Monday, April 30, 2007

Pen & Teller on Wal-Mart Hatred

From their Showtime program Bullsh*t. We see an appearance by the infamous Joe Moore, the alderman of Chicago's 49th ward. I wonder if Pen & Teller wanted to do a show about Foie Gras one of the alderman's initiatives in the city of Chicago. Anyway this video addresses his Wal-Mart hatred that took the form of a big-box ordinance that he attempted to push thru the Chicago City Council last summer. This episode really tears into Joe Moore. I could have sworn I saw this talked about on blogs in the 49th Ward before the recent runoffs or even the general elections back in February. And they even brought in Emma Mitts ,alderman of the 37th Ward who's the reciepient of the Wal-Mart where one of her constituents who's also interviewed in this episode works.

Oh yeah the title should be a hint of some strong language and for some insane reason you will see some brief nudity. Keep that in mind if you choose to watch this video.

And check these other items out
Not Every New Yorker Hates Wal-Mart
And this video from artistmac on YouTube, I never posted it here but he takes a long drive and pays a visit to the Austin neighborhood Wal-Mart.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun mugged!!!!

Very unfortunate and it's particularly rare on this blog that if I was to do a crime story that a former politician would also find themselves into this story. I'm not a big fan of the former Senator, but this is very unfortunate that this happened to her. Whoever it is, I hope they feel guilty about what they've done and who they've done it to.

This story from today's Sun-Times talks about the incident but also about the University of Chicago students who came to her rescue. They did the right thing and thankfully since he had a gun they didn't risk their own personal safety but they got him away from her...
Former U.S. Sen. Carol Moseley Braun had just arrived home from seeing the musical "Wicked," downtown at the Ford Center/Oriental Theatre, when something wicked came her way.

As she put her keys into the door of her Hyde Park home early Saturday, shortly after midnight, a man jumped from behind the bushes wielding a knife -- and attacked the onetime presidential candidate.

"It was awful," a clearly shaken Moseley Braun said Saturday.

But it could have been a lot worse, police said, if a University of Chicago student walking in the neighborhood hadn't come to her rescue -- chasing off and then chasing after the would-be robber who assaulted Moseley Braun in an effort to steal her purse.

"I didn't really have time to think about anything. We saw a woman down on the ground with a man on top of her. It looked like he was assaulting her," said third-year biology major Zachary Trayes-Gibson, 21, of Boston.

"I just started running fast toward them. He got up and ran, and I chased him."

Moseley Braun and police credit the student and his girlfriend Rachel McFadden, 19, of Maryland, with the fortunate outcome.

After police responded to McFadden's 911 call, Moseley Braun, 59, who suffered bruises and a broken wrist, was taken by ambulance to Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

Saturday, she was recuperating in a cast spanning hand to elbow.

"The good news is that I'm alive, and I wasn't cut up any worse than I was," said Moseley Braun, former Cook County recorder of deeds, state representative and the first black woman to serve in the U.S. Senate.

The thief never did get her purse.

"These two young people basically were very brave in attempting to come to her rescue, realizing she was in despair," Chicago Police spokeswoman Monique Bond said Saturday as police canvassed the South Side neighborhood.

Take this advice be careful out there.

Cards pitcher killed in crash

I didn't really mark the start of the baseball season on this blog. I can't tell you why. I would have posted the Cubs fight song if I had and mostly because I think it's such a great and optimistic song.

Unfortunately I have to post this piece of news instead and only because it seems like a pattern. Last fall a baseball pitcher Cory Lidle of the New York Yankees, died in a plane crash. It was also mentioned the death of a baseball pitcher, Cardinal's Darryl Kile who died of a heart attack in 2002.

Well my sympathies to the family of Josh Hancock and tonight's Cardinal's game against the Cubs has been postponed...
Police said the 29-year-old Hancock was alone in his 2007 Ford Explorer when he struck the rear of a tow truck at 12:35 a.m. The truck was in the left lane assisting another vehicle that was involved in a prior accident, officer Pete Mutter said.

Hancock was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the tow truck, whose name was not released by police, was in the truck at the time of the crash but was not injured.

The medical examiner's office said Sunday morning that an autopsy had been scheduled.

"The Chicago Cubs are terribly saddened by the sudden passing of Josh Hancock," Cubs president John McDonough said in a statement from the team. "On behalf of the Chicago Cubs organization and our fans, I extend our deepest sympathies to the Hancock family and the St. Louis Cardinals organization. Our thoughts and prayers are with you."

Hancock, 29, pitched three innings of relief on Saturday's game, and was instrumental in the Cardinals postseason run last October. The Cardinals planned to hold a press conference at 3 p.m. Sunday at Busch Stadium.

"All of baseball today mourns the tragic and untimely death of St. Louis pitcher Josh Hancock," baseball commissioner Bud Selig said. "He was a fine young pitcher, who played an important role on last year's World Series championship team."

Friday, April 27, 2007

Obamarama!!!

Rich Miller takes some highlights from his syndicated columns on The Capitol Fax Blog today. What I want to focus on is how Sen. Obama fares after the recent Chicago municipal elections and if you believe Miller, not very well.

Here's some highlights from his Sun-Times column...
Speaking of Obama, it might be interesting to watch what the presidential candidate does in next year's primary. Obama refused to endorse any of the insurgent candidates this year, sticking with the Daley Machine and openly endorsing faded hack Ald. Tillman in her losing race to Pat Dowell, who is truly a breath of fresh air.

It's more than a little ironic that a self-styled ''new politics'' guy like Obama has no strong ties to the newly elected aldermen who seem to share so many of his self-professed political values. He's just lucky that no national political reporter has covered this hypocrisy angle yet.
Ouch and this is a good point. I have talked him up as a new generation of black leadership, but he definitely has some work to do. And how about his column in the Daily Southtown...
Barack Obama, who styles himself as the epitome of a young, black "new politics" candidate, did not endorse a single one of the bright, new, independent-minded aldermen who will be taking the helm of black wards on the South and West sides. Count him as a big loser.
Ouch again. Senator Obama probably did a good thing in endorsing the current state treasurer Alexi Gianoulis for election last year. Unfortunately he didn't do much in his own backyard. Well only time will tell.

One other thing but not from Rich Miller, he looks at Lynn Sweet's column from the Sun-Times. She looks at the debate last night of eight Democrats running for their presidential nomination in Charleston, South Carolina...

If you've been on Mars for a while and did not know the names of the Democratic White House frontrunners, you could have thought after the first presidential debate Thursday they were Sen. Joe Biden, Gov. Bill Richardson and Sen. Chris Dodd.

The 90-minute nationally televised debate on the campus of South Carolina State University -- the first of the 2008 season -- was dominated by criticism of President Bush and the Iraq war in a session smartly moderated by NBC anchor Brian Williams.

On the level playing field of the debate stage, the frontrunners -- Sen. Barack Obama and Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, with former Sen. John Edwards behind them -- did not come out of the debate looking or sounding obviously more "presidential" than their second-tier rivals.

In that sense, they were upstaged by Biden, Richardson and Dodd, who showcased their years of experience.

Another ouch, but a double ouch on Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton. Perhaps after all this time they were being hyped up and now both are being cut down to size. Still we have along way until it is determined who is the Democratic nominee. Sen. Obama has plenty of time to get his act together.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Getting to 60 in the Senate

I've spent plenty of time looking at Chicago especially with the municipal elections over with every now and then I will take a look at Washington. You know our nation's capital. The home of our national goverment and of course the home of the leader of the free world.

I was looking at The Fix from the Washington Post today and they talk about gaining 60 seats in the US Senate. What does that entail, you ask...
Controlling 60 seats is the holy grail in the Senate. It allows the majority party to block filibusters from the minority and truly run the chamber.

The last time a party held 60 or more seats was three decades ago when Democrats had 61 seats in the 95th Congress (1977-1979). But, the combination of a toxic political environment for Republicans and a relatively small number of Democratic vulnerabilities has skilled observers -- including Fix friend and Roll Call columnist Stu Rothenberg -- starting to talk about the possibility of Democrats getting to 60 in the next two or four years.
Oh wow this would be big news if it was to happen, especially now that Democrats have actually done the unthinkable and won control of the US Congress for the first time since 1995. It would be significant if the Democrats could regain 60 seats at they had during the term mentioned from The Fix. So The Fix talks about how this might be possible...
The One Cycle Scenario
There's no question that at this point in the 2008 cycle all signs point to Democratic gains. The American public long ago soured on both President Bush and the war in Iraq and there is little tangible evidence of a coming wholesale turnaround. Republicans have also been barraged by a series of troubling developments, from the mishandling of veterans care at Walter Reed to the ongoing investigation into the firing of eight U.S. Attorneys. Many Republican strategists thought their party had hit rock bottom on Election Day 2006, but the political reality is that things have gotten measurably worse since then.

The raw numbers also point to a strong Democratic year in 2008. Democrats have just 12 seats to defend as compared to 21 for Republicans -- by far the best ratio of the three Senate classes. (The 2010 class has 17 Democrats and 15 Republicans; the 2012 class has 19 Democrats and 15 Republicans.)

But, it is not just the raw numbers. There are five obvious pickup opportunities for Democrats even at this early stage of the cycle: the open seat in Colorado as well as seats currently held by Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Norm Coleman (Minn.), Gordon Smith (Ore.), and John Sununu (N.H.).
It goes on and on into analysis of individual states something I won't get into here. I'll let you go over there and read that, but here's the second possiblity...
The Two Cycle Scenario
Under this scenario, Democrats need to capitalize on the 21 GOP seats up for re-election in 2008 to put themselves in position to push the Senate majority to 60 seats in 2010.

As mentioned above, there are five good pickup opportunities already out there for Democrats in 2008: Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Oregon.

Let's say for the sake of argument they win four of those five.

And, let's guess that seats come open in Virginia, Nebraska and New Mexico. Assuming Warner runs, we'll put Virginia in the takeover category and New Mexico continues to trend Democratic so a pickup there isn't out of the question either.

That's a six seat gain. While Democrats didn't lose a single one of their seats in 2006, that seems unlikely to be repeated in 2008; Landrieu seems the most vulnerable. A loss by the Louisiana incumbent would leave Democrats' at 56 seats heading into 2009.

That means they would need to find four more pickups in the 2010 cycle. A quick scan reveals a handful of likely targets including Sens. Kit Bond (Mo.), Jim Bunning (Ky.), Judd Gregg (N.H.), Arlen Specter (Pa.), George Voinovich (Ohio) and Mel Martinez (Fla.). It's also anyone's guess whether Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) is still around in 2010 when his seat comes up. If he isn't, Arizona will likely host a very competitive contest.

Democrats have a few concerns of their own -- Sens. Harry Reid (Nev.), Byron Dorgan (N.D.) and Ken Salazar (Colo.) all could face real races and Sens. Chris Dodd (Conn.) and Barack Obama (Ill.) may or may not still be in the chamber -- but have less exposure than their Republican counterparts.
One thing is true in life as they are in politics, you can't always get what you want when you want it. Of course if you're into the realm of political strategy then this is the type of stuff you want to plan for. The scenario you might think is either idea or preferable.

This was a pretty interesting post if you want to look at what's going on with strategy in the US Congress.

Chicago school leaders seek to limit local council power

You know this article comes about off the heels of the news regarding Curie High School. Curie is one of those elite high schools that has been in the news for the past couple of months or so because a mostly hispanic Local School Council ousted the incumbent black principal in a vote that was seemingly along racial lines. I saw this video that looked at the student view of what's going on at Curie. I'll post it here...


So this has been a debate probably before this whole Curie debacle. There are people who want to curb the powers of the LSC. I'm sure you guys out there want to know what an LSC is, right?

I'll tell you what. Think of an LSC like a school district that consists of that school's principal, community representatives, parents/guardians of students, and teachers from that particular school or that general attendance area. They do hold elections for these positions and the basic idea is to decentralize control from the Chicago Public Schools. Another basic idea is to discourage long-term tenure of principals in the public schools.

So the LSC's have the ability to hire and fire the principals and they can control their particular school's budgets. They also can work the school's curriculum although some control is still maintained by the Chicago Board of Education. Anyway back to this article, let's see what it's talking about...

Board President Rufus Williams and other district leaders met with key legislators last week to discuss possible changes to the 1995 School Reform Act, which gave these elected councils of parents and community members broad authority to approve school budgets and select principals. The district wants councils to get approval from the central administration before firing a principal—a movecouncil advocates denounced as a power grab.

Valencia Rias, a director with the reform advocacy group Designs for Change, decried the legislative maneuver during the public comment segment of the Board of Education meeting Wednesday.

"You are trying to gut the power of 575 [local school councils] . . .because of what happened with one LSC," said Rias, referring to the recent controversy over the council firing of the popular principal at Curie Metropolitan High School. "No one wants to have $110,000 contracts handed out by this board, by the mayor of this city."

During a March 1 news conference, Mayor Richard Daley called on legislators to curb council powers and described the Curie principal as a "superstar" and her firing a "great disgrace." Rias said advocates have been bracing for an assault on council powers, and she said she fears the timing is perfect because city elections are over and the summer lull is looming.

The district "supports the mayor's proposal" but has not yet drafted a bill or sought a sponsor for legislation, said Steve Washington, chief of staff to Chicago's Board of Education. Washington said he "couldn't say" whether that will happen in the month before the legislative session ends. .

"What we are doing is focusing on getting what it takes to get good leaders in our schools," Washington said. "We wanted to get any valuable advice we can get from our legislators."

Getting this controversial change through the legislature could be a long shot this year.

State Sen. Kimberly Lightford, chairwoman of the Senate Education Committee, said she discussed the issue last week with Chicago school leaders, who she said were "feeling out" legislators about support for a local school council change.

"I think they have a long way to go. I don't know if I feel comfortable taking power away from an elected official," said Lightford, a Democrat from Maywood. "Right now, it's not on anyone's radar. But if it's something the mayor wants, and the governor and [legislative leaders] agree, we could wake up and find an amendment floating around. Anything could happen around here."

Eight years ago, Schools chief Paul Vallas and Daley pushed for the same change, inspired by a similar controversy over a principal firing. The mayor said in 1999 that the legislative change is needed because some good principals are "being thrown out for no reason."
Well while I may still say I'm glad I don't have any kids in the system yet this doesn't sound good for the idea of parental and community participation in education. Though if a principal wants to keep their job they can go to an arbitrator. In a body such as an LSC, there are still bound to be some bad decisions made. It's just that this time it's been made public.

Hmmm, I wonder what parents and LSC member have to say about this. Perhaps there is someone out there who reads this blog who is on an LSC. I want to hear from you!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Wal-Mart expands in-store clinics

Now this is an idea we rarely hear about. Clinics in retails stores such as Wal-Mart but other establishments are mentioned such as CVS and Walgreen's. Talk about expanding health care and even finding ways to lower costs.

You know what if Wal-Mart is to consider expanding into poor minority neighborhoods in Chicago, this should prove to be one good side effect. Someone has a child that needs to see a doctor. Now if only this meant that opposition to Wal-Mart would lighten up. Take a look...
Wal-Mart, the world's largest retailer, said Tuesday it has plans to dramatically expand the number of health clinics it operates, opening as many as 400 in U.S. stores in the next three years and possibly 2,000 of them within five to seven years.

With its extraordinary reach and power, the proliferation of Wal-Mart clinics providing customers with access to simple medical treatment is almost certain to have an impact. Given enough scale, it could put pressure on other big retailers to follow suit, which in turn could force primary-care physicians to become more competitive on pricing.

"This is just one of many changes that are coming in health care in the future," said David Fortosis, senior vice president in the health and benefits practice Aon Consulting Inc.

At its heart, though, the clinics are designed to provide consumers with another reason to shop at their neighborhood Wal-Mart, especially if the clinics are opened as planned in 55 percent of U.S. stores by 2012. The clinics would earn fees but also provide a constant supply of prescription business for the company's highly profitable pharmacies.

Wal-Mart was praised last year for lowering the cost of many generic drug prescriptions, another move that single-handedly brought in more customers and forced rivals to respond.

"This is the way they run their business. They are always trying to increase the number of people coming through the front door," said George Whalin, founder of Retail Management Consultants in San Marcos, Calif.

Lee Scott, Wal-Mart's president and chief executive, acknowledged the marketing aspect of the plan but also emphasized how the clinics can provide greater health-care access. At existing Wal-Mart clinics, he said, more than half the patients are uninsured.

"We think the clinics will be a great opportunity for our business," he said. "But most importantly, they are going to provide something our customers and communities desperately need -- affordable access at the local level to quality health care."

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A Push to Save Morris Brown College


This video was originally posted at MyUrbanReport. A group of Morris Brown College's officials, alumni and students and the members of Georgia's Congressional Black Congress held a rally for the troubled HBCU.

Morris Brown College lost their accreditation in 2001 thanks to financial mismanagement. Two former Morris Brown officials the president of the School Delores Cross and financial aid director Parvesh Singh were charged in federal court for defrauding Morris Brown, the students and the US Department of Education. Check out this Wikipedia article on the details. Oh yeah and I don't mind if you decided to help out Morris Brown with a donation.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Hillary would let Bill roam the world

I'm sure when Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was planning to run for president I'm sure questions were abound as to what role her husband and former President of the United States, Bill Clinton, would play in her administration. She should know above all that he doesn't mind being in the spotlight and being first gentleman would give him that spotlight. My question is, does this hurt Sen. Clinton instead of helping her?

I can only wonder and speculate. When she was in Selma back in March she had President Clinton there with her. Why? Because she knows that black folks still love him and it doesn't help that her fellow Senate Colleague Barack Obama is seeking the Presidency himself and could take away a vital votin block.

This only opened up some questions about whether this candidacy is about her or about her husband. Is she stronger as a candidate with or without him? Frankly if she is seeking to be President she's better off displaying her merits than parading around a face everyone knows.

Anyway check out The Swamp as they talk about how, "Hillary would let Bill roam the world".

Election sends message: Black officials have to deliver

The Sun-Times' Laura Washington talks about the municipal election both the February 27th and the run-offs from last week. And to be sure she even takes a dig at current Cook County board president Todd Stroger...

That brings us to the New Black Vote. Is it my imagination, or have black voters been poorly served by their elected officials? Remember, it was black voters who put the Toddster in charge of Cook County government. We voted him in, and now he's laying off nearly 500 doctors and nurses who care for the county's poor. We voted him in, and he's hiring more relatives and public relations flacks while shutting down the county's long-term care at Oak Forest Hospital.

This is the beginning of the end of the age-old argument in black politics that "you don't want to put a brother out of a j-o-b." Our elected officials have to deliver.
Well we'll see I mean we're stuck with him until 2010. Still how about those aldermanic elections. Like I said earlier if you're looking to become an alderman you should be taking notes on how to run a campaign and then maybe you should be taking note on what your alderman is doing and then figure out what not to do. Some of the aldermen who lost probably should have been doing that all along.

There's is plenty of analysis here and strangely Washington never really discussed the new black vote. Who are they? Do they have money, better education, own a home, a professional job, or are the truly fed up with their lives in their wards?

Anyway let's tackle one important issues. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. has been rumored to be interested in running for mayor. He could have done it this time around and decided not to go for it. Perhaps he figured it wasn't his time yet, but maybe he got the process started by getting involved in the recent city council contest...

In the February vote, Sandi Jackson swept the 7th Ward floor with Darcel Beavers. The architect of that win, her husband, Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., was feeling his oats. Chicago's biggest black boss, former 7th Ward Ald. Bill Beavers, is toast. Jackson knew that victory could ignite his own political blitzkrieg. He dispatched his arsenal of polling, billboards and troops into neighboring wards where political incumbents talk up a pro-black economic and social agenda but, whenever push comes to shove, side with the Machine.

Junior removed a key obstacle to his mayoral aspirations. He also endorsed a white insurgent over a longtime black alderman, a move bound to boost his bona fides with white voters who bitterly complain that black leaders are narrowly sectarian. The Black Nationalist crowd already despises Jackson; they'll never forgive him for backing a dyed-blond aldermanic wannabe over a "sistuh" in the 2nd Ward.
You know maybe this new black vote could care less about what your skin color is and more about are they doing the job. The 2nd ward is changing maybe there weren't enough black votes there that could keep Haitchcock in power. I heard that the ward is about 40% white and maybe a good number of them were fed up with her. And that means a ward represented by a black alderman since 1915 is now to be led by a white alderman.

Here's more...

People in Madeline Haithcock's ward couldn't get her to respond to the simplest of complaints. People in Dorothy Tillman's ward knew they paid for the edifice she built in honor of Harold Washington, but it is run by Tillman's daughter. They live near 47th Street and the L, where they're afraid to walk in the dark.

The people tired of listening to Shirley Coleman whine that her opponent was an ungrateful ex-alcoholic instead of doing her job.
The first two were basic complaints that I've only read about both. This last sentence about Ald. Coleman is interesting. I read somewhere that she was pegged as a not very effective legislator.

The neighborhood she represents, Englewood, is slowly changing but it's been struggling for years perhaps her stewardship of that ward left a lot to be desired. What probably helped out a lot of these Aldermen is the support of the Mayor and that didn't help the ones who got defeated this time around. So in Englewood not only will there be something of a physical change but a change of leadership as well.

Oh yeah I want to go back to Bill Beavers for a second. His machine certainly took a hit during the February municipal election. He may take another hit still for helping to orchestrate Todd Stroger into his dad's, John Stroger, county president seat. I think what happened during that period of time last summer up thru November last year might have hurt him.

I would wonder if Beaver hadn't of decided not to leave the Chicago city council for a seat on the county board and stood for election himself, would we be talking about Sandi Jackson as Alderman-elect of the 7th ward of Chicago? Also could this election become a barometer for the 2011 elections? Might this be the start of a new era in Chicago?

All I can say is these next four years are going to be interesting.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

This has not been a frequent topic of discussion here...

So why not on this subject? Academic bias or the fact that universities instead of being a convergence of new and different ideas seem to want to stifle such through grading and speech codes. Being ingrained in the online political activist culture I've heard stories. This story I have ran across is just one of many and surely it was bound to happen.

Why, you may ask?

Well the Virginia Tech (VA Tech) shootings from earlier this week. There is going to be some debate over what can be done to keep college students safe from a brooding madman. The knee jerk reaction would be even more gun control. Another response could be to let students have guns, although while I'm not for gun control, I'm not in support of arming college students (or allowing college students arms) in their dorms.

Unfortunately to the misfortune of the Boston professor he's been fired from his job for suggesting that the rampage at VA Tech could have been stopped if another studemt had been carrying another gun....
Nicholas Winset was terminated and permanently barred from the Boston campus after a lecture he gave on Wednesday showed the gunman could have been stopped if another student was carrying a gun, according to a Boston Herald report.

On the Internet web site You Tube, Winset explains how he used a magic marker as a depiction of a gun.

Winset said the re-enactment was part of a lecture on the issue of gun control. He said he wanted to teach his students that they should fight back in violent situations.


BTW, you can watch his videos here.

So Emmanuel College, what's wrong with discussing the effectiveness or the lack of effectiveness of gun control. Isn't this what you need instead of engaging in a kneejerk over reaction of one professor attempting to have a discussion. I think I share the apprehension of allowing a college student a firearm, but firing a professor for discussing this is not the answer.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Killed on camera.

I ran across this story from the Chicago Reader today. I watched the video before I read the actual article. Thankfully the video wasn't particularly graphic and you can't hear anything, but I winced when I saw the man get killed in this video.

The basic details you need to know then you'll have to go over there and read the whole story yourself is that a young man was looking for a friend who apparently was fighting. A police officer who was late dropped his gear drew his weapon and ran toward the disturbance. Things calmed down later and the young man didn't realize there was one thing he had to do and that was to back away from a man with a gun.

Probably arguing with him. Which is fine unless this guy cop or not doesn't have his gun drawn. Sometimes you just have to slow down and relax. Obviously this was a very tense situation.

This video was made back in 2003 and it comes up just in time for the current scandals involving out of control police officers. Anyway I want you to check out the article and the video and hopefully we won't see police officers showing up late for duty and maintaining control of a situation without his finger on the trigger. And believe me I have great appreciation for the difficult job police officers have.

There are two new websites this week

From two of Chicago's major papers with, surely, the basic idea of encouraging this idea of citizen journalism. In an era where we see people on the frontlines way before any journalist or TV camera crews it's probably just as important to bring the people in. And what a great idea it is.

It's not only that. Newspapers can't easily cover everything that goes on in a particular community. That is since the Sun-Times and Tribune have a wide market area, mainly the city and its suburbas as well as northwest Indiana it's probably going to be impossible for a given paper to gear its content towards a specific area.

That's where you the citizen come in. These days we have sites such as Flickr, YouTube, and there's Blogger where a person can tell their own stories about what's going on in their communities. And we see that the Sun-Times and Tribune are jumping on the bandwagon, although, for right now they're focused on the suburbs. So when you get an opportunity check em out and see what they offer.

TribLocal
NeighborhoodCircle

Thursday, April 19, 2007

What's Your Rapper Name?

Your Rapper Name Is...

EZ Gangsta

There are a lot of stories about the runoff from Tuesday

I really would like to list them all and maybe I still will. There is a lot to talk about from campaign managers, to why some of these incumbents lost, to even the role labor has played in the Chicago municipal election, and the role they will play when these Aldermen-elect take office this year. You just have to like this new air of fresh faces.

I can always be cynical and ask how long will it take for these fresh faces to be a part of the machine, but I won't. I think I'll keep my optimism. There are a lot of serious problems to be addressed in many of the city neighborhoods and I hope they will be addressed.

Howard Brookins is still the Alderman of the 21st ward and I expect that he will continue to develop his ward. The new faces in my wards of interest 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 15th, 16th, & 24th wards are where I'd really like to see where the new Alderman are going to take their wards. I liked it when I heard that Ald.-elect Sandi Jackson said that she wanted a Neimann Marcus in her 7th Ward (South Shore/South Chicago). I can always be a doubting Thomas, but that's vision.

Hopefully the new aldermen in those wards and other wards that will have new Aldermen will avoid the mistakes of the people they defeated. Hopefully they won't ignore their constituents as the incumbent they have beaten have. Hopefully if the ward is truly struggling they can be aggressive in making a change in their ward for the better.

A lot of things to consider with this new city council and I for one am looking forward to it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

A couple of good columns today...

From Kristen McQueary of the Daily Southtown, taking aim at the elections that took place in the south suburbs. She really talked about the shenanigans in the suburb of Harvey. Why did the voters choose Mayor Eric Kellogg despite the problems with his administration. Let's have a looksie...

As much as I hoped to credit this newspaper's year-long "Eye on Harvey" series for a Kellogg loss on election day, it didn't happen. Residents re-elected the guy we've been lambasting on a weekly basis and whose government we had to sue to gain access to city financial records.

What does this mean?

a) The Daily Southtown has zero clout in Harvey.

b) Corruption, nepotism and incompetence are OK.

c) The voters of Harvey are remarkably uninformed.

d) All of the above.

I'm going with "D," all of the above.

In the end, the Southtown's almost-daily coverage of mismanagement in Harvey -- family members on the payroll, police department ineptitude that required outside intervention, missing city revenue, dozens of expensive federal lawsuits -- actually worked to Kellogg's advantage.

We were viewed as being too tough on the hometown guy; the "white" newspaper down the street beating up on the black mayor. Even Kellogg's opponents admitted as much.

There's also the question of vote accuracy. The Cook County clerk last week flagged questionable absentee voting in Harvey, and it's long been a Harvey tradition to bus-in and "reward" voters who cooperate.

Still, Kellogg's commanding win over his opponents diminishes any credible claims of widespread foul play.

I doubt Kellogg's re-election will soften coverage of his administration on the news pages here, but let the guy savor his victory. Tomorrow it's back to work.

Certainly, it's not the first time voters disregarded newspaper coverage and ignored editorial endorsements. Todd Stroger won the Cook County Board presidency despite a spate of disapproving news stories and only one major newspaper endorsement.

Gov. Rod Blagojevich won a second term despite an overwhelming, years-long wave of damaging headlines, from federal and state investigations to contract scandals to Blagojevich's personal finances and the indictment of a close friend.

So voters, what are you trying to tell us, the news media? Buzz off? Get lost?

Or is our "we told you so" moment still on the horizon?
Originally I was going to run off at the mouth seeing this one, but it was better to let her tell her story. Eventually the wrong doing with the Kellogg administration will catch up to him. It's only a matter of when. If it's not the next election it will certainly be an indictment. We'll see.

I want to point out my favorite columnist Mary Mitchell's column. This is her take on what happened in the 3rd ward and why...
Earlier in the day, she talked about what she would face if elected. She would have to pull off "a sensitive balancing act," she said. "I have to have a White Castle to White House mentality."

That was clear at her election night celebration, where supporters reflected every region of the ward -- from the South Loop to west of the Dan Ryan Expy., from public housing residents to those who live in expensive greystones

On Tuesday, the battle for the ward came down to old school vs. new school -- old school being Tillman, a civil rights icon who shaped what was once a vast wasteland of dilapidated high-rises and neglected greystones into one of the hottest neighborhoods on the South Side -- while Dowell, a former city planner, represents emerging black leadership.

"A lot of single people in cars have been pulling up and coming up to the polls and voicing their opinion," Isaac said. "Many of them feel that Dorothy Tillman let them down.''

After all the speeches, coffees and fund-raisers, elections boil down to who can get their supporters out to the polls.

I tagged along as Dowell went from precinct to precinct checking on how things were going. There were concerns that her workers may have been targets for intimidation.

For her part, Tillman, if she were in the fight for her political career, was making a good showing -- at least when it came to outsiders. She scored a big coup when she got Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) to endorse her campaign since doing so appeared to contradict his own presidential theme of representing "change."
...
Old school voters were plentiful in nursing homes, senior citizen residences and the few standing public housing buildings at CHA's Dearborn and Ickes homes. Tillman used a tried and true method of getting them to the polls. She brought vans. She made promises.
At Dearborn Homes, a van with loudspeakers on top blasted old school jams in the middle of an empty parking lot.

"She came out here and promised to bring back Old School Sundays," said a young woman who lives in one of the buildings.

Old School Sundays was an impromptu music fest shut down by police after several people were shot. Maybe Tillman's promise was enough to bring out some voters, but many of the young people who cared about the issue were likely unable to cross gang turf to cast ballots.

Dowell knew the real battleground was in Bronzeville on 47th and King Drive.

When she arrived there about 4 p.m., her signs had disappeared. A supporter quickly came to the rescue. She spotted two boys playing on the sidewalk and offered them $5 apiece to put the signs back.

They skipped away to complete the task, unaware they were major players in a battle for the future of the South Side's mecca.

Late Tuesday, Zakiyyah S. Muhammad summed up the mood at Dowell's gathering: "It's a new day. Out with the old. All the king's men and all the king's horses couldn't save Dorothy and all of her forces.''

Well Bronzeville is gentrifying so there is bound to be a clash between the old poorer resident versus the much more well to do. What did Tillman in certainly was that she no longer had the projects along State Street and she's Alderman of a significantly different ward with some constituents across the Dan Ryan. So the municipal election season in Chicago is just about officially over.

How about some videos...

AlderTrack has a number of videos from the Aldermanic runoffs yesterday. There are footage from last minute campaigning, victory speeches, and heaven forbid concession speeches. Here are some of my favorites...

LeRoy Jones Jr. running for Alderman of the 21st Ward defeated by incumbent Ald. Howard Brookins Jr. This footage was taken outside his headquarters.

Ald. Shirley Coleman's campaign RV and from the music they were jammin'. Well I'm sure the music and the optimism didn't last.

Gotta love this one with the music from The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. This documents the battle for the 3rd ward where Pat Dowell became the new Alderman beating the incumbent.

The woman herself, Pat Dowell, interviewed on AlderVision.

Pat Dowell's victory party. A change is a coming there. As far as I know or read Ald. Tillman has yet to concede.

4 Aldermen lost

Some predictions I have seen out there has come true.

2nd Ward Alderman Madeline Haithcock, see yah!!!
3rd Ward Ald. Dorothy Tillman, see yah!!!
16th Ward Ald. Shirley Coleman, bless yah!!!
24th Ward Ald. Michael Chandler, I hardly ever knew yah!!!

So far it's those four and there's no dispute. If I had posted this last night it would have been six, there are a couple of races that are way too close to call. Are the rules for the runoffs that you must have at least 51% or better?

Ald. Ted Matlak is losing in the 32nd ward to Scott Waguespack, but just barely by 122 votes. In the 49th ward Ald. Joe Moore almost seeming to be losing his race for most of the night only to see before I went to bed last night that he got a small lead on his opponent Don Gordon with 138 votes separating them. I can see what they mean when they said turnout was to be the key.

So seven alderman are out and let the shakeup begin. Most of these alderman had the problem of constituent services. The unions were working overtime to show their muscle and in some of these wards in the municipal elections and the runoffs they were successful.

Thankfully in the 21st Ward they weren't successful. Ald. Howard Brookins will have another term to continue his work in helping to build up his ward as he had done during his first term. His ward would have gotten a Wal-Mart a few years ago and he voted against the big box ordinance.

On the other hand his colleague Shirley Coleman who switched her vote on Big Box (she voted for it before she voted against it) was defeated. She promised a Wal-Mart in her ward and according to the Tribune urged her voters to reject the "economic racism of labor". Well the voters there for whatever reason rejected her.

Ald. Haithcock's relection bid was one of the more interesting contests. She attempted to use a restraining order against her opponent Bob Fioretti and for a little while that gave him an endorsement from the National Organization for Women (NOW). He would have had it before the February 27 municipal elections, but because of that they rescinded it. Before the runoffs they removed it again because he couldn't explain the relationship with the woman involved in the restraining order situation. He proved he didn't need NOW and Ald. Haithcock is now for certain a loser in this election. I almost hated to say that, but her actions most likely did her in.

Ald. Tillman seems to have had nothing but problems in this election. In her third ward this guy was making videos about life in her ward and he was cutting her up good. There were stories about her handling of 3rd ward issues including using money to clean statues instead of working on the streets. And nepotism as the Harold Washington Cultural Center, a place that seemed to not have been the boon for the ward as it was expected.

While her ward certainly doesn't seem to be the safest, it's changing. Not sure whether to give her credit for it or not, but it was. There's new building down there and I'll give her credit for one thing she had great respect for the history of the 3rd Ward neighborhood of Bronzeville, the historic black neighborhood. Did I mention that debate she blew off and sent a surrogate who dealt with the crowd arrogantly?

Finally I want to go back to the 32nd Ward. I've been reading up on what's going on there. Ald. Matlak is supported by a rather old school political operation and I wonder if they might be ready to kick him to the curb thanks to his performance last night. If I understand correctly Ald. Matlak had problems with constituent services and zoning seemed to be a problem in his ward. I've seen pictures of two-flats or condos being built next to single family homes.

One thing that would do him in was gentrification. Reading about this, the 32nd ward Democratic organization is run by the Democratic Committeman Terry Gabinski and this machine depended on controlled ethnic votes to win elections, but with the original Polish and Lithuanian residents moving out and yuppies moving in the ward is changing and it certainly helps that the homes that the former residents lived in are being razed in favor of condos and highrises. Even worse these residents want better services from their Alderman too, like they did in other wards.

So it looks like seven incumbents are out and while it's a small number it's not a bad one. For the most part those who should be out are out. There are some who should be out but still aren't yet. And anyone looking for an aldermanic seat should be writing notes and looking at what should and shouldn't be done. Especially after you win the election.

MORE STORIES
"Hibernator" Ted Matlak may lose 32nd Ward Runoff
Unions score key victories in council
Vote tells story: Tillman's council run nearing end
Voters give more aldermen the boot

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Sources: Virginia Tech gunman left note

I haven't really covered this story here. It's a very senseless crime that happened on the campus of Virginia Tech. Was there a rhyme or reason for it? I can't answer that but the only one who could has at least left a note. This news is from the Tribune...
BLACKSBURG, Va. -- The suspected gunman in the Virginia Tech shooting rampage, Cho Seung-Hui, was a troubled 23-year-old senior from South Korea who investigators believe left an invective-filled note in his dorm room, sources say.

The note included a rambling list of grievances, according to sources. They said Cho also died with the words "Ismail Ax" in red ink on one of his arms.

Cho had shown recent signs of violent, aberrant behavior, according to an investigative source, including setting a fire in a dorm room and allegedly stalking some women.

A note believed to have been written by Cho was found in his dorm room that railed against "rich kids," "debauchery" and "deceitful charlatans" on campus.

Cho was an English major whose creative writing was so disturbing that he was referred to the school's counseling service, the Associated Press reported.

Professor Carolyn Rude, chairwoman of the university's English department, said she did not personally know the gunman. But she said she spoke with Lucinda Roy, the department's director of creative writing, who had Cho in one of her classes and described him as "troubled."

"There was some concern about him," Rude said. "Sometimes, in creative writing, people reveal things and you never know if it's creative or if they're describing things, if they're imagining things or just how real it might be. But we're all alert to not ignore things like this."

She said Cho was referred to the counseling service, but she said she did not know when, or what the outcome was.

A professor talked about this today. A smile or a very nice gesture could have gone a long way with this man. Who knows.

This is interesting timing for endorsements

The Sun-Times has released their endorsement list for the aldermanic runoffs today...
2nd Ward: Bob Fioretti

3rd Ward: Pat Dowell

15th Ward: Felicia H. Simmons-Stovall

16th Ward: JoAnn Thompson

18th Ward: Lona Lane

21st Ward: Howard B. Brookins Jr.

24th Ward: Michael Chandler

32nd Ward: Ted Matlak

35th Ward: Rey Colon

43rd Ward: Michele Smith

49th Ward: Joe Moore

50th Ward: Naisy Dolar

Do you bribe your kids?

I was just going to relegate this to my del.icio.us links but it's worth blogging here. Parents have an important job but there are those who are confused about how to raise their kids. I'm sort of glad I'm not a parent yet.

You might watch Maury or Dr. Phil and you see stories about out of control children and they're parents who can't seem to do anything with them. Some parents may barely disclipline their children or indeed most may exhibit very inappropriate behavior around them. There could be other issues involved such as bribery and depending on what the reward is for this leads to questions as to whether or not parents are going soft on the kids.

Check this article out...
''It's definitely more our generation,'' Kirsten Whipple, a 35-year-old mom in Northbrook, says with a laugh. ''I'm sure our parents would be appalled if they knew how much we bribe our children.''

She and her husband try not to overuse rewards and have found they work best for smaller things. They might offer their boys, 5 and 8, a special dessert or a chance to rent a video game if they listen to their baby-sitter.

Whipple has noticed a downside -- a ''sense of entitlement.''

''Often times, it leads to good behavior with a question attached: 'What are you going to give me?''' she says.

That's part of what worries parenting experts.

''I think that reward systems have a time and a place and work really well to help develop capacities -- if we need them to go above and beyond,'' says Marcy Safyer, director of the Adelphi University Institute for Parenting.

''But what often gets lost for people is being able to figure out how to communicate to their kids that doing the thing is rewarding enough,'' Safyer says.

Feeling rested in the morning, for instance, could be seen as the reward for not getting up at night.

Elizabeth Powell, a mother of two young daughters in Austin, Texas, says that what constitutes a reward has changed.

"Sometimes, you wonder now if kids appreciate even a new pair of shoes,'' she said.

These days, she sees children negotiating to get things in a way she never would've dreamed of. ''A lot of my friends, I see them cave, just like I have a tendency to do -- just to get them to be quiet,'' Powell says.
Sometimes parents it pays to say know. Let them keep talking, they'll shut up eventually. That or they'll know when to stop when you shoot them the look. To be sure I don't have a handle on it yet. I don't think anyone does.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Chicago aldermanic runoffs are tomorrow!!!

Don't forget for those of you in those wards where there are runoffs. There are runoffs in the 2nd, 3rd, 15th, 16th, 18th, 21st, 24th, 32nd, 35th, 43rd, 49th, and 50th wards. There has been a lot of news as we head into tomorrow.

Aside from the blogs of the 49th ward that race has been relatively quiet. We've heard more from the 2nd, 3rd, 32nd and 43rd wards in the lead up to those runoffs. The 2nd has the most drama especially over a restraining order, the 43rd was over "buying" votes, the 3rd presented a form of arrogance on display, the 32nd is probably not much different that the 49th ward it's mostly about the constituents complaining about their inattentive Alderman (though unlike the 49th ward the prevailing maching there has a prevailing interest in keeping their man in office), and the 50th is over a man who probably should think about retirement and probably should avoid outright playing the nepotism card.

I'm not going to make any predictions here. I intend to follow the results as best as I can. There were shake-up back in February with three Alderman losing their city council seats I think there will be shake-ups but the question will be who. Either way we shall see.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Till church now a landmark

Another piece of news on the Till front. This story seems to have been on fire in the past few years. We still hear blurbs about it.

First a documentary, then the FBI closes the case without bringing about charges, then just last week a story about one day using the story where the who saga started, and now the church where this boy's funeral was held is now a landmark.

For those of you who don't know about Emmett Till. This young black boy was 14 years old when he whistled and flirted with an older white lady in a Money, Mississippi grocery store seemingly on a dare. This lady's husband and some other white men later came to his home and got him from his bed at night (yeah that's what they did in those days) and lynched him. There are plenty of stories about what they exactly did to Emmett including that while he was still alive they cut of his genitals and stuck it in his mouth before he was killed.

Whatever happened he was beaten to a pulp. The result you would see if you were to find pictures of his body in a casket. He was unrecognizable. Anyway after they did what they did to him they threw him into a local river.

This story was place into many black news media at the time including Ebony magazine and the Chicago Defender and served to galvanize the Civil Rights fight of the era. This was probably just one of the worst lynchings America had to have ever heard of. I wonder if Americans could believe that such nonsense was going on in this country at that time.

MY RELATED POSTS:
Store from Till murder could be restored
Thoughts on Rosa Parks...
New documentary on Emmett Till

I haven't commented much on the Don Imus story...

I just have to point this article in your direction.

To start I have my opinions on this story and I find out how high passions are. Especially since Imus has lost his job over what was said on his radio show. On the one hand are those who are very much offended by what he said and now I suppose the fans of Imus disappointed that they will no longer hear him on the air.

But come on folks, he's just a radio personality who lost his job. Why are you going to threaten a person's life for speaking up against what offended him? It's almost pointless and it shows how out of control people like this are. This does Imus no good.

I mean he's already lost his job. If he ever wants to pursue another job in radio the last thing he needs is some crazy fan doing something crazy. What's done is done. Making threats doesn't change a thing and makes you feel and look dumb. Especially if it's found out who you are.

This story reminds me of what happened to the dentist although it wasn't exactly substantiated as far as I know. Whatever, people just need to slow down and stop.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Georgia Tech Obama rally images

I forget her name but she was especially cheerful as our wait for the Senator continued to get longer and longer. We had to wait awhile the people I was standing with was starting to get tired. She would come out every now and again to ask us if we signed up at MyObama.com, if we've told a friend about Sen. Obama, and if we're going to help him in this campaign. In addition to getting people to scream at the naming of their respective college or home state neighboring Georgia. She did say she was from South Carolina, a very important state in the primaries.
Rev. Joseph Lowery. You may not have heard of him, but he was a player in the Civil Rights movement. A confidant of Dr. Martin Luther King, he was here to deliver a prayer to start off this rally. It was a great prayer to be sure even if I may not agree with him on a lot of issues. BTW, he is based in Atlanta, Georgia.
Oh yeah this was the daughter of the late Atlanta Mayor Maynard Jackson. Her namse was Alexandria and she was on stage to sing the Star-Spangled Banner. People were so into it that what you see is in the next picture.
People here were expressing their patriotism. They were handing out flags at this rally and on this day certainly were were all patriots and Americans. So during the rendition of our national anthem here comes the flags.
Finally the man himself. I do have a shot of him head-on, but it was a much better shot to get him in action. Speaking to the citizens who thirsted to hear him speak. His speech energized the crowd and hopefully people who weren't there might want to see him in person themselves.

Obama rally today!!!

My day for the most part started at about 7:30 when my alarm woke me up this morning. A friend of mine and myself planned going to an Obama rally this morning at Georgia Tech. I got ready brushed my teeth and found that I had some time to hop on my computer. I even filled out a form that was on my ticket with contact information.

I had gotten a ticket to attend this rally yesterday in class where a guy I know, who I believe was an Obama volunteer, handed out tickets to the class. My professor got gold VIP tickets. What us students got were blue tickets. Getting a gold ticket got you closer to the action, but a blue ticket pushes you further away from the action. Luckily for me, my friend had a pair of gold tickets to get me much closer to the action than I thought I had been able to.

We were there pretty early but so was everyone else. As it turns out everyone else had about the same idea. Though it was particularly crowded when we finally got there. It was probably close to about 9:30 when we made it to Georgia Tech. As the rally got closer to starting the crowd started to thicken until there wasn't much room to move.

BTW, Georgia Tech is a lovely campus. A far cry from Morehouse College the only difference is the physical plant but not the reputation. This campus almost reminds me someone of the University of Chicago in the architecture, perhaps not quite gothic but almost similar.

And at least I have some memorabilia from this event, an Obama poster and an American flag. I got pictures that I will post here today. As something of a teaser I even poster a picture of the rally over at The Eye, a mobile picture but an idea on what's to come.

Oh yeah near the end Sen. Obama became the fourth politican to have shaken my hand. Unlike the other three though I was amongst a much larger crowd than usual, but worth it. Especially if I was at a rally for a Presidential contender.

How was the speech you may ask?

Well it was what I'd expect. The feel good type stuff that I'm sure many Americans have come to know and expect from him. Hit on issues Americans care about, but not much on specifics on how to fix these problems. Some people at the rally would say Obama is a smart guy and why come on out and talk about your plans. He has to really prove himself in the future debates that he will have.

Basically he took digs at President Bush as to the constitution and the war in Iraq. He commented on the expansion of poverty in this country. He talked a little about his background perticularly coming to Chicago as a community organizer being paid on 12,000 with traveling expenses. In fact he talked about consulting with two higher powers before he ran for the Illinois State Senate, God and his wife.

Yeah this is something to remember for those of you wanting to go into politics in the future. Of all people who you might need to consult with running are the people closest to you. Especially your wife, she should be the biggest supporter you have. You have to consult with people to see if they're OK.

Being amongst an energized crowd was, well, energizing. I can't say I enjoyed being in the crowd but to see this was worth it. My first presidential campaign rally. It was a great one. Especially the Motown music and other more mainstream and contemporary songs as well as the Clark-Atlanta University Marching Band who was there for entertainment.

Finally, if you go back on this it can't be said that I'm a big fan of Obama. I'd like to think that I've come around somewhat. Obama may not have a lot in experience, but surely he has one thing going for him, a fresh face. I think I could honestly go for that.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Mom says teacher hit teen for dating white girl

This story caught my eye this morning and of all places this is from the city of Naperville and to be sure I didn't think it was a black woman who did the hitting but a white guy. Perhaps unusual for a white person (guy or gal), still it was my first reaction. Unfortuate incident though.

You know she should have left the kid alone. To be honest I hear that black women have a problem with black men dating white women. I don't mean to open a can of worms here, but it's out there. This is just one story among many that won't make the paper and no I'm not saying it's all about teachers slapping their students for dating a woman outside of their race.
The alleged incident has racial overtones. The 26-year-old business teacher, Akela Dillon, is black. So is the teen.

He was in the hallway between classes April 3 when, according to the student's mother, Dillon approached. The teacher then made derogatory remarks about him dating a white female and "smacked" him in the face, said the mother, Tiffany Stephens.

Stephens said she was called by the school and initially told her son was in trouble and had struck Dillon. But that version fell apart when a surveillance tape of the incident was viewed, Stephens said.

"I was upset at first the teacher said my son attacked her," Stephens said. "But then when I saw the videotape, it switched. There was no reason for her to do that to my son."

Naperville Police Lt. Dave Hoffman said his department is investigating a teacher allegedly striking a student. Battery charges are pending.

A statement from Indian Prairie School District 204 said Dillon is a first-year teacher who immediately was removed when the allegations came to light. "She is currently on paid administrative leave while the district works with the Naperville Police Department to investigate the incident," the statement said.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

CTA Red Line Extension

This has been in the news a lot. I've even had literature at home about an extension of the Red Line from Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. It's looks like a great idea and I can only wonder what the impact of an extension would bring. For starters I can't see 95th Street being as busy as it is now. Though who knows that may never change.

Look at the graphic provided by the Tribune on the left. You're seeing the various possibilities but in red you see the ones that are preffered. This Tribune article talks about it more....

Nine different corridors to extend the Red Line to 130th Street are still under consideration, CTA officials and consultants told an audience of about 75 people who attended a meeting Tuesday night at Chicago State University to hear a review of the alternatives-analysis study and offer their feedback.

But the CTA recommended narrowing the nine options to three routes for further study: *Jogging the tracks west to near Halsted Street and south along Halsted, crossing the Blue Island branch of the Metra Electric before reaching 130th Street.

* Using the existing Union Pacific Railroad right of way that runs south between Halsted and Michigan Avenue until about 112th Street, then bends southeast, crossing the Metra Electric main line tracks and terminating near the South Shore Line and the Bishop Ford Freeway (Interstate Highway 94).

* Extending the Red Line alongside South Michigan Avenue.

The six other corridors that were looked at include using rights of way along Interstate Highway 57 or the Bishop Ford; or extending the Red Line tracks alongside either Wentworth Avenue, State Street, King Drive or Cottage Grove Avenue/Metra Electric.

At the meeting Tuesday, Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6th), whose ward includes the 95th Street station, said that having a reliable and environmentally friendly train service was paramount.

"We want to make sure it works for the community it serves," she said.

A neighborhood group that has advocated for the extension of the Red Line favors the Union Pacific corridor route because it runs through the center of the Roseland community and would provide the highest ridership, said Lou Turner, a consultant for Developing Communities Project.

"On the Far South Side, one in four households does not have a car," Turner said. "This area is heavily transportation-disadvantaged."

No recommendations were made regarding whether the extension would be at street level, on elevated tracks, in a trench or underground, officials said.

In addition, the transit agency suggested using either traditional CTA heavy-rail cars for the project or a bus rapid-transit system, which would offer faster travel and fewer stops than regular bus service.
Sounds good and a subway through the Roseland neighborhood well that would be interesting. As you saw in the article the statistic about people not having a car on the far south side of Chicago. This would be great for them, but who knows this will allow for easier access to that part of town for those who are not from Roseland.

Oh yeah it was mentioned that there will be another meeting with regards to the CTA Red Line extension here's more info from the Tribune...
A second public meeting on the Red Line extension project will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday at the West Pullman Chicago Public Library, 830 W. 119th St.

Daley coalition tackles education funding reform

It makes sense to me. I don't like the idea of raising taxes, but if there is insistence that there is a problem then we should talk about decisions to solve it. Right now there is a debate brewing in Springfield about this Gross Receipts Tax to fund a universal health care program and provide more money for schools. In this debate is to move the burden of school funding from the property tax.

Now we see this news in the Sun-Times today about a new coalition Daley formed.

On Tuesday, a Daley-formed coalition of 272 mayors unveiled a 10-point plan designed by the Civic Federation to guarantee that any new money for education will be spent on programs that impact classroom learning.

Every school board member in Illinois would be required to undergo at least six hours of training on financial oversight. School districts would develop long-term financial plans that include multiyear forecasts of revenue, spending and debt. Long-term capital improvement plans would also be required.

User-friendly budgets would be posted on the Internet. Performance measures would be developed and publicly reported for support services.

The State Board of Education would create an office to police the reforms and impose sanctions against noncomplying school administrators. Ultimately, the state board could withhold funding from school districts that thumb their noses at the reforms and remove recalcitrant administrators.
And a suburban mayor who was with him at a south elementary school had this to say...
At a news conference at the Hampton Fine and Performing Arts School, 3434 W. 77th St., Elgin Mayor Ed Schock called the accountability measures a vital first step toward illusive education funding reform.

"Forty years of history and experience tells us that, when it's money alone, it hasn't succeeded ... So we said, 'Before we talk about money, let's talk about how we're going to be good stewards of the money we're asking people to give us," Schock said.
Maybe I'm wrong but for the most part, I don't recall too many politicians calling for accountability of our public schools. I think this is one angle never tried and worth doing. There are other reforms I'd like to see though, such as vouchers. There's more still...
Daley said the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus would meet next week to get behind a specific funding plan. Instead of choosing between the gross receipts tax proposed by Gov. Blagojevich, the state income tax increase championed by state Sen. James Meeks (D-Chicago) and competing proposals to expand casino gambling, "It's going to be a combination of things," Daley said.

"Everybody believes they're right. Everybody's very emotional, very passionate about this issue," he said.

"Democrats have the House, the Senate and every elected office in state government. We should be able to show the public that we can govern."
So this is what I want to see and other people. An honest discussion about school funding. And that last statement that is in bold, OUCH!!! I think since Democrats locked up control of the Governor's mansion and the General Assembly that has been a problem. And it might still be a problem. Either way hopefully this will work out.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Unusual story....

Hmmm, I'm personally not sure if I'd take this risk. And if I did I probably shouldn't be surprised if I never got a response. It just as easily takes a leap on her part too. From Yahoo!...
David Brown, 24, says he woke up one morning after a night out with friends with a telephone number constantly running through his head. He decided to contact it, sending a message saying "Did I meet you last night?."

Random recipient Michelle Kitson was confused and wary at first but decided to reply and the two began exchanging messages. Eventually they met and fell in love.

"It was really weird but I was absolutely hooked," Kitson told the Daily Mail newspaper. "My mum and dad kept saying 'But he could be an axe murderer', but I knew there was something special about it."

After a long courtship, the oddly matched couple -- he's six foot seven inches tall and she's five foot four -- have just returned from their honeymoon in the Indian resort of Goa.

A love-struck Brown said: "I've no idea how I ended up with her number in my head -- it's only a few digits different from mine."

What!?!

I rarely comments on the insanity that comes out of the Muslim world. Yeah it's a cultural gap, they have different customs than we do. This story still boggles the mind and let's us know how far some Muslims have to go.

So now a woman isn't allowed to hug a man...
Photos in the Pakistani media have shown Bakhtiar being helped by a male instructor during a charity parachute jump in France last month to raise money for victims of the devastating 2005 earthquake in Pakistan. Another picture shows a woman -- apparently Bakhtiar -- hugging the instructor.

This was ''an illegitimate and forbidden act,'' the clerics said in their edict, or fatwa.

''Without any doubt, she has committed a great sin,'' the fatwa said. It declared that Muslim women must stay at home and must not venture out uncovered.
Hmmm, I must say this isn't right. Too bad that Muslim women aren't at the point where they're tired of it. It's very unfortunate.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Why is it...

The best ideas only seem to come from rather sparsely populated states?

Check out Governing.com's 13th Floor. A Montana State Legislator is chairman of an education committee (as well as a member of a third party) and he's taking aim at the law of compulsory attendence in schools...
I've been working on a profile of Rick Jore, who chairs the Montana House's education committee despite being the only representative in the state from a third party. Jore home-schooled his own kids and has tried for years to end compulsory school attendance.

"There's a misconception that because we have a constitutionally established system of schooling in the state that the state has a compelling interest to require attendance," he told me. "My view is that is a usurpation of the authority of parents. Compulsory attendance necessarily presupposes that every child is a ward of the state. I disagree. Every child is a ward of the family or parents or guardians."

Jore also thinks the federal government has no role in funding education and its education department should be abolished.

Not surprisingly, the educational establishment in Montana can't stand Jore or the fact that he heads up the committee that oversees them. But that raises an interesting point. Should people on policy committees necessarily be fans of the policies and programs they're charged with overseeing?
There are a few other questions than compulsory school attendance or even whether the Federal government should have a role in education. Does more money make for a better public education? This is probably one thing we should talk about as a debate is to start brewing in Illinois about whether this GRT is a good idea or not to bring in more funds for education.

So I guess the question should be begged, should there be compulsory education in our schools?

How did I miss this???

I was checking out The Capitol Fax Blog in a post from April 6 and the post talks about vote-buying in the Chicago City Council runoffs to be held later this month.

It springboards off the news about 43 Ward Aldermanic candidate Michele Smith's beer for votes scheme. Well I don't know what to say about that. I don't even know if it's even true. Well let's look at what this means though...

A flier circulated by Smith's campaign for a party last Saturday at a West Armitage tavern advertised a $5 drink special for attendees holding early voting receipts.

That constitutes vote-buying, a felony, said Daley, who has filed a complaint with the Cook County state's attorney's office.

Not so fast, said Smith, a former federal prosecutor. While she admits it was a screw-up on the part of a well-intentioned young staffer, she insists she caught the mistake before anything illegal happened. The party went on, but no one was asked to show their voting stubs to buy drinks, she said.

"We were just trying to have a party," Smith said. "We weren't trying to do anything else."

The flap was triggered after several Lincoln Park residents shared the flier with Daley's camp, spokesman Tom Bowen said.

Smith did not see the flier before it was released because "whenever it went out was a day or two after my mother died. I wasn't there."

Two of Daley's staffers dropped by the party and, in affidavits filed this week with the state's attorney's office, said they saw two women ask about the drink special and show their early voting receipts.
You certainly need to be careful about stunts in a town where the incumbents will knock you off the ballot because you failed to file a receipt in your petitions. Now let's head back down to the south side of Chicago. This may not exactly be vote buying but it just makes things interesting.

Also mentioned in this post is the race for 21st Ward alderman as the incumbent Howard Brookins is fighting to maintain his seat on the City Council against a union backed challenger, Leroy Jones. Apparently a campaign supporter owns two McDonald's (or Micky D's if you prefer) but he doesn't even have his business offices there but in the suburbs according to Chicagoist...
But the most important business leader to help Howard Brookins so far is Phil Douglas, franchisee of two McDonald's locations in the 21st Ward (even though his business offices are located 1951 Bernice Rd, in Lansing). He is generously offering free hotcakes to people that bring in early voting receipts (along with a flier making the rounds in the 21st Ward). According to the person who spoke with us at the campaign headquarters (who refused to give a name) this is a "campaign contribution" from a business leader in the community who supports Brookins. Calls to the business office went unreturned.
Also from the Capitol Fax are examples of flyers that Brookins is distributing taking shots at the local union leaders with pictures of where they live or at least the type of building they live in and his union backed opponent. It looks pretty good too.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Store from Till murder could be restored

This story would have been relegated to my del.icio.us links but this is worth nothing here. I'm mixed as to whether this is a good idea or not. Though it isn't a bad idea, there needs to be a reminder of what hate can do. If this can keep this story alive then maybe this isn't a bad idea.

Bob Jenkins Jr., president and chief executive officer of Hampton Roads Ventures LLC of Norfolk, Va., met with local officials and property owner Martin Tribble on Thursday.

Tribble didn't say what he might do with the old Bryant's Grocery and Meat Market site, located in Money about 10 miles north of Greenwood.

''As for now, we don't have a price on what it will cost to restore it,'' Tribble said. ''That's one of our options that we're going to follow through on.''

Jenkins said his group works with dilapidated properties to try to attract private sector investment. He hopes his group could provide some answers on restoring the nationally significant site.

Jenkins said the building would likely qualify for either Historic Tax Credits or New Market Tax Credits.
This is how the store looks courtesy of BlueJeansPlace.com.
Funny how I've only heard about this store but now I get a chance to see it. It was probably bustling way back then now it looks like the only building on the block. Now it might have a good purpose if any. Especially if the plans come through whatever they may be. You know I was thinking more about a museum than anything else.

Addendum: Here's another picture courtesy of CreativeLoafing Atlanta

Today is Easter

Here are a couple of Blogthings for you. It's just for fun of course. Enjoy your holiday...
You Are a Cadbury Creme Egg

You're the type that stole little brother's easter basket so that you could have MORE CANDY!


You Are a Speckled Egg

Artistic, alternative, and not exactly buying into this Easter thing.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Comcast going all-digital soon

This weekend's tech post.

It was reported yesterday that Comcast is going all digital on July 1, 2007...

Ready or not, Comcast's Chicago customers on older analog services are going digital by July 1.

Eric Schaefer, Comcast vice president of sales and marketing in Schaumburg, said, "Analog TV is going away, and digital TV is coming. People are going to have clearer pictures and better sound. They will have interactive guides, and 40 free channels of Music Choice and a special universal remote control."

At the customer's choice, the cable giant will either send the customer a new Motorola digital cable box in the mail or the consumer can pick up a device at Comcast's offices.

The change doesn't affect the vast majority of Comcast's 2 million Chicago area customers because they already receive digital services.

Comcast is aiming to prepare its customers for the federally mandated migration from analog to high-definition/digital services by Feb. 17, 2009, Schaefer said.

Now this only begs the question. What does this mean? What is this digital cable?

Digital cable is used by cable distributors to increase the variety of programming available on their networks, using video compression to transfer more channels through their cable networks already in place. The use of the digital technology also adds the functionality of the cable box to have two-way communication, allowing for the purchasing of pay-per-view programming without use of a phone line, in addition to video on demand services.
Hmm very cool. You know I've been places with digital cable. It seems very nifty to be able to watch the channels that I wouldn't otherwise have been able to watch at home. Of course I hope that price won't become a problem as Comcast makes their conversion by July 1.

Oh yeah for as long as I have the ability to enrich and or talk about technology especially things that we use at home. I intend to talk about that frequently here.

MC Rove


I don't know if you can consider this either hilarious or painful. This is Karl Rove and some comedians including former Whose Line Is It Anyway? star Colin Mochrie attempting to entertain the crowd at a correspondents' dinner. Oh yeah if you don't know who Karl Rove is, he is the political operative of President Bush.

Also he slaughtered the name of Patrick Fitzgerald the US Attorney who has the political establishment of Illinois shaking. He even convicted former Illinois Governor George Ryan and is on the case of Illinois' current governor. That being said he threw in the name of the man who nominated him Peter Fitzgerald the man whom Barack Obama replaced in the US Senate.

I must say though before this whole trial where Scooter Libby was convicted and put a light on the Bush administration and the fact that Sen. Peter Fitzgerald was successful in getting Patrick Fitzgerald (again no relation between the two) as US attorney in Illinois this video makes it seem like there is still some bad blood between the two. Well I don't know on this evening it's about having fun and eating. Except this part didn't seem like a lot of fun.

Enjoy still.

Are civil rights groups still relevant today?

The title of a recent Sun-Times article from April 1st. It was also the subject of a Capitol Fax Question of the Day. So let's ask this question.

I think there will always be a need. Some group will feel like their rights are being walked all over. And it's easy for me to associate Civil Rights with minorities and certainly because blacks are one group that fought successfully for their rights here in America.

Still that's not to say that there has to be a change in tatics. This requires changing with the times and there are some who might be stuck in the 1960s mode where civil disobedience (such as sit-ins, protests, getting arrested, etc) was the rule of the day. Some will even accuse these groups of being co-opted by politics instead of fighting the good fight for what is right, although you do have to work with politics. Still this means a new model and some new ideas and those civil righters who are old-school may not have that.

Let me mention a case in point. Last month the CEO of the NAACP resigned his post. Reading what I read out of this news was there was definitely a personality clash here. And I thought of it as a clash between those stuck in a 1960s mindset vs. new ideas. Of course the one thing you will run into if you look into this story is the basic excuse, well he wasn't doing what the board of directors wanted him to do. That's not to say it's an excuse, you need the support of the board, if you don't have it then you can't succeed.

Either way I was glad to have found this article and to be able to have saved this in my Del.icio.us links on Sunday. Hopefully civil rights orgs and others may eventually find they answers they are looking for. And that they'll be ready for another century of service.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Happy Good Friday

If you're reading this I want to wish you a wonder Good Friday. For some of you it is a holiday or some of you make a holiday of it anyway taking a day off work. This is perhaps especially true of the more religious amongst us.

I get the day off and when I was a student in the Chicago Public Schools we used to get Good Friday off. A good day to relax from school and work. Or in some instances go to church.

Yeah I know some of us have to go to work. The one thing about Good Friday is that it always leads to Easter sunday. Still not a day off for everyone, but it's another religious holiday to celebrate at home or at church or again a day to relax.

Have a great and safe one!!!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Lack of video keeps lid on brutal case

The story John Kass is referring to in his column today was blogged here back in May of last year. Last year a woman was found face down outside of a Chicago high rise housing project building. And apparently she survived.

When I first heard this story for some reason I wondered if the victim was actually white. I couldn't tell you why I thought this, but then there was more to the story than I thought. I heard that she was mentally ill, then she had a wealthy family, and some other things. Well it's been proven even before Kass wrote his column. Apparently the Tribune has been on this story for a while.

So he bounces off the fact that there was video of this Chicago police officer who was caught beating a white female bartender. Unfortunately there was no video for this blonde haired lady. In this case though unlike many other stories we might hear about the police, they didn't really do their job to help here even if, assuming the stories seen in this column is true, she was displaying her mental illness in that jail cell and truly needed help.

I don't know there are obviously plenty of issues abound here. Let's take a look...
There is no video of what happened to Christina Eilman, no video of how she was abandoned by Chicago police to fall from the seventh-floor window of a Chicago housing project, a pretty California blond landing on a patch of South Side grass and stone.

If there were a video of her fall, this town would get sick on itself. But I'm told there isn't any.

If there were, officials would tremble, the tape bouncing across the Internet and broadcast news cycles, like that of the drunken cop who beat that petite Northwest Side bartender half to death.

Unlike the bartender story, there is no tape of Eilman. Without tape, official Chicago will stay quiet, TV news will continue to ignore her and unwitting taxpayers will pay her family off in a settlement, with City Hall praying this all goes away.

There was also no video on Wednesday in federal court, but something real happened anyway. After more than a year of stalling and lawyering, city lawyers finally agreed to test what could be Eilman's blood.

Officials decided to test fluid smeared on the walls of the Chicago Police Department lockup where she was held, where she madly wrote her name, as other women in the lockup shrieked. If it is her blood, it might prove what her parents have insisted for months.

That police had right and reason to detain the young former UCLA student who was seen at Midway Airport acting erratically, screaming, dancing in circles, fuming about the price of oil, until police kept her from boarding a plane for home.

But when police picked her up and called her parents, who told officers their daughter was mentally ill, police then had no business to release her from the 51st and Wentworth lockup and let her wander outside alone.

Abandoned on the South Side, Eilman was led by someone into a Chicago Housing Authority project, where she was allegedly sexually assaulted, then tossed or pushed from that window, where she fell to the ground as if dead.

But she survived, and now she suffers severe brain and other damage. Her family has filed a $100 million lawsuit against the city. Without video, hers is one of those quiet stories, ignored by broadcast, yet found in this newspaper thanks to Tribune reporter David Heinzmann, who has been on this from the beginning.

Eilman's attorney, Jeff Singer, told me Wednesday that City Hall could have tested the substance on the wall of the lockup and determined whether it was Eilman's blood, shortly after the incident in May 2006.

"Why wasn't it sent to the lab in May when it was first recovered after Ms. Eilman fell from a seventh-floor window?" he asked.

Jennifer Hoyle, spokeswoman for the city's Law Department, said Wednesday that lawyers on both sides could not agree on the testing procedures until now.

Eilman wasn't shaken down or beaten by police. She was, however, abandoned by police and assaulted and crushed, not by police brutality, but brutalized by police indifference.
I'll let you read the rest of this story. It will get a little more disturbing as you go.