XIAM007

Making Unique Observations in a Very Cluttered World

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fighter jets intercept 75-year-old woman’s plane during Obama’s visit -

Fighter jets intercept 75-year-old woman’s plane during Obama’s visit - 


Two F-16 fighter jets intercepted a plane flown by a 75-year-old woman when it entered restricted airspace during President Barack Obama’s Chicago visit.
The North American Aerospace Defense Command confirms to The Daily Herald that the jets were summoned from Toledo, Ohio, on Wednesday afternoon. NORAD spokesman Lt. Michael Humphreys says the jets intercepted Myrtle Rose’s Kitfox Model 2 and she turned around.
Police say the South Barrington woman was flying the plane by herself and wasn’t aware she was in restricted airspace. They say she didn’t seem shaken, but was surprised.
South Barrington is a northwestern Chicago suburb with about 4,500 residents. Obama was in Chicago for a birthday fundraiser.
Read more -

Mubarak's court denial becomes popular ring tone in Egypt - "I completely deny all these charges," -

Mubarak's court denial becomes popular ring tone in Egypt - "I completely deny all these charges," - 



Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak's denial of all charges laid against him has been turned into a popular ring tone, the semi-official newspaper Al-Ahram reported on Thursday.
"I completely deny all these charges," the former Egyptian president said as he lay behind bars on a gurney in a makeshift court near Cairo on the first day of his trial on Wednesday.
The phrase gained instant popularity with Egyptians, according to the Al-Ahram website.
It added that Egyptians posted photos of Mubarak in the dock on their Facebook pages.
Mubarak's appearance in the court was his first since a popular revolt forced him to step down in February.
He is facing charges of ordering the killing of peaceful protesters during the revolt against his 30-year rule and of power abuse. His trial is to resume on August 15.

In court on the first day of his trial on Wednesday, the trial prosecutor accused the former president of involvement in the killing of protesters and allowing his interior minister to use live ammunition against them.
The prosecution said Mubarak "had the intention to kill a number of protesters in different governorates who staged peaceful demonstrations against the deterioration of conditions."
He said the killings were ordered during the 18-day protest that ousted him this year and during the period from 2000 to 2010. He also accused Mubarak of allowing the former Interior Minister Habib al-Adli to use live ammunition.
The prosecutor also accused him for several crimes of corruption and
wasting public funds.
If convicted, Mubarak could face the death penalty.







Obama Clarifies: ‘I Didn’t Say Change We Can Believe in Tomorrow’ -

Obama Clarifies: ‘I Didn’t Say Change We Can Believe in Tomorrow’ -



After Obama quipped earlier this summer that shovel-ready jobs weren’t as shovel-ready as “we expected,” it seemed that a central tenet of the 2012 campaign was probably going to be something along the lines of, we just haven’t had enough time. At his Chicago fundraiser last night, that’s exactly the stance he took, even going back to blaming Bush.

60% of teenagers describing themselves as "highly addicted" to their iPhone or BlackBerry -

60% of teenagers describing themselves as "highly addicted" to their  iPhone or BlackBerry - 


Britons' appetite for Facebook and social networks on the go is driving a huge demand for smartphones – with 60% of teenagers describing themselves as "highly addicted" to their device – according to new research by the media regulator, Ofcom.
Almost half of teenagers and more than a quarter of adults now own a smartphone, with most using their iPhone or BlackBerry to browse Facebook and email.
The study, published on Thursday, also shows that smartphones have begun to intrude on our most private moments, with 47% of teenagers admitting to using their device in the toilet. Only 22% of adults confessed to the same habit. Unsurprisingly, mobile-addicted teens are more likely than adults to be distracted by their phones over dinner and in the cinema – and more would answer their phone if it woke them up.
Separate figures shared exclusively with the Guardian show that, for the first time, smartphone sales outstripped sales of regular mobiles in the first half of this year as the enormous demand continues to rise. Just over half of the total 13.6m mobile sales from January to June 2011 were smartphones, according to research by GfK Retail and Technology UK.
Of the new generation of smartphone users, 60% of teenagers classed themselves as "highly addicted" to their device, compared to 37% of adults.
Ofcom surveyed 2,073 adults and 521 children and teenagers in March this year. The regulator defines teenagers as aged between 12 and 15, with adults 16-years-old and above.
"Ofcom's report shows the influence that communications technology now has on our daily lives, and on the way we behave and communicate with each other," said James Thickett, Ofcom's director of research.
Read more -

Space Picture This Week: Star Valley - A river of stars flows over the Mardi Khola Valley in the Himalaya -

Space Picture This Week: Star Valley - A river of stars flows over the Mardi Khola Valley in the Himalaya -

Picture of the Milky Way over a Himalaya valley
A river of stars flows over the Mardi Khola Valley in the Himalaya, as seen in a recently submitted long-exposure picture taken in Nepal. The dense stellar band is the plane of our home galaxy, the Milky Way. (See a prize-winning picture of the Milky Way over Crater Lake in Oregon.)

The Pentagon's New Power Elite: A Secret War in 120 Countries -

The Pentagon's New Power Elite: A Secret War in 120 Countries - 


Somewhere on this planet an American commando is carrying out a mission. Now, say that 70 times and you're done... for the day. Without the knowledge of the American public, a secret force within the U.S. military is undertaking operations in a majority of the world's countries. This new Pentagon power elite is waging a global war whose size and scope has never been revealed, until now.


After a U.S. Navy SEAL put a bullet in Osama bin Laden's chest and another in his head, one of the most secretive black-ops units in the American military suddenly found its mission in the public spotlight. It was atypical. While it's well known that U.S. Special Operations forces are deployed in the war zones of Afghanistan and Iraq, and it's increasingly apparent that such units operate in murkier conflict zones like Yemen and Somalia, the full extent of their worldwide war has remained deeply in the shadows.


Last year, Karen DeYoung and Greg Jaffe of the Washington Post reported that U.S. Special Operations forces were deployed in 75 countries, up from 60 at the end of the Bush presidency. By the end of this year, U.S. Special Operations Command spokesman Colonel Tim Nye told me, that number will likely reach 120. "We do a lot of traveling -- a lot more than Afghanistan or Iraq," he said recently. This global presence -- in about 60% of the world's nations and far larger than previously acknowledged -- provides striking new evidence of a rising clandestine Pentagon power elite waging a secret war in all corners of the world.


The Rise of the Military's Secret Military


Born of a failed 1980 raid to rescue American hostages in Iran, in which eight U.S. service members died, U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM) was established in 1987. Having spent the post-Vietnam years distrusted and starved for money by the regular military, special operations forces suddenly had a single home, a stable budget, and a four-star commander as their advocate. Since then, SOCOM has grown into a combined force of startling proportions. Made up of units from all the service branches, including the Army's "Green Berets" and Rangers, Navy SEALs, Air Force Air Commandos, and Marine Corps Special Operations teams, in addition to specialized helicopter crews, boat teams, civil affairs personnel, para-rescuemen, and even battlefield air-traffic controllers and special operations weathermen, SOCOM carries out the United States' most specialized and secret missions. These include assassinations, counterterrorist raids, long-range reconnaissance, intelligence analysis, foreign troop training, and weapons of mass destruction counter-proliferation operations.


One of its key components is the Joint Special Operations Command, or JSOC, a clandestine sub-command whose primary mission is tracking and killing suspected terrorists. Reporting to the president and acting under his authority, JSOC maintains a global hit list that includes American citizens. It has been operating an extra-legal "kill/capture" campaign that John Nagl, a past counterinsurgency adviser to four-star general and soon-to-be CIA Director David Petraeus, calls "an almost industrial-scale counterterrorism killing machine."


This assassination program has been carried out by commando units like the Navy SEALs and the Army's Delta Force as well as via drone strikes as part of covert wars in which the CIA is also involved in countries like Somalia, Pakistan, and Yemen. In addition, the command operates a network of secret prisons, perhaps as many as 20 black sites in Afghanistan alone, used for interrogating high-value targets.


Growth Industry


From a force of about 37,000 in the early 1990s, Special Operations Command personnel have grown to almost 60,000, about a third of whom are career members of SOCOM; the rest have other military occupational specialties, but periodically cycle through the command. Growth has been exponential since September 11, 2001, as SOCOM's baseline budget almost tripled from $2.3 billion to $6.3 billion. If you add in funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, it has actually more than quadrupled to $9.8 billion in these years. Not surprisingly, the number of its personnel deployed abroad has also jumped four-fold. Further increases, and expanded operations, are on the horizon.


Lieutenant General Dennis Hejlik, the former head of the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command -- the last of the service branches to be incorporated into SOCOM in 2006 -- indicated, for instance, that he foresees a doubling of his former unit of 2,600. "I see them as a force someday of about 5,000, like equivalent to the number of SEALs that we have on the battlefield. Between [5,000] and 6,000," he said at a June breakfast with defense reporters in Washington. Long-term plans already call for the force to increase by 1,000.


During his recent Senate confirmation hearings, Navy Vice Admiral William McRaven, the incoming SOCOM chief and outgoing head of JSOC (which he commanded during the bin Laden raid) endorsed a steady manpower growth rate of 3% to 5% a year, while also making a pitch for even more resources, including additional drones and the construction of new special operations facilities.


A former SEAL who still sometimes accompanies troops into the field, McRaven expressed a belief that, as conventional forces are drawn down in Afghanistan, special ops troops will take on an ever greater role. Iraq, he added, would benefit if elite U.S forces continued to conduct missions there past the December 2011 deadline for a total American troop withdrawal. He also assured the Senate Armed Services Committee that "as a former JSOC commander, I can tell you we were looking very hard at Yemen and at Somalia."


During a speech at the National Defense Industrial Association's annual Special Operations and Low-intensity Conflict Symposium earlier this year, Navy Admiral Eric Olson, the outgoing chief of Special Operations Command, pointed to a composite satellite image of the world at night. Before September 11, 2001, the lit portions of the planet -- mostly the industrialized nations of the global north -- were considered the key areas. "But the world changed over the last decade," he said. "Our strategic focus has shifted largely to the south... certainly within the special operations community, as we deal with the emerging threats from the places where the lights aren't."


To that end, Olson launched "Project Lawrence," an effort to increase cultural proficiencies -- like advanced language training and better knowledge of local history and customs -- for overseas operations. The program is, of course, named after the British officer, Thomas Edward Lawrence (better known as "Lawrence of Arabia"), who teamed up with Arab fighters to wage a guerrilla war in the Middle East during World War I. Mentioning Afghanistan, Pakistan, Mali, and Indonesia, Olson added that SOCOM now needed "Lawrences of Wherever."


While Olson made reference to only 51 countries of top concern to SOCOM, Col. Nye told me that on any given day, Special Operations forces are deployed in approximately 70 nations around the world. All of them, he hastened to add, at the request of the host government. According to testimony by Olson before the House Armed Services Committee earlier this year, approximately 85% of special operations troops deployed overseas are in 20 countries in the CENTCOM area of operations in the Greater Middle East: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Yemen. The others are scattered across the globe from South America to Southeast Asia, some in small numbers, others as larger contingents.


Special Operations Command won't disclose exactly which countries its forces operate in. "We're obviously going to have some places where it's not advantageous for us to list where we're at," says Nye. "Not all host nations want it known, for whatever reasons they have -- it may be internal, it may be regional."


But it's no secret (or at least a poorly kept one) that so-called black special operations troops, like the SEALs and Delta Force, are conducting kill/capture missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, and Yemen, while "white" forces like the Green Berets and Rangers are training indigenous partners as part of a worldwide secret war against al-Qaeda and other militant groups. In the Philippines, for instance, the U.S. spends $50 million a year on a 600-person contingent of Army Special Operations forces, Navy Seals, Air Force special operators, and others that carries out counterterrorist operations with Filipino allies against insurgent groups like Jemaah Islamiyah and Abu Sayyaf.


Read more -
http://counterpunch.com/turse08042011.html

"Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History" -

 "Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History" - 


When author Ben Mezrich got a call about a convicted moon rock thief who had just gotten out of prison and had a story to tell, he immediately knew it was the type of yarn he would love to spin.
Mezrich's previous books have explored fascinating subjects such as the murky origins of Facebook ("The Accidental Billionaires"), and a successful scam to outsmart casinos at blackjack ("Bringing Down The House").
Both of those books have been turned into blockbuster movies, and the story about Thad Roberts, a 25-year-old NASA co-op student who stole a 600-pound safe full of moon rocks just to impress his girlfriend of three weeks, was simply too good to pass up.
"So I flew out there and I met with him. He had just gotten out of seven-and-a-half years of federal prison, so I met him in this crowded hotel lobby in case he was crazy. And he was the nicest guy who just happened to have done something crazy and insane," Mezrich told CTVNews.ca.
After a year of interviews, research and writing, "Sex on the Moon: The Amazing Story Behind the Most Audacious Heist in History" has now hit bookstore shelves.
The book traces the incredible story of would-be astronaut Roberts from his difficult childhood growing up in a harsh, fundamentalist Mormon family in Utah, to falling in love, going to university and eventually pursuing his dream to become an astronaut at NASA.
Along the way, of course, he eventually pulls off an incredible heist at what is supposed to be one of America's most secure facilities, sparks an FBI manhunt, and finally gets busted in 2002 after sending out a spam-like email soliciting buyers for the stolen moon rocks that the FBI says are worth $21 million.
The book's title comes from the fact Roberts and his then-girlfriend celebrated their heist in an intimate fashion, with the moon rocks jammed under the mattress of their motel room bed, thereby becoming the world's first couple to have "sex on the moon."
"He was nothing, he had nothing, and he just wanted to impress people," Mezrich said, when asked about Roberts' motivation.
Mezrich said it took time to draw the full tale out of his subject.
"It took a year. It took a long time to get him to trust me," Mezrich said. "And also I filed with the FBI, through the Freedom of Information Act, and got thousands of pages of files. So in the beginning he wasn't as forthcoming and it took a long time to get him to really open up."
The story had largely escaped media attention when Roberts was arrested in 2003. But because the FBI's files were so complete, Mezrich had an incredible trove of information to draw from.
From transcripts taken from wires that were worn by agents, to detailed reports of the contents of Roberts' pockets when he was arrested and the results of a search of his home, Mezrich had thousands of pages of detailed documents to use as building blocks in the construction of his narrative.
The information allowed him to tell the story not only from Roberts' perspective, but that of the agents who tracked him down. In fact, Mezrich said, Roberts was somewhat annoyed that the FBI agent who eventually busted him became such a focal point of the book.
The FBI files also allowed him to steer Roberts back on track when his version of events began to border on the fictional.

Read more -

Canadian companies had their strongest season of mergers and acquisitions since the credit crisis began in 2008 -

Canadian companies had their strongest season of mergers and acquisitions since the credit crisis began in 2008 - 
Loonie

Unfazed by economic crises gripping much of the world, Canadian companies had their strongest season of mergers and acquisitions since the credit crisis began in 2008, according to a report by PwC.
The consulting firm said the majority of the 836 deals in the quarter worth a total of US$57 billion were in the materials, energy, and financial sectors. Those sectors accounted for 61 per cent of all deals made in the quarter.
"Capital markets are confused and the consensus is that the recovery is extremely fragile," the report said, referring to the European and U.S. debt crises and the aftermath of the tsunami and resulting nuclear disaster in Japan.
"It's bad news all around -- except for the Canadian merger and acquisition market."
PwC says that so far this year there have been 16 "mega deals" involving Canadian companies, worth US$1 billion or more each. Those mega deals made up most of the value of market.
These include the world's largest gold miner, Barrick Gold Corp.'s (TSX:ABX) pending $7.8-billion acquisition of copper miner Equinox Minerals, and a consortium made up of Research in Motion (TSX:RIM), Apple, Sony and Microsoft purchasing the patents of Nortel Networks for $4.5 billion.
But there was also a high number of smaller deals worth less than $100 million, mainly in Canada's junior mining and energy sectors, the report said.
Real estate mergers and acquisitions outpaced other sectors in the quarter, with Canadian companies inking a total of 90 deals worth nearly $10 billion, the report said.
PwC described that market as a "real estate buying frenzy," saying that deals in the real estate sector were worth $9.7 billion. Those deals involved Canadian companies buying domestic property, but also real estate in Europe and Australia. That's a shift from last quarter, which saw purchases mainly in emerging markets like Asia.
As Canadian companies enjoy relatively low interest rates, the aggregate annual value of real estate deals has increased by 1,119 per cent over the last 10 years.
Those deals last quarter included Dundee REIT's (TSX:D.UN) $1.09-billion purchase of 295 commercial properties in Germany, Primaris REIT's $584 million acquisition of five Canadian shopping malls, and the Canada Pension Plan Investment Board's $485 million purchase of an Australian shopping mall.
PwC says the number of deals should start slowing because of current market instability but adds that Canada will still do better than other developed countries.
However, it says resource-rich Western Canada will likely outpace deal markets in countries like the United States and United Kingdom, as higher commodity prices spur growth.

Read more -

NASA scientists prepare the Juno spacecraft for a five-year journey to Jupiter -

NASA scientists prepare the Juno spacecraft for a five-year journey to Jupiter -

How a Billionaire's Wife Is Becoming the Mustangs' Messiah -

How a Billionaire's Wife Is Becoming the Mustangs' Messiah - 


As the wife of a billionaire and a wealthy woman in her own right, Madeleine Pickens is accustomed to traveling in limos and private jets. But this afternoon, she is bumping along in a rusty pickup truck. The truck halts in the middle of a sagebrush valley. Nearby, a broad mountain shifts in color from ochre to indigo in the fading afternoon light.
Pickens, 64, a petite blonde in a fringed buckskin jacket and matching boots, jumps from the truck and points to a low thundercloud of dust moving across the valley. It's a galloping herd of mustangs, tan and black and pinto, their manes streaming like water. Soon, the earth is drumming with their hoofbeats. "These horses were going to the slaughterhouse," she says, admiring the racing herd, "and so I brought them to my ranch, where they can run wild."


Read more: http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2084328,00.html#ixzz1U6EKnx3J

Chewing Gum May Raise Teens' Math Scores -

Chewing Gum May Raise Teens' Math Scores - 


In a study likely to make school janitors cringe, U.S. researchers said that chewing gum may boost academic performance in teenagers.
Many U.S. schools ban chewing gum because children often dispose of the sticky chaw under chairs or tables.
But a team led by Craig Johnston at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston found that students who chewed gum during math class had higher scores on a standardized math test after 14 weeks and better grades at the end of the term than students in the class who did not chew gum. The study was funded by chewing gum maker Wrigley.

"For the first time we've been able to show in a real-life kind of situation that students did perform better when they were allowed to chew," said Gil Leveille, executive director of the Wrigley Science Institute, a research arm of Wm Wrigley Jr Co, which is now a part of Mars Inc.
Leveille said Wrigley has gotten feedback from many of its gum customers who say chewing gum helps them stay focused.
So, four years ago the company started the science institute to see if some of these claims have merit.
The researchers at Baylor studied four math classes or 108 students aged 13 to 16 years old from a Houston, Texas, charter school that serves mostly low-income Hispanic students.


Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2011/08/04/chewing-gum-may-raise-teens-math-scores/#ixzz1U52MJsD4

Fewer cops, more potholes: How debt deal could hit states hardest -

Fewer cops, more potholes: How debt deal could hit states hardest - 




Federal spending cuts mean fewer dollars will flow to the states for unemployment benefits, education, health care, and other state-run programs. Many states will have to cut services or raise taxes.


The debt-and-deficit bill signed into law on Tuesday forestalled a dangerous federal government default. But it will also slash aid to states already reeling from the recession, almost certainly forcing them to curtail services and raise revenues to pay for programs once bankrolled by Congress.
The bill, which the Senate approved and President Obama signed into law Tuesday, will eventually raise the government’s debt limit by more than $2 trillion in exchange for equivalent savings. Congress will achieve nearly $1 trillion of those savings by cutting domestic discretionary spending – including funds for education, health care, job training – to its lowest level in over half a century, as a share of the GDP.
“State budgets are already devastated,” says Ethan Pollack, a senior policy analyst at the Economic Policy Institute. “This deal just makes it far worse and shifts a lot of the pain onto state and local governments.”
Read more - 

Woman's outfit blamed for police-dog bite -

Woman's outfit blamed for police-dog bite - 


Police in Cincinnati say one of their dogs mistakenly bit a city parks employee because of what she was wearing.


Police Sgt. Daniel Hils says when the officer assigned to Tank let him loose for a call of nature, the dog saw the woman in dark overalls resembling the K-9 training "bite suit" -- and reacted.


The Cincinnati Enquirer reports Jamila Turnbow got a 3-inch cut on her upper right arm from the attack on July 25.


Hils writes in a memo to police higher-ups that Turnbow's attire and the dog's response doesn't excuse what he describes as the K-9 officer's "lack of attention and control of his canine partner." Hils is recommending a reprimand and has ordered that police dogs not be allowed off leash in public.


Read more - 
http://www.wtsp.com/news/watercooler/article/204319/58/Womans-outfit-blamed-for-police-dog-bite

Afghanistan War: Hobbyists' Toy Truck Saves 6 Soldiers' Lives -

Afghanistan War: Hobbyists' Toy Truck Saves 6 Soldiers' Lives - 


Staff Sgt. Christopher Fessenden is on duty in Afghanistan now after tours with the Army in Iraq. He has traveled with standard-issue equipment -- weapons, helmet, uniform, boots and so forth -- plus a radio-controlled model truck his brother sent.


The truck is not a toy to him. He says it just saved six soldiers' lives.


"We cannot thank you enough," said Sgt. Fessenden in an email from the front that his brother Ernie, a software engineer in Rochester, Minn., shared with ABC News.


The little truck was used by the troops to run ahead of them on patrols and look for roadside bombs. Fessenden has had it since 2007, when Ernie and Kevin Guy, the owner of the Everything Hobby shop in Rochester, rigged it with a wireless video camera and shipped it to him.


Last week, it paid off. Chris Fessenden said he had loaned the truck to a group of fellow soldiers, who used it to check the road ahead of them on a patrol. It got tangled in a trip wire connected to what Fessenden guesses could have been 500 lbs. of explosives. The bomb went off. The six soldiers controlling the truck from their Humvee were unhurt.


"Monday morning, Ernie comes running into my store and says, 'You're not gonna believe this,'" said Guy, recounting the story in a telephone interview.



Read more - 
http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/remote-controlled-truck-soldier-afghanistan-saves-soldiers-lives/story?id=14225434

Maggie Daley charity got $6.5-mil. city contract 4 days before Mayor Daley left office - good ol' Chicago coincidence -

Maggie Daley charity got $6.5-mil. city contract 4 days before Mayor Daley left office - good ol' Chicago coincidence - 

   There's nothing like a good ol' Chicago coincidence.

   I mean, those marvelous situations in which connected people and groups always seem to have a lucky shamrock in their pocket at just the right time are a distinctive part of what makes Chicago, well, Chicago.

   Which leads to a tale of one particularly wonderful coincidence. It involves After School Matters, a charity that provides programs for teenagers; Chicago mayors current and past, and a $6.5-million city grant 

    As I reported last week, ex-mayoral Chief of Staff Ray Orozco and former Department of Cultural Affairs Acting Commissioner Katherine LaMantia began new jobs on July 25 as the CEO and chief financial officer, respectively, of After School Matters.

   The agency — chaired by Maggie Daley, wife of former Mayor Richard M. Daley — for years has been known informally as the unofficial City Hall charity.

   In further researching the Orozco matter, I was pointed to records listed on a city's website. (Type in "after" and hit "search" to reach the records.)

  The city's vendor, contract and payment information site indicates the group was awarded a new, $6.5-million city grant on May 12 -- four days before Mr. Orozco's former boss Mr. Daley left office.

   The contract actually was signed on May 2 by then-Budget Director Eugene Munin in what must have been among his last official acts.

  A wonderful coincidence, no? After School Matters gets a grant agreement worth up to $6,480,000  "to support ongoing summer jobs and after-school programs for youth" just four days before Rahm Emanuel is sworn into office, vowing to search high and low for potential cuts to balance a budget that's $635 million in the red.

   After School Matters and two different spokesmen for Mr. Emanuel say the timing of the grant was, um, a coincidence.

  The charity since 2007 regularly has received $6.5 million about a year from the city, they say. The money was included in the budget, they add, and it just so happens that the contract guaranteeing this year's funding went into effect in the final days of Mr. Daley's tenure.

Read more: http://www.chicagobusiness.com/section/blogs?blogID=greg-hinz&plckController=Blog&plckBlogPage=BlogViewPost&uid=1daca073-2eab-468e-9f19-ec177090a35c&plckPostId=Blog:1daca073-2eab-468e-9f19-ec177090a35cPost:eb77893c-c97f-432a-9e10-e1a34923d106&plckScript=blogScript&plckElementId=blogDest#ixzz1U4ayktG1