Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Corretta Scott King is dead...

Last year she suffered a stroke and a heart attack and now she's passed away. She was up there in the years however this absolutely shocked me. She was Dr. Martin Luther King's widow. She leaves behind four children.

When I first came to Morehouse I ran into her a couple of times. I'm not joking she was at a crown forum if I remember correctly and then I sat a couple of rows in front of her at Sister's Chapel over at Spelman. No one can say she didn't make her rounds. I didn't speak to her though I might have been both too nervous and perhaps it would have been presumptuous.

Oh yeah this picture I just uploaded was linked from FOXNews.com it was at the funeral of her husband with daughter Bernice in her lap.

Coretta Scott King, 78, Dies from FOXNews.com

Monday, January 30, 2006

I went to a former employment site...

I had originally posted this on December 2, 2005. My follow up to this post is posted over at My Mind's Eye. I didn't anticipate the problems I had attempted to post a slide show to this blog so I decided to create some space to do so. I did have a post to bring attention to my Flickr photoset on Christmas Eve but then I decided to do something even more special and I ultimately deleted that post. In any event at my slideshow over at My Mind's Eye. I hope you enjoy it.

On the day after Thankgiving I went to the House of Kicks. It was just a short walk from my home and it was starting to get dark but I decided to take a little walk away from my home around the neighborhood. I was going to take some pictures along the way unfortunately my camera didn't have any juice when I pulled it out.

I decided to take a walk there because I had heard through the grapevine that they were sold and closed indefinitely. The man who owned the place was Ed Gardner. Honestly when I worked there I had no idea who he was or his impact on the community and his other business interests. I'll get back to Mr. Gardner in a second, but as I understand it he sold it because he may have gotten a good offer for the property.

Ed Gardner apparently has been around a while. He once owned Soft Sheen which is now known as Soft Sheen-Carson after he sold it to a French company. He got lucky in the 1960s selling hair care products specifically for black Americans. He was once a teacher in the Chicago Public Schools even went to school at what is now Chicago State University. When he made more money selling Soft Sheen (btw, Soft Sheen Carson still has their headquarters on the south side of Chicago) he then decided to open up House of Kicks. In addition to that there is a foundation on the same lot as House of Kicks called Black on Black Love.

While on the one hand, I didn't really like my time at House of Kicks. Although it was a small company but there didn't seem to be a lot of structure there too. I only worked there for a month and I had nothing but complaints (and I hate people who complain it was unfortunate that I was doing what I hate). Thankfully my one year out of school was just about up and I had much better challenges to attend to. On the other hand it just has to be a loss for the community, Mr. Gardner had created a place where families could stay in the community and have some fun. They could play games, have fun on the rides, and eat some food. They could even have a birthday party there.

So I got to even thinking about some of the people who worked there. They may not have had the most stable jobs. In fact some of them probably could have found better if they had wanted too. Some of them may have had the age and experience and weren't there because they need the extra income. One of these workers were a friend of mine from high school. I wonder where he is today now that House of Kicks appears to be no more. Most of the workers there were still in high school with plans on going to college. Some may have wanted to be big shots out there in corporate America.

In any case I walked to House of Kicks and the place probably should have been jumping when I got there. The parking lot was desolate of any automobiles. I kind of just stayed outside of the lot a little bit and I saw the big sign for CB Richard Ellis. Then I decided to go to the door and I saw a sign that said House of Kicks going out of business effective September 19, 2005. The skeeball games and even the little prize area was dismantled when I looked though the windows. But it seems some of the rides including my least favorite ride to operate, The Roller Coaster, was still there. I looked around a little more as I walked toward the offices of Black on Black Love on the Cottage Grove side. There was plenty of equipment still there, but no one was there to ride them nor operate them.

It was a little sad. This is the one place that the communities on the far South Side could use. Too bad that it was sold and closed down. I hope the future owners can do a better job of running the place and hopefully they can keep it open and make money in the process.

You can find it on the CB Richard Ellis website. And if I am able to go back, I plan to take some pictures of the place.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

An old post about the Chicago Bears.

This post was just too much of a good one to just delete as I clean house to start up my new project. I wrote this blog originally entitled, Super memories alive with Bears of '05. I thought this was a wonderful article bridging the gap between the 1985 Super Bowl Champion Bears and the Bears who eventually were eliminated from the playoffs earlier this year. I got a little information about the state of the football business and hopes that one day the Chicago Bears will be the winner they once were. I hope you enjoy this post. Unfortunately the link to the article from the Chicago Sun-Times is broken.

Super memories alive with Bears of '05 from Wednesday, November 23, 2005

I'm not a big football fan, but it was great to see this article from the Chicago Sun-Times about Chicago Bears great Dan Hampton. He was interviewed about the Bears that one Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers. A comparison was made between Hampton's Bears from the Super Bowl winning 1985 season to today's Bears.

There were some interesting points made...
"They were an aura, a fear, an intimidation. They were about grown quarterbacks standing there to take the snap, wondering if maybe someone else would like totake this one."
That was the Bears of 1985 and that was the Bears last Sunday apparently. Mind you I didn't see the game I'm just sharing this article with you. But I kind of like this especially in a hard hitting sport such as football. Psychology is important especially if you don't really intend to do some serious hitting.

Next they talked about the current Defensive line and their strategies...
"When we played, most of the offensive linemen were of comparable size [to the defensive linemen],'' Hampton said. "Most of them were 280, 290 pounds. We were 270, 280. Now, most of the offensive linemen are just big blobs, out of shape.

"With us, Buddy [Ryan, defensive coordinator] had a two-gap system. Basically, we would ram into the offensive lineman and destroy his inertia. Then you read and go where the ball is. But today, Ogunleye and Alex Brown are like 260 pounds playing against 350-pound tackles. They're not able to do what we did physically. So they have to proactively address gaps.''

The '85 Bears were pounding linemen while these guys are going around them. Linebacker Brian Urlacher said on the radio that sometimes he wonders why he's running one way toward a gap in the line while the ball is going the other way. But it works.

That is an issue that football players are out of shape. It's always better to be big but hopefully in good shape. I suppose it's better to have nothing more than a lot of muscle than fat. I remember a wrestler known as Mark Henry. He was big and claimed that there was very low body fat in his weight. It was all muscle. He was billed as Sexual Chocolate and The World's Strongest Man. He was once a weightlifter who actually competed in the Olympics but failed miserably. I would wonder if he could make it in pro football though with his size.

The next point is...

Meanwhile, the salary cap has created parity, and everything is leveling off. Offensive game plans are about managing the clock and not blowing the game.

That doesn't lend itself to thrilling defense.

This Bears defense has been the best for weeks, not years. And it hasn't beaten a great team. But maybe there aren't great teams anymore, and this is how you win in this era.

Maybe that's why football isn't interesting me right now. Perhaps the coaches are merely playing it safe. Wouldn't it be nice if the Bears can play football the way it was supposed to be played. Besides and to cross sports for a second, the Chicago Blackhawks was known for their hard hitting hockey play. Players were either thrilled with the challenge of facing the Blackhawks or they were intimidated.

Now I'm not sure what this means about the salary cap creating parity. But I would jump off and say some of these athletes might just be sissies compared to the players of old. They were actually hungry while today's athletes get more money than they could ever dream. If this turns out to be the case, I'd rather we get some hard working athletes to take us to the Super Bowl, just like the players who made up the White Sox for the most part, than some free agent who just won't and can't get the job done. Perhaps I should back off my criticism of Chicago sports ownership.

And I guess that should do it for now. I haven't been watching football since that Chicago Football Classic I went to on Labor Day weekend. I'll definitely watch the games on Thankgiving Day. I hope you do the same.

Have a great holiday!!!

My Mind's Eye...

I'm starting a new project. Not sure how it's going to take shape however I just wanted to do something more creative. Originally I was going to blog over there about anything but that concept has run its course. I can do that over here too I can opine on a lot of things here too while at the same time still discuss politics and current events.

Over there at My Mind's Eye I intend to go into the more visual realm while I can keep this blog my more literary or more accurately a written journal about current events and politics and a few other things. So basically there will be more pictures over there than anything else. That's not to say you won't see pictures here, you will. I may continue to have the Flickr badge here for a while though I may decide to do away with it at some point.

Other projects well you may see them over there too. I don't want to wet any appetites. All I'll say for that is, they will come when they come. And I sincerely hope you can find what I do interesting.

In the meanwhile the work there is not finished. Since this is me rebuilding a blog I already started that just mean I have to tear it down to start anew. I've already given it a new template though what I have now isn't by any means the final one, but this does allow me to do some much more than I was able to do before. This also means that the posts I've compiled over there will be deleted. So enjoy them while you can, if I can bring some overhere I will. At least those that might fit here.

I will continue to refine the blog so expect in time a Feedburner button, some of my favorite links, and maybe even a Flickr badge as well. Well in any event have a look at the other blog and give me some feedback. I really like feedback.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

This is the coolest V-log ever...

From Ryanne's Video Blog there is a V-log about Ryanne teaching videoblogging. It is the most amazing work you'll see. I really like the idea of people teaching our youth something. It can be business, art, or sports but at least it can be something that my hopefully keep them off the streets. In this case, however, we might just be teaching the youth to tell us their stories. To teach this new media to those who may be more affected by it than we are today is certainly a good thing.

I've been following the vloggosphere for a while and this is just the best work to have come out of that realm. I really enjoyed this one. Perhaps at some point I can do this type of stuff and teach that to the youth.

I went to a federal court for the first time ever...

In Chicago former Gov. George Ryan is on trial for corruption. In Atlanta former ATL mayor Bill Campbell is on trial having been indicted by a federal grand jury on charges of racketeering, corruption, bribery, and tax fraud in violation of the RICO statute, mail fraud, and wire fraud. Bill Campbell was Mayor of Atlanta for two terms from 1993 to 2001.

I don't know what Chicago's federal courts look like but in Atlanta they seem to be somewhat stuck in the 1970s. I've yet to go to a state trial court anywhere but the federal court seems to have stepped up their game. I sat a few rows behind the prosecuting attorney. I don't know if he is the Atlanta area US Attorney or what not, all I know was he was standing at a podium asking questions of a witness. I'm not going to talk about the testimony I don't know what the rules are for that. Perhaps someone can enlighten me.

I did this for class. The lawyers seemed to be on task. The judge seemed to be ready for this. See I had just left the Municipal Court in Atlanta I saw a session of court that dealt only with traffic infractions. A court room employee offered forms to indicate whether to plead guilty or not guilty. During the time everyone was waiting he (the judge) was shuffling papers like he was a clerk himself.

It has been a while since I have been to traffic court. I rarely drive anywhere so it was mostly my dad many years ago who'd have traffic violations to contend with. I barely remember those days except that traffic court was once further up on LaSalle Street past the Chicago River.

As for federal court well I'm not sure I want to mess with them. They will be on their game while local courts and local law enforcement will have to contend with so much other issues of thier respecitive jurisdiction.

As for the activity in the federal court having seen an actual trial in progress on this day. It was almost like what I'd see in a TV courtroom. Unless we're personally involved we're not going to see what really happens. Of course some of what they do on courtroom shows like objections, approaching the bench, sustaining, overruling, even the all rise part. Then there's the jury taking their seats. It's interesting to see some of this in real life.

This is probably about how the George Ryan trial looks. Also like the George Ryan trial there is a blog covering the developments. I'll provide that link here as well.

Mayor Bill Campbell indicted from Our Georgia History
Bill Campell trial blog from Atlanta Journal Constitution
Jury Seated; Campbell Trial Opens Monday from CBS46Atlanta

Friday, January 27, 2006

Field's name not dead yet

This was announced back in September I could have only hoped that there was going to be some kind of reprieve on this issue and now there appears to be one. Sales during the holidays at Marshall Field's has prompted a review. That's not to say that Federated Department Stores may not go ahead with their plans, however, it does mean that the name may still be alive. They could just use the Field's name for only the flagship store on state street. This is what a Crain's story had to say on this issue...

Possibilities range from Field’s-branded goods to an in-store Field’s shop or keeping the Field’s name attached to the State Street flagship, retail experts say.

Any continuing use of the Field’s name seems most likely at State Street. Sales there rose more than 3% during the holidays, outpacing the more than 2% gain at Field’s 61-store chain as a whole, people familiar with the figures say, as sentimental shoppers flocked to take in the State Street store’s last holiday as Marshall Field’s.


Retail experts say it makes the most sense to keep Field’s name present at the State Street store, where tourism is a big part of business. Federated, which is based in Cincinnati and New York, could sell Field’s merchandise or establish a Field’s boutique within the store on par with the scads of other leased shops that previous owner Target Corp. put in place when it refurbished the flagship in 2003.

Federated’s two other flagship stores—Macy’s Herald Square in New York and Macy’s Union Square in San Francisco—operate virtually as separate businesses with their own marketing, special events, visual merchandising and vendor arrangements. Carving out a Field’s enclave at the State Street store (the third-largest department store in the nation after Macy’s Herald Square) wouldn’t be difficult, nor would it conflict with Federated’s efforts to create a national chain under the Macy’s banner, says Ken Nisch, chairman of JGA Inc., a Michigan-based retail branding and design firm that worked on Field’s State Street makeover under Target.

“They already have a template to do it,” says Mr. Nisch. “It’s a way to use a valuable asset.”

I sincerely hope that they can work this out. Let keep at least one locally known name out there. And continue the traditions of those green shopping bags, Frango candy, etc. If Macy does change the name I hope that they keep some of Field's trademark traditions and symbols.

Field's name not dead yet from Crain's Chicago Business

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Chicagoans flock to Wal-Mart jobs

You know back in 2004 there was a debate about letting Wal-Mart open a couple of locations in the city. One was in the Austin neighborhood the other would have been on 83rd Street near Simeon High School. The council rejected the one on 83rd but they gave the go ahead on the location in Austin.

The debate was on the fact that Wal-Mart don't pay their employees anything. This was also about the fact that Wal-Mart isn't unionized and since Chicago is said to be a union city, they had some support on the city council. Austin is a struggling neighborhood that can use these jobs and the unions and their supporters on the city council just so decided to have one issue to prevent Wal-Mart from coming into Austin. It was mainly the union question. I have no doubt that the aldermen in Austin and in Auburn Gresham/Chatham were in big support of bringing Wal-Mart in for if nothing else bringing jobs to those who wants them.

Then there's the complaint that Wal-Mart put mom and pop establishments out of business. Well Capitalism is a cold system it requires you to be flexible or you're out of business. So can one blame Wal-Mart for the fact that some small establishments can't keep up or innovate or whatever they have to do. And let me just state for the record that I'm unabashedly for entrepreneurship and small business. It's not merely the fortune 500 companies that can bring in the bacon.

Well this comes to mind because there's now a Wal-Mart in Evergreen Park. I passed by there a few times when I was home for the holidays. It was newly constructed and ready to go. It was on the site of a very nice banquet facility. And this Wal-Mart is right next door to a Sam's Club which has been there for a few years.

Tell me people don't want to work. According to this Sun-Times article...
24,500 Chicagoans applied for 325 jobs at a Wal-Mart opening Friday in south suburban Evergreen Park, one block outside the city limits.

The store is located at 2500 W. 95th is one block west of Western Avenue, the city boundary. It is easily accesible to those without cars because all you have to do is catch a Pace or CTA bus to get there. You can take a bus along 95th street or you get take a Western Ave. bus.

This is what a Wal-Mart official had to say about this development...

Of 25,000 job applicants, all but 500 listed Chicago addresses, said John Bisio, regional manager of public affairs for Wal-Mart.

"In our typical hiring process, you're pretty successful if you have 3,000 applicants," he said. "They were really crowing about 11,000 in Oakland, Calif., last year. So to get 25,000-plus applications and counting, I think is astonishing."

Oh yeah this store was union built. A protest over minority set asides were settled in a day. And Wal-Mart proved itself to be a corporate citizen. I'm sure this was to satify a lot of discontent out there about Wal-Mart and they did the right thing. And the far south side residents have more jobs to fight over.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Meet Alderman Ed Smith...

This west side alderman was mentioned on The Capitol Fax Blog believe it or not. He is considered a rising star in the state of Illinois and is rumored to be looking at a county wide office in the future. Of course his listing is preferaced with the fact that he is much older than most of those other individuals on the list.

On Sunday however he was the latest alderman featured in Rich Kogan's continuing series on Chicago's alderman. Believe it or not I forgot all about it until I decided to check my post in which I linked to articles of two other aldermen. I intend to be there for the next edition.

Alderman Ed Smith has been around a while. He represents, according to the article, "one of the city's harshest and bleakest, a place of high unemployment, high crime, a thriving illegal drug business and all the troubles that come with that." He represents a J-shaped 28th ward on Chicago's west side.

This article states that he has has open air offices in troubled areas. Also he really like the use of the cameras the city has been installing in certain trouble spots. He goes so far as to state that he needs more of those.

Also you may know Ald. Smith from the debate over the smoking ban. The article states that he just used this issue to heighten his profile to run for a higher office in the future. This is what the Alderman said to that...
"I will tell you this: I don't want to die an alderman. But my work is not done here," he said. "What does my future hold? I leave the future to circumstance and to the people."
The article ends with Ed Smith talking about going back to his native Mississippi to bury one of his brothers...
"I'm burying a brother," he said. "Now there are only two of us left."
Oh yeah looking at his website, I really had no idea was an HBCU graduate. He went to Alcorn State University.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Are you going to miss UPN or The WB...

You should because both networks will be history by next fall. They will be replaced by a new network known as CW. In Chicago this network will air on WGN Channel 9. This new network will be a joint venture between CBS (who owned UPN) and Time Warner and Tribune Company(who has a 22 and a half stake in the WB which it will relinquish).

I wish I knew what the programming will look like. UPN has been chided as a sort of BET 2 with a couple or so nights during its programming week dominated by programming featuring black characters (Girlfriends, Half and Half, Cuts, . I would wonder about Smackdown, Smallville, and other programs that airs on UPN and WB.

In either case perhaps with this merger this may prove to be a wise decision. Though I would ask what will become of WPWR-TV Channel 50. It is still owned by FOX Television Stations Inc. and they also own FOX 32 Chicago.

UPN, WB to Shut Down; New Network Formed from Chicago Tribune
UPN, WB to combine to form new network from Chicago Sun-Times
Tribune's WB Network to merge with UPN from Crain's Chicago Business
Closing the WB Network fails to lift Tribune stock price from Crain's Chicago Business

Monday, January 23, 2006

Two high profile black Republicans

So I just so happen to run up on this article on a contendor for the governorship of Ohio. What sets him apart from anyone else is that he is a black man. In addition to being a Republican and a social and fiscal conservative. We are talking about the Ohio Secretary of State J. Ken Blackwell.

Then in Maryland, there is a Lt. Governor named Michael Steele who is currently running for the Senate seat being given up by Paul Sarbanes. You may heard stories about Lt. Gov. Steele being pelted with Oreo cookies mainly because he just so happen to be a black Republican although no one appears to be sure if that actually happened or not.

In any case these are two people to watch next year. Steele may be considered the conservative balance to Sen. Obama. As for Blackwell he may be the second black man to become elected a Governor. The first being Douglas Wilder from Virginia although Gov. Wilder (now Mayor of Richmond, Virginia) is by no means the first black to become Governor of a state.

Perhaps the hope from these two examples is that blacks might be more willing to vote GOP. We'll have to see about that. I still think there are some barriers that just have to be broken down for that to occur. Honestly I think the GOP hasn't spent too much time and effort pursuing black votes. I think there is a constituency who might be willing to vote Republican.

Obama opens new chapter

The Sun-Times had an article on Sunday about a change in Sen. Obama's game plan for this year. He's going to go on the attack against some of the GOP's recent ethics challenges. Of course the spotlight has been on the Senator recently with regards to his using private jets with campaign donations instead of using a cheaper first-class airfare.

The Sun-Times article refers to this as Obama "breaking from his bipartisan honeymoon and preaching the Democrats' party line on ethics." He is taking a leading role in a Democratic ethics campaign in time for the 2006 campaign. This may be key in the possibility of Democrats taking back the US Congress this year.

We'll have to see where this pans out.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Clinton-Obama 2008

I've recently heard about an appearance former first lady Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton made to a black church on Dr. King's birthday. They were said to be controversial and racially exploitive. Basially Sen. Clinton was attempting to make a comparison between the GOP's control of Congress and a plantation.

You'd be very hard pressed to find any black leader who may disagree. Generally only the most radical seeking some attention may have an issue with this statement. Generally people like Rev. Al Sharpton and Sen. Barack Obama have come out defending Hillary's statement both believing it to be the truth.

Basically the point of the criticism is that perhaps saying something like this may have been a bad idea on King's birthday. That this is nothing more than an attempt to really scare blacks into continuing to support the Democratic Party. Who knows if that is even effective anymore.

So what is the post title about. Well I want to bring to your attention this post from Illinoize about Sen. Clinton's comments and Sen. Obama's rebuttle. The author here wants to say that Obama wants to be Sen. Clinton's running mate. Is it far-fetched? I can't say but this was a good post and I really enjoyed the ensuing discussion as well.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

An update on the George Ryan corruption trial

I had subscribed to CBS2Chicago's blog on former Governor George Ryan's trial. This morning there was an update on the trail the Prosecution is about to rest their case and the defense is on deck. The jury may begin to deliberate after Valentine's Day according to this report. I haven't followed this trial as faithfully as I should have, however, I've learned more in this short clip than I had if I had painstakingly followed every detail.

Honestly, I have my beliefs about Governor Ryan. I have considered his commutation of all death row sentences to be suspicious in light of the fact that he was under the gun during about all four years of his term as Governor. No doubt everyone who has in interest in this is probably watchig the trial.

Perhaps if I follow this trial I'll learn a little more about what was going on. I may have convicted Governor Ryan in my mind but hopefully the truth will come out in court and we'll get to the root. Hopefully this might be a catalyst for reform. Ideally from both sides of the aisle. For now I'll just follow the trial and let justice prevail.

Also I should mention that Ryan may have a little following in the black community thanks to his actions on the death penalty before he left the governorship. Thanks in part to the "perception" (and I put those in quotes because I'd like to find some facts on this) that blacks are disportionally placed on death row. He's made a round on Chicago's access channels over the summer. Again I have questioned his motivations for doing so.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

A nice quote...

I'm stealing this from the Protest Warrior manifesto. It has been published for just over a year now and I still love this quote. It's from our second President John Adams and it's telling.

John Adams in a letter to his wife Abigail wrote: "I must study politics and war that my sons may have the liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture, in order to give their children the right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, stutuary, tapestry, and porcelain."

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

One year anniversary...

This is the first anniversary post of this blog. It's been an amazing year. I've went from simple text to posting some pictures (you can see my developing photo talent if you subscribe to my feed). I still hope to be able to post some video in the near future, but this will be for fun. I don't plan on doing any mini-documentaries just see what I can do with it.

Still the focus of this blog will be mainly on politics, current events, and loosely on personal interests. I intend to explore a little bit of black history though I've been doing that all along. I want to do more with that. I haven't totally decided yet but I think it is time for this blog to have a face lift a new look and that good stuff but we shall have to see on that.

I hope you enjoyed the first year. I'm sure you have some criticisms or praises don't be afraid to holla. This blog now has an email address. As always though you may post comments in this post. Thanks for reading and your support.

itsmymind (AT) gmail (DOT) com

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Meet the aldermen...

I've written a little bit about the Chicago government on this blog and hopefully with the help of the Chicago Tribune we can talk about those who have seats on the Chicago City Council. In 2000 Rick Kogan and Charles Osgood who I assume is a photographer in the Tribune (you might have seen his work in the Sunday Tribune magazine) made a visit to each of Chicago's 50 wards. They plan to do the same in 2006, the only difference is they're doing so just before the next municipal election.

Check out Kogan's column from New Years' Day and hopefully I'll have some more good stuff to report from there.

Meet the Aldermen by Rick Kogan from Chicago Tribune.

It also appears that there are already two pieces on two south lakefront aldermen.

Toni Prewinkle (4th Ward)
Don't say gentrifying from Chicago Tribune

Leslie Hairston (5th Ward)
Making her points from Chicago Tribune

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Dr. King's Birthday...

Today most of you may not have to go to work, particularly if you are a government workers (except for transit workers, police and fire personnel), a banker, etc. Students don't have to go to school either whether public or private. This is a federal holiday to celebrate an individual who made significant change in American society. I'm very amazed to wind up attending his alma mater Morehouse College.

In any event I know there are those who disagree with this holidays on I suppose on racist or some what logical grounds. Indeed before King's birthday became a federal holiday it was reserved for President's Washington and Lincoln and federal holidays for our military personnel. In any case what a wonderful day to reflect on the positive outcomes on the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s. May we not forget what brought this about and how change came.

I also want to bring to your attention a campaign to build a Dr. King monument in Washington, DC. If you got anything to give or maybe you just want to learn more here's a website: Build the Dream.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

From Flickr...

I've been on Flickr for the better part of a full month actively uploading my photos for you guys to see. Now I want to show you what I like to see at Flickr. I'm giving you guys my favorite images from there as well as some of my favorite photosets.

Oh yes I seemed to have been regularly posting pictures everyday if you've been paying attention. For right now however I've hit the limit I'm going to limit how many I'll upload. Perhaps I'll upload at least 6 pictures every month. This time they just won't be from Chicago now that I'm back at school. The pictures will be more diverse.

My favorites from Flickr.

My favorite photosets

Friday, January 13, 2006

More on City Clerk Jim Laski...

The Sun-Times over the last couple of days has stories on the news of the feds having some type of dirt on the city clerk. In an article from Thursday's Sun-Times, Alderman and power brokers were already talking about lining people up to take over in his place. In an article from today's Sun-Times, we see that this news has taken its toll on Clerk Laski. It seems like the news already reached him before Christmas and he failed to show up for work. He hasn't been in his office since last year apparently.

AlsoLaski has been charged with soliciting payoffs and obstruation. I have also found this in the Sun-Times as well.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Advocate slashing services at West Side hospital

This article is from Crain's Chicago Business...

Bethany would close its emergency room next month and phase out other services over the next few months under a plan that needs to be approved by state officials, said Tony Mitchell, Advocate’s vice-president of communications and government relations.

By March, the 125-bed hospital would become a long-term specialty facility serving patients recuperating for an average of 25 days. The hospital would also shut its detox, intensive care and psychiatry programs, reducing total number of beds to 85.

Bethany Hospital is expected to lose $20 Million this year and more over the next three years. This move has prompted the Service Employees International Union to claim that Advocate is neglecting "poor neighborhoods and serves affluent suburbs ahead of inner-city neighborhoods."

The current plan must be approved by state officials however Tony Mitchell, Advocate’s vice-president of communications and government relations, had this to say about Advocate's plan...

“Part of what we want to do is figure out a way to sustain our commitment to the community and, at the same time, have an operation that is sustainable,”

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Feds secretly recorded city clerk

Now it looks like the city clerk of Chicago James Laski is somehow tied into the Hired Truck investigation. He is said to have made incriminating statements on secret tape recordings. According to the Sun-Times article he wants to work out a deal to save his pension. Laski was looking to advance his political career beyond the city clerk to either state treasurer or mayor. If it is proven that he is somehow involved this isn't good news for him. I remember that in the last election in 2003, Daley was looking to replace him but that didn't come to fruition so Mr. Laski has one more term.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Pilgrim Baptist Church to get a grant...

Looking at Blogginois there were some blurbs about Blagojevich offering some state funds to help rebuild the church which was heavily damaged by fire on Friday. Of course while the Blagojevich administration will insist that this money is going to the church's school. There are those raise objections thanks to the separation of church and state.

Of course one could see this need for this grant because of the importance of this institution for the revitalization of a neighborhood and the fact that Pilgrim Baptist is a landmark, that the offer or the use of state funds is appropriate or at least there is a need for it. Either way there are those who see this current effort by Gov. Blagojevich to score points with a key constituency. Whether this is just one more point for a politician to remain in power or what have you is another issue and we'll find out soon enough.

If Pilgrim Baptist is to ever be rebuilt then even if there are some kind of restrictions on the use of state funds then hopefully there will be plenty of private funds to be raised. Since this story has been a big story on the front pages of Chicago's major media outlets and the historical and architectural significance of this church has been established, then hopefully this church may not have much trouble raising the necessary funds to rebuild. Hopefully they'll be able to even if they can't stay with Louis Sullivan's (he helped design the building) plans.

Check out some of these links on the story...

Church and state from Captiol Fax Blog
Church Donation Creating Some Controversy from CBS2Chicago
State pledges $1M to rebuild historic church from ABC7Chicago
Taxpayer Tithings from ILLINOIZE
Blago promises another gift from composite drawlings
Governor, Foundation Pledge Donations To Rebuild Landmark Church from WBBM Newsradio 780
Our constitutionally challenged and wholly transparent governor from Eric Zorn

The Shield...

I was listening to Mancow yesterday morning and he had CCH Pounder on the show to talk about the fifth season of The Shield. She says that Vic Mackey will be worse than the old school Mackey. Vic Mackey for those of you who don't know is one of the many characters that makes up the ensemble cast of The Shield. Mackey is a detective and the leader of a sqaud known as the Strike Team. He is also corrupt making deals with drug lords and gang chiefs. Even plotted to hijack a "money train" from organized crime and keeping it for himself and his strike team.

This fifth season might look great if only I was able to actually watch it. Last season I'm not quite sure what the deal was. It seemed almost tame in comparison to other seasons. Anthony Anderson did a good job as a thug boss last season, at least we can see him get away from his usually goofy characters that I have come to know him as.

First off we see that Mackey's station gets a new captain. I thought it was going to be Forrest Whitaker but according to Pounder he's actually an Internal Affairs Detective sent to investigate Mackey. Pounder's character, Detective Claudette Wyms, who was teased a promotion to captain her precinct gets passed over again. There are other things going on but I guess I won't know as long as I don't have access to FX.

The Shield has become one of my favorite shows. The season of the "money train" is my favorite. In fact after that season finale I kept repeating the term money train over and over and over again. It's a great cop series and it really does belong of HBO but I like it without the overuse of vulgarities and the strategic use of the milder ones (like sh*t or g*d-damnit). Still I want to see the season premier tonight and the rest of the season. If I'm lucky I'll be back home in time to see all the new episodes of The Shield.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Blaze destroys historic church

A follow up story about from the Chicago Sun-Times. More about the fire at Pilgrim Baptist Church on 3301 South Indiana Avenue. There's even a Sun Times photo album. A very sad event, the church was even going through renovations.

Blaze destroys historic church from Chicago Sun-Times.

Photo album from Chicago Sun-Times.

And more from the Chicago Tribune...

Landmark church destroyed by fire from Chicago Tribune

Landmark church burns from Chicago Tribune

Historical photos from Chicago Tribune

Friday, January 06, 2006

Fire rages at Pilgrim Baptist Church...

At about 4PM, I saw coverage of the fire at Pilgrim Baptist from FOX Chicago and CLTV. Pilgrim Baptist Church is a historic black church originally built between 1890-91 as a Jewish Synagogue. It was also the birthplace of gospel music. The church is located at 3301 S. Indiana and was dedicated a city landmark in 1981.

Incidentally I find this interesting that this occurred after the news of Lou Rawls' death. Although he does indeed hail from the Bronzeville community, I can't say if Mr. Rawls ever had a connection the Pilgrim Baptist Chruch.

I should add that according to what I'm hearing on the TV, there isn't much left of the structure but I at least still see that the walls are up but now the church may just be gutted.

Fire rages at historic church from Chicago Tribune

UPDATED: I'm not the only one tracking this in the bloggosphere.

And check out these photographs from ChicagoEye.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Be wary of judges...

Well I remember a few years ago probably during the last campaign season for statewide offices Rev. Jesse Jackson stated that when it come to our judges they "want retention, we want detention." I may not always agree with Jesse Jackson but he is right on this points.

Judges have been allowed a lot of power today. It is a matter of I suppose we have to worry about them legislating from the bench but that is more of a federal issue than a state issue. When we go to the ballot box in Chicago we may not know half of those individuals who are seeking a seat on the bench for circuit court and beyond.

We must know because we want capable judges who will uphold the law and will not release criminals onto our streets who just might offend again. If you watch the O'Reilly Factor or other programs you might hear about judges who will go ahead and release criminals or give them light sentences although they have been proven to be dangers to their communities.

It is important to know about the candidates for judge and hopefully know where they're coming from. Also with the hopes that them will be fair and just as well as to be sure those criminals that are dangerous don't wind up on the streets again. Thus I have found a website that will help you the voter, IllinoisJudges.net.

From IllinoisJudges.net...
Our purpose is to help Illinois voters learn about judges and candidates for judicial offices. Do the voters want and need that information? We think so. More than 60,000 visits were recorded during the five-day period before, and including, Election Day in 2002.

I hope you find what you need out there and hopefully we can elect good judges who will help make our streets safer and keep our justice system operation smoothly.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Pastor Rush stirs hope, skeptics in Englewood

Also in Sunday's Tribune a wonderful article on Congressman Bobby Rush and his current activity in the Englewood. Let me start of by mentioning his mortgage troubles that was mentioned on this blog last month. According to this article he has settled his problems which were as a result of his activities in Englewood and in pumping money into his church. Either way I just have to admire the work he is doing in Englewood at this time. Homes are being built and also so will a technology center and a cultural arts program.

Through the Rebirth of Englewood Community Development Corporation there were plans to provide job training and then get renters owning property. I kind of like this program I just hope he can get some solidly stable incomes into the neighborhood. That effort has been difficult because according to this article there isn't grocery store within a two mile radius.

I honestly hope the the congressman is successful in his efforts although I get the feeling that one day everyone will want to live in Englewood. It could become the next hot neighborhood.

A Democratic insurgency

In today's Chicago Tribune there was this column about Ed Eisendrath's campaign for governor. He announced last month his campaign for the Democratic nomination for governor. Eisendrath was disappointed in Governor Blagojevich's ethical failings as governor and is going to go after him based on Blagojevich's pledge to end business as usual. Needless to say there are a lot of people out there who will say that Blagojevich hasn't lived up to it.

So the column ends on this note...
This could be good for the governor. No doubt he would prefer not to have a primary campaign. But this may force him to acknowledge the problems that have caused his public standing to crater and to put on a public defense of his tenure. If nothing else, he will learn if rank-and-file Democrats have given up on him.

My post on Eisendrath
Blagojevich has an opponent...

Sunday, January 01, 2006

Happy New Year!!!

I posted this not too long after the start of the new year. So now I've elected to edit this post to really talk about this blog and some of my plans for the year.

First off I would like to make a format change. This blog was mostly started as a political/current events blog. The focus was mainly on black issues. That won't change but I want to talk more about personal interests. Personal interests is more of a loose term. It may entail entries about my personal life and/or some personal projects I may undertake in my life or for this blog. I suppose I'll figure this out at some point as I start to engage in this format change.

Next, I've already added pictures to it so it will figure as an important part of this blog. Again the pictures may be more of personal interest than they would be of any political or current events interest. I'm just taking pictures at random but who knows I may run into something newsworthy.

Oh yeah since this is about the one year anniversary since I started this blog I would like to do something special on the very day that I started this blog. I don't know what yet but I'd like to try something. It could be lame or it could be great I don't want to say yet. I'm not good at planning things in advance.

Still I hope to really experiment with this blog this year. I must admit that I really like what I'm doing here. I wish everyone a wonderful new year. May this one be a good one.