Halloween 2017, Mueller indictments, World Series and hot pastrami
Halloween in Fells Point
Due to Halloween celebrations that turned violent in recent years, more than a dozen Fells Point bars and businesses will close early this year. According to the Baltimore Business Journal, last Halloween, three people were stabbed in a street fight and a woman was shot in the foot in a separate incident, and in 2015, shots were fired near the festivities. This will be the second year Max’s Taphouse closes early for the holiday. Max’s will shut its doors at 8:30 p.m., five and a half hours before its regular 2 a.m. closing time. Nearby Alexander’s Tavern will close at 9:30 p.m., four and a half hours earlier than usual. It’s the first time the bar will be shutting down early on purpose for Halloween. The Greene Turtle on S. Broadway will close at 7 p.m. Fells Point Main Street President Nick Johnson said he is aware of 20 local businesses that will be closing early Tuesday night. He’s shutting his home goods store, Su Casa, early because of road closures that will make traveling through the neighborhood difficult for customers. In a statement, Baltimore Police spokesman T.J. Smith said the department plans to “have a large deployment of officers in place in and around the area as well as the entire city.”
Halloween and Freddie Gray
Students from several Baltimore-area private schools are in trouble for making poor Halloween costume choices this year. According to the New York Daily News and the Baltimore Sun, several photos appeared on social media, including one that showed a graduate from the Boys’ Latin School of Maryland wearing an orange jumpsuit with “Freddie Gray” written on his back. Gray died from injuries sustained in police custody in 2015, a case that has drawn national attention after rioting broke out in the city following his death. The photo of the Halloween costume was taken at an off-campus party at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, according to President Glenn McConnell, who said the incident would be investigated. Another social media photo showed students from the Gilman School and Roland Park Country School posing in orange jumpsuits, with a Snapchat caption that read, “N—-s broke out,” CBS reported. A third photo showed a St. Paul’s School student, who had a swastika and racial slur scrawled on his bare back. Gilman and Roland Park officials issued a statement saying they were taking the situation seriously, although they also pointed out that the person who snapped the photo and wrote the caption was not a student at either school. St. Paul’s School said it was investigating the off-campus incident, adding that it “does not tolerate any form of hate or discrimination.”
The Maryland Attorney General’s Office is digging into allegations that an affiliate of the Kushner Companies, owned by the family of Donald Trump’s son-in-law, has been neglecting some of its Baltimore-area apartments and using unscrupulous and aggressive legal tactics to collect debts from poor tenants. CNN reported Sunday that Brian Frosh’s office is conducting an inquiry into the practices of Westminster Management, a Kushner Companies affiliate that manages 17 complexes in Maryland, including several in Baltimore, Middle River and Essex. A spokesperson for Kushner Companies confirmed the investigation to CNN, saying, “We have been working with the Maryland Attorney General’s Office to provide information in response to its request,” and that it’s complied with all state and local laws. Jared Kushner, a senior adviser to President Trump who’s also married to his daughter Ivanka, stepped down as CEO of the company in January. Even so, lawmakers have kept their eyes on the firm with his name on it. A half-dozen Maryland congressmen in August sent a letter to the Kushner Companies asking for documentation related to the allegations from ProPublica/NYT and Sun investigations, and to the company’s acceptance of federal Housing and Urban Development vouchers from low-income tenants. Firms that accept such vouchers are required to maintain certain standards of quality in the dwellings, the lawmakers wrote; not doing so could constitute a violation of federal law. CNN reports that the existence of Frosh’s investigation alone doesn’t mean charges will be filed.
Mueller on the case
Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III unsealed an indictment on Monday of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort and his longtime business partner Rick Gates, who also worked for the campaign, according to the Washington Post. But Mueller’s other announcement may be bigger news: George Papadopoulos, a former foreign policy adviser for the Trump campaign, has already pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about attempts to broker meetings between Russian officials and the campaign. It appears Papadopoulos is cooperating with investigators. These are the first charges brought by Mueller, who was appointed in May to investigate any links between Russian individuals or the Russian government and the Trump campaign. They represent a major step forward for his probe — and a potentially ominous sign for others who may be in Mueller’s sights. As the White House already is pointing out, the charges against Manafort and Gates don’t directly relate to the Trump campaign. The indictment alleges that Manafort and Gates earned tens of millions of dollars working as agents of the Ukraine government and Ukrainian officials, concealed that work by lying and failing to file required reports about their foreign activities, and laundered millions of dollars through various corporate entities to pay for personal goods and services and evade income taxes. The bulk of the allegations concern activities that occurred before either man was working for the then-Republican candidate. Future indictments and pleas, if any, likely will come on a rolling basis, as the prosecutors build cases against lower-level players, possibly persuade them to cooperate, and move up the ladder to higher-level targets. Mueller’s investigation continues to proceed aggressively, methodically and relatively rapidly.
White Supremacists face counter-protesters
Approximately 100 white supremacists and neo-Nazis gathered in a central Tennessee town Saturday morning for a “White Lives Matter” rally. It was the largest gathering of white supremacists since the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in August, which left one counter-protester dead. The rally in Shelbyville, Tenn., was met by hundreds of counter-protesters, and by a large police presence. One demonstrator was arrested at the rally, which ended by 1 p.m. Demonstrators had to pass through two police checkpoints to get through to the town square designated for the rally. Among other items, they were prevented from bringing guns and masks with them, CBS News reported. Demonstrators chanted “closed borders, white nation, now we start the deportation.” Mike Tubbs, a former Green Beret who spent time in prison for plans to bomb black and Jewish businesses and who was responsible for violence in Charlottesville, led the white supremacist protesters into their designated rally area. “I’m here to defend my heritage and my people against the forces of darkness,” he told The Huffington Post.
More bad decisions regarding Anne Frank
Two weeks ago, we told you about the company that was promoting an Anne Frank Halloween costume. This week, Germany’s railway has decided to name a train after her. Germany’s national railway has triggered a storm on social media for naming one of its superfast trains after Frank, who died in a Nazi camp. After asking customers to weigh in with suggestions, Deutsche Bahn named several of its new trains after famous Germans, among them the teen-aged Frank, whose family fled Germany for Amsterdam after the Nazis seized power in 1933. The fact that Frank and her family were deported by train from Holland to Auschwitz in 1944 was not lost on critics, who have been tweeting their discontent. The Nazi-era Reichsbahn was broken up after World War II; the current Deutsche Bahn was created in a merger between the former West and East German railroads in 1994. The railway has contributed to survivors under the so-called German Foundation agreement and to its Forced Labor Compensation Program. Deutsche Bahn spokesperson Antje Neubauer said many customers had submitted Anne Frank’s name. Deutsche Bahn had asked customers in September to recommend the name of a famous person for one of its brand-new, advanced ICE trains. Within one month, there were more than 19,400 responses and more than 2,500 different suggestions, according to news reports. A jury selected the best names to use for the new trains. Other trains will be named for well-known figures from politics, industry and science, including Germany’s first post-war chancellor, Konrad Adenauer; automotive pioneer Bertha Benz, and physicist Albert Einstein, who fled Nazi Germany for the United States.
Winning one for the team
Houston Astros infielder Alex Bregman had the first-ever walk-off hit by a Jewish player in the World Series when his RBI single drove home Derek Fisher to lead his team to an epic 13-12, 10-inning win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. After the five-hour-plus game, which lasted into early Monday morning on the east coast, Houston leads the series 3-2. Bregman isn’t the only Jewish player making headlines in the World Series. In Game Four Saturday night, Dodger Joc Pederson’s three-run shot in the ninth extended the Dodgers’ lead to 6-1. That was followed in the bottom of the inning by another Bregman homer, bringing the final score to 6-2. Both players have homered twice in the series. Bregman, 23, is about to complete his first full season in the big leagues. The series heads back to California for Game Six on Tuesday night.
The burglars who robbed a kosher deli in Brooklyn weren’t looking for brisket or roast beef. They left the food untouched but stole $5,000, after breaking in by way of the adjacent office of a Brooklyn state senator. “They certainly weren’t desperate for pastrami,” Sen. Simcha Felder said on Sunday, according to The New York Post. Police said the burglary took place on Shabbat, between Friday and Saturday night. Mechy’s Deli, like most kosher food establishments, is closed during that time in honor of the day of rest. The thieves broke into the deli by way of a stairwell connected to Felder’s office. “Someone broke into the building. They broke into the office next door to ours and they broke into my office and messed up the papers in our office,” Felder said.–JTA
J-Word of the Day
Meaning: Nothing; zilch
Usage: “They send him to all of those fancy schools, and what does he know about life? Gornisht!”
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Top image: This mural was painted at the corner where Freddie Gray was arrested, in memoriam. (Photo by Solomon Swerling, Jmore)
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