January 2013 Archives

everush_jan30.JPG AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Here are some of the stories that caught our attention during the work day for January 30, 2013.

• The fallout over the shooting death of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton continues as Mayor Rahm Emanuel got emotional addressing the murder and asking the community for help in catching the "punk" who shot her. [Sun-Times]

• Speaking of guns, former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a survivor of a gunshot wound to the head in 2011, addressed a Congressional panel today on the need for new gun control laws. [YouTube/C-SPAN]

• A drill at an area school involved police firing blanks so students would know what gunshots sound like because that is the world we live in now but there's no problem with guns whatsoever. Nope. [ABC 7]

• Former governor George Ryan had a reverse Monopoly incident as he bypassed both the halfway house and the GO square and went directly home where he was presented with the ashes of his late wife. [Sun-Times]

• A lot of Chicago beer is being recognized is awesome which is not a surprise at all to those of us who indulge in our local craft brews early and often. [Gapers Block]

• The CTA, despite a struggling infrastructure and constant delays, somehow recorded its highest ridership levels in 22 years with 545.6 million rides. Those riders will all be in to work as soon as this stupid signal delay at LaSalle and Van Buren is cleared up. [Sun-Times]

• No Urlacher? No worries. Allegedly. [NBC Chicago]

• San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick could have been a Chicago Cub. Joke's on him! Instead of having to play in the playoffs, he could have had the whole offseason free! Sucker. [Sun-Times]

• The new PED is deer antler spray because of course it is. [CBS Chicago]

• BRIGHT ONE: Mary Mitchell's moving column on the Hadiya Pendleton shooting death. [Sun-Times]

• AND FINALLY: File under "things that aren't nearly as surprising as they seem": Hitler's toilet is in New Jersey. [Gothamist]

wings_jan29.jpegBy Sun-Times business editor Polly Smith

Super Bowl foodies survived last year's purported bacon shortage. Now comes word there is a new shortage of food that sports fans hold near and dear: chicken wings. This news comes straight from the National Chicken Council in Washington, D.C. who said, via a press release:

"Chicken companies produced about one percent fewer birds last year, due in large part to record high corn and feed prices," [council economist Bill] Roenigk said. "Corn makes up more than two-thirds of chicken feed and corn prices hit an all-time high in 2012, due to two reasons: last summer's drought and pressure from a federal government requirement that mandates 40 percent of our corn crop be turned into fuel in the form of ethanol. Simply put, less corn equals higher feed costs, which means fewer birds produced."

The Council also estimates 1.23 billion (yes, billion) chicken wings will be consumed over Super Bowl weekend with the decrease in chicken wings consumed standing at about 12.3 million fewer than last year (meaning Americans will also consume an estimated 1,156,200,000 fewer calories so at least there's a bright side). As the council points out, with fewer chickens, there are fewer wings but each chicken - of course - only has two wings. Supply can only be further hurt by McDonald's Inc.'s decision to add chicken wings to the menu at 500 Chicago area restaurants to test the market. The council makes no estimate on McD's influence.

Rubbing salt (or blue cheese) in the wound? The price of wings already is up 14 percent from a year ago.

Chicago Sun-Times photographer Scott Stewart has been a life-long Blackhawks fan, growing up with Makita and Hull as names he idolized. So it was a perk of the job that on the night of Tuesday, January 22, he was at the United Center, shooting photos of the Blackhawks' home-opener against the St. Louis Blues. But he wouldn't get to stay until the final horn; before the game ended, he received a call to cover a large fire that had broken out a large South Side warehouse. Hockey would have to wait.

But rushing to the fire, too, was something that was in Stewart's blood, the result of his being a firefighter brought up in a family of firefighters. "Just like in [the movie] Backdraft," he quips. Stewart is part of the Evergreen Park Fire Department, heading up the photo unit and also serving as a fire investigator. A third-generation fireman, Stewart's son is a lieutenant in the Blue Island Fire Department, his other two children are also firefighter/EMTs, and his wife, who he met through the fire department, is the assistant photographer to the photo unit.

Watching the Chicago Fire Department battle the huge blaze - roughly one-third of the department as called in - Stewart could sympathize with what they were going through, battling extreme heat in extremely cold temperatures. "You're hampered. The weather hampers your ability to be a firefighter. The radiant heat ... it does give you a little warm feeling now and then if the wind is shifting the right way." And it's this understanding that keeps Stewart involved as part of the 5-11 Club, a sixty-year-old organization that provides additional support for the Chicago Fire and Police Departments, mainly by driving canteen vehicles to fire scenes to give exhausted firefighters refreshments like coffee and food.

The remains of the warehouse gained notoriety later in the week once the water used by firefighters froze, creating a majestic ice castle out of the ruins. But Stewart was on the scene for the Sun-Times while the fire still raged so I sat down with him to get his take on what happened. I talked to him about what it was like, as a firefighter, to photograph a fire for the publication and how he approached shooting the fire. How did he approach his shots? How is his approach different at fires than at other events? We looked through some of his photos from that night and talked all about it. Watch the audio slideshow above to hear Scott explain

1908: Image of five fire fighters spraying water on the Colby Furniture Store which is covered in ice from fire extinguishing. The firemen appear in silhouette against the ice of the building. The building, owned by John A. Colby & Sons was located at 29 South Wabash Avenue (formerly 148 Wabash Avenue) in the Loop community area of Chicago, Illinois. Click to embiggen.
DN-0005741, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum

This week's five-alarm fire at a South Side warehouse gave way to stunning images of ice-encased ruins after CFD firefighters battled the blaze in single-digit temperatures. A brief dig through our archives showed that this kind of thing wasn't unfamiliar to firefighters in years past.

All images first appeared in the Chicago Daily News, the paper that would eventually become the Sun-Times.

1908: Image of two fire fighters, standing under an elevated train track, spraying water from a hose on the Colby Furniture Store. The building, owned by John A. Colby & Sons was located at 29 South Wabash Avenue (formerly 148 Wabash Avenue) in the Loop community area of Chicago, Illinois.
DN-0005744, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum

1919: Image of Battalion Chief Joseph L. Kenyon standing in the snow at a fire scene in Chicago, Illinois
DN-0071436, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum

1903: Image of firefighter William Musham on the scene of the Iroquois Theater fire standing with unidentified men and looking up. The theater was located at 24-28 West Randolph Street in the Loop community area of Chicago, Illinois. Click to embiggen.
DN-0001839, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum

1908: Image of fire fighters standing in front of and fire fighting equipment leaning against the ice-covered Winfield P. Dunn building after its fire was extinguished. The building was located at 158 West Adams Street (formerly 427-439 Adams Street) in the Loop community area of Chicago, Illinois. Text on the negative reads: 163 Adams
DN-0005740, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum

1917: Image of firemen working in freezing temperatures, spraying water on a fire at a U.S. Army Medical Corps warehouse located at West 40th Street and South Dearborn in the Grand Boulevard community area in Chicago, Illinois.
DN-0069444, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum

1908: Image of water being sprayed tracks on the Colby Furniture Store from hoses beneath nearby elevated train tracks on South Wabash Avenue. The building, owned by John A. Colby & Sons was located at 29 South Wabash Avenue (formerly 148 Wabash Avenue) in the Loop community area of Chicago, Illinois.
DN-0005745, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum

1905: Image of a two fire fighters standing in front of a fire engine with a cloud of smoke behind the engine in Chicago, Illinois. Click to embiggen.
DN-0003906, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum

1917: Image of four firemen working at the scene of a tenement building explosion in the Near West Side community area of Chicago, Illinois. They are bent over, using an ax and pails.
DN-0067600, Chicago Daily News negatives collection, Chicago History Museum

MAP: Elgin-O'Hare expressway route

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A timeline of CPS violence

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Earlier today, the coaches for the Simeon and Morgan Park boys basketball teams were suspended for actions stemming from a post-game brawl last weekend. CPS CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett then issued a statement to CPS coaches outlining strict conduct protocol and announced a meeting for February 2 when these issues will be more fully addressed. Until then, here's a timeline of recent violent acts at high school athletic events in Chicago. Below that, find a Storify recap of reaction to Saturday's shooting and brawl at Chicago State following the Simeon-Morgan Park.

Sports columnists Rick Telander and Rick Morrissey and news columnist Mark Brown sat down Tuesday afternoon for a Q&A at the City Club of Chicago on the topic of sports reporting and public policy.

On the slate were Manti Te'o, Lance Armstrong, stadium funding and ridiculous Olympic mascots, among other things.

dist68l.jpgSkokie School District 68 is taking a big step forward in acknowledging the district's shifting demographics by announcing they will add the Muslim holiday Eid ul Adha as a day off to the 2013-14 school calendar, according to the Pioneer Press (a sister paper of the Sun-Times). District 68 Superintendent Frances McTague told the Pioneer Press, "This was the first year I've been approached by a parent as to why we take two Jewish days off and no Muslim day off." The school district also plans to observe Rosh Hashanah and Good Friday.

It's the opposite track taken by other nearby school districts who have responded to shifting religious demographics by not observing any religious holidays. Eid ul Adha is one of the two most important festivals in the Muslim calendar along with Eid ul Fitr which marks the end of Ramadan. In 2013, the holiday will be observed on Tuesday, October 15, [PDF] giving students a four-day weekend as it follows Columbus Day (Monday, October 14).

The topic of schools observing Muslim holidays has been the source of debate across the country in recent years. Things got ugly in the Broward School District near Miami, Florida last fall when the issue of observing the two most important Muslim holidays came up. While supporters of the holiday cited high absenteeism on those holidays as a good reason for observing the holidays, not everyone was for a diverse range of observed holidays. Protesters outside the Broward meeting were holding signs that said "Protect Our Children No Holiday For Perverted Cult" and "Teach Math Not Sharia."

In 2009, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said that city's schools would not observe Muslim holidays when the City Council wanted to impose such holidays; Bloomberg cited the wide diversity of the city's school population as a reason. Meanwhile, several supporters of closing on those holidays have cited Dearborn, Michigan which has closed on those holidays for over a decade due to the school district's demographic make-up. And a superintendent in Cambridge, MA said, over the decision to observe those Muslim holidays, "People were upset with us, but we took it as affirmation that the decision was right."

While the debate of religious inclusion isn't going away, that the decisions are becoming part of public discourse is a positive sign as to the country's slow recognition of its changing religious make-up as a whole; according to information from the U.S. Census Bureau [PDF], the number of self-described adults who consider themselves Muslim nearly tripled from 1990 to 2008.

Still, there are those who seem dead-set against recognizing reality. Cal Thomas, a contributor at (where else?) Fox News, told that network in a 2010 story:

"It is instructive to me that schools are going out of their way to discriminate against Christians by denying them the right to voluntarily pray with coaches and other players before games, but those same schools bend over backwards to accommodate Muslim student athletes for Ramadan," Thomas told FoxNews.com.

"This is worse than a double standard. It is singling out one religion and giving it priority over all others. And that is, or ought to be, unconstitutional."

Besides managing to somehow find a way to show that Christians in 21st Century America are being persecuted, Thomas also showed a blind spot to this country's extensive history with racial and religious oppression, one that continues in violent and deadly ways today. But Thomas is far from alone in picking nits and twisting stories to fit a hideous agenda to make violence against other cultures seem overblown by a nefarious liberal media bias.

While there is truth to the idea that a school district can't possibly accommodate every religious holiday that may be observed, the growing number of Muslim in students in American students deserve to have their holidays and religion properly addressed in an adult manner. With smaller cities like Dearborn, Cambridge, and, now, Skokie, setting the standard, there's hope that the rest of the country may soon come to terms with the country's ever-changing racial and religious make-up and that "melting pot" in a respectable manner.

View more videos at: http://nbcchicago.com.

A massive blaze that tore through a South Side warehouse Tuesday night had at least 170 Chicago firefighters on scene. More on the story here.

Image via WebProNews.com

AOL's DailyFinance reported Monday evening that Chicago-based deals site Groupon is holstering its weapons when it comes to firearms-related promotions.

In a statement emailed to AOL site Daily Finance, spokesperson Julie Mossler pointed to the company's desire to take stock of what it offers in its daily deals model:

"All scheduled and current gun-related deals featured on Groupon North America, including shooting ranges, conceal-and-carry and clay shooting, have been placed on hiatus while we review internal standards that shape the deal inventory we feature. The category is under review following recent consumer and merchant feedback."

Daily Finance reported that at least one Texas gun store owner is fired up and calling for a boycott of Groupon over the perceived slight against the second amendment and law-abiding gun owners. Michael Cargill, the owner of Austin's Central Texas Gun Works, is looking to rally the troops and get in Groupon's collective face:

"I'm asking everyone in the Second Amendment community to boycott Groupon, because the message they're sending is, 'Look, we do not want to support law-abiding citizens taking time out of their schedule to learn the safety surrounding firearms.' "

Reaction on social media ranged from the predictable - railing on both sides of the gun debate, accusing the company of mucking with the Constitution or congratulating it for taking a stand - to those who were basically just surprised to learn Groupon had gun deals.

Groupon had come under some criticism for its firearms offerings following the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown. The company did not supply further statement late Monday upon a request from a Sun-Times reporter. No further details on the decision or CEO Andrew Mason's role in the move were made public.

With Barbara Byrd-Bennett's approval Friday of only three of her
school closing panel's recommendations, several more schools entered
the pool of the ones that could potentially be closed -- for the
following reasons

1.) Enrollment was over 600 and/or the utilization rate was
close to what the district considers efficient.
2.) The school faced a "significant action" in recent years.

Click on a school to see why it is on the list:

wholefoods_mackey.jpgWhole Foods, the place of high-priced organic beans and the grossest "all natural" toothpaste in the world, is a haven for shoppers with "affluent" tastes - i.e., rich white people. It's also owned by a guy whose opinion doesn't stray too far from some of those gun-toting freedom fighters. In an interview with NPR, Whole Foods co-founder and co-CEO John Mackey said of "Obamacare":

"Technically speaking, it's more like fascism. Socialism is where the government owns the means of production. In fascism, the government doesn't own the means of production, but they do control it -- and that's what's happening with our health care programs and these reforms."

After an outcry from NPR listeners - which probably makes up a large chunk of Whole Foods shoppers - Mackey then backed away from the comments, realizing equating Obama with Mussolini and Francisco Franco wasn't a wise move.

"Well, I think that was a bad choice of words on my part ... that word has an association with of course dictatorships in the 20th century like Germany and Spain, and Italy. What I know is that we no longer have free enterprise capitalism in health care, it's not a system any longer where people are able to innovate, it's not based on voluntary exchange. The government is directing it. So we need a new word for it. I don't know what they right word is,

So next time you're at Whole Foods to buy that gross "all natural" toothpaste, remember it's okay because the store's co-founder totally doesn't think Obama is like Hitler for forcing health care upon a rich, flourishing nation.

robertson_Jan18.jpgThe old saying is "different strokes for different folks." So it goes for this couple that posted an ad on the Norfolk, Virginia Craigslist board seeking an adventurous couple to join them in bedroom frolicking. That's not so unusual for Craigslist. Where it gets weird is what this new couple would be enlisted to do. From the ad:

We would like the man to dress up and play the part of Pat Robertson and the female to wear a tight blue dress and act like she is a sales spokesperson on Home Shopping channel. My husband I would be naked and making love in our bed all the while Pat Robertson will be constantly attempting to save our souls and the female to have ongoing dialogue trying to sell us an Ab Rocket in 3 easy payments.

Knowing Craigslist, it's not outlandish to think of this as fake; nor is it outlandish to believe this is real. Either way, good for you, Norfolk couple. You've managed to entertain us and simultaneously find a way to likely aggravate the man who said Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment for American abortion policies.

[via UPROXX]

CPS community engagement meetings schedule

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From the Chicago Public Schools press release:

CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett announced last week that CPS will launch a second phase of community engagement to provide parents and school communities with additional opportunities to give feedback about individual schools on a Network-by-Network basis as part of this process. Each school Network will host two community meetings, which will be moderated by independent facilitators, taking place January 28 through March 4.

The first series of meetings (beginning January 28) will include a presentation of high level information and metrics on all schools at the Network level to glean feedback from the community. Information gathered at these meetings will help CPS lead a more school-specific discussion at the second series of community meetings.

Here is the schedule:

(Click to enlarge)


Instagram's new Privacy Policy and Terms of Service go into effect tomorrow - but don't hit the 'delete' button on your account just yet.

Remember back in December when Instagram quietly made changes to their Privacy Policy to include the following clauses:

  1. 1. Instagram does not claim ownership of any Content that you post on or through the Service. Instead, you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service, except that you can control who can view certain of your Content and activities on the Service as described in the Service's Privacy Policy, available here: http://instagram.com/legal/privacy/.

  2. 2. Some or all of the Service may be supported by advertising revenue. To help us deliver interesting paid or sponsored content or promotions, you agree that a business or other entity may pay us to display your username, likeness, photos (along with any associated metadata), and/or actions you take, in connection with paid or sponsored content or promotions, without any compensation to you. If you are under the age of eighteen (18), or under any other applicable age of majority, you represent that at least one of your parents or legal guardians has also agreed to this provision (and the use of your name, likeness, username, and/or photos (along with any associated metadata)) on your behalf.

  3. 3. You acknowledge that we may not always identify paid services, sponsored content, or commercial communications as such.

After much understandable outrage and many threats from users to drop the service, Instagram quickly backpedaled in a blog post titled "Thank you, and we're listening."

The vague blog didn't seem to clear up many questions for users and the revised version of Instagram's Privacy Policy and Terms of Use aren't too clear either.

The previous questionable clauses were replaced with one stating,

"We may share User Content and your information (including but not limited to, information from cookies, log files, device identifiers, location data, and usage data) with businesses that are legally part of the same group of companies that Instagram is part of, or that become part of that group ("Affiliates"). Affiliates may use this information to help provide, understand, and improve the Service (including by providing analytics) and Affiliates' own services (including by providing you with better and more relevant experiences). But these Affiliates will honor the choices you make about who can see your photos."

Today, Instagram sent out an email to its users again emphasizing that user's own their photos:

"And remember, these updates don't change the fact that you own your photos that you post on Instagram, and our privacy controls work just as they did before."

Hmm... so what does all of this mean?

To put it in layman's terms, you still own your photos but Instagram can now share more of your information and data with their parent company, Facebook, and any other affiliates.

What will they do with your photos?

The clause loosely states that affiliates may only use your content to improve their service for you. While it has yet to be seen how this will play out, the clause is not unlike many privacy policies already in use for similar social media sites.

For the time being, we'll still be sharing photos from our photographers on the official Chicago Sun-Times Instagram account.

teo_jan17.JPG Michael Conroy // AP Photo

By now you know all about the Deadspin story that revealed Manti Te'o's supposed girlfriend - whose death last fall inspired him in his Heisman-finalist season this past fall - was fake. So what happens now? Trying to piece what happened together. More news trickles out every few hours but little seems resolved. Even as Te'o has since admitted to the relationship being strictly online, some details he and his family told the press over the past few months don't jibe with the current story (mainly visits the girlfriend paid to Hawaii and Te'o's interactions with her). At best, Te'o was a victim of a cruel hoax but he and his family are still guilty of using the hoax to embellish the true nature of the "relationship" for publicity purposes. So as we wait for more details to suss it all out, here's what we know so far:

  • • Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick held a strange press conference last night in which he referred to both the movie and television show Catfish, claimed Te'o was a victim, and swore the school would stand by him.
  • • Ready to go further down the rabbit hole? In a chat with ESPN for their story, Arizona Cardinals fullback Reagan Maui'a says he's met Lennay Kekua even though just about everybody involved has admitted she doesn't exist.
  • • Some of Te'o's teammates apparently didn't buy the whole girlfriend story to begin with but blame media for blowing it out of proportion.
  • • Speaking of the media, some journalists are taking almost as big a beating as Te'o. ESPN Gene Wojciechowski admitted backing off a search for more details of Kekua's death after Te'o asked him to back off. Then there's Pete Thamel who, when writing for Sports Illustrated, made a lot of hay out of Te'o's story. Slate's Josh Levin has a wonderful, scathing look at the way Thamel fell short of journalistic standards on this and another story on former LSU star Tyrann Mathieu which was written with Thayer Evans. (For what it's worth, both Thamel and Evans got a lot of mileage out of covering the alleged Cam Newton scandal in 2010, a "scandal" for which there's still no physical evidence.) Other reports have revealed that outlets like ESPN had been sitting on the story for at least a week, if not longer. Expect more, though, on the role the media played in creating this spectre.
  • • One last note: the attention brought to this scandal has kick-started a renewed push for attention to a girl that really did exist, was connected to Notre Dame football, and really did die: Lizzy Seeberg. Seeberg committed suicide in 2010 after alleging she was sexually assaulted by a member of the Notre Dame football team and then subsequently threatened by the player and teammates. The player was never disciplined - in part because Seeberg couldn't testify on her behalf because she was dead - and was part of the team that played in last week's BCS title game. Here's hoping that all the fuss over a fake girl will finally bring proper attention to the case of girl who really did exist and deserves the attention the university has given Te'o.

Live-tweets from the sentencing of Tahawwur Rana

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One Tahawwur Rana is a loving, kindhearted father hoodwinked into committing crimes out of loyalty to an old friend. The other Tahawwur Rana is hate-filled and cold, speaking approvingly of mass murder and laughing at the prospect of severed heads thrown onto a street.

Those competing portraits are expected to be on display Thursday before a judge sentences the Chicago businessman for backing a terrorist plot in Denmark and supporting the group behind the three-day deadly siege of Mumbai sometimes known as India's 9/11.

Sun-Times courts reporter Rummana Hussain is live-tweeting from the sentencing:

Below is the ESPN video featuring Manti Te'o discussing the death of his girlfriend, which sports blog Deadspin says was a hoax. In the feature, Te'o discusses the alleged girlfriend as well as the support he received from her family.

Aaron Swartz, the Highland Park native Internet hacktivist, was on WBEZ's Eight-Forty-Eight in 2001 to talk about his ideas, programming and life ambitions. Hear the interview with Swartz, who's funeral was Tuesday in Highland Park:

"Computers and humans will be working together. We'll stop having to do some of the rote tasks we have to do now," Swartz told WBEZ. "Computers will be able to do all the mundane tasks in our daily lives."

Detroit Auto Show: Live tweets

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ToDrive.com's Jeff Taylor live-tweets from the Detroit Auto Show.

Check out video, reports and photo galleries HERE.

Kids alone at casinos: Summary map

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Click on each location on the map to see statistics about the number of children found unsupervised at each casino. In Joliet, police gave out $300 tickets for minors left unattended and did not bring criminal charges against adults involved. In other communities, adults were arrested on misdemeanor charges of child endangerment.

Kids alone at casinos: Details about each case

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Here are summaries of the 52 cases involving 85 children left unsupervised at or near Illinois casinos between Jan. 1, 2010, and July 31, 2012, compiled from Illinois Gaming Board, court and police records.

Our beloved brother, son, friend, and partner Aaron Swartz hanged himself on Friday in his Brooklyn apartment. We are in shock, and have not yet come to terms with his passing.

Aaron's insatiable curiosity, creativity, and brilliance; his reflexive empathy and capacity for selfless, boundless love; his refusal to accept injustice as inevitable--these gifts made the world, and our lives, far brighter. We're grateful for our time with him, to those who loved him and stood with him, and to all of those who continue his work for a better world.

Aaron's commitment to social justice was profound, and defined his life. He was instrumental to the defeat of an Internet censorship bill; he fought for a more democratic, open, and accountable political system; and he helped to create, build, and preserve a dizzying range of scholarly projects that extended the scope and accessibility of human knowledge. He used his prodigious skills as a programmer and technologist not to enrich himself but to make the Internet and the world a fairer, better place. His deeply humane writing touched minds and hearts across generations and continents. He earned the friendship of thousands and the respect and support of millions more.

Aaron's death is not simply a personal tragedy. It is the product of a criminal justice system rife with intimidation and prosecutorial overreach. Decisions made by officials in the Massachusetts U.S. Attorney's office and at MIT contributed to his death. The US Attorney's office pursued an exceptionally harsh array of charges, carrying potentially over 30 years in prison, to punish an alleged crime that had no victims. Meanwhile, unlike JSTOR, MIT refused to stand up for Aaron and its own community's most cherished principles.

Today, we grieve for the extraordinary and irreplaceable man that we have lost.

Gator Bowl Football_Newm.jpg
AP Photo/Stephen Morton

We're just two days from BCS Championship Game pitting Notre Dame against Alabama. The game will aslo mean the end of college football's bowl season is winding down and, with it, the parade of 34 bowl games: The Belk Bowl, The Beef O'Brady's Bowl, The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, and on and on. And yet I'm writing to propose yet another bowl game, one based right here in Chicago.

But rather than simply adding a new bowl to the already excruciatingly long list of bowl games, I'm suggesting we first scale down the number of bowl games, a reorganization that will coincide with the new playoff structure coming in 2014. Sure, we should keep the Cotton and Capital One bowls, but is there any need to hang on to the Russell Athletic Bowl or Idaho Potato Bowl? I can't imagine Shreveport, Louisiana being high on the list of places a college athlete would like to visit during his Christmas break.

So let's lean up the bowl lineup, make the bowls a reward to reach once more, and make Chicago a holiday destination for another reason. If they can play a bowl game outdoors in NYC in December, then doing the same in Chicago in December shouldn't be an issue. And it's not like we don't have the clout necessary to elevate the Chicago Bowl Game to major status. Mayor Emanuel is a shark who can berate the NCAA into plopping a major bowl game into the country's third-largest city. Think of the influx of cash a bowl game on New Years Eve could bring to the city.

So without further ado, here are five modest proposals for Chicago's Bowl Game.

Handcuffs-Black.jpgLook at it this way: your 2013 can't be off to as bad a start as Father Tom Donovan of St. Aloysius in Springfield. The priest has taken a leave of absence after a late-November incident in which he had to call 911 for assistance in getting out of a pair of handcuffs while in the rectory. Church officials aren't saying anything other than Donovan's leave started sometime before Christmas and asked the diocese for help.

Kathie Sass, spokeswoman for the Diocese of Springfield, said, "He came to the bishop before anyone was aware of the incident. He came to the bishop and asked for help and was granted leave." No word on what "help" means in this case or how Donovan came to get stuck in the cuffs, though Sass says what Donovan told church officials matches the police report. Still, in the 911 call, embedded below, Donovan implies it was all an accident; as the Illinois Times notes, though, a source told the paper that a gag was also found on the priest when responders arrived for the assist.

From The Illinois Times:

"I'm going to need help getting out before this becomes a medical emergency," Father Tom Donovan told a dispatcher who sounds a bit incredulous during the Nov. 28 call.

"You're stuck in a pair of handcuffs?" the dispatcher asks.

"(I was) playing with them and I need help getting out," Donovan responds.

Church officials refused to comment on Donovan's current whereabouts.

Gay marriage laws

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Where same-sex couples can:



In the U.S.:

And around the world:

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from January 2013 listed from newest to oldest.

December 2012 is the previous archive.

February 2013 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.