WBEZ | obama http://www.wbez.org/tags/obama Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en U.N. addresses Vatican handling of child sex abuse cases http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-02-10/un-addresses-vatican-handling-child-sex-abuse-cases-109676 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/(AP PhotoAlessandra Tarantino)2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The United Nations has issued a report which says the Vatican, as a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, is responsible for implementing its mandate. The report says the Vatican has not done enough to protect children from abuse. We&#39;ll discuss the findings.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-the-u-n-addresses-vatican-handling-of-se/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-the-u-n-addresses-vatican-handling-of-se.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-the-u-n-addresses-vatican-handling-of-se" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: U.N. addresses Vatican handling of child sex abuse cases " on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 10 Feb 2014 10:55:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2014-02-10/un-addresses-vatican-handling-child-sex-abuse-cases-109676 Obama meets with immigration reform hunger strikers http://www.wbez.org/news/obama-meets-immigration-reform-hunger-strikers-109282 <p><p>Monday will mark Rudy Lopez&rsquo;s 12th day of going without food, including on Thanksgiving Day when so many Americans are feasting, not fasting.</p><p>But Lopez, a resident of East Chicago, Indiana, says he and 19 other activists are fasting to bring attention to the plight of immigrants in the U.S. illegally.<br /><br />&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve been fasting only on water to sustain us. And we have a core of four fasters who are on their 20th day,&rdquo; Lopez told WBEZ on Sunday.<br />The activists main goal is to pressure U.S. House Speaker John Boehner to bring a vote to the floor on an immigration reform bill.</p><p>Lopez says the group is tired and hungry.</p><p>&ldquo;But we&rsquo;re more hungry for movement on such an important piece of legislation and something that&rsquo;s going to change the lives of so many,&rdquo; Lopez said.<br /><br />The group received an unexpected visit from President Barack Obama on Friday.&nbsp;The President told them that their &quot;commitment to change&quot; ultimately will help pressure lawmakers to act.<br /><br />On the day after the U.S. holiday of Thanksgiving marked by an abundance of food, Obama stopped in at a heated, white tent on the National Mall where some activists have consumed only water since Nov. 12 in support of immigration legislation.<br /><br />Obama mentioned the activists in an immigration speech in San Francisco earlier this week. He delivered his message in person on Friday, accompanied by first lady Michelle Obama.<br /><br />&quot;I want everybody to know I remain optimistic that we&#39;re going to get this done,&quot; he said, according to video of his remarks. He said passage of an immigration bill was &quot;more a question of when than if.&quot;&nbsp;&quot;But I&#39;d rather get this done sooner rather than later,&quot; Obama said.<br /><br />The White House issued a statement after the approximately 40-minute visit that said Obama thanked the hunger strikers &quot;for their sacrifice and dedication and told them that the country is behind them on immigration reform.&quot;<br /><br />Organizers of the fast said Obama expressed concern for the health of the hunger strikers, and held the shoe of an immigrant who died in the Arizona desert while trying to enter the U.S.<br /><br />House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, has refused to schedule a vote on a comprehensive immigration measure the Senate passed this summer. The House prefers a piecemeal approach, but Boehner hasn&#39;t said whether lawmakers will consider any bills this year or whether the issue will slip into next year, when midterm-election politics will make legislative action less likely.<br /><br />The House has moved too slowly to satisfy immigration advocates, including those on the hunger strike as well as a man who shouted during Obama&rsquo;s speech in California for the president to stop separating families by deporting people who are living in the country illegally.<br /><br />The president was the latest administration official to meet with the activists. Vice President Joe Biden, Cabinet secretaries and top White House advisers have also visited.</p><p>Follow WBEZ Reporter Michael Puente on Twitter <a href="http://@MikePuenteNews">@MikePuenteNews</a>.</p></p> Mon, 02 Dec 2013 09:58:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/obama-meets-immigration-reform-hunger-strikers-109282 Egypt protests Morsi, Obama on climate change and Scotland's independence http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-07-01/egypt-protests-morsi-obama-climate-change-and-scotlands-independence <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP400986405464.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We examine the fallout from massive protests marking a year in power for Muhammad Morsi of Egypt. Then, Howard Learner provides insight into Barack Obama&#39;s speech on climate change. Also, a personal look at the push for independence in Scotland.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F99275257&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-egypt-protests-morsi-obama-on-climate-ch.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-egypt-protests-morsi-obama-on-climate-ch" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Egypt protests Morsi, Obama on climate change and Scotland's independence" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p></p> Mon, 01 Jul 2013 10:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-07-01/egypt-protests-morsi-obama-climate-change-and-scotlands-independence Obama in Africa, White House Down and Sudan's Lost Boys take the stage http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-06-28/obama-africa-white-house-down-and-sudans-lost-boys-take-stage-107895 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP612028614400.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We discuss what President Obama&#39;s trip to Africa could mean for US relations with the continent. Then, Milos Stehlik offers a glimpse of new action thriller &quot;White House Down.&quot; Plus, we explore weekend events with an international theme.</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F98870967&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-obama-in-africa-white-house-down-and-sud.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/worldview-obama-in-africa-white-house-down-and-sud" target="_blank">View the story "Worldview: Obama in Africa, White House Down and Sudan's Lost Boys take the stage" on Storify</a>]</noscript></p></p> Fri, 28 Jun 2013 10:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/worldview/2013-06-28/obama-africa-white-house-down-and-sudans-lost-boys-take-stage-107895 Obama's statement on court's gay marriage ruling http://www.wbez.org/news/obamas-statement-courts-gay-marriage-ruling-107856 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/AP290984811016_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Obama&#39;s statement on court&#39;s gay marriage ruling<br />The Associated Press</p><p><br />WASHINGTON&nbsp; &mdash; President Barack Obama issued the following statement Wednesday in response to the Supreme Court&#39;s finding that the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional:</p><p>___</p><p>I applaud the Supreme Court&#39;s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This was discrimination enshrined in law. It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. The Supreme Court has righted that wrong, and our country is better off for it. We are a people who declared that we are all created equal - and the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.</p><p>This ruling is a victory for couples who have long fought for equal treatment under the law; for children whose parents&#39; marriages will now be recognized, rightly, as legitimate; for families that, at long last, will get the respect and protection they deserve; and for friends and supporters who have wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and have worked hard to persuade their nation to change for the better.</p><p>So we welcome today&#39;s decision, and I&#39;ve directed the Attorney General to work with other members of my Cabinet to review all relevant federal statutes to ensure this decision, including its implications for Federal benefits and obligations, is implemented swiftly and smoothly.</p><p>On an issue as sensitive as this, knowing that Americans hold a wide range of views based on deeply held beliefs, maintaining our nation&#39;s commitment to religious freedom is also vital. How religious institutions define and consecrate marriage has always been up to those institutions. Nothing about this decision - which applies only to civil marriages - changes that.</p><p>The laws of our land are catching up to the fundamental truth that millions of Americans hold in our hearts: when all Americans are treated as equal, no matter who they are or whom they love, we are all more free.</p></p> Wed, 26 Jun 2013 11:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/obamas-statement-courts-gay-marriage-ruling-107856 Drunk with hope http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-06/drunk-hope-107607 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP120403123033.jpg" style="height: 383px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="File: President Barack Obama. (AP/File)" />Edward Snowden didn&rsquo;t vote for Barack Obama but he trusted&mdash;or, perhaps, ironically, had enough hope&mdash;in his candidacy that he waited until after the 2008 elections to make the decision to unveil the extent of the National Security Agency&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/jun/09/edward-snowden-nsa-whistleblower-surveillance" target="_blank">domestic surveillance program</a>.</p><p>You could say Snowden hoped candidate Obama&mdash;so publicly against the Iraq War, so dubious about domestic spying and other programs, so happy to be viewed as a reformer&mdash;might actually undo some of the harm, and potential harm, established by the post 9/11 terrorism cure-all known as the Patriot Act.</p><p>Candidate Obama was, after all, the constitutional lawyer who understood the limits of government, the Illinois State Representative who asserted &ldquo;it <a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/andrewkaczynski/in-2001-obama-predicted-majoritarian-check-on-mass-surveilla" target="_blank">means something</a> to be a citizen,&quot; the U.S. Senator who described some of the specific provisions that have allowed PRISM as &ldquo;way aboard.&rdquo;</p><p>Of course, candidate Obama also voted for the Patriot Act reauthorization, but he seemed reluctant, pained even. Or was he? Check out this town hall exchange and Sen. Obama actually seems <a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/weigel/2013/06/06/russ_feingold_nsa_report_deeply_troubling.html" target="_blank">eager to expand the phone tapping</a> program. (How did we not hear that?)</p><p>Here&rsquo;s what I know for sure: Obama had an opportunity to make history for all the right reasons, to come into the White House on that big monster wave&mdash;what Hawaiians call the pipeline&mdash;of hope and actually do some good.</p><p>But here&rsquo;s what else I know: We can talk Obamacare and LGBTQ rights&mdash;both hard-won but unnecessarily hard-fought and, most importantly, incomplete&mdash;but Obama&rsquo;s legacy has just been sealed by Hansen&rsquo;s revelations.</p><p>Because what Hansen&rsquo;s revelations say is that Obama is willing to betray his own professed most cherished values: protection of the U.S. Constitution, protection of every citizen&rsquo;s privacy and civil rights. His policies on civil liberties have actually turned out to be <a href="http://www.thenation.com/blog/158381/obama-takes-wrong-turn-civil-liberties-adopting-worse-patriot-act-stance-gop" target="_blank">worse than the GOP&rsquo;s</a>.</p><p>Many of us hoped Obama would be the exception (even as we held our breath in the voting booth, knowing how unwise it was to even hold out the meekest, thinnest, light-as-a-feather hope for that) and so made an exception of every single one of his violations.</p><p>But <a href="http://www.npr.org/2013/01/23/169922171/obamas-promise-to-close-guantanamo-prison-falls-short" target="_blank">Guantánamo</a> is not an exception.</p><p><a href="http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2013-01-01/world/36323571_1_obama-administration-interrogation-drone-strikes" target="_blank">Rendition</a> is not an exception.</p><p>The lawlessness and lack of transparency revealed by the Wikileaks cables were not exceptions (and the treatment of <a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/may/30/obama-wikileaks-journalism-attack" target="_blank">Bradley Manning and other whistleblowers</a> is not an exception).</p><p><a href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/03/ibragim-todashev-drones-policy-obama" target="_blank">Drones</a> are not an exception.</p><p>Targeted killings and <a href="http://rt.com/usa/obama-moves-to-keep-kill-list-memos-secret-forever-224/" target="_blank">kill lists</a> are not an exception.</p><p>His anemic support of <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-fix/post/where-obama-and-romney-stand-on-gun-control/2012/07/20/gJQAwMpNyW_blog.html" target="_blank">domestic gun control</a> is not an exception.</p><p>His record number of <a href="http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/dec/21/obama-administration-sets-deportation-record/" target="_blank">deportations</a> is not an exception.</p><p>His recent <a href="http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/comment/2013/05/how-obama-harms-the-press.html" target="_blank">attacks on the press</a> were not an exception.</p><p>Is Obama drunk on power? I don&rsquo;t know.</p><p>But we&rsquo;ve sure been drunk with hope.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 10 Jun 2013 09:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-06/drunk-hope-107607 10 misconceptions about Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-05/10-misconceptions-about-chicago-107424 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Chicago.jpg" style="height: 620px; width: 620px; " title="A view of downtown Chicago. (Zocolo/Josh Hammond)" /></p><div class="image-insert-image ">I had a lot of preconceived notions about Chicago before moving here in 2010.</div><p>I&#39;d spent the first 21 years of my life in Dallas, and before my big move, the Windy City was just a kaledeiscope of images from movies that I&#39;d watched: mostly a weird hybrid of <em>The Untouchables</em> and&nbsp;<em>Ferris Bueller&#39;s Day Off.&nbsp;</em></p><p>Luckily, I got to&nbsp;witness a spectacular parade on my first day in town (Go&nbsp;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0o01rTeOEY" target="_blank">Blackhawks</a>!) without having to bypass any mob activity or&nbsp;<a href="http://vimeo.com/16687356" target="_blank">train station shootouts</a>&nbsp;en route.&nbsp;</p><p>Three and a half years later, I finally feel like a &quot;real&quot; Chicagoan. I graduated from my South Loop arts college in 2012, and could have easily returned to Texas, but there was no doubt in my mind that I would stay. Looking out over the Michigan Avenue bridge on a beautiful summer night, I knew in my heart that I couldn&#39;t leave. Chicago felt too much like home.&nbsp;</p><p>People who don&#39;t live in Chicago usually have a lot of questions when they visit for the first time, and many of them arrive with biases similar to the ones that I had years ago.</p><p>Here are few of the common misconceptions that I&#39;ve heard in regards to Chicago (and at one time believed myself) that are simply not true:&nbsp;</p><p><strong>10. Violence is around every corner.</strong></p><p>Yes, an <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/23/gun-violence-cost-chicago_n_3328349.html" target="_blank">epidemic of gun violence</a> is a serious problem in specific Chicago neighborhoods. &nbsp;However, this doesn&#39;t mean that gang members are perpetually roaming our streets and shooting innocent bystanders. Violent crime rates increase in urban areas, and a densely-populated city like Chicago is no exception. So, just as you would in New York, L.A. or any other major city with lots of people packed closely together, be safe and smart about your surroundings without being overly paranoid. Living in a constant state of fear will not do you any favors.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>9. Everyone has a &quot;Chicahgo&quot; accent.</strong></p><p>Whenever I tell people that I grew up in Dallas, every time (and I mean <em>every</em> time) they say: &quot;Huh, you don&#39;t have an accent,&quot; as if they expected me to talk like Reba McEntire. My response is the same for people who ask why I haven&#39;t picked up the <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/our-almost-last-word-chuh-kaw-go-accent-104459">flat-A</a>&nbsp;Midwestern accent, and why Chicago accents vary across the board: &quot;It&#39;s a metropolitan city. Everybody comes from different places; we&#39;re not all the same.&quot; Which leads into my next widely-held (but totally inaccurate) belief...</p><p><strong>8. The city is made up of mostly black and white (Irish) people. </strong></p><p>According to the latest demographics from the U.S. Census Bureau, about <a href="http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/17/1714000.html" target="_blank">one third</a>&nbsp;of Chicagoans are of Hispanic or Latino origin. &quot;White persons&quot; (including those of Polish, Irish and Italian descent) make up 45 percent of the population, while &quot;black persons&quot; account for 32 percent and Latinos 28 percent.</p><p><strong>7. All of the politicians are corrupt.</strong></p><p>Mayor Rahm Emanuel&#39;s approval ratings are in the gutter (and <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/02/22/rahm-emanuel-approval-rat_n_2741939.html" target="_blank">for good reason</a>) but thankfully, there are plenty of other <a href="http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/December-2012/Chicagos-Best-and-Worst-Politicians-of-2012/" target="_blank">Chicago politicians</a> who are making our city a better place to live. Corruption and scandal will always exist in every major office (the Oval Office included); so we should focus on <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-05/adventures-urban-gardening-107297" target="_blank">what&#39;s going well</a> and keep working towards improvements, instead of focusing on every corrupt politician that&#39;s ever strolled through City Hall. &nbsp;</p><p><strong>6. Winters are so unbearable that living in Chicago year-round is not worth it.</strong></p><p>My first Chicago winter was the &quot;<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=02fJPqMuAzQ" target="_blank">Snowpocalypse</a>&quot; of 2011, and it was pretty brutal. Still, whoever says that &quot;the wind chill will take your face off!&quot; has clearly never been to&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climate_of_Minnesota" target="_blank">Minnesota in January</a>. Yes, the winters here are long and cold; but in my opinion, the gorgeous Chicago autumns and summers are well worth the wait. &nbsp;</p><p><strong>5. Everyone loves Barack Obama.&nbsp;</strong></p><p>Considering the large number of <a href="http://www.newstimes.com/news/politics/article/In-Chicago-Obama-rallies-Dems-and-donors-for-2014-4559055.php" target="_blank">pro-life and anti-deportation protestors</a> outside of an Obama fundraiser at the Hilton last night, it would appear that not every Chicagoan is the president&#39;s biggest fan.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>4. Chicago has the highest taxes in the country.</strong></p><p>We may have the highest sales tax of all 50 states (currently 9.5 percent) but Los Angeles is <a href="http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20121120/business/711209941/" target="_blank">hot on our heels</a> to match it. And while buying an apartment in Chicago may be more expensive than say, Detroit, property taxes in New York and San Francisco still make ours look cheap by comparison.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>3. Wrigleyville is the place to be.</strong></p><p>Most people who visit me in Chicago want to see <a href="http://www.chicagotraveler.com/neighborhoods/wrigleyville-feature.htm" target="_blank">the enchanted land of Wrigleyville</a> right off the bat. Real talk: a Cubs game may be worth experiencing at least once in your life, but there&#39;s a lot more to Chicago than Moe&#39;s Cantina and the Cubby Bear (thank God).&nbsp;</p><p><strong>2. Eating any kind of pizza in Chicago besides deep dish is a sin.</strong></p><p>While deep dish pizza remains the <a href="http://chicago.grubstreet.com/2009/09/is_deep-dish_pizza_for_tourist.html" target="_blank">biggest draw</a> for Chicago tourists, local enthusiasm for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc=Best+Thin+Crust+Pizza&amp;find_loc=Chicago%2C+IL" target="_blank">thin-crust</a>&nbsp;at Pat&#39;s, Piece and Pequod&#39;s proves that in this town, all slices are created equal.</p><p><strong>1. Avoid the South Side.</strong></p><p>Within a week of living in the South Loop and attending Columbia College Chicago, a fellow student told me to &quot;<a href="http://www.virtualtourist.com/travel/North_America/United_States_of_America/Illinois/Chicago-777256/Warnings_or_Dangers-Chicago-Common_Sense_Advice_Sketchy_Neighborhoods-BR-1.html" target="_blank">never go past Chinatown</a>&quot; on the Red Line. Over the years, I also heard similar rumblings about other neighborhoods (&quot;Stay away from Hyde Park, Kenwood, Pilsen, Beverly, etc.&quot;) and I&#39;m glad that I didn&#39;t listen to them. Broaden your horizons, North Siders: there is so much more to this city.&nbsp;</p><p>Do you have anyting to add to this list? What do you wish that more people knew about Chicago?</p><p><em>Leah Pickett writes about popular culture for WBEZ. Follow her on <a href="https://www.facebook.com/leahkristinepickett" target="_blank">Facebook</a>, <a href="https://twitter.com/leahkpickett" target="_blank">Twitter</a> or <a href="http://hermionehall.tumblr.com" target="_blank">Tumblr</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 30 May 2013 11:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-05/10-misconceptions-about-chicago-107424 Hotel workers protest Hyatt heir's cabinet nomination http://www.wbez.org/news/hotel-workers-protest-hyatt-heirs-cabinet-nomination-107283 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Pritzker Unions.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>A picket line stretched for roughly two blocks in front of the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place in the south Loop. The demonstration was organized by Unite Here, which represents Hyatt Hotel workers.</p><p>Hyatt is a major source of the Pritzker family wealth and Penny Pritzker currently sits on their board. The union says that a Commerce Secretary&#39;s first concern should be good jobs for Americans but that is not what her work with Hyatt demonstrates.</p><p>The union says the workload for housekeepers is unreasonable and results in injuries.</p><p>Lesley Newson was still in her housekeeping uniform when she showed up to the rally.</p><p>&quot;A lot of us sustain back injury, some have neck or shoulder pain,&quot; she said.&nbsp;</p><p>Cathy Youngblood works at a Hyatt in West Hollywood and has been traveling the country speaking out. She is angry that Hyatt has been hiring more temporary workers at minimum wage and without benefits.</p><p>&quot;Hyatt is leading the industry in the race to the bottom,&quot; Youngblood said. &quot;We think Hyatt could do better. We think it&rsquo;s time for Hyatt to change.&quot;</p><p>In a written statement Hyatt said that Unite Here is spreading misinformation in order to get publicity.</p><p><em>Shannon Heffernan is a WBEZ reporter. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/shannon_h" target="_blank">@shannon_h</a></em></p></p> Tue, 21 May 2013 07:03:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/hotel-workers-protest-hyatt-heirs-cabinet-nomination-107283 Obama's unnecessary scandals http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-05/obamas-unnecessary-scandals-107205 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/AP342373198084.jpg" title="(AP/File)" /></p><p>Leave it to Barack Obama to bring together in genuine outrage Tea Party conservatives, sparked to life by his election and determined to undermine it, and the American press, technically unfettered but the administration&rsquo;s best friend in times of crisis.<br /><br />Sure, Obama can say his people really had nothing to do with the IRS scandal unfolding before us, in which the tax agency harassed Tea Party groups seeking not-for-profit status for their work. It&rsquo;s true that the IRS is semi-independent. But does anyone believe Obama really found out about the mess from the media?<br /><br />Obama is already perceived, even by many of his supporters, as aloof and above it all. Is he now saying he&rsquo;s so beyond his own administration, so disconnected from his own aides, no one thought to tip him off a scandal was brewing?<br /><br />Saying he found out about the mess from the media is no shield: it&rsquo;s an admission of neglect, both by him and by his own team. Are they too busy trying to coordinate the next dinner in the so-called &ldquo;charm&rdquo; offensive on congressional Republicans they didn&rsquo;t bother to establish some kind of routine communications with the IRS that might have let them in on the problem? Or are the IRS people so disdainful of the president and his administration they figured they could wait until the boiling point?<br /><br />And let&rsquo;s not forget Attorney General Eric Holder, copy-catting the president in ignorance: turns out he had no idea either his folks had been caching phone records for months over at the Associated Press. Holder said he&rsquo;d recused himself and didn&rsquo;t actually sign off on the spying &ndash; but doesn&rsquo;t the law require the Department of Justice to inform the source first, to seek its cooperation? Never mind, <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-eric-holders-abdication/2013/05/15/61a42d12-bdaf-11e2-97d4-a479289a31f9_story.html?hpid=z2">Holder remembers so little </a>of this, is so aimless a satellite, he failed to put his recusal in writing, leading to his inability to remember the date he actually recused himself.<br /><br />How pissed off are media people? Almost every major newspaper has been leading with at least one Obama disaster &ndash; the IRS, the AP story or, in more conservative circles, Benghazi.</p><p>On the Internet, HuffPost &ndash; the president&rsquo;s biggest booster &ndash; lead with &ldquo;DOJ WTF.&rdquo; The 24 TV news cycle has been churning with all three, and with connections between all three. There&rsquo;s actual talk of impeachment, however ridiculous.</p><p><br />Here&rsquo;s the thing: All three of these events are completely unnecessary scandals. Republicans may be lapping and stirring them up, but all three are crazy careless mistakes on the part of a White House that, even to supporters, has often seemed arrogant beyond the pale.<br /><br />And while at least two of the scandals appear to have merit (Benghazi strikes me as a GOP wet dream to derail Hillary Clinton&rsquo;s 2016 bid &ndash; good luck with that, guys), none actually hit the heights of bulldozing over rights and law-bending in similar situations in previous administrations.<br /><br />What makes them red meat right now is the GOP&rsquo;s appetite for anything to tarnish this president, and the president and his cronies&rsquo; unfettered belief that&rsquo;s the only thing keeping them from glory.<br /><br />In the meantime, judgeships remain vacant, appointments remain unconfirmed, the sequester marches on, government slows to a crawl and the 2014 midterms &ndash; an exercise that, no matter who wins, will reward bad behavior &ndash; approaches.</p></p> Thu, 16 May 2013 10:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/achy-obejas/2013-05/obamas-unnecessary-scandals-107205 Transit fare-card fog thickens http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-03/transit-fare-card-fog-thickens-106201 <p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-rta-no-debit-option-on-reducedfare-ventra-cards-20130320,0,3355403.story" target="_blank"><img alt="VentraChicago.com illustration" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Screen%20shot%202013-03-21%20at%201.19.11%20AM.png" style="height: 177px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="VentraChicago.com illustration" /></a><strong>TRANSIT FARE-CARD FOG.&nbsp;</strong>Adding to confusion over the incoming Ventra card for Chicago-area transit, the&nbsp;RTA says its version won&#39;t include prepaid debit account functionality for senior citizens and people with disabilities. On one hand, that means they&#39;ll be spared <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-0320-cta-ventra-hidden-fees-gfc-eps-20130319,0,2656887.graphic" target="_blank">a bewildering array of debit-card fees</a>; on the other, a disability rights group executive tells the <em>Tribune</em>, &quot;Whatever options are available to the general public&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-rta-no-debit-option-on-reducedfare-ventra-cards-20130320,0,3355403.story" target="_blank">should be available to persons with disabilities and persons over 65 who qualify for reduced-fare cards</a>.&quot;<br /><em>* Correction to something I said yesterday on WBEZ&#39;s &quot;Afternoon Shift&quot;&nbsp;</em>(at about 5:02 in <a href="http://soundcloud.com/afternoonshiftwbez/timeout-chicago-goes-all/" target="_blank">this audio clip</a>): According to the <em>Trib</em>, that $2.95 &quot;Reload on Internet&quot; fee applies <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-cta-ventra-hidden-fees-0320-20130320,0,2928286.story" target="_blank">only to money added to the retail (debit) side of the card</a>; not to recharges for the card&#39;s transit-fare side.</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>SCHOOL CLOSINGS ANALYSIS.&nbsp;</strong>As Mayor Emanuel&#39;s administration prepares to announce what could be&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/more-50-proposed-chicago-school-closings-expected-106202" target="_blank">the largest number of schools shut down by a city in a single year</a>, keep an eye on&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/The-312/March-2013/Two-Sites-You-Should-Be-Looking-At-As-CPS-Announces-Massive-School-Closure/" target="_blank">these data-driven websites</a>&nbsp;(including&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wbez.org/content/mapping-10-years-school-closures" target="_blank">WBEZ&#39;s map of school closures</a>), featuring what&nbsp;<em>Chicago</em>&nbsp;magazine&#39;s Whet Moser calls &quot;vital&quot; tools for understanding the closings&#39; impact.<br />* Chicago charter-school operator UNO&#39;s boss has&nbsp;<a href="http://www.suntimes.com/18966110-761/embattled-boss-of-top-chicago-charter-school-operator-uno-has-three-relatives-on-his-payroll.html" target="_blank">3 relatives on the payroll</a>,&nbsp;<em>Sun-Times</em>&nbsp;reports.</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>KIDS DOCS BACK GAY MARRIAGE.</strong> The Illinois-based American Academy of Pediatrics says <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/influential-pediatricians-group-backs-gay-marriage" target="_blank">stable relationships between parents, regardless of sexual orientation, contribute to children&#39;s health and well-being</a>.<br />* Gay-marriage opponent: &quot;To the extent that the other side is able to frame this as a vote for gay people to be happy, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/21/us/politics/young-opponents-of-gay-marriage-remain-undaunted.html?pagewanted=all&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">it will be challenging for us</a>.&quot;</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>&#39;SURE. SEX AND THE PRIESTS, LET&#39;S BLAST IT ALL OVER THE PLACE. NEVER LET IT GO.&#39;</strong> The retired bishop of the Joliet Diocese reacts bitterly to <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/chi-open-files-part-of-settlement-for-priest-sex-abuse-victim-20130320,0,1723064,full.story" target="_blank">release of previously secret papers detailing decades of sexual abuse</a> on his watch.<br />* Lawyer who won the revelations: &quot;<a href="http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/iteam&amp;id=9033945" target="_blank">At least 75% of the diocese ... had a sexual predator priest</a>.&quot;</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>LET PROSTITUTES WALK FREE?</strong> To ease a population crunch at Cook County Jail, several County Board members are asking prosecutors <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/18992826-761/county-officials-end-felony-arrests-for-prostitution-to-reduce-jail-crowding.html" target="_blank">to treat prostitution arrests as misdemeanors</a>, not felonies.<br />* On WBEZ, Sheriff Tom Dart criticizes mental health clinic closures:&nbsp;&quot;We as a society have decided to criminalize mental illness. ... We&#39;ve shut down all the facilities to treat people. <a href="http://soundcloud.com/afternoonshiftwbez/cook-county-sheriff-tom-dart" target="_blank">Where in God&#39;s name do you think they&#39;re gonna go?</a>&quot;</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>YOUR TAXES AT WORK.</strong><br />*&nbsp;<a href="http://www.suntimes.com/18993800-761/city-of-chicago-hit-with-578-million-tab-in-parking-garage-snafu.html" target="_blank">Chicago ordered to pay $57.8 million to parking company</a>&nbsp;for letting competing garage open nearby.<br />*&nbsp;<a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-cook-county-aclu-settlement-0321-20130321,0,2402817.story" target="_blank">Cook County to pay $646,000 to ACLU</a>&nbsp;in fight over law forbidding recording of cops on the job.</span></p><hr /><p style="text-align: center;"><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><span style="font-size: 18px;"><em><span style="color: rgb(128, 0, 0);"><strong>COMING FRIDAY: </strong>A fresh news quiz.<br />Limber up your quizceps by trying&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.wbez.org/tags/news-quiz" target="_blank">these previous editions</a>.</em></span></span></p><hr /><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>COULD MAKE STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS AWKWARD.&nbsp;</strong>President Obama was caught on-mic and on-camera in Israel joking, &quot;<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/03/20/obama-tells-netanyahu-its-good-to-get-away-from-congress/" target="_blank">It&#39;s good to get away from Congress</a>.&quot;<br />* Obama, Israel&#39;s prime minister <a href="http://www.politico.com/politico44/2013/03/obama-netanyahu-admonish-nbcs-chuck-todd-for-asking-159848.html" target="_blank">complain NBC reporter asks too many questions</a>.<br />* Conservative vs. conservative: &quot;<a href="http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2013/03/oreilly-slams-bachmann-for-trivial-criticisms-of-president-159895.html" target="_blank">O&#39;Reilly slams Bachmann</a> for &#39;trivial&#39; criticisms of President Obama&quot; (Politico).</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>&#39;THE AMERICAN NEWS CONSUMER HAS NEVER HAD IT SO GOOD.&#39;</strong> <em>Slate</em>&#39;s Matthew Yglesias says, sure, it&#39;s a rough time for news producers, but <a href="http://stateofthemedia.org/" target="_blank">the doom-and-gloom reports</a> on the state of the news biz miss the key point that &quot;<a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2013/03/pew_s_state_of_the_media_ignore_the_doomsaying_american_journalism_has_never.html">today&rsquo;s readers have access to far more high-quality coverage than they have time to read</a>.&quot;<br />* Reporter who quit: &quot;<a href="http://allysonbird.com/2013/03/19/why-i-left-news/" target="_blank">Newspapers killed newspapers</a>.&quot;<br />* <em>Washington Post</em> nails <a href="http://www.poynter.org/latest-news/mediawire/207810/washington-post-busts-jane-goodall-for-plagiarism/" target="_blank">Jane Goodall for plagiarism</a>.<br />* CNN reporter allegedly <a href="http://www.thewrap.com/media/column-post/cnn-soft-rapists-steubenville-coverage-sparks-debate-81861?page=0,0" target="_blank">&quot;outraged&quot; over Steubenville rape trial coverage criticism</a>.</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>GOOGLE&#39;S NEW NOTE-TAKING SERVICE.</strong> <a href="http://thenextweb.com/google/2013/03/20/google-launches-evernote-rival-keep-for-the-web-android-4-0-and-above/" target="_blank">Google Keep</a> is aimed at services like Evernote, promising to &quot;save ideas and organize to-dos the moment they happen by creating notes, lists, photos and voice recordings right from your phone.&quot;<br />* YouTube now reaches <a href="http://thenextweb.com/google/2013/03/21/youtube-reaches-1-billion-unique-monthly-users-almost-15-of-planet-earth/" target="_blank">1 billion unique visitors a month</a> -- 15 percent of humanity.</span></p><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><strong>THIS LINK UNSUITABLE FOR ALL AGES.</strong> Tired of the traditional NCAA bracket?&nbsp;<em>Deadspin</em> offers a 64-slot &quot;<a href="http://deadspin.com/behold-the-ultimate-curse-word-bracket-457043269" target="_blank">Swear Word Bracket</a>&quot; -- because &quot;68-team brackets are stupid.&quot;<br />* Tech Crunch: &quot;<a href="http://techcrunch.com/2013/03/19/google-march-madness-bracket/" target="_blank">Google Embeds March Madness Bracket In Search, Because Screw Sports Sites</a>.&quot;&nbsp;</span></p><hr /><p><span style="font-family:georgia,serif;"><em><strong>ANNOUNCEMENTS.</strong></em><br /><em>* Suggestions for this blog?&nbsp;<a href="mailto:cmeyerson@wbez.org?subject=Things%20and%20stuff">Email anytime</a>.<br />* Get this blog by email, free. <a href="http://feedburner.google.com/fb/a/mailverify?uri=feedburner/AELk&amp;amp;loc=en_US" target="_blank">Sign up here</a>.</em><br /><em>* Follow us on Twitter:&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/wbez" target="_blank">@WBEZ</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/meyerson" target="_blank">@Meyerson</a>.</em></span></p></p> Thu, 21 Mar 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/charlie-meyerson/2013-03/transit-fare-card-fog-thickens-106201