Saturday, December 30, 2006

The last time a dictator was executed...

The only one I can recall was Nicolae Ceau┼čescu of Romania. His execution was by firing squad on December 25, 1989. That was one big year seemingly around the world.

Oh yeah I'll have to admit that this painting (propaganda painting if you will) is kind of scary. Anyway back to my thought here.

President George Bush invaded Panama to arrest their dictator Manuel Noriega. The Chinese were engaged in something of a revolt against the Communist regime of China in Tiannamen Square. That was one event I remember for sure more than any other event. Even the fall of the Berlin Wall which also occured on November 9, 1989!!!

Anyway Saddam Hussein's hanging reminded me of Ceau┼čescu's execution. Of course there isn't much comparison he got caught up in a revolution while Saddam happened to have lost his nation thanks to a foreign invasion. No doubt however that both were definitely subject of an angry population and both were executed by their own people.

A rough way to go don't you think?

Friday, December 29, 2006

The Butcher of Baghdad

The former President Dictator of Iraq, Saddam Hussein was executed this evening in Iraq. In November he had been found guilty of crimes against humanity during his rule over Iraq. He ruled Iraq from 1979 to 2003 at which time a US-led coalition invaded his country and ousted him from power.

Agree or disagree with how or why the United States of America invaded Iraq or deposed Saddam Hussein, it's safe to say that the world is better off without a ruthless homicidal dicatator such as Hussein. Especially if you believe all the news regarding rape, torture, mass graves, etc.

Read this Wikipedia article on the late Iraqi dictator.

Barbershop blues

Since when does a neighborhood barbershop gets attention from an international newspaper such as the International Herald Tribune, the international voice of The New York Times? Well it's because one of the clients in the famed Senator Barack Obama!!!!

Well this isn't why it's in the news. Check it out...

A historic Chicago barber shop where Muhammad Ali used to get his hair cut and Senator Barack Obama still goes for weekly trims is moving after its building was sold.

The Hyde Park Hair Salon, long a gathering place for the city's black community, has been in business about 80 years, said owner Abdul Karim Shakir.

"My heart just bleeds," said Leroy Cain, the salon's former owner. "I hate to see that shop move out of that building, period."

But unlike in the movie "Barbershop" — in which a Chicago barber shop owner fights shady developers — the seller, the University of Chicago, has promised to help move the salon to a new location, possibly a few blocks away.

The university is selling the building for $2.3 million (€1.75 million) to a development company, which plans to lease space to local and national stores and restaurants.
Mr. Shakir is certainly liking this attention right now!

And thanks to Gaper's Block: Merge!!!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Gerald Rudolph Ford...

The 38th President of the United States who served from 1974 to 1977 has passed away tonight. The news has just broke. He was aged 93. He served as President after the resignation of President Richard Nixon in light of the Watergate Scandal and was the first vice-president to have not been elected to that position. He was appointed Nixon's vice-president after the resignation of Spiro Agnew as vice-president in 1973.

Read this Wikipedia article on former President Ford.

Two state capitols!!!

I was on the Texas Eagle leaving Dallas, Texas last night. On the way back to Chicago I passed through the state capital of Arkansas, Little Rock at about 11:34 PM last night and our state capitol Springfield at about 10:29AM this morning.I want to talk a little more about our Christmas travelling at some point later on. I just want to share these two photographs with you.

Little Rock, Arkansas' capitol dome was draped in Christmas lights. It made it a little easier to spot at night. Otherwise I'm sure I'd have missed it altogether.

And this is the Illinois state capitol in historic Springfield, Illinois. I can't tell if there are any Christmas lights. I even wonder if they drape the dome in lights. This is something that's worth doing.

BTW, I would like to do a special field trip to Springfield, Illinois at some point. I don't know when but I would like to do something when I do for this blog. Hopefully do a little bit more than my vacation last summer in Washington, DC. It'll be fun and I'll be sure to work on it.

I hope everyone had a safe holiday and we got one more to go. Posted by Picasa

Monday, December 25, 2006

James Brown has died...

Well I hate to be the bearer of bad news on what for many of you is such a wonderful day. Most of you are enjoying family & friends or opening presents or having a good meal. But yup, James Brown is dead at 73.

Thanks FOX News Channel.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

You want news and rumors regarding the next Star Trek movie to be released in 2008, please visit There's not only news about the eleventh Star Trek movie but Star Trek remastered or even any other future Trek project.

I really can't wait for this new movie. It's really time for some new Star Trek. And indeed I like to see what Star Trek's new creative team is going to do with this next movie.

It was really time for some new energy anyway, which is one reason why Star Trek was put on the shelf for the time being. As disappointing as the cancellation of Star Trek Enterprise was it may have been about time and hopefully we'll see something different.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Dream big, start small

One of my favorite blogs as of late, Ask Pud, was posed a question about entrepreneurship. Mainly advice from "Pud" on success in life & business. This was his answer and I do think you would like it...
You always hear people say "follow your dreams and you can accomplish whatever you want" -- right? I know it sounds trite and cliche. And it is, but that's because there's one important thing missing.

The dream.

Most people don't know what their dream is. Notice I didn't say "most people don't have a dream." Everyone has a dream or a passion. But pulling it out is the hard part.

No longer. I'm gonna break it down for you. Here's the secret:


Now I don't mean don't shoot for the stars. Dream big, but set a SMALL goal to get everything moving in the right direction. I'll give you an example.

My goal when starting my first business, was "I want to throw away my alarm clock." Specifically, I hated (and still do) waking up early every morning. I said to myself, "there's gotta be a way to make the same amount of money I'm currently making, but wake up whenever I feel like it."

I figured out that I could be a freelance programmer, working from home. If my clients called in the morning and I didn't answer, they'd just think I was busy or at a meeting. The day I threw away my alarm clock was one of the happiest days of my life.

And guess what the side-effect was... I had a profitable, growing business.

One step at a time, in life and business.

Rock on,
Interesting, huh?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Topinka named to RTA board

This just in. Topinka who failed in her bid to oust Governor Rod Blagojevich has been appointed to the board of the Regional Transit Authority (they oversee Metra, Pace, and the CTA). She will be paid $25,000 a year for her services. This was based on her experience as a former state legislator.

This is from Crain's Chicago Business.

An interesting discovery...

I was looking at AlderTrack and saw an Ambrosio Medrano running for Alderman in the 25th ward. He's good and ready to go, having filed his petitions on December 11th. He is said to be one of four former Alderman seeking an Aldermanic seat after being convicted felons. Interesting huh?

Then I find something else interesting. Medrano is also the 25th Ward Republican Committeeman. Now given the fact that the Chicago municipal elections (positions up include Mayor, Treasurer, Clerk, and all 50 Aldermanic seats) are totally non-partisan, it is not easy to make an easy accounting of all Republicans running for a seat on Chicago's city council except for those who have actually declared themselves Republican or actually identified accordingly. Easy to do if those Republicans running for Alderman are actually Republican committeeman or have ran for office as a Republican and there's nothing that indicate that they've either switched parties just to run for office or whatever.

Well the fact that Medrano is actually a Republican committeeman is interesting. I just wonder if he's always been Republican even when he was Alderman of the 25th ward. This was the seat he lost in 1996 after having been convicted in the Silver Shovel probes. So he is now running against the man who replaced him in 1996 Danny Solis, I would wonder how being a Republican might help him in this election.

Medrano take responsibility for mistakes
Ambrosio Medrano
Four gear up for 25th Ward FebruaryAldermanic election

Monday, December 18, 2006

How Democrat Are You?

Don't forget that I already posted a BlogThing about how Republican I am. And once again, this is for fun and isn't meant to be serious.

You Are 20% Democrat

If you have anything in common with the Democrat party, it's by sheer chance.
You're a staunch conservative, and nothing is going to change that!

A little politics today...

I saw last night on FOX Chicago News Sandi Jackson give out turkeys while having people sign her petitions so she can run for Alderman of the 7th Ward. She's running against the newly appointed 7th Ward Alderman Darcel Beavers although she hasn't filed her petitions according to AlderTrack (and she has until today to do so). I just know this will be a good race, but I just don't know if things will shakeup there. Perhaps the Beavers mini-machine will win this one but this will still be interesting. Let's see how Ms. Sandi Jackson does in this race and who knows in the future this could mean trouble.

BTW, how about a political lesson by Russ Stewart. Let me note something in addition to a link to the column...
The early outlook: [Dan] Kotowski must be commended for his industry and his insight. He worked ferociously hard, and he won a race that was deemed unwinnable. As such, he is a poster boy for outsiders everywhere: Within reason, any local office can be won by anybody who works hard enough and long enough. Expect Kotowski to win again in 2008 and to be thoroughly entrenched by 2012, when his next term expires.
Let me just say this, as much as I think the internet is the best tool for getting out your message, there will never ever be a substitute for getting out there and campaigning. Visiting homes, churches or what have you. They have to see you out there and on top of that you have to have an organization. The internet will never replace having a ground game!!!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Do you know what today is?

My birthday. A regular day worth noting here. And you should also know that is just means that this blog is getting closer to the second anniversary of this blog. I sincerely hope the best is yet to come. At least for the blog.

And have fun with this blogthing. What does your birthday mean?

This is what the meaning of mine is.

Your Birthdate: December 14

You work well with others. That is, you're good at getting them to do work for you.
It's true that you get by on your charm. But so what? You make people happy!
You're dynamic, clever, and funny. And people like to have you around.
But you're so restless, they better not expect you to stay around for long.

Your strength: Your superstar charisma

Your weakness: Commitment means nothing to you

Your power color: Fuchsia

Your power symbol: Diamond

Your power month: May

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

A young man finds a gun and was expelled...

Check out this video from CBS2Chicago. It was interesting and since I've been out of public school I get the feeling that some public school administrators, even in some of the more affluent suburbs can be prone to over-reaction. But I'll let those who see this video decide that.

Still why expel a young man who ultimately did the right thing and the gun wasn't even his. Though he also could have just left the gun there and told security. I won't second guess him though.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Bob Hope wise-crack about Democrats

I don't know what movie it is exactly from but a lot of Republicans are probably using this line towards the rival Democrats although I imagine that right now Republicans aren't talking too much now. Still it's one of those classic Bob Hope punchlines. Gotta love that.

Oh, btw, this is a joke and shouldn't be taken seriously and I know how passions are about politics so take this in good fun. Be nice!!!

Sunday, December 10, 2006 has posted my comment...

They were looking for feedback on whether WWE should continue the ECW brand. ECW recently had a PPV, the December to Dismember. It was said to be very horrible (well I didn't get a chance to watch it). The man who was behind ECW before it became a brand of WWE, Paul Heyman was fired as a result (and it seems that he tried to warn themthat this new PPV isn't going to be very good). The wrestlers who make up this brand aren't very happy, reports are that Sabu seems to want to get fired.

In any case there are plenty of good comments there. Looking at how I wrote it I may need to explain what I said, but I won't. If you readers want me to clarify I will. Here's my two cents...

So far I have only seen one episode of ECW on Sci-Fi. I really liked the first One Night Stand PPV and have not seen the 2nd ONS although it seemed more WWE than ECW looking at the booking.

I was disappointed by the presentation I saw it seemed more WWE than ECW. It was lame that matches end in DQ and that Sabu talked. Sandman and Dreamer were basically a part of the show they don't seem to have a big role on the show. If I was WWE I'd let ECW be ECW be their own show and not try to fit it in with the WWE product. It is fine that they have WWE stars come in and become ECW wrestlers, but I really wouldn't want ECW in there.

So as a WWE fan and an ECW fan. I'd say if anything WWE should rename the company ECW and be done with it. I hated the WWE name change and it looks like they're re-inventing ECW anyway. So it might as well work that way.

The verdict for now is they should just can ECW brand for now.
Have a look at the feedback. I don't know how long they're looking for feedback, but if you have to offer any especially as a ECW/WWE fan then go for it.


Saturday, December 09, 2006

Why don't more adults go to church?

An article I recently found. It alludes to the fact that the church provides free childcare. I wish I knew a little more about who wrote this and where it comes from so I'll just post it in it's entirety. This is written by a comedian Bob Smiley...
Why don’t more adults go to church? This baffles me because when you really think about it, the church has exactly what most adults are looking for: free child care. How are people missing this? Every church in the world has a nursery and that alone should get every parent in town banging down the door to join! In fact, we should market this type of blessing. Forget about knocking on doors in hopes to share a bible verse. We should find a house with a bunch of kids. (see: look for 182 broken toys in the front yard and the phrase “WILL YOU STOP TOUCHING ME! I‘M GOING TO TELL MOMMMM!!!” coming from inside the house) Just go bang on the door. Twenty minutes later when the Mom can finally get to the door, simply say, “This Sunday, for two hours someone else will watch your children for free, what do you think about that?“ You know the Mom would shout, “Halleluiah, praise Jesus! If I get baptized will you take them now?”

People would be excited about going to Church if we marketed this! You know, I use to wonder why my parents were so happy about church but I‘ve totally figured it out now. I’d be excited too if I could get a break from me. On Sunday morning, my parents acted like kids at Christmas time! They’d come running into me and my brother’s room, start jumping on our beds and shouting, “Get up kids! Its Sunday morning! Come on! Get out of bed! Let‘s go to church! Get your church clothes on! No, Bob, you don’t even need to brush your teeth, you’ll get a peppermint at the end of class! Let‘s just go! Woo Hoo!”

I understand that excitement now because I have it, too. Every Sunday morning as I’m jumping on one of my three kid’s bed and saying things like, “Colter, put down your brother and put on your church clothes! Colter, listen to me! Put down your brother! Oh man, ok. Stay calm. Help him back up. That‘s right, help your brother get the band aid on and let‘s get him in the truck! ITS CHURCH TIME!!! Who wants a peppermint?” Our churches would be full if we‘d embrace and market the free childcare angle! I remember once saying to my dad, “Do we have to go to church?“ My Dad smiled and said, “No.“ I said, “Really?” He said, “We GET to go to church” I came back with “Great. Do we GET to sleep through it?” but he was too busy jumping on my bed and shouting “Woo Hoo!“ to hear me.

Nowadays, Wendy drops off our two older kids on Sunday morning and I take Zander, our youngest, to the nursery. By the way, church nurseries are run by people who volunteer to be in there! They volunteer! First of all, I don’t know what kind of sin a person commits where they feel like the only way to work it off is to volunteer at the church nursery but man, I’d kind of like to know what it is. Its got to be a pretty bad one. I’m listening to 20 screaming babies as I’m dropping one more off. I’m handing our youngest kid off to the volunteer thinking, “Boy, bet you wish you’d never gone into that bar.” or “Here’s another baby, should have never went to that website, huh? Bet you’re regretting it now.” or “If you wouldn’t have voted for Kerry you wouldn’t have to be in there!” You know, whatever the sin is. I don’t really know what it is and I’m not really there to judge, except silently in my head of course because I‘m a Christian.

Our church nursery has a system where they assign each kid a number and if the kid is being a problem then they flash that number up on the screen during the church service. If your child’s number pops up on the screen you’re supposed to go get your child. Well, I don’t think that’s very Christian because that’s gambling. We’re all betting against our own number and that’s wrong. I know this is bad but my wife and I ignore the number. We’ll see our kid’s number flash up on the screen but we pretend we don’t see it. It’s not fair because normally we’ve only been in the service for 2 minutes. It’ll be a small number up in the left for awhile. Then the number will start flashing. After about five minutes the graphic gets bigger until its covering the song or the scripture. Wendy and I just sit there looking straight at the pulpit as if we are in a coma with a smile. One time the nursery volunteer came into the auditorium looking for us. She had Zander on her hip. He was hitting her with a Larry Boy Doll while singing the Veggie Tales song. She never found us though because Wendy and I had the wig and glasses on.

So, every Sunday I drop Zander off through that half door thing into the nursery. Zander is accident prone but not toward himself. It always involves others. The nursery volunteer is always like, “Oh, is Zander staying with us today? Great! We just got the highchair fixed again and you may notice that its almost time to take out my stitches.” (I‘m thinking yea, if you‘d stop sinning you could get out of there). Then she goes into her speech, “Here’s Zander’s number. Now you keep watching the screen and if the number 666 shows up, that’s Zander! Is this his diaper bag? Cause---uh---It looks like a suitcase?” I reply with, “Well, you never know how long Carl is going to preach.”

And that’s another thing, Parents dont care how long the preacher goes! People with out kids are always saying, “I hope the preacher only goes 15 minutes.“ Not us! We’re praying the preacher goes long! I’ve been known to shout, “Preach on brother! Take your time! Ignore these Pharisees! You listen to the Lord and what He‘s saying. You listen to the Lord and me and we’re both saying to go long!” One time I shouted out, “Read the Genealogy!! And this book is chock full of hymns!! Come on everyone, lets get our Hymn on!!” I’m not proud of this but once, during a church prayer, I even snuck back and wound the clock backwards to buy Wendy and I more peace and quiet. However, someone looked back and caught me. I played it off by saying, “I’m just praying back here, dude. I’m praying near the clock because God is time, He’s unlimited time. Besides, you shouldn‘t even be looking back here. We’re praying right now! You don’t look up when your praying! That‘s a sin. You go right now and work it off in the nursery!”

Friday, December 08, 2006

Tracking the Aldermanic races.

Has gotten a little easier with this new link that has come to my attention, AlderTrack. There's more information about who's challenging who or who's not being challenged right here at your finger tips. And I already found an interesting article about next year's elections in Chicago.

From Chicagoist about what's going on in the 7th and 8th Wards now that Todd Stroger is Cook County Board President and William Beavers is sitting on the Cook County Board as a commissioner.

Chicagoist won't be able to kick Daley around too hard, what with Bill "Dock" Walls running a noble and passionate — but ultimately losing — race against Hizzoner, and Dorothy Brown doing Daley's dirty work for him. But we are convinced that this is the election cycle where machine politics turns its full attention to the South Side, and into the black community. With William Beavers taking power on the Cook County Board of Commissioners, having assumed John Stroger's 4th District seat and controlling the Board Presidency through his puppet Todd Stroger, Daley only stands to gain this cycle. With Beavers firmly in control, heading his own mini-machine in the 7th and 8th Wards, what better opportunity to dig in even deeper and further entrench his interests than with two Aldermanic seats.

Although Jr. won't be running against Daley this time around, his wife, Sandi Jackson, will be vying for the 7th Ward seat being vacated by current Alderman Beavers. She'll be running against William Beavers' daughter, Darcel Beavers.

While Sandi Jackson and Darcel Beavers are throwing down in the 7th Ward, re-enacting much of the drama of the 1995 congressional primary when Jesse Jackson Jr. beat Emil Jones for an open House seat, the 8th Ward looks to be a cakewalk for Michelle Harris. The long-time secretary to the Cook County Board of Commissioners, niece of former Ald. Lorraine Dixon and former 8th Ward superintendent will replace Todd Stroger on the City Council when he takes office this winter. Being as deeply connected to the Ward as she is and with the field so crowded with four other candidates, Harris has the upper hand. If Beavers can hold the seat her father is leaving and Harris retains the 8th for the Stroger clan, the consolidation of power under William Beavers will be complete on the South Side, and the stage will be set for the rise of the new black machine. Even if Beavers loses in the 7th Ward, Jackson will be in a position to be appear as a reformer in future city and county races.
I'm intrigued that Beavers has a mini-machine going on here. Not that this isn't without precedent, you can perhaps count John Stroger but definitely look at the clout of William Dawson who I'm not sure anyone can ever match.

Of course in this post from last month this action is mixed in with other races around the city. So things might be exciting next year. Or at least I'd hope so!

Aldermen: Conductors belong back on CTA

When I saw this in today's Sun-Times I was like woah. I remember when even the subway conductors were eliminated back in 2000. One guy made a prediction that the CTA was going to miss them. Apparently it took six years for that to happen.

Alderman want to bring back conductors mostly for safety reasons. Some even cite the issue of terrorism. The reason to eliminate subway conductors were thanks to technology improvements as cameras, improved communications, etc. The main reason why the conductors jobs were eliminated was to save money. Here's some quotes...
"I've never seen a camera carry anybody off a train. If someone needs assistance, can a camera grab somebody by the arm and assist that woman and assist that senior off the train? If the train is on fire ... how does a camera help you tell somebody that it's time to go in this direction?" said Ald. Issac Carothers (29th).
"Just tell the truth and say CTA doesn't want to pay for them and leave it at that rather than try to snow us and tell us how technology can take care of it."
Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6th) sponsored a resolution urging the CTA to use Homeland Security funds to restore subway conductors. She pointed to the 2004 Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people as evidence that Chicago should err on the side of caution.
"People are out here in this world willing to strap bombs on their bodies and blow themselves up in the name of their beliefs. ... We're supposed to plan for the worst case and, then, work backwards and pray it never happens," Lyle said.

The CTA eliminated 300 to 400 conductors in a 1997 cost-cutting move, but retained 25 of them on subways. They got on at Fullerton, rode until Cermark, and turned around and did it again. Two years later, the subway conductors were eliminated, too, and absorbed into other jobs.

CTA spokeswoman Noelle Gaffney said eliminating conductors back then saved $13 million. Bringing them back just on the subway system today would cost $24 million because the trains run 24 hours. If conductors were returned throughout the system, it would cost $45 million, she said.

The union called Gaffney's figures "highball" and said it would cost $1.5 million to $2 million to restore 25 conductors on the subways.
Also mentioned is the derailment that occurred on the CTA Blue Line on July 11th. The article claimed they would miss conductors on this day...
A CTA Blue Line train derailed just west of the Clark and Lake subway station at the height of the afternoon rush. Passengers complained they were left to find their own way through a dark and smoky tunnel because they didn't hear any announcements from the train's motorman. Instead of using the train's PA system, the motorman went car-to-car with a flashlight instructing passengers to head to an emergency exit 400 feet away from the front of the train.

But the motorman didn't make it to every car. Among those he missed was the eighth and final car, which caught fire after both sets of wheels jumped the tracks.
And read this article about a retired CTA conductor. He seems to be for brining back the job. We'll see if this will work though.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Poverty follows families to the suburbs

Interesting story. Looking at the sub-title for this article the suburban poor outnumber the inner city poor. Wow!!!

I wonder if suburbanites are taking this like a slap in the face. Well this article from MSNBC doesn't talk about that. But they do have a little discussion of this phenomena. And it makes sense too.

I could point to gentrification that have people with money come back into the city instead of moving directly to the suburbs. Makes sense looking at how neighborhoods in say Chicago were blighted are turning around because of new developments. In the forms of condos to give one example.

But let's talk about this article. What points can be pulled up?

“Economies are regional now,” said Alan Berube, who co-wrote the report for the Brookings Institution, a Washington think tank. “Where you see increases in city poverty, in almost every metropolitan area, you also see increases in suburban poverty.”

Nationally, the poverty rate leveled off last year at 12.6 percent after increasing every year since the decade began. It was a period when the country went through a recession and an uneven recovery that is still sputtering in parts of the Northeast and Midwest.

“Looking back at the 1970s, you would have seen cities suffering and suburbs staying the same,” said Berube, research director at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program. “But the story is different today.”

Berube said several factors are contributing to an increase in suburban poverty:

Suburbs are adding people much faster than cities, making it inevitable that the number of poor people living in suburbs would eventually surpass those living in cities.

The poverty rate in large cities (18.8 percent) is still higher than it is in the suburbs (9.4 percent). But the overall number of people living in poverty is higher in the suburbs in part because of population growth.

America’s suburbs are becoming more diverse, racially and economically. “There’s poverty really everywhere in metropolitan areas because there are low-wage jobs everywhere,” Berube said.

Recent immigrants are increasingly bypassing cities and moving directly to suburbs, especially in the South and West. Those immigrants, on average, have lower incomes than people born in the United States.

Berube and research analyst Elizabeth Kneebone studied poverty figures for the 100 largest metropolitan areas, measuring changes from 1999 to 2005, the most recent data available.

In 1999, the number of poor people living in cities and suburbs was roughly even, at about 10.3 million apiece, according to the report. Last year, the suburban poor outnumbered their urban counterparts by about 1.2 million.

“Traditionally, cities have been viewed as home to poor populations, surrounded by middle- and upper-income suburbs,” the report said. “This ’tipping’ of poor populations to the suburbs represents a signal development that upends historical notions about who lives in cities and suburbs.”

Well all things are cyclical. In a few years no one will want to live in the city but go back to the suburbs. And probably a few years after that people will want to live in the city again. It'll always wax and wane.

The next thing is this...

“I hope this says to people that the way to confront poverty is not to wall it off and concentrate it,” [National Urban League President Marc] Morial said. “You really need policies to eliminate it.”

I honestly like ths quote he's right about the first part, I just don't think he's right about the next part. I hate to be an pessimist but I'm not sure that poverty can be eliminated. And really the idea is nice to live in a world like Star Trek where in that future there is no poverty and that the economy operates differently in the 24th Century than it does today. I just don't see how it'll be done.

All I can say is that time will tell. It's easy to give some simple solution without really thinking it through but it's probably interesting to look at these stories and come up with ideas to look at poverty. The question is what should be done?

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A Short Course in Brain Surgery

A video courtesy of On The Fence Films about the government run Canadian health care system. Another story puts their system in the trash can. A man waits to be examined for a brain tumor only to be delayed and finally he goes through a "medical broker" and is able to recieve immediate treatment in Buffalo, New York. Finally he was examined in New York was found to have a brain tumor and he is seeking to get some of his money back from the government of the province of Ontario.

Watch the Video!!!

More information at On The Fence Films.
Press release on the lawsuit to be lauched by the medical brokers Timely Medical Alternatives Inc.

New media will transform the scope of politics

Check out this post from the blog Off on a Tangent. This is Steve Garfield's blog and he also has a videoblog that is linked in my vlogroll. He helps a Boston City Councilman named John Tobin produce a video blog. And this collaboration started when Tobin ran for a seat on the Boston City Council. Check out this except from the Bangor Daily News...

Boston City Council candidate John Tobin teamed up with pioneering video blogger Steve Garfield during his last election. Through the use of a $300 digital video camera and a $10-a-month hosting account, Tobin was able to connect with local voters in a way that would have required hundreds of thousands of dollars in television buys. His short, three-minute or so video clips on the streets of Boston introduced a face, a name and a voice to what usually remains simply an R or D on a voter’s ballot. This type of new media will transform the scope of politics over the next several years, and those who get to it first will end up with a dramatic advantage... Connecting through video blogging or other new social media methods allows a much more transparent and personal message to come across, one that is free of the absurdities of old-school marketing
You can visit John Tobin here, and watch some of his videos.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Wyclef Jean Wants 'To Build a New Haiti'

In the past decade off and on Haiti has been in the news thanks to the various stories of unrest and political instability. Well Wyclef Jean (a member of the Fugees) who was born in Haiti but left with his parents for American when he was nine years old has retured. You see there was a concert, his first in Haiti in eight years and during this concert he had some things to say (from the Chicago Tribune)...
"It's time to build a new Haiti," the Grammy-winning artist told more than 20,000 cheering fans Friday night at the waterfront pier of this resort town. It was his first concert in Haiti in eight years.

The concert capped off a weeklong film and culture festival organized by Jean's Yele Haiti charity, which promotes music and the arts as a way to reduce poverty, create jobs and improve Haiti's image.

Haiti is the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere and most of its 8 million people live on less than $2 per day. The Caribbean country is struggling to recover from a bloody 2004 revolt that toppled former president Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Jean, a Haitian citizen who lives in the United States, condemned the ongoing street violence that has followed the revolt, especially a wave of kidnappings for ransom that have plagued the capital, Port-au-Prince.

"If we don't stop kidnappings, the country can't develop," Jean said.

Blog news on December 5th, 2006...

Over the weekend I made a change as far as links are concerned. The links you see now in my feed are now provided by instead of Digg. Of course in the blog's footer you can still see all my links from those aforemention sites as well as Ma.gnolia and a feed for My Google Shared Items. I only link to the feed because the link to the actual items don't seem to show up properly although that has probably changed by now.

In addition there are some tag clouds in the sidebar to all the links that I have collected in so far. It seems cool that I can link to those stories or content that I otherwise won't comment on. I rarely comment on national stories or international stories, but at least I can present them to you if you have the time and interest.

So check them out and take advantage.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.

Turns exactly 100 years today. I noticed all the decoration on campus today and I just now figured this out. I would like to wish the Alphas a happy centennial anniversary.

Alphi Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. was the first intercollegiate fraternity for black men. It was founded on the campus of Cornell University and expanded from there. It claims as members Ambassador Andrew Young, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey, San Fransisco Mayor Willie Brown, Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and his predessor Dennis Archer, Rep. Charles Rangel, and Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Those are just a few that I have enough patience to name. More names here.

I may try to take some pictures around campus today and then post them here.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Are You a Political Radical?

Now this is a good one. What say you? And remember be nice about this type of stuff. This is just for fun.

You Are 32% Politically Radical

You've got a few unusual political ideas, but overall you're a pretty mainstream person. Chances are that you're turned off by both the radical right and looney left.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

In South, Masons stay divided

Did you know there were two types of Masons?

Well an article from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette talks about two groups of masons and it's divided according to race, mainly black (Prince Hall Masons) and white. And this was even mentioned in the Alabama campaign for governor this year as the incumbent Governor Bob Riley was asked about the failure of the grand lodge of Alabama to recognize the Prince Hall Masons...

In Alabama, where critics say Grand Lodge members rejected a move to recognize black Masons in 1999, a few white Masons have formed a group outside the old system.

The issue also has become political, with Democrats accusing Alabama's governor of racism for his membership in an all-white lodge. Riley said he didn't know there were two separate Masonic groups and hadn't heard of mutual recognition until questioned recently by an Associated Press reporter.
Of course Alabama wasn't the only ones who doesn't give recognition to the Prince Hall Masons. There are also the states of Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and West Virginia.

I want to add that giving "mutual recognition" is not a new concept...

The all-black lodges flourished alongside their white counterparts. White Masons in Washington state, briefly considered admitting Prince Hall Masons in 1890, Mr. Bessel said, but the resulting uproar kept most such proposals on hold until 1989, when the Grand Lodge of Connecticut passed a resolution formally recognizing black Masons.

Since then, 37 other state organizations have granted mutual recognition.
Well the article talks about Prince Hall masons, but there are better articles out there on this subject.

Who is Prince Hall?
Prince Hall Grand Lodge
Prince Hall
Prince Hall Freemasonry

Friday, December 01, 2006

Some DCFS stories...

Over the years I remember stories where DCFS would get involved or if they didn't there were stories of general abuse and neglect by parents/guardians. I remember once many years ago some children on the south side were left in squalor by their mothers. I also remember a suburban couple who went on vacation and left their children to fend for themselves at home. Another child was killed by his mother and she ultimately killed herself. And still we hear these stories.

To be honest, I often had this crazy idea that this affects black families the most, but this isn't entirely the case. The suburban couple were white. The fact is that at some point this (child abuse/neglect) is a problem that affects us all.

Well I saw a couple of posts by Illinoize regular Cal Skinner. The first story is easier to follow because he was actually in the General Assembly back in 1979 and he was checking up on a DCFS case that seemed to get fairly sluggish especially if the police chief calls DCFS before a child. Check this out...
During that spring a teenage died in the Uteg apartments south of Route 14 where the Pizza Hut is located.

This child, a girl, I believe, was chained to her bed. She died because of a fire.

That was bad enough, but it got worse when Crystal Lake Police Chief Sam Johns told me
You don’t know the worst part, Cal.

We called DCFS 30 days before the fire.
Rules for Department of Children and Family Services caseworkers require a home inspection within 24 hours of a complaint

The last time I saw a compliance figure, DCFS met that goal 98-99% of the time.

So, I was dumbfounded that a caseworker would ignore a complaint from a police department. After all, this was not from some anonymous source, as many of its complaints are.

I was angry.

I called the Thompson-appointed DCFS Director Greg Coler (who served from 1979-83), demanding an investigation. He agreed.

Time passed and I eventually remembered that I had not heard back from Kolar.

I remember calling him from my office, an old auto dealership building on the southeast corner of Woodstock and Brink Streets across from Crystal Lake’s train station.

Yes, he had done an investigation.

I asked if the caseworker had been fired.

She hadn’t been.

“She’s the best caseworker we’ve got,” Coler told me.

It turns out that she had been given a promotion. She was supervising others.

I was incensed.
Read the other Cal Skinner post over at Illinoize. It is a more basic telling of DCFS' record. It doesn't look good.