois reports.

According to school data on, Dyett High School boasted a graduation rate of 42 percent, with roughly 10 percent of students proficient in math or reading. WGN-TVreports 13 students received diplomas in its graduating class last year.
CPS is currently reviewing three proposals for the site: one from the “Coalition to Revitalize Dyett High School,” which includes Teachers for Social Justice, Kenwood Oakland Community Organization, Journey for Justice Alliance and others; another from the nonprofit Little Black Pearl for an arts school; and a third from Dyett’s former principal Chares Campbell for a sports career academy, according to Progress Illinois.
Crisis over the CPS budget, driven primarily by employee pension costs, forced officials to reschedule a meeting on the three proposals set for last Monday to mid-September – Progress Illinois reports officials set a hearing for Sept. 10, while WGN-TV reports the date is Sept. 15. Either way, that’s apparently way too long for the social justice warriors to wait.
They marched out to Dyett High School and staged a hunger strike Monday to get their point across that the “global leadership and green technology” plan they cooked up is the only plan they’re interested in.

The protestors told WGN-TV they were under the impression their plan would be considered in a final meeting this month and would receive a vote Aug. 26.
So for now, a dozen angry social justice protesters are sitting at the school and consuming only water and “light liquids” until CPS officials give in to their demands.
“This is what it has come to,” Erana Jackson Taylor, 1981 Dyett graduate, told the Hyde Park Herald. “We will be out here all day … as long as it takes to get the message across to CPS about their fragmented process.”
“We are tired of our voices not being heard,” said fellow hunger striker Jitu Brown, who is a KOKO member along with Taylor. “There has to be accountability to the public for the destabilizing of schools in our community and the sabotage of our children’s education.”
Another protestor told WGN-TV her daughter is in eighth grade this year and if the school doesn’t reopen on time she’ll be forced to travel 16 miles to the next closest high school.
“We feel like we are being pushed to this drastic measure,” Teachers for Social Justice member Prudence Browne told Progress Illinois. “And that’s why I’m out here, because I don’t know what else to do. I helped to write a proposal. I show up to board meetings. I advocate, and it’s not being heard.”
Even defeated Chicago mayoral candidate and Cook County Commissioner Jesus Chuy Garcia showed up to the hunger strike to show his support for what’s “fair and just,” according to the news site.
Garcia told protestors he’s “very moved” by their refusal to eat.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

2 killed, 25 wounded in weekend shootings across Chicago

A 27-year-old man was driving near the intersection of Carroll and Central Park avenues when he was shot multiple times in the chest, back and arm, according to Chicago Police. His vehicle then crashed into a pole.

He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The Cook County medical examiner’s office withheld his name Saturday night pending family notification.

The weekend’s first shooting also turned fatal after a West Garfield Park drive-by attack about 6:40 p.m. Friday.

Alex Malone was outside in the 4100 block of West Wilcox when someone fired shots from a passing minivan, authorities said.

He was taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 2:17 p.m. Saturday, authorities said. Malone was from the 1600 block of South Spaulding.

The weekend’s most recent shooting happened Sunday morning in the West Side Austin neighborhood.

Three men were shot in the 4800 block of West Van Buren at 5:10 a.m., police said. A 32-year-old man was shot in the right forearm and was treated by paramedics at the scene, but refused additional medical treatment.

A 24-year-old man was shot twice in the armpit and walked into Stroger Hospital, where he is listed in good condition. A third man, 27, suffered a graze wound to the left foot and walked into West Suburban Medical Center in Oak Park. He was listed in good condition.

Police said all three victims are documented gang members and aren’t cooperating with investigators.

At least 22 other people have been wounded in other shootings across the city since about 10:45 p.m. Friday.

Additionally, a Chicago Police officer shot and seriously wounded a man during a Chatham neighborhood traffic stop about 7:45 p.m. Saturday. Another man with a gun was arrested at the scene, police said.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Chicago Tribune Writer Comes Under Fire For Column Wishing for Hurricane Katrina

katrina.jpg (320×200)
In a column expressing a desire to see Chicago rise the way New Orleans did in 2005, a Chicago Tribune columnist wrote a piece that was released on Thursday with are-you-kidding-me title of “In Chicago, wishing for a Hurricane Katrina.”
Kristen McQueary wrote about how she found herself “praying for a storm,” that would prompt a “rebirth” in Chicago. The rest of the article alludes to McQueary’s hope that this figurative event would be able to bring light to issues “beneath the pretty surface,” that “threaten (Chicago’s) future.”
“Envy isn’t a rational response to the upcoming 10-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina,” McQueary wrote in her opening. “I can relate, metaphorically, to the residents of New Orleans climbing onto their rooftops and begging for help and waving their arms and lurching toward rescue helicopters.”
The column has since been retitled to Chicago, New Orleans and Rebirth. It also now includes this tweet from McQueary, emphasizing that the storm she wrote about was a “figurative” one, and that she acknowledged Katrina as a tragedy:
If you read the piece, it's about finances and government. I would never diminish the tragedy of thousands of lives lost.
McQueary soon wrote a new article apologizing to New Orleans and those she offended, but even so, the original title was out there long enough for people to say how it made them feel:
Via: Chicago Tribune

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Chicago Schools Demand $500 Million Bailout From State

Chicago skyline [Getty Images].
Chicago’s public schools have released a budget that relies on nearly $500 million in funding the state has not yet voted to provide. The official budget essentially demands that the state hand over money or risk throwing the school district into chaos. Even Chicago’s teacher union is critical of the move.
With a total budget of $5.7 billion, the $480 million Chicago Public Schools (CPS) expects the state to provide is more than 8 percent of their budget. The money is needed to fulfill pension obligations the city has to current and retired teachers. If the money isn’t forthcoming by the end of the year, the district says it will have to lay off thousands of current teachers to meet those pension obligations. (RELATED: Chicago Fires 1400 Teachers To Fund Extravagant Pensions)
The district is already preparing itself for the blow, as Monday’s budget also came with an announcement of over 400 layoffs. Chicago’s schools have repeatedly had to shed jobs the last few years as they descend further and further into a pension-induced budget crisis.
While CPS is looking to the state government to bail it out, it may not want to hold its breath. Illinois’ Republican governor, Bruce Rauner, says that Chicago’s pension crisis is the fault of the Chicago Teachers Union (CTU) and the “dictatorial” power they wield. Rauner said CTU needs to bear the burden of a fiscal crunch they created and that it isn’t the government’s job to swoop in to the rescue.
"The power of the Chicago Teachers Union is overwhelming,” Rauner said in a press conference Monday. “Chicago has given and given and given. It’s created the financial crisis that the Chicago schools face now.”
Rauner wants to alter Illinois state law to give cities most power to determine what is collectively bargained and what isn’t, with an eye towards rolling back the generous benefits Chicago teachers have that have helped create the crisis. Rauner says that providing a financial bailout to CPS would be contingent on making such long-term reforms, but the Democrat-controlled legislature has refused to budge on the issue.
CPS leaders, meanwhile, have proposed reducing their budget gap by making teachers finance their own pension contributions. Currently, the government puts an equivalent of 7 percent of teachers’ salary into pension plans; CPS head Forrest Claypool has proposed taking some or all of this 7 percent out of teachers’ current salaries instead.
Teachers, led by CTU president Karen Lewis, have blasted this proposal as a massive pay cut and on Monday warned they would likely strike if the city tried to implement it.
“If they insist on a 7 percent all at once like a pay cut — a 7 percent pay cut — I don’t have to call for a strike,” Lewis said in a press conference Monday. “I think our members will do that themselves.”
Lewis was also critical of CPS for its budgetary jujitsu, saying it was relying on funds that “aren’t really there.”

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Are liberal city centers dying off politically?

It’s a given in American politics that urban centers are essentially Democrat strongholds. There is no point in Republicans or conservatives competing there because you’re simply not going to gain any votes or find any agreement on key policy points. This can be attributed to both economic and demographic factors. The low income urban communities are predominantly composed of minority voters and they stand with the Democrats in numbers which are too daunting to contemplate. The majority of the wealthy tend toward the limosene liberal crowd who can afford destructive taxes and have the leisure time available to dictate proper life choices to others no matter how they live their own lives. (Be sure to take a limo or a private jet to your next climate change conference.)
But is this changing? Joel Kotkin at Real Clear Politics looks at the numbers and finds that while urban population centers are still large, they are not growing in relation to the exurbs and rural areas, and they’re also not turning out to vote in the same numbers as they did in the heyday of the Democrats.
This urban economy has created many of the most unequal places  in the country. At the top are the rich and super-affluent who have rediscovered the blessings of urbanity, followed by a large cadre of young and middle-aged professionals, many of them childless. Often ignored, except after sensationalized police shootings, is a vast impoverished class that has become ever-more concentrated in particular neighborhoods. During the first decade of the current millennium, neighborhoods with entrenchedurban poverty actually grew, increasing in numbers from 1,100 to 3,100. In population, they grew from 2 million to 4 million.Some 80 percent of all population growth in American cities, since 2000, notes demographerWendell Cox, came from these poorer people, many of them recent immigrants.
Such social imbalances are not, as is the favored term among the trendy, sustainable. We appear to be creating the conditions for a new wave of violent crime on a scale not seen since the early 1990s. Along with poverty,public disorderlinessgang activityhomelessness and homicides are on the rise in many American core cities, including Baltimore,  Milwaukee, Los Angeles and New York. Racial tensions, particularly with the police, have worsened. So even as left-leaning politicians try to rein in police, recent IRS data in Chicago reveals, the middle class appears to once again be leaving for suburban and other locales.
When Democrats begin looking at these types of numbers in a serious fashion they must be asking a question which conservatives have been pondering for some time. Who has been running things in the cities for decades now? The Democrats. And how’s that working out for you? Crime rates in the cities have been – and remain – epic. You can try to blame vast social conflict on the police if you like, but the fact is that the police go where the crime is. The social infrastructure in so many large cities has simply collapsed and it’s all taken place on the watch of the liberal Democrats who rule the roost. They whip up their voters into a frenzy every election cycle, warning of the dangers of the Republicans who hold no power over their lives, but it is under their leadership that you saw the current mess develop.
On the upper end of the scale, particularly in places like New York City, there is a jarring contrast which is hard for the Democrat base to ignore. How do you talk about income inequality and the evils of the fat cats when it’s those same fat cats financing the election of the same Democrats over and over again? Isn’t there a bit of a disconnect there?
Looking at the numbers in that article I have have to wonder if Barack Obama – by virtue of being able to generate racial empathy – might be the last Democrat who will turn out large numbers of voters in the cities. What does Hillary have to offer them which is any different than the policies which have seen New York’s murder rate skyrocket once again and Baltimore going up in flames?

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Cities, States Keep Piling on the Internet Taxes

The City of Chicago has the dubious distinction of becoming the first jurisdiction to apply a sweeping tax to “cloud-based” services, ranging from streaming video to tax preparation.
Beginning Sept. 1, residents of the Windy City will be dunned a 9 percent levy on entertainment, online applications, and data processing services that depend on the computing, transmission, and storage  capabilities of the Internet and World Wide Web.

It’s the result of a Chicago Department of Finance decision to extend the city’s Amusement Tax and Personal Property Lease Transaction Tax to Internet downloads. The application of the Amusement Tax means that Chicagoans will be paying 9 percent more for streamed video and music services, such as those from Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and Spotify, whether the purchase is in the form of a monthly subscription or a one-off order. In doing so, Chicago joins the Alabama Department of Revenue, which wants to apply the state’s 1980s-era tax on videocassette rentals to streaming video.

But Chicago went one better with its new reading of the Lease Transaction Tax. This will now cover any paid cloud-based application that provides information or processing services, such as TurboTax’s web-based tax preparation application, as well as database search services such as Lexis-Nexis,, and, just to name three.

The “cloud tax” represents yet another government money grab from Internet users. Sales taxes already are applied to nontangible digital purchases such as software, movies, music, and games that consumers then permanently store on their own media. Then there are the numerous taxes, surcharges, and fees states and cities heap on the broadband wireless phone and cable services that serve as Internet connections. On wireless service alone, these charges averaged 17 percent, according to a 2014 report from the Tax Foundation.

And it’s not stopping. Prince George’s County, Maryland, recently raised taxes on landline and wireless phone services as part of an overall local tax increase. Meanwhile, Congress is debating once again whether to create a legal framework that would let states collect sales tax from online retailers outside their borders.

It’s no surprise to see jurisdictions targeting cloud-based services. Enough consumers have turned to streaming for entertainment that it’s been dubbed the latest “game-changer” in tech circles. Even the Federal Communications Commission is trying to figure out a way to regulate it. In the past three years, the percentage of viewers watching live television has fallen from 89 percent to 80 percent, while Internet streaming has increased from 4 to 11 percent, according to research by Nielsen Co. and broadcasters. The same research found that over that same three-year period, per-week streaming grew from four hours and 13 minutes to four hours and 17 minutes in a growing market. No doubt governments covet these dollars.

Sadly, it seems that streaming services see taxation as inevitable, “Jurisdictions around the world, including the U.S., are trying to figure out ways to tax online services,” a Netflix representative told The Verge, an online site covering technology, entertainment and science.
Chicago consumers should not despair yet. The law firm Reed Smith LLP, quoted by CBS Chicago, believes the tax may violate the Federal Telecommunications Act and the Internet Tax Freedom Act, which, as one of the few consumer-friendly tax laws pertaining to the web, prohibits taxation of Internet access.

Legal questions aside, taxing the Internet is just bad policy. Tax a commodity and people will use less of it. Adding a tax to web-based applications means decreasing utility for users and increasing barriers to success for entrepreneurs who seek to build innovative cloud-based services. Lawmakers in states and communities all say they want to foster digital inclusion and stimulate a robust information-based economy. Rampant taxation is no way to do it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Did ICE Violate Its Own Deportation Guidelines in Arresting Chicago-Area Unionized Meatpackers?

On Friday, June 26, workers from the Ruprecht Company’s meatpacking factory in Mundelein, Illinois, walked off the job in a spontaneous strike against a pending immigration audit. Several weeks later, eight Ruprecht workers, three of whom are members of UNITE HERE Local 1, have been apprehended by immigration authorities.
In a statement, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said the eight workers were picked up after the department discovered the workers had records that fall within its priorities for arrest during a routine immigration audit. ICE claims the workers’ past charges include drunk driving, theft and felony fraud. But organizers argue that the audit and subsequent arrests, which took place while a group of Ruprecht workers were in union negotiations and followed the filing of two unfair labor practices (ULPs) could violate ICE’s own rules against interfering in workplaces that are in the midst of labor disputes.  
(Garrett Wilber/ Flickr)  According to a December 2011 memorandum between ICE and the Department of Labor, “ICE agrees to refrain from engaging in civil work site enforcement activities at a worksite that is the subject of an existing DOL investigation of a labor dispute.” The memorandum opens the door to several exceptions to this pledge, including national security issues, but primarily creates a space for ICE and the DOL to consider individual cases. 
Dan Abraham, organizing director for UNITE HERE Local 1, says the department should heed its own edict. “ICE should stay out of the workforce when there is collective bargaining, and immigration audits should not be conducted in workplaces where there are unfair labor practice charges pending,” he says.
ICE contends that it “plays no role in any ongoing labor disputes when conducting investigations involving an employee’s eligibility to work lawfully in the United States.” But an immigration audit can have consequences that weaken a unionized workplace. Tim Bell, an organizer with the Chicago Workers’ Collaborative who is not involved with the Ruprecht case but is a longtime organizer with immigrant workers, says he has seen several cases where an audit has caused unionized employees to either quit their jobs for fear of deportation or be apprehended as a result of the audit.
The result, says Bell, is “the union loses its members and the company figures out ways to replace those workers,” often with temp workers.
Whether the eight workers are eligible for relief under some of the Obama administration’s prosecutorial discretion or deferred action programs is unclear. In November 2014, immigration authorities divided ICE priorities for deportation into three categories, with individuals who had felonies at level one, the “highest priority” for apprehension and removal for the department. Some immigrants who are in deportation proceedings may qualify for asylum under the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) plan, but the order has been stalled amidst a legal battle around its constitutionality.
By the estimation of the detained immigrants, however, the enforcement priorities don’t appear to make a significant difference, says Hena Mansori, supervising attorney of the National Immigrant Justice Center’s Adult Detention Project.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Chicago weekend shooting tracker for July 24-26

Police investigate after a double shooting and crash late Saturday in South Shore. | Network Video Productions

Chicago gun violence coverage

Friday, 7:45 p.m. — Woman shot in Auburn Gresham
Friday, 11:10 p.m. — Boy, 14, shot in Humboldt Park
Saturday, 12:50 a.m. — Police: Man shot to death in Austin
Saturday, 2:10 a.m. — Man shot in Little Village
Saturday, 4:05 a.m. — Woman grazed in West Town shooting
Saturday, 5:15 a.m. — Man injured in Woodlawn shooting
Saturday, 5 p.m. — Woman shot in Auburn Gresham
Saturday, 7:30 p.m. — Two shot in East Garfield Park
Saturday, 11:45 p.m. — Man shot in vacant lot in West Englewood
Sunday, 12:15 a.m. — Boy, 16, shot on South Side
Sunday, 12:35 a.m. — Man shot in Washington Park
Sunday, 2 a.m. — Two women shot in South Shore
Sunday, 5 a.m. — Man shot in Back of the Yards
Sunday, 5:30 a.m. — Man in Little Village
Sunday, 2:20 p.m. — Man shot in Canaryville
Sunday, 3:40 p.m. — Man shot in Ashburn
Sunday, 5:45 p.m. — Man injured in Avalon Park shooting
Sunday, 11:58 p.m. — Man shot in neck in Englewood
Monday, 12:20 a.m. — Man shot in back in South Chicago
Monday, 2:35 a.m. — 19-year-old shot in Morgan Park

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