February 2013 Archives

Michelle Obama in Chicago for "Lets Move" event

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Michelle Obama arrives in Chicago for "Lets Move" event:

Live Video: Benedict XVI's last day as pope

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Benedict XVI has left the Vatican for last time as pope, flying by helicopter to the papal retreat. Follow along on his last day:

Stream videos at Ustream

Before leaving, Benedict sent one final tweet as @Pontifex:

Where CPS Students Are Obese

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Click on the map to see which Chicago community areas have the highest prevalence of obesity among CPS students:

Menu Budget Spending By Ward

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Although Chicago Aldermen were supposed to spend or commit all of their $1.32 million in "menu" program money for local infrastructure projects in 2012, records show that many spent only a portion of their funds. Click on a ward to see how much menu money went unspent in 2012.

Crime at CTA Rail Stations

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A Sun-Times analysis of Chicago Police Department crime data has revealed an overall 21 percent increase in crimes at CTA stations from 2011 to 2012. The most crime-ridden stations are on the Red and Green Lines. Zoom in to the map to see how different stations rank in terms of crime prevalence and scroll down to see the number of crimes in each general crime category -- assault through weapons violations -- at each station:

Army Lt. Gen. Russel L. Honoré walks at the foot of Canal Street near downtown New Orleans on Friday, Sept. 16, 2005. Honoré was in Chicago this week suggesting calling in the National Guard could help curb Chicago's gun violence. AP Photo/Paul Sancya

There is no doubt in my mind that retired Army lieutenant general Russel L. Honoré saved New Orleans in September 2005. As the city lumbered forward in the immediate aftermath of Katrina, confusion and fear reigned in a city that was lacking in the appropriate support and response from all levels of government and horrible mismanagement from FEMA, the city threatening to eat itself. That's when Honoré stepped and took control of the National Guard and restored a semblance of order to the post-disaster landscape of a major American city. Now, he's got an idea on how to save Chicago from it's own threat of self-implosion from the city's rampant gun violence. But while he is a new voice calling for this particular solution, evidence from the city he saved suggests his way likely is only a short-term solution.

Honoré spoke last night at Chicago Military Academy in Bronzeville as part of The HistoryMakers project which, according to the their website, specializes in:

...recording, preserving and sharing the life stories of thousands of African Americans, from President Barack Obama to the oldest living black cowboy, The HistoryMakers is a leader in helping to educate and enlighten millions worldwide through refashioning a more inclusive record of American history.

During his speech, as reported by the Tribune, Honoré addressed Chicago's gun violence issue and called for a solution that's been heard before but this time with his brand of frankness: bring in the National Guard. Comparing the city's rash of gun violence to natural disasters like tornadoes and floods, Honoré said:

"Just like we do with any disaster. When the tornado comes, or the floods come, the federal government comes in to help... Let's not let this be about pride. 'We are big ol' Chicago, we are too proud, we can handle this.' Maybe you can't handle it. If you need help, get the federal government here. But let's control the streets so children and elderly people can be in a safe community."

Honoré went on to suggest bringing in the National Guard and State Police to handle more routine duties, freeing up local police to do more work in tackling violence and giving them time to focus on a hyperlocal level. This call, of course, has been made before by local politicians and community leaders to no avail. What makes Honoré's suggestions different is his experience, his military authority, and that he's an African-American leader from outside the city, one of the first time such a figure has made this suggestion (at least in such a reasonable manner).

Setting aside for a moment the purely political hurdles in play for such an action, however, a look at a similar approach in New Orleans itself shows such a solution is relevant only in the short term and that even more action is necessary for the long term.

Drew Peterson at his 2009 arraignment. | File

Drew Peterson, the ex-cop and convicted killer, blew up in court Thursday as he spoke for himself prior to sentencing in the death of his former wife, Kathleen Savio.

Peterson got 38 years from Judge Edward Burmila.

Following is the accounts from the courthouse according to reporters on the scene as Peterson exploded at Stacy Peterson, his attorneys and the system for his plight:

Jeep becomes latest victim of Twitter hacking

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Just one day after Burger King had their Twitter handle hijacked for over an hour, Jeep is currently being hacked.

Apparently they didn't learn from these 5 other major Twitter fails by big brands.

UPDATE: Gizmodo claims to have uncovered the person responsible for hacking the Twitter accounts for Burger King and Jeep. The tech site says the hacker is probably a Rhode Island DJ that goes by the name of Tony "iThug" Cunha.

Click through to see a Storify of the Jeep tweets. WARNING: Some are NSFW.

Live tweets from Drew Peterson hearing

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Drew Peterson's request to toss out his September murder conviction will begin Tuesday morning, but a separate legal battle will interrupt that hearing. Here, Jon Seidel and Dan Rozek live-tweet the hearing:

5 major Twitter fails and the big brands involved

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Burger King isn't the only major brand to have a Twitter #fail happen to them recently.


After the Burger King Twitter handle was compromised Monday for over an hour while hackers tweeted everything from jokes about being sold to McDonald's, to gang-related tweets, and even a few shout outs to Chicago rappers Chief Keef and Lil Reese, we decided to take a look back at 5 common Twitter fails and how several major brands have fallen victim to them:

Poor taste

Kenneth Cole may have good taste in fashion, but he may want to take a backseat when it comes to current events.

His brand came under fire after the designer himself sent out an insensitive tweet under his brand's Twitter account. The tweet read: "Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumor is they heard our new spring collection is now available online at http://bit.ly/KCairo." This was sent as #Cairo was trending globally in 2011 during the political unrest in Egypt.

Cole took to Facebook to issue an apology:

"I apologize to everyone who was offended by my insensitive tweet about the situation in Egypt. I've dedicated my life to raising awareness about serious social issues, and in hindsight my attempt at humor regarding a nation liberating themselves against oppression was poorly timed and absolutely inappropriate.

Kenneth Cole, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer"

Bad timing

Entenmann's may have tasty treats, but this poorly timed tweet left a bad taste in the mouths of most of their followers: "Who's #notguilty of eating all the tasty treats they want?" What's wrong with that? Well, it was sent shortly after Casey Anthony was found not guilty of murdering her daughter Caylee. The hashtag #notguilty was trending nationally.

After much understandable backlash from followers, Entenmann's deleted the tweet and issued this apology: "Sorry everyone, we weren't trying to reference the trial in our tweet! We should have checked the trending hashtag first".

Ya think?

Hashtag Hijacking

Newsweek's attempt at crowd sourcing opinions from Twitter backfired when they solicited responses on their "Muslim Rage" cover story via the hashtag #MuslimRage. Instead of commenting on the article, Twitter took a comedic spin on the hashtag, tweeting messages like, "When everyone in history class turns to you once 9/11 is brought up. #MuslimRage" and "Couldn't toss football around since the ball was made of pigskin #MuslimRage."

Bad jokes

There's a time and a place for everything but bad jokes about a major crisis are never a good idea. Gilbert Gottfried learned this the hard way. The comedian was the nasally voice of the Aflac duck - but a few offensive tweets changed all that. Shortly after the Japanese tsunami in 2007, Gottfried tweeted these poorly received jokes: "Japan is really advanced. They don't go to the beach. The beach comes to them." and "What do the Japanese have in common with @howardstern? They're both radio active." Gottfried was fired soon thereafter.

Personal tweets

When managing a brand's Twitter account and a personal account it can be easy to think you're tweeting on one when in actuality you're posting on the other. Whoever used to manage Chrysler's Twitter page learned that the hard way when they tweeted out what seemed to be meant for their personal page: "I find it ironic that Detroit is known as the #motorcity and yet no one here knows how to f---ing drive."

This was obviously not the kind of message a major auto group would want to send. Chrysler later apologized, saying: "Chrysler Group and its brands do not tolerate inappropriate language or behavior, and apologize to anyone who may have been offended by this communication."

Burger King Twitter account gets hacked

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No, Burger King did not change their name to McDonald's. The major fast food chain was the victim of a major hack. They're not the only big brand to have something like this happen, here are 5 major Twitter fails and the big brands involved.

Here's how the Burger King hack unfolded and was discovered (WARNING: Some of the tweets contain strong language and are NSFW):

If you want water with your Maker's Mark, you'll have to add it yourself. The company announced it's changing the decision to water down its bourbon - a decision that drove people to drink, or rather not to.

Below is the statement the company tweeted out explaining how water back is the only additional water in their bourbon:

You spoke. We listened.

Dear Friends,

Since we announced our decision last week to reduce the alcohol content (ABV) of Maker's Mark in response to supply constraints, we have heard many concerns and questions from our ambassadors and brand fans. We're humbled by your overwhelming response and passion for Maker's Mark. While we thought we were doing what's right, this is your brand - and you told us in large numbers to change our decision.

You spoke. We listened. And we're sincerely sorry we let you down.

So effective immediately, we are reversing our decision to lower the ABV of Maker's Mark, and resuming production at 45% alcohol by volume (90 proof). Just like we've made it since the very beginning.

The unanticipated dramatic growth rate of Maker's Mark is a good problem to have, and we appreciate some of you telling us you'd even put up with occasional shortages. We promise we'll deal with them as best we can, as we work to expand capacity at the distillery.

Your trust, loyalty and passion are what's most important. We realize we can't lose sight of that. Thanks for your honesty and for reminding us what makes Maker's Mark, and its fans, so special.

We'll set about getting back to bottling the handcrafted bourbon that our father/grandfather, Bill Samuels, Sr. created. Same recipe. Same production process. Same product.

As always, we will continue to let you know first about developments at the distillery. In the meantime please keep telling us what's on your mind and come down and visit us at the distillery. It means a lot to us.


Rob Samuels Bill Samuels, Jr
Chief Operating Officer Chairman Emeritus
rob@makersmark.com bill@makersmark.com

President Obama, in his State of the Union speech Tuesday, called attention to the sad tale of Hadiya Pendleton, the innocent 15-year-old girl gunned down by gang gunfire in a case of mistaken identity and yet another tragic bit of Chicago gun violence.

Obama, in telling Hadiya's story, mentioned that she died just a mile from his house.

Photojournalists Jessica Koscielniak and Jon Sall travelled that distance to see just how far a mile really is when it comes to Chicago's streets and neighborhood.

View The Mile in a larger map

Mike Tyson, in town for his one-man show, "Mike Tyson: Undisputed Truth," sat down with columnist Mary Mitchell in the Sun-Times studio Friday morning.

They covered a wide range of topics, from Tyson's acclaimed show, to his life experiences and the changes he's made to become a better person and role model.

Tyson is ready to be back in Chicago, as he told Joe Fernandez in an interview in this week's Weekend cover story:

"I'm so happy Chicago chose us. I have a lot of great memories of Chicago. After I won the title, [former Chicago Mayor] Harold Washington gave me the key to the city."

The schools that CPS identified Wednesday as potential targets for closing are located primarily on the South and West Sides. Most of the schools are considered by CPS to be underutilized or under capacity. They're also level 2 or 3 in terms of academic performance, meaning good or failing. Click on locations on the map to see which schools are on the list.

Interactive timeline: North Korea's pursuit of nuclear weapons

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North Korea conducted its third nuclear test Tuesday, the latest step in a years-long effort to develop nuclear weapons. Experts believe the country remains far from having a nuclear-armed missile that could threaten the United States, which would require an accurate long-range rocket and a nuclear warhead that could be mounted on it. Here is a look at North Korea's progress so far:


Francis Cardinal George released this statement Monday morning regarding the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI:

Statement by Francis Cardinal George, OMI, on the announced resignation
of His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI.

Pope Benedict XVI has, in all circumstances, placed the will of God for
the good of the Church before every other consideration. That same
resoluteness of purpose speaks in his statement announcing his
resignation from the Chair of Peter.

He has taught with clarity and charity what God has revealed to the
world in Christ; he has handed on the apostolic faith; he has loved all
of God's people with all his heart. He has now shown great courage in
deciding, after prayer and soul-searching, to resign his office at the
end of this month.

With the gratitude of sons and daughters in our hearts, we ask the Lord
to bless him and give him strength, as we begin to pray now for the one
who will succeed him as Bishop of Rome, Successor of Peter and Vicar of

Francis Cardinal George, OMI
Archbishop of Chicago
February 11, 2013
Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes

Timeline: The life of Pope Benedict XVI

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GRAPHIC: Illegal gun case examples

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A look at examples of gun possession cases that were finalized in 2011 shows how different the circumstances of the crime -- and the outcome -- can be. Click on the location to learn about the details of these example cases:

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


The new train car smell of the CTA's new(ish) 5000 series cars hasn't yet been replaced by the stench of urine and vomit and the floors aren't yet fully sticky with spilt soda and covered with sunflower seed shells and already the agency is looking to drop some big cash on a bunch of even newer cars. The call has gone out that the agency is looking for bids to build up to 846 new cars for somewhere north of $2 billion. Math tells me that the totals break down to around $2.4 million per train car because apparently these things are made out of solid gold and moon rocks.

By comparison, those 5000 series cars which half the city doesn't get to use anyway cost only $1.6 million per car (706 cars at $1.137 billion). As for other cities, recent bids for new BART train cars in San Francisco came in around $2.5 million while the cost of New York City's subway cars seem to fall in the $1.3-1.5 million range.

As for where the money will come from? Per Crain's, "The CTA did not immediately identify a source of funding for the 846 Series 7000 cars, which will come on top of the 706 Series 5000 cars. But according to Mayor Rahm Emanuel's office, all should be in hand by 2022."

So, to recap, our in-debt city is about to spend $2.4 million - from a source of cash that doesn't exist - per train car for you to have a nicer vessel in which to be late every day to work while that switching problem at the Belmont stop gets sorted out. I don't have official numbers at my desk but I'm going to go out on a limb and assume that these will be among the most expensive hobo toilets ever made.

At least the agency is leaving seating configurations up to the bidder, meaning there's a chance you won't have to stare directly into the crotch of the person in front of you while your Brown Line train does a Tokyo drift around the S-curve between Armitage and Segwick.

AP Photo/The Dothan Eagle, Jay Hare

An armed man storms on to a bus loaded with school children and, at gunpoint, demands that the bus driver turn over two children. The bus driver refuses and tries to stop the armed man. The armed man shoots the driver, killing him, then grabs one of the children as the others flee. The armed man takes the 5-year-old child, who is autistic, to an underground bunker on his property where a week-long crisis begins. As negotiators try to convince the man to release the boy, they are allowed to deliver toys and medicine to him via a pipe to the bunker. Finally, after managing to lower a hidden camera into the bunker, officials are alarmed by what they see and storm the bunker. The kidnapper is killed, either by agents or by his own hand, and the boy is miraculously rescued, unhurt.

It's a tense, dramatic story, one that seems like it would captivate a nation just as it was captivated by stories like a girl who fell down a well. Had it happened in a large city - New York, Dallas, even, God forbid, Chicago - the coverage would be constant, a 24-hour surveillance with every media outlet descending on the city. A story that touches on all the socio-political hot points in the wake of the Newtown tragedy - gun control, safety of school children, mental health - would surely draw nation-wide, if not world-wide, attention.

But it didn't.

The above story really happened and, for the entire week the crisis lasted, few Americans were aware of it at all.

In a bizarre story out of Texas Saturday night, it was reported that Chris Kyle was murdered at a gun range.

If you're not familiar with Kyle, there's a few reasons why this should be shocking - aside from the fact that it's the sad loss of an American hero.

Kyle was a sniper. The former Navy SEAL, author of American Sniper, was maybe the deadliest U.S. warrior ever, earning him the nickname "Devil of Ramadi." Credited with 160 confirmed kills - 255 claimed - in his career with SEAL Team 3, the decorated vet had become something of a celebrity in recent years, a staple on the talk show circuit and himself a host of his own show.

"It just comes as a shock and it's staggering to think that after all Chris has been through, that this is how he meets his end, because there are so many ways he could have been killed" in Iraq, American Sniper co-author Scott McEwen told Reuters.

In one of his last interviews, Kyle talked to guns.com about gun ownership, Obama administration plans to tackle assault weapons and the recent increase in mass shootings in the U.S.:

The Texas native Kyle was just 38. He had a new book due in May - American Gun - A History of the U.S. in Ten Firearms. He also had a pending legal action - a defamation lawsuit brought against him by Jesse Ventura over an alleged altercation at a SEAL bar in California in 2006.

Space Shuttle Columbia lifts off of launch pad 39-A from the Kennedy Space Center January 16, 2003 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Columbia broke up upon re-entry to earth February 1, 2003. (Photo by Matt Stroshane/Getty Images)

This image from a NASA handout video shows a close up of a piece of debris falling from the external tank, then striking the left wing of the Space Shuttle Columbia during launch on January 16, 2003. NASA officials noticed this piece of debris during lift off of Columbia, but did not consider it a major problem at the time. NASA Mission Control lost contact with the Space Shuttle Columbia during reentry on February 1, 2003 and later learned that the shuttle had broken up over Texas. Debris from the wreckage drifted hundreds of miles from central Texas to eastern Louisiana. Investigators are looking at problems with the left wing during the reentry sequence as a possible cause of the crash. (Photo by NASA/Getty Images)

This NASA handout image shows the Space Shuttle Columbia during reentry as it passes over the Starfire Optical Range at Kirkland Air Force Base, New Mexico on February 1, 2003. Shuttle crash investigators have scrutinized this image which some believe shows damage to the left wing of the shuttle. NASA Mission Control lost contact with the Space Shuttle Columbia during the reentry phase of mission STS-107 on February 1, 2003 and later learned that the shuttle had broken up over Texas. Debris from the wreckage drifted hundreds of miles from central Texas to Louisiana. All seven astronauts onboard the Shuttle died in the crash. (Photo by NASA/Getty Images)

In this Feb. 1, 2003 file photo, debris from the space shuttle Columbia streaks across the sky over Tyler, Texas. The Columbia broke apart in flames 200,000 feet over Texas on Saturday, killing all seven astronauts just minutes before they were to glide to a landing in Florida. Ten years later, reminders of Columbia are everywhere, including up in the sky. Everything from asteroids, lunar craters and Martian hills, to schools, parks, streets and even an airport (Rick Husband Amarillo International Airport) bear the Columbia astronauts' names. Two years ago, a museum opened in Hemphill, Texas, where much of the Columbia wreckage rained down, dedicated to "remembering Columbia." About 84,000 pounds of that wreckage, representing 40 percent of NASA's oldest space shuttle, are stored at Kennedy and loaned for engineering research. (AP Photo/Scott Lieberman)

This image from the National Weather Service shows a radar image of debris from the break up of the Space Shuttle Columbia (red streak below center) February 1, 2003 near Shreveport, Louisiana. NASA Mission Control lost contact with Columbia during re-entry on February 1, 2003 and later learned that the shuttle had broken up over Texas. Debris from the wreckage drifted hundreds of miles from central Texas to eastern Louisiana. (Photo by National Weather Service/Getty Images)

In this Jan. 2003 file photo, astronaut Rick D. Husband, mission commander of the space shuttle Columbia, is pictured on the aft flight deck. Husband and six crew members were lost when Columbia broke up during re-entry over north Texas on Feb. 1, 2003. This picture was on a roll of unprocessed film recovered by searchers from the debris later, released by NASA on June 24, 2003. (AP Photo/NASA)

In this handout photo from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the STS-107 crewmembers strike a flying pose for their traditional in-flight crew portrait in the SPACEHAB Research Double Module (RDM) aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia taken between January 16 and February 1, 2003 in space. From the left (bottom row), wearing red shirts to signify their shift?s color, are astronauts Kalpana Chawla, mission specialist; Rick D. Husband, mission commander; Laurel B. Clark, mission specialist; and Ilan Ramon, payload specialist. From the left (top row), wearing blue shirts, are astronauts David M. Brown, mission specialist; William C. McCool, pilot; and Michael P. Anderson, payload commander. Ramon represents the Israeli Space Agency. On February 1, 2003, the seven crewmembers were lost with the Space Shuttle Columbia over North Texas. This picture was on a roll of unprocessed film later recovered by searchers from the debris. (Photo by NASA/Getty Images)

Evelyn Husband-Thompson, center, widow of Colonel Rick Husband, space shuttle Columbia commander, speaks at a remembrance ceremony at the Space Mirror Memorial on the 10th anniversary of the loss of space shuttle Columbia crew at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, in Cape Canaveral, Fla..(AP Photo/John Raoux)

Evelyn Husband-Thompson, left, widow of Colonel Rick Husband, space shuttle Columbia commander, speaks at a remembrance ceremony on the 10th anniversary of the loss of space shuttle Columbia crew at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. On the memorial, in upper left of photo, is the name of her late husband and the other astronauts that lost their lives in the accident.(AP Photo/John Raoux)

Sandra Anderson, left, widow of astronaut Michael P.Anderson, and Evelyn Husband-Thompson, widow of Colonel Rick Husband, space shuttle Columbia commander, embrace in front of a memorial wreath during a remembrance ceremony on the 10th anniversary of the loss of space shuttle Columbia crew at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

A wreath placed at the Space Mirror Memorial is seen during a remembrance ceremony on the 10th anniversary of the loss of space shuttle Columbia crew at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, in Cape Canaveral, Fla. Ten years ago, the space shuttle Columbia and its seven astronauts were lost. They were returning from a 16-day mission and were just 16 minutes from home when the shuttle disintegrated on Feb. 1, 2003. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

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