Opinion: What Chicago’s 500th Murder Means


Chicago experienced its 500th murder of the year on Thursday night, when a 40-year-old man was shot to death in the Austin neighborhood. It was only the second time in the last ten years the city has reached that mark. In 2008, 513 people were murdered.

However, this year’s violence has attracted unprecedented national attention to Chicago. In October, Diane Sawyer held a town hall meeting at St. Sabina’s Church, hosted by Father Michael Pfleger. The killings have earned the city the nickname “Chiraq” and have been inspired an emerging Chicago rap form known as drill.

“The toughened reality of living in these neighborhoods is what shaped Drill music, a slang term for retaliation and a new style of hip-hop that represents a turning away from Chicago’s socially conscious wave represented by Kanye West, Common, Lupe Fiasco, the Cool Kids and others to a darker, more hard-core sound, recognized by sinister keyboards, brittle beats and voyeuristic tales involving girls, Kush smoking, but primarily violence,” Salon wrote in an article on rapper Chief Keef, who was investigated for his connection to the shooting of a rival named Lil Jojo.

The city’s murders have also made it a case study in the debate on gun control. Second Amendment defenders point to the fact that Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation as proof that gun control is not only ineffective, but causes more violence.

“The reality is that the only people being denied guns under Obama’s scenario are law-abiding citizens,” wrote Breitbart.com, in an article titled “Obama‘s gun control not working out in Chicago.” “And this means criminals are beginning to understand they can carry out their misdeeds with a impunity, as the citizens they accost or attack have no weapons with which to fight back. As a result, Chicago is on track to have more than 500 gun-related deaths for this year alone.”

Probably the most read article in the history of Ward Room is a piece entitled “The Deadliest Global City,” which pointed out that Chicago has a higher murder rate than any other Alpha world city. It’s been popular with conservatives who believe gun control is responsible for the murders.

Whatever is causing it, as we move into 2013, the most important issue facing this city and this state is not education, or the pension crisis, or the parking meters — it’s murder.

Source: http://www.nbcchicago.com/blogs/ward-room/What-Chicagos-500th-Murder-Means-185037341.html#ixzz2GMlPVPow


Obama to Meet with Hill Leaders in Last Stab at Fiscal Deal

Obama to Meet with Hill Leaders in Last Stab at Fiscal Deal

Amid partisan bluster, top members of Congress and President Barack Obama were holding out slim hopes for a limited fiscal deal before the new year. But even as congressional leaders prepared to convene at the White House, there were no signs that legislation palatable to both sides was taking shape.

The Friday afternoon meeting among congressional leaders and the president — their first since Nov. 16 — stood as a make-or-break moment for negotiations to avoid across-the-board first of the year tax increases and deep spending cuts.

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Obama called for the meeting as top lawmakers alternately cast blame on each other while portraying themselves as open to a reasonable last-minute bargain.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid all but conceded that any effort at this late date was a long shot. “I don’t know timewise how it can happen now,” he said.

For Obama, the 11th-hour scramble represented a test of how he would balance the strength derived from his re-election with his avowed commitment to compromise. Despite early talk of a grand bargain between Obama and House Speaker John Boehner that would reduce deficits by more than $2 trillion, the expectations were now far less ambitious.

Although there were no guarantees of a deal, Republicans and Democrats said privately that any agreement would likely include an extension of middle-class tax cuts with increased rates at upper incomes, an Obama priority that was central to his re-election campaign. The deal would also likely put off the scheduled spending cuts. Such a year-end bill could also include an extension of expiring unemployment benefits, a reprieve for doctors who face a cut in Medicare payments and possibly a short-term measure to prevent dairy prices from soaring, officials said.

To get there, Obama and Reid would have to propose a package that Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell would agree not to block with procedural steps that require 60 votes to overcome.

Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York said he still thinks a deal could be struck.

The Democrat told NBC’s “Today” show Friday that he believes the “odds are better than people think.”

Schumer said he based his optimism on indications that McConnell has gotten “actively engaged” in the talks.

Appearing on the same show, Republican Sen. John Thune noted the meeting scheduled later Friday at the White House, saying “it’s encouraging that people are talking.”

But Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., predicted that “the worst-case scenario” could emerge from Friday’s talks.

“We will kick the can down the road,” he said on “CBS This Morning.”

“We’ll do some small deal and we’ll create another fiscal cliff to deal with the fiscal cliff,” he said. Corker complained that there has been “a total lack of courage, lack of leadership,” in Washington.

Speaking on the Senate floor Thursday, McConnell cautioned: “Republicans aren’t about to write a blank check for anything the Democrats put forward just because we find ourselves at the edge of the cliff.”

Source: http://www.nbcchicago.com/news/national-international/NATL-White-House-Meeting-a-Last-Stab-at-a-Fiscal-Deal–185033451.html#ixzz2GMkRFh1X

Grim milestone: Austin shooting 500th homicide in Chicago


By Jeremy Gorner and Peter NickeasTribune reporters
9:11 a.m. CST, December 28, 2012

Gave Bates smiled through tears as she swiped her hand across her phone, flipping through pictures of her cousin playing around and striking goofy poses.

“He was a lot of fun, very good at imitating people,” Bates said of Nathaniel T. Jackson, 40. “He just had so much fun all the time. And we all grew up together in the same house.”

Raw video: Scene outside shooting in Austin
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Nathaniel T. Jackson
Nathaniel T. Jackson
Deadly shooting
5000 West Augusta Boulevard, Chicago, IL 60651, USA

Jackson was standing outside a store in the Austin neighborhood around 9 p.m. Thursday when someone walked up and shot him in the head, police said. His death was the 500th homicide in Chicago this year, marking a grim milestone. The city last reached that toll in 2008.

Jackson grew up on the West Side, a few miles away from where he was gunned down, and had been released from prison this past summer after serving a sentence for robbery. He had been shot several years ago, after an earlier stint in jail, and Bates said she constantly warned him to be careful on the street.

“The last time he was out, someone had shot him several times, in the back,” Bates said as she stood outside Stroger Hospital, where Jackson was pronounced dead. “He was a fighter, he was a survivor.”

Police had no motive on the shooting outside Noah Foods at Augusta Boulevard and Lavergne Avenue. No one was in custody.

Police tapped on apartment windows and knocked on doors looking for witnesses. A few bullet casings, which police believed were from a .45-caliber handgun, were found near the blood-stained sidewalk in front of the store.

Jackson’s family sat for three hours in a waiting room at Stroger Hospital when staff members finally walked in and told them Jackson had died. Relatives stood up and exchanged tight embraces.

Bates said her cousin had been staying with a family friend after his release from prison in August. “We grew up on the West Side, over on Monroe and Homan. And then we got a little older, my grandmother moved us up on Kedzie and Armitage. And boy, was he a feisty one,” she said.

As of Thursday night, homicides were up 17 percent over last year in Chicago, and shootings had increased by 11 percent, according to police statistics.

Largely contributing to the spike was the unusual number of homicides that occurred during the early part of the year, when the city experienced unseasonable warmth. In the first three months of the year, homicides ran about 60 percent ahead of the 2011 rate.

Osi Umenyiora: A ‘high probability’ of leaving Giants


After 10 years with the New York Giants, defensive end Osi Umenyiora says it’s highly unlikely he’ll be back with the team.

In a conference call with reporters, Umenyiora said there’s a “high probability” he will be moving on. Umenyiora will be a free agent after the season and has had highly publicized contract disagreements with the Giants in the past.

Osi Umenyiora says it’s unlikely he’ll be back with the Giants after 10 years with the team. (AP Photo)

“Is there a high probability that I am going to be playing somewhere else?” Umenyiora, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, asked. “I would say there is a high probability, and that is just me being honest. I am not certain of what is going to happen. Anything can happen.

“We can get into the playoffs. Anything is possible. But it’s a high probability that I’m going to be playing somewhere else, and I think everybody knows that. Let’s not kid ourselves.”

A year after winning the Super Bowl, the Giants are unlikely to reach the postseason. To get in, they have to beat the Eagles at home Sunday, and Minnesota, Chicago and Dallas all have to lose.

Umenyiora, 31, has played in all 15 of the Giants’ games this season, including three starts, and has six sacks and two forced fumbles. If he doesn’t add to his sack total, it would be his lowest amount since he collected six in 2006.

He says he considers himself a starter and not merely a pass-rush specialist, which is largely how the Giants have used him this season

“I’m not a situational pass rusher,” Umenyiora said. “I think that’s the word that’s been going around me for years because most people don’t know what they’re talking about.

“But there’s no football person who’s going to actually sit there and watch tape and not think that I’m a starter in this league, and I’m 100 percent sure of that.”

Tim Tebow snubbed again with Mark Sanchez starting Jets’ finale


The sooner this season ends for the Jets and Tim Tebow, the better.

Mark Sanchez will return as the starting quarterback Sunday, replacing Greg McElroy, who is out with a concussion. Jets coach Rex Ryan announced the quarterback switch Thursday morning, adding the latest twist to an already twisted Jets season.

PHOTOS: Tebow’s year in review

Rex Ryan again bypassed Tim Tebow. (AP Photo)

The decision could be viewed as another slap in the face to Tebow. Sanchez has regressed this season despite Ryan’s loyalty, and when the Jets fell out of playoff contention.

The bottom fell out for Sanchez when he threw four interceptions in Week 15. Ryan finally benched Sanchez for Week 16, but started McElroy instead of Tebow.

That decision upset Tebow, who spent almost the entire season listed as the No. 2 quarterback. Now with McElroy out, Ryan has turned to Sanchez again, instead of giving Tebow a chance to start and showcase himself for other teams. Tebow is expected to head elsewhere next season, with the Jaguars reported as one likely destination.

Apparently, Ryan would apparently prefer to start almost anyone available except Tebow. Maybe Vinny Testaverde should be loosening up his arm for a comeback.

Lock of the Week

Peyton Manning has made Denver one of the NFL’s most boring teams, and that’s a compliment. During their 10-game winning streak, the Broncos have hardly been challenged, as they have methodically put away opponents with Manning leading a ball-control offense. The Chiefs are more boring, and for a different reason—their dismal offense. At least they’ll leave Denver with the No. 1 overall draft pick. Prediction: Broncos 50, Chiefs 13

Chicago Rapper JayLoud, Lil JoJo’s Best Friend Killed On Christmas


(AllHipHop News) An 18-year-old aspiring rapper in Chicago is the latest casualty in the ongoing violence since the death of Joseph “Lil JoJo” Coleman.

Joshua “JayLoud” Davis was shot down around 11:30 PM, on Christmas day.

JayLoud’s sister said that he was shot after he got off a city bus, after an altercation with a group of men.

At the time of his slaying, JayLoud was wearing a sweatshirt honoring the life of Lil JoJo, who was shot and killed in September.

“He was killed because he was wearing a hoodie and getting off the bus,” Davis’ 24 year-old-sister said. “He was a great boy. He was only a baby.”

Police have been investigating Lil JoJo’s death and whether or not it was tied to a feud with rapper Chief Keef and his 3Hunna Squad.

Chief Keef is associated with the Black Gangster Disciples, while Lil JoJo was allegedly a member of the Gangster Disciples.

So far, police have no suspects in the slaying.