Categories
Business crime

Alderman Burnett says No Devil’s Weed Store Next to West Loop Rehab Center

Little Bo-Peep

Following up on the ridiculous “Cannabis is the devil’s weed” story from last week, Chicago Sun-Times reports:

Ald. Walter Burnett (27th) pushed back Tuesday on a pot firm’s plan to open a recreational weed store next to the city’s largest drug treatment facility.

Burnett, a former alcoholic, said the location proposed by Wheaton-based NuMed is simply “too close” to The Haymarket Center at 932 W. Washington.

“Ideally, I would like to have a perimeter of three city blocks that surround Haymarket. But I think it’s going to be very challenging,” said Lustig.

Asked if the litany of bars in the area that serve alcohol are also a concern, Lustig said: “I’ve always had concerns, but you can’t smell alcohol” like you can smell marijuana smoke.

But Burnett said because of the availability of booze, the other proposed pot shop locations aren’t as much of a concern to him as NuMed. The Fulton Market Association, a nonprofit focused on economic development in the area, is collecting signatures for a petition against NuMed that it plans to send to city officials Friday morning.

“We support that [patients] shouldn’t be faced with a marijuana shop right in their face and perhaps be enticed into a relapse,” said the group’s executive director Roger Romanelli.

(click here to continue reading Ald. Burnett says no to pot company’s plan to set up shop next to West Loop rehab center – Chicago Sun-Times.)

Drink Up

This irks me for all sorts of reasons. For one, for addicts, including alcoholics, being near bars and restaurants that serve alcohol is fine apparently, but an upscale cannabis dispensary being 1/4 mile away is a temptation they cannot resist? Really? Really?

Secondly, smoking is not permitted in dispensaries. Smoking cannabis is also not legal on the streets, though of course people have been smoking on the weed in public for decades or longer, including right in the doorway of this drug treatment facility. I can attest to this personally.

Smoker's Burdens

And if I were to get NIMBY1 with it, I’d rather this treatment facility was the one that moved. The clients2 often huddle in groups on the sidewalk, blocking passersby, chain smoking Newport cigarettes, blowing smoke on pedestrians. Why is this drug treatment facility located in the middle of a bustling entertainment district anyway? Haymarket Center has been there for a long time, and originally, this was not the same neighborhood as it is now. But neighborhoods change, and the West Loop has drastically changed over the last decade.  The West Loop of 1975 is not the same as the West Loop of 2020.

Final thought, smoking cannabis is not a gateway drug to being a heroin addict, at least not according to modern research. The State of Illinois recognized this by granting medical cannabis licenses to opioid users, remember? Addicts need help, and consideration from the rest of us, but perhaps having the city’s largest treatment facility on 900 W. Washington is the real issue that should be addressed rather than NuMed opening an upscale storefront on Randolph Street.

Become Someone Better

Footnotes:
  1. Not In My Back Yard []
  2. customers? patients?? recovering addicts?? []
Categories
Business

Nine New Weed Dispensaries At Special March Meeting

New Yorker Cartoon about my parents: "I don't know about you, but I say it's time we started experimenting with drugs."

Block Club Chicago reports:

As many as nine new recreational cannabis dispensaries could clear a crucial regulatory hurdle during a special meeting of the Chicago Zoning Board of Appeals scheduled for March 6, potentially almost doubling the number of pot shops allowed to operate in the city, according to officials.

The board will consider “cannabis-specific” applications at the first of its kind special meeting. The formal agenda for the meeting has not yet been released.

The following cannabis companies have filed applications with the Zoning Board of Appeals to open new dispensaries, according to the Chicago Department of Planning and Development:

  • Pharmacann, for planned dispensaries at 1001 W. North Ave. and 444 N. LaSalle St. A community meeting was held Feb. 6 to discuss the LaSalle Street proposal, and another is scheduled for Feb. 18 to discuss the North Avenue site plan.
  • Natures Care Company, for a planned dispensary at 810 W. Randolph St. A community meeting was held to discuss the proposal on Feb. 6.
  • Numed Chicago, for a planned dispensary at 935 W. Randolph St. A community meeting was held to discuss the proposal on Feb. 5.
  • PDI Medical, for a planned dispensary at 60 W. Superior St. A community meeting was held to discuss the proposal on Feb. 5.
  • Green House Group, for a planned dispensary at 612 N. Wells St. A community meeting was held to discuss the proposal on Feb. 7.
  • MOCA Modern Cannabis, for a planned dispensary at 214-232 W. Ohio St. A community meeting was held to discuss the proposal on Jan. 29.

(click here to continue reading Nine New Weed Dispensaries Could Be Cleared To Open At Special March Meeting – Block Club Chicago.)

The sooner the better, it’s already going to be summer before these open.

Parenthetical confession: I haven’t been inside one of the newly legal dispensaries, yet. I’m not enough of a pot-head to stand in line for 2 hours, especially in the winter, and I’ve been to dispensaries in other states, so there isn’t a novelty itch that I need to scratch. I’ll wait until the flower shortage abates, and the weather improves.

Categories
Business politics

Compromised encryption machines gave CIA window into major human rights abuses in South America

Eye see u Willis

The Washington Post reports:

South American military dictatorships combined forces in the late 1970s on a continent-wide crackdown they called Operation Condor against perceived threats to their rule. It was part of a broader wave of violence in which nuns and priests were imprisoned, dissidents were tossed out of airplanes and thousands of victims were “disappeared.”
To coordinate this brutal campaign, Argentina, Chile and other countries established a secret communications network using encryption machines from a Swiss company called Crypto AG.

Crypto was secretly owned by the CIA as part of a decades-long operation with West German intelligence. The U.S. spy agency was, in effect, supplying rigged communications gear to some of South America’s most brutal regimes and, as a result, in unique position to know the extent of their atrocities.

Whether there were opportunities to act, and failures to do so, are among the difficult questions raised by the revelations about the CIA’s involvement in Crypto — dubbed Operation Rubicon by the agency. The program enabled U.S. spy agencies to monitor the communications of dozens of countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America over half a century.

(click here to continue reading Compromised encryption machines gave CIA window into major human rights abuses in South America – The Washington Post.)

Revolution of The Innocent

Two brief thoughts: one, why didn’t the US government do more to reign in these abuses? Because they were being conducted by right-wing governments?

Total Information Awareness - Homeland Security Logo 

and two, no wonder China wants to emulate this program with the installation of Huawei networking gear, and also no wonder the US is opposed.

WaPo/AP:

No NATO ally should succumb to the temptation of letting Chinese tech giant Huawei into their next-generation cellular networks, U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday at Allied headquarters, turning U.S. opposition to Huawei into a bipartisan effort.
Pelosi said the invasion of privacy that would result from having Huawei integrated into Europe’s 5G communication networks would be “like having the state police, the Chinese state police, right in your pocket.”

She insisted such technology was far too sensitive to turn to over to Chinese interests, even though they can deliver such technology cheaper, thanks to the fact that the company relied on Western know-how to build its systems.

“While some people say that its cheaper to do Huawei — well yeah — it’s a People’s Liberation Army initiative using reversed engineering from Western technology,” Pelosi, the senior Democratic lawmaker, told reporters in Brussels.

“So, of course it’s going to be cheaper to put on the market. And if it’s cheaper, then they get the market share and then they (China) bring in their autocracy of lack of privacy.”

(click here to continue reading US House speaker Pelosi warns allies against using Huawei – The Washington Post.) 

Categories
Business

Pot Store Near Addiction Center vs Alcohol Sale Near Addiction Center

Wishbone

Ally Marotti of the Chicago Tribune reports:

A marijuana company wants to open a dispensary in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood that would be near trendy restaurants and boutiques. It also would be on the same block as an addiction treatment center.
“This will trigger patients to relapse,” said Dan Lustig, a psychologist who is president and CEO of Haymarket Center.

NuMed wants to open its dispensary on the second floor of 935 W. Randolph St., above Floyd’s 99 Barbershop. Haymarket Center is at 932 W. Washington Blvd. If NuMed’s dispensary opens as planned, the entrance will be on North Sangamon Street, on the same block as entrances to Haymarket.

(click here to continue reading Pot store near addiction center ‘cannot possibly be a good idea’ – Chicago Tribune.)

I struggle to understand this logic. Is a cannabis store more likely to be a trouble to the neighborhood than an establishment that sells alcohol? Because also within a block of the Haymarket Center are several restaurants that serve wine, whiskey, beer and so forth. There is even a proposed Jerry Garcia themed jazz club to open in the former location of Wishbone, less than half a block away on the same street. People are not allowed to consume cannabis on location, but they can drink until the room spins. Is Dan Lustig also trying to turn this area of the West Loop into an alcohol free zone? If not, why not?

In my experience, alcohol is more of a trigger for addicts than cannabis. Granted I am not the CEO of a treatment center with a vested interest to get my name in the newspaper, but come on. 

 Grateful Dead

BlockClubChicago:

After rent hikes forced beloved West Loop restaurant Wishbone to relocate from its longtime home, the space could soon be turned into a lively jazz venue paying homage to Jerry Garcia, the late guitarist of the Grateful Dead.

Brooklyn Bowl owner Peter Shapiro has been in talks to bring a Jerry Garcia-themed jazz venue to the vacant restaurant space at 1001 W. Washington Blvd., according to multiple sources familiar with the project.

The West Loop venue will be themed around Garcia, who died in 1995 at age 53, and will be a seated, traditional jazz club, a source said. The venue will also feature an accompanying restaurant.

 

(click here to continue reading Jerry Garcia-Themed Jazz Venue Could Come To West Loop’s Old Wishbone Thanks To Brooklyn Bowl Owner – Block Club Chicago.)

Categories
Arts Business Photography

Google Photos trialing subscription to get best pics printed

Little By Little The Night Turns Around

Speaking of algorithmic art selection, 9to5Google reports:

Google Photos is now trialing a “monthly photo prints” subscription program.

Google will send you 10 prints that will be “automatically selected from your last 30 days of photos.” This subscription program is a way to “get your best memories delivered straight to your home every month.” For $7.99 per month, subscribers get 4×6 pictures printed on matte, white cardstock that features a 1/8-inch border.

While an automatic process leverages Google Photos’ smarts, you’ll be able to pick one of three themes for your monthly prints. Google touts the first “people and pets” option as being the “most popular.” Additionally, you can edit the photos before they’re printed.

  • Most people and pets: Relive your best moments of people and pets. Get prints featuring them and other great photos every month.
  • Mostly landscapes: Revisit your most memorable places. Get prints of your outdoor shots, city scapes, scenery pics, and more sent to you every month.
  • A little bit of everything: Mix it up! Get a mix of all your best moments! Photos of people, landscapes, and other photos delivered to you each month.

(click here to continue reading Google Photos trialing subscription to get best pics printed – 9to5Google.)

SmugMug/Flickr could emulate this, actually, and I’d probably consider it. I don’t use Google Photos, so unless there is an IFTTT recipe that automatically uploads Flickr images to Google Photos, this monthly scheme wouldn’t be viable for me. 

Conceptually, I like the idea of having prints sent to me, selected by not-me. The 21st C.E. is buried in gazillions of photos, but most only exist in the digital realm, and aren’t physical objects that can be studied by future generations, or by our Robot Overlords, or whatever.

For a few months, I tried to capture my favorite images from the previous month in a gallery, but it is a hard project to sustain. Life happens, and that would get put to the back burner up until the next month’s batch was due. 

Maybe I should try in 2020 to make an analog version of the Google algorithmic art selection, and make small prints every month from the previous month? 

Categories
Business

U.S. Farm Bankruptcies Hit an Eight-Year High: Court Data

If Your Words Could Glow

Meanwhile, The New York Times reports:

U.S. farm bankruptcy rates jumped 20% in 2019 – to an eight-year high – as financial woes in the U.S. agricultural economy continued in spite of massive federal bail-out funding, according to federal court data.

According to data released this week by the United States Courts, family farmers filed 595 Chapter 12 bankruptcies in 2019, up from 498 filings a year earlier. The data also shows that such filings – known as “family farmer” bankruptcies – have steadily increased every year for the past five years.

Farmers across the nation also have retired or sold their farms because of the financial strains, changing the face of Midwestern towns and concentrating the business in fewer hands.

(click here to continue reading U.S. Farm Bankruptcies Hit an Eight-Year High: Court Data – The New York Times.)

Because the Republican style of governance is so, so effective. If you are an owner of a corporate “factory” farm that is…

Remember trade wars are good, and easy to win.

Categories
Business crime

Facebook agrees to pay $550 million to Illinois users

Facebook Login

 The Chicago Tribune reports:

Facebook will pay $550 million to Illinois users to settle allegations that its facial tagging feature violated their privacy rights.
The settlement — which could amount to a couple of hundred dollars for each user who is part of the class-action settlement — stems from a federal lawsuit filed in Illinois nearly five years ago that alleges the social media giant violated a state law protecting residents’ biometric information. Biometric information can include data from facial, fingerprint and iris scans.

Illinois has one of the strictest biometric privacy laws in the nation. The 2008 law mandates that companies collecting such information obtain prior consent from consumers, detail how they’ll use it and specify how long the information will be kept. The law also allows private citizens, rather than just governmental entities, to file lawsuits over the issue.

In 2018, a judge defined the class as Facebook users in Illinois from whom the Menlo Park, California-based company created a stored face template after June 7, 2011, the date Facebook said its tag suggestion feature was available in most countries.
The feature uses facial recognition software to match users’ new photos with other photos they’re tagged in. It groups similar photos together and suggests the names of friends in the photos.

The settlement is a win for privacy advocates who say that protecting biometric information is critical because, unlike a credit card number, it can’t be changed if it’s stolen.
“This pretty firmly establishes the fact that those harms are real and consumers deserve restitution when their rights have been violated,” said Abe Scarr, director of the Illinois Public Interest Research Group, a consumer advocacy organization.

(click here to continue reading Facebook agrees to pay $550 million to Illinois users – Chicago Tribune.)

You Are Being Film

I assume Facebook will find a way to weasel out of including everyone in Illinois from this class. I resided solely in Illinois during the time the class action covers, and was probably tagged in a photo, but am not sure. I also don’t have my proper residence listed (I’ve varied it a bit from Frostpocket, to Guam, to Upper Yurtistan, and elsewhere as the mood strikes), but Facebook of course knows where I’m logging into their servers from, down to the individual block group I imagine.

Facebook Instant Personalization

Categories
Business

Trump’s Treasury secretary just admitted the tariff rationale is hogwash

Classic Car Convertible

Meanwhile, in non-impeachment news, Catherine Rampell, The Washington Post reports:

Perhaps distracted by the beauty and billionaires of Davos, Switzerland, this week Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin let slip an embarrassing admission: President Trump’s justification for his trade wars is hogwash.
For two years, the administration has offered increasingly ludicrous explanations for its tariffs. Sometimes tariffs are designed to shield pet U.S. industries from unfair competition. (Those industries are still shuttering plants despite the tariffs, but no matter.)

Sometimes, tariffs are instead intended to raise revenue from abroad. (That additional tax revenue is being paid by Americans, not foreigners, but whatever.)

Perhaps the most farcical rationale, however, has been that massive tariffs are necessary to safeguard America’s “national security.”

First, the Trump administration argued that it needed to impose worldwide tariffs on steel and aluminum on these bogus “national security” grounds. After all, Trump explained, “If you don’t have steel, you don’t have a country,” whatever that means.

Loyal allies, such as Canada and Britain, were understandably offended to learn that their metal products somehow threatened U.S. national security and would thus be tariffed. 

Last year, at Trump’s request, the Commerce Department produced a report determining that imports of autos and automotive parts somehow also put America at grave risk, and that it thereby needs to do something to increase “American-owned” production. Precisely how your Subaru or Honda, or some foreign-made part buried somewhere in your Ford, compromises U.S. security is unclear; that Commerce Department report has never been released.

To be clear, the auto industry does not want these tariffs. Industry groups — comprising both U.S. and foreign companies — have called them “absurd” and “spurious,” particularly because these imports support millions of American jobs in auto manufacturing, parts and sales.

(click here to continue reading Trump’s Treasury secretary just admitted the tariff rationale is hogwash – The Washington Post.)

Chrysler Imperial

Bullshit from these professional bullshit artists. And yet corporate America still supports the political party that regularly screws them because, you know, tax cuts for millionaires is popular in most corporate boardrooms.

Rust Bucket

And Mnuchin’s “slip of the tongue”:

At a Davos panel Wednesday, Mnuchin finally acknowledged the obvious: that the administration’s official rationale for auto tariffs was made up, a legal fiction designed to let it bully or retaliate against opponents whenever Trump felt like it. In the context of a discussion about digital service taxes proposed by European countries, Mnuchin told the audience: “If people want to just arbitrarily put taxes on our digital companies, we will consider arbitrarily putting taxes on car companies.”

GM

Categories
Business government

The IRS Decided to Get Tough Against Microsoft. Microsoft Got Tougher

Darth Vader

 

ProPublica reports:

Eight years ago, the IRS, tired of seeing the country’s largest corporations fearlessly stash billions in tax havens, decided to take a stand. The agency challenged what it saw as an epic case of tax dodging by one of the largest companies in the world, Microsoft. It was the biggest audit by dollar amount in the history of the agency.

Microsoft had shifted at least $39 billion in U.S. profits to Puerto Rico, where the company’s tax consultants, KPMG, had persuaded the territory’s government to give Microsoft a tax rate of nearly 0%. Microsoft had justified this transfer with a ludicrous-sounding deal: It had sold its most valuable possession — its intellectual property — to an 85-person factory it owned in a small Puerto Rican city.

…Meanwhile, the numbers Microsoft had used to craft its deal were laughable, the agency concluded. In one instance, Microsoft had told investors its revenues would grow 10% to 12% but told the IRS the figure was 4%. In another, the IRS found Microsoft had understated revenues by $15 billion.

Determined to seize every advantage against a giant foe, the small team at the helm of the audit decided to be aggressive. It used special powers that the agency had shied away from using in the past. It took unprecedented steps like hiring an elite law firm to join the government’s side.

To Microsoft and its corporate allies, the nature of the audit posed a dire threat. This was not the IRS they knew. This was an agency suddenly committed to fighting and winning. If the aggression went unchecked, it would only encourage the IRS to try these tactics on other corporations.

“Most people, the 99%, they’re afraid of the IRS,” said an attorney who works on large corporate audits. “The other 1%, they’re not afraid. They make the IRS afraid of them.”

Microsoft fought back with every tool it could muster. Business organizations, ranging from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to tech trade groups, rallied, hiring attorneys to jump into the fray on Microsoft’s side in court and making their case to IRS leadership and lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Soon, members of Congress, both Republicans and Democrats, were decrying the IRS’ tactics and introducing legislation to stop the IRS from ever taking similar steps again.

The outcome of the audit remains to be seen — the Microsoft case grinds on — but the blowback was effective. Last year, the company’s allies succeeded in changing the law, removing or limiting tools the IRS team had used against the company. The IRS, meanwhile, has become notably less bold. Drained of resources by years of punishing budget cuts, the agency has largely retreated from challenging the largest corporations. The IRS declined to comment for this article.

Recent years have been a golden age for corporate tax avoidance, with massive companies awash in profits routinely paying tax rates in the single digits, or even nothing at all. But how corporations manage to do this and keep the IRS at bay is mostly shrouded in secrecy

(click here to continue reading The IRS Decided to Get Tough Against Microsoft. Microsoft Got Tougher. — ProPublica.)

Truly despicable, on many levels. Microsoft is not teetering on the edge of financial collapse, they can afford to pay their fair share of taxes. Shameful that both political parties enable this abuse, and respond by defunding/defanging the IRS from doing its job. Meanwhile, the US debt grows by leaps and bounds, and corporate profits too.

Categories
Business environment

Nestlé pays $200 a year to bottle water from Michigan

Summer Vision

 The Guardian reported in 2017:

Despite having endured lead-laden tap water for years, Flint pays some of the highest water rates in the US. Several residents cited bills upwards of $200 per month for tap water they refuse to touch.

But just two hours away, in the tiny town of Evart, creeks lined by wildflowers run with clear water. The town is so small, the fairground, McDonald’s, high school and church are all within a block. But in a town of only 1,503 people, there are a dozen wells pumping water from the underground aquifer. This is where the beverage giant Nestlé pumps almost 100,000 times what an average Michigan resident uses into plastic bottles that are sold all over the midwest for around $1.

To use this natural resource, Nestlé pays $200 per year

(click here to continue reading Nestlé pays $200 a year to bottle water near Flint – where water is undrinkable | US news | The Guardian.)

How is this right? Nestlé should have to provide clean drinking water to Flint as part of their deal, or even better, pay to upgrade the water mains, especially since Nestlé is trying to increase the amount of water they pump out:

Now, Nestlé wants more Michigan water. In a recent permit application, the company asked to pump 210m gallons per year from Evart, a 60% increase, and for no more than it pays today.

Your Confidence Might Be Shattered

Access to clean water should be a human right, all over the world, including in Michigan. Private corporations shouldn’t be able to profit from a public good.

The fight continues:

 Michigan’s second-highest court has dealt a legal blow to Nestlé’s Ice Mountain water brand, ruling that the company’s commercial water-bottling operation is “not an essential public service” or a public water supply.

 The court of appeals ruling is a victory for Osceola township, a small mid-Michigan town that blocked Nestlé from building a pumping station that doesn’t comply with its zoning laws. But the case could also throw a wrench in Nestlé’s attempts to privatize water around the country.

 The fight to stop Nestlé from taking America’s water to sell in plastic bottles
Read more
If it is to carry out such plans, then it will need to be legally recognized as a public water source that provides an essential public service. The Michigan environmental attorney Jim Olson, who did not represent Osceola township but has previously battled Nestlé in court, said any claim that the Swiss multinational is a public water utility “is ludicrous”.

 “What this lays bare is the extent to which private water marketers like Nestlé, and others like them, go [in] their attempts to privatize sovereign public water, public water services, and the land and communities they impact,” Olson said.

 The ruling, made on Tuesday, could also lead state environmental regulators to reconsider permits that allow Nestlé to pump water in Michigan.

The Osceola case stems from Nestle’s attempt to increase the amount of water it pulls from a controversial wellhead in nearby Evart from about 250 gallons per minute to 400 gallons per minute. It needs to build the pump in a children’s campground in Osceola township to transport the increased load via a pipe system.

The township in 2017 rejected the plans based on its zoning laws, and Nestlé subsequently sued. A lower court wrote in late 2017 that water was essential for life and bottling water was an “essential public service” that met a demand, which trumped Osceola township’s zoning laws.

However, a three-judge panel in the appellate court reversed the decision.

 

(click here to continue reading Nestlé cannot claim bottled water is ‘essential public service’, court rules | Business | The Guardian.)

Categories
Business Chicago-esque

Boeing Employees Mocked F.A.A. and Clowns Who Designed 737 Max

Poster Child For Corporate Welfare

The New York Times reports:

Boeing employees mocked federal rules, talked about deceiving regulators and joked about potential flaws in the 737 Max as it was being developed, according to over a hundred pages of internal messages delivered Thursday to congressional investigators.

“I still haven’t been forgiven by God for the covering up I did last year,” one of the employees said in messages from 2018, apparently in reference to interactions with the Federal Aviation Administration.

The most damaging messages included conversations among Boeing pilots and other employees about software issues and other problems with flight simulators for the Max, a plane later involved in two accidents, in late 2018 and early 2019, that killed 346 people and threw the company into chaos.

The employees appear to discuss instances in which the company concealed such problems from the F.A.A. during the regulator’s certification of the simulators, which were used in the development of the Max, as well as in training for pilots who had not previously flown a 737.
“Would you put your family on a Max simulator trained aircraft? I wouldn’t,” one employee said to a colleague in another exchange from 2018, before the first crash. “No,” the colleague responded.

In another set of messages, employees questioned the design of the Max and even denigrated their own colleagues. “This airplane is designed by clowns, who are in turn supervised by monkeys,” an employee wrote in an exchange from 2017.

In several instances, Boeing employees insulted the F.A.A. officials reviewing the plane.

In an exchange from 2015, a Boeing employee said that a presentation the company gave to the F.A.A. was so complicated that, for the agency officials and even himself, “it was like dogs watching TV.”

Several employees seemed consumed with limiting training for airline crews to fly the plane, a significant victory for Boeing that would benefit the company financially. In the development of the Max, Boeing had promised to offer Southwest a discount of $1 million per plane if regulators required simulator training.

(click here to continue reading Boeing Employees Mocked F.A.A. and ‘Clowns’ Who Designed 737 Max – The New York Times.)

Approaching Dusk Over Boeing

Boeing has a real mess on its hands. Any future aircraft malfunction already has plenty of evidence of malfeasance ready to be presented in court. 

Would you feel comfortable flying a Boeing 737 Max? I know I wouldn’t.

Nothing’s Happened In A Million Years

Boeing “expresses regret” about the communications being made public. Err, their PR team told them to say this:

Boeing on Thursday expressed regret over the messages. “These communications contain provocative language, and, in certain instances, raise questions about Boeing’s interactions with the F.A.A. in connection with the simulator qualification process,” the company said in a statement to Congress. “Having carefully reviewed the issue, we are confident that all of Boeing’s Max simulators are functioning effectively.”

 
“We regret the content of these communications, and apologize to the F.A.A., Congress, our airline customers and to the flying public for them,” Boeing added. “The language used in these communications, and some of the sentiments they express, are inconsistent with Boeing values, and the company is taking appropriate action in response. This will ultimately include disciplinary or other personnel action, once the necessary reviews are completed.”

Ok. Crisis solved!

Categories
Business

Life sciences labs, offices planned in Fulton Market

Fulton Market Lineup

Speaking of corporate additions to Fulton Market, Crain’s Chicago reports:

A Texas developer is making a bold bet on the future of Chicago’s life sciences sector, planning what it hopes will become a major hub for the industry in the city’s hottest corporate neighborhood.

In an ambitious move meant to address a dire shortage of high-quality local lab space, Dallas-based Trammell Crow today announced its vision for Fulton Labs, a 400,000-square-foot life sciences laboratory and office building it wants to build at 400 N. Aberdeen St. in the former meatpacking district.

The project has the potential not only to draw biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to Fulton Market, the gritty-turned-trendy home of corporate giants like Google and McDonald’s, but it may also mark a critical step toward solving a cultivation problem in the city: Homegrown life sciences companies often move to markets like Boston and San Francisco to scale their businesses because they have facilities to help them mature.

The developer, which has two other office projects under construction farther west in Fulton Market, submitted plans in September for a large office and retail building along Kinzie Street between Aberdeen and May streets. That followed more than a year’s work planning Fulton Labs in partnership with Chicago life sciences entrepreneur John Flavin, who will help oversee the design and marketing over the building.

Trammell Crow is rolling the dice on a type of property that most developers have avoided, despite overwhelming demand. Life sciences facilities are expensive to build, requiring special ventilation, electrical and safety systems to accommodate chemical reactions, and extra security to protect highly valuable intellectual property. They’re risky, because what may be suitable for one tenant may require a massive overhaul for a future one after a lease expires.

The 16-story building would be “designed to the highest possible laboratory standards by some of the world’s most respected life sciences architects, lab designers and engineers,” the company said in a statement.

Floors would be column-free and laid out to accommodate lab space as well as offices, and the building would include a slew of amenities such as a rooftop lounge and patio. One floor would be designated as a shared lab and office space to help lure startups.

(click here to continue reading Life sciences labs, offices planned in Fulton Market.)

In Need of A Few Good Windows

Nothing Permanent

Fulton Market is already unrecognizable from when I first walked its streets, circa 2000. In another ten years, it will have no resemblance to its former status as a food processing district.

Greater Fulton Market

I’m beginning to feel nostalgic for the smell of bleached chicken parts, and dodging the entreaties of sex workers.

Grant Park Packikg

Categories
Business Food and Drink

Vienna Beef moving HQ to Near West Side

Give the Gift of Chicago

Crain’s reports:

Vienna Beef’s nearly 50-year run on Chicago’s North Side is coming to an end.

Amid a slew of new developments proposed along the North Branch of the Chicago River, the hot dog maker is set to move its headquarters early this year from its longtime home to a renovated industrial building on the Near West Side.

Chicago-based developer Dayton Street Partners said the meat company has signed a long-term lease for all of 2501 W. Fulton St., a nearly 40,000-square-foot building in the Kinzie Industrial Corridor where it will move its main office and warehouse.

The move will end a run at 2501 N. Damen Ave. that began in 1972. Vienna Beef moved its manufacturing plant away from there in 2013 to the Bridgeport neighborhood on the city’s South Side but kept its headquarters and a warehouse along a rerouted portion of Elston Avenue at Damen and the river.

Vienna Beef, meanwhile, will bring its 127-year-old company and prominent Chicago food brand to a corridor running west of Ogden Avenue between Lake Street and Grand Avenue that is rife with industrial companies like it. 

While the City Council last summer opened the eastern end of that Kinzie Industrial Corridor—the portion that borders the now-trendy Fulton Market District—to new zoning uses, it renewed its commitment to keep most of the corridor as a planned manufacturing district.

(click here to continue reading Vienna Beef moving HQ to Near West Side.)

Murph's Hot Dog

On the other hand, corporations moving into existing buildings doesn’t bother me at all…Welcome to the neighborhood, Vienna Beef.

I wonder if they will have a museum and a cafe? I would certainly check that out, if so.

Duks Vienna Red Hots

Categories
Business Food and Drink

Wine Business Fears a Possible Disaster in Potential Trump Tariffs

In Honor of National Drink More Wine Day

Eric Asimov, The New York Times, reports:

the last month has passed in a blur of fear and dread as the industry contemplates the Trump administration’s threat to impose 100 percent tariffs on all wines imported from the European Union, along with a variety of other goods including foods, spirits and clothing.

Make no mistake, a tariff of that size, or any number close to that, would be catastrophic for Americans in the beverage and hospitality industry. A 100 percent tariff would double the price of wines in shops and restaurants, with disastrous ripple effects.

Consumers may be furious if confronted with a $25 bottle of Fleurie that has doubled in price to $50. They will have to adapt, or drink wines from somewhere else. But that hardly matters when compared with the American jobs that may be lost and the businesses that could be threatened if the tariffs go into effect.

The fear does not stop with importers. An entire chain of businesses are built around the acquisition and sale of European wines and foods, from distributors to retail shops and restaurants, and all the associated workers — not to mention dock labor, forklift drivers and others.

(click here to continue reading Wine Business Fears a Possible Disaster in Potential Trump Tariffs – The New York Times.)

The Dotard is about to fuck up another industry. Granted, he claims to have never had a drink, but I imagine Trump properties like Mar-A-Lago and Trump Hotel etc. make a lot of their annual profits on selling 1%ers and hangers-on overpriced bottles of European Union wine.

Thinking With A Dirty Glass (Variations on A Theme - Vernal Equinox)

A favorite local independent grocery (Green Grocer Chicago) said this in their newsletter yesterday:

Please be aware that the current administration is considering putting 100% tariffs on wine imported from the European Union on JAN 14 (next week!)

If this actually is enacted, it will change the wine industry in fundamental ways for all companies in the space (producers, distributors, and retailers like us).

If this comes to be we will have to tilt our portfolio towards wines from other areas such as South Africa, South America, and of course the good old USA that offer affordable wines at prices our customers like to purchase at.

My suggestion: stock up on Rioja, Chianti, Bordeaux, and other good wines from Europe this weekend!

Hmm, probably Cognac too. Damn it.

Season's Greetings!

Categories
Business

Farmers Are Buying 40-Year-Old Tractors Because They’re Actually Repairable

Tractor tale

VICE reports:

John Deere makes it difficult to repair its new tractors without specialized software, so an increasing number of farmers are buying older models.

By Matthew Gault 

When a brand new John Deere tractors breaks down, you need a computer to fix it. When a John Deere tractor manufactured in 1979 breaks down, you can repair it yourself or buy another old John Deere tractor. Farming equipment—like televisions, cars, and even toothbrushes—now often comes saddled with a computer. That computer often comes with digital rights management software that can make simple repairs an expensive pain in the ass. As reported by the Minnesota StarTribune, Farmers have figured out a way around the problem—buying tractors manufactured 40 years ago, before the computers took over.

“There’s an affinity factor if you grew up around these tractors, but it goes way beyond that,” Greg Peterson, founder of the farm equipment data company Machinery Pete told StarTribune. “These things, they’re basically bulletproof. You can put 15,000 hours on it and if something breaks you can just replace it.”

(click here to continue reading Farmers Are Buying 40-Year-Old Tractors Because They’re Actually Repairable – VICE.)

Interesting, and I understand exactly the impulse. I am still using older version of Adobe’s Photoshop suite because the newer version requires an annual license. Meaning I wouldn’t really own the software, and Adobe’s lawyers could change the terms on a whim, and I wouldn’t be able to open my 30 years worth of Photoshop images (theoretically, there would most likely be a work around, but still).

Farmers want to be able to tinker with equipment that they feel like is theirs, and they should have the right to repair their own tools.

Canadian Gothic1

Hmm, there is an old Ford tractor sitting in the workshop in Frostpocket, manufactured sometime in the 1930s if my memory is correct. It would need to be repaired before use, but last I saw it, the body was still solid. There is not even the whiff of specialized software installed on it either. Wonder if it is sellable? Per the Vice article, the Frostpocket tractor might be a little old to be useful, but people use vintage typewrites, why not vintage tractors?

The tractors manufactured in the late 1970s and 1980s look and run like modern tractors, but lack the computer components that drive up costs and make repair a nightmare.

Smiling Tractors Sometimes