Sunday, April 30, 2006

Serving two flocks

Rick Kogan profiles another Englewood alderman. The other was Ted Thomas of the 15th ward. Alderman Shirley Coleman represents Chicago's 16th ward. She is also the only ordained minister on Chicago's city council. And in this article she says that she tries to keep her religious and political business separate...

"A congregation is not that dissimilar to a constituency. Both jobs serve the needs of the people. I do, however, try to keep them separate. I save my sermons for Sundays."
Here's a little more about her road to alderman...

She's been a Baptist minister for 11 years-delivering sermons and teaching Bible classes at the Spiritual Wholistic Church on 50th Street-and an alderman since 1991, when she won election over eight candidates, none of whom played gently with the only female in the field. Things got rougher the next time around. Months before the 1995 election, it became public that Coleman's ex-husband, Hernando Williams, was awaiting execution after being convicted of rape and murder long after the two were divorced. Her opponent, Hal Baskin, said that Williams might have committed his crimes because Coleman "may not have been giving [Williams] what he needed at home."

The alderman was outraged, calling Baskin's statements "malicious and despicable." She says now, "It made me stronger but also able to speak more openly about issues such as domestic violence."

She grew up in Englewood and saw the neighborhood thrive and then decline after Dr. King's assasination. Also she ran for alderman after the incumbent, Chicago's first female alderman Anna Langford, retired in 1991. A little more about the 16th ward...

Crime and poverty remain serious problems in her ward, which includes parts of Englewood, West Englewood, New City, Back of the Yards and Gage Park, as well as the gem of the Chicago park system, Sherman Park...
Ald. Coleman does have some regrets but there is a coming bright side...
Out on the 63rd Street sidewalk, amid a long stretch of empty lots, Coleman says, "That is one of my biggest regrets I have, so much tear-down. Beautiful graystones that might have been restored. But too many were open and dangerous. We had to tear down in order to build up."

A few blocks to the east, there is rising a new campus of Kennedy-King College (in Osgood's photo). "It was a very long time in coming but it will provide the economic engine that is needed for that area around 63rd and Halsted," says the alderman, who plans to run again next year. "It will help bring this neighborhood back to what it was when I was young."

Saturday, April 29, 2006

Saturday items

Been a while since I did something like this. I'm just going to link to a few things of interest...

Check out this RESEARCHING MY ROOTS SERIES: Digging Up Background Information post at Booker Rising about an individual attempting to trace thier lost ancestry from Africa.

Check out this vlog about a trip to THE Cell at

I'd really like expand on this at somepoint from Cobb a post called GOP: Rent a Negro. I have a saying on this but I'll save this for another day.

In light of the story I posted regarding a blog about Fenger High School I just wanted to link to this discussion that I found from the District 299 Chicago Public Schools Blog

Friday, April 28, 2006

Leo High School Continues the Mission of Edmund Rice

I like this post from the blog Every Heart and Hand: Leo High School Story. It talks a little bit about Leo High School on 79th and Sangamon located in the mostly black Auburn-Gresham neighborhood. It is a Catholic high school that has recieved its share of ups and downs and somehow is able to survive mostly through it's alumni.

This story starts off with hostilities between Irish American and Black American. Then it goes into how the Irish alumni of this academy are giving back to give black teenage boys a chance to go to college. The school is mostly black today and hard to believe there were actually white boys going to school there.

This just goes to show another example how a neighborhood changes. As a result the composition of a school changes. Either way the current arrangement works and what's unfortunate though I'm sure there's a good reason the outside black community (other than black alumni of Leo) don't support the school. I would say that's unfortunate if the school is absolutely an asset.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Politics and preachers a precarious mix

Mary Mitchell's latest column talks about minister and politics. She uses James Meeks and Bobby Rush as examples. Respectively one is a state Senator and the other is a US Congressman. Instead of rehashing the whole column I'm just going to link to another post where there is some discussion on the issue at hand over at Capitol Fax Blog.

Now my POV on this issue is that I'm not comfortable with it. Indeed should a minister decide to run for an elected office it should be an issue how he'll juggle his responsibilities to his constituents and his congregation. Nothing should preclude a minister from running for office. Indeed as the case could be they're doing this because no one else is willing or able to step up to the plate for their communities.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006


Unfortunately at Morehouse this is the most boring period of time. Classes have ended and the reading period starts. After the reading period comes the final exams.

On Monday however, a new SGA President was installed. So this was the highlight of the week. They have a student here in a judge's robe inaugurating the new president. And don't think the judge's robe is merely a costume, the individual offering the oath is involved with hearing of discipline and conduct of students.

I alluded to SGA elections earlier this month on this blog. I just wanted to show one visual of this process comes to fruition. A new student leadership inaugurated. Honestly this was not heavily attended, however, I still consider this a highlight worth documenting in pictures here.

Oh yeah by the way...

I don't like to announce these things too much but I have started posting at Illinoize. This will be an interesting experience. It us mostly a blog about state and local topics. Usually the discussion is about politics.

I've been linked on Capitol Fax Blog a few times. Rich Miller who operates both Illinoize and Capitol Fax Blog gave me the invitation. In addition that that I've been linked by another Illinoize commentator Bill Baar, who's frequently posted comments on to here. Amazing that this has happened in the space of almost a year and a half.

For those of you who might be joining me my first post at Illinoize is regarding the Bill "Dock" Walls article from the Chicago Defender. I also hope you enjoy my pictures on Flickr and the links that I have provided. And don't forget to check out my blog & vlogroll.

And of course thanks for stopping by.

I just had to blog about this...

Hearing about how Morehouse College fairs against other institutions of higher education I just had to put this out there. Of course I will admit Morehouse doesn't fair too well against a school like the University of Chicago. Besides Morehouse, as I understand it, has just wrapped up their capital campaign but it doesn't approach Chicago's $2 billion capital campaign.

Well in Crain's this morning we see that Chicago is getting a new president. Robert Zimmer who is a Provost at Brown University. To take the post as President he has returned to the University of Chicago where he was a professor of Mathematics. This article has alluded to one of his many responsibilities as head of the south side university...

He will also be leading the university as its management contract for the Argonne National Laboratory, which the university has had since the laboratory's 1946 inception, is under review.
Also on his list of responsibilities is continuing the relationship University of Chicago has with its South Side neighbors.
The second part is key I suppose. Especially since the neighborhoods around the University of Chicago are surely gentrifying.

I found this on Capitol Fax Blog this morning...

Rep. Bobby Rush was a key player on some telecommunications legislation. Then an charitable arm of a telecommunications giant SBC/AT&T gave Rush's organization Rebirth of Englewood Community Development Corporation a $1 million grant. This could be seen as a way for telecommunications companies to curry favor with lawmakers. According to this blurb on this Capitol Fax blog this activity is coming under the increased scrutiny since the downfall of Rep. Tom Delay (R-Texas) and Rep. Alan Mollohan (D-West Virginia).

I honestly like what Rebirth of Englewood is seeking to do in Englewood I sincerely hope that this doesn't become an excuse to derail the projects they have in store for that neighborhood.

Congressional stuff from Capitol Fax Blog
Critics blast SBC-Rush relationship from Chicago Sun-Times

Sunday, April 23, 2006

I was waiting for Kogan to do another black alderman....

And indeed he has with this latest column. Ald. Issac Carothers was featured this Sunday. He represents the 29th ward on Chicago's west side. The ward borders the west suburb of Oak Park. He has an interesting history in the 29th ward where his grandfather was the first black Democratic committeman and his father was the Alderman. Carothers himself was elected Alderman in 1999.

This was how his first aldermanic campaign came down...
He ran for alderman in 1999. The race was a tough one. There were initially nine opponents, including the incumbent.

In the runoff that followed, Carothers called his opponent, Floyd Thomas, a puppet of U.S. Rep. Danny Davis. Thomas called Carothers "a thuggish carpetbagger" and "a Daley man." Carothers won that race, beat Davis for ward committeeman the next year and in the 2003 aldermanic race gathered 75 percent of the vote.
Then there's a little bit more about Carother's early life on the West Side...

"I grew up on the West Side, near where my grandfather owned a grocery store and a bar called the Oasis," the 50-year-old alderman says. "I worked at the store when I was young and later helped in politics with my grandfather and father, going door to door with them, meeting the people face to face."
Of course there was mention of courtroom drama within that family...

But it was not all fun. In 1983 his father was convicted of extortion and sentenced to three years in prison. Two years later, he was ordered to help pay $152,000 in damages for organizing, while in prison, a 1982 campaign of physical violence. (The current alderman, his brother and another man were indicted on charges of beating a rival campaign worker, but were later acquitted).
Either way before he became Alderman he worked in the Cook County Public Defender office. Then was a superindendant in the water department. Director of Internal Audit in the Chicago Park District and finally was a Deputy Commissioner in the Department of Streets and Sanitation in 1997.

This is how the 29th ward was described...

It has been down for a long time and though crime is still a major problem, the alderman eagerly talks about such ward bright spots as the new 15th District police station; a senior housing development; a 14-screen movie complex; a labor training center; and new restaurants. He gets up to show a drawing of a proposed, new $20-million Hartgrove Hospital.

"Things are changing much for the better," he (Ald. Carrothers)says.
Finally this is how Carothers describe his role as Alderman...

"I see us, the aldermen, as being 50 little mayors. We are the architects of our wards. This job is all about service. My philosophy is that people need to be shown how money is being spent, actually see their tax dollars at work. There are a small percentage of people who create all the problems here. The majority of the people who live in this community are good people who just want to work every day, just want to get by."

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Teacher's biting blog stirs storm

At first I thought this Tribune article was about some school on the north side but it isn't it's about Fenger High School in the Roseland neighborhood in Chicago. What goes on at this school may well be no different than what happened when I went to high school on the south side so many years ago. The difference between now and then is that there wasn't the internet nor was their blogging. Unfortunately I never had time to even find or know about this blog, until now when this blog has been shut down indefinitely.

This individual was looking for an audience and as a result they started talking about him at school. And it's gotten to the point where he isn't coming back. This didn't happen immediately after all. The students came back from spring break this week but near the end of the week the 30 year old teacher emailed his principal saying that he feared for his safety. See the students found out about this blog and they either had "righteous indignation" or the teacher's blog was flamed with "profane threats".

Want to know what the schools principal says about this...

...The teacher was the same one widely believed to have authored the blog because he told two colleagues that it was his, Fenger Principal William Johnson said.

Johnson said he doesn't know whether the teacher has resigned. The teacher hasn't returned Johnson's phone calls or replied to an e-mail asking to meet with him. The teacher did not acknowledge to the principal that it was his blog, but Johnson said he has no doubt, based on the writing style and his disappearance after the students named him in their postings.
Johnson believes it will be difficult for the teacher to return to Fenger, given the controversy. Because the teacher is untenured, the principal can fire him without cause at the end of the school year or after 10 workdays if he doesn't return.

"He's lost his credibility," Johnson said. "He lost the faith and trust of his students."
...But the principal said the episode has galvanized the school in a way he had not thought possible--and is encouraging staff and students to talk openly about the problems and how to fix them.

"There is a silver lining," he said. "It brought Fenger together." Johnson said he plans to hold student forums next week to discuss the blog, both the antagonism it revealed and the challenges that need to be fixed."He was painting a picture of desperation, and I had a problem with the generalizations he made," Johnson said. "But some of it was true, and that was the tragedy. If he had gone about it in a different way, it could have been a great forum."
Fenger isn't exaclty a great school in fact it's very much struggling academically like a lot of schools on the far south side. This is what senior class president Latasha Ivy has to say about this experience...
"These are things that happen at Fenger--fights, drug-dealing, gangs--it happens here like it does at other high schools. I already feel bad when I tell people I go to Fenger, because they go, `Ooooh, that's a bad school.' But there are still people here trying to do something with their lives," said Ivy, who has been accepted at the University of Illinois this fall and plans to study biology.
To end how about a little taste of what this teacher said...

He labeled his students "criminals," saying they stole from teachers, dealt drugs in the hallways, had sex in the stairwells, flaunted their pregnant bellies and tossed books out windows. He dismissed their parents as unemployed "project" dwellers who subsist on food stamps, refuse to support their "baby mommas" and bad-mouth teachers because their no-show teens are flunking.

He took swipes at his colleagues, too--"union-minimum" teachers, literacy specialists who "decorate their office door with pro-black propaganda," and security officers whose "loyalty is to the hood, not the school."
We've seen the actors on the front lines here. I didn't exactly go to the best performing high school and don't think for a second that there aren't some reasonably intelligent students going to these schools. And don't think that the parents don't care either. And the Principal is right perhaps the issues that are a problem should be discussed and not merely swept under a rug. Not saying that's what is going on here, but I am saying perhaps what is described about what's going on at Fenger and other schools around the city.

OK the article said the blog was no longer online but I have just found it. It's called Fast Times at Regnef High.

Remember Cory Booker?

Remember the movie Street Fight? I had a post about that movie last year when I first saw it on PBS. And I should have you know that DVD copies are available. I just have yet to pick up one.

Well in any event four years ago Cory Booker was sitting on Newark, New Jersey's City Council as nothing more than a freshman member then decided to run against Mayor Sharpe James , the entrenched incumbent who pulled not punches in defeating Booker to maintain his mayoralty. Well Booker may no longer be on the city council but he is back to take on Mayor James one more time. I also found out on Backyard Conservative that he is looking at the failure of our schools.

I want to continue to watch what happens in Newark. Indeed I hope there will be a sequel to Street Fight. Well anyway I wanted to bring Mr. Booker to your attention just one more time.

Friday, April 21, 2006

6.5% of CPS freshmen finish college

This article is courtesy from the Chicago Sun-Times. They talk about specifically about a gender gap especially amongst Latino and black males. Check this out...

According to the analysis, titled "From High School to the Future," nearly 80 percent of CPS seniors say they want at least a bachelor's degree, but most graduates don't have the grades to get into even somewhat selective four-year colleges -- much less graduate from one.

This is especially true among boys, and in particular African-American and Latino male graduates, about 50 percent of whom had high school averages of no more than C -- or 2.0 -- compared with 27 percent of all female CPS grads.

"Clearly, high schools are not engaging boys in ways to get them the grades they need,'' said consortium co-director Melissa Roderick, the study's principal investigator.
Here are some other things that makes sense...

"The difference between a D and an F is going to class," Roderick said. "The difference between a D and a C is minimally doing homework. But the difference between a B and a C and a B and an A is really working, doing the studying.
University of Illinois at Chicago senior Mary Olowo said she saw widespread apathy about grades when she attended Chicago's Amundsen High.

"C was a perfectly acceptable grade to most students," said Olowo, a 2001 grad. "A lot of time, even when homework was easy, they wouldn't do it."

Olowo attributed the study's jarring gender gap to boys who struggle with the lure of gangs and the perception that it's "cool'' to cut class.
Finally there are those who contend that money is a reason for the dismal graduation rates..
Mather High School Principal John Butterfield said the study seems to ignore the economic reality that 85 percent of CPS kids come from low-income homes and find it difficult to afford any college, let alone selective four-year schools. "If kids can't afford anything, where do they go?" he asked.

Gage Park Principal Wilfredo Ortiz cited another obstacle: "Last year, my No. 1 and No. 2 students were undocumented, so they couldn't get any financial aid."

At Northeastern, finances affect graduation timelines, said Provost Lawrence Frank. Many kids study part time while working to earn money for school. Others stop for a while to work and start up again. Yet others run into financial problems at other colleges and wind up transferring in to Northeastern.
What should be done to help increase the college graduation rates of CPS students? How do we get these young men in the mode to come to class and study and earn the marks? I may have a few ideas but I'll leave that for another post.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Black-owned businesses booming

I found an interesting article from the Sun-Time about black business. Here are some interesting facts about black owned businesses...
There were 54,758 black-owned businesses located in Cook County in 2002 that generated $3.9 billion in sales and receipts. The number of businesses was 69 percent higher than the 32,377 cited in the 1997 report, and revenues were 31 percent higher, although the Census Bureau cautioned that not all data is directly comparable because of changes in its surveying method.

Nationally there were 1.2 million black-owned businesses, up 45 percent between 1997 and 2002, and they generated $88.8 billion in revenue, a 25 percent increase, the Census Bureau said.
I like this news, and I want to see more of this. There is this idea that blacks do not like to start a business. I would really like the idea of helping a black owned enterprise suceed and hopefully more blacks will take the leap. What the business plan might be of course is up to only the budding entrepreneur.

Here's what the Sun-Times article says about the environment of Cook County and Chicago...

Chicago is a very good business town with a diverse set of industries, said Robert Blackwell Sr., chairman and chief executive officer of Blackwell Consulting Services, sharing his view of why Cook County has attracted so many black-owned firms.

"We used to be heavy in manufacturing, steel," he said. "Now there's finance, the stock market, services industries. The city has kept up.

"The economy seems to be pretty good most of the time, and for a very long time we have had some important black businesses, such as Ebony magazine, Johnson Products and Luster Products, the Chicago Defender. Chicago has been a very important town for African Americans historically."


The size of the black population in Chicago, elected officials' sensitivity to the need for black business development and strong black business groups have also been important factors, said Larry Huggins, president and chief executive officer of black-owned Riteway/Huggins Construction Services Inc.

Yeah I like this. Hopefully the Business department at Morehouse will realize the value of not only being a feeder for Fortune 500 companies but also producing the new Fortune 500 companies by teaching entrepreneurs. This is what I'd like to see more of.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

'Hanoi Jane' Fonda Declines Iraq War Protests

I rarely discuss the Iraq war here, but this makes sense. She isn't liked by Vietnam veterans. I've heard a story that she visited a POW camp and the servicemen gave her some notes that she was supposed to send to their families. Instead she gave them to their captors.

I would be inclined to say this was a youthful mistake. Besides she's probably amongst the first of many "Hollywood activists" who have been vocal on the issue of war and peace. They're especially loud today since President Bush has been elected in 2000.

Today, we're not inclined to hear what they say. Indeed, I've seen out there information which may place the education of these Hollywood activists vs. Bush administration. The verdict for them is not good, especially if education is an appropriate measurement.

So I guess as far as the current campaign goes Jane Fonda made the right decision as indicated on NewsMax...

"I wanted to do a tour like I did during the Vietnam War, a tour of the country," the Oscar-winning actress said Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America."

"But then Cindy Sheehan filled in the gap, and she is better at this than I am. I carry too much baggage."

I remember she was interviewed on I believe 60 Minutes. She says she regrets posing on the barrel of that gun in Vietnam. I forget the reasons why but she knows now that may not have been a smart thing to do. Perhaps it's age but today she knows she can't do what Cindy Sheehan has been doing for a while now.

More Ryan trial stuff...

I really like this paragraph that started today's Sun-Times article on George Ryan's guilty verdict...
George H. Ryan Sr., the 39th governor of Illinois, a Nobel Peace Prize nominee and the emancipator of Death Row, is now a convicted felon.
Now that's got to hurt right. It just hit me, perhaps the jurors have gotten tired of this corruption. It seems like open season on those individuals in government who simply are nothing more than greedy for money, power, and influence. Only time will tell on that.

I have one more quote...

Chicago FBI chief RobertGrant said he hoped the Ryan verdict would put an end to "political prostitution" in Illinois. "It underscores again that in this country, in this democracy, there is no one above the law," Grant said. "No matter who you are, no matter where your station may be in public service you're held accountable."

Monday, April 17, 2006

Well in light of that crazy comment...

Yeah that will go down as an unusual moment in the brief history of this blog, but during the process I got the attention of the rap star MC Hammer. I know you guys haven't heard from him in a while, but he has a blog now. So hopefully you'll hear a lot more from him.

Guess how he got here. I posted a comment in one of his posts. Either way I've heard about his blog through Yahoo. And if you don't believe MC Hammer really has a blog I suggest you go over to his site and check it out. He's even posted some pictures recently.

Thanks for dropping by Hammer.

Ryan shocker...

The former Governor of Illinois, George Homer Ryan, has just been convicted of all counts in his trial today. I got this news courtesy of a Tribune Alert from my friends at the Chicago Tribune. I haven't followed this case closely but I almost figured he'd get off, I suppose not this time.

As you know Ryan was governor of Illinois from 1999 to 2003. It was during his last few days as governor in 2002 or 2003 that he communted all death row sentences. He was hailed in later years as a death penalty critic. Honestly I doubt his conviction for taking the action that he did as governor, I suppose this verdict can only serve to confirm my doubts.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

An Oprah quote...

I don't know where this comes from exactly but knowing a little bit about Oprah's background over the years, I'm not surprised that this would be her response. Indeed I'd be disappointed if she didn't respond in that way. Either way it's a good quote and helps my belief that no one should feel guilty about their success.

"I have lots of things, like all these Manolo Blahniks. I have all that and I think it's great. I'm not one of those people like, 'Well, we must renounce ourselves.' No, I have a closet full of shoes and it's a good thing. I was coming back from Africa on one of my trips. I had taken one of my wealthy friends with me. She said, 'Don't you just feel guilty? Don't you just feel terrible?' I said, 'No, I don't. I do not know how me being destitute is going to help them.' Then I said when we got home, 'I'm going home to sleep on my Pratesi sheets right now and I'll feel good about it.' "

Friday, April 14, 2006

Omaha Turns Back the Clock: Re-Segregation

I just heard this on the Rush Limbaugh program. There was some legislation in Nebraska which will divided the Omaha school district into three districts. One will be predominantly white, another predominantly black, and another predominantly latino. This plan was touted to provide for more control by minorities over their own school boards.

This bill based the Omaha legislatures and was signed into law. This is being decried as a return to state sponsored segregation. In fact the Nebraska attorney general, Jon Bruning, sent a letter to one of the bill's opponents saying that this law might be unconstitutional (equal protection clause) and that lawsuits are certain to be filed.

The plan would not be implemented until July 2008 leaving some time for legislators to find an alternative plan. One supporter of this legislation had this to say about this plan...
"There is no intent to create segregation," said Omaha state Sen. Ernie Chambers, the Legislature's only black senator and a longtime critic of the school system.

He argues that the district is already segregated because it no longer buses students for integration purposes, instead requiring them to attend their neighborhood schools.

Chambers said the schools attended largely by minorities lacked the resources and quality teachers provided other schools in the district. He said the black students among his north Omaha constituency would receive a better education if they had more control over their school district.
Is this a failure of this idea of integration? Has integration failed to produce the results that were expected? Should parents have control over the school system?

There are a lot of issues here. The argument for integration of the schools is that blacks or minorities have often been shut out of having the best possible facilities and perhaps the best possible education. This was an attempt to adress inequalities.

I want to go to something Rush mentioned on his program...

You know, I also remember, I've had a couple -- well, a lot more than that -- I've had a lot of discussions with Dr. Sowell, Dr. Thomas Sowell who is also black and he grew up in Harlem and a lot of other places. I'll never forget one time he told me that when he grew up in Harlem before Harlem became what it is today, he said it was black, but you had black professionals, including teachers, and they were educated. They had values. They were all oriented around the church. The culture was intact, it was superb, and they held their own in academic contests with kids from white schools around New York and so forth, and once the integration came along, all that just disintegrated for some reason, and apparently what's happening is that they've finally owned up to the problem in Omaha, and so they're going to go back and try to fix it by turning back the hands of time.
I'm taking Constitutional Law right now. We were studying the Supreme Court's decisions on racial discrimination. We had a lively discussion on students reaction to school desegregation. My professor mentioned that in another semester in Con-Law had this argument about doing the best with what they had versus going where the education might be considered the best (best facilities, teachers, etc).

This is definitely a tough issue to be sure. We especially have to think about issues of funding for education and that kind of stuff. There are definitely no easy answers are there.

Nebraska Votes to Divide Schools from LA Times

Reductio ad Affirmative Action

Evan Coyne Maloney linked to a NY Times article where a family is seeking DNA testing for financial aid and college admissions. Reading Maloney's brief write up and reading this article it seems the debate on affirmitive action has gone in a totally unusual direction. Could anyone have seen this coming when they started this policy?

Check this out...
Alan Moldawer's adopted twins, Matt and Andrew, had always thought of themselves as white. But when it came time for them to apply to college last year, Mr. Moldawer thought it might be worth investigating the origins of their slightly tan-tinted skin, with a new DNA kit that he had heard could determine an individual's genetic ancestry.

The results, designating the boys 9 percent Native American and 11 percent northern African, arrived too late for the admissions process. But Mr. Moldawer, a business executive in Silver Spring, Md., says they could be useful in obtaining financial aid.

"Naturally when you're applying to college you're looking at how your genetic status might help you," said Mr. Moldawer, who knows that the twins' birth parents are white, but has little information about their extended family. "I have three kids going now, and you can bet that any advantage we can take we will."

Think about it this way. It has been in the news for the most part last year and maybe somewhat this year that there were improprieties in minority set aside contracts. It seems that companies seeking contracts from the City of Chicago weren't exactly minority owned business but were fronts. That is they may have had a minority (either a black, Latino, or a woman) at the head but it wasn't owned by said minority. Think about the Duffs, they got into trouble for that.

Now if they don't do that type of trickery, now they use DNA testing to prove what race they are. They are reaping the benefits of Affirmitive Action that was supposed to be a remedy for those groups shut out. Perhaps we need to really reconsider this policy. Either scrap it altogether or make some adjustments.

I'm not totally against affirmitive action, I just want it done for exactly the right reason. No hiring of unqualified individuals based on race or gender, and the same policy on issues of contracting and school admissions.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Right to employment...

I was thinking about the news coming out of France and the fact that in France laws make it virtually impossible to fire those workers who prove to be incompetent and lazy. As a result wouldn't this kind of policy by a government make private business extremely reluctant to even hire new young workers. Look at it this way and I take this quote from Evan Coyne Maloney...
If agreeing to a date with someone meant that you had to marry and spend the rest of your life with that person, how many dates would you go on?
Now I want to be honest about something. This is one reason why I'd be an economic conservative. I was out of school for a year attempting to find work and doing so would help in my goal of returning to school. This was during a time when the economy wasn't at its best and of course that's not to say there weren't jobs out there.

I've concluded that if the economy isn't doing well then someone does something to essentially get the economy growing again. You do this by reducing regulations and cutting taxes to name a couple of good policies. If you fail to do that and then expand say social programs which may need taxes to be feasible then how is it going to be supported if businesses aren't producing and people aren't working.

I remember a few years ago Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (I've stated that I'd support him for mayor should he choose to do that) that he proposed some constitutional amendments. One of them was "the right . . . to full employment and balanced economic growth." I can say that I think he's wrong on that and I know his heart is in the right place. He wants to help his people but mandating full employment and balanced economic growth isn't going to solve the problem it may exacerbate the issue needlessly like it seems to be doing in France.

I don't pretend to have the absolute answer to this problem. But I believe in incentives and I believe that some things just have to be earned not handed to you. Having a job handed to you might be nice but why work if you will have the position no matter if you really don't show up to work and/or barely produce.

Either way the situation in France right now got me to think about that Tribune article back in 2003. If America ever went down that road, I think we'd be in trouble. We won't be the economic marvel of the world at that rate. And unfortunately the greatness of America revolves around the ability to innovate services and products. I sincerely hope that there is no amendment in the constitution mandating a right to economic growth and employment.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

More Meet the Alderman...

Meet Chicago's only Republican alderman. Alderman Brian Doherty represents the northwest side's 41st ward and he is the one I don't know much about. There is little information about him on his city council page.

This guy has an interesting history. His family used to live in Austin and this was during the beginning of white flight there with the riots in light of Dr. King's assasination. He worked construction then got a degree from Northeastern Illinois University. He worked for the Republican boss the late State Rep. Roger McCauliff.

McAuliff encouraged him to run against then Ald. Roman Pucinski and the goal was never to win. It was to build name recognition but this was going to be Doherty's time. The people of the 41st didn't like Pucinski. This is a quote from Doherty...
"He was too caught up in being a 'downtown alderman,' meeting visiting foreign dignitaries. The people in this ward, they care about 30 feet in front of their homes. This job is all about nuts and bolts."
He was also a former Golden Gloves champion and also he was the only one of 47 aldermen who voted against a city council resolution urging Congress to hold hearings into reparations for the descendants of African slaves. Not only did this vote play well in the white ethnic 41st ward but it also played with his colleagues on the city council. Ald. Dorthy Tillman (3rd Ward) was a primary sponsor of this bill and this is what she had to say...

"He was honest," said 3rd Ward Ald. Dorothy Tillman
Either way the article states that he has finished his Master's degree at Loyola University. He handed Kogan his thesis titled "The Relationship Between Blacks and Republicans." I'd honestly would like to get hooked up with that.

One more parting quote from this article it's about his distinction as a Republican Chicago alderman. And I'll get caught up on those profiled alderman that I have missed later on...

"It's not a meaningful distinction. There's not a Democratic or Republican way to pick the garbage up," he says.

I've started posting video at My Mind's Eye...

Nothing original yet. So far I've only posted video of the Alpha Phi Alpha step team from You Tube (I posted that video here last month). Now there is a new video which is more compelling, more serious and very unfortunate.

The video is about the story of William Mayo, who was a student at Morehouse College. He was convicted in 1992 of a crime he didn't commit. This was a student made movie for Campus Movie Fest.

So go to My Mind's Eye and check out my post Video Experiment 2: William Mayo.

Plight of black men...

I saw a couple of interesting blog posts on the plight of black men. This issue have been of interest and concern to me. Statistics might prove that there may be more black men going to college than prison, but it seems there those who aren't going to prison don't want to go to college. I can look at two young men who don't have an idea about what they're are going to do.

In fact I mentioned to one of them one day about going to Morehouse and his excuse was, "I don't want to be around all those guys." I told him the ladies are across the street at Spelman but that made no difference. He isn't even thinking about that is what that was about.

I would wonder why it seems that black men don't seem to have an interest in an education. Are the schools not preparing them for college. Honestly it seems in 20/20 hindsight that I wasn't prepared that well for college, but somehow I've managed survive the world of high education. It helps if one works and hang in there because if one just takes themselves out of the game how can they function in this world.

There are a lot of things that can be done about this. I have friends who mentor and unfortunately I haven't done any of that, and let's just say I've tried with my aunt's foster son. Unfortunately it didn't seem to take maybe he'll see what I mean in a few years maybe he won't. A friend of mine also states another intention give back to his soon to be alma mater, Morehouse College.

Just to let you know Morehouse is America's largest private liberal arts institution for black men. Morehouse is known as producing leaders and scholars (something that I said in abother post before I was rudely interrupted). The college has conferred more undergraduate degrees on black men than any other instituation in the world. Morehouse enrolls about 3,000 students.

Well I gave some background here. I want to stop short of representing my school when the focus is on another subject. I submit to you two links that discusses this. They're pretty good links too.

The Plight of Black Men: The Ditch from Peace on That
Six Questions: Asked & Answered from Cobb

Monday, April 10, 2006

Racial profiling real -- and McKinney is no help

Another perspective of the McKinney situation of the past couple of weeks or so. Sun-Times columnist Laura Washington even has an opinion on the subject. Perhaps this race card business is starting to lose it's effect now. Check out these three paragraphs...

For most African Americans, the phenomenon is alive and well. Just ask a young black man walking down the street at high noon in Glencoe or Winnetka. Just count the minutes it takes for the police to roll up. But when a grandstander like McKinney puts it out there and is exposed as a fraud, it gives the critics a clear shot at the old saw: "There you people go, whining again."

Witness Rep. Tom DeLay's remark last week: "She has a long history of racism. Everything is racism with her," he said, adding, "This is incredible arrogance that sometimes hits these members of Congress, but especially Cynthia McKinney."

DeLay is right. Can you believe it? McKinney's antics have allowed an
indicted, disgraced, antediluvian congressman to grab the moral high ground. Whenever people of color falsely claim racism, we all become targets. We don't need our own so-called leaders giving comfort to the enemy.
This columnist called McKinney's act grandstanding. One could say that is exactly what she was doing. Add to this fact that Rep. McKinney wasn't even supported by her fellow Democrats. None of them stepped forward to defend her or support her. This prompted the apology last week.

Washington is right though. Something involving race is going on somewhere in this country and it takes a grandstander like McKinney to cause someone to consider this just an unsubstantiated charge. Like I said earlier if this was Barack Obama this situation would have been different because he's not as tempermental.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

This is such a lovely comment...

I'm gonna start off by saying there is some vulgar language in this post. Don't let your kids read this or better yet kids just leave the blog altogether. OK.

Well about this latest comment on my blog in reference to the Morehouse SGA elections, I don't have much to say. Perhaps this guy is just envious that he never got a Morehouse education. There's a saying on a t-shirt around campus, "You can tell a Morehouse man, but you can't tell him much."

Well here's the comment and the date stamp...

At 4/08/2006 3:19 PM, Anonymous said...
shut the fuck up. Go back to Africa.
I could launch into this person telling him how ignorant and stupid he is. I could even point out that most blacks in this country have never even gone to Africa so the proper insult could be, "Why don't you go to Africa?" There are many possibilities.

So this person just writes this junk on a post about some student government election. Nothing else of great importance. What can I say this guy's head isn't in the right place.

Either way I had to decide if I'm going to put this blog on lockdown. Start moderating and I really don't want to do that. Or perhaps start banning anonymous comments. Well since this isn't that serious and there is no justification for moderating (as of yet) or even banning anonymous comments, I won't get that drastic. At least not yet.

For this fool to leave their comment it proves that perhaps I'm doing something right.

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Kennedy High School incident...

I remember in my days in high school. My school was crazy with fools throwing food in the cafeteria, someone starts a fire in either the gym locker room or in a garbage can outside, a serious fight in the hallways which gets a crowd of spectators, or a pulled fire alarm that gets everyone outside to either see a fight or what have you. I was glad to have left that although things seemed to have been getting a little better by the time I had graduated.

Of course in the years that I left the school made the news for a shooting but now a new incident but at another Chicago Public high school. Mary Mitchell wrote a column about this latest incident at Kennedy yesterday and said the problem might be disclipine at home. Boy did she call it looking at today's article in the Sun Times.

It's OK for parents to stick up for their children but if you elect to turn a blind eye to their wrongdoing are you doing them a disservice. Certainly you are so in the aftermath of this incident where four black students beat a white honors student and smeared him with feces we find out that one of those perpetrators had also been accused of stealing some bus passes from another student.

Yet this is what this guys mother said about these charges...

"One of [the parents of] those students who was involved in that attack actually was at our board meeting [last month] protesting the fact that we were disciplining her child and [saying that] her child was an angel," Duncan said.
There is a problem with disclipline for sure. Perhaps the school isn't dishing it out but a school can only do so much. Perhaps it's the parents as well. Perhaps if a child does something stupid perhaps it's the parents job to humiliate them or disclipline them. In fact it could be the community's. Consider this for a second from Mary Mitchell's column...

I ran across an article about a situation in Guatemala City that made me think.

Four young men who were accused of trying to rob a school were publicly whipped by their parents in a punishment that was dictated by Mayan elders. Each of the offenders received 13 lashes. They were also forced to walk on their knees for a quarter-mile in the village of Barreneche, according to the Associated Press.

Now this may not just be a parental problem but a community problem. We hear stories about when (at least in the black community) that if you did wrong your parents will hear about it from a neighbor or someone who knows them. Perhaps that needs to be brought back somewhere. I think Mary Mitchell alluded to that in her column.

Also Mary Mitchell brought up the perception of black males being nothing less than animals. That would be an unfortunate perception and one could say how black males are really struggling right now. Black males may not be going to jail but they may not be going to college either.

Well I can bring up so many issues that can come out of this or so can other individuals. Either way if a child is willing to smear another human being with feces then there is an issue there. What is wrong?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Morehouse SGA elections

I don't write a lot about my school on this blog, but let me just say I've attended two colleges and the Student Government Association (SGA) elections at Morehouse seem to be the most serious. At a school that promotes itself as developing leader perhaps that's the idea. Theoretically our next leaders either ran for or were elected to positions on the Morehouse SGA.

I'd like to have pictures up of the debates that took place on Monday. It was a circus because it seemed my fellow students wanted action. One of my guys said it was like Jerry Springer. I either said it was no different than the British Parliament or it was like WWF.

Either way there were some good articulate candidates who knew who they were talking about. There were some whom I'm glad aren't going to get too close to an SGA position. And I was disappointed that the guy I supported for SGA President didn't even make the runoff.

This is how serious Morehouse SGA elections were. Last year as it were this year the balloting was electronic. They handed us these cards with computer chips and they program these cards and then we take the programmed cards to the voting booth and make our selections. With the run-off that was today it was less technical, just a simple paper ballot with the voters marking their choices.

That's the strange part Morehouse calls in the Georgia Secretary of State or whoever oversees the elections in this state to help administer the SGA elections here. Morehouse at times seem more like a high school than a college and I would expect the simple paper ballots but I would suppose you need some outside folks to come in create the ballots and then ultimately count the votes. Of course the students are still involved as citizens of this great community known as Morehouse.

I should also mention Spelman. The guys at Morehouse like to show out. They really put on a show with websites, professionally created posters, t-shirts and the like. As far as I have observed the ladies over at Spelman College don't seem to be that competitive and that's not to say they aren't. I just haven't seen it and most of the compaign signs I've seen are hand made. It seems the ladies like to use their hands with their campaign materials.

I have a few shots from around Spelman during their campaign season. It was back in February so whoever ran has won or lost already. Either way this was a fun campaign. I wonder if I could have ran for something. Well I guess right now being a big cheese in student government isn't for me right now.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Cynthia McKinney...

For almost the past week we've heard something about the latest antics of Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. Currently she's serving her latest term after returning to the House of Representatives last year. She was defeated back in 2002 and the person who took her seat opted to run and lose for the Senate.

In any case the story started when apparently she decided to go around a metal detector and opted to assault a US Capitol police officer. Now the case is on its way to federal prosecutors and it looks like Ms. McKinney is going to have an arrest warrant out on her. This seems a little unnecessary doesn't it.

Of course this was apparently not boiled down to something that could have resolved easily has turned into charges of racial profiling. And that's aside from the possibility of federal prosecution and getting arrested for this. This really does seem unnecessary.

At least with Sen. Barack Obama he doesn't seem very tempermental. Even if the Capitol Police just so happened to engage in racial profiling. Though I'm sure Barack will call them on it if they did try it on him. McKinney on the other hand has been around a while should any of this surprise anyone.

In any case I found some quotes from an interview she did with Wolf Blitzer on CNN. This is thanks to Rush Limbaugh and basically I'll let you judge for yourself what she said. This interview probably would have been a softball one if McKinney hadn't contradicted herself. It started with Wolf Blitzer asking about the new hairstyle...

McKINNEY: Wolf, the only thing I can say about the juxtaposition of those two pictures is that in one of them I happened to have a little more makeup on, about the way I am here on CNN today. But the bottom line is that my face hasn't changed, and I haven't changed. I've looked like this for the entire 11 years that I've been in Congress, and so I don't understand exactly why it is that certain police officers have a problem remembering my face.

BLITZER: "Well, I guess the basic question, congresswoman, is if they asked you to stop and identify yourself or go through the detector?, what's the big deal? Why not do that?"

McKINNEY: Today we had black elected officials from the Georgia Legislative Caucus at the time when Coretta Scott King's body lay in state at the Georgia State Capitol, the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus was not allowed into the building to form a part of the procession. Why? They can't even answer the question except that the security at the Georgia Capitol did not recognize them as duly elected members, able to carry out the mandate of the people who sent them to the legislature. It oesn't matter if you're in the United States Capitol or the Georgia Capitol, the issue is racial profiling.

BLITZER: "This is an extremely serious charge you're making, congresswoman."

McKINNEY: Well, I haven't made a charge. I just asked you to do a little bit of research.

BLITZER: No, no, no, but you're talking earlier about racial profiling and that there was racism involved in stopping you for questioning because you weren't wearing your congressional pin.

McKINNEY: Now, Wolf, you know I didn't say that, so don't twist my words.

BLITZER: Well, tell us what you said.

McKINNEY: Don't even begin to twist my words.

BLITZER: Tell us what you said.

McKINNEY: Whatever it is that I said is already on the tape. So you can replay the tape.
McKinney an Embarassment Regardless of Hairstyle from
McKinney's arrogance crosses line from the Atlanta Journal Constitution

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Videoblogging week...

It's been a while since I've posted about videoblogging, so I guess this will be a new one. There was a videoblogging week last year now this starts again. I'm going to link to a few videoblogging posts as I come to them. However, there is a technorati tag to be used and I will provide that here.

You know I keep talking about doing some videoblogging but I keep running into some type of roadblocks. Oh well I'll find a way eventually. Best case scenario is that this will pass me up before I even get started.

Either way though enjoy.

Videoblogging week 2006 - Day 1 from
Videoblogging Week-Day 1: CoWorking from Ryanne's Video Blog
Boston Media Makers from Steve Garfield's Video Blog
Videoblogging Week Day 1: Pony Ride from Chris Daniel's Video Blog

Technorati tag and understand that I'm not participating...


Monday, April 03, 2006

I have just learned a valuable lesson...

Watch what I say. A member of the Bowens family (the family murdered in Matteson) just posted a response in the post I made about that story. Well all I can say is that I hope to do better than that in the future. I hope this individual comes back and sees my response and I will edit it to clear up any possible confusion or offense.

I would like to offer my email address again if anyone want to contact me privately regarding my posts. Of course you may always leave a public comment on any of my posts...

itsmymind (at) gmail (dot) com


I found some better stories from the Chicago Tribune. More about the family. More than I knew when I made the original post. Nothing new since the end of the month at least from the Tribune.

Son of slain family found dead in Florida
Friends, co-workers grieve

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Deal might spare life of girl's accused killer

Ryan Harris was murdered in the Englewood community in July 1998. Police originally charged two boys aged 8 and 7 with her murder however they were cleared when DNA evidence from Ryan's underwear was examined. Then using this same evidence Floyd Durr was connected to the crime, he had been arrested on August 28, 1998 for three assaults on other young girls in Englewood. He was set to be placed on trial on May 1st.

In an article in today's Sun-Times Harris' mother has said that there is a plea deal that would take the death penalty off the table and give Durr apparently life in prison. He is already serving a 125 year sentence for his other assaults on Englewood girls. However, there were no indications of a deal at a court hearing on Friday. So who knows what the deal is.

Either way this man apparently has a history of this activity and unfortunately a child is dead because of it and the city in chasing the wrong people had to settle a lawsuit over their arrest of two little boys. Now there might be a plea deal which will spare Durr's life. If there's not a deal the Defense for Durr has placed a motion that seeks to bar the death penalty on the basis that Durr is mentally retarded.