Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Items for today...

1) More hired truck business...

Alderman Carrie Austin of Chicago's 34th ward may be in trouble. One of the hired truck companies have an address right accros the street from her home. The owner of this company has been a longtime supporter. In addition to that she helped them in getting their new office space. The company, A & W Cartage Inc., owned by John Tiger Sr., has not been accused of any wrongdoing and Ald. Austin has denied having benefitted financially.

From Chicago Sun-Times

2)Talking some Chicago politics here...

The information I'm using is from around the 1999 municipal campaign. In the Chicago Reporter I see some good information here. Daley didn't do as well in the black wards as he had in 2003, four years later. Many would hail how he apparently is receptive to minority issues and he is actually doing things in black neighborhoods. They mention how streets are being paved in the 9th ward in 1999.

Then there are other prominent black political figures who claim they are not fooled. That many blacks have complaints about Daley especially in those areas still littered with vacant lots and such. Daley also has appointed many of the black alderman to the city council which leads Lu Palmer to conclude that there is a return to plantation politics...

Lu Palmer, longtime chairman of the Black Independent Political Organization, said Daley has disenfranchised the city’s black leaders. "I can’t name one black person in Chicago who has political power," Palmer said. "I don’t know one black person in the city of Chicago who can make a move without turning to some white
person or white institution to get it approved."

The situation might be slowly changing in light of the current scandals in city hall. Additionally while many experts have called the current city council a rubber stamp city council. This article refers to it as weak rubber stamp with Daley facing more opposition than even Mayor Michael Bilandic who was appointed mayor after Mayor Richard J. Daley's death (Mayor Daley's father) and lost his re-election bid to Jane Byrne with no doubt great thanks to a serious snowstorm which turned into a disaster.

Here's another touch of irony in this article. A prediction was made that Chicago may never again have a white mayor. I think that's going up in smoke, but there are doubts that Chicago will ever again have a black mayor. We'll just have to see.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Why do people hate on Laura Bush?

I just write about this. I've stated many times on here that I'm an admirer of President Bush. He's been doing a good job in my view during the last 4 and a half years as he has been the steward of this great land. He has endured so many attacks on him via his character, intelligence, etc, it is no doubt that this should make a grown man age.

But why did I title this post for Laura Bush. Well I think Laura has been an exemplary first lady. She's attempted to stay out of the public light and out of politics unlike her immediate predecessor Hillary Clinton, who herself has designs on the White House apparently. Any attack on Mrs. Bush however is sickening. The only reasoning I can come up with is President Bus is doing such a bang up job as President and he's a conservative Republican.

There are a lot of things to dislike or disagree with President Bush on particulary the war in Iraq but what should Bill Maher say this about Mrs. Bush...
"Oh, come on. That's like Hitler's dog loved him. That is the silliest reason ..."
I got this quote from a article.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

How did I miss this column?

Mary Mitchell according to her column from earlier this past week she was married three times and only one of two turned out to be an absolute disaster. She however believes black people should get married. My question would just have to be why don't we.

He high school sweetheart was ruined (that's my term not her's) by his experience in Vietnam. That was her baby's daddy, by the way. Her first husband was an older man who wanted a babysitter for his children. Her second was a passionate one according to her however, "Unfortunately, the marriage broke down when being Ms. Reporter starting being more important than being a Mrs. Bigger mistake." And number three ended when he apparently couldn't keep his libido in check.

Marriage didn't work for her, according to her. Yet she writes a column titled, "Marriage is the salvation of black people". The question would have to be why. Marriage according to her provides a foundation for raising strong children and I'd believe that.

Here's an interesting quote from an author, Maryann Reid....
"There was a time, not too long ago, when black men would go to a club, see a woman and say, 'She's going to be my wife,'" Reid said. "Now, you have guyssaying, 'She's going to be my baby's mama.' "

What the hell happened? Well Ms. Reid is going to have a mass wedding ceremony on September 29, 2005 and it will be dubbed henceforth, "Marry Your Baby Daddy Day." So is one of the few people willing to tackle this issue head on.

So I guess there has always been an issue with illegitimacy of black children and the unwillingness of black men and women to marry. Also teenage pregnancy has proven to be an issue. Also black women are very unlikely to marry today. I think there is an issue of trust between the sexes. Guys need a whole lot of convincing and perhaps a little courage to go through with it while the ladies may just think that the guys are after them for one thing only. The thing is the ladies let them have it.

There are a lot of issues here. The most important one however is the children produced in these relationships. I have no doubt there was a stigma against this and the men stepped up to the plate, now they're loathe to do so. And the ladies struggle and perhaps with the belief that they don't need a man.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Aire one of my favorite sitcoms touched upon this issue. Will was sent to Bel-Aire to live with has aunt's family. While his daddy was absent until one episode of the program he had a surrogate in his uncle, despite the fact that he seemed to send his uncle into a near heart attack all the time. In additon to that the one episode where he does see his dad, as played by Ben Vereen, well it seems that this might be a budding relation until he finds an excuse to not take will with him on a run (he was a truck driver).

Right now there is an issue with young black men. WHERE ARE THE MEN? Why aren't they teaching in our schools? Why aren't they in the lives of our boys? We also need them in the lives of our girls but they seem to be able to make it. There are some issues, absolutely.

I know the subject has just changed but marriage is an important issue. I want to know why we're not getting married. Why are brothers afraid to make the leap and why the sistas aren't very trustful of the men? And we wonder why our children aren't doing so well. We could start by looking ourselves in the mirror. Only there will we get our answer.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Our next election...

In Illinois next year is for Governor. It may prove to be exciting. Governor Blagojevich is not very popular around the state. Some consider him Clinton light. He came in to shake things up and it seems like a simple business as usual. Political analysts claim that he has no base. To me this mean the main man who helped him in his political career, Chicago Alderman Dick Mell who is also a ward committeeman, may not be that dedicated to help him.

However he may have the support of one man who may not have found it in his best interest to help re-elect Blagojevich, Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan. His support may help insure that the Governor may not face any serious challenge in the primaries. Either way a Blagojevich re-election may be a tough sell. In addition there are some indications that he may not have the loyal support of the black community that he had in the last election. He does however continue to have the support of Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, who just so happens to be black.

Now I must go the Republican side. Anyone who is a reader of this blog and lives in the state of Illinois should not forget about the fiasco with Jack Ryan. Jack Ryan was forced to remove himself from the ballot when divorce documents were opened by court order and revealed some rather damaging allegations. The party withdrew its support and went with Alan Keyes. Needless to say the election was lost and so many black folks believe Keyes was nothing less than a tool for the "evil white Republicans".

In Republican/Conservative circles in the state, there have been complaints of a lack of leadership and that Republicans have failed to develop their bench and train new leaders. There is also an insistence that the GOP are ruled by Republicans in Name Only who may easily go hand in hand with the Democrats in Illinois. With the corruption issues involving Gov. George Ryan and his shenanigans as secretary of state and the city of Chicago can one say neither party is truly clean.

So this brings me to my next point. Our fomer Governor, Jim Edgar. I have been convinced thanks to a column from Chicago area political columnist Russ Stewart that he may be the GOP's next best hope. The Blagojevich campaign thinks he's a threat. So there may be something here. In Stewart's column a connection is made betweent the emerging story of retirements of Republican senators in the state senate where there is a potential for the Democrats to gain a larger majority there. According to Stewart...

The bottom line: Republicans need to be focused in 2006, and that focus must be to beat Governor Rod Blagojevich. With Edgar as their nominee, Republicans will be unified and focused on beating the governor, and all other divisiveness and quarreling will diminish. With another nominee, that won't happen. What will happen is a further diminution of the Republican legislative minority.

This is what the IL GOP needs. Of course there is some bellyaching amongst the Faithful that Edgar is just fooling around with this. There are already candidates in this race. The longer Edgar plays around to do nothing less than later on say, he's not running, the more likely the GOP could lose against Blagojevich. What I also hope is that Edgar gives some voice to new leadership in his party. I also hope he understand that things have changed since 1998 his last year in office. The internet has become an important tool in politics which can serve to either help the cause or hurt the cause.

Either way I don't see Edgar's possible candidacy as an issue but I'd accept it as an opportunity. He is a known quality and not only that he doesn't have the stench of corruption swirling around his head. Hopefully the next leaders in Illinois will come from the Edgar administration if there is destined to be a third Edgar term.

JOHNSTON: The Edgar Watch Getting Close to Endgame

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

UPDATED:True Diversity found among GOP contenders for Lt. Gov.

I have an update on one of the current contenders for Lt. Governor of the state of Illinois. I saw on the New Leadership Blog an interview with Eric Wallace, a black American who's currently a adjunct professor at North Park University in Chicago and he's also aminister.

Honestly I tend to cringe at a person claiming to be a minister. Its seems anyone can say "God called on me to be a minister". Aside from his selected profession I do like what he stands for, but for right now his candidacy leaves alot to be desired. Here's a quote for his interview...

...I would like to stop the culture of corruption in Illinois. I call corruption the equal opportunity destroyer because it kills initiative and squelches all hope for promotion. Under this system it is about whom you know and how many favors you have preformed before you can be promoted. Under this system there is no incentive to do your best at your job therefore it must be dismantled in order to have efficient government.

I would take this approach into education. Our state needs education reform. Millions of dollars have been poured into our school system yet we are still not getting the results we should be getting. I believe it is because money is mismanaged or outright stolen. An article in a recent paper highlighted this very point. A school administrator in a local school district was found to have stolen $100,000 from a struggling school system. They later found $700,000 in cash at the man's house.

Bad people produce bad government. Take this principle and apply it to heath-care, jobs, housing and you have my platform. I am a conservative who believes that Illinois has great potential. The motto of our campaign is "Rebuilding Illinois Future." With good moral leadership there is no reason why Illinois cannot be one of the best states to visit, live, or work in.
I honestly wish Dr. Wallace the best of luck. I hope he can convince me and many other black Illinoisians to join and support his campaign. He has a tough sell here. I'm sure he knows that. He isn't my ideal candidate so excuse if I'm not that much excited about his candidacy. He does make goo points about Illinois corruption and eduction as I have somewhat displayed in the quote about. However he has time to craft his message and market himself as a good candidate for Lt. Gov.

The next election is next year '06. I hope to cover at least the gubernatorial race next year. There have been many complaints about Blagojevich plus many experts claim he has no base. It all boils down to whether the IL GOP is able to field a good candidate to take Blagojevich on.

From the Illinois Leader.

This may be an interesting primary for governor in Illinois. The GOP is the out party right now with all the supposed disarray and ideological battles within the party. The GOP is winning nationally however in Illinois the GOP couldn't win the success that other GOP parties have around the country.

It could be said Illinoisians want 20th century style liberalism. Also if the GOP is winning on the national level with conservativism. Illinois conservatives are struggling to duplicate that success. I could even blame the corruption that doesn't just occur in Chicago but in Springfield in the state government. Look at George Ryan and whatever corruption occured during his time as secretary of state before he became governor himself.

Also I should add that nationally and perhaps even in Illinois the GOP seeks to reach out to minorities. Cicero is an hispanic GOP stronghold for instance. For blacks well the GOP have a tougher sale with almost no chance of a vote.

So this is why I mention this column that I saw from Illinois Leader. This primary may be more diverse than perhaps any primary out there in the state. The Democrats had a more diverse field back in '02 it may not be as diverse because Blagojevich wants to win a second term and he is getting allies to make sure any challenge won't turn serious.

This field includes a Sihk, a black minister, and a woman. They are all running for Lt. Governor. This field may not be that impressive but I wouldn't mind voting for the black minister. The current Lt. Govs in Maryland and Ohio are black. A Lt. Gov. was black in Colorado so why not Illinois and hopefully for the right reasons.

GUEST OPINION: True Diversity found among GOP contenders for Lt. Gov. from August 15, 2005 Illinois Leader

Lately I've been having...

California Dreams. It was a good trip that I took back in July. I still plan to provide some video of my latest excursion. I never imagined feeling this way about that place particularly Los Angeles, California. I never imagined wanting to live out there. This has been triggered by a thread at one of my favorite forums talking about a TV show that is filmed out there.

Well who knows, I would like to visit out there again in the near future. Perhaps it's Hollywood that I like or the palm trees. Either way I'm feeling it. Not sure I want to really drive around out there but it's all good.

Like I said I still plan to post a video. I just want to cut it so that I don't use up time and bandwith. I don't want you guys to get too bored. On top of that I'm not sure if I'll break them up into seperate videos or a single one. For now I want to do a single one. We'll see. Besides I've made cuts of our time in LA as seperate videos. I haven't downloaded them all onto the harddrive however. I'm stilling missing our day at Universal Studios out there.

I will get them up soon. I should have done this over Labor Day or at the very least before I returned to school this summer. So hopefully I can do this by the end of the year. Perhaps even by Thanksgiving. I just want to share this with you. That is all.

Vlog soup

I've been reporting on vlogging since about May of this year well I have more to report on this novel idea and concept.

Steve Garfield has started a new feature on his blog called Vlog Soup. It's interesting in that he takes clips from vlogs around the internet and makes it into his own version of E!'s The Soup. It opens up with the sound of a can opening and some liquid pouring out of it. In any event I hope you enjoy his pieces and I hope you visit the individual vlogs that he features on his segments.

Ironically enough in his last Vlog Soup segment he feature the same vlog that I have recently features about the teacher Mr. Habarek from Human Dog.


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Mr. Habarek series

The vlog Human Dog has a series on a public high school teacher named Mr. Habarek. He is starting to feel apathetic because his job is not made easier by all fronts namely the students, the parents, perhaps even his own bosses. It gets so very depressing but it is a good insight into the mind of a public school teacher.

Honestly I couldn't even imagine. I was hell on my teachers at times. It's a given that I was not as bad as the thugs I ran into in high school. And there were definitely those who were preturbed by my unwillingness to work hard in class. I almost got held back a grade for it. And this guy just breaks it down for me and I don't envy his job at all because of the stresses he's going through at this stage of his career.

Well in any event there are five videos of him and there are supposed to be more and as long as there will be more videos I'll nudge this post back to the top. and I hope that you enjoy them. I also hope you gain something from it and realize the role YOU must play in your child's education. You can get to these videos by clicking the link for Mr. Habarek and clicking the thumbnail photograph in the upper right hand corner.

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Ryan Harris case...

In the Englewood neighborhood back in 1998, an 11 year old girl wsa murdered and left in a vacant lot there. Originally two little boys were charged with the crime, then DNA evidence indicated that these two boys aged 8 and 7 couldn't not possibly have committed this crime. In fact this was indicated by the Semen on Harris' underwear. A man by the name of Floyd Durr is awaiting trial in this case, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

In the meanwhile one of these two young boys now aged 15 is about to get awarded a settlement of $6.2 million dollars for his wrongful arrest at the time. For one Alderman Freddrenna Lyle who represents a piece of the Englewood area this is a matter where she wished the people could drop their suspicions of the police. While another Englewood alderman Shirley Coleman, who's ward was where Ryan's body was found used this to opine about how the authorities treat black folks. Here's a quote...

When Ald. Shirley Coleman (16th), whose ward includes the Englewood neighborhood where Ryan Harris was murdered, was informed of the settlement, her two-word reaction was: “That’s all?’’

She called it a “drop in the bucket’’ compared to the $30 million to $50 million that an assistant corporation counsel had warned aldermen that a jury might award if the case were to go all the way through trial.

“This case symbolized the blatant disrespect and disregard for the African American
community. If these children had been anything other than African American, this
never would have taken place,’’ she said.

A very sad case indeed. At least they found the real murderer and I hope he get put away for a very long time.

$6.2 million settles Harris case

Thursday, September 15, 2005

My old high school had a shooting.

I have been gone from the place in so long that just this past week Harlan High School has returned to the news. There was never a shooting at school during the four years I was there, though I have no doubt that there have been so many assaults because there was a gang problem. I thought Harlan may have changed but maybe not by that much.

There used to be some idiot pulling fire alarms, serious fights in the hallway, attepted arson, etc. went on there when I was there. There is a dedicated staff concerned about our safety as students but even then it is not enough. Harlan is located in a nice middle class community believe it or not. It is aging somewhat therefore most of the student come from outside the actual neighborhood and as is often the case whatever happened in their hood they bring it to school with them.

All I know about this recent shooting is that there was a fight and what was it about, I don't know. Did it come off the streets? Who knows. But it does just so happen that young men don't use fists anymore but they use weapons and that's unfortunate. It's already unfortunate that students have to walk through metal detectors a policy that has existed probably since before I even went to school there.

What does this kid get for his trouble from the school. A 10 DAY SUSPENSION!!! On top of that he is being charged as an adult for his crime by the authorities and he is being held with $250,000 bond. His only excuse was that he was mad according to an investigator. It was also reported that he was being punched and kicked by some of his classmates. So I that behavior was a relic of the past at Harlan but that non-sense still goes on there.

If you go down south Michigan avenue. Get off at 95th then turn east to Michigan. Then turn south and you'll see a nice tidy neighborhood with good housing stock and nicely groomed lawns. And then look to your left and you see what could still amount to a ghetto school. Could anyone believe that? All it takes are some fools.

For this story I'm finding as much media and other material as possible. They don't show too much of the neighborhoods but they do show the school which was nicely refurbished over the past few years. They still have the same old problems of behavior and discipline.

ABC7News with video
CBS2Chicago with Video

Mary Mitchell on Katrina

I just want to go on one point about Mary Mitchell's latest column on Katrina. Here's a quote...

At the beginning of this catastrophe, I wondered why black leaders didn't criticize New Orleans' mayor, Ray Nagin, for his inept handling of the evacuation of his city's most vulnerable citizens. I asked the Rev. Jesse Jackson about this several times during an editorial board meeting, but he didn't respond to the question.

Interesting, could this be a case of don't criticize your own. Perhaps Jesse Jackson knows what's up and is keeping his criticism to himself. Or maybe Jesse Jackson is just trying to keep this story about race and class as so many have attempted to do since all has been said and done.

In this column Mitchell highlights how Nagin has proven himself incompetent in this disaster and while he's not Rudy Giuliani, he certainly didn't follow the example. In light of 9/11 Rudy took command and control, in fact while the President was flying around he was the only public official we saw out there on that sad day. Nagin on the other hand was whining and asking for someone's help.

Still Mitchell refers to the idea of the nuance of race. She says she can't be too hard on Nagin. According to her...

I have no doubt that if Mayor Daley left the entire South and West Sides snowed in after a killer blizzard, Jackson and every other black leader would be demanding his head. But when the levee broke, Nagin became just another black man trying to cut through red tape. Black people know how long that can take.

Instead of looking at Nagin's incompetence she looks at the issues of the response by the federal and state government's. Even Blanco admits she should have called in federal troops sooner. To be sure there is blame to go around everywhere. Still in my mind the bottom line is that someone or some people failed.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The truth about race in America

From Opinion Journal's Best of the Web Today from September 13th, 2004.

Information here is proving how effective the race card really is.

The truth about race that Katrina illuminates, then, is that, at least when it comes to matters involving race, black Americans are extreme political outliers. This is why attempts to play the race card are politically futile: They have to appeal not just to blacks, but to a substantial minority of whites. The Gallup poll results makes clear that the current racial appeals are not resonating with whites.

I suppose the race card is losing its effectiveness in this case. Especially if you looks at these numbers....

...a vast majority of blacks (72%) disagree with a solid majority of the overall population (60%) on the question of whether Bush cares, and a solid majority of blacks (60%) disagree with an overwhelming majority of the overall population (78%) on the question of whether the rescue was racist.

Time to change the playbook.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Four years after 9/11/2001

I post this because it will be four years since that horrible event in New York City and the Pentagon. I'm very fortunate to have not lost anyone in that event but so many of us have. To them they have sympathy. I was far removed in Chicago but what happened affected me all the same. The hours and days immediately after the attacks went down was like the day my dad was in the hospital and there appeared to be no way he's leaving the hospital alive. In other words sad. But that isn't the half of it. At this time I will give my account of that day and my reactions. This event kind of changed my view of President Bush and his predecessor who I truly believe didn't take the threat of terrorism very seriously.

On 9/11/2001, this day wasn't unlike any other. I was about to go to class because in those days I still attended a community college in downtown Chicago. I was listening to the radio and they probably were talking about a plane crashing in the World Trade Center in New York but I wasn't paying much attention I thought it as an accident. At about this time my mother had me turn the TV.

I saw images of a hole in one of the buildings of the WTC. Honestly in my ignorance I had no idea that WTC was two buildings. So in any event I saw another fireball erupt from the building and it turns out that another plane hit WTC. I didn't figure this out until an instant replay on either NBC or ABC hit the airwaves. So both building were hit by aircraft. I was listening to coverage from the Mancow show and man they were besides themselves. I didn't think terrorism to be honest with you, in fact I wasn't sure what to think. BTW, this was a jumbo jet we were talking about that crashed into the buildings my hope was that these weren't passenger jets.

I was getting ready to head into downtown Chicago when I found out that the Pentagon was hit by an aircraft. At this moment I finally figured out someone was out to get us. This had become a scary day. I had finally left home after about 9:10 AM. At this rate I was already late but I went on and it appears everyone heard about this tragedy. It was written on my biology professor's face and I was waiting to hear an explosions or sirens. As I took the train downtown I was watching the Sears Tower to see if it were about to get hit. Nothing happened thank goodness, especially if who ever was doing this was targeting American landmarks.

I didn't find out that the WTC building collapsed until I went on the internet in the computer lab during my break in class. I would come home later to see the video of the collapse. Again very sad. Our professor let us out early and my mother said I should come back home. Classes weren't cancelled but this seemed like the perfect moment.

When I got home I saw that TV channels around the cable universe was following this tragedy. Some channels had normal programming, but some channels stopped broadcasting in light of the terrorism in NYC. Eventually they got back to business but the major networks didn't stop broadcasts of NYC until maybe a week or so later.

Honestly I was a little fatalistic because this was bewildering and I hope this allowed people to grow up because there are some genuinely evil individuals out there. They have no problem planning to murder ar at least have people murdered. Those 19 terrorists had to have been brainwashed into making these suicide flights. I just can't imagine an individual with a dose of common sense or sanity who would be so willing to go out in an inferno and take so many people with them.

All I can say is that today we are engaged in a conflict long overdue. We are taking on the terrorists and while there have been attacks that we couldn't prevent, there haven't been another attack similar to the one on that day in America since then. We are giving freedom and hope to those who probably would have become terrorists had we just allowed certain conditions to remain as they are. We have went to Afghanistan to take out the Taliban regime and freed the Afghans from the twisted religious utopia of the Taliban. And we went to Iraq who, while not involved in any way with the 9/11 attacks, to free those people from their dictator and give them freedom and hope.

In the process however the Bush administration have been savaged for their policies. America had been blamed for the deaths of their own people by her own citizens and there are who don't believe that military operations were the best way to go against terrorism. There are those who say we must talk to the terrorists and negotiate to give them what they want.

To this I'm not sure what to say. We didn't take Al Qaida seriously and look where it got us. We tried to reason with Saddam Hussein and look where it got us. Terrorists would be successful if they killed enough of us and got exactly what they think they wanted and the terrorism won't end because they want control of everything (that is my conclusion, BTW). Al-Qaeda may have wanted us out of the Middle East, however, they would have wanted to take over the world and make Islam the only religion. They hate freedom and you won't have a choice, so with this in mind why should I be content with that.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Happy Days

I don't know why I have such a fascination with a TV show such as this. I never really watched it when it was on reruns on some of the local station in Chicago during that period of time when you could often find them during the day. The theme is kind of catchy as far as TV themes go but it's not exactly a contemporary sound.

I wrote this post wondering what other period pieces could we come up with but with a focus on a black family. There have been two as a TV sitcom so far (unless I'm mistaken), Happy Days from the 1950s and That 70s Show from of course the 70s. Frankly I think it's about time for one with a black family.

Now Happy Days is about an American family from the 50s. This was just another silly sitcom with an ethnic character that TV couldn't get away with today. Many descriptions of the show freely describe the Fonz as a greaser, that may be to me an ethnic term or maybe the fact that he greases his hair, either way he has the ability to hit a juke box and it works. But the 50s have been portrayed as such an innocent era in American history. There isn't a problem of crime as there is perceived today.

This show neglected the emerging racial issues though perhaps in Milwaukee this doesn't affect The Fonz and the Cunninghams as much. However I'm sure blacks are living in Milwaukee in the 1950s and 1960s. This is generally just a basic sitcom without the other complicated issues that were common in the 70s such as All in the Family, The Jeffersons, Maude, etc.

That 70s Show is a different animal. They'll touch upon feminism and basically this show is not as innocent as Happy Days with pot use, drinking, and even sex as frequent themes. Still That 70s Show is still a basic sitcom about a family, neighborhood kids, and their interactions with each other.

The question is how could I do a sitcom about a black family and set this in either the 1980s or 1990s. What would be the setting, income level, or who should be the characters? What other issues should be imparted and should politics enter into this.

Here's my idea. A married family living in the Chatham neighborhood of Chicago with the husband as an entrepreneur and a wife who is a school teacher, they have two kids one of whom goes to a private high school. Most of his neighborhood friends go to public school and he hangs around them more, he really doesn't like his private school classmates. They're all snotty. He may wind up with a girlfriend and it's either someone in the neighborhood or someone from his private school. This show is set in the 1990s and there are plenty of issues to touch upon in that decade. And what we need is a catchy Rap and R&B theme and something that has that 1990s sound. Something on par just about with Happy Days.

Now why do I write this. Well see my mother was searching desperately one day to find some black folks on TV. I have an opinion on some of the black folks on TV and it's not positive. See these shows on TV are just too silly for me (and yet I would That 70s Show or Drew Carey). I really don't like any of them and I've come to conclude that I can't make a solid distinction between any of them or that their all the same.

One could argue that they're simply making the cheese in the world of entertainment and I guess that's OK. But I don't just want to see black faces on TV just to see black faces. I want to see quality and I'm not seeing it. Fresh Prince I would consider quality and The Cosby Show is also quality. Bottom line is that I will support a quality product whether the issues is black faces or white faces or otherwise.

Anyway this is my idea, perhaps there will be more to come.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

In the news today...

1) Well the after effects of Katrina has been discovered in the Atlanta University Center. Rumors are that students from our sister HBCUs Xavier and Dillard have been allowed to come to class here. It is also said that one went to those schools and are looking to continue in school it would aslo be best to check out the schools in their state of residence.

In addition to that in an office on campus handling my business these students were talking about what was happening on the ground in New Orleans. Fires and looting basically. Dillard is said to be burned to the ground. I should check this out but this is really more serious. These students were talking about school opening up in January. In addition to that there is doubts that Dillard will reopen at all thanks to financial problems.

Hell there are also rumors that Morris Brown College (which also had money problem and lost its accreditation back in 2003) might be reopened for the displaced students. I suppose we'll have to see about that.

2)In California there was a move by the California legislature to legalize and recognize gay marriage. During the controversies of last year Mayor Gavin Newsome of San Fransisco attempted to force the issue by giving homosexual couple marriage licenses attempting to skirt California law. The will of the people as I understood stated in one of the various referendums were that the people wanted marriage to be between a man and a woman. Alas it seems that this is just so right that what the people decided is null and void.

Well Arnold Schwarzenegger comes into play here. Since I first got wind of this story the "Governator" (as I like to call him), I hoped, would veto the legislation. Well he has made exactly that pledge "out of respect for the will of the people". This bill was already narrowly passed.

In California if you are registered as "domestic partners" they are already given the same rights and duties as marriage.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

One more Katrina article for today.

I've spotted this article at forums and a friend of mine just emailed it to me so I figure that I'll pass it on to you. I will post it in its entirety. Here's a link too.

An Unnatural Disaster: A Hurricane Exposes the Man-Made Disaster of the Welfare State
by Robert Tracinski

It took four long days for state and federal officials to figure out how to deal with the disaster in New Orleans. I can't blame them, because it also took me four long days to figure out what was going on there. The reason is that the events there make no sense if you think that we are confronting a natural disaster.

If this is just a natural disaster, the response for public officials is obvious: you bring in food, water, and doctors; you send transportation to evacuate refugees to temporary shelters; you send engineers to stop the flooding and rebuild the city's infrastructure. For journalists, natural disasters also have a familiar pattern: the heroism of ordinary people pulling together to survive; the hard work and dedication of doctors, nurses, and rescue workers; the steps being taken to clean up and rebuild.

Public officials did not expect that the first thing they would have to do is to send thousands of armed troops in armored vehicle, as if they are suppressing an enemy insurgency. And journalists�myself included�did not expect that the story would not be about rain, wind, and flooding, but about rape, murder, and looting.

But this is not a natural disaster. It is a man-made disaster.

The man-made disaster is not an inadequate or incompetent response by federal relief agencies, and it was not directly caused by Hurricane Katrina. This is where just about every newspaper and television channel has gotten the story wrong.

The man-made disaster we are now witnessing in New Orleans did not happen over four days last week. It happened over the past four decades. Hurricane Katrina merely exposed it to public view.

The man-made disaster is the welfare state.

For the past few days, I have found the news from New Orleans to be confusing. People were not behaving as you would expect them to behave in an emergency�indeed, they were not behaving as they have behaved in other emergencies. That is what has shocked so many people: they have been saying that this is not what we expect from America. In fact, it is not even what we expect from a Third World country.

When confronted with a disaster, people usually rise to the occasion. They work together to rescue people in danger, and they spontaneously organize to keep order and solve problems. This is especially true in America. We are an enterprising people, used to relying on our own initiative rather than waiting around for the government to take care of us. I have seen this a hundred times, in small examples (a small town whose main traffic light had gone out, causing ordinary citizens to get out of their cars and serve as impromptu traffic cops, directing cars through the intersection) and large ones (the spontaneous response of New Yorkers to September 11).

So what explains the chaos in New Orleans?

To give you an idea of the magnitude of what is going on, here is a description from a Washington Times story:

"Storm victims are raped and beaten; fights erupt with flying fists, knives and guns; fires are breaking out; corpses litter the streets; and police and rescue helicopters are repeatedly fired on.

"The plea from Mayor C. Ray Nagin came even as National Guardsmen poured in to restore order and stop the looting, carjackings and gunfire....

"Last night, Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco said 300 Iraq-hardened Arkansas National Guard members were inside New Orleans with shoot-to-kill orders.

" 'These troops are...under my orders to restore order in the streets,' she said. 'They have M-16s, and they are locked and loaded. These troops know how to shoot and kill and they are more than willing to do so if necessary and I expect they will.' "

The reference to Iraq is eerie. The photo that accompanies this article shows a SWAT team with rifles and armored vests riding on an armored vehicle through trash-strewn streets lined by a rabble of squalid, listless people, one of whom appears to be yelling at them. It looks exactly like a scene from Sadr City in Baghdad.

What explains bands of thugs using a natural disaster as an excuse for an orgy of looting, armed robbery, and rape? What causes unruly mobs to storm the very buses that have arrived to evacuate them, causing the drivers to speed away, frightened for their lives? What causes people to attack the doctors trying to treat patients at the Superdome?

Why are people responding to natural destruction by causing further destruction? Why are they attacking the people who are trying to help them?

My wife, Sherri, figured it out first, and she figured it out on a sense-of-life level. While watching the coverage one night on Fox News Channel, she told me that she was getting a familiar feeling. She studied architecture at the Illinois Institute of Technology, which is located in the South Side of Chicago just blocks away from the Robert Taylor Homes, one of the largest high-rise public housing projects in America. "The projects," as they were known, were infamous for uncontrollable crime and irremediable squalor. (They have since, mercifully, been demolished.)

What Sherri was getting from last night's television coverage was a whiff of the sense of life of "the projects." Then the "crawl"�the informational phrases flashed at the bottom of the screen on most news channels�gave some vital statistics to confirm this sense: 75% of the residents of New Orleans had already evacuated before the hurricane, and of those who remained, a large number were from the city's public housing projects. Jack Wakeland then told me that early reports from CNN and Fox indicated that the city had no plan for evacuating all of the prisoners in the city's jails�so they just let many of them loose. [Update: I have been searching for news reports on this last story, but I have not been able to confirm it. Instead, I have found numerous reports about the collapse of the corrupt and incompetent New Orleans Police Department; see here and here.]

There is no doubt a significant overlap between these two populations--that is, a large number of people in the jails used to live in the housing projects, and vice versa.

There were many decent, innocent people trapped in New Orleans when the deluge hit�but they were trapped alongside large numbers of people from two groups: criminals�and wards of the welfare state, people selected, over decades, for their lack of initiative and self-induced helplessness. The welfare wards were a mass of sheep�on whom the incompetent administration of New Orleans unleashed a pack of wolves.

All of this is related, incidentally, to the incompetence of the city government, which failed to plan for a total evacuation of the city, despite the knowledge that this might be necessary. In a city corrupted by the welfare state, the job of city officials is to ensure the flow of handouts to welfare recipients and patronage to political supporters�not to ensure a lawful, orderly evacuation in case of emergency.

No one has really reported this story, as far as I can tell. In fact, some are already actively distorting it, blaming President Bush, for example, for failing to personally ensure that the Mayor of New Orleans had drafted an adequate evacuation plan. The worst example is an execrable piece from the Toronto Globe and Mail, by a supercilious Canadian who blames the chaos on American "individualism." But the truth is precisely the opposite: the chaos was caused by a system that was the exact opposite of individualism.

What Hurricane Katrina exposed was the psychological consequences of the welfare state. What we consider "normal" behavior in an emergency is behavior that is normal for people who have values and take the responsibility to pursue and protect them. People with values respond to a disaster by fighting against it and doing whatever it takes to overcome the difficulties they face. They don't sit around and complain that the government hasn't taken care of them. And they don't use the chaos of a disaster as an opportunity to prey on their fellow men.

But what about criminals and welfare parasites? Do they worry about saving their houses and property? They don't, because they don't own anything. Do they worry about what is going to happen to their businesses or how they are going to make a living? They never worried about those things before. Do they worry about crime and looting? But living off of stolen wealth is a way of life for them.

People living in piles of their own trash, while petulantly complaining that other people aren't doing enough to take care of them and then shooting at those who come to rescue them�this is not just a description of the chaos at the Superdome. It is a perfect summary of the 40-year history of the welfare state and its public housing projects.

The welfare state�and the brutish, uncivilized mentality it sustains and encourages�is the man-made disaster that explains the moral ugliness that has swamped New Orleans. And that is the story that no one is reporting.

Source: TIA Daily -- September 2, 2005

Robert Tracinski is the editor and publisher of and The Intellectual Activist magazine.


Try TIA Daily for FREE; simply enter your e-mail address in the box at the top-left corner of this page.

Copyright© 2002 The Intellectual Activist

Labor Day weekend...

I went home for Labor Day weekend. On my brief holiday I went to the Chicago Football Classic. Virtually every year two historically black colleges play at Soldier Field. There are similar types events in Detroit and Indianapolis which apparently generate more interest than such a game does in Chicago.

Most often when I go to such a game Soldier Field in both its old configuration and its current one had never been full. However, this game often attract black movers and shakers, HBCU alumni, and perhaps individuals looking for a good time.

The last time I went to a game was back in 2001. That year I had gotten accepted into Morehouse. I attracted the attention of some Jackson State University students. That's the last time I'll go to the game with my mother LOL.

In any event this game instead of sitting in the stands, I was able to view the game in a luxury box at Soldier Field. A wonderful experience, I can make my own hotdog and all that good stuff. I even had some spicy buffalo wings. I know this doesn't count since this wasn't a regular season Bears game.

The question was how did I get to sit in a skybox. I have connections and that's all I'm going say. And I was on the same level as many of Chicago's (or black Chicago's) movers and shakers. It was a priviledge and the hope that maybe one day I'll have the luxury of my own box.

*crosses fingers*

In any case before I left Mississippi Valley State University was blowing OUT University of Arkansas Pine Bluff big time.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

I just knew it....

I'm taking an intro course to public management this semester and I just knew my professor was gonna talk about Hurricane Katrina and our government's response to it. He as it seems many Americans may agree that the governmental activity on this disaster has been terribly lacking. We could go from the local government all the way up to the feds, there is a whole lot of blame to go around.

Being a student at an historically black college, the issue was going to reverberate around race and class. That has been touted during the entire aftermath of this disaster. Even a rapper who wasn't necessarily saying anything just came out and blurted something outrageous. A lot of people who are very concerned about the people in New Orleans are taking a stand on this issue. While I may not necessarily agree with some of things my professor has said or even Kayne West everyone can all agree that the government that was supposed to protect us to have our back ultimately didn't.

An issue of gentrification has also come up. As soon as those levies are improved and fixed who is to say that New Orleans won't just become a brand new city with the poor moved out or unable to come back. Then again I could argue that even if they did or could come back what would they do then. As far as gentrification goes, I can understand the racial connotation, however I'd rather a run down area gets improved than for it to remain run down. A harsh point of view, definitely.

Of course also a lot of people will knock New Orleans of it's residents and officials lack of concern. There may not be much community there before this tragedy or even during it. It's safe to say the government has lost control. We're even hearing about criminal allowed to run the streets of an abandoned major city running around free and causing mayhem (by looting, shooting, sexually assaulting, etc.).

At this moment there are many ideas abound. Some want to relocate New Orleans. There have been worries and concerns over a serious hurricanes like Katrina. Katrina may not have been category 5 nor did it hit right on New Orleans, but it caused some serious damage. I hope that this will be a learning experience.

Oh yeah one more thing. My professor brought up another idea. Terrorism. If they see how our efforts to help survivors have failed this could be a green light for them to act up. When New Orleans is rebuilt who is to say the terrorists won't start something there. That's one of many possibilities.

That's it for my rant today. I have some other issues to attend to and on top of that I have some other material to share with you at somepoint. Labor Day weekend was great I'd like to discuss some of what I did back in Chicago over the weekend. I even got a little caught up on Katrina as well.

Friday, September 02, 2005

When the bell rings...

Everything is supposed to stop. In the PBS video Morehouse Men there is a segment that takes place during Freshman orientation. It is impressed upon the students that a Morehouse Man answers the bell whenever it rings. Since I've been at Morehouse College the bell has never rung at least in earshot.

Today it did. While I only stayed a few minutes this was only regarding the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. One of my Morehouse brothers held up and Atlanta Journal Constitution with a big caption of "We're like animals trapped we need help". There was a picture of an old man cover with an American flag and other images.

They wanted to call us into action. I may not volunteer my time, however, I'll use whatever dollars I have to help the relief efforts in the hurricane affected area. I hope many of you will too.

I just have to add that these are also one of the many times that I wish I had a camera down here. Well I don't have a camera of anykind down here with me right now.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

An appearance on campus yesterday.

I was going to dinner after leaving the Library on campus. I was walking through Clark-Atlanta University and there was a presentation going on outdoors. There wasn't a big crowd especially since the dignitary giving his presentation was the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson Sr.

As I said I could have easily walked past this little speech without paying attention because there wasn't a big crowd there. There wasn't any news people around from any major TV stations. Perhaps some reporters from area newspapers and from the Maroon Tiger or other student publications. In fact it wouldn't surprise me to find this in any student publication at some point.

In any event, he talked a little about oil, the Iraq war (without merit he said about it), and even took a shot at tax cuts for the wealthy. He connected the profits of oil to providing opportunities for health care, education, welfare and maybe a few other programs. It's clear that he has a position against the was. In fact one time on his weekly Saturday morning broadcast (seen on Channel 36 Chicago Access Network or CAN-TV at 10AM-11AM) when it was popular to do so he said he wanted Donald Rumsfeld brought up on war crimes charges.

In any event I may not always agree with the Rev. Jackson and there are points where I won't agree with him on and hopefully points where I'm with him. He also mentioned the killers of African Americans. He mentioned drugs cocaine, heroin, etc. Those are killers and blacks do seem to be the most affected. Using the fact that these drugs come from Latin America he used the idea of oil and their profits I guess with the idea that those who produce the drugs will have other options other than profiting from the addictions of others.

Honestly I didn't stay long. I was hungry but down here at the AUC whether we're talking about Morehouse, Spelman, Clark-Atlanta, and Morris Brown, the prominent blacks of our nation will make their way here.

EDIT: BTW, there were plenty of student around here sporting Rainbow/PUSH coalition T-Shirts. Who knows if their actually members of if they gave them out for free.