Wednesday, November 28, 2007

For Hate-Mail 'Hoax,' Case Professor to Serve Six Months

Posted By on Wed, Nov 28, 2007 at 10:08 AM

In May, we brought you the story of Ramani Pilla, the Case Western statistics professor who struggled to advance in her department and was eventually caught sending hate mail ... to herself. Last winter, she told investigators that her colleagues were sending her threatening letters in retaliation for a discrimination complaint she had filed. She later admitted sending the letters herself, and pleaded guilty to making false statements to the FBI. In court documents, her lawyer argued that Pilla was “struggling with serious mental health issues” when she reported the hate mail, and was even involuntarily admitted to a psychiatric ward. Morris Goldman, a colleague of Pilla’s and a psychiatry professor at the University of Chicago, even suggested that Pilla’s crime may have been prompted by the medication she was taking at the time. But prosecutors weren’t ready to let her off that easy. They argued the letters were a calculated hoax, the professor’s way of responding to what she felt was unfair treatment by the university. Earlier this month, U. S. District Judge David Dowd sentenced her to six months in prison, and ordered her to repay $66,000 to cover the cost of investigating her claims. She’s set to begin serving time in January. -- Lisa Rab
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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Merge Records Holds Indie-Rockin' Auction

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2007 at 3:46 PM

Need a holiday gift idea for that indie-rock lover in your life? Merge Records -- home to such hipster-approved artists as the Arcade Fire, Spoon, and M. Ward – has just launched a charity auction on eBay. Starting today, the label is auctioning off band-signed posters two at a time till it runs out of them. Now up for grabs: a cool Arcade Fire poster signed by all 415 members of the band and a less-impressive one autographed by the less-impressive David Kilgour. Proceeds benefit Oxfam America and the Food Bank Eastern and Central North Carolina, where the label is located. -- Michael Gallucci
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Concert Cheat Sheet: Peter Björn and John

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2007 at 2:45 PM

Who: Peter Björn and John When: Thursday, November 29 Where: Beachland Ballroom Why: The Swedish trio has had a stellar 2007. First, they wowed hipsters with their whistlin’ ditty “Young Folks.” Then they took over mainstream radio . . . with whistling! Latest Album: Writer’s Block Best Album: Writer’s Block Didja Know? “Young Folks” has been heard in dozens of different ways over the past year, including a Budweiser ad, a spot for the FIFA 08 video game, and, of course, in Grey’s Anatomy. Listen Now: “Young Folks” – it’ll have you whistling in no time!

-- Michael Gallucci
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Bud Light’s Real Men of Genius: The Cuyahoga County Commissioners?

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2007 at 1:45 PM

Once in a while – a great while – our local television news scores with a visionary and brilliant piece of investigative journalism. But it’s a lot funnier when they just take catchy commercial jingles and dub them with lyrics about our inept public officials. This video clip (look for "Genius of the Week"), parodying the Cuyahoga County Commissioners’ failed plans for a new county administration building at the old Ameritrust Tower, has to be seen to be appreciated. -- Jared Klaus
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Breaking News: City Enforces Law, Earth Falls Off Axis

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2007 at 12:15 PM

The city of Cleveland has long had a law that forces banks it does business with to at least behave like they care about Cleveland. When bids come in, banks are ranked on how many branches they operate in the neighborhoods, whether they provide competitive loans, and their record on minority hiring. But the law has been ignored for just as long because A.) it takes work and B.) it contains some really big words. The city’s ignored its own minority hiring statutes for much the same reason, though in that case the neglect has been aided by campaign contributions from contractors. After all, nothing helps you better mumble the words “Oh shit, I forgot” like an unexpected check for $2,000. But it appears that JP Morgan Chase either fell behind on its “donations,” or Mayor Frank Jackson is becoming interested in behaving like a real mayor. The Plain Dealer reports this morning that the city has pulled its payroll account – valued at $400 million plus – from the bank. When it came to the aforementioned criteria, city officials not only found that JP Morgan Chase very much sucked, but that it was refusing to provide information on how the bank was reinvesting in the city. In the past, such oversights could have been easily remedied with a suite at a Cavs’ game and an envelope stuffed with cash. But it seems the mayor instead decided to take his first timid steps toward acting in the best interest of residents. – Pete Kotz
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Varejao Wants Out -- Another Major Cleveland Story Broken by ESPN

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2007 at 10:58 AM

Sadly, Anderson Varejao might have flopped his last flop for the Cavs.
It looks as if the end of the Sideshow Varejao story is nearing for the Cavaliers. In a phone interview with, the curly-haired wildman said that he wants to be traded. Despite his love for the fans and his teammates, Varejao has different feelings about GM Danny Ferry. As a restricted free agent, Wild Thing has been at the mercy of the Cavs in terms of contract talks. Cleveland could match any offer from another team and have refused to ink Varejao to the exorbitant $10 million to $11 million deal that he and his agent, Dan Fegan, have reportedly sought. (Varejao has denied those reports). Either way, the dispute has left Ferry and Varejao acting like jilted lovers arguing over hurt emotions and damaged egos -- only they get to do it on, while us mortals are stuck with late-night hang-up calls and Facebook stalking. Ferry even played the part of desperate boyfriend when he flew all the way to Brazil to surprise Varejao during training camp and try and get a deal done. All that was missing on the trip was a bouquet of roses and a crappy love poem. “I guess he thought if he just showed up, I would just sign whatever he gave me,” Varejao said in the ESPN report, adding that if Ferry really cared, he would have brought chocolates or something. All of which begs the very important question: What if Varejao wasn’t home? In the end, it didn’t matter, because Varejao refused Ferry’s desperate attempts to resolve the contract dispute. And, like any jilted boyfriend, Ferry took his lumps without telling anyone the embarrassing details. And because the 42 people who spend every day at the Cavs' practice facility with the sole charge of finding out what the hell's going on didn't find out that Varejao now wants out, we didn't know until yesterday. Now, thanks to ESPN's Chad Ford, we know. Somebody send that dude some flowers. -- Vince Grzegorek
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This Just In: The latest concert announcements, gift wrapped and everything

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2007 at 10:05 AM

This week, 32 new shows: Matchbox 20 tickets go on sale Saturday, December 1. No fewer than five members of TSO will visit the Winchester as 0’2L. Dance-punks Action Action. Old-school punks the Meatmen return. Savoy Brown singer Kim Simmonds. A pre-holiday show by Ireland’s Saw Doctors. Richie Havens, that “Freedom” dude from Woodstock. And many more. CANCELED: Hawthorne Heights/Escape the Fate/Amber Pacific/the Secret Handshake/the AKAs: Thu., Nov. 29. House of Blues. King Diamond/Kreator/Leaves Eyes/Cellador: Thu., April 10. Peabody's. SOLD OUT: Trans-Siberian Orchestra: Sunday, December 30 3 p.m. show is sold out. Tickets still available for December 30 7:30 p.m and Monday, December 31 show. $37-65 (Ticketmaster and Quicken Loans Arena. Brand New/Thrice/mewithoutYou: Tueday, December 11 show is sold out. Tickets still available for Wed., Dec. 12, 6 p.m. House of Blues. THIS JUST IN: Action Action/Liam and Me: Sun., Dec. 16, 8 p.m., $8 ADV/$10 DOS. Grog Shop. Lars Behrenroth: Fri., Dec. 7. Touch Supper Club. The Blind Boys of Alabama: Wed., Feb. 13. The Kent Stage.

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