Here are some of the stories that caught our attention during the work day.

February 2013 Archives

The must-read news stories for February 28, 2013: Joliet's alleged necrophilia murders, Groupon ouster, and bidding the pope adieu


Can you necro-feel-ia the love?
On the surface, it appears to be your typical girl-who-has-necrophilia-fetish-meets-boy-who-allegedly-killed-two-people-so-they-could-have-a-threesome-on-top-of-the-bodies fairy tale. But the whole thing comes unraveled when you throw in, well, the "killed-two-people" part. Police aren't saying much at all about the heinous crime because they don't want to cause any ruckus that will interfere with their investigation. Those mugshots, however, will linger for a while. See you in my nightmares. [Sun-Times]

Shakeup at Groupon
Andrew Mason is out as Groupon CEO, the company announced earlier this afternoon. In a candid, humorous exit memo to employees, Mason compared his career there to Battletoads, an old video game, and ask for fat camp recommendations. [Sun-Times]

Pope-us interruptus
After an exit worthy of Michael Jackson -- long white coat, helicopter ride, motorcade and balcony speech to an adoring crowd -- the pope is now not the pope, and we're all about to become sick of hearing the word "conclave." [Sun-Times]

All the president's hit men
Legendary journalist Bob Woodward claimed he received a threat in an email from the White House (specifically White House Economic Council Director Gene Sperling) though it seems like it's little more than a pissing match over opinions on the sequester debate. [Gawker, Politico]

Sizzlin' Cicero
I am shocked -- shocked, I tell you -- to hear there's already an alleged investigation into voter fraud and intimidation connected to Tuesday's election in Cicero. [Sun-Times]

Victory for women
Common sense has prevailed in the House of Representatives, which finally got its act together and passed the Senate's version of the Violence Against Women Act instead of the originally proposed neutered House version that the GOP congressmen had cobbled together. [NY Times]

CTA: Complicating Transit Authority
The first 10-plus day shutdown of the Wells Street Bridge kicks off at 10 p.m. tomorrow, during which time most of your commute on the Brown Line will involve sheer luck and the mercy of your preferred deity. [Sun-Times]

Mississippi hurting
A sad, tragic story unfolding in Clarksdale, Miss., where the death of Marco McMillian, a gay African-American candidate for mayor, has been ruled a homicide. Police haven't revealed many details but do say a "person of interest" is in custody for questioning. [WaPo]

Daley breaks silence
Former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley penned an op-ed for Britain's Financial Times -- as opposed to, say, any media outlet in the United States, let alone the City of Chicago -- voicing his support for stricter gun control. [Chicagoist]

FLOTUS momentous
First lady Michelle Obama was in town today to promote physical fitness for schoolchildren, well-timed with a new study that claims one in four CPS students is obese. [Sun-Times, Sun-Times]

Everyone is racist
Business Week made some very questionable artistic choices for its newest cover. [Slate]

As The Worm turns
The fact that Dennis Rodman is the former Bulls player who went to North Korea and has seemingly struck up a new bromance with Kim Jong-un actually makes sense when you think about it. Or it doesn't at all. The whole thing gives me a headache. [ABC News]

The bright one
Thomas Frisbie takes a deeper look at the message from businesses to the state legislature in regard to pension reform. [Sun-Times]

Think you're a pop-a-shot legend? We've got one heck of an event for you so get your stroke going. [RSVP]

Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays

And finally
Mars may get slammed by a comet in 2014 -- because it's Obama's fault. [Slate, Thanks, Obama]

The must-read news stories for February 27, 2013: School daze, Groupon's roller coaster, and a missing sausage costume


School Daze
Six charter schools have been put on a warning list by CPS due to poor performance. According to the Sun-Times' education reporter Lauren Fitzpatrick, Ace Tech, Aspira-Early College, Catalyst-Howland, CICS-Basic, Galapagos and North Lawndale-Collins charter schools all failed to meet academic performance requirements in at least two of the last three school years. Now that these schools have had their names written on the board, they will earn checkmarks next to their name if they don't shape up. And after two checks, you're outta here, mister. [Sun-Times]

Groupon's Roller Coaster
Despite seeing a jump in revenue, Groupon stocks tumbled because the forecast for their first quarter of 2013 fell short of expectations which is just another reason why I keep all of my money in a coffee can under the bed. [Sun-Times]

It's a new CTA Ad-Ventra! Get it?
When the CTA rolls out its new Ventra fare-payment system - allowing riders to use credit cards to pay for rides on transit - the cost of a single ride disposable ticket will actually cost $3: the normal $2.25 fare plus $0.75 fees (or, as I call it, the your-train-car-smells-like-pee-misery-tax). [Red Eye]

Catholic cutbacks
The Chicago archdiocese is eliminating 75 jobs and closing or consolidating five schools which comes just after the announcement that the Vatican will be dealing with a vacancy in its CEO position. [Sun-Times]

Messing with History
As the Supreme Court revisits the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and does so split right down ideological boundaries, it's a good time to revisit the history of the act and why it still matters today, particularly in areas of the country (coughTHESOUTHcough) where voter suppression still (allegedly) occurs. [LA Times, PBS NewsHour]

One step closer
Late last night, a state house committee narrowly approved the bill that would allow gay marriage in the state of Illinois. The bill now moves on to a full house vote, likely sometime next week, though an exact date hasn't been announced. [Sun-Times]

Hold the sausage
The Milwaukee Brewer's Racing Italian Sausage - or its costume, anyway - is missing after a night of bar-hopping. [JSO]

Weed snares Webb
Bears left tackle J'Marcus Webb was arrested over the weekend on charges of marijuana possession. [Sun-Times]

Rush-ing to Allstate
The Chicago Rush Arena Football team is back and will play their games to a half-empty Allstate Arena. [Crain's]

The Bright One
Judy Masterson examines how that controversial brochure made by the North Chicago Police Dept - which uses a Dave Chappelle character - mirrors Chappelle's own dilemmas. [Sun-Times]

Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays from snow; Plow tracker

And finally
Better late than never: the U.N. has finally removed Osama bin Laden from their list of terrorist leaders they monitor for sanctions. But they're still faster than Mississippi. [AFT, ABC News]

The must-read news stories for February 26, 2013: Snow!, JJJ's replacement, and the post-Oprah landscape


AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

The world is a snow globe
Because Mother Nature has a sick sense of humor, she chose to wallop the city with what will likely turn out to be its biggest winter storm (thus far) this season just in time to completely snarl rush hour. Roads are already messy now and it's only going to keep falling as we move into night. As a lovely parting gift, a tad of additional snow could pile another inch on top tomorrow. And so begins another chance to see which of your neighbors you love and which you hate based solely on who shovels their sidewalk and who doesn't. [Sun-Times, National Weather Service, Photo gallery]

Commute alerts
Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays from snow; Plow tracker

Race To Replace JJJ
The biggest of the smattering of local races is the election to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. in the 2nd Congressional District. It's been an absurd campaign -- so many candidates, the Bloomberg SuperPAC -- which makes sense when you pair it with the surreal JJJ case. [Sun-Times]

"And up through the ground came a bubbling crude"
The trial against BP for liability in the Gulf of Mexico oil spill has finally started. But don't worry, oil lovers! The company is still hugely profitable, meaning it's all totally cool and that wildlife and those wetlands are so easy to replace anyway, right? [BBC, NY Times]

Is that a gun in your bill or are you just excited to vote?
The "marathon series of votes" that will decide what kind of limits the state will place on concealed carry begins today in Springfield, and if gun supporters have their way, we'll be able to carry guns wherever we want because that's what's in the Second Amendment, which was written 221 years ago and hasn't been changed since, and now we can protect ourselves properly from the King of England and his soldiers. [Sun-Times]

Hagel is a go
Because there are more important things to focus on and the Senate finally realized that, the filibuster blocking Chuck Hagel's nomination for defense secretary has finally been broken and Hagel has been confirmed. [NY Times]

Boehner's potty mouth
And that more important business is sequestration which has apparently annoyed House Speaker John Boehner as much as it has everyone else. [Sun-Times]

Today is the 20th anniversary of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing and the first anniversary of Treyvon Martin's shooting death. [Gothamist, Sun-Times]

A state appellate court has ruled a realty company cannot learn the identity of a tenant who's criticizing the company on Yelp under an anonymous user name. Said the Internet, "LOL, ur 2 dum to figure out mah name. I can haz privacy? LULZ <3<3<3 #haterz" [DNA Info]

NPR looks at the talk-show landscape of Chicago in the post-Oprah void. [NPR]

A video of Derrick Rose dunking during practice over the weekend has become the Chicago sports scene's own Zapruder film. Should fans find hope in it or should they be skeptical? Whatever. [Sun-Times, NBC 5]

As the Worm turns...
"Only Rodman can go to North Korea" is the new "Only Nixon can go to China." [LA Times]

Gary, Indiana's Finest
Rapper and Gary, Ind. native Freddie Gibbs reminisces about the time another of the city's native musical sons -- Michael Jackson -- returned. [Pitchfork]

The Bright One
Mary Mitchell weighs in on the North Chicago Police Dept. brochure controversy as others come out against the brochure as well. [Mitchell, Sun-Times]

And finally
Because everyone is offended by everything, there's a family group that thinks one GEICO ad featuring its pig mascot is promoting bestiality. [Gawker]

The must-read stories for February 25, 2013: CTA crime, UNO shenanigans, and Ikea's meatballs


Big Brother is watching but not very closely
Don't let the slew of new high-def cameras at CTA train stations give you a false sense of security. A Sun-Times study of crime stats show that despite the new cameras, crime is actually up at CTA stations across the city. Since 2010, the number of cameras has doubled and while arrests have increased by 3.4 percent, crime has still increased by 32 percent during that same time frame. There are several other nuggets of info - both good and bad - to dig into from the study; one example is that the Red and Green Lines - which will be the two affected by the Red Lin closures this summer - have the most crimes. Meanwhile, be sure to check out our interactive map to see stats for every CTA train stop in the city. [Sun-Times, Interactive Map]

More charter school shenanigans
Watchdog Dan Mihalopoulos continues his excellent dig into shenanigans at UNO (United Neighborhood Organization) and its backers' big donations to State House Speaker -- and political powerhouse -- Michael Madigan. Meanwhile, Chicagoist uncovers one Board of Education employee who may be in the midst of a serious conflict of interest. [Sun-Times, Chicagoist]

He coulda been a contender
The New York Times has a fascinating piece about the concurrent story lines and crossing paths of Jesse Jackson Jr. and Barack Obama. [NY Times]

Another day, another release
Yet again, a person convicted of murder in Chicago has had that conviction overturned. Today, Nicole Harris was set free, the conviction for the alleged 2005 murder of her 4-year-old son overturned when an appeals court ruled Harris didn't get the chance to properly testify that the death was the result of an accident. Harris had confessed but later recanted the confession. [Sun-Times]

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan suggested over the weekend that gang leaders could serve as protectors for the Nation. Mayor Emanuel disagrees. Commenters across the Internet respond with logical, reasoned and not-at-all-racist reactions. [DNA Info]

Not so funny
The North Chicago Police Academy was subject to hijinks that were above even the Steve Guttenberg kind of Police Academy, when it handed out a brochure on trial procedure that was littered with racially insensitive images in a poor attempt at humor. [Sun-Times]

Mary Ann McMorrow, the first female on the Illinois Supreme Court and its first female chief justice, has died. [Tribune]

Not exactly Ladies Night
From off-color jokes to bipartisan furor to crude tweets, it was a rough Oscar night for women. [Gawker, Vulture, Breitbart, WBEZ, The Onion]

Sequester shuffle
Apparently, wait times for flights out of Midway and O'Hare could actually get worse than they already are thanks to the upcoming sequester cuts. [Sun-Times]

Appointment listening
If you haven't yet, please listen to both parts of This American Life's shows on the South Side's Harper High School. Compelling, sad, required listening. [Part 1, Part 2]

Down to the River to pray
A look at whether or not the city can save the Chicago River and vice-versa. [OnEarth]

Say neigh to Ikea meatballs
Swedish meatballs have been taken off the menu at Ikea stores around Europe after traces of horse meat were found in the popular food. Even worse, the whereabouts of the Ikea monkey remain unknown. Beware, Toronto. [USA Today]

The Blackhakws continue to have the last laugh as their record-setting non-losing streak has reached 18 games after yesterday's win over Columbus. Hop on the bandwagon before it's too full and ticket prices go up even higher (if that's at all possible). [Sun-Times]

Which group do the Cubs belong to?
A look at how the city's sports teams and athletes break down based on their charities. [Crain's]

The Bright One
We're thrilled to debut the daily video news update from Carol Marin, The Marin Report. [Sun-Times]

Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays from snow

And finally
Finally, the great Catholic Church-Drag Queen War of NYC comes to a close. [NY Post]

The must-read news stories for February 22, 2013: Guns everywhere, The Windy Miserable City, and Nike's local prep coup

Todd Vandermyde, the NRA's chief lobbyist in Illinois, testifies at a hearing on gun safety today in Chicago. Photo by John White // Sun-Times

Guns, guns, everywhere
It was a big day for the concealed-carry debate. First up, a federal appeals court denied state Attorney General Lisa Madigan's request to reinstate Illinois' concealed carry ban, a blow to gun-safety advocates who were dismayed by the ban's repeal in December. Meanwhile, at an Illinois House Judiciary Committee hearing, the NRA got hot about having to wait on the legislature to sort out public safety concerns. Others, including Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, the Rev. Michael Pfleger, and reps from the RTA testified against allowing concealed carry on public transit, among other issues, because allowing concealed carry on trains and buses is sort of the worst idea ever, given how people seem to lose their damn mind when it comes to personal space on crowded rush hour transit. [Sun-Times]

Hot Seat McCarthy
Meanwhile, CPD Supt. Garry McCarthy is on the hot seat according to the City Council's black caucus. While no calls are being made for his ouster right now, Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) intimated that if the city's gun violence continues unabated, action will be taken because they want to keep their City Council seats. Oh, and also curb violence. Meanwhile, retired Gen. Russel Honore, the man who restored order to post-Katrina New Orleans, suggested calling in the National Guard to curb the violence -- but there are holes in his theory [Sun-Times, Sun-Times]

Public Enemy Number Done?
Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman, Chicago's public enemy No. 1, may have been killed in a gun battle near the U.S.-Mexico border. [ABC 7]

Hitting where it hurts
Ignoring the sequestration issue because it's confusing and you loathe everyone in government? Ray LaHood got our attention by telling us that budget cuts could result in even more flight delays in Chicago, to which everyone snorts, "Really? It can get even worse than it already is?" [Sun-Times]

War on drugs
Following up on his stellar cover story last week, Mick Dumke looks at new drug arrest numbers and potential disparities therein. [Chicago Reader]

We're a miserable bunch of...
At least according to those monocle-wearing snoots at Forbes, who ranked Chicago as the fourth most miserable city in America. If they think things are bad here now, wait til the Cubs season starts. [Sun-Times]

A whole new meaning to "Pulling out of the station"
Though maybe Forbes is on to something when we live in a city where people just up and masturbate on a Red Line train. [Fox 32]

Pistorius bails out
Oscar Pistorius is out of jail on bail until June as the bizarre story evolves into something even weirder. [Deadspin]

Chicago lost two music legends at the end of this week: blues man Magic Slim and the Staples Singers' Cleotha Staples. [Sun-Times, Sun-Times]

Gotta be the shoes
How did Nike come to be on the feet of Jabari Parker and other prep stars? [Grid Chicago]

Move over, Abe Froman
The Schnitzel King is opening a storefront by U.S. Cellular Field, adding to the fantabulous range of eatery options at the stadium. It's just a shame fans never go to Sox games. [DNA Info]

Lance's woes grow
Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong has an even steeper legal hill to climb as the Justice Department has popped a wheelie and hopped on board the lawsuit against him. [NY Times]

Fantastic Football
An exhibition of soccer superstars, including Argentine legend Lionel Messi, is likely coming to Soldier Field on July 6. Take that, Jay-Z and JT. [Tribune, Crain's]

D-Rose Tumult
More tumult surrounding the comeback of Derrick Rose after his agent/brother had an outburst about the Bulls' lack of activity at the trading deadline. I await how adidas will slip this into the ad campaign. [Sun-Times]

The Bright One
Becky Schlickerman, who's been on the Cicero beat with Jon Seidel, reports on an ex-city employee who says she was fired for being a whistleblower on corruption. [Sun-Times]

Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays from snow; Plow tracker

And finally
It's not just teens who are causing trouble with constant "sexting." The FBI is getting in on the act, too. [CNN]

The must-read stories for February 21, 2013: Peterson sentenced, snow "storm," and raining fire on the sun


Peterson freaks out, sentenced to 38 years
Drew Peterson went out in a blaze of verbal glory today at his sentencing hearing, giving us one more surreal circus act before he hopefully forever fades into obscurity. After the presiding judge rejected his call for a new trial and both sides presented their case for sentencing, Peterson stepped to the mic and screamed, "I DID NOT KILL KATHLEEN!!!" at the top of his lungs. He then proceeded to rant about how the media made him a monster, how he is going to get a shoulder-to-shoulder tattoo, and, well, you can read excerpts from his rants by clicking here. In the end, it mattered naught and Peterson was sentenced to 38 years for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. [Sun-Times]

Snow big deal
A "major" winter storm is heading toward the city and is forecast to drop between 3 and 5 inches of snow, proving our acceptance of global warming with this reclassification of what constitutes a "major" winter storm in Chicago. [Sun-Times]

A less racist America that's still racist
There's good news and bad news in terms of our country's prejudices and, yes, plenty of people hate the president because he's black. [Chicago Reader]

CTA potpourri
Dedicated lanes for rapid transit are coming to the Loop. Meanwhile, the Green Line should see 10 times its normal ridership when the Red Line closes on the South Side this summer for its makeover. [Sun-Times, Sun-Times]

Smells fishy
As if the world doesn't have enough to worry about with pink slime and horse meat, it appears as if now not even fish are what they seem. [NY Times]

They see me trollin', they hatin'
One Illinois lawmaker wanted to require web administrators to pull down anonymous comments filled with hate-speech on Internet comment boards but has backed off after many constituents raised concerns over the free speech element of being able to post "LOL U R DUM, COMMIE" on the Internet. [The Daily Caller, Sun-Times]

Too many jokes
The Playboy Mansion is reportedly a victim of "swatting." I'm just gonna leave it at that. [Tribune]

Sagging poll for Rahm
A Crain's/Ipsos poll says Rahm's approval rating is down, but there are reasons to be skeptical of the numbers. [Sun-Times]

Head 4
Here's a fun game that lets you match the neighborhood with its place on the map and then argue with your friends about how that's totally not right because you grew up there and you know, dammit, that that's not the neighborhood you grew up in. [The 312]

Science is scary
This video shows it raining fire on the sun. Welcome to my nightmares. [Gizmodo]

Canucks cheap shot
Marian Hossa doesn't buy Jannik Hansen's explanation of his punch to the back of Hossa's head on Tuesday night, and I'm with him because nobody likes the Canucks. [Sun-Times]

Back-up quarterback and All-Pro holy roller Tim Tebow won't be speaking at a controversial Dallas church after all. [Deadspin]

In yesterday's edition, I said the stadium being named after a private prison company was at Florida A&M. The stadium is actually for Florida Atlantic. My apologies to the Rattlers. [NY Times]

No sled for you
The sledders who went up a hill but weren't allowed to sled down because it turns out the hill's a mountain. [ABC 7]

Trump (is a) hack
And here I thought Trumps Twitter rants were so dumb he must have been hacked ages ago. [Mashable]

The Bright One
Dave Hoesktra and Jon Sall posted up with some grandmother hoopsters. [Sun-Times]

Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays from snow; Plow tracker

And finally
Women be talking! So says science. [Science World Report]

The must-read news stories of the day for February 20, 2013: Jesse's elk heads, Te'o the Bear, and more

Jesse Jackson, Jr. arrives in court // Photo by Cliff Owen/AP

The Jacksons' day in court
Both Jesse Jackson, Jr. and his wife, Sandi, pleaded guilty to charges involving fraud and misuse of campaign funds in federal court yesterday in Washington, D.C. During court proceedings, more details came to light, including the fact Jackson spent close to $14,500 on dry cleaning and $8,000 on a pair of stuffed elk heads (because if there's something every congressman needs, it's a stuffed elk head). Also, there's the $300 spent at a Build-A-Bear workshop which must have been spent on the "poops gold" model of teddy bear. It will all come to a head later this summer; Jesse Jr. will be sentenced on June 28 and Sandi on July 1. Until then, try to imagine how much each of Jesse Jr.'s fur capes cost to dry-clean. [Sun-Times]

The Shotgun Express
Since there's not a gun problem at all in a city where innocent teens and children are routinely injured or killed by gunfire, the NRA wants to allow riders to carry guns on the CTA and Metra. Because if there's one place where everyone is prone to calm, rational thinking that won't escalate into more shootings, it's on a crowded rush-hour train. Thanks, NRA, for the worst idea of the week. [Sun-Times]

Tempered tamper
An admitted white supremacist was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison after he was found guilty of soliciting an attack on a jury foreman who had ruled on another white supremacist's case. [Tribune]

Blue bins and fundraisers
Mayor Emanuel was busy announcing a handful of initiatives. First is the expansion of the city's recycling program to everyone in the city in which trash and recycling totally won't end up in the same pile at all. And, second, Rahm has challenged the same business community that funded the doomed 2016 Olympic bid to raise $50 million for at-risk youth about which I actually have nothing negative to say. Good move, Rahm. [Sun-Times, Sun-Times]

Old school
Of course, Rahm is also up to some King Daley I tricks: burying unwanted legislation that may actually accomplish stuff in a rules committee where it dies like so many other pushes for reform. [Chicago Reader]

D-Pete redux
The hearing for a new trial for Drew Peterson entered it's second day while Stacy Peterson entered her 1,942nd day of being a missing person. [Sun-Times]

The building case against Pistorious
More details are emerging surrounding Oscar Pistorious and the alleged murder of his girlfriend last week, including more information on allegations of domestic abuse. [BBC]

Sick kids hospitalized
Somehow, 16 9- and 10-year-old schoolchildren from Wendell Green Elementary on the South Side consumed nicotine lozenges, requiring treatment at a local hospital. [Sun-Times]

Rocky Mountain High
So for my next birthday, I will eat dinner at Medieval Times and then fly to Colorado, not necessarily in that order. [Denver Post]

Billboard wiped clean
The bawdy downtown billboard that used a reference to oral sex and former porn star Bree Olson to promote a hook-up website for adults has been taken down because tourists have to suffer through enough of River North as it is. [Sun-Times]

Remember ESPN's "The Schwab"? Here's the great tale from the guy who actually stumped him. [ChicagoSide]

From Catfish to Midway Monster?
Not tired of Manti Te'o yet, Bears fans? Good. Because he could be coming to Soldier Field. [Sun-Times]

The Bright One
In case Canucks forward Jannik Hansen's punch to the back of Marian Hossa's head last night didn't make you hate Vancouver enough, check out some of the team's post-game comments from last night and then check out Mark Lazerus' great analysis of the NHL's head-shot problem. [ESPN, Sun-Times]

Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays from snow

And finally
After we narrowly avoided Pink Taco Field in Phoenix several years ago, Florida A&M University's new football stadium has sold naming rights to a private prison company, because why not? At this rate, I look forward to attending a future NFL game at Vagisil Dome in a few years. [BizJournal, NY Times]

The must-read stories for Feb. 19, 2013: Peterson Circus, Wasteful Meters, and WWE's Tea Party Patriot

Joel Brodsky, Photo by Joseph P. Meier/Sun-Times Media

Drew Peterson circus adds a new ring
The circus that is the ongoing Drew Peterson saga has added a new level of absurdity as Peterson's new lead attorney is going head-to-head with his former lead attorney, Joel Brodsky, over claims that Brodsky botched Peterson's case in the Kathleen Savio murder trial, resulting in that guilty verdict. The showdown is all part of Peterson's pitch for a new trial. Prosecutors contend that even with infighting and defense shenanigans, it doesn't prove that Peterson received ineffectual counsel and doesn't mean he'll get a new trial. If it's decided Peterson's guilty verdict is fair and square regardless of the legal implosion, expect the case to move quickly to the sentencing phase -- Peterson could face up to 60 years -- and for this huge legal circus to finally fold its tents and move on, because while these so-called adults continue to act out the most petulant episode ever of "Law & Order," Kathleen Savio is still dead and Stacy Peterson is still missing. [Sun-Times]

More meters, more problems
Turns out that Mayor Daley's flaming-bag-of-poop parting gift that is the parking meter deal is even worse for us than we realized, because those stupid stickers pile up an estimated 45 tons of unrecyclable trash per year. [Gapers Block]

Rape kits
Startling ineptitude from the Cook County Sheriff's office -- 51 untested rape kits dating from between 1986 and 2011 were recently discovered in Robbins. Sheriff Tom Dart plans to meet with residents and explain how the egregious mishandling happened. [Sun-Times]

The case against Pistorious
The murder case against Olympic sprinter Oscar Pistorious was laid out at a bail hearing today while the runner stuck to his story that he mistook his girlfriend for a burglar. The hearing was adjourned until tomorrow. [BBC]

2nd District shenanigans
The race to replace Jesse Jackson Jr. is taking a slew of strange, twisted turns -- because why not? It now involves gun votes, SuperPACs, and the mayor of New York City. [Sun-Times]

Pissing Contest 2: Budget Boogaloo
Remember how thrilling and exciting and enthralling the budget showdown between the White House and GOP was over the holidays as the government prepared to pull a Thelma & Louise over the "fiscal cliff"? No? You mean it was all a colossal torturing of a mentally exhausted citizenry that's tired of partisan bickering that serves no purpose and ends up screwing us all over no matter who wins? Oh, good. Then we can look forward to the next round of last-second budget cut panic next week. [NY Times]

Spidey sense is tingling
I'm blaming this Spider-Man-mask robbery on the Green Goblin because that's the kind of thing he'd do to Peter Parker. [Sun-Times]

Tinker to Evers to Cusack
Some changes are coming from the Cubs for the Seventh-Inning Stretch starting this year, including limiting the number of celebs invited to sing and then visit the WGN booth after singing (for as long as WGN airs the games). Also, look to hear more "modern" music at Wrigley this season so say hello to more Nelson during your games, Cubs fans. [Tribune, Sun-Times, YouTube]

Marathon server gets shin splints
Registration for the Chicago Marathon hit the wall today when the race's servers kept crashing, keeping hopeful participants from registering. No word who race organizers plan to blame for the snag but it'll probably be the runners just like the Great Water Debacle Of 2007. [Sun-Times, Tribune]

The Bright One
Thomas Conner takes a look at the rise of indie rockers Passion Pit ahead of their show Friday at the UIC Pavilion. [Sun-Times]

Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays

And finally
The WWE just won its way back in to my cold, dead heart by introducing a new bad-guy Tea-Party "patriot" character. It's a brilliant move from an organization that's played villains off of all kinds of stereotypes so why not this one? As for all the angry outrage from Tea Party members over the character, well, they'd have a better argument if the WWE's character wasn't so spot on. Oh, and if the Tea Party hadn't done all that racist stuff since America elected a black president. [Mediaite, NBC, HuffPo, The Economist, HuffPo]

WHOPPER FAIL | MURDER CITY - Must-read news stories of the day for Feb. 18, 2013


Whopper of a #Fail
No, Burger King didn't change its name to McDonald's. The chain's official Twitter account was hacked for over an hour Monday morning. The hacking started out with a few jokes about the company being sold to McDonald's but quickly took a turn towards violent language and gang-related tweets. Shout-outs to Chicago rappers Chief Keef and Lil Reese were also sent during the hacking. WARNING: Some of these tweets are NSFW. [CST]

SuperPAC Apple
Debbie Halvorson, a candidate for Jesse Jackson Jr.'s old congressional seat, accused her top opponent -- Robin Kelly -- of improperly colluding with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's SuperPAC. [Natasha Korecki]

Witches' Brew
The witches are flying back to Chicago. "Wicked," the hit Broadway musical, will be returning to Chicago in celebration of the show's 10th anniversary on Broadway, with a limited eight-week run (Oct. 30-Dec. 21) at the Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph. [CST]

Going to Hollywood
The now-closed West Side hot dog stand that hired only ex-offenders is moving to Los Angeles. Felony Franks has licensed a food truck in Hollywood after facing issues in Chicago over its name. [CBS]

Telling Murder City's story
The story of Chicago's rampant homicide and gun violence epidemic has become a national tale -- a story told in hard numbers and shocking statistics. But the story is not about numbers -- it's about people. Reporting may start with the numbers, but it has to focus on the name, like This American Life did in this fantastic two-part installment focused on Englewood's Harper High School -- the second part is to be posted Friday night. Local reporter Tanveer Ali writes that the coverage of Hadiya Pendleton's life and death is a blueprint for coverage. [This American Life podcast, CJR]

That sound you hear is Harry Caray spinning. Rumor has it the Chicago Cubs are looking to make a major trade, but it's not a player. The lovable losers apparently aren't as loyal as their fans -- it's looking more like the Cubs may ditch WGN. The station has broadcast Cubs games since 1948, which is nearly the entire stretch the team has gone since its last World Series appearance. [Trib, WGN]

Breaking Bang News
In the biggest news story since Michelle Obama's bangs, the first lady explains why she got said bangs. Mrs. Obama jokingly tells talk-show host Rachael Ray that a mid-life crisis is what inspired her new 'do. [AP]

Going to the dogs
Former White Sox pitcher and new Blue Jays pitcher Mark Buehrle will leave his family behind because his dog, a mix of bulldog and American Staffordshire Terrier, is banned in Toronto. [Deadspin]

Lolla Leak
Let the 2013 Lollapalooza lineup leaks begin! The first rumors of a lineup began spreading yesterday, just like they do around this time every year. Don't get your hopes up, though -- these leaks are rarely accurate. [The Sights and Sounds, Fake Shore Drive]

The Bright One
Photojournalists Jessica Koscielniak and Jon Sall take a look at "The Mile" between Barack Obama's home in Kenwood and the park where Hadiya Pendleton lost her life. [CST blogs]

Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays from snow; Plow tracker

And finally
Had enough of the sky-falling news? Well don't stop asteroid-ducking just yet. [Investors]

The must-read news stories of the day from around the Web for February 15, 2013.

Ex-U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife, former Chicago Ald. Sandi Jackson, were charged on Friday - Jesse over campaign finances and Sandi with improperly filing taxes. (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)

The Jackson two
Jesse Jackson Jr., who the Sun-Times had reported was in plea deal discussion with the feds over his campaign finances, was charged Friday afternoon with conspiracy, making false statements, and mail and wire fraud. In a surprise double-punch, wife Sandi, the recently former alderman, was charged with filing a false tax return. [CST, Tribune]

President Obama made his long-awaited return to Chicago, to a warm welcome, but not in a victory tour. Obama was in town to talk the economy and, more importantly, gun violence. After invoking Hadiya Pendleton's name in the State of the Union, the calls intensified for him to come back and meet the city's murder and gun violence problem head on. Meanwhile, Steve Bogira has the speech Obama should have given. [CST, NBC5, The Reader]

The sky is falling ... or isn't
Perhaps the only thing more stunning than a meteor crashing through the Earth's atmosphere late Thursday night was the apparent number of people in Middle-of-Nowehere Russia who routinely travel around town with rolling video cameras. More than 1,000 residents of Chelyabinsk were injured when the meteor's sonic boom shattered windows across the town, an event caught inexplicably on numerous YouTube clips as it happened. This had nothing to do, however, with an asteroid passing an uncomfortably close 17,000 miles from Earth today. What's the big deal, it's 17,000 miles away, you say? That's within the ring of communications satellites that surround our blue dot of a home. No danger here, says renowned rocket scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson, but a reminder that space is a frontier with plenty of undetectable finality.
[CST, CST, Today]

Rahm-bunctious rumors
Please, God, no presidential election talk yet. We're barely out of the last cycle. But there you go, Daily Beast, starting a ruckus with reporting that Rahm Emanuel is gearing up for 2016 and the White House - according to unnamed Democratic big wigs. A report, by the way, that everyone near Hizzoner scrambled quickly to their nearest mountaintops to shout down. So it's probably true - that's the way these things work these days. And there was the now requisite Not Safe For Work sendup of Rahmtalk on Twitter around the #PresidentRahmSlogan tag. In the meantime, Lynn Sweet has some takeaways to ponder while the rumors swirl. [Sweet blog, Storify]

Not well and good
About those rapidly shrinking water levels in Lake Michigan ... it's not just drought or global warming and Asian carp or Michigan and Wisconsin taking what's rightfully ours in Illinois. It's about your wells, People! [BackTalk]

Iron Mike! (Sorry, not Ditka)
Mike Tyson is in town to put on his one-man show this weekend. This caused quite a bit of buzz in the Sun-Times newsroom when he stopped in for a chat in our studio this morning with Mary Mitchell. There were no tigers, no craziness and no drama. Very quiet, humble guy. Hedy Weiss will have a review of the show later tonight. In the meantime, a short take on his interview. [CST]

Enthusiasms ... enthusiasms ...
Yesterday we told you about the Mexican drug lord who would be No. 1 in Chicago. Today we remember the man who's name he evokes, Al Capone, and where that giant in the land of gang violence rates in regard to gang hits - a late bouquet after the St. Valentine's Day Massacre anniversary. [Chicagoist]

College credit (default)
A new website established by the Obama administration tells you college is expensive. You knew that already? Did you also know there's a lot of college education floating around Chicago financed by defaulted student loan debt? Or that Columbia, DePaul and Loyola have the highest average monthly loan payments? Study up, kids. [DNA]

Gotta be the shoes
Derrick Rose, won't you please hurry back. Not because we're worried about the Bulls' record - though we are. No, we just want the crazy train of speculation around the most important knee in Chicago to go away. Today's installment: If you had been like Mike and worn Nikes, we'd be hoisting trophies right now. [Deadspin]

The Bright One
Speaking of like Mike . . . happy 50th birthday, Michael Jordan! It had to be the shoes, right? [CST]

Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays;

And finally

As you run screaming and free into that good Friday night, let Mike Thomas help you do it in style - with the Harlem Shake. [

The must-read news stories of the day from around the Web for February 14, 2013.

Click here to subscribe to the email version of The Evening Rush other Sun-Times newsletter offerings.

A happy Valentine's Day for gay marriage supporters
AP Photo/Seth Perlman, File

Love is all around
In a move perfectly appropriate for Valentine's Day, the Illinois State Senate officially passed SB 10, the Religious Freedom and Marriage Fairness Act, by a 34-21 margin with two "present" votes. The bill now moves on to the house though Rep. Greg Harris (D-Chicago) has said there's no specific timetable for the House taking up the vote. That said, once the House does, if they approve the bill, it will be signed by Gov. Quinn who, alongside Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and President Barack Obama, has called for the bill to be passed. Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon), who opposed the bill, said, "Businesses will be affected. Bed and breakfasts, florists, all those that are wedding-related, will be affected. They will choose to, most of them, dissolve their businesses. That's what happened in other states." In other news, Sen. Kyle McCarter (R-Lebanon) wins the award for Most Tone-Deaf statement That Exposes A Complete Lack Of Understanding About The Segment Of The Population He Is Trying To Suppress by naming the industries that are most likely to actually benefit by allowing gays to marry. [Sun-Times, Sun-Times]

Derrick Rose said, "____"; Everybody panic!
Chicago Bulls star Derrick Rose has thrown the team's fan base into a tizzy yet again by suggesting he'd be totally cool with sitting out the entire 2012-13 season and saving himself to start next season at full-strength. So chaos reigns until tomorrow when something else is said to kick up even more dust. Well played, adidas. [Sun-Times]

Olympic Hero to Prime Suspect
Strange happenings in South Africa where double-amputee-track-star-Olympic-inspiration-hero Oscar Pistorius is now charged with the murder of his model girlfriend. Early reports indicated it as an accident with Pistorious thinking his girlfriend was a burglar but further info from police - including a pile of previous domestic incidents - casts a dark shadow on the runner. Meanwhile, Deadspin unearthed previous profiles that showed Pistorius' love affair with guns. [NY Times, Deadspin]

Public Enemy No. 1
The Chicago Crime Commission has named a new Public Enemy Number One and it's Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman Loera of Mexico's Sinaloa drug cartel. [Sun-Times]

Anatomy of a Heroin Ring
Speaking of drug cartels, The Reader's Mick Dumke has put together a fascinating piece of investigative journalism exploring all of the detailed ins-and-outs of a West Side heroin ring and how it goes well beyond the city limits. [Chicago Reader]

Senate Dems fell short of being able to block the GOP from a filibuster over the Chuck Hagel confirmation for Secretary of Defense. [Sun-Times]

Poop Deck
That poop-and-God-knows-what-else-filled Carnival cruise ship is nearly at the dock in Mobile, Alabama - because I guess Mississippi was deemed to nice - after the Coast Guard towed the ship which has been drifting out at sea since an engine fire this past weekend. [CNN, NPR]

Adieu, Prentice
The National Trust for Historic Preservation has withdrawn its lawsuit to block the razing of Prentice Hospital, paving the way for its demolition so get your Instagrams in while you can. [Sun-Times]

Kudos to the Whitney Young chess team who are state champs. Rook beats knight, suckas! *mic drop* [Tribune]

Something to be Dank-ful for
The White Sox have now broken camp and John Danks had a great first throwing session since surgery last August. There's still a long way to go, but any progress is good progress for fans of the Pale Hose. [Sun-Times]

Too soon
The University of Illinois made a questionable photo choice for an ad promoting next week's game against Penn State. [Deadspin]

The Bright Ones
Jonathan Sall and David Hoekstra dug up some romantic car-related memories from Chicago Auto Show attendees. [Sun-Times]

And if you prefer to have a good, happy cry, check out this story about one Oak Forest girl's Valentine's Day surprise. [Southtown Star]

Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays

And finally
Trenton, New Jersey is the nation's least romantic city because of course it is. []

The must-read news stories of the day from around the Web for February 13, 2013.

Click here to subscribe to The Evening Rush email newsletter and other Sun-Times offerings.

Students wait to speak at a recent CPS hearing on closings

School Daze
Parents the city over are waiting for the most updated list of schools facing closure by the CPS. While not every school on the list will be closed, it will still shake things up as it narrows the list of potential closures down even further. Meanwhile, a group of four aldermen have proposed that the city put a moratorium on charter school expansion - one of Mayore Emanuel's pet projects - for the 2014-15 school year so that students and parents have more time to absorb the current and impending closures. This is more bad news for charter school proponents given the recent grant shenanigans at the United Neighborhood Organization which forced one UNO exec to step down. The entire issue is so tense that even the usually popular Ald. Joe Moreno was booed at a hearing on Monday night. [Sun-Times, Sun-Times, Chicagoist]

Obama's trip home
President Obama will make his speaking appearance at Hyde Park Academy when he visits Chicago on Friday to address the city's gun violence issue (among other things) and the Hidaya Pendleton case. Meanwhile, the family of one of Hadiya's accused killers have come to his defense. [Sun-Times, Sun-Times]

Dorner case deepens
As details continue to emerge over yesterday's dramatic and confusing events in Southern California involving the hunt for ex-cop fugitive Christopher Dorner, there are now allegations that authorities may have been responsible for setting the fire that consumed the cabin and killed one person, presumed to be Dorner. These accusations will surely be met with reasonable, level-headed responses from conspiracy theorists the nation over who won't make any references to Waco, Texas or 9-11 being an inside job. [L.A. Times, Gawker]

Rubber Stamp
It was a busy day at City Hall as the City Rubber Stamp gave a unanimous thumbs up to Mayor Emanuel's watered-down ethics reform as the Stamp, which has seen more than 30 of its members head to prison in the last 40 years, continues to shield itself. [Sun-Times]

Tunney leaves Cubs in the dark
Speaking of the City Council, a proposal that would have okay'd more night games for the Cubs wasn't introduced by Ald. Tom Tunney as had been expected. Tunney wants more answers from the team on things such as traffic and security before he gives them the green light to continue to underwhelm under the lights. [Tribune]

Supreme road trip!
With the Illinois Supreme Court's Springfield digs getting a home makeover, the justices will take a wacky road trip filled with silly antics, lots of beef jerky, and mix tape jamming all the way up to Chicago where they will temporarily hear cases and write in their diaries about how all this fun is bringing them closer together and, maybe, just maybe, a romance will even bloom. [Crain's]

Weezy draws some ire
Rapper Lil Wayne is facing a backlash after he referenced Civil Rights icon Emmett Till in not the most flattering of phrasings in the lyrics of a new song. It's the second time the rapper has used Till's name like so and the Till Family Foundation has reached out to Rev. Jesse Jackson to speak with the rapper's management over the issue. [Sun-Times]

The Return, National Media Edition
USA Today churned out a pretty great interview with Derrick Rose as he gets poised for his return to the Bulls. It's a bummer, though, that Rose chose to eschew any local media for his first interview since the start of the season. Still, anything that can stir up even more useless speculation about his return date must be good, right? [USA Today]

Racy billboard gets motors running
Arrangement Finders is finding itself in a sticky wicket over a new billboard which features porn star and Charlie Sheen's ex-girlfriend Bree Olson plugging the business with an oral sex reference. The website promises to facilitate "hook ups" between adults looking for a little action, no fuss, no muss. Expect to see even more of the billboards springing up all over town as Chicago apparently has the most registered users on the site because no one in this town knows how to behave in a bar, apparently. [NBC 5]

The Bright One
ChicagoSide looks at how the Topps card company has joined baseball Hall of Fame voters in pretending that Pete Rose, one of the game's best hitters no longer exists. [ChicagoSide]

Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays

And finally
Who needs custom-made Internet e-cards? These Valentine's from ye olde days are snarky and mean enough as it is. [Slate]

The must-read news stories of the day from around the Web for Tuesday, February 12, 2013.

Click here to subscribe to The Evening Rush email newsletter and other Sun-Times offerings.

Pres. Obama earlier today
AP Photo/Charles Dharapak

State of the Union fever
Tonight, President Obama delivers the first State of the Union of his second term and it promises to be a doozy. One of the subplots involves gun laws and invited guests. The parents of Hadiya Pendleton will be guests of the Obamas and Carolyn Murray, mother of Justin Murray who was shot and killed in Evanston in November 2012, will be the guest of Rep. Jan Schakowsky. All told, 26 gun violence survivors will be present, including Gabby Giffords and a teacher from Sandy Hook Elementary in Newton, CT. Meanwhile, in a move that seems destined to backfire, Rep. Steve Stockman has invited former rocker, gun advocate, and taxidermy enthusiast Ted Nugent. We'll have live coverage of it all, including live video, analysis, and more, at starting at 7:30 p.m. (Chicago time). [Sun-Times, Think Progress, NY Times]

Hunt for Christopher Dorner intensifies
Major movement this afternoon in the hunt for fugitive ex-cop Christopher Dorner in the Los Angeles area as a gun battle broke out in the Big Bear resort area between Dorner and authorities after Dorner was spotted following an apparent attempted carjacking. As of publishing time of this newsletter, authorities still hadn't taken Dorner into custory and at least two deputies were wounded by gunfire. [CBS LA, LA Times]

No bail in Hadiya case
Michael Ward, 18, and Kenneth Williams, 20, have been ordered held without bail in connection to the shooting death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton. Both have been charged with first-degree murder and two counts each of aggravated battery with a firearm. [Sun-Times]

School days shenanigans
One North Side parent has battled the CPS for a year on memos and documents related to the system's new longer school day except there don't appear to be any. [The Reader]

File Under: Bad ideas, foot-in-mouth
Surprisingly, a plan by some people in an Indiana town to hold a "gay-free" prom backfired, particularly when the special needs teacher spearheading the movement compared gay students to her students with disabilities and claimed she didn't believe gay students had any purpose in life. [NBC News]

Plagiarize, Profitize
1. Plagiarize. 2. Resign in disgrace. 3. ???? 4. Profit. [Politico]

Next verse, same as the first
Chicago leads the nation in gas prices. Your wallet hates you. [Tribune]

Every Rose has its thorn
Derrick Rose may return in late February unless he doesn't in which case he'll return when he wants. So nothings changed. [Sun-Times]

Puff, puff, pass, dunk
Jay Williams allegations of heavy marijuana use by his Chicago Bulls teammates a decade ago have some of those teammates a little upset. [Deadspin]

The Bright One
Lauren Fitzpatrick reports on the latest complications in the next round of potential CPS closings. [Sun-Times]

Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra

And finally
I take back every pope joke I've ever made. [NBC News]

The must-read news stories of the day from around the Web for February 11, 2013.

Click here to subscribe to The Evening Rush email newsletter and other Sun-Times offerings.

Hadiya's impact grows
Friends gather to mourn Hadiya Pendleton at her funeral on Saturday, February 9, 2013 // AP Photo-Nam Y. Huh

Hadiya's impact grows
Even though she was laid to rest on Saturday in a beautiful, joyous service celebrating her too-short life, Hadiya Pendleton's death continues to have an impact on Chicagoans and the nation. Besides the announcement that charges could come tonight in her shooting death, the Obama family invited Hadiya's mother, Cleopatra Pendleton, as a guest to tomorrow night's State of the Union speech. In addition, President Obama will visit Chicago on his post-SOTU rounds. It will be a delicate balance as he addresses the city's gun violence issues without putting the blame squarely on his pal and our mayor, Rahm Emanuel. But there's no other way to look at his visit as anything but a warning to the leaders of his adopted hometown to get their act together. [Sun-Times]

Papacy Vacancy
Catholics the world over continue to reel from the unexpected resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, especially the Vatican's tech intern who's all "I just taught the old man how to Tweet and now I'm going to have to do it again?!?" Meanwhile, apparently you can just quit the most powerful religious position in the world with a simple two-weeks notice which seems kind of weird. It's harder to quit Facebook than it is to resign as Pope. Shouldn't the pope have to do something difficult to resign, like recover a Horcrux? [Sun-Times, NY Times]

CTA to riders: U Mad, Bro?
The CTA is hitting the Purple and Brown Lines hard over two nine-day periods this spring when construction on the Wells Street bridge will close the structure and snarl up transportation. While shuttle buses will run from the Chicago Brown line through the loop, one out of every three Brown Line trains will terminate at the Merchandise Mart while two out of three will use the underground Red Line tracks instead. How will riders know which Brown Line trains to board depending on destination? Don't know. How long between trains that terminate at Merchandise Mart? Don't know. Meanwhile, every other line will also feel the effects of the construction including a Red Line that will become swollen thanks to limited Brown Lines and no Purple Lines south of Howard at that time. Good luck and may the odds be ever in your favor. [Crain's]

The 7th Ward's Lament
The replacement for the City Council's 7th Ward seat - vacated a few weeks ago by Sandi Jackson - will be filled by former IDOT employee Natashia Holmes. Meanwhile, constituents of Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s 2nd Congressional Ward wonder how they've been without a congressman since last June and then remember, oh right, we re-elected him. [Sun-Times]

Hitting the brakes on bikelanes
IDOT has put a hold on Mayor Emanuel's plan to expand the city's bike lanes, using a myriad of excuses, including the space the bike lanes take away from traffic lanes. Rahm responded by stealing Gov. Quinn's bike while he was in the magic shop. [Chicagoist, YouTube]

Wheeling and dealing
The city has reached a deal with the CPD's sergeants' union on a new contract which could undermine attempts by the Fraternal Order of Police to play hardball with the city on a new contract for rank-and-file officers because nothing is ever easy. [Sun-Times]

I thought it was Burt Maclin
The member of Seal Team 6 that shot and killed Osama bin Laden has finally talked to someone about the historic raid. [CIR via The Reader]

But can you mix it with vodka?
There's a new breakfast energy drink from Mountain Dew because apparently mainlining a mixture of cocaine, methamphetamine, and pure adrenaline just isn't X-TREME!!!!! enough. [Tribune]

Biggest Grammy Winners
Sure, Black Keys, Mumford & Sons and fun. took home trophies but the biggest winners of last night's Grammy ceremonies were Katy Perry's dress and Ellen DeGeneres. [Sun-Times, Sun-Times]

104+ years
The Cubs broke camp today with team president Theo Epstein seeing his shadow which means two more years of futility until the North Siders reach the playoffs. []

Williams' Second Wind
A great piece on former Bull Jay Williams whose taken on a great career in the announcer's booth following a motorcycle accident that cut short a promising career. [NY Times Magazine]

The Bright One
Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart may have more populist appeal than some of his City Hall pals but the Sun-Times Watchdogs Tim Novak and Chris Fusco shine a light on how his office is full of Shakman-exempt clout jobs. [Sun-Times]

Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra

And finally
I, for one, welcome our new Super Volcano overlords. [NPR]

The must-read news stories of the day from around the Web for February 8, 2013.

Click here to subscribe to The Evening Rush email newsletter and other Sun-Times offerings.

Then-congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. and his wife, then-alderman Sandi, cast votes in the 2012 primary. AP Photo/M. Spencer Green

Signed, sealed, to be determined
Just days after the Sun-Times' Michael Sneed broke news that former congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr. was working with the feds on a plea deal that could involve jail time, reports broke today that Jackson signed the plea deal earlier this week. Sources told the Sun-Times the investigation is still ongoing and indicated that Jackson may have failed to "protect" wife Sandi meaning she could be left twisting in the wind when her turn to dance with the feds comes. [Sun-Times, NBC 5]

Attack Poodle Walsh
It's been a while since anyone heard from former Tea Party congressman Joe Walsh and everyone was happy. But happiness never lasts forever: Walsh took to Twitter to blast FLOTUS Michelle Obama for her decision to attend Hadiya Pendleton's funeral in Chicago this weekend, saying, in part, "I guess the other 553 murder victims didn't break her heart." [DNA Info; @FreedomWalsh]

Auditor General DUI Blues
Illinois Auditor General William Holland was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence in Springfield earlier this week. [Sun-Times]

Rahm Seeing Red
Mayor Emanuel is cracking down on the Australian company who currently has a contract for Chicago's red light cameras after shenanigans involving the former city official who oversaw the contract - including paying for a trip to the Super Bowl - came to light which is shocking because if ever there was a city that would never have any kind of back-scratching contract tomfoolery in city government, it's Chicago. [Tribune]

Pritzker problem pending?
With sources reporting that Penny Pritzker is the front-runner to be nominated by President Obama as the next commerce secretary, union leaders are girding themselves to potentially raise a ruckus over allegations of mistreatment of union workers at a hotel chain owned by the Pritzker family. [Wall Street Journal]

Say "awww"
Going to the dentist is bad enough; going to an illegal dentist is even worse. [Sun-Times]

Studying the ancient arts
The Newberry Library has received $600,000 to join three other libraries in the U.S. that "teach students and scholars how to read documents written by hand in the romance languages." But dotting the 'i' with a heart is still discouraged, Mayor, so knock it off. [Crain's]

Crash, smash, bushwhacked
It was a prolific day for "cars crashing into buildings" around the area. [Sun-Times, Sun-Times]

I still blame FEMA
It turns out the piece of equipment that failed and allegedly caused the big power outage during the Super Bowl at the New Orleans Superdome is produced by a manufacturer right here in Chicago. Let this be a warning, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell: while you can prove a power surge, you can't prove voodoo so leave the Saints alone. [ESPN]

Just leave Favre out of it
A Chicago Bears fan called a former Packers cheerleader ugly. The story is about as ridiculous as it sounds. [CBS 2]

The Bright One
Dave Hoekstra and Jon Sall made the cold trip out to Iowa with a group of Chicagoans who make an annual pilgrimage to the site of the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, and Ritchie Valens. Come for the homage, stay for the Gary Busey cameo. [Sun-Times]

The manhunt for a former Los Angeles cop accused of several murders continues in an expanded area [L.A. Times]; The Northeast awaits the brunt of the big blizzard and the snow tallies are still predicted to soften Boston's inferiority complex with New York City [AccuWeather]; It seems private emails and files of the Bush family were accessed by hackers recently, confirmed when they found an email from former president George W. Bush to TBS berating them for pulling reruns of "Mama's Family" off the air. [The Smoking Gun]

Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra.

And finally
The Onion's latest victim: Alabama. Again. [Romenesko]

The must-read news stories of the day from around the Web for February 7, 2013.

The family of Hadiya Pendleton console each other during a rally on January 30, 2013
Photo: Jessica A. Koscielniak ~ Sun-Times

FLOTUS to attend Hadiya's funeral
Facing calls to address the escalating violence in their adopted hometown, the Obamas will have a presence at this weekend's funeral of Hadiya Pendleton as the White House announced Michelle Obama will attend the service along with Valerie Jarrett and Arne Duncan. The move will bring even more attention to Chicago's violence issue which is already attracting national attention. [Sun-Times]

Manhunt for California Cop
The manhunt for a former Los Angeles police officer accused in several killings continues as investigators look into an alleged manifesto he posted online. Worse, some innocent people were injured by current officers in a case of mistaken identity related to a search for the fugitive. [L.A. Times]

FOP makes first contract move
In other police news, the Chicago Police union has made its first round of demands for their new contract including a pay hike and stipend to live in the city itself. Rahm refused to comment on the demands except for when he did. [Sun-Times]

Twist and shout
The confirmation hearing for John O. Brennan to become CIA head was quite the raucous affair with multiple interruptions from protesters and tough questions over this week's drone developments. [NY Times]

Aldermen frown on more ethics oversight
Why is it that most aldermen only complain about a lack of reviewing time on agenda items when it affects them directly? [Tribune]

Snow problem
The Northeast is bracing for a whopper of a blizzard - the same storm that's mucking up things here in Chicago today - but it's hard to take it seriously since the Weather Channel's ridiculous naming system calls this storm "Nemo." [MSNBC, Weather Channel]

Go home, Chi-rish, you're drunk
Proving once again that most Chicagoans are amateurs when it comes to drinking and parades, authorities will be cracking down super hard on people who act like drunken idiots at the annual South Side Irish Parade. [Sun-Times]

Spoiler Alert: we're broke
Even Google knows Illinois' financial situation is screwed. [Crain's]

Adieu, EveryBlock
Bummer news on the hyperlocal web front as NBC decided to shut down the Chicago-born EveryBlock website. [Sun-Times, Chicago Reader]

On the mend
The actor burned during a fire-breathing stunt at the Lyric Opera earlier this week is out of the hospital and on his way to a full recovery. [NBC 5]

Grand-erson Stadium plan
UIC is naming its new baseball field after current Yankee and former Flame Curtis Granderson who is said to have dropped a big chunk of change to help finance the stadium. [ESPN Chicago]

The Bright One
Michael Sneed has the low-down on Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s latest plea-deal negotiations. [Sun-Times]

Sudoku; Weather; Traffic; CTA; Metra; Flight delays from snow; Plow tracker

And finally: Simpsons did it
Japan wants to put pants on Michelangelo's David. [The Japan Times, The Simpsons]

Here are some of the stories that caught our attention during the work day for February 6, 2013.

AP Photo/Seth Perlman

Quinn Reaches To The Left
Facing what will surely be a heated battle next year to keep his seat, Gov. Pat "Milquetoast" Quinn gave a State of the State speech that aimed to shore up his populist base. Besides calling for a raising of the minimum wage to $10 per hour, Quinn also called on state legislators to pass the gay marriage bill and for tougher fun laws. He also acknowledged the $95 billion elephant in the room - the state's pension crisis - but has had little luck getting any movement on reform there. [Sun-Times]

Doors Open On The Right
Riders on a Metra train were introduced to the new sport of Extreme Commuting today thanks to a door that was stuck open for nearly 13 minutes while the train was moving. Metra blamed the problem on ice. [Tribune]

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night... except on weekends
The United States Postal Service announced it's cutting Saturday delivery to save costs meaning millions of Americans will have to send messages to each other over the Internet for free instead. [Sun-Times]

An Evanston man who has been arrested in connection with robbing several area hair salons has a receding hairline. [FOX Chicago]

Minute to win it
Despite concerns, ranging from prostitution to terrorism, a panel gave the thumbs up to those short-term nap rooms at O'hare Airport because sprawling across a bunch of super uncomfortable seats at your gate is pretty unsightly. [Sun-Times]

OMG Plz 2 marry me??? LOL
Kristen Cavalleri revealed that Bears QB Jay Cutler proposed marriage to her via text message and then mailed her the ring which is the most romantic thing ever according to absolutely no one. [NBC 5]

I can haz token?
Let this be a lesson to everyone: give the Internet the chance to vote and they will always pick the cat. [Sun-Times]

Bears ticket prices tick up
It's going to be a tad more expensive to watch Jay Cutler underwhelm in person next season. [Sun-Times]

The Bright One
Mark Lazerus on Marian Hossa's long memory of the Raffi hit. [Sun-Times]

Unemployed exotic dancers can now collect unemployment in Kansas so if you'll excuse me, I have a new career to pursue. [ABC News]


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