Saturday, June 30, 2007

You see what goes on in the general neighborhood...

I was out today with my mom and she saw some activity down a side street. Actually what we saw was nothing but cars parked on a street where there are normally no cars. You know like someone is having a party.

The general neighborhood where we live is basically single family homes with a smattering of apartment buildings. Lawns that are generally freshly cut and there are a few big houses (or I could call them mansions) dotted around the neighborhood. The only reason you might see cars up and down sidestreets is so that people can catch a train downtown.

In any event we checked out what happened and I think we found out what happened. A lady appeared to be holding a microphone standing close to what I thought was a garage. Then I had a chance to look closer and we both got out of the car to check out the people sitting in folding chairs.

At about 94th and Michigan is a piece of property known as the West Chesterfield Cultural Center. And on the evening after about 6PM there was going to be a fashion show where tickets cost about $15. There was a clown performing when we walked up. The final act would be the actual fashion show, that we wouldn't see. The first act was a tribute to our military veterans and current active duty personnel.

You know I was aware this place existed (in fact maybe I'll post a picture of it eventually). I walked by there many years ago and I wondered who lived there. There a large yard in front and there a Chicago style bungalow in the back. There is a sign out front identifying the place.

It could be thought that the community decided to buy this place and use it for events such as that I just described. It's easy for me to decry the loss of a perfectly good house if it's not used as home, I think it's great that the neighborhood came together to own this place and use it for the community. Perhaps other neighborhoods around the city, county, state, and nation could consider doing something like that.

Uninsured in America and a new link

Check out FreeMarketCure.com from Staurt Browning from On the Fence Films. This website is saved in my Del.icio.us links. And especially check out this videos about the Canadian health care system most of which I presented here.

Check out the video that I just got wind of this afternoon called Uninsured in America. It takes aim at the basic sound bite you might hear from health care advocates here in the states. I feature that video for your viewing pleasure here.

Friday, June 29, 2007

I hope this upsets you!!!

On the west side of Chicago a woman saw that her two year old son was sick after he ingested some of her prescription medication. She refused to call 911 because she was more afraid that she'd get in trouble. Thank goodness for daddy who attempted to save his son's life, but it was too late and this young boy died. The prescription medication was for this woman's heroin addiction.

Hug your children tonight.

I was at the Dirksen federal plaza yesterday...

On Dearborn and Adams where there is public space besides the post office. There was a rally that was about to start and I left just before the rally started. The nature of it seemed positive towards American efforts there. Here are some examples of the signs I observed there.

Stop killing Assyrians
Stop killing our clergy
Democracy in Iraq
Iraq is for all
Jesus deliver us from evil
Many religions ONE God

Inspiring isn't it. Many of these slogans. Some could be seen as jabs against the American occupation of Iraq, but the others seems supportive of the building of a new society there as well. And to be sure, there were Christian there and a few women wearing Muslim garb.

When I saw down for a minute to write some notes on what I observed a Christian minister had walked past me across the street to join this rally. In addition there were four American flags, three Iraqi flags, and a few other flags I can't identify. Unfortunately there were only a handful of people there maybe less than 50 there at the federal plaza.

I said yesterday that I had pictures. Well I did bump this post up and make some edit, but I will. If not here over at the Eye is where you'll see pics.

Allstate settles with lawyer's clients on Katrina

After all this time, that is almost two years now, the fallout from Hurricane Katrina is still going strong. Especially with this story this week from Crain's...

Allstate spokesman Michael Siemienas said, “We are pleased that these customers are now a part of the 99% of Allstate customers in Mississippi whose claims are settled and moving on with their lives.'' Hundreds of Mississippi homeowners have sued Northbrook-based Allstate and other insurers for refusing to cover damage from Katrina's storm surge. The companies say their policies cover damage from wind but not rising water.

The Scruggs Katrina Group also has brokered similar mass settlements with several other insurers, including State Farm Fire & Casualty Co., Nationwide Mutual Insurance Co. and Metropolitan Property and Casualty Insurance Co.

Zach Scruggs, a member of the legal team, said the Allstate agreement will be presented to their clients individually so that each can decide whether to participate in the settlement.

The Allstate agreement leaves the Scruggs Katrina Group with about 280 cases against State Farm, more than 40 against United Services Automobile Assn. and more than 60 against Mississippi Farm Bureau Insurance Co.

Hundreds of other Allstate policyholders also have settled disputed claims through a mediation program run by the state's insurance department. Mississippi Insurance Commissioner George Dale said about 650 of the 800 Allstate policyholders who have participated in the program have reached settlements.

“I'm delighted that more and more of the claims are being settled,'' he said.

This is bizarre

I'll give a hat-tip to The So-Called "Austin Mayor" for this story entitled appropriately "WWEird".
In what is either an eerie coincidence or an investigative bombshell, a Wikipedia contributor submitted an addition to [World Wrestling Entertainment] pro wrestler Chris Benoit's entry about his wife's death nearly 13 hours before police discovered her body in the wrestler's Atlanta-area home. ***

At 12:01 a.m. Eastern Standard Time Monday, June 25 -- nearly 13 hours before authorities would make their gruesome discovery inside the Benoit home -- an anonymous poster updated Chris Benoit's Wikipedia entry with the following information:

"Chris Benoit was replaced by Johnny Nitro for the ECW Championship match at Vengeance, as Benoit was not there due to personal issues, stemming from the death of his wife Nancy," the posting read.

The posting, which Wikipedia communications manager Sandra Ordonez confirmed to ABC News, was traced back to a Stamford, Conn., IP address.

WWE headquarters are located in Stamford.
I'm not sure I'm liking this story. It's already very disturbing as it is. And read more updates about this over at 1wrestling.com

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Two programs I saw tonight on WTTW

After I watched the Democratic presidential debate from Howard University in Washington, DC hosted by Tavis Smiley. BTW, there will be another debates for the Republicans on September 27th I believe.

Anyway, John Calloway hosted a show called Chicago Stories and today's story was about Mayor Richard J. Daley's rise to the mayoralty of Chicago. He held that for 21 years until his death in 1977. Great program with vintage footage and Calloway talked to one of the authors of the book American Pharoah, Elizabeth Taylor. They talked about a number of stories from Mayor Daley's life to the current Daley in office. Taylor says he's not as imaginitive and he's takled the issues that his father won't. For instance Mayor Richard M. Daley has been working on the issues of race relations, education, and even public housing.

For about an hour I was watching this documentary called Poverty in Chicago. Interesting movie with a camera pointed right onto several homeless individuals who were disabled or drug addicts. They went into neighborhood on the west side to look at the devastation as a result of crime, racial turnover, employers leaving and the list goes on. They talk to politicians such as State Senator Jacqueline Collins and Alderman Tony Preckwinkle and other experts in helping the homeless and the drug addicts. Very powerful story.

I wish I had known because I'd have used my VCR. Yeah I should get a Tivo or a DVR device shouldn't I.

ABC News: Supreme Court Strikes at Affirmative Action

I wish I had been following this case. In fact for those of you who might be studying constitutional law in college or perhaps law school might need to know about this case. From ABCNews.com...
In a landmark decision that will affect school districts across the country, a deeply divided Supreme Court Thursday struck down plans in Louisville, Ky., and Seattle that assigned students to schools based partly on the color of their skin.

Writing for the 5-4 majority, Chief Justice John Roberts said, "The school districts have not carried their heavy burden of showing that the interest they seek to achieve justifies the extreme means they have chosen -- discriminating among individual students based on race by relying upon racial classifications in making school assignments."

But the Court falls short of saying that across the country race can never be taken into consideration.

Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in a concurring opinion that "school boards may pursue the goal of bringing together students of diverse backgrounds and races through other means."

The opinion enraged civil rights leaders who had warned that such a decision would critically undermine the promise of Brown v. Board of education, the landmark 1954 decision that outlawed separate systems of education for black and white schoolchildren.

At issue were plans in school districts in Seattle and Louisville, Ky., that took race into consideration in assigning K-12 students to particular public schools.

The cases are the first major battle over race for the newly constituted Supreme Court, led by Chief Justice John Roberts, and they could set important guidelines for the use of racial preferences in the future.

The Louisville case was brought by Crystal Meredith, who tried to enroll her 5-year-old son in kindergarten a couple of blocks from their home in the Kentucky city. But officials pointed her elsewhere, to a school that was a 90-minute bus ride away.

A school that was closer to the family's home, officials told her, couldn't accept another white student such as her son Joshua that year.

Meredith, a single mother, wasn't looking for a fight. After driving Joshua across town to school every day, she decided she'd passed by the closer school long enough.

She sued and is now at the center of the most significant legal battle over race to reach the Supreme Court in years.

"Joshua was denied entrance to a school for no other reason than racial classification," said Teddy Gordon, Meredith's attorney. "There was room at the school. There were plenty of empty seats. This was a racial quota."

Meredith and other parents who sued the Louisville school district argued that the racial assignment plans amounted to unconstitutional race discrimination.

The school district contended that it wasn't discriminating against anyone, but was instead trying to maintain racially balanced and integrated schools for the benefit of all.

The Louisville school district adopted its plan in 2001, and it requires schools to seek a black student enrollment of at least 15 percent and no more than 50 percent.

Those guidelines apply primarily at the elementary school level and in admissions to special programs, such as magnet schools.
To be honest I'm conflicted on this idea of affirmitive action. I understand the need for it, but I'm not sure if it's good policy now. I can easily say that it either needs some serious revamping or done away with entirely.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Riverdale mayor speaks out against gun shop protests

Hat-tip goes to Second City Cop where the post title reminds me of a similar title of an internet based video that has made the rounds on the web in the last four years.

Mayor Zenobia Evans sticks up for Chuck's Gun Shop and rails against the protests of Father Michael Pflege of St. Sabina and Rev. Jesse Jackson because of the lack of resources that Riverdale has in terms of police officers to watch over the march on the local gun shop. From Channel 7...
Tuesday, the mayor of Riverdale said the village has strict gun laws, and Chuck's follows the laws and is a responsible business. Mayor Zenovia Evans suggests protesters take those protests to state legislators.

"They are aware the gun ordinance is probably the strictest of the state. They are aware that we have very limited finances, that the police guard the place or stand out there when they are doing the march. It cost the Village of Riverdale over $3,500 just to provide that protection," said Mayor Evans.

Mayor Evans says this is an undue hardship on the village, and they need those resources to provide education and job training for the young people who are unfortunately falling victim to gun violence. Mayor Evans also says she understands the frustration of families who have lost loved ones, as she has lost a son and two nephews. She offered to go to Springfield when and if Reverend Jackson and Father Pfleger march to Springfield to protest the gun laws currently in Illinois.
You know these protest has found their way onto FOX News Channel. In fact I didn't watch the segment but Hannity & Colmes was going to make a big deal about it on a segment on that program. It was over Father Pfleger's comments over "snuffing" out gun shop owners. Even if that comment was taken out of context, not a very smart thing for a man of the cloth to say.

BTW, there are a lot of anger towards the deaths of our young people because of CRIMINALS with guns, but I think marching against a gun shop is probably not the best way to go about it. Especially against a business that is said to be responsible business. I highly doubt criminals are going to a gun shop to purchase a gun to committ a crime.

Mayor Evans is right though Rev. Jackson & Fr. Pfleger should direct their energies towards the political process in Springfield or even getting being Rep. Bobby Rush's bill in Congress. Indeed how about taking a stand against the criminals who engage in their criminal acts on Chicago neighborhoods.

Clarence Page talks about Michael Moore's "Sicko"

Before I went to bed last night I posted about another health care related video, The Lemon, from On The Fence Films and then said that I planned to see the movie Sicko. I figure I should learn as much as I possibly can about Moore's latest documentary. What does Page say in his Tribune column...
America's got a terrific health care system, as long as you don't get sick.

That much, at least, seems to be conceded even by lobbyists for the nation's health insurance industry. That's judging by one of the few who showed up at Michael Moore's invitation for the Washington premiere of his new movie, "Sicko."

"Look, identifying problems in our health-care system is like shooting fish in a barrel," consultant Claudia Schlosberg was quoted as saying by the Washington Post. The real issue, she said, is finding solutions.

That's easy to say when you represent the industry that grew those fish in what's becoming a shrinking barrel. Numerous congressional proposals have offered wider, less expensive and more reliable coverage than Americans receive from our current patchwork, employer-based system.

But no matter how workable, practical or desirable the proposals may be, the insurance industry reliably shoots them down. Armed with billions of dollars for political campaign contributions, spin doctors and attack ads, the industry has largely steered the nation's health care debate for decades.

It's hard for the public to make an intelligent choice when only one side has the megaphone. Moore evens things up a bit. He uses the same pop culture that brings you Paris Hilton and "American Idol" to offer something truly valuable: a vision of a better American health care system than the one we have.
Now this aspect of the film I'm going to see is going to be no surprise. Especially if the reports that I see mostly from On the Fence films are correct.
He offers something else that most Americans never see: how easily anyone -- including visitors -- can access good public health care in Canada and Europe and how satisfied those country's citizens are with their systems. Critics predictably charge Moore with sugar-coating his view of the other countries, particularly Cuba, where Castro's government still affords superior care to favored Communist Party elites. Nevertheless, having witnessed health care in each of the countries Moore visits, I think he got it about right. Politics aside, even Cuba shows how a remarkably universal system of education and health care can be produced by a country with a lot fewer resources than we have.

As for Canada and Europe, customer satisfaction is high, despite the drawbacks. Defenders of our health care status quo come up with one horror story after another of long lines, waiting lists, rising costs or rationed care. But they don't like to talk about the long lines, waiting lists, rising costs or rationed care that Americans face in our existing system. Moore's movie does.

Nobody's system is perfect. But despite the smear job that conservatives over here give to British health care, for example, stalwart conservatives over there aren't mounting much of an effort to change it. Similarly Washington's Medicare debate centers on how it should be run (How to pay for it? What should it cover? How can we contain costs?), not whether it should exist.

But that doesn't make Moore's argument any easier. Americans don't like to change, even when it is for the better. President Bush found that out when he tried to sell the opportunity for each of us to invest part of our Social Security contributions in the stock market, if we so choose. Not a bad idea, really. Nobody would be forced to do it. Yet, the more speeches he gave on the subject the less popular it became. (It's probably just as well that Bush in his younger days did not choose a career in sales. He might have starved to death.)
It's unfortunate that Americans don't like change. A lot of us believe that the health care system is in crisis. Seeing the videos from On the Fence films about the Canadian health care system make me hope that their solution won't be ours anytime soon. Perhaps it's a matter of the insurance companies and the fact that people these days want to put forward frivolous lawsuits.

Not that I know the absolute answer by any means, but treatment of a major medical condition shouldn't be predicated on whether or not the patients should almost lose their homes and sell the valuables to pay for their treatment. If costs are a problem, there has to be a way to either lower them or contain them, but without resorting to a single-payer system.

Related posts
VIDEO: The Lemon
VIDEO: Two Women
A Short Course in Brain Surgery
Dead Meat: Canada's health care system takes a hit

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

VIDEO: The Lemon



Another production of On the Fence Films once again taking to task the Canadian health care system. Here's a description...

In The Lemon, director Stuart Browning shows how today's single-payer health care initiatives have a lot in common with the failed economic systems of eastern Europe. A system without competition and profits will lead to tight government control, shortages and medical rationing.
On another note I plan to see Michael Moore's new film Sicko about the American health care system. I can dismiss this movie as a cheerleader for a system not much different than the Canadian health care system, but I think I'm going to just see what Moore presents and go from there. I promise to write a movie review here on this blog. It could go to The Movie Cabinet, but the movie will be of a mostly advocate and political nature so I'll speak on it here.

Switching parties...

The big news in Illinois right now is a prominent Republican member of the Illinois House of Representatives, Paul Froelich of Schaumburg is leaving the Republican party and joining the Democrats. I commented in a Capitol Fax post yesterday about the first inklings of this story that was reported and I said that the Democrats "don't seem to be doing that well right now with the budget stalemate and all why is he joining them now".

It's funny how these thinks work out. I remember when the Republican won control of the US House and Senate in 1994. Magically several Democrats became Republicans in both houses. One of the new members of the Republican caucus in Congress was Colorado Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (if you don't know he was actually an American Indian or Native American if you prefere, but that has no bearing on this story). People sure could have questioned their motivations for switching.

In the case of Rep. Froelich, since he's a public official and a leader in his township Republican organization this is more problematic. Know one thing for sure though, citizen change their political affiliation all the time. No one ever stays a Democrat nor do they stay a Republican. Ever person has their reasons for changing their affiliation and it's not always, as it could be in the case of a public official such as Froelich, about self-preservation.

People and their ideas (or more accurately, what the believe in) change all the time. One can be a socialist one day, but the next day more of a capitalist. Or pro-abortion one day, then against abortion on another day. Ideas do seem to be very fluid at times.

Still I want to look at the political ramifications of this story. Froelich will certainly have to answer for his change to the voters in Schaumberg. Will his new Democratic friends come through for him to keep his seat? Will Republicans get their act together to be able to take Froelich's seat away from him?

Who knows, but I'd say this is one race to look at as we look forward to the 2008 election. Then we'll be looking for a new President since the one we do have must retire on January 20th, 2009.

Links from The Capitol Fax Blog
More on yesterday’s Republican meltdown *** Updated x3 ***
Weird day for Illinois Republicans - Froehlich flips, Dillard does Obama TV ad *** Updated x3 ***

What happened to Chris Benoit and family...

I heard they just had a press conference of law enforcement officials in Fayette County, Georgia. Benoit strangled his wife, Nancy, and his 7-year-old son Daniel then hung himself in a weight room. They believe this to be a case of "roid-rage".

Here's more from the Sun-Times...
Pro wrestler Chris Benoit strangled his wife and smothered his son before hanging himself in his weight room, a law enforcement official close to the investigation told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

Authorities also said they are investigating whether steroids may have been a factor in the deaths of Benoit, his wife and their 7-year-old son. Steroid abuse has been linked to depression, paranoia, and aggressive behavior or angry outbursts known as ''roid rage.''

''We don't know yet. That's one of the things we'll be looking at,'' said Fayette County District Attorney Scott Ballard. He said test results may not be back for weeks.

Autopsies were scheduled Tuesday by the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

Authorities were investigating the deaths at a secluded Fayette County home as a murder-suicide and were not seeking any suspects. The official who described the manner of death spoke on the condition of anonymity because the information was to be released at a news conference later Tuesday.

Investigators believe Benoit (pronounced ben-WAH) killed his wife, 43-year-old Nancy, and son Daniel during the weekend and then himself Monday. The bodies were found Monday afternoon in three separate rooms of the house, off a gravel road about two miles from the Whitewater Country Club.
Steroids have historically been a problem in WWE. Vince McMahon almost went to jail over steroids. A lot of wrestlers who have died recently were a result of drugs of somekind. Everything from simple painkillers to even steroids. Very sad either way.

Monday, June 25, 2007

FOX News reports that Chris Benoit and family found dead...

I don't believe it. I saw this story via a FOX News alert email.

For those of you who don't know Chris Benoit was a superstar currently in the WWE and was a wrestler in the defunct WCW. Tonight there will be a three hour tribute to the man known variously as the Canadian Crippler or the Rabid Wolverine.

Now I want to know what happened to them. Here's a piece of the story...
Professional wrestler Chris Benoit, his wife Nancy and their young son Daniel were found dead in their Georgia home Monday, according to a statement on the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Web site.

The Fayette County Sheriff's Office is on the scene and, "an investigation is ongoing," a spokesperson told FOX News.

Benoit, 40, was supposed to appear on a pay-per-view event last night, but didn't. The WWE said there was a "family emergency" that prevented the former world heavyweight champ from attending.

The WWE said it was "deeply saddened," and that instead of its announced programming for tonight on USA Network, it will air a three-hour tribute to Benoit.

Judge Rules in Favor of Dry Cleaner in $54 Million Lawsuit Over Lost Pants

I've only heard about this story primarily thru the Washington Post. This story does originate within the state of Virginia. Supposing this is one case of a just overstepping their bounds...
The owners of Custom Cleaners did not violate the city's Consumer Protection Act by failing to live up to Roy L. Pearson's expectations of the "Satisfaction Guaranteed" sign that was once placed in the store window, District of Columbia Superior Court Judge Judith Bartnoff ruled.

Bartnoff ordered Pearson to pay the court costs of defendants Soo Chung, Jin Nam Chung and Ki Y. Chung.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Lady Bird Johnson reported to be alert, stable

The former first lady of the United States (her husband was the 36th President Lyndon Baines Johnson) is in the hospital as reported in the Sun-Times...

Lady Bird Johnson spent another day in the hospital Sunday with no major change in her condition, three days after she was admitted with a slight fever, a family spokeswoman said.

''We still don't know when she might get to go home, but her condition is stable,'' spokeswoman Elizabeth Christian said.

The former first lady, 94, has spent the weekend at Seton Medical Center surrounded by family members, including daughters Luci Baines Johnson and Lynda Johnson Robb. She was admitted Thursday night.

Lady Bird Johnson was alert, resting comfortably and communicating with visitors, Christian said.
I would love to be in my 90s and still going strong.

Man charges racism after he, daughter are confronted by guards at Wal-Mart

By no means is this a knock against Wal-Mart, however, I post this story because of its interesting nature. You might here about it again one day, but hopefully not. This is from this morning's Mary Mitchell column...
"What did he say?" Ed Lino asked his 7-year-old daughter, Destiny, as they walked out of the Wal-Mart.

"That man wants to know if you are my daddy," the little girl told her father.

Maybe it would have been a legitimate question had the girl been screaming bloody murder, or there was an Amber Alert that fit Lino and his daughter's description. After all, children have been abducted from department stores.

But Lino -- who is white -- thinks someone looked at him, looked at the dark-skinned girl, and assumed the worst. He's tired of this kind of drama, but it hasn't stopped him from taking care of his daughter on a daily basis since last June, or from taking her shopping and to the park to skate.

Still, some people look at the father and daughter like he could be be a sexual predator -- which is what Lino thinks happened earlier this month when he went shopping at the Wal-Mart at 167th and Torrence.

"We went into the store; we walked around looking for school supplies she needed; we stood in line; we paid. There was no problem. There was no reason for a security guard to ask her if I'm her daddy," he said.

So Lino walked back into Wal-Mart and approached the uniformed security guard.

"He was an older black gentleman, and he asked me: 'Is this your child?' I said: 'Yes, this is my daughter,' and I showed him my key chain with her picture on it."
He's says it's racism. If I saw that and I saw no reason for alarm the worst that would happen is that I'd be staring, but I wouldn't assume that we're looking at a criminal issue here.

Lino said he and his daughter walked back out of the store and went to his car. Just as he opened the door, another black man whom he assumed was a Wal-Mart employee approached him and asked the same question, explaining that a "question concerning the child had come up."
"I told him the same thing. I even showed him the key chain and a medical card with her name on it," Lino said. "When I started to get back in the car, the man said I had to show some identification."

Lino refused.

"I told him I'm not going to give you anything," Lino said. "This was blatant racism. The child was not crying when he walked up, and there was no sign of any struggle. There was no problem until he walked up, and then she started crying: 'This is my daddy. Leave him alone,' " the father said.

At this point, the white father put his dark-skinned daughter into the car and drove off.

Twenty minutes later, a Lynwood police officer was pounding on the door of Lino's south suburban home.

"They had gotten a call that I had taken a child from the Wal-Mart," Lino said.

"I told them, 'I took a child all right. She is right here. Here is her grandmother,' " Lino said, pointing to an older black woman. "The police officer apologized and started laughing."

But Lino didn't see anything funny.

He called Wal-Mart and complained to a manager.

"I wanted to know what was this all about and why did I have to go through this harassment. My daughter wasn't crying in the store. She wasn't being pulled by me or anything like that."
Wal-Mart had a spokesman comment on this issue.
Mia Masten, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman for the Chicago region, told a slightly different version of the same story, carefully pointing out that the security guard involved was employed by a third party. She also denied that the man in the "white shirt and tie" was associated with Wal-Mart.
"One of our security guards was approached by a customer who was concerned about the safety of the child," Masten said, but she did not identify the customer or say why the customer thought there was a safety issue.

"We don't know. But the customer approached the guard, who was acting in response to the customer's concern," she said. "The guard accompanied the customer outside the store, where the customer approached Mr. Lino and his daughter. To our knowledge, no Wal-Mart associate was involved," Masten said.
Mr. Lino was said to not be satisfied, and said...
"The store manager promised me that she would check with the security guard and look at the tape to find out what reason he had to question us. It's been over a week, and I haven't heard from them. My daughter doesn't want to go back to a Wal-Mart because she thinks I'm going to be arrested," he said. "It was outrageous."
Now to explain he isn't the child biological father and he's listed as the father in the birth announcement. According to this column he's estranged from Destiny's mother and that she was only born during their marriage. In fact Diane Maxwell refers to Mr. Lino as a father figure to her daughter.

So anyway that's the deal here. I hope that you give this column a read and then maybe you will have an opinion.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Is Macy's for sale?

I was downtown during the week and there was this guy handing around some bookmark sized flyers about saving Marshall Field's. On the front of this flyer is a web address http://www.fieldsischicago.org/ and below that is boycott Macy's. I was thinking that this fight was about over even though I'm sure there were still people who are unhappy about the change and they weren't going to shop at those stores formerly known as Field's.

Then the Sun-Times has a story...
Rumors swirled Friday that Macy's could be sold to private-equity buyers this weekend, leading experts to speculate that Macy's flagship store on State Street could be shuttered and sold, or returned to its Marshall Field's origins.

Shares of Macy's, the Cincinnati-based owner of Macy's and Bloomingdale's stores, jumped as high as 10.3 percent (to $43.11) on Friday before ending the day up 6.6 percent at $41.43, on Wall Street rumors that it could fetch a bid of more than $30 billion.

The likely buyers, at a rumored $52 a share, were Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, the buyout firm famous for its takeover of RJR Nabisco in the 1980s, and Goldman Sachs Group, Macy's longtime investment banker.

Spokespeople for Macy's, KKR and Goldman Sachs declined comment.

Another rumor had Allen Questrom, the retail veteran who turned around JC Penney and mentored Macy's CEO Terry Lundgren, as involved in a takeover deal. Questrom, a senior adviser for Lee Equity Partners in New York, did not return a telephone call.

Macy's is an obvious choice for takeover because it has valuable real estate, steady cash flow, lagging sales in its newly converted Macy's stores, and undervalued shares that fail to reflect its value, experts said Friday.

"It's a big-name brand, a blue-chip asset in retail. It would be interesting for private equity to own," said Marc Weinberger, head trader at W. Quillen Securities in New York.

Retail expert Howard Davidowitz said new owners could sell the Macy's flagship on State Street for its tremendous real estate value, and further the breakup of big department stores on State Street. Carson Pirie Scott & Co. shuttered its 102-year-old flagship at 1 S. State St. in February, and the building is being divided for smaller, as-yet-unnamed retailers and entertainment uses.

Filene's historic flagship in Boston, shuttered last year by Macy's, was bought by a private-equity firm and is being converted into a multi-use building with specialty retailers, condos, hotel and office space.

New owners could also change Macy's back to Field's, said Frederick Schmitt, principal with the Sage Group in Los Angeles.
Carson, Pirie, Scott is certainly a sad case. A nice building shuttered and to be used but not as a department store as it had been since it was built.

It would be sad if it was decided to close the main Department store and for good at that. I miss those green bags, that they used to have. I still wonder about their decision to drop the Field's name from their stores.

Hopefully someone will come up with a good deal that will not result in the loss of job and the closing of even the historic department store on State Street.

How do the ole trolls find me???

They came back to challenge my language skills. I could just wonder if they have posted anything. Well they don't have a blogger profile. And who knows they made worse mistakes in their comments than I ever will. Surely the anonymous man and Old Friend can do better than that.

BTW, I'm not a journalist. I'm a blogger and while this isn't a respected occupation, I'm just glad the two of your are here to read and criticize the language and grammar. It lets me know people are reading.

Thank you for visiting. Oh and on second thought, I'll let Old Friend's comment slide or any future critique, it'll just make me a better writer in the long run. That is if that's what they're looking for.

Go back here a minute to read what I'm talking about.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Put this on blast???

I was checking out this post from MC Hammer's blog. Oh the man who said "You can't touch this" had this post with two accompanying videos. The first about a semi-riot in Milwaukee in celebration of Juneteenth recently and a video collage of the LA riots from 1992.

I want to note this question by Hammer towards 2008 Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul from Texas. And I wonder why he singles out Rep. Paul...
Ron Paul supporters... How would your candidate becoming President affect the conditions that lead to these violent expressions of hopelessness and abandonment?
Enjoy and maybe some Ron Paul supporters have some answers.

Sherri Martel dies

I just saw this on Smackdown tonight. She was only 49. She used to manage such wrestlers as Randy Savage, Shawn Michaels, and even Booker T when he was a member of the tag team Harlem Heat.

Check out this article from Canoe Slam Sports. It's pretty good and much better than anything I might find over at 1wrestling.com. Besides I looked there first.

You know what should tick you off???

Commentors who come by and make a comment only to insult the author. It could be me or it could be an article I linked to (as they did when I linked to Russ Stewart recently). They didn't say anything about the article, but all they did was denigrate it based on the grammatical and spelling errors I made.

How pathetic!!! If I see crap like that again I intend to delete it.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

I wonder what's up with this...

I was strolling around Chicago State University today and I see some notices put up. I was lucky enough to find these notices on the CTA website...
Effective 5:00 a.m., Sunday, June 17, 2007
At the request of Chicago State University, #3 King Drive, #X3 King Drive Express,#4 Cottage Grove and #X4 Cottage Grove Express buses will no longer serve the terminal at 95th/St. Lawrence (Chicago State University).

#3 King Drive and #X3 King Drive Express buses will operate as follows:

• Southbound – Buses will operate via King Drive, 95th, Michigan, 99th Street, and State to 95th (Red Line).

• Northbound – Buses will begin their trips at 95th /State (Red Line), and will operate via State, 95th and King Drive.

#4 Cottage Grove and #X4 Cottage Grove Express buses will operate as follows:

• Southbound – Buses will operate via Cottage Grove and end their tripsat the terminal at 94th Street.

• Northbound – Buses will begin their trips at the terminal at 94th /Cottage Grove and operate northbound on Cottage Grove.

Now while I'm not a student there, I would like to know why CSU decided that they didn't need these buses to serve the students there.

Police say firing led to slaying at Hyde Park eatery

This is the continuing story that I didn't give much of a second thought to for a year until I saw this article. Last year an employee at a Hyde Park Leona's was shot and killed in what was thought to be a robbery. But guess what?

It wasn't a robbery. It was revenge because someone got themself fired and they won't look at themself in the mirror. So this person decided to go find some silly people to confront this man and they just so happened to bring a gun with them.

Now I'll just let the Chicago Tribune tell the rest of the story...
On Wednesday, Cook County Circuit Judge Maura Slattery Boyle set bail at $1 million for Erika Ray, the former Leona's restaurant employee who wanted retribution for her firing, prosecutors said. She was charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery.

The judge denied bail for Lorenzo Wilson, who allegedly shot Ebenezer in the head and chest. He was charged with first-degree murder and felony murder.

An Englewood boy, 14 at the time of the June 2006 slaying, was taken to Juvenile Court to face charges there. Now 15, he is a Sherman Elementary School 8th grader who was picked up by police Tuesday morning at summer school.

A fourth suspect has not been charged, authorities said.

When she was fired, Ray quarreled with Ebenezer, challenging his authority to dismiss her, Police Cmdr. Pat Walsh said Wednesday. When Ray called another supervisor, she was told to go home.

The next night, Ray went to the homes of friends and persuaded them to confront Ebenezer at the restaurant, Assistant State's Atty. Adam Weber said in court. They took a gun with them to the restaurant, he said.

"[Ray] tells them the back door is usually open," Weber said. "All four agreed to go."

Ray, then 24, drove the group to the restaurant, at 1236 E. 53rd St., Weber said. She parked about a block away and waited in the vehicle.

The others went in through the back door and saw Ebenezer counting the evening's receipts, Walsh said.

Wilson, then 18, pulled the gun on Ebenezer and pointed it at his head, Weber said. They struggled, and Wilson shot Ebenezer, he said.

As they fought, the unidentified man who has not been charged stole $1,700 from the cash drawer, Weber said.

After the struggle, Wilson shot Ebenezer a second time before leaving, Weber said.

A bystander witnessed the robbery and slaying, Weber said. That witness identified all four suspects and told authorities the roles each played, he said.

Wilson, who fled to Mississippi and then Florida, confessed to the shooting as he drove south with a friend, Weber said. Along the way, Wilson dismantled the gun but left its clip and handle behind in the vehicle. Wilson's confidant turned the evidence over to police.

The juvenile confessed to a different person and to police, authorities said. He was charged with first-degree murder and armed robbery. Prosecutors originally charged him as an adult, but on Wednesday the judgeordered that he be reprocessed as a juvenile.
Since a silly woman couldn't figure out that the only one to blame for her getting fired was herself she got some people caught up in some mess. She got a 15 year old juvenile (who's in the 8th grade at 15 and I was about to assume that he already flunked) has got himself caught up in this nonsense. I mean what is the purpose of you driving some friends (or silly young men) with you to some stupid place to confront someone about firing you.

On top of that one person had a gun and they even robbed the place and didn't leave without using the gun. It's very sad and very unfortunate and because someone lost their job that cost the person who took it from her their life. And it set this woman and her band of accomplices back even further than they already were.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Juneteenth

Once upon a time there were some festivities here in Chicago which was normally celebrated today to commemorate the end of slavery here in the states and in Texas back in 1865. See there was a carnival to be had but for a long-long time that was the last Juneteenth I remember. This term and holiday has been in the back of my mind ever since.

Chicagoist reminds me.

Oh yeah I want to mention a Juneteenth celebration gone wrong from FOXNews.com...
Police were searching Wednesday for more than a dozen people who may have been involved in the beating death of a man who was a passenger in a car that struck and injured a child not far from a Juneteenth celebration in Austin, Texas.

David Rivas Morales died Tuesday from injuries sustained in an assault by an unknown number of black men following the car accident, which occurred in the parking lot of an East Austin apartment complex, police said.

"It doesn't seem to be a hate crime, it really seems to be a spontaneous act resulting from that collision with that child," Harold Piatt, the commander of the Austin Police Department's Robbery Homicide Unit. "We don't know if there were any words exchanged between the driver and the men to start with that escalated this to the assault."

The incident occurred at around 9:30 p.m. in the parking lot of the Booker T. Washington apartments, near Rosewood Park, where the city's Juneteenth celebrations were wrapping up, Piatt said.

Click here for FOXNews.com's Crime center.

The driver of the car carrying Morales struck a 3- or 4-year-old girl, apparently prompting the attack.

"The driver, for whatever reason, whether he realized he was involved in the collision or his vehicle forced a stop, got out of the car, got into a confrontation with several men and was assaulted," Piatt said.

Morales came to his aid and was fatally attacked in what police are calling a "spontaneous homicide." He was pronounced dead at a local hospital.

The driver was able to get back into his car and drive away. Both he and his vehicle have been located, Piatt said, but he declined to release the driver's identity because the man is a witness in an ongoing investigation.

"We could have had anywhere from two to 15 and 20 [people] who are actually involved in the assault," Piatt said. Some 2,000 to 3,000 people were gathered in the parking lot at the time.

The child was treated for non-life-threatening injuries at Brackenridge Hospital.

Piatt said there is no reason to link the assault with the Juneteenth celebrations.
Well I know I just posted some bad news here, but I just wanted to share that story with you. Perhaps this is one of those dates and rememberances worth noting on this blog every year from here on out.

Messed up people...

I was on my way to boarding the train at the 95th Street terminal when I saw a pregnant woman waiting to catch a bus with her midget boyfriend (or it could just be a friend). She didn't look very young but she didn't look very old either. At least she was young enough to still be pregnant.

Anyway, she was about to do something that should be disturbing and I hope her midget friend has some gumption to just tell her to stop. This woman was lighting up her cigarette even though she was already about 7 or 8 months along. This was without a doubt the most outrageous thing I have seen.

I hope she knows what she is doing and who knows I should have said something smart. Then again she looks like the streets has got a hold of her so I was better off biting my tongue. So not only is she messed up but she is messing up her unborn child.

Wal-Mart eyes 5 S. Side sites for supercenters

Well, I could go back to the debate over the big-box ordinance. I could even go over Wal-Mart's plans to put health clinics in their stores. For a change, though, I want to look at some more recent developments from the Wal-Mart saga on the south side...
A pair of sites that once housed Ryerson Steel plants -- at 83rd and Stewart in Chatham and 111th and the Bishop Ford Expy. in Pullman -- could be first in line for new Wal-Marts, primarily because they appear to be the paths of least resistance.

The City Council rezoned the Chatham site in 2004 -- on a promise that Wal-Mart "is not and will not be" part of the development -- and all that's needed now is a sign-off by the Department of Planning and Development.

The Pullman site has support from Ald. Anthony Beale (9th), who voted for the Daley-vetoed big-box minimum wage ordinance but believes Wal-Mart has "changed its tune" since then.

Wal-Mart is also looking to build at 47th and State, 63rd and Halsted and 63rd and State.

"If we get all the stars aligned, we might want to bundle the projects and move on all [five] at once. We could do two at a time or one at a time. The field is very open," said Roderick Scott, Wal-Mart's regional manager for community affairs.

"We're making an active effort to speak with [the local] aldermen. We can't move forward without them. If it is proven in the near future they're not interested -- maybe they don't want the controversy or they made commitments to restrict development -- we will look for opportunities in adjacent wards. We've been approached by [other] aldermen who are very interested."

Ald. Howard Brookins (21st) said Wal-Mart "met with real estate people last week" and decided to forge ahead at 83rd and Stewart. That leaves the decision in the hands of city planners.

There's one other upside to this story...
Beale said he's prepared to convene hearings on the proposed Pullman Wal-Mart because "a lot of things have changed" since he voted for the big-box ordinance.
The General Assembly raised the state's minimum wage to $7.50 an hour. Wal-Mart has given women and minorities the opportunity to build and work at its Austin store. And the company has opened the door to talks with union leaders that could set the stage for a "living wage" ordinance.

"We have a food desert in our community," Beale said. "We're in desperate need of a quality grocery store. If Wal-Mart would commit to the site on 111th, that would give me two quality grocery stores and over 1,000 jobs."

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Judge Suspends Duke Rape DA Immediately

Oh man Mike NiFong has royally screwed up since he took up the case of a stripper (who happened to be black) who claimed that she was raped by the white member of the Duke University Lacrosse team. Last weekend he was disbarred and now he's suspended...
A judge suspended District Attorney Mike Nifong effective immediately Tuesday after learning the prosecutor disbarred for his handling of the Duke lacrosse rape case intended to stay in office for another month.

The sheriff immediately stripped Nifong of his badge and the keys to his office.

There is probable cause to believe that Nifong "has engaged in willful misconduct in office and conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice, which brings the office into disrepute," Superior Court Judge Orlando Hudson wrote in his order.

Durham County Sheriff Worth Hill went to Nifong's house with a deputy to serve the order Tuesday morning.

"We took his keys and his badge that gave him access to the building," Hill said. "We'll make arrangements to help him get his personal belongings later."

Candy Clark, Nifong's legal assistant, said the one case he was handling was being reassigned.

Later Tuesday, lawmakers unanimously approved legislation that would allow Gov. Mike Easley to immediately remove Nifong from office.

Nifong had sent a resignation letter to Easley and Hudson, saying he would leave office on July 13. The governor had said he would immediately remove Nifong if he could.
To be sure there's nothing wrong with trying to be the big hero, but if I understand the facts of this case correctly, it's not worth playing games with the truth and the reputations of those who may well be innocent of the crime.

Tuesday items...

Russ Stewart talks about 2008 presidential race.

Yesterday I blogged about Todd Stroger taking a medial leave, but today the reason for his medical leave seems a lot more serious.

Q&A with Donald Trump Jr.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Democrats laugh about squabbling Republicans...

Russ Stewart talks about the next three or so years for Cook County Republicans. In Cook County they may not be doing that great but their really hurting statewide since last year. They couldn't gain an executive office (they couldn't even beat a vulnerable governor) and they couldn't gain any ground in the state legislature.

You know to be fair last year was a bad year for Republicans nationally and who knows hopefully 2008 will be much kinder to them. We'll see though but what might 2008 be for Cook County Republicans?

On this that figures in Stewart's column from last month was the squabbling between County Republican chair Liz Gorman and her fellow commissioner/Republican Tony Peraica. Remember earlier back in March I posted about some squabbling between the intended 42nd Ward Republican committeewoman Eloise Gerson and Gorman. Well that figures here too.

Now to the column, in 2008 this is what could possibly happen...
Cook County State's Attorney (2008): Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica got 547,225 votes (46 percent of the total) in his 2006 race for Cook County Board president in 2006, losing to Democrat Todd Stroger. He carried 12 Chicago wards and 23 suburban townships, and he got 31.5 percent of the city vote and 59.6 percent of the suburban vote.

Since November Peraica has been Stroger's most vociferous critic, voting against his budget and claiming that "one family" -- meaning the Daleys -- "run the entire operation" in the city and the county. "I am a majority of one, and I will continue to fight for the taxpayers," Peraica said.

To maintain his visibility and to give himself a platform to continue to criticize county government, Peraica is going to run for state's attorney in 2008, challenging incumbent Democrat Dick Devine. "There is corruption throughout county government, but there is no prosecution," said Peraica, who will rip Devine as oblivious to the corruption. Peraica doesn't expect to win, but he'll keep his name before the public.
Now there is a little more about the situation in the 42nd ward. I want to explore that, but I'll let you read up about what this column says about 2010...
After her election as chairman, Gorman quickly ousted two Chicago ward committeemen appointed by Skoien: Eloise Gerson in the Gold Coast 42nd Ward and Kent Griffiths in the Wicker Park/Bucktown 32nd Ward. Both backed Swiss, and both are Peraica allies. Under party by-laws, an appointed committeeman can be removed at any time by the chairman.

A graphic example of Republican idiocy is the 42nd Ward. Gerson replaced Rich Gordon, who resigned. Gordon ran for 42nd Ward alderman in 2003 and got 44 percent of the vote. The 42nd Ward delivered 11,696 votes to George Bush in 2004, his second-best ward in the city, and it produced 10,972 votes for Bush in 2000, again his second-best. According to Gerson, Gorman asked her for her vote for chairman but she demurred, saying that she was committed to Swiss.

Gerson said that her "unappointment" was punishment for opposing Gorman. "She told me that the numbers in the ward have declined," Gerson said. "That's absurd. They've improved." According to a Gorman spokesman, Gerson was ousted because the ward's "vote count was down and there were no precinct captains, no events and no organization meetings." Responded Gerson: "That's an absolute lie. She spoke at our meetings. She knows we have a viable organization."

Gerson's replacement is Susan Simmons, the wife of Craig Simmons, a disgruntled Gordon supporter who was defeated by Gordon for committeeman in 2004 by 1,124-754. "She (Gorman) said that she wanted party unity (for the February election)," Gerson said. "She is fomenting party disunity. She is trying to destroy our organization."

Gerson had a recent open house at her headquarters, is president of the 42nd Ward Republican Organization, and will run for committeeman in 2008 against Simmons. Gorman has done what 42nd Ward Democrats have been unable to do: permanently divide the ward's Republicans. Instead of battling Democrats, they battle each other.
This squabbling is all about 2010. Gorman wants to build a base to defeat Peraica in a Republican primary for county board president. Republicans can ill afford, among themselves, to divide and conquer. There's not much to divide. Understandably, Democrats sneer at the Republicans' stupidity.

Todd Stroger taking medical leave

When I saw this story I would have just as soon thought it was just one excuse for him to get out of his job that he was elected to in November. Well I hope there's nothing serious going on. This news is from Crain's...
Cook County Board President Todd Stroger will take a leave of up to three weeks for what is being described only as a routine medical procedure, his office announced Monday.

“It’s a procedure (Mr. Stroger) has wanted to do for a while,” said his communications director, Andrew Garner. “He will be in regular contact with the office. Barring the unexpected, he’ll be back in the saddle soon.”

The procedure occurred Monday. Aides declined to say anything more about the medical condition or to disclose what hospital is treating Mr. Stroger, citing privacy reasons.

During last year’s campaign, Mr. Stroger told reporters that he one day hoped to replace a knee he blew out playing basketball several years ago, but it is not known if that’s the procedure involved in his absence.
On the other hand there are some doubts...
Cook County Commissioner Tony Peraica, who narrowly lost to Mr. Stroger in last November's election, had some criticism Monday as to how the medical matter is being handled.

While Mr. Stroger is entitled to some privacy, "if this procedure indeed was preplanned, as his people say, we should have been notified" earlier, Mr. Peraica said.
In this article they even brought up the situation that put Todd Stroger into the county board presidency. His father John Stroger was then the incumber county board president who suffered a stroke only one week before the primary and there were charges abound as to whether or not Stroger's family and associates were attempting to cover up his illness. Eventually John Stroger would give up his job and nomination and it would fall on his son Todd.

Rich, Black, Flunking

This is an old article on an old phenomena. I have only heard about this second hand when I was in eighth grade. At that time my principal had us write essays on this.

While on one hand you might have the problem of students who don't want to be made fun of by their fellow student. Ostracised for doing well in their studies and it's considered a white value, not a universal one. Then again it deals with another imporant ingredient in this equation, parental involvement.

Take a gander...

The black parents wanted an explanation. Doctors, lawyers, judges, and insurance brokers, many had come to the upscale Cleveland suburb of Shaker Heights specifically because of its stellar school district. They expected their children to succeed academically, but most were performing poorly. African-American students were lagging far behind their white classmates in every measure of academic success: grade-point average, standardized test scores, and enrollment in advanced-placement courses. On average, black students earned a 1.9 GPA while their white counterparts held down an average of 3.45. Other indicators were equally dismal. It made no sense.

John McWhorter believes academia too readily blames white people.When these depressing statistics were published in a high school newspaper in mid-1997, black parents were troubled by the news and upset that the newspaper had exposed the problem in such a public way. Seeking guidance, one parent called a prominent authority on minority academic achievement.

UC Berkeley Anthropology Professor John Ogbu had spent decades studying how the members of different ethnic groups perform academically. He'd studied student coping strategies at inner-city schools in Washington, DC. He'd looked at African Americans and Latinos in Oakland and Stockton and examined how they compare to racial and ethnic minorities in India, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, and Britain. His research often focused on why some groups are more successful than others.

But Ogbu couldn't help his caller. He explained that he was a researcher -- not an educator -- and that he had no ideas about how to increase the academic performance of students in a district he hadn't yet studied. A few weeks later, he got his chance. A group of parents hungry for solutions convinced the school district to join with them and formally invite the black anthropologist to visit Shaker Heights. Their discussions prompted Ogbu to propose a research project to figure out just what was happening. The district agreed to finance the study, and parents offered him unlimited access to their children and their homes.

The professor and his research assistant moved to Shaker Heights for nine months in mid-1997. They reviewed data and test scores. The team observed 110 different classes, from kindergarten all the way through high school. They conducted exhaustive interviews with school personnel, black parents, and students. Their project yielded an unexpected conclusion: It wasn't socioeconomics, school funding, or racism, that accounted for the students' poor academic performance; it was their own attitudes, and those of their parents.
Oh my goodness, parental attitude and involvement was the key. Yeah the students didn't take their studies seriously but neither did the parents. Here's more...

Ogbu concluded that the average black student in Shaker Heights put little effort into schoolwork and was part of a peer culture that looked down on academic success as "acting white." Although he noted that other factors also play a role, and doesn't deny that there may be antiblack sentiment in the district, he concluded that discrimination alone could not explain the gap.

"The black parents feel it is their role to move to Shaker Heights, pay the higher taxes so their kids could graduate from Shaker, and that's where their role stops," Ogbu says during an interview at his home in the Oakland hills. "They believe the school system should take care of the rest. They didn't supervise their children that much. They didn't make sure their children did their homework. That's not how other ethnic groups think."
Hmmm, it's not the students' problem nor is it the school systems problem, it's the parents' problem as well. I read this as lack of parental involvement in the academics of their children. Kind of unfortunate.

You know this would be criticism that would be more directed towards the less successfual and the less educated. This article knocks these parents down a peg even despite their status. I've seen one too many articles and op/eds that have showed how parents tend to only show up at school when they figure out why their children have bad grades or because there's a problem at school. NOT because it's report card pick-up.

I should note that there was resistance to Professor Ugbo's researcher...
But in the weeks following the meetings, it became apparent that the person with the greatest cause for worry may have been Ogbu himself. Soon after he left Ohio and returned to California, a black parent from Shaker Heights went on TV and called him an "academic Clarence Thomas." The National Urban League condemned him and his work in a press release that scoffed, "The League holds that it is useless to waste time and energy with those who blame the victims of racism." The criticism eventually made it all the way to The New York Times, where an article published prior to the publication of Ogbu's book quoted or referred to four separate academics who quarreled with his premise. It quoted a Shaker Heights school official who took issue with the professor's conclusions, and cited work by the Minority Student Achievement Network that suggested black students care as much about school as white and Asian students. In fact, the reporter failed to locate a single person in Shaker Heights or anywhere else with anything good to say about the book.

Other scholars have since come forward to take a few more swipes at the professor's premise. "Ogbu is just flat-out wrong about the attitudes about learning by African Americans," explains Asa Hilliard, an education professor at Georgia State University and one of the authors of Young, Gifted, and Black: Promoting High Achievement Among African-American Students. "Education is a very high value in the African-American community and in the African community. The fundamental problem is Dr. Ogbu is unfamiliar with the fact that there are thousands of African-American students who succeed. It doesn't matter whether the students are in Shaker Heights or an inner city. The achievement depends on what expectations the teacher has of the students." Hilliard, who is black, believes Shaker Heights teachers must not expect enough from their black students.

To racial theorist Shelby Steele, the response to Ogbu's work was sad but predictable. Steele, a black research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution and the author of The Content of Our Character: A New Vision of Race in America, has weathered similar criticism for his own provocative theories about the gap between blacks and whites. He believes continued societal deference to the victims of racial discrimination has permitted blacks "the license not to meet the same standards that others must meet," which has been detrimental to every aspect of African-American life. "To talk about black responsibility is "racist' and "blaming the victim,'" he says. "They just keep refusing to acknowledge the elephant in the living room -- black responsibility. When anybody in this culture today talks about black responsibility for their problems, they are condemned and ignored."

Ogbu knows that better than anybody. In the months since publication of his book, he's been called a sellout with no heart for his own people, and dismissed entirely by critics who say his theory is so outrageous it isn't even worth debating. It is not surprising that Ogbu himself is now a bit uncomfortable discussing his own conclusions, although he has not backed down at all. After all, many scholars are eager to blame everything but black culture for the scholastic woes of African Americans. "I look below the surface," he says, in response to his many critics. "They don't like it."
Resistance is a problem. Yeah there are concerns about stereotypes that are mentioned in this article (of blacks being intellectually lazy and inadequate). Still black parents should ask themselves why they aren't involved in their children's schooling in ways that other ethnic groups are.

Look this is something that should only be considered as a thought on how parents can be better involved not as a means to re-inforce stereotypes. I may have stated that I'm glad right now that I don't have children in school right now, but for those of us who don't have kids and who want then should consider what to do if we want our kids to make good marks. Parents should not merely leave this up to the system.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

What English Speaking Country Are You?

You Belong in the USA

Sweet!
People either love you or hate you
And you really don't care what anyone thinks
Big and bold, you do things your way

Today is Father's Day...

I'm currently watching Rev. James Meeks on WJYS 62 in Chicago giving his sermon on this day. He talked about the fathers and the men today he's planning something for them today and this week. It's a great memorable one for a change, I'm not a frequent watcher of this program, but it's great to see this man of vision from Salem Baptist Church who is also a state senator.

BTW, Rich Miller of the Capitol Fax blog has a Father's Day post up as well and it's pretty good.

May all the daddies be blessed today.

Files link governor to lynchings in '40s

Seems to be a trend lately to investigate old crimes. Unlike yesterday where I reported a story as a civil rights era crime, this came just a decade before the civil rights movement began in earnest. This crime was about how in the state of Georgia politics played a role in a lynching.

And that first sentence to this post, please don't be offended. I'm not knocking it at all because even after all these year the couples who were lynched deserve justice. This should give you one indication as to why things like this happened in those days...
Newly released files from the lynching of two black couples more than 60 years ago contain a disturbing revelation: The FBI investigated suspicions that a three-term governor of Georgia sanctioned the murders to sway rural white voters in a tough election campaign.

The 3,725 pages obtained under the Freedom of Information Act do not make conclusions about the still-unsolved killings at Moore's Ford Bridge in 1946. But they raise the possibility that Eugene Talmadge's politics may have been a factor when a white mob dragged the couples from a car, tied them to a tree and opened fire.

''I'm not surprised . . . historians over the years have concluded the violently racist tone of his 1946 campaign may have been indirectly responsible for the violence that came at Moore's Ford,'' said Robert Pratt, a University of Georgia history professor who has studied the case. ''It's fair to say he's one of the most virulently racist governors the state has ever had.''
Talmadge, who died just months after his 1946 election to a fourth term, dominated Georgia politics in the 1930s and 1940s with a mix of racism and pocketbook populism.

He came under FBI scrutiny because of a visit he made to the north Georgia town of Monroe two days before the Democratic gubernatorial primary and a day after a racial incident there, a fight in which a black sharecropper stabbed and wounded a white farmer. The sharecropper was one of the four who would be lynched.

In a report sent to FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, the agent in charge of the investigation said Talmadge met with George Hester, the brother of the stabbed farmer. Citing an unconfirmed witness statement, the agent said Talmadge offered immunity to anyone ''taking care of negro.''

While the agent dismissed the notion of Talmadge's involvement as ''unbelievable,'' he said it merited investigation.

Other memos raised suspicions that state employees could even have been active participants in the lynching.

FBI agents took note of the political stakes. Talmadge faced a tough challenge in the Democratic primary -- then tantamount to the general election -- and Walton County was up for grabs.

Talmadge won the county by about 200 votes, with overwhelming support from the area where the Hester family lived.

In the FBI memo to Hoover, the agent cited the opinion of Monroe's assistant police chief, Ed Williamson, who had spotted Talmadge meeting in front of the Walton County Courthouse with the brother of the stabbed farmer.

''The opinion on Mr. Williamson's part was that this conversation between Talmadge and Hester probably resulted in the Blasingame District going very definitely in the Talmadge column,'' read the memo.

Votes from small rural counties played a crucial role in Georgia's elections then because primaries were decided by a ''county unit system,'' similar to the Electoral College. Talmadge's challenger, James V. Carmichael, received the most popular votes but lost the election.
As I made the block quote I left out how the grandson of the accused lyncher defended his grandfather, not believing that he was involved. Or at least saying that he doesn't think his grandfather was involved saying that he'd feel sorry for those who do.

So as it was stated in the article it was politics. Politics was a driving force in the days of the civil rights movement with such people as George Wallace in Alabama. If the trend said to fight the civil rights movement then a lot of politicians around the South did exactly that. Even allowed for the brutal methods of releasing dogs on marchers and allowing the police to beat the marchers.

Of course I should note that politics wasn't always a motivation. Perhaps I should find other cases where this is true.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Troutman indicted...

I know I'm late on this story but it was in the news late in the past week so I want to talk a little but about this. Here's a piece of this story...
Five months after charges were first filed against her, former Chicago Ald. Arenda Troutman was indicted Wednesday for allegedly taking a bribe from a developer looking to smooth the way for a project in her ward.

The indictment did not expand the case against Troutman. It accused her of taking a $5,000 cash bribe and a $5,000 check for her campaign fund in exchange for helping to move the project forward.

Troutman allegedly thought she was dealing with a private developer looking to pay her off, but authorities have said the bribe payer was actually working undercover with the FBI.

She could face up to 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine if she is convicted of the bribery count. Troutman, who lost a re-election bid after she was first charged in January, is free on her own recognizance.

She has repeatedly denied the charges. Troutman's attorneys have said the case amounts to entrapment.

Randall Samborn, spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office, said Troutman would be arraigned at a later date.
In February she lost her re-election bid to a former police officer, Willie Cochrane. I have strolled thru that ward a few times, I still see campaign posters up. Especially Cochran's. Well in fact in a lot of wards nearby posters are up as if the municipal elections aren't over.

Anyway one evening we drove by her former aldermanic offices. They were boarded up. There are still signs up reminding people of who USED to be their alderman. The fact is that since she no longer has the 20th ward seat, there's no point in having those offices. She is still committeeman I imagine, unless it's decided to take that away from her too. At least before the next Democratic committeeman elections next year.

You know I would ride the L and past 63rd Street you would see a nice little campaign poster on a building. It was very visible, campaign poster probably wouldn't be the correct term. We could see the smile on her face as if this was another election in the page.

Unfortuately on election night she wasn't smiling. And she's not dancing either.

Another civil rights era crime comes to justice...

Interesting to have found this among items in yesterday's Sun-Times. One of many obscure stories that still might make the news even today. We're not talking about murders of leaders but of 19 year old men.

If I had been following this case from the beginning when it hit federal court I would probably know if they were involved in any civil rights organization. This article doesn't even say. Here's the story and it's not worth languishing in my Del.icio.us links...
JACKSON, Miss. -- A federal jury on Thursday convicted reputed Klansman James Ford Seale of kidnapping and conspiracy in the 1964 deaths of two black teenagers.
Seale, 71, had pleaded not guilty to charges related to the deaths of Charles Eddie Moore and Henry Hezekiah Dee. The 19-year-olds disappeared from Franklin County on May 2, 1964.

The prosecution's star witness was Charles Marcus Edwards, a confessed Klansman. Prosecutors acknowledged they made ''a deal with the devil.''

Edwards testified that Dee and Moore were stuffed, alive, into the trunk of Seale's Volkswagen. Edwards said Seale told him that Dee and Moore were attached to heavy weights and dumped alive into the river.

''Those two 19-year-old kids had to have been absolutely terrified,'' U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton told jurors, who sat quietly.

NCAA in-game blogging ban bogus, 'NCAAian'

You know I wanted to get on a trip about this whole blogging/new media/social media craze but let's talk about one of the pitfalls of this. There are those who don't respect this new medium. This is what I found from the Chicago Tribune's Hypertext blog...
Is publishing to the Internet "broadcasting"?

Although it's been unspoken, that question is at the core of the debate over the newspaper sportswriter whom the NCAA foolhardily tossed from a game for live-blogging it from the stadium.

The Louisville Courier-Journal and its writer, Brian Bennett, contend that he was offering instant analysis, not simply a regurgitation of the facts of the game, when he had his credential taken away at a Louisville-Oklahoma State game Sunday.

The National Collegiate Athletic Association contends that what Bennett was doing, as a "live representation of the game," amounted to competition for the official broadcast and Internet partners, folks who pay money for the rights to disseminate the games. This being college baseball, it's small money, but the principle is the thing, and surely the NCAA envisions applying it to bigger-revenue, bigger-interest sports like basketball and football.

In essence, the college-sports consortium contends that the sportswriter was mounting his own, guerrilla broadcast.

It's true -- putting something on the Web, even in text format, is a sort of broadcasting -- but nonetheless, the college sports group's move is remarkably short sighted.

First, Bennett's writing was in no way competition to the official telecast or radio cast. No college baseball fan would choose reading a blog over watching or listening to the thing itself. At best (for the newspaper), the fan might have the blog up on a computer as he watched the game, but even that's good for the NCAA. It maintains interest in the game, instead of luring people off to one of the thousands of other corners of the Net that might come across as more immediately enticing than amateur baseball.

Second, he could have written exactly the same thing by watching the official telecast from his living room or the Courier-Journal newsroom. To try to prevent people from reacting to your entertainment in one venue while allowing it in another is so absurd it needs a new adjective: "NCAAian."

Third, and most important, the NCAA is an idiot if it thinks it can or should start trying to micromanage what newspapers do with their games. No medium has been more responsible for the rise of college athletics. And if the league thinks it can maintain or grow popularity without newspapers or other fan intermediaries -- a group that now includes bloggers -- then it must be true that if you were to go to NCAA headquarters, you would find a cave.
Another blogger, Andy Rainey, talks about this story and gives his own experience attempting to cover a game only to be told to stop by the NCAA...
This particular issue strikes a nerve with me, because I had the exact same experience a few years ago when I was covering my first-ever sporting event as the newly-hired webmaster for fledgling TV network College Sports Southeast. As green as a cucumber, this 23-year-old pseudo-journalist was stoked about being in the press box to cover the SEC Baseball Tournament in Hoover via a live scoreboard/in-game chat/analysis (an early predecessor to the modern game log). Assuming freedom of the press, and further assuming my activities were kosher based on the fact that my employer was televising the game and had asked me to do this task as an accompaniment, I set about enthusiastically tracking the action play-by-play for my huge audience of maybe 20 people. No matter, it was about the game, and the purity of it, right?

About four innings into the first contest of the day, an SEC representative approached me and asked me to cease my activities because this type of content could only be posted after the game due to live broadcast rights reserved by the NCAA. When I explained that those broadcast rights had been assigned by the NCAA to MY EMPLOYER, to my sheer amazement it made no difference, and I was kindly asked to either close my laptop or vacate the pressbox immediately.

Granted, the NCAA has a product just like any for-profit company, and they have the right to protect that product. I'm as free-market capitalist as anyone. But is it really in their best interest to shut down activities that PROMOTE their product, and encourage others to follow it more closely? Seems like cutting off the nose to spite the face to me. Of course, this same debate could be applied to the music, movie and TV industry about file-sharing and the use of the internet to spread the reach of their products. But that's an argument best saved for another day.

No matter the validity of the NCAA's claim on their product, I for one learned a lot about the business of sports that May afternoon seven years ago. As an enthusiastic fan, I assumed that the games were more than a product with restrictions and limitations. At its best, sport is fun - it unites people from all walks of life with a sense of common purpose, common goals, and genuine pride and enthusiasm in the spirit of good, clean competition. At its worst, sport is... well, this. I assumed the idea was for the experience to be shared by everyone. I was naive, and Brian Bennett of the Louisville Courier-Journal learned that same lesson on Sunday. That was the day that changed my perception of the games we play, and is indicative of why my fanhood has dwindled to the level of marginal interest over the years. It is one of the main reasons why I do not miss working in the sports industry today.

I'll get to work on my new media/social media post ASAP.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Dentist appeals suspension in girl's death

Remember fall last year it was in the news that a little girl made a visit to the dentist and she was to get some caps on her teeth and for that she had to be sedated. Sadly she never made it out of her sedated state and she was on life support until the plug was pulled. A very sad story.

Last year when the news broke I blogged about it almost three days straight. Then another update almost a month after that. Today another update by the Chicago Tribune...
A Chicago dentist filed a lawsuit Thursday to try to overturn a state ruling that suspended his dental license for a minimum of 18 months after the death of a 5-year-old patient.

Dr. Hicham K. Riba alleges that the state Department of Financial and Professional Regulation "was influenced by the media" in its handling of the case, relied on improper expert testimony and made other errors, according to the lawsuit filed in Cook County Circuit Court.

Department officials could not be reached Thursday for comment.

The department's suspension, issued last month, was harsher than the six-month license suspension recommended earlier this year by the Illinois Board of Dentistry.

Riba is also challenging rulings that suspended his pediatric dentistry specialty license for at least three years and his controlled-substance license for five years.
I wonder how long was the suspension if it wasn't the recommended six months. Perhaps I should find that out. Anyway here are links to previous stories I did here.

Previous posts
Comatose Girl To Come Off Life Support
This makes no damned sense...
Oh yeah by the way, about the dentist story...
The continuing story regarding the girl who died after her visit to the dentist

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Congestion fees???

There were a couple of stories about this in the Sun-Times today and there were stories about this in the Tribune. So far it's only a possibility in getting more funds for the Chicago Transit Authority. The idea comes from London where they have such a fee and New York City is only going to consider such a charge in lower Manhattan.

Anyway here's a piece of this story...
Motorists who insist on driving in downtown Chicago should pay a London-style "congestion fee" -- now $16 a day there -- to ease traffic jams, reduce air pollution and provide a bonanza of sorely needed funding for the CTA, the City Council's most influential alderman said Wednesday.

Finance Committee Chairman Edward M. Burke (14th) wants City Council hearings, to at least explore the possibility of charging motorists for the privilege of driving downtown.

London started in 2003 with a congestion fee of 5 pounds, roughly $10, that has since been raised to 8 pounds or $16.

On Earth Day, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg proposed an $8 fee on cars and $21 on trucks that drive in congested Lower Manhattan south of 86th Street to raise $400 million for public transportation projects in the first year alone. The New York Legislature is considering the idea.

"It's certainly a very complicated issue and not one that can be rushed into. But, I thought as long as London is doing it, as long as New York is doing it, that perhaps it's an idea that Chicago ought to consider," Burke said.

"It would reduce the number of automobiles coming into the Central Business District. And No. 2, it could provide a revenue stream for public transit."

Mayor Daley said he has "an open mind" about the idea. But he was clearly just mouthing the words.

The mayor noted that London is a city "built centuries ago" with narrow streets and no alleys. "I'm just saying it's completely different. Let's not rush to that and scare everybody off. We're trying to keep businesses here and constantly move businesses into the city and relocate businesses," Daley said.

"Are you gonna put it on all the aldermen [who] drive down every day? Do you start off with them? ... Can citizens drive down from [elsewhere in] the city? Are they excluded? ... How about all the trucks coming downtown? ... That's what you have to look at."

Jerry Roper, president of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, wondered aloud whether "commerce would be charged to drive on the streets" of downtown Chicago. A congestion fee could also have a devastating impact on tourism, he said.

Burke said public hearings would determine the amount of the congestion fee, the precise boundaries of the so-called "Chicago Green District" and the method of enforcement. Exemptions could be made for taxis, buses and "environmentally friendly hybrid vehicles," he said.
Oh yeah this is how it's done in London, England...
London's congestion fee is enforced by 230 surveillance cameras positioned at entry and exit points to the zone and at key locations within the zone. Cameras record traffic images and send them to a central processor that reads the license plates and cross-checks them against the list of vehicles that have purchased the daily congestion pass.

If a pass has not been purchased in advance for that license plate and is not purchased by midnight of the day of travel, the vehicle's registered owner gets a ticket in the mail.
The article mentions that this could be a back-door tax on suburbanites. I'm sure there are a lot of supporters for that, especially among those in the city who see suburban commuters taking some of their money home with them to their respective municipalities. To be sure I would rather hope there wouldn't be the type of enforcement mechanisms as there are in London.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Barack and Black Enterprise

From Hermene Hartman at N'Digo. Well I have often thought of Obama as having some socialist tendencies. Perhaps if this is true this commentary will clinch it. It's something worth bringing up...
Some weeks ago, The Chicago Defender, ran an article criticizing presidential hopeful Barack Obama saying that he refused to meet with any and all Black chambers of commerce. The article claimed that he “appears to despise Black chambers of commerce.” Clearly, the Chamber of Commerce is somewhat angry that Senator Obama has not met with them or did not attend one of their functions.

The story is misleading suggesting that Barack is not sensitive to Black enterprise. Nothing could be further from the truth. Jim Reynolds is a very close friend of Barack’s and he is an entrepreneur, the founder and proprietor of Loop Capital. Early on when Barack was considering running for the Illinois Senate, Reynolds was the President of Alliance Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs (ABLE). I now hold that office.

Barack used to attend ABLE meetings to hear business discussion of what the now Black entrepreneur was really up against. He was usually quiet and more observant than talkative. He was really listening to our business challenges. He was educating himself and looking at what role legislation and/or politics could play to improve Black enterprise. He was perceptive and he wanted to be an advocate. But most importantly he wanted to understand. Solid intelligent discussions ranged from the good of affirmative action to the challenges of crossing over to mainstream business based on ability and performance. In essence, and in retrospect, valuable seeds were being planted. We collectively determined that we could cross over based on agenda, funding and marketing. We all know that race is always a factor, but we didn’t necessarily have to carry the race flag. Upon appearance, race is automatically understood.
I thought this commentary was going to be anti-Obama, it wasn't but hey it's a step in the right direction for Obama. Check this out...
When Barack ran for Senate the very first meeting was held in the Reynolds home and the initial dollars came from individuals in the ABLE group. Reverend Jesse Jackson attended and shared the wisdom of the contribution and talked about the possibility of our political horizion.

A newer generation was saying Black business people should step up to the plate and support candidates rather than having the traditional Black clergy forward alone. Barack agreed and challenged us to back him. We did. We discussed business opportunities, challenges and strategies that could affect us all. Barack is well steeped, attentively listening to our business philosophies, thoughts and ideas. He heard business frustrations, opportunities, government slow pay, government rules sometimes in place but not necessarily followed. He listened. Barack still meets with the core of this group. It keeps him grounded and informed. He bounces to this group because we still speak openly and honestly. He has come back home, even at critical points in his national career, so to speak. After he won the senate, before he took the presidential challenge, and at key points in the campaign. What is important to know is that he always listens. He listens to the civil rights past. He listens to success. He listens to failure. He incorporates it into his own intellectual configuration and he’s genuinely concerned.

Before running for President, Barack met with some members of ABLE to again listen to business thoughts and he told us that he would make a decision on running for the highest office in the land during his Christmas vacation. Since then we have had conference calls to discuss business issues and the impact of decisions.
Sounds good to me. I think it's about time that black business step up to the plate. As a matter of fact ABLE has been forward in the debate in Illinois over the gross receipt tax being opposed to that proposal which was battered down good in the Illinois House of Reps. It's a good thing that Sen. Obama is looking at black business. Here's more...

At this point, who will win the 2008 election is a pundit discussion. It is too soon to predict. But at this very moment, the gentleman from Illinois, Barack Obama has a real shot at the White House. He is playing a masterful political game. Raising the money, he has crossed-over in his appeal, showing coalition politics at its best, and most importantly he has stimulated youth by getting them involved with the voting and the political process. Our youth is America’s most apathetic; it is quite major that he has excited them with a breath of fresh air. The entire country has not been so excited over a candidate since John F. Kennedy.

The Black community at large is challenged by Barack’s candidacy. The Clintons are very much apart of Black America’s civil rights landscape, and Hillary Clinton does not come as brand new. The Clintons come experienced, seasoned and proven. The Clinton presidency delivered to Black America much of what he promised. He appointed Blacks to positions based on performance and not window dressing. This is a major historical point not to be forgotten. And now political circles are whispering Gore’s name. If he enters the race everything will change. He is a proven winner and was cheated out of the current presidential seat.

Barack will be a powerful player in America’s new politic no matter what. One of his major contributions is to crossover Black businesses. That is, to have America look at Black business just as it is looking at him as a political candidate. That is, to look at performance, ability and market share rather than race. The Barack touch is to make Black enterprise a part of America’s mainstream. This will be a milestone to America’s equality, and it is as impactful as Abraham Lincoln’s emancipation proclamation and as important as President Lyndon B, Johnson signature on the Civil Rights Bill.
Well I would disagree with what she says about the Clintons but crossover appeal is going to sound interesting. Let's see if Obama can make that happen.