A Chicago real estate investor deeded several tax-deficient, uninhabitable homes to a homeless man who is now being sued for unpaid taxes/demolition costs. The investor, who would have been on the hook for these costs, is now off the hook, and it's all perfectly legal. You'd think the homeless man would be angry with the real estate man, but the relationship is complicated.
Savings from raising the retirement age by two years would be a drop in the Medicare budget. That's because most of the benefits are paid to those nearing the end of life, not those just beginning retirement.
IMO, there is no place for a country like this in the EU.
"We have made reforms and, yes, sometimes we have done less with more, but sometimes we’ve taken that more and put it to where it has never been before.” said [Rahm] Emanuel, before going on to explain how he’s cut the number of garbage trucks, maintained trash pickup services and moved freed-up workers to tree trimming.
The movie introduced the song "Happy Days Are Here Again". [FDR's 1932 presidential campaign song. I wonder if he had permission from the copyright holder.]
Carlie and Terry constitute a vaudeville team in a traveling musical show; also in the company are Eddie, the stage manager; Bonnie, a comedienne; and Polly, the wardrobe mistress. Terry's habit of constantly falling in love with the leading lady causes him to marry Daphne, a two-timing songstress. When he finds her with another man, Eddie threatens to kill himself, but his little partner reassures him that "Happy Days Are Here Again," and the show goes on.
A South Carolina man has been arrested for buying and hoarding almost 10,000 stolen guns.
A world without power cords: Not operational in Chicago stores yet, but Starbucks has been installing these wireless chargers on their counters and tabletops. To use them, you need a $10 charging ring, but I imagine that at some time in the future a version of this hardware will be factory installed on mobile devices.
That Franklin quote about liberty and security may not mean what you think it means. And while I appreciate the oft-intended sentiment regarding the trade-off between liberty and security, I don't much like or rely upon aphorisms to address complex social and political matters. If a person invokes Franklin on liberty or Jefferson on refreshing the tree of liberty, I'm usually less than impressed.
Speaking of trade-offs, FBI director James Comey believes there's a link between ubiquitous video recording and increasing violent crime rates. He says that police are afraid to police effectively because they fear video recording. Even if such a link exists, we shouldn't assume that video monitoring of police officers is a net bad for society. The crime rate is a consideration, but we also have the Bill of Rights and videos have repeatedly exposed police officers committing crimes and ignoring rights. I'm sure we could reduce street crime if we had a full on police state, public executions, cutting off hands of thieves and caning for small transgressions. Is that what we want?
Liberals and the press declared Hillary the winner in the Benghazi hearing. David Graham at The Atlantic finds that some conservatives agree with that appraisal. I'm inclined to believe that the hearings most helped Hillary with Democrats who don't especially like her, but I'll wait for poll numbers and poll breakdowns to conclude anything.
The Steven Spielberg film, Bridge of Spies, stars Tom Hanks as an insurance attorney enlisted to negotiate the release of downed U-2 pilot, Gary Francis Powers, in exchange for a Soviet agent the Hanks character defended in an espionage trial. Spielberg turned out another perfect film. Actually, it's too perfect. It feels a bit manufactured, overly sentimental and better suited to 1980s-1990s film sensibilities. In fact, I felt as if I'd seen this film before. Still, it was entertaining. 87/100
Beasts of No Nation is a fictional account of a rebel boy-soldier brigade in some unspecified African nation. This is a very disturbing film and, I suspect, more than a little true to the horrors that have occurred in several war-torn African nations. Simultaneously released in a few theaters and on Netflix. Not shown in any Chicago theaters over the weekend, so we watched it on Netflix, but I'd have preferred to see this one on the big screen. 85/100
In Room, the film adaptation of the novel, Room, by Emma Donoghue, we meet a 25-year-old woman and her 5-year-old son who are locked in a tool shed-apartment where the woman has been held captive since she was kidnapped at age 17. The film takes us from the son's fifth birthday, through a daring escape and a rocky adjustment to the world outside Room. Well-acted, well-paced and thoughtful. My only complaint is the music. They went overboard in their efforts to tug at heartstrings with the music, detracting rather than adding to the emotional impact of the film. 91/100
We saw the new Steve Jobs biopic last night. Questions raised: Why was Steve Jobs such an asshole? Was he an artist or a marketing genius or both? To the second question, I say both. Answers to the first question are explored within the context of his relationships with friends, coworkers, his ex-girlfriend and the daughter he would not fully acknowledge as his own for many years. Good flick. I rate it 89/100.
In 99 Homes, an unemployed construction worker accepts a lucrative job as right-hand man to the predatory real estate broker who evicted his family in the aftermath of the mortgage meltdown. Good story, well-acted with a heavy helping of moral and emotional tension. 91/100
Set in late 1950s to mid 1960s West Germany, Labyrinth of Lies is based on the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials. This is a taut, emotionally gripping film about an important chapter in German history, leavened with a love story that felt a little too formulaic for my tastes. 85/100
In Black Mass, Johnny Depp takes on the role of Boston's notorious organized crime boss, James "Whitey" Bulger. Disappointing. 73/100
Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays famed Twin Tower wire walker Philippe Petit in The Walk. Meh. I wish it was a film that at least attempted to address the psychological underpinnings of an obsessive desire to engage in such a dangerous stunt. 75/100