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

May 2013 Archives

The must-read news stories for May 31, 2013.

AP Photo/Seth Perlman

Final countdown in General Assembly
It's the final day of the spring session for the Illinois General Assembly and there are a lot of items still up in the air. A proposed pension fix took a big hit yesterday, and there's still not much movement on a casino for Chicago. In addition, there's a new concealed-carry bill that, as of post time, has been passed by the Senate and sent to the House. But everyone is really focusing on the gay marriage bill, which remains in the House, hovering just around the required number of votes. House Speaker Mike Madigan invited same-sex families to his box in the chambers, which would seem to indicate a photo op of some sort related to get things passed, but that's merely speculation. Either way, expect a flurry of activity -- even if nothing gets accomplished -- in Springfield tonight and we've got you covered. [Live Updates from Springfield, Live State House video, Live State Senate video, Politics blog]

Arrest for CeaseFire head
Tio Hardiman, head of the anti-violence group CeaseFire, has been arrested on charges of domestic battery. [Sun-Times]

Meter sparring continues
As Mayor Emanuel's administration seeks to calm fears from aldermen about proposed changes to the controversial parking meter deal, more questions keep popping up. [CBS 2, The Reader]

Pedestrian scramble
It turns out being far safer than it sounds, but one of the Loop's busiest intersection got a test run at allowing six-way pedestrian crossing today. [Sun-Times]

City tops major metros in jobless
Even as unemployment rates fall, Chicago is tops among the United States' top five metro areas in terms of the jobless rate. [Crain's]

Wannabe sentenced
The young man who wanted to set off an explosion near Wrigley Field but failed has been sentenced to 23 years. [Sun-Times]

School deadline approaches
Parents of students who attend CPS schools scheduled to be closed are approaching a deadline to choose which schools their children will attend next year. [WBEZ]

Making a run
State Treasurer Dan Rutherford has thrown his hat in the ring for the 2014 governor's race. [Sun-Times]

Wolf Point tussle
There's been a lawsuit filed over the proposed towers at Wolf Point. [Chicago Grid]

Horrible cruelty
A Garfield Park man has been accused of literally mowing over the foot of a neighbor's dog. [DNA Info]

Allegations at Navy
The Naval Academy is investigating accusations of sexual assault against three football players. [WaPo]

Groce gets a raise
Illinois men's hoops coach John Groce is getting a raise. [ESPN]

Oh, Canada
None other than Nate Silver explores the inability of Canadian teams to win Lord Stanley's Cup. [N.Y. Times]

The Bright One
The Blackhawks kick off their Western Conference finals series against the L.A. Kings with a pair of games this weekend. Mark Lazerus takes a look ahead. [Sun-Times]

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

And finally
A small Georgia town is getting sued over its new "choose one: nudity or booze" law. [WTSP]

The must-read news stories for May 30, 2013.

Sun-Times Library Photo

Batten down the hatches
While more tornadoes were spinning up in Oklahoma, the bad weather is finally shifting east and bringing the storms to our doorstep. The National Weather Service has already issued a Tornado Watch that takes up about 80 percent of the state of Illinois; any storms that develop out west are bound to eventually move east. The stormy pattern doesn't end tonight, either, as more storms appear to be on tap for tomorrow before all of this unpleasantness finally ships out of here. In the meantime, stay alert to evolving (or devolving, as it were) weather conditions over the next 36 hours or so. [Sun-Times, National Weather Service, Skilling]

Rev. Andrew Greeley has died at the age of 85. [Sun-Times]

Ongoing investigation
A man questioned by the FBI in connection with the Boston bombings and killed when he allegedly tried to attack officials is now said to have been unarmed during the incident. [WaPo]

Ricin redux
Yet another letter with traces of ricin was sent to President Barack Obama but intercepted by Secret Service. [Sun-Times]

Rep. Bobby Rush doesn't think much of Sen. Mark Kirk's arrest plan for gangs, but TIME magazine cover boy Mayor Rahm Emanuel isn't taking sides. [Sun-Times, CBS 2]

Strike is over
The 10-year strike by workers of the Congress Hotel is over. [Sun-Times]

The Dissolve
The departure of several core staff members of The A.V. Club earlier this spring turns out to be something of a SterlingCooperDraperPryce move as those folks form the core staff of The Dissolve, the new film website from Pitchfork Media. [Pitchfork]

Nike Town
So long Cans, hello Nike in Bucktown. [Crain's]

Some local kids are trying to be the best spellers in the nation at the Scripps National Spelling Bee. [Gapers Block]

Kirk Cameron's sad birthday party
Finally, the truth behind the viral photo. [Sun-Times]

THE Ohio State running mouths
Ohio State's president Gordon Gee is writing checks with his mouth he'd better hope his teams can cash. [ESPN]

Arena half-full view
DePaul has some really optimistic views of what it expects in attendance for basketball games at its new arena. [Sun-Times]

The Bright One
Now that Blackhawks fans have exhaled, Rick Morrissey tells us we can also relax. [Sun-Times]

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

And finally
Don't mind me, I'm just learning to Prancercise. [YouTube]

The must-read news stories for May 29, 2013

Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Game Seven
You don't really need me to explain this one, right? The Red Wings went up 3-1, had the Hawks on the ropes, but our boys in red have fought back to force tonight's epic finale, which also happens to take place at the United Center between Rolling Stones shows. That's got to count for something, right? The Blackhawks have the momentum and home crowd, but Detroit has already proved they can win at the UC, and Zetterberg may as well be paying rent for how long he's spent inside Toews' head this series (hat tip to Matt Linder for that zinger). So it should be a hard-fought -- and hard-hitting -- game tonight. The well-being of our city's sports fans rests on this; you can't expect us to rely on the Cubs and Sox to carry us through to football season, boys. Light up the Wings and light the lamp. To prepare for the epic match-up, catch up with the latest looks from our sports staff. [Hawks Chat Q&A, Lazerus, Morrissey]

Filing suit
As both sides wait for a July hearing on a lawsuit filed to prevent the CPS closures, the CTU has filed suit trying to prevent the closure of 10 of the proposed 50 schools set to be shuttered. [Sun-Times]

The country bids adieu to Rep. Michelle Bachmann (R-Minn.), who announced she would not seek re-election in 2014, but no one was sadder to see her go than the country's fact-checkers. [WaPo, Poynter]

Protesting deportation
A protest calling for an end to deportations caused quite the snarl on Michigan Avenue earlier today. [Sun-Times]

Supporting change
UIC joined a small but growing list of colleges that have added coverage for gender reassignment surgery to its student insurance plan. [Tribune]

Presidential visit
If you get caught up in an official-looking motorcade today, yes, it's the president. [Sun-Times]

Learn from the best (?)
I hope you signed up for a class on politics taught by former Sen. Roland Burris -- because that promises to be funnier than any improv class. [DNA Info]

Gang fight
Senators Mark Kirk and Dick Durbin came together today to urge federal officials to help the city fight gang violence, specifically the Gangster Disciples, one of the city's largest gangs. [Sun-Times, Chicago Gangs, Gangland TV show on YouTube]

Trouble in Toontown
Strange happenings at Disneyland, where an employee is in hot water over a dry ice explosive that blew up a trash can. [KTLA]

Water birth
This headline could soon read, "Couple feeds newborn to dolphin" or "Child taken away, raised by dolphins as one of their own." [CBS Charlotte]

What's in a name?
I can't wait to watch next year's ESPN's Big Ten-ACC Challenge Presented By Papa John's live from the State Farm Center. [Sun-Times]

Ben Joravsky looks at the sports teams in Chicago that get the biggest handouts from the City. [The Reader]

The Bright One
On the opening of their three-shows-over-a-week-stay at the United Center, Thomas Conner reviews the Rolling Stones --  who, says Conner, still have some gas left in the tank. [Sun-Times]

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

And finally
In perhaps the strangest twist of all, Al Qaeda scolded one of its employees for not filling out his expense report. In other news, Al Qaeda keeps expense reports. I bet they have the best passive-aggressive notes about the work lounge refrigerator. [MSNBC]

The must-read news stories for May 28, 2013.

Juan Rangel before a news conference at UNO Soccer Academy on Tuesday. | John H. White~Sun-Times

Big Changes at UNO
After months of controversy there were some shake-ups and some "shake-ups" at the United Neighborhood Organization (UNO), one of the state's largest charter school operators. Juan Rangel, UNO's $250,000-a-year chief executive officer, accepted responsibility for the group's failings and said he is stepping down from the boards that oversee UNO and its charter-school network. But Rangel will stay on as CEO, so at least he'll still have that healthy paycheck. The moves are all in hopes of getting state funding to flow again, particularly for the under-construction high school being built on the city's Southwest Side. [Sun-Times]

No bond
The man accused in the shooting that resulted in the death of 6-month-old Jonylah Watkins -- allegedly over a stolen video-game console -- has been ordered held without bond. [Sun-Times]

Hitting the Shore
President Obama visited New Jersey, teaming up with Gov. Chris Christie for a state of recovery check. [WaPo]

Defunding rejected
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an Indiana case over the defunding of Planned Parenthood. [Reuters]

Deep Keef
Another day, another arrest for Chief Keef, this time on charges of driving 110 mph in a 55 mph zone. [Sun-Times]

A tractor trailer and a cargo train collided outside Baltimore, causing a major derailment and subsequent explosion. [The Atlantic]

As bad as pollen season
Welcome back, Construction Season, we're so sad to see you're back. [Sun-Times]

Plead the Fifth
A high school teacher in Batavia is in trouble for apparently reminding students they're protected by the Fifth Amendment when they were filling out a survey that included questions about drug use. [Gawker]

File under: Not The Onion
People are complaining about a tea kettle they say looks like Hitler. Godwin's Law is not amused, J.C. Penney's. [Mashable]

Music to your ears
Speaking of The Onion, its sister pub The A.V. Club is teaming up with the Hideout again for a stellar late-season music fest, this year featuring Mavis Staples, Superchunk, Neko Case and The Hold Steady. [Sun-Times Daily Sizzle Blog]

The Blackhawks are popular
A must-win game six for the Blackhawks against the Red Wings was a ratings bonanza, generating twice as many viewers as the Cubs-Sox see-who-stinks-less-fest. [Puck Daddy]

Makeover preview for Wrigley
False signs and banners were held up outside Wrigley's outfield wall today to simulate what it would look like once the team finishes its renovations. [A League Of Her Own]

So Long, Lance
Nike is cutting ties with the Lance Armstrong-founded Livestrong. Good luck with those yellow wrist bands now. [AP]

The Bright One
I watched the entire new season of Arrested Development on Sunday and I tried to collect some thoughts on the experience. [Sun-Times]

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

And finally
Do you fear killer robots? Then there's a group for you. [Slate]

The must-read news stories for May 24, 2013.

AP Photo/Richard Drew

Sexting scandal knocks out prep baseball team
A new scandal has rocked the suburbs. Evanston Township High School has had to forfeit its games in the state playoffs after several players were caught sexting photos. Several female students had apparently sent racy images of themselves to individual players, who then shared the photos with each other. With the accused players suspended pending an investigation, the school was forced to forfeit its scheduled game because they didn't have enough players. According to a letter written by the superintendent that was sent to parents, Evanston Police and the state Department of Children and Family Services have been notified, but will not be taking additional action. [Sun-Times]

Concealed carry redux
A concealed-carry bill that's backed by House Speaker Mike Madigan but opposed by Gov. Pat Quinn and Mayor Rahm Emanuel was passed by the state House and sent to the Senate. [Sun-Times Politics Blog]

Even as the Congress Theater owners are working to make sure the venue can stay open, the city has now gone and revoked its liquor license. [WBEZ]

Garage lawsuit
While also dealing with the parking meter deal (see below), Emanuel and the city have filed a lawsuit in an attempt to knock a chunk off the $58 million a company says it is owed over a parking garage. [Sun-Times Watchdogs]

Bridge collapse
The company that owns the big-rig truck believed to have struck the Interstate 5 bridge in Washington state causing its collapse says everything about the truck and driver are above-board. [Seattle PI]

Student shoved
A video of a Dunbar Vocational Career Academy student allegedly being shoved down stairs has landed a security guard in hot water. [Sun-Times]

Diverted plane
Strange happenings in England where a plane from Pakistan was diverted due to a pair of unruly passengers. [SKY News]

UNO, one of the state's largest charter-school operators, paid an ex-judge $800 per hour for a new report on how it should reform itself. Maybe start by not paying anyone $800 an hour, guys. [Sun-Times]

Stopping sexual assaults in the military
President Barack Obama used a commencement speech to Naval Academy grads today to reiterate his call to curb sexual assaults in the military. [NPR]

Ventra rollback
That fee-laden system for the CTA's new Ventra payment system? At least some of the many bad options in the plan are being rolled back. [Sun-Times]

Weed is good for you
OK, maybe this article goes out of its way to say, "No, not really," but I'm choosing to ignore all of that. [Tribune]

Where's the (Twitter) beef?
Pop star Katy Perry and Chicago rapper Chief Keef had a brief exchange in which Perry said she didn't like a song that turned out to be by Keef, Keef threatened Perry with physical violence, so Perry apologized because, of course. [Sun-Times]

Hail To Da Coach
Mike Ditka will have his jersey number retired by the Bears at a ceremony this December, and Da Coach is feeling pretty good about it all. [Sun-Times]

Gritting it out
Luol Deng is opting to not undergo wrist surgery this off-season. [NBC 5]

O captain, my captain
With the Blackhawks on the brink of elimination, it's now or never for Jonathan Toews to step up in the captain's role, says Rick Morrissey. [Sun-Times]

The Bright One
Watchdog Chris Fusco tweeted updates from today's City Council panel hearing on the proposed changes to the city's stinker of a parking meter deal. [Live updates, Recap]

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

And finally
Sunday marks the return of Arrested Development, the little show that could, so catch up with our look at the show and swing by Sunday for the running diary we'll file while watching the new episodes. [Sun-Times]

The must-read news stories for May 23, 2013.

Andrew A. Nelles~Sun-Times Media

Daley's staff knew meter deal was bad news
To the surprise of absolutely no one, it seems then-Mayor Daley's staff knew the parking meter deal it had foisted on the city was a rotting pile of garbage. More specifically, emails obtained by the Sun-Times Watchdogs showed a flurry of angry emails between City Hall -- first Daley's administration, then Rahm's -- and Chicago Parking Meters LLC about the hit the city and its taxpayers would take over disability parking. Still, it would take from May 2010 -- the second year of the deal and when the issue was first noted -- until December 2011 -- when Rahm was in office -- for the issue to become public, yet another surprise punch in the face for city residents. The kicker: The city finally released the documents to the Sun-Times yesterday under cover of the CPS closings. [Sun-Times]

A day after the White House acknowledged the deaths of four American citizens due to drones, President Obama delivered a major speech outlining changes to come to the country's national security and counter-terrorism policies. [WaPo]

Last gasp to prevent school closures
Teachers and parents who opposed the Board of Education and Mayor Emanuel's controversial mass closing of CPS schools will have one last chance to stop the closures at a four-day hearing to be held in July. [Sun-Times]

Boy Scouts vote on gay ban
The Boy Scouts of America will vote today on whether to lift the ban on gay scouts. [Tribune]

New AG
The Chicago area is one step closer to a new Attorney General thanks to the nomination of Zachary Fardon, who doesn't look anything like actor Aaron Eckhart. [Sun-Times]

Swedish riots
Oh, by the way, there have been riots in Sweden all week. [The Guardian]

Chicago experiences shrinkage
Despite gaining 10,000 residents from July 2011 to July 2012, Chicago's overall growth has slowed dramatically. [Sun-Times]

Space cadet
Proving there is justice in the world, the Florida teen who had the law crack down on her when a science experiment in class went wrong has had the charges against her dropped and has been given a free trip to Space Camp by a retired astronaut. [ABC News]

Trump card
A jury found in favor of emotional black hole and real estate mogul Donald Trump in the lawsuit filed by a former Trump Tower condo owner. [Sun-Times]

Protecting legacies
Congress has passed a bill that punishes those found lying about military medals -- so your beer-soaked humblebrags to the nice lady at the bar just got more boring. [TPM]

O'Hare and Midway are finally emerging from the Stone Age and offering free WiFi. Except said free service will be extremely limited and you'll still have to pay several bucks an hour just to check in at the airport on Facebook from your laptop. [Sun-Times]

Pritzker pocket change
Looks like Penny Pritzker forgot about that extra $80 million she had just sitting around. Doesn't matter, as she's very likely headed toward an approval anyway. [Sweet, Sun-Times]

Bitter Gone Wild
Joe Francis apologized for saying the jurors who convicted him "should be lined up and shot," which is surprising because you'd think the guy who created "Girls Gone Wild" and was just convicted of imprisoning three women at his house would always take the high road. [L.A. Times]

Space smash
Look at this picture of two giant galaxies and realize that your train being packed means nothing in the grand scheme of things. [The Verge]

Zen Master on D-Rose: Be cool
Even Phil Jackson has weighed in on Derrick Rose -- because it matters less now than ever. [ESPN]

The Blackhawks face a must-win in Detroit tonight, and we celebrate their ability to make that comeback happen. [Sun-Times, ChicagoSide]

The Bright One
After yesterday's Board of Education farce, Mark Brown revisits his feelings on an appointed school board versus an elected one and finds he's had a change of heart. [column, video]

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

And finally
This guy's life-size X-Wing built out of LEGOs is better than anything you've ever built out of LEGOs. [Gizmodo]

The must-read news stories for May 22, 2013.



Erica Clark is removed from the Chicago Board of Education meeting after going over her designated 2 minutes of talking time and sitting on the ground Wednesday. | Jessica Koscielniak ~ Sun-Times

CPS votes to close 50 schools

After several hours of calls from parents, supporters and even aldermen to save their schools, the Chicago Board of Education made quick work Wednesday, voting to close 50 schools. Forty-eight schools will close in June. Canter Elementary will get a one-year reprieve, and Attucks Elementary will close at the end of the 2014-15 school year. The votes to shut the schools were unanimous for all but Von Humboldt Elementary, which passed on a 4-2 vote. The anti-climactic vote occurred after hours of testimony that got quite heated at times, with several protesters having to be carried out of the board's chambers. The crowd continued to shout even as CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett addressed the board, dropping a Martin Luther King Jr. quote in support of the closures. As of post time, protests continue around the board's building, but the damage was done as the stunned protesters quietly filed out of chambers. [Sun-Times, Live coverage and map, WBEZ]

Adieu, Urlacher
After parting ways with Da Bears earlier this year, Brian Urlacher today announced his retirement from football altogether, moving into what will likely be the next lucrative phase of his career: faking laughs on TV shows. [Sun-Times]

A British soldier was attacked and killed by two men in London in a brutal terror attack. Meanwhile in Florida, a man with ties to one of the Boston bombing suspects was shot and killed by authorities after trying to attack an FBI agent with a knife. [BBC, NBC]

Ex-student caught
A former Glenbard East student has been arrested after he bragged to friends about a plot to cause violence and mayhem. [Sun-Times]

OK cleanup
Another day of cleanup and searching for survivors in Oklahoma where President Barack Obama will visit on Sunday. [The Oklahoman, Tribune]

Food stamp explosion
Connected to the CPS closings is poverty, and that's a long thread in Illinois where food stamp usage has recently exploded. [The 312]

The Fifth
As expected, the "star" witness in this week's hearing looking into improper conduct by the IRS invoked the Fifth Amendment. [L.A. Times]

Palmer Hilton for sale
Got a spare $500 million? Then the Palmer House Hilton could be your own personal in-the-Loop playground. [Crain's]

Weiner watch
Anthony Weiner is back and running for mayor of New York City. [Gothamist]

Behind the mic
StoryCorps has opened a booth open to all Chicagoans at the Cultural Center where you can share your own story. [The Reader]

Sergio's poor taste
Shades of Fuzzy Zoeller as Sergio Garcia, already in a feud with Tiger Woods, made a "fried chicken" reference to Woods. [Sun-Times]

NFL shenanigans
So the NFL wants to crack down on the Saints for their "bounty" scandal and cut down on concussions all in the name of player safety but is totally OK with even more games? NFL commissioner Roger Goodell loves those dollar signs. [ESPN]

Over my dead body
Reinsdorf to family: When I die, sell the Sox, keep the Bulls. Not quite "Leave the gun, take the cannoli," but close. [Sun-Times]

The Bright One
Rick Morrissey weighs in on Brian Urlacher's retirement. [Sun-Times]

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

And finally
Looking for love on the subway? Try Prague. [The Verge]

The must-read news stories for May 21, 2013

Andrew Nelles/Sun-Times

The Eve of Closure for CPS
Tomorrow is Decision Day for the Chicago Board of Education who will vote on the CPS' list of over 50 proposed school closures and consolidations. As the big vote approaches, Mayor Emanuel has stood firm on his proposed list even as research by outlets like the Sun-Times, WBEZ, the Tribune and Catalyst have showed that the closings won't benefit students in the way the city and CPS claim. With the vote scheduled for tomorrow morning, be sure to check in with for the latest coverage, including live updates as the votes take place. [Sun-Times Final Bell, Sun-Times editorial, CBS 2, WBEZ, Catalyst]

Gay marriage battle heats up
As a bill to legalize gay marriage lingers in the statehouse, two powerful parties -- one local, one national -- weighed in on the matter. A survey by the Sun-Times of the statehouse's black caucus finds an internal split among members but with a large number of leaning-towards or undecideds. Meanwhile, former President Bill Clinton has joined others -- including President Obama, Gov. Quinn, and Mayor Emanuel -- in urging passing the bill. The bill has stalled since passing the Senate over three months ago; the current assembly is scheduled to adjourn on May 31. [Sun-Times, Politics Blog]

OK cleanup
Cleanup and rescue efforts continue in Moore, Okla., where a monstrous tornado killed at least 24 people and injured hundreds as it leveled part of the city. Meanwhile, survivors and observers continue to find rays of hope amid the destruction. [Sun-Times, KFOR, A Ray of Hope]

Pleading the Fifth
A top IRS official is vowing to plead the fifth under questioning related to the organization's alleged targeting of Tea Party groups. [Tribune]

A Southwest Side teen has been charged in the 2011 shooting of a pizza delivery person after his DNA matched that found in a Chicago Bulls hat found at the murder scene. [Sun-Times]

A woman in Norwich, England bragged about hitting a cyclist with her car -- which helped the police locate her. [Jalopnik]

Blah blah Chief Keef blah blah something dumb blah marijuana blah blah arrested. [Sun-Times]

3D printing pro?
While 3D printing is leading to concerns about weapon manufacturing, NASA could soon help end hunger by churning out 3D-printed food. []

Grub Street is shuttering its local-oriented sites in favor of a national, catch-all site. [Gapers Block]

"Baby, you got a stew going"
Arrested Development Week continues with a look at the top cameos and guest star appearances. [Daily Sizzle]

Guilty plea
The man accused of murdering a Bears fan in Jacksonville, Fla., before last season's Jaguars-Bears game has entered a guilty plea. [ESPN]

Bold Sox
Have the Pale Hose got their groove back? [Sun-Times]

Belly Up
Farewell, belly putters. [Irish Times]

The Bright One
The Blackhawks have their backs to the wall for the first time all season as Rick Morrissey explores how the team can fight back in Game Four tomorrow night. [Sun-Times]

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

And finally
Unless you want trouble, don't go touching people with a banana that's standing in as a penis. [Gawker]

The must-read news stories for May 20, 2013

Photo of City Hall protesters on May 20, 2013 by Jon Seidel/Sun-Times

School Daze: The Final Countdown
Protesters opposing the proposed CPS closings took to the streets for the last day of three days of planned protests before Wednesday's Board of Education vote on the closures. Some, though, promised to create "chaos" and did just that by causing a ruckus at City Hall, which led to a handful of arrests. With Penny Pritzker now gone from the BoE and on her way to D.C. to help President Obama, there are only six board members left, meaning a vote of at least 4-2 is needed to approve the closings. Meanwhile, two big stories to prep you for Wednesdays vote: first, the Final Bell series from the Sun-Times, which explores the routes students will have to take to their new schools and the dangers they could face; and then WBEZ's excellent fact-check of CPS' claims about the upcoming closings. [Sun-Times, Final Bell, WBEZ]

Slammed by storms
Oklahoma is digging out from under debris after the state was raked by deadly tornadoes yesterday. More storms are already firing up across the state with one very large tornado slamming Moore, OK, hitting a school directly and leveling a large portion of the town. The storms will continue and could stretch across the Midwest into Illinois later tonight. [KFOR live video, BBC, Accuweather]

Red alert
It was apparently fairly smooth sailing for the first morning rush during the Red Line's historic five-month shutdown, but who knows what's to come? [Sun-Times Red Line resource page]

DOJ targets another journalist
So as not to make their investigation of AP reporters seem politically unfair, the DOJ also apparently snooped on a Fox News reporter, because violating civil liberties should be a fair and balanced endeavor. [Washington Post]

Visit from Newtown
Several parents of Newtown victims spoke to Illinois legislators over a bill in front of state lawmakers that would simply reduce the number of bullets in a magazine. The NRA objects, of course, presumably because 10 bullets isn't enough for ripping a deer to shreds while hunting, because why else would need a gun with a magazine that holds that many bullets? [Sun-Times]

Ridiculous Florida news of the day
18-year-old Kaitlyn Hunt was arrested for having a consenual same-sex relationship with a fellow student; charges were filed by the other girl's parents as soon as Hunt turned 18. [CBS Tampa, Facebook]

Deadly crash
Five people are dead and six others hurt after a downstate bus crash earlier this afternoon. [Sun-Times]

Someone finally stood up to black hole of humanity Donald Trump, and it was an 87-year-old woman. [Sun-Times]

Shift in poverty
More and more data is showing that the suburbs now house more poverty-level residents than urban areas. [Tribune]

Get stuffed (up)
I, for one, welcome our new pollen-coated overlords. [Sun-Times]

Delicious merger
Grubhub and Seamless are joining forces to make your life as a hermit who never steps outside to see sunlight that much easier. [Crain's]

Hawks look to rebound
After Saturday's Game Two debacle at the UC that evened their series with the Red Wings to 1-1, the Blackhawks hope to get back on track in Detroit tonight with Game Three. Bonus: Stalberg is back in the lineup. [Sun-Times, ESPN]

Everyone has an opinion
Can we leave Derrick Rose alone yet, please? [CBS 2]

The Bright One
The Watchdogs take a closer look at Metra police officers and their steep OT pay. [Sun-Times, previously]

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

And finally
We kick off "Arrested Development" Week with a look at our 10 favorite recurring jokes from the series. [Sun-Times]

The must-read news stories for May 17, 2013.

rush_may17.JPG AP Photo/Elaine Thompson

Medical marijuana puff, puff, passes State Senate
Even as the gay marriage bill awaits a vote in the state House, the state Senate has voted on another controversial bill -- medical marijuana -- approving it by a 35-21 margin and sending the measure to Gov. Quinn. It was mostly a party line vote, but the Democrats were joined by three GOP members in voting the legislation through: Senators. Pamela Althoff (R-McHenry), Jim Oberweis (R-Sugar Grove) and Dave Syverson (R-Rockford). The Governor's office had no comment Friday afternoon but Quinn has previously said he's "open-minded" about the legislation. The bill, if passed into law, would allow for 22 growers and 60 dispensaries across the state. Meanwhile, Oberweis says this is pushing him towards broader legalization (as well as the chance for a new tax revenue for the state), adding, "To me, there's not a great deal of difference between marijuana and alcohol." [Sun-Times, Oberweis]

Preck rips Rahm
In an exclusive interview with the Sun-Times, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle had some sharp words for Mayor Rahm Emanuel's proposed school closures, positioning her to either be his harshest critic or to maybe be a rival in a 2015 run, if you want to make some fun speculation. [Sun-Times]

IRS panel
Congress has moved swiftly with this IRS controversy, convening a panel by the House Ways and Means Committee. Now if only we could get Congress to move so swiftly on the sequester budget cuts, gun control, and everything else. [WaPo]

Canada cracking up?
Gawker and the Toronto Star report having viewed a video -- being sold by a pair of Somali drug kingpins -- of Toronto's very controversial mayor Rob Ford smoking crack. The resulting circus is about what you'd expect, particularly the Taiwan animation video which has given us the literal image of the greatest Canadian crack party of all time. [Sun-Times]

And now begins the refugee crisis stage in Syria. [BBC]

The CTA hopefully learned some lessons from this spring's Wells Street Bridge shutdown as the agency prepares to close the South Side portion of the Red Line for five months, starting Sunday. Be sure to share your Tweets and photos with us by tweeting #CTARedAlert. [Sun-Times]

The Powerball is over $600 million for its jackpot so hurry up and buy a ticket so you can get disappointed you won't get to quit your job next week. [CNN]

Police now say that the woman who claimed she had $200,000 in jewelry taken from her during a robbery on the Mag Mile this week was faking it. [Sun-Times]

I'll Tumblr for ya
It looks like it'll be Facebook versus Yahoo! in the battle for Tumblr. [Tribune]

I, for one, welcome our new ant overlords. [Univ. of Texas]

Kind of close call
Don't worry, the next asteroid fly-by will still be several million miles away. [L.A. Times]

Wheeling in to town
Laura Stevenson chatted with us before she rolled into town for a show this weekend. [Sun-Times]

Cards Against Humanity
How eight nerds brought a popular card game to life. [Grid]

Carlos Controversy
As Carlos Marmol goes on the defensive over an assault charge, Rick Telander hopes the young pitcher has learned a lesson. [Sun-Times]

Phil weighs in
For Phil Jackson, the equation is simple: Jordan > Kobe. [ESPN]

Stalberg scratch
Viktor Stalberg is still looking for a way back to the ice for the Blackhawks. [Sun-Times]

The Bright One
The warm weather is finally here so it's time to start planning summer. Luckily, The Reader's guide to summer is here. [The Reader]

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

And finally
Let this be a lesson, politicians: be really careful about what you "like" on Facebook. [KTAR]

The must-read news stories for May 16, 2013

AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Well, it's been quite a week for our commander in chief. But the White House is now on the defensive as the IRS commissioner is out (though he apparently was going to quit anyway, so, OK) and replaced by senior budget adviser Danny Werfel. The President also gave Attorney General Eric Holder the dreaded "vote of confidence" today, too, so let's get the over/under going on how many days until he's gone. And who will replace him? Well, our own Michael Sneed hears it's going to be Massachusetts governor Deval Patrick, who gave a great DNC speech last year and got a lot of positive press after his role in handling the recent Boston bombing response. So here we go. [Sun-Times, Sneed, WaPo]

Texas tornado
Cleanup has started in North Texas after a tornado struck the town of Granbury, killing six people. [Dallas Morning News]

Another bright life dimmed
A former three-sport start from Proviso East has been left clinging to life after being shot in the head. [Sun-Times]

Incriminating Note
A month later and we've finally learned that Boston bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev apparently scrawled a note claiming responsibility for the bombing inside the boat he took shelter in during the ginormous manhunt for him. []

Roughed up
It's been a bad 24 hours to be downtown as a man in his 80s was roughed up and robbed at the Dearborn Blue Line, while a woman was robbed of cash and $200,000 worth of jewelry on the Mag Mile yesterday. [Sun-Times, Sun-Times]

NOLA shooting
Multiple suspects have been taken into custody by New Orleans police stemming from last weekend's Mothers Day shooting during a parade. []

Mayor Emanuel's makeover plans aren't limited to McCormick Place; Navy Pier is going to get in on the act, too. [Sun-Times]

File under: Crap
The U.S. Marshals Service has managed to lose track of two former witness protection participants, which is bad enough, except these particular guys were actually known or suspected terrorists, so sleep tight, America! [Business Week]

Koch Classic
While the Tribune Company president tried to calm fears over the Koch brothers buying some of the company's newspapers, others are taking matters into their own hands to keep the conservative duo's hands out of journalism. [Bloomberg, Gapers Block]

Good(ish) News
The state's unemployment rate shrank a tad, down to 9.3 percent in April from 9.5 percent in March. [Crain's]

Ba-da Byng!
Patrick Kane and his mullet are finalists for the NHL's Lady Byng trophy, not to be confused with the Lady Gaga trophy,  which is awarded to the league's worst-dressed player. [Sun-Times]

Want a chance to see the best young pitcher in the majors? Head to Wrigley tomorrow where Matt Harvey will take the hill for the Mets against the Cubs and, hopefully, continue to carry my fantasy baseball team. []

The Bright One
Now that their season is done, Rick Telander explores the Bulls' murky future with (presumably) Derrick Rose back at the helm. [Sun-Times]

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

And finally
It appears as if we've uncovered both a possibly lost city in Honduras and water in Canada that's 1.5 billion years old. Science! [Live Science, NPR]

The must-read news stories for May 15, 2013

Brian Jackson~Sun-Times

Black Hole of Humanity and real estate "mogul" Donald Trump was in Chicago today to testify in the lawsuit filed by an 87-year-old woman who claimed she was ripped off in her purchase of two condo units in the downtown Trump Tower. During testimony, in which Trump quipped, "I don't want to be braggadocious," the mogul verbally tangled with attorney Shelly Kulwin, prompting judge Amy St. Eve to crack down on both of them. Said Judge St. Eve: "This is not a boxing ring! You've got to stop it. Do you think the jury likes this? If you think the jury likes it, I can assure you they don't -- you're wasting their time." After testifying, Trump turned his ire at the woman who filed the suit, saying, "This is a disgrace. She's trying to rip me off. She really is. She's trying to rip me off. She concocted the whole situation." [Sun-Times, Tribune]

Two days after the story broke that the Department of Justice obtained two months worth of phone records for AP reporters and editors under murky circumstances, the White House is very publicly backing a press shield law, The Free Flow of Information Act, which might have prevented such a move. The FFIA was killed in 2008 by a Senate filibuster. [WaPo]

Red Line Shutdown
Will you be affected by the extensive South Side shutdown of the Red Line which starts Sunday? Share your experiences and photos on Twitter with #RedAlert.

Maine West charges
Charges were formally filed against former Maine West soccer coach Michael Divincenzo in connection with last year's allegations of hazing. [Sun-Times]

Because there's nothing better to spend their time on, House Republicans plan to vote to repeal the country's health care reform laws (aka Obamacare) for a 37th time. So far, they're 0-for-36. [N.Y. Times]

Retiree blowback
Apparently, some people were angry with Mayor Emanuel's decision to roll back a subsidy for retiree health care after he announced that new DePaul arena. [Sun-Times]

Bowing out
State Rep. Ron Sandack has backed out of the running to be the new chairman of the state's GOP because his support of gay marriage would have ruffled too many feathers. [WBEZ]

Heading to court
The Chicago Teachers Union is filing a civil rights lawsuit over proposed school closings. [Sun-Times]

Gaming the net
The possibility of gambling over the Internet could be a new thing in Illinois soon. Not that anyone in Illinois does that already. Nope. Not at all. [Crain's]

Bad idea
I guess I shouldn't be surprised that a guy with "cop killer" tattooed on his face has been charged with threatening officers, right? [Sun-Times]

Makin' copies
Cloning yourself took a big step toward becoming a real thing. [BBC]

On track
The CTA rolled out a nice upgrade to its train tracker. [Sun-Times]

Check, inmate
Rocky IV it's not, but this story on Russian inmates playing Cook County inmates in chess is still pretty neat. [CBS 2]

Teaching moment
Here are some lessons the city should heed on public financing of stadiums as it heads into the new DePaul arena. [Chicago Mag]

Big Ten branching out
The Big Ten is plotting to fight bowl fatigue for its football teams but will still feel inferior to the SEC. [Tribune]

Stal-ing out
No Viktor Stalberg for the Blackhawks tonight and it's likely because of a rift with the coaches. The puck drops tonight at 7:30 and is televised on NBC Sports Network, if you can find that on your cable lineup. [Sun-Times]

End of the road?
The Bulls have their backs to the wall against the Heat tonight in Game Five and will once again be without Rose, Deng and, likely, Hinrich. But good news for Rose: He ranks high on SI's wealthiest athletes list. [Sun-Times, ESPN]

The Bright One
In the wake of yesterday's announcement by Angelina Jolie about her preemptive double mastectomy, Mary Mitchell shares her own story of her fight with breast cancer. [Sun-Times]

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

And finally
Deadspin's Drew Magary went looking for normality at the recent children's National Scrabble Championship. [Deadspin]

The must-read news stories for May 14, 2013

McCormick Place west building // Brian Jackson/Sun-Times

City dipping into TIFs for new DePaul arena
It's been less than 24 hours since the Sun-Times broke the news about the mayor's proposal for a new $300 million project that includes two new hotels and a stadium for DePaul at McCormick Place, and more details have emerged as has plenty of skepticism. The stadium would be built using $55 million in TIF money, $70 million from a McPier bond fund composed of hotel taxes, and $70 million kicked in by DePaul. But skeptics point to the fact that DePaul would host only 18 home games in basketball at the arena, making it seem like an expensive proposition after the United Center offered its services to the school for free for10 years. [Sun-Times]

Big Mess in the White House
It's not a good sign when the president's administration has to hold back-to-back press conferences to address two different growing scandals. Attorney General Eric Holder has ordered a probe into the IRS' targeting of conservative groups, and the White House Press Secretary spent most of his daily briefing addressing the Dept. of Justice's obtaining AP phone records on the sly. As these two new incidents come into focus, so does the Obama administration's issues with civil liberties and privacy. [WaPo, Politico, Sun-Times, Sun-Times Politics Blog]

Seeing red
An audit of the city's red light cameras by the city's inspector general shows that the available data can't be used to prove if the controversial cameras actually decrease wrecks or if they're even located at the most dangerous intersections. [Sun-Times]

Spy vs. Spy
The Russian government has captured an American diplomat it claims was trying to recruit a Russian intelligence officer into the CIA, which indicates the Cold War didn't die when Rocky beat Drago. [L.A. Times]

Safe Passage
The Chicago Fire Department will amp up its presence on Safe Passage routes for CPS students who make transitions to new schools during the first three weeks of class this fall. [Sun-Times]

The cost of killing
CPD chief Garry McCarthy says that each murder costs the city of Chicago $5 million. [DNA Info]

Vanceko latest
At a hearing today, the presiding judge in the Vanecko case indicated a likely January 2014 start for the trial. [Sun-Times]

Excess baggage
Do you get mad about the steep baggage fees charged by airlines? You'll be even madder to know that the airlines made $3.5 billion off of said fees last year. [Tribune]

Community policing with Google hacks
Local hackers are teaming with Google to help improve community policing in neighborhoods. [WBEZ]

Party in the parks
Mayor Rahm Emanuel has tabbed $750,000 of leftover cash from NATO for public schools fun nights in the city's neighborhood parks. [Sun-Times]

Angelina's choice
Actress Angelina Jolie has undergone a voluntary double mastectomy to get ahead of a high risk of breast cancer and shared her story with the N.Y. Times. [N.Y. Times]

Wrigley PR blitz
With the renovations of Wrigley Field coming down the pipe and more night games on tap, most Wrigleyville residents are prepping themselves for the new normal, and the Cubs have launched a website for a PR blitz. [Crain's,]

Twisting the "Dagger"?
Should the Blackhawks retire "Chelsea Dagger" as their theme song? [Sun-Times]

Bright One
If you haven't yet, please be sure to bookmark Homicide Watch. [Homicide Watch]

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

And finally
No matter how mad you are about the aforementioned baggage fee item, don't sing Whitney Houston songs non-stop on your airplane or you will be told, "buh-bye." [KCTV]

The must-read news stories for May 13, 2013.


Taking back our meters
The latest evolution of the parking meter mess that Mayor Richard M. Daley and his foul rubber stamp of a City Council stuck us with is in front of the current City Council right now. Mayor Rahm Emanuel's allies in the City Council have quickly assembled at the mayor's side but there's more push-back coming from River North's Ald. Brendan Reilly. Of course, it's Reilly's ward that's going to get hosed the most by the mayor's tweaks -- no free Sundays and extra hours of meter time -- so it makes sense he's the most upset. So upset that he's actually trying to find a way to get the meters back under city control. Reilly's been meeting with "municipal bond experts" to see what options there are, options that would include paying the meter company well more than the city received for the meters. But  that's a whole hell of a lot of money the meter leasing company would be giving up, making it highly unlikely they'd have any part of the deal. [Sun-Times]

Mayor to announce new DePaul Stadium
Last second breaking news: Emanuel is preparing to announce a $300 million DePaul stadium plan for McCormick Place. [Sun-Times]

AP phone claim
The Associated Press is claiming the Justice Department obtained phone records from the media organization in a "massive and unprecedented intrusion." [AP]

NOLA's bloody Mother's Day
Officials continue to investigate yesterday's shooting at a Mother's Day second line parade in New Orleans that injured 19. They released surveillance footage that shows the gunman. [Surveillance footage, NOLA. com]

Party bus-ted
A limo driver who was arrested for suspicion of DUI while transporting nearly two dozen students to and from a suburban prom is blaming mechanical issues for his erratic driving. [Sun-Times]

Fallen Chicagoan
A Chicago man working as a "private sailor" was shot and killed while trying to break up a mugging in Nassau, Bahamas. [Tribune]

Obama denounces IRS targeting
President Barack Obama denounced the tactics that the IRS took targeting right-wing and Tea Party groups, though, ironically, those are the groups that want to work the hardest to avoid taxes, yet I digress. It still ain't right. [WaPo]

Daley double
Illinois still has a chance at another Daley in power as Bill Daley told us he hasn't ruled out a run for governor in 2014. [Sun-Times Politics Blog]

Rolling back life for juvies
Nearly a year after the U.S. Supreme Court made it unconstitutional, it looks like Illinois lawmakers are getting somewhere in rolling back life sentences for juveniles. [WBEZ]

Call for support
Civil Rights leader Julian Bond and former Chicago Bear Brendon Ayanbadejo have lent their voices to robocalls calling for support of the gay marriage bill that is awaiting a vote by the State House. [Sun-Times]

Another weekend, another batch of dumb kids crowding as many people as they can into a very small space to "party." [DNA Info]

Bloomberg has been busted for allowing reporters to access subscribers' personal information and login activity to help advance news stories. [N.Y. Times]

Insanity plea
Aurora, Colo., shooting suspect James Holmes looks to be angling for a "not guilty by reasons of insanity" plea. [L.A. Times]

Tasty Taste
James Beard Award-winning chef Paul Kahan is among the big names who will be chefs for this year's Taste of Chicago. [Sun-Times]

New Menu for McD's
McDonald's has announced three new incarnations of its popular obesity on a bun quarter-pounder. [Crain's]

Bye Bye, Barbara
Barbara Walters has announced her impending retirement from television, coming in the summer of 2014, after which we will no longer have any idea of who the most fascinating people are. [Gawker]

Locking down Rizzo
Anthony Rizzo got real paid. []

A still-depleted Bulls squad looks to bounce back from a pair of rough games and even up the series with the Heat tonight in Game Four. Oh, and the calls to trade Derrick Rose? Stop it. Now. [Sun-Times, Tickets, Morrissey on Rose]

Clipping Wings
We know the Blackhawks will take on the rival Red Wings in the next round of the NHL playoffs and we now know the series starts Wednesday night at the United Center. [Blackhawks]

The Bright One
Dan Mihalopoulos digs into some audio and explores how UNO made Wall Street execs nervous. [Sun-Times, Audio]

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

And finally
In case you missed it on social media this weekend, an astronaut singing "Space Oddity" on board the space station is amazing. [Sun-Times]

The must-read news stories for May 10, 2013.

rush_may10.JPG Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

The Bulls finally return home after a week of games on the road. Tonight they welcome the Miami Heat to the United Center for Game Three of their Eastern Conference semifinal series. The Bulls are coming off that thrashing and flipping at the hands of the Heat in Game Two and as testy as that one was, things could be just as interesting tonight with Joey "Look at me!" Crawford heading the referee crew. But there's a silver lining: Thanks to that Game One win, the Bulls still hold a home court advantage for the rest of the series, even if they are without Deng, Hinrich, and Rose once again tonight. (Yeah, that dumb, unfounded speculation turned out to be as false as expected.) But the Bulls still have Nate, and we've apologized for ever doubting you, Nate. [Sun-Times, ChicagoSide video]

Even after 17 days and as the death toll climbed to over 1,000, rescuers still found and saved a woman from the wreckage of the collapsed building near Dhaka, Bangladesh, a small miracle in the midst of so much grief. [NPR]

Charges in Ambrose murder
A Chicago man has been arrested and charged with the murder of 19-year-old Kevin Ambrose, who was shot and killed earlier this week outside a Green Line station while trying to help a friend. [Sun-Times]

Smooth move
Because apparently the GOP doesn't have enough reasons to hate taxes, the IRS is giving them more by admitting they unfairly targeted conservative groups. [WaPo]

Cleared to go
Shermain Miles, who has been arrested 396 times, has been cleared to stand trial for an alleged attack on Ald. James Cappleman last summer. [Sun-Times]

Prosecutors are likely to seek the death penalty in the case of Ariel Castro, charged with the kidnapping and rape of three women who he allegedly held captive for more than 10 years. Meanwhile, DNA tests revealed that the young girl found along with the three women in Castro's home is indeed his biological daughter. [, Tribune]

Man blamed for woman's death
Chicagoan Timothy Jones has been charged for the death of a woman who was struck and killed by police during a high-speed pursuit of Jones. [Sun-Times]

Hitting wilding behavior
A new bill before Gov. Pat Quinn toughens prison sentences for those convicted of wilding (also incorrectly referred to as "flash mob") behavior. [Sun-Times]

Everybody panic!
Carbon dioxide levels on our planet are at their highest levels ever. But, no, climate change is totally a socialist myth. [N.Y. Times]

A series of bills introduced in Congress look to soften restrictions in the DMCA for lawful exercises. [ArsTechnica]

Space nerd
Every meteorite since 861 A.D. [The Guardian]

Hawks snubbed
Blackhawks Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane were snubbed as finalists for the Hart Trophy, but something tells me that after moving on to the Western Conference semifinals, their eyes are on a much bigger trophy. [ESPN Chicago]

Big shoes to fill
Can two Bears rookies fill the hole left by Brian Urlacher? [Sun-Times]

The Bright One
Ah, Cicero, you never fail to entertain. Mark Brown looks at the town's pitch to lure the Cubs away from Chicago and Rosemont. [Sun-Times]

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

And finally
Your pet is good for your health and dogs are better for you than cats, thus ending that argument forever. [Reuters]

The must-read news stories for May 9, 2013

AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta

GOP Battle Royale
With Pat Brady stepping down, it's a wide open race to become the next chair of the State of Illinois' GOP. The Republican State Central Committee firmed up nine finalists for the position, only one of them a woman and six of them white males. One of those white males is Joe Walsh, the former Tea Party congressman-turned-radio-host. Prominent Republican Ron Gidwitz blew up when told about the finalists, telling the Sun-Times, "The state central committee -- a faction of the state central committee -- is destroying any chance that the Republican party has in 2014," which is still far more nuanced and rational than just about anything Joe Walsh has ever said. More finalists could be added before the final vote takes place once the committee confirms the interest of other potential nominees. [Sun-Times Politics Blog]

Cleveland Update
Ariel Castro was arraigned today and ordered held on $8 million bond for four counts of kidnapping and three charges of rape in connection with the three women rescued from his home earlier this week. []

Competing pension plans
The State Senate passed a pension plan today that is a completely separate, competing pension plan than the one backed by Mike Madigan and already passed by the State House. [Sun-Times Politics Blog]

Boston update
The House Committee for the Department of Homeland Security held their first meeting on the Boston Marathon bombings today in which the Boston police commissioner claimed the Feds never shared any information with local law enforcement. In other Boston news, the body of Tamerlan Tsarnaev has finally been buried at an undisclosed location in Massachusetts. [,]

Off the rails
A Red Line train derailed near the Armitage Brown Line stop this afternoon, which led to a shutdown of trains between Belmont and the Loop for a spell. As of just after 3 p.m., the CTA reported trains were moving again with residual delays. [Sun-Times]

All of the lights
The city spent $3.4 million of TIF money on some weird looking lights on Congress Avenue, because it's not like we had anything else we need to spend money on. Like schools. Or police officers. [CBS 2]

Flipped off
The Miami Heat fan who became famous overnight for flipping off Bulls player Joakim Noah during last night's game is already infamous for a host of reasons that have nothing to do with basketball. [Sun-Times]

Hacking hit
A cyber gang managed to hack into the accounts of prepaid debit cards and drain $45 million in funds from those cards in a matter of minutes meaning that heist movies in the future will be much, much shorter. [WaPo]

Seeking relief
Gov. Quinn has formally asked President Obama for federal relief for 11 counties after last month's floods. [Sun-Times]

The future is dangerous
The blueprints for a 3D-printed gun have reached over 100,000 downloads, which is great because we don't have anything else to worry about as far as guns are concerned. [BBC]

Flying jolt
Intelligentsia is coming to O'Hare -- a perfect match of waiting for that fancy drip coffee while your flight is delayed -- but it will be under a different name. [Crain's]

Congress woes subside
No, not the U.S. Congress but rather the Congress Theater, which got the okay from the city today to keep operating as owners worked to clear up violations. [WBEZ]

Defending cyclists
Today, John Kass, who has become notorious for belittling the city's cyclists, wrote a column that treated cycling accidents with an all-too-flip manner, and Whet Moser wrote a perfectly sculpted response rebuking Kass' attitude. [Tribune (requires subscription), Chicago Mag]

Sub-power play
The Blackhawks hope to close out their first-round playoff series against the Minnesota Wild tonight, but they haven't helped themselves with their power-play performance. [Sun-Times]

Haters gonna hate
Meanwhile, Jonathan Toews dismissed a claim by the Wild's coach that the Hawks were cheating on faceoffs. [ESPN]

Yes, Illinois is among the states whose highest-paid public official is a football coach. [Deadspin]

The Bright One
Mick Dumke has a terrific look at the city's addiction to guns. [The Reader]

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

And finally
Sorry, Texas, just give yourselves over to the giant snails. We'll remember you fondly. [NBC News]

The must-read news stories for May 8, 2013


Burke gets in on UNO game
The battle between the state of Illinois and the United Neighborhood Organization, the state's largest charter school organizer, has a new City Council flavor thanks to the involvement of Ald. Ed Burke (14th). Burke, playing the "Won't someone think of the children??" card has asked Gov. Quinn to restart the state flow of money to UNO so construction on an UNO charter school in Burke's ward that was recently halted can resume. Quinn ordered the funding stopped after Sun-Times reports indicated some financial shenanigans were afoot at UNO, but Burke has been quick to defend UNO head Juan Rangel, saying any improprieties were surely a mistake. Burke and Quinn are also political and financial allies, giving Burke's intervention an interesting spin. [Sun-Times]

More Cleveland details
More details are emerging in the case of the three Cleveland women held captive for about 10 years -- including that they were kept bound with ropes and chains, and more details about the birth of Amanda Berry's daughter. [, The Atlantic]

Charges in 1979 murder
Strange happenings in Inverness today, where charges were filed today against Jacquelyn Greco for arranging the 1979 murder of her husband. [Sun-Times]

Motorists vs Cyclists
The battle between motorists and cyclists got a boost from Mayor Emanuel who, fair enough, wants to fine offenders of both vehicles equally. [Sun-Times]

Heated Bengahzi hearing
Another House committee hearing on the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attacks got under way today and, as expected, kicked off with some heated exchanges. [WaPo]

Must read
Slate has published excerpts from the memoirs/diary of a Guantanamo Bay detainee. [Sun-Times Politics Blog]

Arias verdict
The sordid trial of Jodi Arias came to an end today, with Arias being found guilty in the murder of her boyfriend. [CNN]

In mourning
Family and friends are remembering a local woman who died after a choking incident at Wrigley Field. [Sun-Times]

Heat is on the CPD
Yes, evidence suggests the notion that crime increases along with the temperature. [Crime vs The Weather via Chicago Mag]

CNN's newest show will put Chicago in the spotlight, because no one knows much about our mysterious city. [Sun-Times]

Rodman reaches out
The Diplomat No One Asked For is back at it: Dennis Rodman is asking Kim Jong Un to "do me a solid" by releasing imprisoned American Kenneth Bae. [Tribune]

New CTA ad restrictions
The CTA will no longer display political campaign ads or adult film ads. In other news, the CTA apparently displayed adult film ads. [Sun-Times]

Yes, it has ketchup
Everyone knows the Brits have a unique sense of humor, but a McDonald's Chicago Burger? That's just twisted. [Chicagoist]

Good news for fans of the Portage Theater as the building has attained landmark status. [DNA Info]

Moving south
Vienna Beef is contemplating a move to the South Side, hold the relish. [Crain's]

Another game in the Bulls' improbable playoff run tips off tonight in Miami, and King James may be forced to guard 5-foot-9 Nate Robinson. [ESPN]

Nighttime at Wrigley
Mayor Emanuel officially introduced local legislation to approve more night games for the Cubs at Wrigley, meaning more opportunities to watch the offense blow great starts by the pitching staff under the lights. [Sun-Times]

Grant on Derrick
Speaking of the Bulls, Grant Hill, who knows what it's like to face injury and expectation, weighs in on Derrick Rose's critics. [Deadspin]

The Bright One
Homicide Watch looks at the reaction to the death of Kevin Ambrose, a 19-year-old theater student gunned down last night outside a Green Line station. [Homicide Watch, YouTube, ChuffPo]

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

And finally
Today's feel-good story about a cat who made its way home after Hurricane Sandy. Bonus points for its name. []

The must-read news stories for Tuesday, May 7, 2013


A sheriff deputy stands outside a house where three women escaped Tuesday, May 7, 2013, in Cleveland. AP Photo/Tony Dejak

Cleveland escape
Details of an extraordinary story continue to slowly emerge out of Cleveland, where three women escaped from a house where they were held captive for 10 years. Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus and Michelle Knight had all disappeared around 10 years ago in separate incidents but were found in the same house yesterday when, with the assistance of a neighbor, Berry managed escaped, along with a young girl who apparently is her daughter. Authorities are still piecing details together, but three brothers, including the man Berry said had held her captive, have been arrested in connection with the womens' kidnapping. Meanwhile, the neighbor, Charles Ramsey, has become a minor celebrity on his own thanks to his candid interview with a reporter after the rescue. [, Sun-Times, New Yorker]

School Daze
CPS took a hit when hearing officers opposed the closing of 10 of the 54 schools the system wants to close, and are also dealing with a new low in trust after admitting its overstatement of potential savings from the closings. [Sun-Times, WBEZ]

Military sex assaults increase
A report released by the Pentagon today showed a sharp increase in military service members who were sexually assaulted during the 2012 fiscal year over the previous year. [N.Y. Times]

Bye-bye Brady
Pat Brady is out as the head of the state's GOP but he goes out saying he has no regrets about voicing support for the state's current gay marriage bill, which is still under consideration. [Sun-Times Politics Blog]

AFL issues
The new owner of the Chicago Rush has quite a list of previous "experience." [Sun-Times]

Paper chase
In an attempt to improve wait times, O'Hare will be the first U.S. airport to go paperless for passengers going through customs, making it easier to sneak past all those cheap bottles of absinthe you bring back from Europe. [Crain's]

Susannah speaks
Susannah Collins, former CSN sports anchor, issued a statement on her recent controversial firing. [Sun-Times]

Record high
The DOW closed around 15,000 for the first time ever today, which means the economy is totally fixed, right? [Tribune]

Bypassing renovation
Looks like the Western-Belmont overpass isn't going anywhere after all. [DNA Info]

Mothers' Day
Chicago artist Chris Ware created this week's New Yorker cover, which brings a modern twist to Mother's Day. [Sun-Times]

Ray Harruhausen, legendary Hollywood special effects master, has died at the age of 92. [L.A. Times, Nerdist]

Joakim Noah is telling the haters to hush up on Derrick Rose, while Hinrich and Deng are likely out for tomorrow night's Game Two. [ESPN, Sun-Times]

The Bright One
Rick Morrissey looks back at the Bulls' amazing Game One in Miami on Monday night. [Sun-Times]

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

And finally
The Dalai Lama is the world's biggest bandwagon sports fan. [Deadspin]

The must-read news stories for May 3, 2013.

Rush_May3.JPG AP Photo/Jeff Roberson

Play (more night) ball!
As part of the ongoing wrangling over the Wrigley Field renovations, a new ordinance to be proposed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel will raise the ceiling on Cubs night games from 30 to 40. The team would then schedule 35 night games, leaving a built-in flexibility of five more games to be scheduled should MLB decided to schedule those games for a primetime television audience (which, let's face it, will likely happen because even if the team is lousy, the Cubs are still a big national television draw). There are plenty of other stipulations -- not counting playoff games against the limit, six Friday games with a 3:05 p.m. start -- but it basically boils down to more night baseball at Wrigley. There's still plenty of negotiating to take place between the team, city and neighborhood, of course. But obviously no one should worry about any additional night games in October this year. [Sun-Times]

Not so fast for teen terror suspect
A day after he was prepared to release teenage terror suspect Abdella Ahmed Tounisi to home confinement, a judge has now changed his mind and ordered Tounisi remain in jail. [Sun-Times]

Positive job movement
The national unemployment rate dropped to 7.5 percent thanks to the addition of 165,000 jobs in April and upward revisions of jobs added for February and March. The good news pushed the Dow above 15,000 points for the first time ever. [Bloomberg]

Kirk speaks out
Sen. Mark Kirk made his first public appearance in Illinois today since his stroke last year, answering reporters questions. This came after a press appearance last night in which he called on Chicago to go after the Gangster Disciples street gang hard. [Tribune, DNA Info]

Burning cash
The CPD succeeded in keeping the murder rate down during the first third of the year, aided by an unusually cool spring. But in doing so, the department burned through two-thirds of its overtime budget for the entire year and it's not even warm yet. [Sun-Times]

CPS oops
Speaking of bad budgetary math, CPS tried to quietly slip by an adjustment to the savings coming from school closures, a reduction of more than $120 million. [WBEZ]

Blue Line trouble
Things got sketchy on the Blue Line earlier today when a body was found on the tracks, shutting down Blue Line service and prompting a police investigation. [Sun-Times]

Swift exit
A fascinating story about the government's process of swift deportations without judicial hearings. [Chicago Reporter]

Buddy breakfast
After all the fuss over the last week, the players form the Payton Prep and Brooks Prep baseball teams got together for a breakfast this morning. [Sun-Times]

Number 10
Rhode Island has become the 10th state in the U.S. to legalize gay marriage. [ABC News]

Another reason to eat pizza
Because scientists say it can cut cancer risks. Is there anything this amazing food can't do? [BBC]

Think you may have gotten food poisoning and want 311 to look into it? There's an app for that. [Gapers Block]

The Cincinnati Reds auctioned off a game-used baseball smeared with Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija's blood, because why not? It fetched $130.01. [ESPN]

Wild in Goal
The Minnesota Wild will have to put backp goalie Josh Harding back in net against the Blackhawks in tonight's Game Two. [Sun-Times]

Cutler multitasks
It's the offseason; Cutler can balance life however he wants as far as I'm concerned. [Deadspin]

The Bright One
Rick Morrissey praises a hard-fought losing effort by the Bulls. [Sun-Times]

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

And finally
Let this be a lesson to you teenage boys who think hiring a prostitute is the answer: They will also take your piggy bank. [Gawker]

The must-read news stories for May 2, 2013.

rush_may2.JPG Illinois Speaker of the House Michael Madigan, D-Chicago, speaks to lawmakers while on the House floor during session at the Illinois State Capitol Thursday, May 2, 2013, in Springfield, Ill. (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)
Pension plan passes first test This afternoon, the Illinois State House passed Mike Madigan's proposed pension reform plan, sending the plan on to the Senate. The bill passed by a 62-51 vote with six reps voting "present," barely eeking past the required 60 tally. Gov. Quinn praised the passage, saying, "With the passage of this comprehensive pension reform solution, Illinois is closer than ever to addressing a decades-long problem that is plaguing our economy, our bond rating and the future of our children." Quinn also addressed the pension bill, as well as the state's gambling expansion bill, in a Q&A with reporters yesterday. [Sun-Times Politics Blog, Quinn Q&A]

Teen terror suspect may be freed to home confinement
U.S. Magistrate Judge Daniel Martin has ordered the release of Abdella Ahmad Tounisi to home confinement. Tounisi stands accused of trying to fly to Syria and link up with an Al-Qaeda-affiliated terror group. But the judge has granted a 24-hour hold to allow prosecutors an emergency appeal of his decision. [Sun-Times]

Shooting in Houston
A man is dead after an incident in the Houston Airport in which he allegedly opened fire with an AR-15 rifle, was fired at by an air marshal and then shot himself with a pistol. Meanwhile, the NRA is preparing to hold a national conference this weekend in Houston. [KHOU, Sun-Times]

Pritzker gets the nod
This morning, President Obama nominated Chicago's Penny Pritzker for Commerce Secretary. [Sun-Times]

Firefighter down
A Chicago firefighter and paramedic died in a motorcycle accident this afternoon on I-55 near Springfield. [ABC 7]

Gimme shelter
An audit has found that understaffing at the city's animal shelters has led to a lack of treatment and care for animals in the shelters. [Sun-Times]

Quality control
A judge's ruling should pave the way for better air quality at Union Station by ventilating diesel fumes away. [Tribune]

Cannibal nation
Things not found in your elementary school history book: the settlers of Jamestown ate a 14-year-old girl. [L.A. Times]

Not good enough?
Lil Wayne issued an apology for referencing Emmett Till in a recent song but the Till family doesn't think much of his mea culpa. [Sun-Times]

Spire and higher
Check out the raising of the spire as it's placed atop the new One World Trade Center in New York. [Gizmodo]

Hobbled Bull
Kirk Hinrich is still iffy for tonight's crucial Game Six in the Nets-Bulls series as the Bulls try to close the first round at home. [Sun-Times]

Wrigley ad-o-vations
So, what would Wrigley look like after the renovations and after they add real advertising to it? [Chicagoist]

The price of success
Another good year for the Blackhawks, another hike in season ticket prices. [Sun-Times]

The Bright One
Related to our lead story, Mary Mitchell looks at this week's spate of shooting violence as the temperature finally rose and wonders how the CPD failed this first test of the warmth. [Sun-Times]

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

And finally
Job hunters: Norway needs polar bear spotters. [MNN]

The must-read news stories for May 1, 2013.

Artist rendering of proposed changes to Wrigley Field // Courtesy of the Chicago Cubs

Wrigley reno drama
Anyone who has ever watched any number of home renovation shows on HGTV knows there is always drama. And such is the case with the Cubs. Everything seemed fine and dandy at first, the team unveiling several sharp artist renderings of what they hope the stadium will look like after all the work is done. And it looks pretty nice. But then Tom Ricketts, speaking at the City Club of Chicago, said the following: "If we don't have the ability to generate revenue in our outfield, we will have to take a look at moving. There is no question." Many are trembling about this so-called threat, which, well, really isn't a threat. The odds of the team actually packing up and moving out to the suburbs are pretty small -- not impossible but very unlikely. It's just a little more gamesmanship as the team and city wrassle in the final tussle to get this deal all tied up. [Sun-Times]

Boston developments
Three more suspects connected to the Boston Marathon bombings have been taken into custody, apparently charged with aiding Dzhokhar Tsarnaev after the bombing. []

Can't spell "union" without U-N-O
The teachers at UNO schools have voted to unionize, selecting to join the Chicago Alliance of Charter School Teachers and Staff. During last summer's teachers strike, UNO officials sided with CPS and Mayor Rahm Emanuel. [Sun-Times]

Too soon
Just as Chicago Police touted a drop in murders in the first third of the year on Tuesday night, the city saw a rash of shootings with at least three killed and 16 wounded on a balmy night. [Sun-Times, Sun-Times]

Growing toll
The death toll in the horrific collapse of a building in Bangladesh has topped 400. [BBC]

Slow jam
After passing the original horrible parking meter deal just three days after first receiving plans, the City Council now may ask for more than 30 days to review Emanuel's tweaks to the deal because you know what they say about hindsight, right? [Sun-Times Politics Blog]

A seemingly innocent chemistry lab accident got a high school student arrested and charged with possession/discharge of a weapon on school grounds and discharging a destructive device, both felonies that will have her tried as an adult. [Gawker]

Tensions on May Day
Protesters took to the streets for annual May Day marches protesting capitalism, which is, granted, a big thing to protest, with more protests planned throughout the afternoon. [Sun-Times]

Gun tragedy
A 5-year-old in Kentucky accidentally shot and killed his young sister while playing with a rifle he had been given for his birthday. [Tribune]

City on the edge
A 19-year-old shut down Boston for 24 hours and now Chicago has had a main downtown thoroughfare shut down twice this week by "suspicious packages." The new normal? [Chicago Mag]

Long road ahead
The cleanup at the Fukushima nuclear power plant could take even longer than originally thought. [NBC News]

Hall of Fame
The GLBT Sports Hall of Fame is now open and prepping to induct its first athletes this summer, dove-tailing nicely with the announcement earlier this week from NBA player Jason Collins. [Gapers Block]

Check, mate
The five finalists in the competition to become the next host of "Check, Please" have been named, and no, Svengoolie is unfortunately not among them. [Sun-Times]

Tiny toon
Behold, the smallest movie ever made. [Buzzfeed]

No snitchin'
CBS commentator Jim Nantz was one of two men who informed the PGA of Tiger Woods' illegal drop at the Masters. [Deadspin]

Big venue
The Blackhawks and Penguins, who many predict will play for the Stanley Cup, will play at Soldier Field next year and now we know when. [Sun-Times]

The Bright One
As disabled Chicago police officer Charles T. Siedlecki faced a hearing over his benefits, Mark Brown explains how the officer's claims don't measure up. [Sun-Times]

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

And finally
An amazing look at what secrets have been revealed in the excavation of the lost Egyptian city of Heracleion, sunken into the sea over the years. [Telegraph UK]


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