Joe Perillo’s business was targeted by smash-and-grab perpetrators, who stole millions of dollars worth of merchandise from his Gold Coast Exotic Motor Cars store. During a meeting with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the mayor reportedly called Perillo an “idiot,” though he didn’t hear the insult.
Days later, Perillo’s business was cited by Chicago officials for various violations, including employees and a customer not wearing face masks, for “storing, receiving, possessing, selling nineteen bottles of liquor,” and for apparently “interfering with or obstructing the commissioner’s designee in the performance of duties,” CWB Chicago reported.
“t’s almost cliché. If a business owner angers Chicago City Hall, they can expect to be visited by one of the city’s enthusiastic ticket-writing ordinance enforcers. But that doesn’t really happen … Right?” the outlet opined.
Two men destroyed a display case in Perillo’s business and stole eight luxury watches worth more than $1 million. Perillo then went on local and national TV to demand the city address the wave of smash-and-grab crimes.
“It’s only a fool who keeps doing things the same way and expects different results. If the Mayor and Kim Foxx don’t do anything to get control of this, it’s not going to get better. It’s going to get worse,” Perillo told CBS2
In another interview, he said: “If they don’t do anything about this, they’re going to lose a lot of businesses. They lost Macy’s. They’re losing Neiman Marcus. They may lose this store.”
Lightfoot went to Perillo’s showroom to meet with the business owner but the conversation reportedly did not go well. One source told CWB Chicago that the mayor called Perillo an “idiot” as she left the showroom. The mayor’s office wouldn’t provide details on the conversation.
“The Mayor routinely meets with victims of crime and reached out to Mr. Perillo which resulted in a meeting. The Mayor offered to work with him to address safety and security matters at any of his dealership locations,” a spokesperson told CWB.
Perillo told Fox News that he did not hear the mayor call him an “idiot.”
“I’m not aware that she called me an idiot… at least she did not say that to me,” Perillo told the outlet. “In her heart, I believe she is trying her best. That said, we are both passionate individuals and have different views of how to deal with theft. I can report that there was nothing I said that in any way was foolish! I simply wanted to know what her future plans were going forward!”
Just a day or two after the meeting between Lightfoot and Perillo, a city inspector from the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection cited Gold Coast for health violations. Lightfoot’s spokesperson told CWB Chicago that the citations were “unrelated to the mayor’s meeting with Mr. Perillo.” The spokesperson said the citations came from an anonymous complaint against the business received on December 15.
President Joe Biden has had a terrible few months, with numerous aspects of his agenda getting blocked in congress by even members of his own party. Perhaps needing to show he has accomplished something ahead of the midterm elections, it now appears Biden will sign some executive actions on police reform.
CNBC News reported that the president may be planning to sign the executive actions as early as this month, in preparation for February being Black History Month. The outlet noted that the executive actions would follow Biden and Democrats’ failed attempt to federalize voting laws, which they refer to as “voting rights.”
“The focus on police reforms is part of what appears to be a last-ditch effort by the Biden administration to take action on some of the president’s signature initiatives in the run-up to his State of the Union Address on March 1. In addition to voting rights and policing, the White House and congressional Democrats are considering ways to resurrect Biden’s Build Back Better package, either by paring back the legislation or separating it into two bills, according to three sources familiar with the discussions,” CNBC reported.
It is unclear what would be in Biden’s executive actions or how they would differ from what the Department of Justice did last year in further restricting the use of chokeholds and “no-knock” warrants based on some high-profile cases.
A chokehold was used on Eric Gardner after he refused arrest for allegedly selling loose cigarettes. Gardner said he couldn’t breathe 11 times before losing consciousness and was pronounced dead at a hospital about an hour later.
The details surrounding the DOJ’s decision to restrict “no-knock” warrants is murkier, as the state attorney general and police have denied that they instituted a “no-knock” warrant when attempting to find Breonna Taylor’s boyfriend. Taylor was killed during that search.
Biden’s planned executive actions appear to be a cynical attempt to woo back black voters as the president’s favorability rating continues to crumble. Last year, the House passed a police reform bill named after George Floyd, who died at the hands of Minneapolis police officers in May 2020. The bill stalled in the Senate when a bipartisan group of senators could not come to an agreement.
“I still hope to sign into law a comprehensive and meaningful police reform bill that honors the name and memory of George Floyd, because we need legislation to ensure lasting and meaningful change,” Biden said at the time. “But this moment demands action, and we cannot allow those who stand in the way of progress to prevent us from answering the call. That is why my Administration has already taken important steps, with the Justice Department announcing new policies on chokeholds, no-knock warrants, and body cameras.”
As Fox News noted, Biden’s proposed executive actions also come after Republicans and some Democrats panned the president’s recent “racially-charged speech urging Senate Democrats to suspend the filibuster to push through his party’s legislation that would overhaul federal election laws.”
According to an Associated Press (AP) report on Monday, President Joe Biden’s administration will require United States insurers to cover at-home tests for COVID-19 beginning on January 15.
The AP report also said that the new requirement will require up to eight tests per month for each individual, meaning a family of four would qualify to receive 32 tests each month, covered by their carrier.
The new Biden policy will allow Americans to either acquire free testing kits through their insurers, or present receipts for tests to their insurers for reimbursement.
In a statement on Monday, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra said, “This is all part of our overall strategy to ramp up access to easy-to-use, at-home tests at no cost. By requiring private health plans to cover people’s at-home tests, we are further expanding Americans’ ability to get tests for free when they need them.”
The Biden Administration has been criticized for the nationwide shortage of testing kits for the Omicron COVID-19 variant. The variant has caused a surge in cases where people want and need the testing kits across the country.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki was asked by numerous reporters’ why the administration has taken so long to ramp up testing during a Monday briefing.
Psaki answered, “There has been a massive surge in cases, there has been an unprecedented demand for test. So, what we have done over the course of the last few weeks, even before that, is the president quadrupled our testing capacity since this summer, we opened 20,000 sites across the country, and we have also opened additional federal sites, including one in D.C. only recently.”
Psaki continued, “If you look to a year ago, there were no tests, or maybe one depending on the timeline, that was available on the market. Now we have nine. If you look to about a year ago, there was about 900,000 or maybe slightly higher tests that were being issued every day. Now we’re at about 10 or 11 million. 300 million tests are done in this country every month. So, there’s enormous progress being made.”
President Biden admitted on December 28 that there is “clearly not enough” COVID-19 testing available in the United States. Residents in states across the country have resorted to waiting in hours-long line to acquire tests. Biden said, “We went from no over-the counter tests in January to 36 million in October, 100 million in November and almost 200 million in December. But it’s not enough. It’s clearly not enough.” “If I had — we had known, we would have gone harder, quicker if we could have,” he added.
First it was Facebook, and then it was Twitter. In 2019, Twitter admitted that it allowed marketers to access the phone numbers that users had registered with the site. Many had given their numbers to enable two-factor authentication (2FA)—that process where a website sends you a text message to verify it’s really you who’s logging in. Users didn’t realize they were also allowing marketers to verify who they are in order to build better advertising profiles incorporating Twitter user data. (Twitter says this was an inadvertent mistake and that it has closed the hole.)
That’s especially scary because our phone numbers have become powerful tools to identify and track us, not just for companies but for anyone who wants to look up our personal information stored in a myriad of public records such as court filings, voter registration, real estate transactions, and marriage records.
Twitter’s admission is a nasty case of déjà vu, since Facebook admitted to misusing phone numbers for ad targeting about a year before this article was written in 2019. “For a lot of people, [text-message authentication] is a totally reasonable protection that you should feel comfortable using,” says Gennie Gebhart, a researcher on consumer privacy and security at the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “But Facebook was irresponsible, and now we can’t have nice things.”
In many ways, it may be too late to prevent these big social networks from using your phone number how they see fit. Facebook told me that they will only delete your phone number from their records if you delete your entire account. (And much as I’ve been tempted to, I’ve been unable to take that drastic step.) Twitter requires a phone number for 2FA, even if you use an app, although it says that may be changing.
Fortunately, there are other ways to secure your online accounts without handing over a phone number. Facebook, Twitter, and most major sites allow a second 2FA method that uses a free app to generate short-term codes you can enter into the site to verify your identity, just as you would with a code that is texted to you.
Authentication apps remain the best way to secure your online accounts, particularly Authy, a free app for Android, iOS, Windows, and macOS that’s intuitive to use. After you register your Authy account with the websites you use, the app backs up your 2FA setup registration to the cloud and syncs it across multiple devices, making it easy to log in even if your phone breaks or is lost. (Though that makes it a tad less secure.)
Free apps like Authy allow you to generate codes for all the sites you use.
Some sites and apps make it even easier by replacing codes with push notifications. When you log in to a website, you get an alert on the authenticator app and press a button to confirm your identity. A site called Two Factor Auth provides an extensive list of whether major sites offer authentication based on your phone number or if they’ll also accept app-based 2FA.
What if you still need a phone number?
While most major sites allow authenticator apps, some are still stuck on phone numbers. But you have an option here too: Instead of your cellphone number, give them a Google Voice number.
For years, Google has allowed people to get free virtual phone numbers that can receive calls and texts just like a real number. (You can access it online or have messages forwarded to another phone.) Using them when you sign up for services is a great way to cut down on spam phone calls and also ensure that the company doesn’t have your real phone number forever. (A dedicated Gmail for spam is another good idea.)
One catch: Google requires you to provide a real phone number when you sign up for Google Voice. But you can delete the number in your settings after you’ve set up the service, though that means you won’t be able to have messages or calls forwarded to that number. Unlike Facebook, Google at least claims that it will honor user requests to delete their data. Even if it’s lying, you’re giving your real number to just one site instead of every site that requires a phone number for 2FA.
Still, there are times when you may want a company to have your real number. Banks may support authenticator apps for 2FA, or work with a Google Voice number. But if a crook has been messing with your bank account, you might want to get an alert about that ASAP.
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