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Jason Van Dyke sentenced to 6 years, 9 months in prison for Laquan McDonald murder – WLS-TV

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CHICAGO (WLS) —

Jason Van Dyke, the Chicago police officer convicted of murdering 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, was sentenced to 81 months, or 6 years and 9 months, in prison and two years mandatory supervised release.

In 2014, Van Dyke shot the black teen 16 times. Video of the shooting from a police dashboard camera, released more than a year later, was a key piece of evidence in the trial and inflamed public reaction across the country.

In October, jurors took a few hours over two days to determine their verdict. Van Dyke was found guilty of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery.

Judge Vincent Gaughan said he considered the most serious charge to be the second degree murder charge, not the 16 aggravated battery charges, and made his sentencing decision on that murder charge.

The special prosecutor argued that aggravated battery with firearm was the more serious of the crimes of which Van Dyke is convicted and should be sentenced consecutively on those charges instead of the second degree murder charge, which carries a lesser sentence.

The prosecution asked for 18 to 20 years in prison. The defense asked for probation. Van Dyke’s sentence is eligible for reduction for good behavior, and ABC7 Legal Analyst Bob Milan said the former police officer could be out in as little as three years.

Van Dyke’s sentence includes time served.

McDonald’s great uncle, Pastor Marvin Hunter, spoke immediately after leaving the courtroom.

“I’ve been told time and time again that the citizenry of the county of Cook is not going to be satisfied with a sentence that’s anything south of 20 years,” said Hunter said. “However I want to say to everyone – everyone in the city of Chicago and across this country – that if they had sentenced him to 1 minute, it is a victory. It is a victory because what has happened in this courtroom today has never happened in the history of this county and it sets a precedent and it sends a strong message to unjust police officers that now you can and will go to jail if you’re caught lying, if you’re caught breaking the law.”

WATCH: Marvin Hunter speaks after Jason Van Dyke sentenced

Hunter earlier read a message to the judge as if it was written by his great nephew, saying “I am no longer here to speak for myself.” It created a powerful image of the one person who this trial is based around, who has been unable to show is face in court for one very obvious reason.

Special Prosecutor Joe McMahon expressed some disappointment in the sentence, saying “no sentence will bring back Laquan McDonald or undo the hurt to his family and friends, just like no sentence will fix the concerns of the African American community in this city” and other cities in the state and country. However, he said he did view it as justice.

“I understand that this sentence is not everything that the McDonald and the Hunter family wanted. I just spoke with Laquan’s mother. It is still as difficult today as I think it was for her over four years ago when her son was murdered. But this sentence, like the verdict on Oct. 5, does hold this defendant accountable,” McMahon said.

WATCH: Special Prosecutor Joe McMahon speaks after sentencing

The mood in the courtroom was tense before Judge Gaughan handed down his sentence. Van Dyke’s wife Tiffany clutched the hand of a nun, who in turn clutched a rosary. Activists sat on the edge of their seats, hoping the sentence would be a statement against police.

When the actual number was announced there was a pause, a suspended moment in which everyone was doing the math to convert 81 months into years, before they could really react. Van Dyke’s family appeared relieved. The activists were disappointed and, as they left the courtroom, increasingly angry about what they see as an unjust sentence.

“We’re devastated, we’re heartbroken, but we’re not giving up,” said activist William Calloway, who worked to bring McDonald’s murder to light. “That’s a slap in the face to us and a slap in the face to him.”

WATCH: William Calloway reacts to Jason Van Dyke sentence

Van Dyke entered the courtroom in a yellow jumpsuit with a filled-in beard, his hands crossed behind his back as he faced the judge.

His family, wife Tiffany and children, walked into the Leighton Criminal Courthouse surrounded by law enforcement. The weight of the proceedings was clearly visible on their faces.

Van Dyke’s 17-year-old daughter testified off camera.

“I receive one phone call a day to hear my dad’s voice. My family has to drive three hours only one day out of the week to only see him for one hour,” she told the court. “The last time I hugged my dad or gave him a kiss goodbye was on October 5, 2018. Now I touch his hand through a dirty piece of glass.”

One of Van Dyke’s attorneys read a letter from his 12-year-old daughter to the judge. His wife Tiffany gave extended, often tearful, testimony about the impact his conviction and incarceration has had on her and their family.

Van Dyke read a short statement on his own behalf after closing arguments were presented.

TIMELINE: Jason Van Dyke trial, Laquan McDonald shooting

The special prosecutor called to the stand several men who had filed complaints against Van Dyke as an officer. Vidale Joy said Van Dyke approached him with his gun drawn and used racial slurs. Jeremy Mayers said Van Dyke used one hand to choke him.

Edwin Nance wept through most of his testimony, recounting three surgeries and constant pain since Van Dyke handcuffed him in 2007. Nance won a civil rights lawsuit against Van Dyke.

WATCH: Key players in the trial of Chicago Police Officer Jason Van Dyke
CHICAGO MAYOR CANDIDATES ATTEND SENTENCING, REACT TO JUDGE’S DECISION

Chicago mayoral candidates Toni Preckwinkle, Paul Vallas and Lori Lightfoot were all in attendance at the hearing. All three expressed surprise and disappointment at the brevity of the sentence.

“Jason Van Dyke was convicted of murder of Laquan McDonald and that’s the first officer in 50 years in the city of Chicago to be convicted of murder,” Preckwinkle said. “I don’t believe he’s the first officer in 50 years to murder one of our residents. So I’m grateful that he was brought to justice. I would have expected that having been found guilty there would have been a more lengthy sentence.”

“I’m surprised that the sentence was so short and I think it should have been a longer sentence, period,” Vallas said. “This is what happens when you don’t have effective leadership.”

“This raises questions about what is the value of a black young man’s life,” said Lightfoot. “He clearly had a range of options that he could choose, he chose the low end, and that’s a disappointment.”

Mayoral candidate Amara Enyia released a statement saying, in part, “Today’s sentence makes it even more difficult to make the case that our city is truly invested in repairing relations with the community when our justice system seems to exhibit a perpetual disregard for the voices and opinions of those very communities. We knew that there would be no winners in this case, but this sentence and yesterday’s acquittal of the officers involved in the coverup show just how far our city, and our nation, has left to go when it comes to issuing real justice to those who deserve it most.”

Mayoral candidate Bill Daley released a statement saying, in part, “The appearance of a lenient sentence is a problem at a time when we desperately need to rebuild trust between people and police. We must learn from these situations and work together to repair the relationship between the police and the communities they serve.”

Patti Blagojevich, wife of former governor Rod Blagojevich, tweeted about the sentence, expressing anger that Van Dyke will serve less than half of what her husband was sentenced to.

DEMONSTRATORS GATHERED DURING VAN DYKE SENTENCING

At 4 p.m. demonstrators who had come out to the courthouse where Van Dyke will be sentenced had left the area. Earlier a wide array of protesters were outside, totaling about 30 people at their peak, including about 25 from the Revolution Club Chicago.

Chicago police officers kept an eye on the demonstrations but no problems or issues were reported.

Among the demonstrators were several mothers of sons who had been shot and killed by police in Chicago and Zion. They said they felt a very personal connection to the McDonald case.

“Ninety-six years. That’d be the minimum that I want to come out of here. That would look like justice to me. To me, he deserves life. A life for a life,” said LaToya Howell, whose son was killed by Zion police.

“If he gets off it would be a slap in the face. If he get justice– if we get justice then I know there’s a chance I can get justice in my son’s case against the police,” said Chantell Brooks, whose son was killed by Chicago police.

(Copyright ©2019 WLS-TV. All Rights Reserved.)


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'Life and Nothing More' review: A Florida project full of bittersweet rewards

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With “Roma” and “The Rider” placing nonprofessional newcomers at the forefront of their stories, to authentic, easy-breathing results, it’s worth noting that the stars of those films, Yalitza Aparicio and Brady Jandreau, weren’t pushed into areas they couldn’t successfully navigate. Nor did they simply show up and play themselves. The truth lies somewhere in the middle — that’s where untrained but unaffected actors can find what their directors seek.

There’s a strong, quiet new film opening Friday at the Gene Siskel Film Center that belongs to this discussion. “Life and Nothing More” comes from Spanish-born writer-director Antonio Méndez Esparza. This is his second feature, following “Aqui y Alla,” and it won the recent Independent Spirit John Cassavetes Award. It’s full of life, guided by first-time screen performers portraying versions of themselves. And because Esparza’s a dramatist, not a melodramatist, the experience of watching “Life and Nothing More” becomes truth, and nothing less.

The project involved Esparza immersing himself in a specific region of northern Florida, his storyline reflecting some aspects of his cast members’ own experiences. In the film waitress Regina, played by Regina Williams, struggles every week to get by, and to be a decent mother to her two children, 14-year-old Andrew (Andrew Bleechington) and three-year-old Ry’nesia (Ry’nesia Chambers). Regina’s husband is in jail. Andrew, she fears, may follow him there.

At the start , Andrew’s already in trouble for breaking into cars. The boy has real potential, but in his tamped-down emotional reticence, there are problems waiting to burst out. In a series of long fixed-camera compositions, “Life and Nothing More” watches these people, and waits to see what happens when Regina’s persistent suitor (Robert Williams) enters the family’s orbit.

Narratively, the film includes several major inciting events. Atmospherically, none of them feel prefabricated or phony. The characters are observed, coolly, usually from middle-distance perspectives, so that we always see what’s going on around these people, and how they live.

Shot in 2016, with TVs in the background droning on about Trump vs. Clinton in the upcoming election, “Life and Nothing More” sides with just about everyone on screen at once. There are no easy villains or cardboard heroes, only human beings who might, as one man tells Andrew early on, make a “stupid decision to make a little fast money.” There is no easy money in this corner of America. Regina Williams, the powerhouse of the film’s unerring pickup ensemble, keeps tripping over her own short fuse, blowing her stack and mishandling her children. Yet she’s full of love and stubborn resolve.

Esparza attenuates a couple of moments for effect. These stand out only because so much of his sophomore feature finds its truth and sticks to it, wherever these people may go.

Michael Phillips is a Tribune critic.

mjphillips@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @phillipstribune

“Life and Nothing More” — 3.5 stars

No MPAA rating (language and some violence)

Running time: 1:54

Opens: Friday through Jan. 24 at the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St.; siskelfilmcenter.org.

‘If Beale Street Could Talk’ review: Can love survive the hate a society gives its own people? »

‘Glass’ review: M. Night Shyamalan lectures us on comics mythology until you wanna break something »


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£21bn 'holy grail' particle collider splits the scientific community – The Times

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Physicists used the Large Hadron Collider to prove the existence of the Higgs bosun, but have no specific goal for its successorPierre Albouy/Reuters

Scientists have announced plans for the largest experiment ever conducted — a £21 billion plan to find a “theory of everything”.

A 100km-long circular tunnel, a successor to the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), would be built under the Swiss-French border to smash sub-atomic particles together. The Future Circular Collider would be nearly four times larger than the LHC and aim to fill gaps in our knowledge of the universe.

“You can think of a collider as a microscope,” Jonathan Butterworth, of University College London, who has contributed to the plans, said. “The point of going to higher energy is that we get higher resolution. We can study the fundamental constituents of the universe and the forces that make them work together more accurately.”

The Future Circular Collider would be nearly four times larger than the Large Hadron Collider

In 2012…

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'St. Nicholas' at the Goodman: As a booze-soaked critic pursued by vampires, the star of 'Downton Abbey' brings real shudders

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The arrogant, self-loathing theater critic — is there another kind? — at the heart — if he had one — of Conor McPherson’s “St. Nicholas” is a man of opinions. Strongly held views are de rigeur for the job, I’m here to tell you, but that does not mean that McPherson’s ink-stained, unnamed, booze-soaked, megalomaniacal anti-hero had considered views of life and art across so many years of experience that the initial hope of the smart young influencer had curdled into in a stew of cynicism. No, no, no, no, no.

“I had never taken the time,” he tells us, laughing at his own perfidy, “to form an opinion. I just had them.”

So in some ways, this theater critic is a dinosaur, never held accountable by embittered artists on Facebook as he ransacks Dublin theater according to his whim and how much Jameson had passed his lips. In others, he is very much of this moment, especially as played at the Goodman Theatre by Brendan Coyle, best known for playing Mr. Bates on the long-running British TV series “Downton Abbey.”

As he chronicles the descent of the wretch as he goes on a bender of the soul, McPherson could not resist a few licks at those of us who sit in judgement, or whatever, of vulnerable artistic endeavors. Touche. But “St. Nicholas” isn’t really about theater criticism — which is not to say it does not accurately capture the demons that dance in the critic’s head as the critic sits there in the dark, night after night after night, wondering about the lives of the artists under review, jealous of their parties and friendships and youthful sexual freedom and maybe, like McPherson’s dark-hearted patriarch of apparent but misleading privilege, musing on the inadequacies, maybe the questionable morality, of a writing life spent entirely writing about “what was already.” You know. As distinct from as actually having a creative idea for a story.

This, arguably, is a play about alcoholism, which is a theme of many of McPherson’s works, a telling of a tall tale where the critic finally is overcome by the heebee-jeebees after finding, to quote Eugene O’Neill, “there ain’t any cool willow trees — except you grow your own in a bottle.”

This, arguably, is a play about vampires.

And this — inarguably — is a play about aging.

McPherson (you may also know his similarly ghostly yarns “The Weir, “Shining City” and “The Seafarer,” all produced with distinction in Chicago) really had an astounding ability as a young man to write about middle-age crises. He penned the solo monologue “St. Nicholas” (which I first saw some two decades ago in New York, with the actor Brian Cox) while he was still in his mid-20s, a time of life when most playwrights, especially now, are still struggling with questions of their own identity or the paradox of using progressive personal branding to make a lucrative showbiz career.

But McPherson leapt ahead, out of his own skin, to a more difficult time of someone else’s life, evidencing an amazing ability to look back with longing on the age he actually still was himself. An old head, you might say. Sitting at the Goodman Sunday night, I realized how much I lack that same capacity, having found “St. Nicholas” a far superior play than I thought the first time around, a change of heart that surely has a lot do with my own aging.

And with Coyle. This is a very fine performance, hearteningly so, given that Coyle’s fame as the most emotionally complex gentleman’s valet in TV history will bring in many punters not normally found at the Goodman. He is an inveterate creature of the stage, a live actor, in all the best senses of that word, twitching, reacting, holding up a moment, soaking up the audience Sunday night like he was sponge cake and it was cream. Even though he is playing one of McPherson’s least likeable characters, he understands the imperative that he be likeable (no name, remember?) and he uses the intelligence of his guy as his chief weapon. Throughout the show, Coyle constantly has the critic laugh at his own absurdism, at the ridiculousness of what passes for his story, at the pathetic picture he presents in public, throwing up his throat-scorching whisky in a sink as he tries to use the final throes of power to regain a lost youth.

Shudder.

Actually, the one area where this new, visiting Donmar Warehouse production from the young director Simon Evans could use more work is in the provision of shocks, of maintaining suspense throughout the monologue, of making Coyle’s defined journey voyage deep into every audience member’s boots. Act 2 needs another turn of the ratchet labelled “menace.” But there is much to admire in Evans’ choices, including a beautifully subtle sound design from Christopher Shutt that doesn’t overplay the ghosts in the machine, but creeps you out nonetheless. I also found Peter McKintosh’s design aptly terrifying: it is an elegy for the last gasps of the printed newspaper, or so it felt to me. Self-interested me.

Enough. This is Coyle’s night. “We compensate for our appearance with our sense of humor, our taste and our mind,” his guy says of the human reaction to the passage of time, finding such compensation truly pathetic even as he has no choice but to indulge.

Thank god Coyle adds a grin before he disappears among the vampires.

Chris Jones is a Tribune critic.

cjones5@chicagotribune.com

Review: “St. Nicholas” (3.5 stars)

When: Through Jan. 27

Where: Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St.

Running time: 2 hours

Tickets: $31-$85 at 312-443-3800 or www.goodmantheatre.org

Talking to Brendan Coyle ahead of the Donmar Warehouse production of “St. Nicholas” at the Goodman. »

Top-10 theater in Chicago in 2019: Some big openings this winter — ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ anyone? »


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US shutdown: Trump urged to temporarily reopen government – BBC News

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President Donald Trump listens to Senator Lindsey Graham during a campaign rally in Tupelo, Mississippi, November 26, 2018

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Reuters

Image caption

Senator Lindsey Graham is known as a close confident of President Trump

A senior US Republican has urged President Donald Trump to temporarily reopen parts of the government shut down for more than three weeks.

Senator Lindsey Graham, who is close to Mr Trump, said a limited re-opening of a few weeks would allow talks to resume between Republicans and Democrats.

The partial government shutdown has now become the longest in US history.

It has left hundreds of thousands of public workers unpaid and government offices closed.

President Trump is refusing to approve a budget unless it includes $5.7bn (£4.5bn) for a wall along the Mexican border – a key campaign pledge. Democrats have rejected his request and say they will not negotiate further until the government is reopened.

Mr Trump has raised the stakes by threatening to declare a national emergency and circumvent Congress and get the money he wants.

What did Lindsey Graham suggest?

Mr Graham, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he had urged the president on Sunday to temporarily reopen government to get negotiations started again.

He said if talks still failed to agree the funding, the White House could then declare a national emergency.

Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

President Trump insists a wall or barrier along the Mexican border is needed to stop criminals entering the US

“Before he pulls the plug on the legislative option, and I think we are almost there, I would urge them to open up the government for a short period of time, like three weeks, before he pulls the plug (to) see if we can get a deal,” Mr Graham told Fox News Sunday.

He said Mr Trump had told him: “Let’s make a deal, then open up the government.”

How far apart are the two sides?

Correspondents say pressure is building on Mr Trump as the dispute drags on, with opinion polls showing more Americans blame him for the shutdown than they do the Democrats.

But on Sunday Mr Trump was continuing to blame his opponents for the standoff.

“I’m in the White House, waiting. The Democrats are everywhere but Washington as people await their pay. They are having fun and not even talking!” he tweeted.

Several senior Democrats had been due to travel to Puerto Rico over the weekend for a winter retreat that also included a visit to a fundraising performance of the musical Hamilton.

Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

Heavy snow in Washington could delay the return of senior Democrats from Puerto Rico on Monday

The deputy chief of staff for Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Drew Hammill, responded by tweeting: “Speaker Pelosi has been in DC all weekend working from the Capitol.”

How are workers affected?

On Monday the partial shutdown enters its 24th day.

About a quarter of the federal government is out of operation and last Friday 800,000 employees missed their first salaries of the year.

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Getty Images

Image caption

Government workers have staged rallies in US cities calling for an end to the shutdown

About 350,000 of those workers are furloughed – a type of temporary lay-off – but the rest are expected to continue to work.

Thousands have reportedly applied for unemployment benefits amid the financial uncertainty.

Over the weekend, part of Miami International airport was closed because of a shortage of Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agents caused by the shutdown.

The agents are “essential” federal workers and expected to work but many are calling in sick in protest at the situation, the Miami Herald reports.

On Sunday evening, Houston Bush airport stopped security screening at one of its terminals, due to a shortage of staff, and directed passengers to other terminals for security checks.

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EPA

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A terminal at Miami International airport was closed because of security staff shortages


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Andy Reid tells Chiefs fans to stop with the snowballs – KCTV Kansas City

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Chiefs coach Andy Reid was summoned to the corner of Arrowhead Stadium during Saturday’s playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts to get fans to stop throwing snowballs on the field.

Reid wasn’t happy about it, either.

The officials called him over from the Kansas City sideline during the two-minute warning in the first half, and Reid shouted and gestured at the fans in the lower deck — though the snowballs were mostly raining down from the upper deck, far above the field.

Earlier in the half, one almost hit Colts punter Rigoberto Sanchez during a kick.

Reid’s intervention didn’t do much good, either. Patrick Mahomes scampered in moments later to give the Colts a 24-7 lead, and snowballs fell like confetti from the upper deck.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


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'The Price is Right' endures as TV's oldest, most-beloved daytime game show

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Does Amie Yaniak know the price of a chili-red Mini Cooper? Oh, no, it appears she does not.

“I don’t know what I’m doing! I have no idea how much that car is worth!” says Yaniak, a music therapist/vocal coach/health and wellness coach/tableside guacamole maker. (Hey, it’s L.A.)

On this particular morning, standing next to imperturbable host Drew Carey, it matters not one bit, because the relentlessly ebullient Yaniak was plucked to be a contestant on “The Price Is Right,” America’s most popular and longest-running daytime game show, launched in 1956, relaunched on CBS in 1972 and dedicated to contestants guessing the price of almost everything without ever going a penny over.

“The Price Is Right,” after all, is one of the few game shows in which the audience pitches in suggesting prices – let’s be honest: yelling prices – and competition among contestants evaporates. In the sherbet-on-hallucinogens studio, stalled somewhere in the early 1970s, the audience howls competing prices so emphatically that Yaniak, 41, can’t figure out what price to suggest.

“What? Say, what?”

She is onstage at the Bob Barker Studio, named for the snow-tressed former host of 35 years (who’s now 95), because she dreamed that this would happen, but also because she exhales exclamation marks, the ideal temperament for a “Price” contestant.

Who knew such joy could be derived from guessing the price of a can of Progresso chicken noodle soup? ($2.69) For more than 5 million daily viewers, “The Price Is Right” is their happy hour. The show’s success is anchored on delivering two American dreams simultaneously: face time on national television and scoring gobs of aspirational stuff for doing next to nothing. Whether it’s through episodes (often recorded for evening viewing) or online forums, in line for a taping or at the live touring show, ardent fans relish the fantasy that knowing the price of ordinary goods can deliver wealth and untold splendor.

“We are ingrained in the American culture,” says Rachel Reynolds, the doyenne of the show’s five models, celebrating her 16th year of sporting skimpy attire while gesturing toward cars and outdoor furniture sets. “It has gotten so many people through a rough time.”

Contestant Kyland Young, 27, a Los Angeles marketing manager, watches because his grandmother watches. It’s an heirloom program, passed down through generations. “Every time you were home from school, it was on,” Young says. “It was on all the time.”

It’s on all the time in plenty of places. Homegrown versions air in 42 countries and territories, including Morocco, Nigeria and Pakistan.

I know a nonprofit director with two master’s degrees who watches it to unwind nightly. He loves the show because it’s predictable in its format (nine contestants, three acts) yet unpredictable in its outcome, because prizes can be massive, the largest payout being $213,876 during Big Money Week in 2016. (Contestants can accept the cash equivalent of all winnings, but pay taxes no matter what.)

Change is tectonic on “The Price Is Right.” Asked what’s different since she joined the show, Reynolds pauses. “We used to give away grandfather clocks.” Now, for an audience fluent in the Esperanto of designer flash, the show highlights Louboutins, Jimmy Choos and, during Dream Car Week, a Maserati.

Sure, there are 77 different games, special weeks and fresh models (the latest, former Ravens wide receiver Devin Goda, spends this episode largely shirtless in the freezing theater). But so many other features are legacy: the theme song, sort of anodyne Herb Albert; the manila price-tag name stickers; the tagline “Come on down!” exhorted by dapper announcer George Gray, the show’s fourth.

“It’s the comfort food of television. It’s mashed potatoes,” director Adam Sandler says. (Not that one, although that Sandler memorably cast Barker in “Happy Gilmore.”) “No matter your walk of life, you know the price of things.”

Or, in Yaniak’s case, maybe not.

Oh my word, it’s the Wheel!

Right past the craps tables and slots at MGM National Harbor outside Washington, D.C., is a stove-size version of the show’s iconic Big Wheel (which weighs close to a ton and is a doozy to spin) and attracts far more attention than the cocktail waitresses in bodices sliced to their navels.

In 2004, the franchise spawned “The Price Is Right Live!” a wholly separate, touring road version offering 150 performances a year and, with a separate host, emcee and model, zero chance of meeting Carey.

Know what? Fans don’t care!

The four November performances at National Harbor’s 3,000-seat theater, with tickets from $40 to $167, basically sell out. When they roll out the Plinko board – a grid where contestants drop chips that land on printed dollar amounts that range from zip to holy moly – the audience reacts as though Lady Gaga has taken the stage.

Attendees have a slim chance of winning the lottery to become a contestant, although the VIP package includes meeting emcee Todd Newton and a chance to spin that smaller Wheel. “For a lot of people, that’s like shaking the hand of Elvis,” Newton says.

Kristie and Mark Casey, with friends Teresa and Ryan Malisko, both of suburban Virginia, attend a show to celebrate their anniversaries.

“Anyone can win, and you can win a car. Even if you don’t get picked, you’re participating in the game,” Teresa says. (Spoiler alert: They don’t get picked.)

“It’s so simple, everyone can do it,” Kristie says. “It’s not ‘Jeopardy!’ And it’s so much better than ‘Wheel of Fortune.'”

At the television show, tickets are free, and all 300 audience members get interviewed as potential contestants. Many line up at dawn, almost six hours before taping at CBS Television City in L.A.’s Fairfax neighborhood. In a covered porchlike area outside the studio with benches (and heat lamps for those frigid 60-degree mornings) are hopefuls from across the nation and several countries, ranging in age from 18 to great-grandparent, including more people of color than will be seen on other programs during an entire season.

If “Jeopardy” projects a studious mien, drawing contestants who aced standardized tests and dress for court appearances, “The Price Is Right” is its opposite. Contestants are extroverts, denizens of community theater, folks who appear lit while sober. They’re attired in “Price” Casual – bedazzled T-shirts, jeans, sneakers. Every show is a late-summer barbecue. These people come to play.

The first time CBS brass asked Carey to replace Barker, he said no. His monster sitcom had ended after nine seasons. He was “kind of retired,” pursuing acting lessons, hoping for small movie roles.

CBS asked again. “What’s your favorite thing to do?” an executive inquired. “I really like leaving big tips for people,” he said – $100 for a bottle of water, more for a pricey meal.

On this show, the suit said, “you get to do that every day by giving away prizes.”

The thought occurred to Carey, “This is a chance to make soccer-team money.” As in buying-a-soccer-team money. His initial salary, Variety reported, was high seven figures. That was 12 years of showcases ago. Carey, 60, is now a minority owner of the Seattle Sounders.

In many ways, Carey is an odd fit. A self-professed loner, he appears bewildered when hugged by contestants, which is all the time. He garnishes conversations with mentions of Freud’s “Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious,” Jung, his therapist and observations like, “It’s all one mass hallucination we’re having.”

He’s not a suit guy, the tie seems like a vise, and the job requires him to play straight man, when he’s a recovering stand-up comedian. His humor is not always the audience’s humor. At a recent taping, he makes frequent jokes about contestants being high that are largely ignored.

But Carey’s also amiable and loose. He wears his Cleveland street cred on his sleeve, solidifying the show’s allure that any schmo can be a winner. He’s incredulous to learn that Paul McCartney is a fan. The former Beatle serenaded him at a concert last year, ad-libbing “Come on down!” in the middle of “Back in the U.S.S.R.” (The host bawled.)

Carey likes sharing contestants’ “Cinderella moments,” making them happy. “Where else can you go in America, and be in a big crowd like this, and have a bunch of strangers rooting for another stranger to do well?”

Plus, he believes something bigger is at play. “It’s a Joseph Campbell journey. It’s somebody plucked from obscurity – just working-class people, mostly – and they have to overcome a small obstacle,” Carey says. “Then they overcome a bigger obstacle. Then they have to have a little bit of chance and luck be on their side.”

Also, a swell gig: “My job is to show up in a good mood every day, and explain some games.”

There is one central mystery to “The Price Is Right”: How are contestants selected? The man responsible is co-producer Stan Blits,, arguably the show’s most important employee. On staff for four decades, Blits is the musical director (yes, there is one), “car strategist” and, with an associate producer, the interviewer of an estimated 53,000 potential contestants every year.

Many aspirants arrive in eye-catching T-shirts. (“You Drew Me to You!” “I Bet $1 More.”) Nice touch. Doesn’t matter.

While the show tapes weeks in advance, it performs like live television. There are breaks, but contestants don’t get do-overs. Contestants need to be the life of the party, to bring a level of stage presence that matches or exceeds that of the audience.

Before each taping, outside the studio, Blits lines up a group of 25 would-be contestants at a time, and then interviews each one for a minute or less, while perched in a director’s chair.

“Performing is the worst thing you can do for me,” he says. He asks a few questions, nothing taxing. Where are you from? What’s your favorite game? Plinko, so much Plinko. There are no wrong answers.

OK, this one: “I don’t watch the show.”

For each episode, nine will make it, reflecting a diversity of age, race and gender, but all human Roman candles, able to animate the show. What Blits fears, and “keeps me in knots during the whole taping of the show, the worst thing is to underreact to something spectacular, like the chance to win a car.”

After he finishes with questions, the interview isn’t over. Blits glances back at potential contestants to see if they “can sustain the excitement” when he moves down the line.

He’s looking for someone like Yaniak, the tableside guacamole maker. She catches his attention immediately – and every time he looks back at her, she mimes mashing those avocados.

“Stop? Stop? Stop?” Yaniak asks 300 strangers where she should stop the gauge during the Range Game so that it lands within $150 of the list price.

“I’m praying and hoping that someone has a car dealership and tells me the price,” Yaniak says. “Here? Now?”

Well, it’s $23,250 – and she wins that chili-red Mini Cooper. Plus a 65-inch television and a Blu-ray player, which the show hands out like nachos.

“What? What? What?” she screams, jumping, palms pressed to her face.

But she’s not done. Yaniak advances to the showcase, where two contestants bid on separate prize packages. Hers includes five days in New York, Dior shoes, a necklace, a wallet, a pair of sunglasses, a clutch.

Oh, and another car: A toothpaste-green Ford Fiesta.

Again, Yaniak hasn’t a clue.

“Thirty-seven thousand! No, $34,000!” the audience yells. She stands onstage squinting, straining, hoping to hear her mother’s suggestion. Finally, she hears her: “Thirty-three thousand!”

Yaniak wins the $36,513 showcase. Her total haul for a few spirited minutes onstage: $62,263.14.

“I’ve been going through a rough time. This is such a blessing,” she says later. “Financially, this couldn’t happen at a better time.”

Except her mother has a heart attack. During the taping, although it isn’t clear at the time. After the show, they go straight to the hospital. Surgery is successful.

Which Yaniak views as providence. Nothing deflates her euphoria. “A blessing in disguise, because my mother was supposed to leave the next day. Imagine if it had happened on the plane,” she says.

“The Price Is Right,” she believes, delivered a gift far greater than $63,263.14.

“Those people in the audience were really rooting for me. It was like a little family,” she says. “There were a bunch of beautiful souls in that room.” And she’s keeping both cars.

Originally appeared in the Washington Post

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Trump walks out of shutdown meeting, calling talks 'total waste of time' – CNN

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CNN’s Sara Murray reports.”,”descriptionText”:”Lawmakers are reacting after a partially unredacted court filing released to the public revealed special counsel Robert Mueller believes former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort shared polling data with an associate with ties to Russian intelligence. 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Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) tells CNN’su003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/profiles/manu-raju” target=”_blank”> Manu Rajuu003c/a> that the partial government shutdown can be solved easily if Congress can “come to the table and compromise.””,”descriptionText”:”Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) tells CNN’su003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/profiles/manu-raju” target=”_blank”> Manu Rajuu003c/a> that the partial government shutdown can be solved easily if Congress can “come to the table and compromise.””},{“title”:”Source: Rosenstein to leave Justice Department”,”duration”:”00:59″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2019/01/09/rod-rosenstein-justice-department-bill-barr-newday-sot-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2019/01/09/rod-rosenstein-justice-department-bill-barr-newday-sot-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180924104536-10-rod-rosenstein-lead-image-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2019/01/09/rod-rosenstein-justice-department-bill-barr-newday-sot-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is planning to leave the Justice Department shortly after William Barr, the President’s nominee for attorney general, is confirmed, according to a source familiar with his thinking.”,”descriptionText”:”Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is planning to leave the Justice Department shortly after William Barr, the President’s nominee for attorney general, is confirmed, according to a source familiar with his thinking.”},{“title”:”3 days away from record-length shutdown”,”duration”:”03:39″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2019/01/09/reality-check-john-avlon-trump-speech-immigration-new-day-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2019/01/09/reality-check-john-avlon-trump-speech-immigration-new-day-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190109081821-john-avlon-jan-9-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2019/01/09/reality-check-john-avlon-trump-speech-immigration-new-day-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”CNN’s John Avlon breaks down President Trump’s prime-time speech from the oval office on immigration and border security as the partial government shutdown continues.”,”descriptionText”:”CNN’s John Avlon breaks down President Trump’s prime-time speech from the oval office on immigration and border security as the partial government shutdown continues.”},{“title”:”How Trump and his opposition talk about the border issue”,”duration”:”01:46″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:””,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2019/01/09/trump-pelosi-schumer-border-security-speech-comparison-orig-llr.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2019/01/09/trump-pelosi-schumer-border-security-speech-comparison-orig-llr.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190108234047-trump-schumer-pelosi-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2019/01/09/trump-pelosi-schumer-border-security-speech-comparison-orig-llr.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”In his first formal address to the nation from the Oval Office, President Donald Trump painted a picture of a national threat and humanitarian crisis occurring along the US-Mexico border. 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Rick Santorum (R-PA) offers his thoughts on why Paul Manafort was hired by the Trump campaign, claiming that establishment Republicans didn’t want to work for Trump.”,”descriptionText”:”Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) offers his thoughts on why Paul Manafort was hired by the Trump campaign, claiming that establishment Republicans didn’t want to work for Trump.”},{“title”:”NYT reporter: Trump wasn’t into doing speech”,”duration”:”01:39″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2019/01/09/trump-immigration-crisis-heart-soul-haberman-cpt-bts-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2019/01/09/trump-immigration-crisis-heart-soul-haberman-cpt-bts-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190108230543-maggie-haberman-cpt-jan-8-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2019/01/09/trump-immigration-crisis-heart-soul-haberman-cpt-bts-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”Speaking to CNN’s Chris Cuomo after President Trump’s address to the nation on border security, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman says her sources told her Trump was not interested in delivering the remarks. “,”descriptionText”:”Speaking to CNN’s Chris Cuomo after President Trump’s address to the nation on border security, New York Times reporter Maggie Haberman says her sources told her Trump was not interested in delivering the remarks. “},{“title”:”Rep. 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Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) responded to critics in her own party after video showed her using profanity to discuss impeaching President Trump surfaced. “},{“title”:”Swalwell on Manafort: A liar doesn’t change “,”duration”:”01:29″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2019/01/08/eric-swalwell-manafort-russia-mueller-investigation-tsr-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2019/01/08/eric-swalwell-manafort-russia-mueller-investigation-tsr-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190108182804-swalwell-tsr-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2019/01/08/eric-swalwell-manafort-russia-mueller-investigation-tsr-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) says court documents revealing communication between Paul Manafort and Russian associate Konstantin Kilimnik is evidence of collusion between the Trump team and the Russian government. “,”descriptionText”:”Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) says court documents revealing communication between Paul Manafort and Russian associate Konstantin Kilimnik is evidence of collusion between the Trump team and the Russian government. “},{“title”:”Is there actually a ‘crisis’ at the border?”,”duration”:”02:03″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2019/01/08/trump-border-security-crisis-claim-tom-foreman-lead-pkg-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2019/01/08/trump-border-security-crisis-claim-tom-foreman-lead-pkg-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/190108164349-border-patrol-foreman-pkg-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2019/01/08/trump-border-security-crisis-claim-tom-foreman-lead-pkg-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”CNN’s u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/profiles/tom-foreman-profile” target=”_blank”>Tom Foremanu003c/a> fact checks President Donald Trump’s case that there is a crisis at the US-Mexico border and the claim that the only way to fix it is to approve funding for Trump’s signature border wall.”,”descriptionText”:”CNN’s u003ca href=”http://www.cnn.com/profiles/tom-foreman-profile” target=”_blank”>Tom Foremanu003c/a> fact checks President Donald Trump’s case that there is a crisis at the US-Mexico border and the claim that the only way to fix it is to approve funding for Trump’s signature border wall.”},{“title”:”Supreme Court rules against mystery company”,”duration”:”01:47″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”http://www.cnn.com”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2019/01/08/supreme-court-mueller-investigation-mystery-company-case-nr-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2019/01/08/supreme-court-mueller-investigation-mystery-company-case-nr-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/171028084410-robert-mueller-080813-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2019/01/08/supreme-court-mueller-investigation-mystery-company-case-nr-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”The Supreme Court turned away an effort by an unnamed foreign government-owned corporation to resist a subpoena related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.”,”descriptionText”:”The Supreme Court turned away an effort by an unnamed foreign government-owned corporation to resist a subpoena related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.”},{“title”:”Russian lawyer in Trump Tower meeting charged”,”duration”:”01:41″,”sourceName”:”CNN”,”sourceLink”:”https://www.cnn.com/”,”videoCMSUrl”:”/video/data/3.0/video/politics/2019/01/08/natalia-veselnitskaya-russian-lawyer-charged-prokupecz-nr-vpx.cnn/index.xml”,”videoId”:”politics/2019/01/08/natalia-veselnitskaya-russian-lawyer-charged-prokupecz-nr-vpx.cnn”,”videoImage”:”//cdn.cnn.com/cnnnext/dam/assets/180427094837-05-natalia-veselnitskaya-large-169.jpg”,”videoUrl”:”/videos/politics/2019/01/08/natalia-veselnitskaya-russian-lawyer-charged-prokupecz-nr-vpx.cnn/video/playlists/this-week-in-politics/”,”description”:”The US attorney in Manhattan has charged Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met in Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr. and others in June 2016 promising dirt on Hillary Clinton, in a separate case highlighting her ties to the Russian government.”,”descriptionText”:”The US attorney in Manhattan has charged Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met in Trump Tower with Donald Trump Jr. and others in June 2016 promising dirt on Hillary Clinton, in a separate case highlighting her ties to the Russian government.”}],’js-video_headline-featured-2321zx9′,”,”js-video_source-featured-2321zx9″,true,true,’this-week-in-politics’);if (typeof configObj.context !== ‘string’ || configObj.context.length

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