Tag Archives | Chicago

Was the Chicago fire the result of a comet impact?


As someone who lives in Michigan, I agree that there are indeed some very weird natural phenomena on the great lakes which could use more study. Testament to the argument that nothing is ever said and finished in science.

Contrary to popular folklore, the Chicago fire is not the worst in U.S. history. It was not even the worst to occur on October 8 that year. The same evening—in fact, at the same time, about 9:30—a fierce wildfire struck in Peshtigo, Wisconsin, over 200 miles to the north of Chicago, destroying the town and a dozen other villages. Estimates of those killed range upward from 1200 to 2500 in a single night. It was not the Chicago fire but the simultaneous “Peshtigo Fire” that was the deadliest in U.S. history.

And there is more. On the same evening, across Lake Michigan, another fire also wreaked havoc. Though smaller fires had been burning for some time—not unusual under the reported conditions—the most intense outburst appears to have erupted simultaneously with the Chicago and Peshtigo fires.

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Chicago Police Put Antlers on Black Man and Posed for Pictures


Juan Thompson writes at the Intercept:

The photo shows two white Chicago Police officers posing with an unidentified black man [above]. The officers — Timothy McDermott and Jerome Finnigan — are holding rifles as the black man lies on the floor with a dazed look on his face and with antlers on his head as if he were a prized, big buck finally hunted down.

Finnegan is smiling and grabbing the right antler, while McDermott is holding up the man’s head as if it were his trophy.

The photo was taken in a police station on the West Side of Chicago sometime between 1999 and 2003. The Chicago Police Department successfully kept it hidden from the public until a judge refused to keep it under seal and the Chicago Sun-Times pulled a copy from a court filing. 

Finnigan is a notoriously dirty ex-cop who was a member of the police department’s elite Special Operations Section (SOS) until 2006, when he was charged with leading a gang of fellow officers who robbed suspects, illegally invaded homes and stole thousands of dollars in cash.

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Inmate Eats the Jail Cell, Costing the State $1 Million in Medical Bills

Lamont Cathey

Lamont Cathey

A man arrested for breaking into a pizza parlor has habitually consumed pieces of metal such as screws, drawing pins, and even leather while in jail. His medical bills have cost the state $1.3 million. I suppose that’s one way to get back at the man…

Sumitra via Oddity Central:

17-year-old Lamont Cathey, who was jailed for breaking into a pizza parlour in Chicago, is proving to be a costly inmate to handle. For the past 16 months, mentally disturbed Cathey has been consuming metal objects – ranging from toe screws to needles, to drawing pins, and even strips of leather. He has been rushed to the prison’s hospital 24 different times to have these items removed, costing the State a whopping $1.3 million!

Cathey used to be a promising basketball player until he was accused of stealing money from a safe at a pizzeria over a year ago.

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CPD Still Stonewalling Privacy Advocates On Releasing Information About Surveillance

A Chicago Police officer films protesters and a journalist at the NATO demonstrations in 2012 (photo courtesy of Kate Harnedy)

A Chicago Police officer films protesters and a journalist at the NATO demonstrations in 2012 (photo courtesy of Kate Harnedy)

Aaron Cynic writes at Chicagoist:

Privacy advocates filed another lawsuit yesterday in the ongoing battle to get the Chicago Police Department to provide information on the covert cell phone tracking systems it uses. Activist Freddy Martinez, who has filed similar suits twice before, filed one against the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office yesterday via Loevy and Loevy, a civil rights law firm. According to a press release from the firm, the suit charges the State’s Attorney has:

“Willfully and intentionally violated FOIA by refusing to produce records related to the presentation of evidence obtained through use of cell site simulators on the basis that it would be too ‘burdensome’ and is insufficiently important to justify the work involved to produce the records.”

The Chicago Police Department is one of many law enforcement agencies employing technologies such as Stingray, a brand-name and generic term for a device which mimics cell phone towers and collect data from phone calls, texts and more.… Read the rest

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Chicago’s Austerity Mayor Might’ve Won, But A Progressive Movement Is Percolating


Garcia giving his concession speech (photo by Aaron Cynic).

The race for Chicago mayor has wider implications than just how the nation’s third largest city will govern itself for the next four years. The city has long been a testing ground for disastrous “free market” reforms in education and home to many other privatization schemes, which only grew larger under Rahm Emanuel. While another four years with him as mayor could push this agenda forward, the recent electoral race has helped coalesce what could be a powerful movement of resistance.

Aaron Cynic writes at Chicagoist:

During the last four years in office, many have criticized Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s imperial-like qualities. Between his “Mayor 1%” moniker, his style of legislating by press release along with a City Council that voted with him nearly 100 percent of the time, Emanuel garnered a reputation for running Chicago like a king, rather than a mayor.… Read the rest

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Chicago Police Detain Americans at Abuse-Laden ‘Black Site’

Spencer Ackerman writes at the Guardian:

The Chicago police department operates an off-the-books interrogation compound, rendering Americans unable to be found by family or attorneys while locked inside what lawyers say is the domestic equivalent of a CIA black site.

The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units. Interviews with local attorneys and one protester who spent the better part of a day shackled in Homan Square describe operations that deny access to basic constitutional rights.

Alleged police practices at Homan Square, according to those familiar with the facility who spoke out to the Guardian after its investigation into Chicago police abuse, include:

  • Keeping arrestees out of official booking databases.
  • Beating by police, resulting in head wounds.
  • Shackling for prolonged periods.
  • Denying attorneys access to the “secure” facility.
  • Holding people without legal counsel for between 12 and 24 hours, including people as young as 15.
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Chicago Just Convicted A Thief Using Facial Recognition Technology

Now that the general public knows that they are being watched, may as well reinforce that with confirmation. No need to worry, right? You’ve done nothing wrong.

English: Different Types of Cctv Cameras

Different Types of Cctv Cameras (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

via Vocativ

For years, we’ve been hearing about how facial recognition software will help solve crime.

Privacy concerns aside, this is the idea: If a criminal is caught committing an offense on surveillance footage, the technology could theoretically scan the person’s face and produce a positive ID based on mug shots or DMV photos.

The problem is, the software kind of sucks, partially because surveillance footage is so grainy. This was one of the many subplots that unfolded in the wake of the Boston marathon bombing.

But the technology is getting smarter.

In Chicago, the tech was used—for the first time in the city’s history—to find a crook and lock him up in prison.

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Prepping for Revolution and Awakening with Comedian and Disinfonaut Lee Camp

Via Midwest Real

“I seriously doubt there’s ever been a time like this because things weren’t global… We are in the middle of some exciting times, they’re dangerous times, but it’s really fucking exciting that this many people can wake up and alter the way they live.  We’re looking at the greatest potential that human kind has ever seen in terms of technology and awareness, yet we’re on a path that’s fully and wholeheartedly not living up to that potential.  The gap between our reality and our potential is enormous, which could mean great things.  It could mean a real global awakening in a way.” -Lee Camp

All comedy is not created equal.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m always ready for (and often partaking in) some cheap chuckles facilitated by potty humor, but I have a deeper appreciation for the type of biting satire and commentary that actually opens your mind, forcing you to think whilst giggling.  Read the rest

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Activists Descend On Chicago Hotel To Protest ALEC Conference

Photo by Aaron Cynic

Photo by Aaron Cynic

Aaron Cynic writes at Chicagoist:

Six demonstrators were arrested at the Hilton Palmer House hotel in the Loop for staging a sit-in Monday evening. Dozens of activists held a demonstration in the lobby to protest the upcoming American Legislative Exchange Council conference this week. Calling themselves the Chicago Moral Monday Coalition, demonstrators dropped several banners off the second floor balcony while Rev. Marilyn Pagan Banks, Senior Pastor of Namaste United Church of Christ, spoke:

“The American Legislative Exchange Council, known as ALEC, is one of the great nexi where money and politics meet in order to corrupt our democracy. ALEC brings together corporate lobbyists and state legislators in order to create legislation that promotes big business and the 1% while working to disenfranchise ordinary people.”

The Chicago Moral Monday coalition takes its name after the “Moral Monday” protests in North Carolina, a series of rallies that activists have held in the state for nearly three months to protest varying forms of legislation.… Read the rest

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