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Gabatron Morning Briefing – 5-9-16: Mercury Rising

On Monday the planet Mercury will wander directly in front of the sun — a rare “transit” that only happens about 13 times a century. Most people in Europe and North America should be able to view the event through a telescope or binoculars, weather permitting. You can also catch the show live on the astronomy website Slooh.com, or via live streams from the European Space Agency and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland. (Instructions for building a solar filter for your binoculars.)

The Chicago Police Department will be deploying 2,000 additional body cameras in seven police districts by the summer. Chicago Police currently use about 30 body cameras in one district on the Northwest Side, and complaints about police officers are way down so Eddie Johnson says it will help increase public trust. Dean Angelo still isn’t thrilled with them, basically saying that it won’t help protect officers if someone attacks them. (How about we put a “body camera” on John and broadcast it on Periscope?)

The Cook County Jail was placed on lockdown Sunday morning due to low staffing levels. The lockdown is “for officer safety,” allowing inmates to move only for medical reasons, emergencies and visitation. Hire some part-timers, folks.

Finally, you can express your disgust with all of your options in the 2016 Presidential election. A new website is selling yard signs that read “Everybody Sucks 2016.”

SNL started off with Ted Cruz vs The Church Lady, and it was amazing. She actually introduced him as “Satan.” She also talked to Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.

Oops: A high school in California is apologizing after they misidentified a young Muslim student wearing a hijab as “Isis”. The yearbook has already released a statement saying it was an accident but the student, who has asked that their name not be released yet, is less than convinced.

80 year old woman in Washington state shot and killed a home intruder. The man appears to have been a burglar and had already beaten her husband with a crowbar. She says she’s “not your typical granny,” which probably goes without saying.

Sharon and Ozzy Osbourn are calling it quits after 33 years of wedded bliss. If a love like that can’t last, what hope is there for the rest of us?

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 5-5-16: Don’t Blame Me, I Voted For Kodos

America collectively rubbed its eyes Wednesday morning and said “What the hell just happened?” and then they immediately ran to their computers. Google searches for the Libertarian Party skyrocketed early in the morning on Wednesday.

Both George W. Bush and his father George H.W. Bush are planning to remain silent in the general election. Neither plan on endorsing presumptive Republican nominee Donald Trump.

Donald Trump decided to do the “classy” thing and finally deny the whole Rafael Cruz/JFK assassination conspiracy theory. Wolf Blitzer asked him if he honestly thinks Cruz’s father was connected to the assassination. Trump said, “No I don’t.”

The Ukranian Village is one of the top neighborhoods in the country and there might be a new opportunity to move there. Two Satanists posted an ad on Craigslist looking for a new roommate. Rent would be $400 plus utilities for a 10-by-10 room. The Satanists request that those interested in the bedroom be open to raising a pig, ignoring the food dehydration business operating in their kitchen and “love Satan.” Also, no cats and no vegans.

Interesting/annoying stat of the day: Tens of thousands of Canada Geese are descending upon Chicago for the spring. It turns out that in addition to getting in peoples way, each goose also leaves behind one pound of poo every single day.

A new startup called “GetHuman” will sit through annoying customer service phone calls for you. It costs between $5-25, depending on the nature of the call.

Caitlyn Jenner is going to pose on the cover of Sports Illustrated with her gold metal from the 1976 Olympics. She says she never displayed the metal before, because she didn’t want her kids to feel like they had to win one in order to be considered a success. Oh yeah, did I mention she’ll be naked with her metal on the cover of Sports Illustrated? WHY?

A very angry person spray painted some angry messages on a Range Rover presumably belonging to their now-former significant other. The messages included “CHEATER” and “HOPE SHE WAS WORTH IT.” Oh yeah, the Range Rover was worth about $100,000. Maybe next time he’ll think before he cheats…

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 5-4-16: May The Fourth Be With You

Trump wins Indiana. The Trumpster fire engulfs America.

Things took a turn for the insane in the Republican race before the results started coming in from Indiana. Donald Trump repeated a National Enquirer allegation that Ted Cruz’s dad was connected to Lee Harvey Oswald. Ted Cruz denied the allegations, and called Trump a pathological liar. Meanwhile, in the afternoon Jake Tapper on CNN pleaded for some kind of sanity.

The Lucas Museum may be flying off to a city far, far away. Friends of the Parks said on Tuesday they will oppose any location on the lakefront. Mellody Hobson, wife of George Lucas, said they are now “seriously pursuing locations outside of Chicago.”

Speaking of crazy ideas to bring in more tourists, a pair of businessmen have unveiled a plan to have aerial gondolas above the Chicago River.

A federal judge is refusing to get step into the fight between Uber and taxi driver, but the city has some work today. She said the differences in rules between taxi drivers and ride share companies seem “utterly arbitrary.”

Get ready for some outrage: CPS has outlined new rules allowing students access to bathrooms and locker rooms that correspond to their gender identity.

Cool or creepy? The FDA has approved new sensors in pills that would help doctors monitor how you’re doing. Interestingly, they are actually powered by energy coming from your body.

A woman was caught on tape berating a man at her local Walmart for paying with food stamps. Both the angry woman and the object of her ire were both shopping with their kids, so their profanity-laced exchange was a fantastic example for the kids.

A middle schooler in the Houston area was dragged in front of police officer who accused her of using counterfeit money to buy lunch. It turned out she was just using a $2 bill, which by the way is a real denomination, just in case you didn’t know. The school claimed they were confused, because it was an older bill and the pen they use to spot counterfeits didn’t work on it. Imagine what will happen when they start changing the money.

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 3-30-16: Relaxed Work Ethic

France may make it illegal to check your email when you’re not in normal business hours. A new bill proposes to give workers the “right to disconnect” after office hours and on the weekends. The bill would require employers to encourage their employees to stay off smartphones and “other devices” when the aren’t in the office. Say what you want about the declining American worth ethic, but at least we haven’t done that… yet.

Chicago will be adding another amazing, world-class museum to it’s ranks next month. The U.S. Pizza Museum will be opening on April 3rd.

Lincoln Towing says they are being bullied by the Chicago City Council. Alderman Ameya Pawar called them “bad operators”

Donald Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski has been charged with battery in Florida. It all goes back to the incident earlier this month where he allegedly grabbed reporter Michelle Fields at a campaign event. He turned himself in to police Tuesday morning in Jupiter, Florida, where he was charged with misdemeanor battery.

Trump talked to reporters about the incident on his airplane in Wisconsin. She said Fields was actually reaching for him and Lewandowski was stepping in to stop her. He also questioned whether the Fields bruises were actually from the incident with Lewandowski.

Wednesday morning fight club: Jake Tapper got into it pretty good with a spokesperson for Trump over the Cruz affair allegations. Tapper had just talked to CNN contributor Amanda Carpenter and asked Trump spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders (Mike’s daughter) why Trump is continuing to push the story. They went round and round for several minutes, with Tapper going so far as to ask if she was ashamed of the want the campaign was acting. She just repeatedly blamed Marco Rubio for the allegations. Tapper ultimately just said “I don’t think we’re getting anywhere” and ended the interview.

Tim Tebow says he’s intrigued by the idea of running for office one day. “Hi, I’m Tim Tebow. I’m a virgin and a really bad quarterback. Vote for me.”

Let’s talk about the fact that Jon Lovitz ruled the Internet for a couple of days. Actress/Singer Jessica Lowndes posted pictures on her Instagram account that led people to believe she was engaged to Jon Lovitz. Lowndes is 27 and Lovitz is 58, so the creep factor with that was pretty high. It turns out it was all a publicity stunt for her new music video, which features Lovitz. At least for a brief wonderful couple of days, people were talking about Jon Lovitz again.

Actress Patty Duke? DEAD. She was 69. 2016 has already been the worst for Baby Boomers.

An Oklahoma couple was cooking up some Easter dinner when they found a dead mouse in a can of green beans. Actually, it was worse than that. They found a mouse head and a mouse leg, so somewhere out there is the rest of a mouse. The company says they are investigating the claim, but the couple are youth pastors in their church, so you know they are telling the truth. What’s worse than finding a mouse in your green beans? Finding parts of a mouse in your green beans.

A woman put on her online dating profile that she was a big baseball fan. A would-be suitor decided to introduce himself by quizzing her on her baseball acumen. Her response was the most amazing thing anyone has written on the Internet this week.

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 3-4-16: Presidential Race Gets (Even More) Childish

It took less than ten minutes into the GOP debate tonight for Donald Trump to brag about the size of his penis. Really. That’s a thing that happened. Two days after Super Tuesday put the billionaire frontrunner on a nearly unstoppable path to his party’s nomination, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz – now on a dual mission to deny him the 1,237 delegates needed to win – went after Trump with a vengeance that owed more to the wrestling ring than elective democracy. I need a drink.

CPS announced that all of their employees will be taking three furlough days. That should save them about $30 million. The Chicago Teachers Union says that all but assures there will be a strike on April 1st.

Chris Christie told reporters on Thursday that he was not being held hostage when he was with Donald Trump on Tuesday. He says that it was a press conference, and he was simply diligently listening to the questions and answers. Christie was not blinking a plea for help in Morse Code, either.

Meanwhile, Paul Ryan said that he “laughed out loud” when Donald Trump threatened him.

I’m sure you’ve been wondering, “What does Miley Cyrus think about the Presidential election?” Well, she posted on Instagram that Donald Trump is a “f**king nightmare” and threatened to move if he is elected President. Now you know.

President Obama says that his family will be sticking around Washington, DC after his Presidency is over. They’ll be sticking around until Sasha finishes at Washington’s Sidwell Friends School in the spring of 2019. So the next Inauguration won’t feature the obligatory shot of the former President flying off into the sunset in SAM 28000, they’ll just be going down the street.

A prison inmate in Mississippi came up with a unique way of escaping. He didn’t tunnel out of the place El Chapo-style, he stole one of the guards uniforms and just walked out the front door.

Animal Stories: A Bald Eagle made a rare appearance in Chicago, close to Midway Airport. It immediately hit a power line, was electrocuted and died. Bird not gonna be OK, Uncle Larry.

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 3-2-16: Democracy Doesn’t Work

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton had big days on Super Tuesday, but it wasn’t quite the death blow they would have wanted.

Chris Christie was probably the biggest loser on Super Tuesday. He appeared with Donald Trump and looked like he was being held hostage. Naturally, Twitter responded accordingly.

The numbers just seem to keep getting worse. Chicago had 40 murders during the month of February. Chicago’s murder rate so far in 2016 is the worst in nearly two decades.

House Speaker Paul Ryan went after Donald Trump pretty hard and said the Republican presidential nominee must reject any group “built on bigotry.” He said the Republicans are the party of Lincoln and Reagan, and their nominee must understand that all people are “equal in the eyes of God and the government.” To me the most interesting thing is he sounded like an adult scolding a child for even having to comment on Trump’s antics. I always look for the adult in the room and it left me all hot and bothered wishing Ryan had been running.

Contempt level 11: An Ohio farmer spelled out “NO TRUMP” in his field in manure. 15 cows and bulls contributed to the effort.

Remember when the New Hampshire Union Leader endorsed Chris Christie for President? After he endorsed Trump, they published a retraction of their endorsement.

Good news for Ted Cruz: A judge has tossed out the lawsuit that aimed to get him kicked off of the ballot here in Illinois.

According to sources, the odds of Michael Bloomberg running for president are “very, very low — almost zero.” His decision will likely come this week or next. His campaign slogan should be “America, we need an adult.”… but not in a soothing,  authoritative tone, more like a terrified child running from a creepy old man sorta of tone. “WE NEED AN ADULT!!”

A woman in a fur coat robbed a bank in Chicago on Tuesday morning. She made a “threatening demand” but did not show a weapon of some kind. They have not released how much money she got away with. Two observations: a) Impressive costume choice, it obscures your identity and provides you with your very own criminal identity. b) It should be the policy of every bank that you demand to see the weapon before you hand over any money.

Scare (Not Quite) In The Air: Two airplanes slid off of runways at O’Hare during the snow on Tuesday. One was an American Airlines flight and the other was a corporate jet. No injuries were reported, but the incident is under investigation.

Former Red and now Yankees closer Aroldis Chapman has been hit with a 30 game suspension for domestic abuse. He probably could have gotten more, but at the very least MLB still looks a little less clueless than the NFL.

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 2-29-16: Come Fly The Friendly Skies, Fatty

Happy Leap Day!

Senator Chuck Schumer wants to require the Federal Aviation Administration to establish seat-size standards for commercial airlines. He says right now airlines force passengers to sit on planes “like sardines.” Of course there are some plans to have passengers stand. It seems to me that’s more of an issue between the airlines and their customers. I’m not sure why the government would need to get involved.

Chris Christie introduced Donald Trump at an event in Texas after his endorsement. Trump was caught on open microphone telling Christie to get on his plane and go home.

That may or may not have had something to do with the fact that Christie didn’t have very nice things to say about Trump when he was still running.

Gawker tricked Donald Trump into retweeting a quote from Italian Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini saying that it was actually a Trump quote. It was the culmination of three months worth of work on Gawker’s part. Two employees created a Twitter account that Tweeted Mussolini quotes attributed to Trump. Chuck Todd asked Trump about the Tweet on Meet The Press, and asked him if he was comfortable Tweeting a quote from a Fascist dictator. Trump said that “of course” he knew the quote was from Mussolini, but it’s a great quote.

Michael Hayden told Bill Maher that if Trump were elected, our troops would not be able to follow some of his orders. Hayden said that Trump has said he would order soldiers to do some things that are illegal in the United States, and soldiers would have an obligation not to follow the orders, because they violate the law.

Something to keep in mind as we move into Super Tuesday: According to a new poll, 38% of Florida voters believe it’s possible Ted Cruz could be the Zodiac Killer. Only 10% answered “yes” but 28% said they were unsure. The poll just happens to be from the same company that asked voters if they support bombing Agrabah. Just more proof that we’re through the looking glass this election cycle.

Reporter are beginning to ripple the waters that Peyton Manning will retire. The announcement will probably come this week.

Python Challenge update: Hunters trapped 106 pythons down in Florida.

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 2-16-16: Magic Pillow Theory

Conspiracy theories are swirling around the death of Antonin Scalia. The fact that his family has asked that there not be an autopsy will pretty much ensure they continue to the end of time. One day there will be a movie with Kevin Costner talking about the Magic Pillow Theory.

Someone decided it was a good idea to fire shots at a Chicago snow plow driver on Sunday. Apparently the driver of another car didn’t think the plow driver was driving fast enough. They were probably rushing home to put “dibs” on their parking spot.

Speaking of shootings, the Illinois State Police have announced they’ll be patrolling the expressways in response to the increase in shootings lately. In addition to adding more patrols, the state police will utilize aircraft, video cameras, covert vehicles, and undercover officers starting this week. The effort is called Chicago Expressway Anti-violence Surge (CEASe).

In a press conference on Monday, Donald Trump said that he would sue Ted Cruz if he doesn’t apologize for dishonest things Cruz has said about him. While doing so, he said that Cruz is an “unstable person”, who “lies more than anyone every” and said “He doesn’t have the right to serve as President.” He seemed to be suggesting he would be suing about Cruz’s citizenship though, not any libelous statements.

Also, just to make things interesting. Donald Trump said that the GOP is in default on their loyalty pledge, so he could run third party if he wants. He was pointing to the people booing him at the debate on Saturday night. He said all of the people who booed him were wealthy donors and special interests who bought their way in. So he’s not being treated fairly and can take his ball and go home. I’m sure a shirtless Putin is currently shaking in his boots.

The RAND Corporation has identified the one question that can determine whether or not a voter is a Donald Trump supporter: “People like me don’t have any say about what the government does.” If they agree with it, they’re probably a Trump supporter. What do they mean “people like me”? Space geeks?

Hookers for Hillary have kicked off their official campaign for the 2016 election. They supported Ron Paul in 2008 and 2012. Could that be the reason Rand Paul had a problem gaining some traction?

A woman walked into a barber shop in San Diego and threatened one of the barbers with a gun because she was unhappy with her haircut. The thing is, when she came back and threatened the guy, she actually had a different haircut than when she left the store hours later.

USA Today has released their projections for the upcoming baseball season. They project that both the Cubs and the White Sox will win their respective divisions. They also just happen to have the Cubs winning 101 games.

A Disney cruise ship plucked 12 Cuban migrants from the middle of the ocean. The ship was on the way to the Cayman Islands, where they’ll now be dropping off their new friends. Do they have to pay extra for that excursion?

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 2-15-16: Republican Presidential Race Goes Thermonuclear

Donald Trump decided to extend his war on the Bush family to George W. Bush during Satuday night’s debate. He went full Iraq War Truther, saying that Bush liked about WMD in Iraq, and proclaimed that he knew all along that they weren’t there. Dubya has about an 80% approval rating in South Carolina, so it will be interesting to see how people react to that.

Saturday’s Republican debate was a real humdinger. The biggest fireworks were between Donald Trump & Jeb Bush, Donald Trump & Ted Cruz and Ted Cruz & Marco Rubio. Charles Krauthammer said it was “thermonuclear” and the GOPers went from WWE to UFC.

Ben Carson decided it was a good idea to quote Joseph Stalin in his closing statement during Saturday’s debate. He was basically saying that society is collapsing, and this election is about turning things around. The problem is Stalin never actually said that, it’s just a meme that’s been floating around Facebook for a while.

America is finally hearing from Amy Lindsey, the adult film actress who ended up in a Ted Cruz ad. She said that people called her to say the ad was being pulled before she even know it had been released. She says that she identifies as a conservative Republican, and she would still consider supporting Ted Cruz in the Presidential election.

Rahm Emanuel is bringing back the idea of an express train between downtown and O’Hare. It would cost some public money, but they are actually looking for a private company to build and operate it. Fares would range from $25 to $35 for the roughly 20-minute journey, which is half the time it takes for the Blue Line. We’d be better off researching teleportation.

A flugelhorn player was the victim of a smash and grab in Chicago. He was at a yoga class at the time (There’s the problem). The guys horns and the case they were in are worth about $8,000.

The health ministry in Jamaica wants to raise awareness of the Zika Virus, so they’ve released a new PSA. It features a reggae song about the virus, and it’s every bit as awesome as you think.

Good news: Cuba has returned our lost dummy Hellfire missile. It was somehow accidentally shipped to Cuba in 2014, and we had been working to get it back every since.

Watch porn to save the whales! To celebrate World Whale Day on February 13, PornHub has pledged to donate 1 cent for every 2,000 videos viewed on their site between February 8 to 29. All the proceeds will go towards the non-profit cetacean conservation group The Moclips Cetological Society.

Bill Murray got mad when some people at a party in California were taking his picture and threw their phones off of the roof. He was apparently annoyed at the constant flashes from the camera phones. Murray has offered to pay to replace all of the phones, so there wasn’t be any charges filed.

UPDATE: Remember the guy who was arrested for having sex with a woman on the ferris wheel in Las Vegas? He was actually supposed to marry another woman that week. His fiance told him that she was pregnant with another man’s baby, and he went on a drunken romp throughout the city that ended up including picking up a 21 year old stranger and going on a ferris wheel ride. The fiance ended up bailing him out of jail and doesn’t seem as furious about the whole thing as one would assume.

Gabatron Morning Briefing – 2-10-16: America’s Newest Hero Wants A McRib

Meet Carla, America’s newest hero: She posted a video on Facebook claiming she just throat punched a McDonald’s employee. She asked said employee for their offer of an extra McRib for a dollar with the purchase of a regular-priced McRib. The employees replay, prompting the throat punch? “Well it don’t look like you need the extra McRib.” Carla was obviously displeased with this response, exclaiming “McScuse me?” and knocking “her *ss down.”

An Indianapolis grandmother fought off an armed attacker with a pair of staple guns. The badass granny had just parked in her garage when she says a robber ambushed her and demanded her purse. The man pushed her up against a toolbox, and she grabbed whatever she could find to fight back, which turned out to be some staple guns. She actually hit him with them, rather than stapling him.

Two hecklers tried to perform an exorcism of Ted Cruz at one of his campaign events in New Hampshire. Cruz laughed it off, saying they were clearly Bernie Sanders supporters.

A spokesperson for Donald Trump says that he “single-handedly brought back freedom of speech.” She says that when Trump does things like dropping the “P-word” to describe one of his opponents, he’s just speaking his mind, unlike other candidates out there.

Ben Carson says he would be open to being the Vice Presidential nominee on a Donald Trump ticket. He says he wouldn’t count out being the number two on anyone’s ticket, but there would have to be “major philosophical alignment” and promises of “doing something substantial.”

The first case of the Zika virus has been reported in Indiana. The person with the virus is “a non-pregnant resident” who recently traveled to Haiti.

A state rep from downstate in Illinois wants to make it illegal to post video of fights online. She said she was disturbed by videos that have popped up online lately that show people whipping their phones out to record the fight instead of trying to stop it.

Free ziplining and hot chocolate will be offered for three days only in Millennium Park starting Saturday. It’s part of a campaign from the tourism bureau in Kissimmee, apparently ziplinging in the cold will make you want to book the next flight for Florida. I see this ending well.

The last domino has fallen in Target’s efforts to scrub the world of traditional gender stereotypes. Now they are introducing new children’s bedding and bedroom supplies that ditch gender conventions. Now, instead of pink ponies for girls and sports-themed stuff for boys, they’ll be selling more generic stuff like astronauts, trees and bicycles.