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Thursday, August 31, 2006

Could You Pass the US Citizenship Test?

How about a BlogThing for fun around here. Let's see if you can pass this basic citizenship quiz. Take it yourself.

You Passed the US Citizenship Test

Congratulations - you got 10 out of 10 correct!

Cell phones spill secrets

I must say that to a point cell phones irritate me. When I see a person walking down the street and it appears they're talking to themselves then I look a little closer and I see they have a headset. Or people seem to air out their business on a cell phone and it doesn't matter where they are it could be in public. That irritates me keep that crap at home.

Better yet there are those who use a cell phone to make it seem that they are sooo important. That they have such interesting and dramatic personal lives or that they're such big shots that they want everyone to hear. No we don't and I don't particularly say what you say.

I'm not saying cell phones are all bad. They're good for emergencies and not only that people do conduct business on them on the go. Unfortunately it's just the latest luxury that people seem to take advantage of in my opinion. People abuse it. They abuse it when they go behind the wheel and try to talk on the phone.

Well I have one more reason to dislike cell phones. If you own a business or are carrying on a forbidden affair be careful. You're cell phone might have become a person journal/diary/record of secrets you wouldn't want anyone to know about.

Cell phone users either give their old phones away to a friend and that friend sells the phone on E-Bay or the cell phone users sell their phones themselves. Either way a hacker or a thief can find a way to pull some dark secrets out of a cell phone. Either way two experts in this field have some advice before you decide to upgrade to another phone...

Peiter "Mudge" Zatko, a respected computer security expert, said phone owners should decide whether to auction their used equipment for a few hundred dollars — and risk revealing their secrets — or effectively toss their old phones under a large truck to dispose of them.

What about a case like the Lothario whose affair Trust Digital discovered?

"I'd run over the phone," Zatko said. "Maybe give it an acid bath."


Read the article at MSNBC.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A few days ago a vlogroll addition today a blogroll addition...

Don't confuse this with the Unofficial Chicago Public Schools blog. They both have similar designs, but there is a new Chicago Public School blog known as Teacher X. Education seems to be something of a recurring theme around here with Regnef and school overcrowding.

Check out the first blog post over there...

It's not the kids. It's never the kids. It isn't their fault the system is what it is. Don't ever blame the kids. Not only won't I discuss my students, I won't discuss where I teach. This blog is solely to discuss (and quite frankly make fun of) the bizarre policies and unpredictable behavior of the Chicago Public Schools. I hope you well all join in the fray. Just remember the one rule, it's not about the kids - don't discuss them - talk about anything else, just not the kids. (Insulting your principal probably isn't a smart thing to do either).


Have a look.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The Chicago GOP

I saw this Mark Brown column thanks to The Capitol Fax blog. It was very interesting. I've been trying to follow the Cook County Republican scene for a while and well it's difficult to follow. There isn't much information on them.

This column alludes to the lack of status of being a GOP Ward committeeman in Chicago. Here check this quote out...

"We're going around the committeemen," said Tom Swiss, executive director of the Cook County Republican Party, who says part of the problem is the lack of status and influence that comes with being a Republican committeeman in a Democratic town.

"You're kind of the king of an anthill," Swiss said.


Often reading Chicago political stories I get the feeling that the major factions in state politics have carved their territory. For instance Democrats got Chicago, if not Cook County and the Republicans might have the rest of the territory in the state. Of course there are outposts of Republicans or Democrats around the state.

For instance Chicago is a Democratic city. It says so in the article although it's painfully obvious if you're actually paying attention to local politics. However how many knows that Chicago has at least one lone Republican on the city council. There's even a Republican outpost in the city with others trying to make this true in other wards around Chicago.

So we see the frustration of a dedicated Republican on the north side of the city who can't even get in touch with her official party leader in her ward. Ultimately the Tony Peraica for Cook County Board President installs her as their coordinator for her ward. She wants to know where her committeeman is.

Mark Brown found him and this is why he's been absentee...

(Kurt) Eckhardt, the wayward 48th Ward committeeman, says it's more often the case that GOP committeemen are "just not into it" after years of frustration, listing himself among them. "What can be more thankless and unrewarding than being a Republican committeeman? I wasn't put on this Earth to be an unpaid volunteer for these guys," Eckhardt said, referring to the party's candidates. "Especially, half of them I can't stand."

Eckhardt, surprised I tracked him down in Florida, says his attitude wasn't helped any by getting hung out to dry by party leaders in his 2004 campaign to unseat Rep. Jan Schakowsky. But he promised to return after Labor Day to help Peraica, whom he likes, then leave for good.


There have been other stories how Democratic leaders have installed some of their own people to the ward GOP committeeman spot. Then there's that explanation by Kurt Eckhardt. Even worse some of these individuals are said in this column to be traitorous and disengaged.

At the start of this campaign Peraica lamented the lack of a two-party system in Cook County and it seems he has some work to do. That is if building the Cook County GOP is his priority.

Monday, August 28, 2006

One more post about Juan Williams...

Juan Williams who is a contributor who you might see often on FOX News Sunday has written a new book, Enough. You can listen to this interview by Dr. Walter Williams on the Rush Limbaugh program. This book is critical to the current "black leadership".

Don't Marry a Woman With a Career

I had found out a few days ago that Forbes Magazine had a column telling men not to marry a career woman. I wish the folks at ATT Worldnet could have formatted some paragraphs for this but I will post this item in its entirety.

Forbes magazine may not be known for its relationship tips, but the business publication is getting a lot of attention right now for an article about finding a wife. Editor Michael Noer has written an editorial titled "Don't Marry a Career Woman" in which he outlines the pitfalls he says men will face if they defy that advice. He bases his theory on a batch of recent studies that claim career women are more likely to cheat on their husbands and get divorced. And they'll also want fewer children. "If they do have kids, they're more likely to be unhappy about it. ... The more successful she is, the more likely she is to grow dissatisfied with you," he writes. As soon as Forbes.com posted the article Wednesday, reactions spread across the Web like wildfire. Sarah Cipperly, a lawyer in Atlanta, immediately e-mailed her girlfriends urging them to boycott the magazine, saying the attitude expressed does not fit her experience. "It's certainly not reflective of the working women I know, the working woman who raised me, or the ones I come across in the business world every day," Cipperly said. Helen Fisher, an anthropologist at Rutgers University, told "Good Morning America" she was "astonished" by the article. "I'm surprised that the man thinks it. I'm astonished that he wrote it. And I'm astonished that anyone published it, particularly Forbes," she said. And Fisher denied there is any evidence that career women are more likely to divorce their husbands -- as long as they are in good marriages. "Better educated women are going to [have] more alternatives, and so they're going to be more likely to walk out of a bad marriage," Fisher said. "They're not going to be any more likely to run out on a good marriage." Rusty Robertson, a New York City marketing executive and mother, said from what she saw in the article, the problem might be with Noer, not working women. "At the end of the day, this man has no faith in relationships, he has no faith in marriage, and I certainly wouldn't want to be married to him," Robertson said on "GMA." For most people, having a spouse who works is less a choice than an economic necessity. A recent survey found nearly 70 percent of working men have wives who work. Forbes took down Noer's article on Thursday and reposted it later next to a column called "Don't Marry a Lazy Man" written by a woman writer. Today Forbes editor in chief Steve Forbes issued a statement saying the piece "clearly hit a very sensitive nerve. "The piece was intended to be part academic and part humorous," he said. "Instead, it profoundly offended hardworking career women everywhere. We deeply regret having done so."


Here's the link to the actual article. It is right next to another article telling ladies not to marry lazy men.

Mission: Impractical

I'm late in posting this but I figure why not. I didn't get to watch Mission:Impossible three when I saw it back in May but this MSNBC article just give me a cheap reason to talk about that movie.

I'll talk about that movie in a minute but how about this article I just found today. It discusses how the Impossible Missions Force (IMF) is bad for America. Wow someone is actually pondering the role of a fictional intelligence agency.

In any case here's a little taste of this article...

Yes, on one level this scene simply opens the door for the sequels. But on another level it makes Hunt the new Phelps. And Phelps betrayed us. Since the movie places Hunt where we first saw Phelps, it doesn’t take much of a leap in logic to realize that one day Hunt will betray us, too, and he’ll have to be chased and killed by his protégé, who will replace him. And on and on, world without end.

Watching the credits roll back in 1996 I thought, “Wow, what a cynical end!” Except nobody felt what I felt. “Dude, it’s just an action movie,” is basically the response I got.

Now having watched the first two “Mission: Impossible” movies again in anticipation of the third, I have to say they’re right. The ending to “Mission: Impossible” doesn’t say something cynical about the spy game. The entire series says something cynical about the spy game. Because the main message of the “M:I” movies is this: We need IMF agents to protect us...from IMF agents.


Oh and I just have to point out this shot taken at our efforts to find Osama bin Laden. This may have been more humor than a critique of our efforts in the War on Terror...

Questions inevitably arise. Why did IMF need Hunt to recruit Nyah? Couldn’t they have imprisoned (and tracked) her without her knowledge? And once they found Ambrose’s hideout — an isolated coastal mansion in Australia — why not bomb it back to the stone age? And why leave Hunt in charge of the mission since 1) he’s the one agent Ambrose knows better than himself, and 2) he’s emotionally compromised? Who’s in charge of IMF anyway — Michael Chertoff?

But at least IMF found their most-wanted man, which is more than we’ve done with ours. Maybe we should’ve sent Thandie Newton to Tora Bora.


Honestly I liked the Mission:Impossible movies. I liked the series too when they were on reruns on FX (Now the home of such great TV programming as The Shield, Rescue Me, & Nip/Tuck to name a few). Of course somehow they had to make Tom Cruise the star but was a little disapointed when they made Jim Phelps the villain and killed him twice in the movie. The second time was the charm.

Well I saw the third movie and it came just in time for people to hear more about Tom Cruise's religion, Scientology. I get the sense that people were tired of hearing about it and his relationship with Katie Holmes. Indeed it seemed some of the subplot of this movie may have been loosely lifted off the tabloids.

I liked this movie. Like I said I liked them all but this movie goes back to the basic element of the Mission:Impossible series, teamwork. It just would be nice if instead of having a big star of the movie that there would be more of an ensemble cast.

I just found out that this movie will be released as a special collector's DVD October 30th. I hope you buy it and enjoy.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

I want to address this..

Wikipedia isn't exactly the best source of knowledge indeed for some is it a very raw source but I saw these two paragraphs under a section for the Black Middle Class under the article African American contemporary issues.

Generally, the black middle class has the opinion that persistence of the poor black working class concentrated in the inner city or rural areasm which carries with it all the cyclical pathologies associated with poverty, and continues to plague "blacks as a group", i.e., to draw media attention away from the more fortunate and affluent members of the black community. The black middle class tends to believe that the presence of a large portion of poor blacks in the country distorts the collective image of blacks.

Just as whites and others who have risen into the bourgeoisie have historically looked down upon the working class from which they originated, many in the black middle class believe that the blacks who are left behind in poor and working class conditions are actually lazy and ignorant. Many blacks who progressed from inner city slums to the suburbs often express detached feelings toward blacks remaining in ghettos. This is especially true of black athletes, doctors, actors, and so forth. [5]. Renowned black comedian Bill Cosby has spoken out to this effect.


I'm sure there are those of us who do this. It is pretty easy to do. The flip side of this is that there are those who aren't very well to do who will look at middle class blacks with a certain amount of envy, hatred, or whatever verb is appropriate here. Tough call of course unfortunately the answer isn't going to be to just run away from those left behind and then call them lazy.

One could say that way back when in say Bronzeville blacks of all classes could live next door to each other. Today one can say this may not be all that true in black communities. Well I don't know the question is what should we do with the less fortunate in the black community call them lazy or do what we can to make success a great cultural value. And that's not to say that's the only thing.

Well what say you?

A vlogroll addition...

I haven't really been on the vloggersphere much but this is pretty good one and it's a black man doing it so I think I'll just use this time to give Today I Feel Like.com some props. I really liked this video and so that you'll be warned another take on black women pursuing white women. You should enjoy the other posts here even if you may not enjoy that particular videoblog.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Here's another crazy quote...

Thanks to a blog dedicated to the Chicago Public Schools a story from the Tribune about a Principal who decided not to take in any more students and allow class sizes that will ballon to over 40 students. On the Southwest side of Chicago thanks to the growth of the Hispanic community that way the schools that way are getting very crowded and this principal or actually interim principal, Martin McGreal, basically put his foot down and took a stand. Well it got him terminated.

He's only 37 years old and was once upon a time one of 12 teachers from Curie High School the system's CASE examined which was opposed by many teachers because it was thought to be confusing and not reflective of curriculum. CPS decided not to administer this exam.

Well in any event this was a crazy quote that Mr. McGreal said about what a demographic planner said to him about not worrying about a large freshman class...

McGreal proposed that some students and teachers use part of Lindblom College Prep High School, a selective enrollment high school about a mile to the east that is under capacity.

McGreal said he was appalled when one demographic planner told him not to worry about a large freshman class since many of the teens would not show up or drop out.

"He told me that we would probably lose about half the kids anyway," McGreal said. "That's the kind of mentality we're fighting."

Is that person serious???

Independent voters group backs Todd Stroger

I found this off of Capitol Fax Blog today. Todd Stroger gets an endorsement over this opponent Tony Peraica...

Faced with a choice between a machine politician and a reformer running for Cook County Board president, the Independent Voters of Illinois-Independent Precinct Organization endorsed the reformer. But that was in the primary, when the candidates were Democrats John Stroger and Forrest Claypool.

On Wednesday night, board members of the progressive group faced a very different choice between Stroger's son Todd -- an alderman who says he is open to change -- and Republican Tony Peraica, whose conservative views on abortion and gay rights turned off the members.

They voted 11-10 to endorse Stroger.

"It's always very difficult when we're trying to balance social justice issues and governmental reform issues. It was very hotly contested," said Deb McCoy, the political action chair.


Now this is the oddball quote...

"Even though Mr. Peraica has very strong anti-patronage, clean-up-government issues, he has very conservative views," said executive director Aviva Patt. Peraica's candid comments about personally disapproving of the gay lifestyle while opposing discrimination "kind of shocked and offended a lot of people. It had a very strong impact on our members."


Well I consider this oddball but they made their choice. I know it's a difficult one and who knows I'd have done the same thing. I suppose you can't disaprove of a lifestyle then turn around and say I oppose discrimination. For some that's one and the same.

Carson's on State Street to close.

I found two artices regarding this from the Tribune and Crain's. They no doubt bout say the same thing, but this particular store designed by I believe Louis Sullivan is to close in March.

Why?

Because according the the CEO of Bon-Ton Stores, INC. the operating costs for this store are significantly higher than the average operating costs for the company's other stores. Of course it doesn't help that the building's owners are giving the company incentive payments to leave.

Of course it has been reiterated that there will be no other closings in the Chicago area. In fact Bon-Ton is looking for sites on either the north or south sides of the city.

Carson's State Street store closing from Chicago Tribune
Carson Pirie Scott's State Street store to close from Crain's

Thursday, August 24, 2006

ECW on Sci-Fi

Tuesday night for the first time since I've been knowing about the return of ECW I saw my first ECW episode. It was OK but I was disappointed that they brought in the WWE Diva Torrie Wilson. That sluggish start just about ruined it for me but the show got better eventually.

I see that Test has finally returned to WWE in ECW and Hardcore Holly is now in ECW. I just wish I was able to see more ECW but I'll have to deal with not having Sci-Fi channel. And there's one more thing.

The main event of the vening was Sabu vs. ECW Champion Big Show. Before this main event Sabu actually talked. Oh man WWE had ruined him too Sabu never talks. Anyway he beat Big Show with in an inch of his life (believe it or not) and one more shot but Big Show out of the ring and through a table. I laughed my butt off at that.

Not a bad show but I shouldn't forget that ECW is owned by WWE and I shouldn't expect the ECW that I knew and loved for the brief time that I've seen it. I just don't want to see Torrie Wilson in there again unless she's going to get extreme.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

ABC gives Jennings a last hurrah

Last year Peter Jennings had passed away from lung cancer but a year after his death he is to appear in a documentary about AIDS in the black community. This project was something he was working on while he was being treated for his condition but he passed away before this project was completed. Here's a little something about his appearance in this documentary...
He is shown midway through the documentary conducting a discussion among HIV-positive black men. It was recorded a few weeks before Jennings' cancer was diagnosed in spring 2005. Jennings was dressed in a denim shirt and looked pale, with a barely noticeable catch in his voice.

At one point, a man tells Jennings that he never told his wife he also had sex with men and although she's now infected, she accepts it.

''Doesn't have much choice, does she?'' Jennings retorts.
...
Some at ABC wondered whether it would strike viewers as strange to see Jennings a year after he died, so they argued for cutting the segment out. There was thought given to keeping comments from the round-table and cutting Jennings out but it was agreed his interchanges with the men were interesting.

''It was a content-based decision,'' Yellin said.

Moran tells viewers at the outset of the documentary and before the roundtable that Jennings was included, to avoid confusion.

It's not exactly important that Peter Jennings is in this documentary as much as it is important that I put this documentary out there so that you may watch it.

Last week Mary Mitchell did a column related to this subject. She did a column about the AIDS epidemic in the black community and its main ally, homophobia. Oh and she even has a blog, this will be interesting.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

New Orleans...

Yeah I've never been. The only thing I know about that place is the New Orleans Saints, the Superdome, the French Quarter, and I can go on and on. We know more about that place now since last year thanks to this Hurricane we call Katrina.

It placed a spotlight on how we handle disaters such as this. Hopefully we're the more wiser because of it. And I wonder how has reconstruction been going because I'e never had the opportunity to really follow it.

Either way there's an article in the Chicago Tribune on Friday about an artist who has exhibited some of his work in the Chicago-land area. And check out this videoblog called People from New Orleans.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Todd Stroger Ducks V103 Debate with Peraica

I got this press release in my email from the Tony Peraica campaign...

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Contact: Bill Pascoe
312-575-9500 (o)
bill@votetony06.com

HAVE YOU HAD ENOUGH?
Veil of Secrecy Surrounds Another Stroger; Todd Ducks V-103 Debate with Peraica

Chicago, Illinois... Todd Stroger's penchant for misinformation campaigns worked so well the first time, he's at it again.

Today, the bejeweled one backed out of a debate with reform candidate for County Board President Tony Peraica after previously confirming his appearance. Stroger's cancellation came - surprise, surprise - shortly after Peraica's confirmation.

The two were scheduled for an hour-long debate this coming Sunday, August 20, from 3-4pm on the popular R & B radio station V-103. The debate was to be moderated by Roland Martin, the Executive Editor of the Chicago Defender newspaper.

According to V-103, Stroger had committed to the debate as late as yesterday afternoon, but a Stroger official called this morning to say he had a previously scheduled meeting that could not be rescheduled.

"Todd Stroger has to understand that when people say that his appointment was a 'coronation', they are not paying him a compliment," said Peraica. "He is acting like royalty, dismissing the voters to whom he clearly feels no accountability. 'Who dares question Todd Stroger or demand that he engage the huddled masses beneath him?' is his attitude."

"There is not a debate, forum or editorial board meeting I have declined. I am excited about my reform message for Cook County government and I want the opportunity to share it with as many Cook County residents as possible," Peraica continued. "I want to earn this position by building trust with Cook County voters. I don't expect nor do I want anything bequeathed to me."

###

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Ald. Coleman to switch big-box vote if Daley wants

It looks like the living wage ordinace that was passed last month by Chicago's City Council could be vetoed. Several Alderman has come forward expressing interest in changing sides on this issue. In today's Sun-Times one of those Alderman was Shirley Coleman who represents the Englewood neighborhood...

Ald. Shirley Coleman (16th) said she changed her mind about requiring retail stores with more than 90,000 square feet of space to pay their employees at least $10 an hour and $3 in benefits by 2010 after learning that Wal-Mart was seriously considering building a store in her impoverished ward.

The parcel reportedly under consideration by the nation's largest retailer is located at 61st and Halsted, down the street from the $254 million Kennedy-King College under construction in Englewood. A Wal-Mart store just two blocks away would turn the once desolate area into a bevy of activity -- and give crime-ridden Englewood two things it desperately needs: jobs and shopping choices, Coleman said.

"Unemployment is so high -- we desperately need the opportunity to have jobs," Coleman said Monday.

In addition there were three others who might consider changing their votes on this ordinance 25th ward Ald. Danny Solis, 32nd ward Ald. Ted Matlak, and 12th ward Ald. George Cardenas. Coleman was said in this article to flaty declare her change of heart on this issue.

On August 9th, CBS2 reported that as many as Six Alderman were considering changing their votes on the big box ordinance. Here's what the chief big box ordinance sponsor 49th ward Ald. Joe Moore had to say...
Ald. Joe Moore (49th), chief sponsor of the big-box ordinance, acknowledged that some of his colleagues are wavering. But he said, "I'm definitely not ready to throw in the towel. There's a long time between now and" Sept. 13.

Watch who you associate with...

This video was seen on Hannity & Colmes on Friday and last night on The O'Reilly Factor. Some workers for the defeated Rep. Cynthia McKinney was getting ugly with the press using anti-Jewish epitaphs and throwing around the word Uncle Tom. It was some ugly video for sure.

The people in this video were identified as members of the New Black Panther Party. Let me just emphasize the NEW part since the have no connection with the original except in name only. In any case the people who were involved in this incident were on Hannity & Colmes on Friday. According to Ms. Underestimated was a man by the name of Hashim Nzinga.

In any case he basically was running his mouth and none of what he said was exactly coherent. He wasn't saying anything but talking some hate. Using logic wasn't going to work here. Even the Hannity & Colmes resident liberal, Alan Colmes said that Nzinga even caused him to stick up for President Bush. After that interview I just wondered why he even bothered showing up because the man just came off with some issues.

I've come to conclude the McKinney lost because she didn't watch who she associated with. Of course I can also say that she may have ran with that crowd and have about the same ideas. What I can also say is that Rep. McKinney just plain self destructed and I don't know if I should say that it's sad.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

The Bud Billiken Parade....

Today is the annual Bud Billiken Parade. I've never gone to one I suppose I wasn't that interested and neither were my parents but if I am interested I watched this parade on TV which has been shown on TV on either ABC7 or WGN. I can remember a couple of these parades that were held in about the last 7 years or so.

The first one I really paid attention to was back in 1999. I was listening to the radio buildup to it on Mancow's Morning Madhouse when he first started on Q101. He and his sports guy, Al Roker Jr (probably not related to the real Al Roker), were talking about this parade and Mancow wanted to participate. Well he did but I didn't see it on the original broadcast on either ABC7 or WGN so I had to watch it on his TV program at the time MancowTV. He was a goofball but he had some fun.

The other one I heard about was when Alan Keyes marched in this parade. The crowd seemed to have turned against him. Probably for many reasons but this was one parade where he wasn't welcome. Anyway I think this was the same parade that made the news when some young people were sent to the hospital because they were at a concert and it was either too crowded or too hot.

I was just checking out the parade's website and looking at it's history there were so many people who participated including a President of the United States...
Some of the celebrities who have graced the parade's route over the years include Joe Louis, Muhammad Ali, Duke Ellington, Oprah Winfrey, Hop-Along Cassidy, Lena Horne, Spike Lee, L.L. Cool J, Bozo the Clown, Jack Brickhouse, Frank Thomas, Michael Jordan and President Harry S. Truman.
Here's another interesting fact...
Frank Godsen and Charles Correll of “Amos and Andy” fame were the first guests of honor in a parade attended by thousands and led by Robert S. Abbott in his Rolls Royce.
This parade is said to be a celebration of black culture and education. In fact it is billed as a back to school parade. If you can watch it on TV now and if you're so inclined pay a visit one day. Even consider participating with a float.

Friday, August 11, 2006

I should've blogged about this yesterday...

I found out about the so-called "big one" terrorist plot yesterday on the noon news on FOX Chicago. I saw video of airport security telling people that if they have any kind of liquid whether it be beverages, mouth wash, lotion, etc. that they will not be allowed to board with those items. This is thanks to a plot uncovered in Britain....


A total of 24 individuals were arrested in Britain overnight and, says one senior U.S. official who was briefed on the plot, five still remain at large. Their plan was to smuggle the peroxide-based liquid explosive TATP and detonators onto nine different planes from four carriers — British Airways, Continental, United and American — that fly direct routes between the U.K and the U.S. and blow them up mid-air. Intelligence officials estimate that about 2,700 people would have perished, according to the official.

Britain's MI-5 intelligence service and Scotland Yard had been tracking the plot for several months, but only in the past two weeks had the plotters' planning begun to crystallize, senior U.S. officials tell TIME. In the two or three days before the arrests, the cell was going operational, and authorities were pressed into action. MI5 and Scotland Yard agents tracked the plotters from the ground, while a knowledgeable American official says U.S. intelligence provided London authorities with intercepts of the group's communications. Most of the suspects are second or third generation British citizens of Pakistani descent whose families hailed from war-torn Kashmir. U.S. officials believe the 29 members were divided into multiple cells and planned to break into small groups to board the nine planes.
I've never thought it was OK that before anyone gets on a plane you have to be thoroughly searched before you can board. I understand why this happens though, because people have done some foolish things on board a plane. Anything from hijackings to detonating bombs, unfortunately the measures taken at our nation's airports are a fact of life. They are designed to making the flight as safe as humanly possible.

Anyway I found this from Brain-Terminal.com. It was an interesting and the blogger Evan Coyne Maloney considers this the quote of the day. It was attributed to Glenn Reynolds from Instapundit who in response to one of the plotters, a recent convert to Islam, had stated that he "Should've stayed on the weed"...

Neighbors identified one of the suspects as Don Stewart-Whyte, 21, from High Wycombe, a convert who changed his name to Abdul Waheed.

"He converted to Islam about six months ago and grew a full beard," said a neighbor, who refused to be identified. "He used to smoke weed and drink a lot but he is completely different now."
LINKS
The Big One: Busted? from Brain-Terminal.com
Thwarting the Airline Plot: Inside the Investigation from Time.com
19 Suspects in British Terror Plot ID'd from ABCNews.com

Blacks in the Kentucky Derby...

I'm watching Seabiscuit again and I'm surfing the internet at the same time as usual. But I found a section devoted to blacks in the Kentucky Derby. I had no idea that the founder of Motown Records, Barry Gordy, had actually owned a horse that raced in the derby. I was just lurking the area with black jockeys and then I ventured toward the owners section. This is without a doubt an interesting find.

EDIT: At the last derby a couple of black celebrities were cited at Churchill Downs. One of whom I had actually seen on the long broadcast on NBC (I didn't get to see the actual race unfortunately). I believe that Ashanti and Ludacris was there. Ashanti was in white with a hat and maybe a veil and Ludacris was there looking "PIMP'D" out. Both were sharply dressed. I suppose in this case they were just spectators if not actual bettors.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Two elections today...

I alluded to one of them last weekend as per a debate between two contenders in the Democratic primary run-off for the 4th Congressional District. Fox News reports that Rep. Cynthia McKinney is losing her race against Hank Johnson. Four years ago she lost her seat to Denise Majette (who ran for the US Senate in Georgia and lost) and then regained her seat two years later.

Also in Connecticut, Joe Lieberman has lost his primary race to Ned Lamont. Sen Lieberman seemed to have an uphill battle to regaining his nomination and his seat. Lieberman intends to run as a independent in this election to retain his seat.

Update: Joe Lieberman Faces Slim Defeat; Cynthia McKinney Losing In Atlanta

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Best Buy to open store on the South Side...

I got this from a paper you're not likely to read. It's a community paper and unfortunately they don't have a website or a link. So they're making me work here. Anyway this piece of news in from the neighborhood weekly newspaper The Chatham-Southeast Citizen.

A new Best Buy is going to be located at this shopping center on 87th and the Dan Ryan. There's already alot of commerce there with Seaway National Bank, Bally's, Cub Foods, Game Stop, movie theaters, Home Depot, Harold's Chicken Shack, Jewel/Osco, and Burlington Coat Factory to name a few. Believe it or not there's also a Starbuck's coffee among the shopping choice making me wonder if this faily middle-class area is being marked for gentrification.

All the same just like establishments such as Wal-Mart, Target, Starbuck's, and even Best Buy are always out looking for new markets. Especially in areas where there isn't an establishment. All the same this is an interesting development.

It is to be located at a former Toys R Us which closed this store their after the Christmas holidays. The article even advertised a Best Buy job fair to take place at the Third Baptist Church on 95th and Ashland on August 21st. They are looking for full-time, part-time, and even seasonal help. Just to let you folks out there looking for work now especially if you're not able to get your hands on this newspaper. ;)

Anyway looking at this article Best Buy is already attempting to be good corporate citizens by donating $100,000 to a local youth based non-profit. Criteria for such an award is located at the Best Buy website. Of coures this is to be done by the time of the store's grand opening on October 27th. According to the store manager Bea Louie this is not only done at a grand opening but the money is usually donated to United Way but Best Buy wanted to do something different for the 800th store and the first to be located in a black neighborhood.

Now let me touch on that last thing "first to be located in a black neighborhood". I kind of wondered about that. Why should that be significant? Of course that's not to say that electronics stores hasn't found a home in this particular area. Fretter, Highland, and even Silo have opened stores on 87th Street although those stores have long since been closed. Of course it was stated in the article why a Best Buy hasn't opened a store in a black neighborhood the store manager Louie said quote...
It wasn't that they didn't want to venture out in the urban community because they are afraid to, they just didn't know how,

Of course it was all noted that it was about having the right people in the right place and to reach out to the community as they apparently have done. Here's another interesting tidbit, the Toys R Us store that closed had generated $12 million but Best Buy projects about $40 million in sales.

Here's another good plan. They want to set the standard for the shopping center they are located. That site does seem to be located in what amounts to be an isolated area even though it is located in an active strip mall byt they do was to remove overgrown brush, new landscaping, and fencing. They also want to re-stripe the parking lot and hire a maintenance service to clean outside debris.

This looks like a winner. Ald. Howard Brookins of the 21st ward (where this new store is to be located) who almost got a Wal-Mart store a few years ago is happy about this development. Here's his quote...
It is great that they are a community conscious company willing to donate their time, talent, and money in the African American community...


Oh yeah I just want to add that apparently a Staples and a Bank of America is headed that way too.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

On C-Span this morning...

I saw a debate between Hank Johnson and Rep. Cynthia McKinney in the race for her to retain her house seat in the Georgia's fourth congressional district. Unfortunately the debate is over she refused to answer a question about the lessons from her incident with the Capitol police earlier this year. She refused to say whether the United States should take sides with either Israel or Hezbollah. This was not a bad debate between two Democrats but the question is who is going to win.

She is facing a runoff with Johnson because in her primary July 18th she failed to garner at least 51% of the vote. The runoff election is August 8th. Johnson threw a nice broadside at McKinney when he said that she ran ghost campaign and did put a lot of attention into her primary until July 18th.

Friday, August 04, 2006

The Homes of Chatham Crossing...

I was taking the train today and I saw a sign from the L. This new development was located right off the Dan Ryan at about 89th Place. I like how some of those homes look too.

There are basically two types of homes: single family and park homes. I still have visions of getting a bungalow but these are the type of houses I'd really want to get my hands on. I like both the single family and the park homes. I'd really spend money on getting me the single family homes. And at that there are four types as you'll see in this next graphic.
Well I'd rather a home with a porch but if you look at the website you will see a basic blueprint of the interior. More than the outward appearance I really like the space inside. This is just a new neighborhood in the established Chatham community.

I really like this description of Chatham, which is largely a black middle class community on the south side of Chicago, which I got from the website...

The Chatham neighborhood has always maintained a strong sense of community pride with residents and area leaders who work hard and remain active in the community. The Homes of Chatham Crossing honors that tradition by offering solid construction homes with landscaped areas that provide value to the homeowner. As an established neighborhood, Chatham offers many area amenities, such as Whitney Young Chicago Public Library, numerous public and magnet schools, Chicago State University, several neighborhood parks, "The Rink", and the Chatham 14-screen movie theater. Chatham Crossing is also just a few blocks from the 87th Street Red Line Station and Interstate 94. Everything you need to create your lifestyle.
Check out the Chatham Crossing website.

I just had to post this...

The rapper and actor Ice Cube has taken a nice little shot at Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger for his lack of attention to poverty. I got this from the Newsmax.com Left Coast Report. The last item in that report sounds quite naive to me. Of course that's not to say I don't know where Ice Cube was coming from...

Ice Cube Raps Schwarzenegger in New Album

Ice Cube, aka O’Shea Jackson, used to be known chiefly as a rapper.

But the performer has since appeared in many movies, including “Barbershop” and “Three Kings.”

Apparently, Ice Cube doesn’t like the way fellow thespian Arnold Schwarzenegger is carrying out his governor duties.

On his latest album, Ice Cube slams Schwarzenegger for engaging in self-promotion rather than focusing on poverty.

The rapper-actor’s main reason for chewing out Arnold is because Arnold won the election.

“He pisses me off just by the fact that he is the governor of California. That's enough,” Ice Cube told the World Entertainment News Network.

Ice Cube then analyzed the economy of the state, saying, “You've got to realize, there's a lot of money in California, but it suffers from economic greed. Nobody wants to give up their piece of the pie, so nobody can live real good without resorting to killing each other.”

Thursday, August 03, 2006

What's going on Russ Stewart???

I haven't used his column much in the past few months and the only reason I do so now is to talk about the county. More specifically what's going to happen to the Stroger's home 8th Ward on the south side of Chicago? And aslo why is Todd not going for both the commissioner's seat and the board presidency? Well Russ covers these topics in his column from last month.

First off what about the 8th Ward...
The 8th Ward (Avalon Park, Gately Park), just south of Hyde Park, runs roughly from 73rd Street to 103rd Street, between Cottage Grove Avenue and Yates Boulevard. Among the ward's 66,000 residents and 36,654 registered voters, at least 800 have county jobs, and another 400 have city jobs. On any given election day, the Democratic organization can field an army of 3,000 workers.

John Stroger, age 77, suffered a stroke prior to the March primary and has since been incapacitated. The extent of that incapacity is unknown. The elder Stroger has been a county commissioner since 1970, the board president since 1994 and the 8th Ward Democratic committeeman since 1968. The younger Stroger, age 38, has been the 8th Ward alderman since 2001, and he was the area's state representative from 1993 to 2001.
...
Todd Stroger is now the 8th Ward Democratic committeeman, and he will serve through 2008. But local knives are being sharpened.

If Stroger loses to Peraica, he will remain the ward's alderman, and he will be up for re-election in 2007. He certainly will face a Jackson-backed challenger, which likely will be businessman Odell Reed. State Representative Marlow Colvin (D-33), age 42, a longtime 8th Ward precinct captain who took Todd Stroger's legislative seat in 2001, also could make a move to oust Stroger as alderman.

If, however, Stroger is elected board president, expect Colvin to be the Stroger organization's 2007 aldermanic candidate.
...
The Stroger machine is capable of cranking out at least 9,000 votes in every primary, and that will continue as long as Todd Stroger is board president. But if he's not, and if Colvin runs and splits the organization, then an anti-Daley independent could win the aldermanic spot.
Well I really love the history of the last 30-40 years of politics in Chicago's 8th Ward which is lumped with Beaver's 7th Ward as being largely black and middle-class. Now why is Ald. Stroger taking his dad president's seat but not his commissioner's seat...
To the politically uninitiated, the Stroger-Beavers tag team is befuddling. Why not pick Todd Stroger for both spots? If he becomes president, he won't have a vote in board deliberations, where a sizable minority of the 17 commissioners are consistently anti-Stroger.

Here's the answer: Stroger's job, if he is elected, will be to present a pleasant black "face" of county government and to mumble platitudes about cutting spending. In actuality, he will preserve and protect his ward's jobs and those of the Daley machine's allies and generally do what County Board Finance Committee chairman John Daley, the mayor's brother, tells him to do. That's how it was under John Stroger.

Beavers' job is to interact with the other black commissioners and keep a majority of them sufficiently contented so that they will not undermine Stroger or try to strip away the plethora of county jobs in the 7th and 8th wards. Beavers, age 71, is in the sunset of his career, but he can perform a valuable service by protecting Stroger. In 4 years Beavers can retire and Stroger can take his seat as commissioner.
Now let's go to Beaver's 7th Ward. What's going on there?

7th Ward: Just east of the 8th Ward, running from 73rd Street to 101st Street, west of Torrence Avenue, in the area known as South Chicago, the ward is an industrial area with iron and steel plants, forges, food processors and grain elevators. It had a white Republican alderman, Nick Bohling, from 1943 to 1971. The ward is now about 60 percent black and 35 percent Hispanic.

Beavers beat Ray Castro, an ally of Ed Vrdolyak, by 8,488-7,288 (53.8 percent) in the 1983 runoff, buoyed by a huge Washington wave. He ousted Castro as Democratic committeeman in 1984 by 2,980-2,143, and he was re-elected alderman in 1987 with 58 percent of the vote, in 1991 with 54 percent, in 1995 with 56.3 percent and in 1999 with 65 percent, and in 2003 he was unopposed. Beavers is the chairman of the City Council Budget Committee and a loyal Daley supporter.

Observers already are comparing the expected Sandy Jackson-versus-Darcel Beavers clash to the 1995 primary in which Jesse Jackson Jr. won the vacant U.S. House seat. Jackson upset the favored Emil Jones, an "Old Guard" Democrat who now is the Illinois Senate president, by 30,017-24,097.

This scenario may arise again in 2007, with the Jacksons positioning themselves as reformers and the Beavers defending the established order. Everything depends on whether Stroger beats Peraica. If he does, the Stroger-Beavers machine will have the precinct troops to win. If Peraica wins, Beavers will be an irrelevant commissioner with control of few jobs.
Just a little taste of the southeast side of Chicago courtesy of Russ Stewart.

An Estate Tax Twist Reverses Party Roles On Minimum Wage

From Today's Washington Post...

For years, organized labor has worked hard to raise the minimum wage, while business groups have campaigned to block such a change. This week in the Senate, however, the AFL-CIO is pushing to kill the wage increase while practically the entire business lobby is demanding that it pass.

The reversal is the product of election-year politics and clever -- critics say devious -- legislative packaging that has been dubbed the "trifecta." In the same bill, senators are being asked to raise the minimum wage (the liberals' goal), cut the estate tax (the conservatives' objective) and approve a laundry list of popular, though narrowly targeted, tax breaks.
...
Prodded by moderate Republicans eager to undercut criticism by Democrats that GOP economic programs overwhelmingly favor the rich, the House approved the package last week, including a three-year phased-in boost in the nation's minimum allowable hourly wage to $7.25 from the current $5.15. It would be the first increase in the minimum wage in nine years.
Interesting, but how is this playing in the circles of labor and business...

Labor officials say that their opposition is a matter of economic and social justice. They also say that reduced revenue from estate tax relief could lead to cuts in federal programs for the poor, such as food stamps.

"We don't think minimum-wage workers should have to wait for millionaires to get another tax cut before they receive a long-overdue pay increase," said Bill Samuel, the AFL-CIO's legislative director.

In contrast, business lobbyists are seeking "yes" votes. Dan Danner, executive vice president of the National Federation of Independent Business, the small-business lobby, sent lawmakers a letter of support this week.

"While we have strong concerns about the minimum wage hike, we're supportive of permanent relief of the estate tax," he wrote. "If Congress needs to address the federal minimum wage level this year, we believe it should be addressed in a package that also provides significant relief for small businesses. . . . The bill does just that."
Also take a look at this...
"Every closely held business in America today is either affected by the death tax or could be affected by it," one top business lobbyist said. "At the same time, less than 3 percent of the country's workers get paid at the minimum wage." In addition, the lobbyist said, "people in the business community understand that it is valuable to Republicans standing for election in November to demonstrate that they have compassion for folks at the lowest end of the economic ladder."
This was worth posting especially in light of the big box ordinance. Something to consider.

Chicago's controversial big- box ordinance has produced its first casualty

Well Target isn't coming to 115th and Mansfield. Target has cancelled plans for building a new store at that intersection. This was what Carrie Austin, she's the alderman there in the 34th Ward has to say about this...

Austin was one of only 15 aldermen to vote against the big-box ordinance. She was devastated, but not surprised, when the letter arrived from Target. "My colleagues are saying, 'Don't worry. They'll come.' Well, mine just left," Austin said.

"I'm depressed. Calumet Park has land right across the street they can develop. Our development will just sit there for another century. I don't need more housing. I need sales tax revenue and jobs. How do I pull my community out of the slump that it's in? How do we get a rebirth? Sales tax revenue. That's how."

Shiller did not return repeated phone calls. Austin said she's now pinning her hopes on a mayoral veto.

"That would be a big yahoo for me because that means my development can get a breath of new air. Without it, it will not take place at any time -- not next week, next month or next year," she said.
Well the vote was said to be veto proof but if the Mayor was to veto this ordinance he has to persuade two alderman. I read in the Tribune yesterday that he has to make a decision by September 13th. Here's what was also said about that in today's Sun-Times article...

Another mayoral ally, who asked to remain anonymous, noted that all of the undecided votes broke in favor of the ordinance, in part, because of a lack of direction from Daley.

"If he put 'em on, he can take 'em off," the alderman said of last week's veto-proof 35-14 vote.

If Daley decides to veto -- and pick another fight with a City Council growing bolder by the day -- there are several likely targets to be plucked off. They include mayoral allies Todd Stroger (8th), who needs Daley's support in the race for County Board president; John Pope (10th); George Cardenas (12th); Ginger Rugai (19th); Danny Solis (25th), who may want to run for city clerk or Congress, and Ariel Reboyras (30th).
...
Solis was undecided up until the moment he cast his vote in favor of the "living wage" ordinance. Asked last week if Daley could persuade him to change his mind, Solis said, "If he asked me, I'd consider it only after hearing his rationale for it. But I don't believe he'll want to do it. It's too much of a polarizing situation. Let the courts take care of it."

Another big-box supporter, who asked to remain anonymous, said he too could be persuaded to change sides. But he doesn't want to be publicly identified yet, for fear of being hung out to dry.
Also said in today's article, which was also said in the Tribune yesterday was that Daley warned that this ordinance could translate into higher property taxes because the city would miss out on the resulting sales tax revenue from a store that has 90,000 square feet and does $1 Billion in sales...
"I know. Fine. When they get the property tax bills, they'll agree with me. . . . I believe the sales tax is a fairer tax than the property tax. That's what the issue will be about," Daley said at a City Hall news conference called to renew the call for property tax relief.
Let's hope either the courts can decide this or the mayor is successful in vetoing this legislation.

Crossposted @ Illinoize