Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Critics Accuse State's Attorney Dick Devine of Racism

I just saw this story of FOX 32's evening news.

Some black clergy and other city black leaders were complaining about the lack of diversity amongst the staff of the Cook County State's Attorney. While the activists where claiming that State's Attorney aren't hiring minorities, the State's Attorney, Dick Devine who's pictured, says that he's made every effort to hiring minorities. In addition to that he threw the ball back into the court of such people as Judge Eugene Pincham and Bishop Larry Trotter by saying that they haven't offered much help in offering qualified candidates to the State's Attorney's office. He also claims to have left the door open for any community leader to come in and discuss their issues with him.

Also alluded to in this story is the issue of pay raises for Cook County prosecutors which is being debated by the Cook County Board. If prosecutors aren't being paid enough in the State's Attorney's office, it's certainly difficult to recruit and maintain qualified and exceptional employees. It appears that prosecutors in the Cook County State's Attorney's office might get the raises they're looking for.

I've reached a milestone here...

This blog contains a grand total (that is before I publish this post) of 1,000 posts since January 2005. Blogging moved at a fever pitch on Monday and one today (which hit that magic number). So I'm there now it took me over a couple of years worth of posting to get there.

I would have like to do a blogging holiday of sorts, but it's not too long before midnight tonight so I won't. So without further pomp and circumstance, here's to the next thousand.

Sharpton puts city on notice

You know some accounts in recent years seemed to show New York's Rev. Al Sharpton nipping at the heels of a man who I often though could be seen as his mentor, Chicago's Rev. Jesse L. Jackson. Now he's setting up shop here to take part in an issue that is of increasing concern here in Chicago, police brutality. From today's Sun-Times...
The Rev. Al Sharpton is coming to town.

The brash New York minister's civil rights organization is opening a Chicago chapter this week, in part to pressure Mayor Daley and the Cook County state's attorney's office to deal more swiftly with police officers accused of brutality.

"There's been a consistent pattern of police misconduct, and a lot of people feel Daley has been getting a pass," Sharpton said.

He said that a zero-tolerance policy toward police misconduct must emanate from the city's highest elected office.

Sharpton, who sought the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004, said his National Action Network has pushed for police to be held to the same standards as anyone accused of violent crime.

"As one that has worked police brutality cases successfully from Abner Louima on, I've gotten police officers . . . convicted," Sharpton said, referring to the high-profile New York police beating of a Haitian immigrant in 1997.

"You hear about problems in Chicago, but you don't hear what was done about those cases."

A spokesman for Cook County's top prosecutor says the office doesn't shy away from charging police officers.

"In the 11 years that Dick Devine has been state's attorney we have charged at least one police officer a month. That's more than 130 police officers who have been charged," said John Gorman, a Devine spokesman. "This office has an unblemished record of prosecuting any police officer where there is sufficient evidence to charge."
Sharpton has other baggage that certainly gives me pause, but I do think he'll have a tought time with the city's political establishment. Maybe not because of history in New York, though at this moment, he may not know how things work here. Though who knows he might be right at home here, assuming that he has some people who know the process in Chicago.

Anyway here's more, Rev. Jackson wants to work with Rev. Sharpton...
The announcement that Sharpton will be opening up shop in Chicago comes as the mayor prepares to name a new police superintendent.
An attempt to reach a spokesman for the mayor was unsuccessful.

Sharpton is already a regular voice in Chicago with his syndicated radio show broadcast on WVON-AM (1690).

Now Sharpton, these days thinner in body and pompadour, will become a regular face here -- moving in on territory where the Rev. Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow PUSH/Coalition are firmly rooted.

Heading Sharpton's Chicago effort is a civil rights force in her own right. A South Sider, chapter president Jeri Wright, 41, is the daughter of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, pastor to presidential hopeful and U.S. Sen. Barack Obama.

Jackson said he'll work with Sharpton, as he has in the past. Earlier this year, they teamed up to push CBS to fire Don Imus after the radio host made controversial comments about the Rutgers women's basketball team. But Jackson sees Sharpton's Chicago mission as somewhat duplicative of his and other local civil rights groups.

"We've been focusing on the Jon Burge torture cases," through radio and cable access programming, Jackson said. "We confronted . . . music distributors on language degrading women -- those are cultural issues.
Well we'll see if Sharpton and Jackson can work together and perhaps bring about some positive changes in the Chicago Police.

Two Chicago area blogs also talked about this story this morning
Marathon Pundit: Sharpton setting up a shop in Chicago
Uptown Avenger: Tom Snyder Kaput and Sharpton in Chicago

Monday, July 30, 2007

Bill Walsh dies at 75!!!

He was the coach of the San Francisco 49ers. He had a long battle with leukemia. He won three Super Bowls during his coaching career. News is from FOXNews.com.

Springfield Race Riot of 1908 from the Illinois Channel

Illinois Channel has a program about the 1908 race riots in Springfield, Illinois. This occurred over a decade before a much more well known race riot in the city of Chicago in 1919. Of course while you can watch this program online at the Illinois Channel website you can watch this on TV as well, especially if watching videos on your PC isn't your speed.

If you're in the city of Chicago you can watch Illinois Channel programming on Saturday mornings from 9AM to 11AM on CAN-TV channel 21 and Sunday mornings from 8:30AM to 10:30AM on CAN-TV channel 19.

And I would like to offer a special thanks to Illinois Channel Executive Director Terry Martin for putting this on the program schedule for this week.

EDIT: I've updated the link to the program about the Springfield race riots.

Name change has hurt Macy's

OK, one more Macy's story and then I'll move on to other subjects.

You might be thinking that the title of the post is just an excuse to talk about my support of bringing back the Marshall Field's name. Well not really, in fact this story talks about another retail chaing that was gobbled up into the Macy's Inc. umbrella. The article I present to you will only say that Marshall Field's isn't the only chain that had great loyalty from their customers.

Check it out...

Macy?s is not as big a draw in central Ohio since the chain?s name was changed from Lazarus last year, market research indicates.

In 2005, customer visits to Macy?s in the Columbus market declined 4.5 percentage points, or by more than 50,000 people, according to the independent marketresearch firm Scarborough Research.

The drop was steeper than Lazarus experienced during the previous five years combined.

Parent company Federated Department Stores changed the Lazarus name on six department stores and two furniture stores in central Ohio in March 2005, ending a 154-year run for a brand that had become synonymous with shopping in Columbus. The first Lazarus store opened in 1851 Downtown and grew into a regional chain of more than 40 stores in Ohio and four other states.

The change was part of Federated?s strategy to retire regional names, such as Bon Marche, Burdines, Goldsmith?s, Lazarus and Rich?s, in favor of a single national brand: Macy?s.

Federated also is converting 400 stores acquired last year from May Department Stores, including Kaufmann?s, to Macy?s. By the end of the year, the company plans to operate 850 stores, most of them under the name Macy?s.

Chicago-based retail analyst James E. Dion said the Columbus market-share data, the first he?s seen compiled, suggests to him that Federated might have misjudged consumer sentiment.

"I think it?s a huge warning flag," he said. "The customers are basically saying, ?We liked our hometown department store. We liked Lazarus. We trusted it.? "

Shopper Libby Benson agreed.

"I shopped Lazarus for many years. I went every time I had a chance," said Benson, a model for Lazarus in the 1970s.

While she continues to shop at Macy?s, she?s spending more time in rival Nordstrom and specialty shops.

"Since Lazarus left, I kind of shop around," she said.

According to Scarborough Research, Benson is not alone. Lazarus foot traffic declined modestly between 2000 and 2004, the last full year for the Lazarus name. Nearly 320,000 central Ohioans, or 28.7 percent of adults, said they visited a Lazarus in 2000.

By 2004, the number had declined to nearly 306,000, or 24.3 percent of adult shoppers.

A year later, less than 252,000 adult shoppers, or 19.8 percent of the market, said they visited Macy?s.

"Normally, you would not expect that level of decline," Dion said. "Lazarus absolutely had value as a name, and the customer is saying one size does not fit all."
So apparently Macy's isn't making a mistake only in the Chicago area. Perhaps Macy's should have stayed a regional chain instead of becoming a more American national brand name. I guess only time will tell.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

This sounds suspicious to me...

I heard about this story this morning...
Former Bull Eddy Curry was robbed at gunpoint in his southwest suburban home early Saturday, less than a month after fellow NBA star Antoine Walker was victimized in a similar attack in Chicago.

A law enforcement source called the similarities between the two incidents "striking" and said there was a strong likelihood that they were somehow connected.

Curry, a 6-foot-11-inch center for the New York Knicks, was at his Burr Ridge mansion with three family members and an employee when the home invasion took place around 12:15 a.m. Saturday, Burr Ridge Police said in a statement. Three armed offenders wearing masks bound the 285-pound Curry and the other victims with duct tape and then fled with cash and jewelry.

No one was injured.

Burr Ridge Police said the attack on Curry did not appear to be random but could not say whether the crew responsible for Saturday's robbery might be targeting NBA players.

"We are interested in that case," Burr Ridge Deputy Police Chief John Madden said, adding that his department has been in contact with the Chicago Police Department.

Chicago Police, meanwhile, maintained there are several similarities between the robberies.

In each case, three armed robbers wearing masks were waiting inside the home and used duct tape to bind the NBA player. And in each case, jewelry was taken, police noted.

But unlike the Walker robbery, during which the Miami Heat forward's Mercedes was stolen, no vehicles were taken from Curry's home.

Walker was also ambushed in broad daylight, while Curry was robbed late at night.

The robbers in the Walker stickup have not been caught, but a woman and man were later caught with two of Walker's watches and a diamond necklace, all of which had been taken in the holdup.
Knowing a little bit about these stories I get the idea that not only were Curry and Walker targeted, but I also get the idea that they were involved in something they shouldn't have been. Who knows the people targeting them may have some connection with these criminals. Some of these guys might still hang around with the people from their hoods and let's face it some of the people from the hood aren't eaxctly on the up & up. I hope we find out more details.

In the news the past week..

Was Hot Ghetto Mess, a website that I had linked to in year one of this blog.

I wish I can tell you how I found this website. Perhaps it was a link I found on a computer in a public lab. For a good period of time I would look at this site. Lately I've not even mustered a whole lot of page views.

The site was controversial because it showed black America at its worst. People engaging in streetfights, crackheads, or even one video of a young child cursing out a Chinese shopkeeper. But the website founder may have a point in showing us the worst of black American. She talks about it in the Washington Post...
Ever since she started pumping her friends' snapshots of black people behaving badly onto her Web site, Jam Donaldson has been at the center of an uncomfortable cultural question:

Can African Americans publicly humiliate, satirize and otherwise shame other African Americans and not be called "race haters," "elitists" and "Uncle Toms"?

Donaldson has heard it all before. Since 2004, her Web site, http://Hotghettomess.com, has featured a motley assortment of gangbangers, hip-hop poseurs and strutting hoochie mamas, set off by quotes and comments that suggest Donaldson's disapproval. The featured "Mess of the Month" for June is an unnamed plus-size woman wearing a halter top split almost to her navel. Her accessories are arm and chest tattoos and an oversize necklace with a cross. The caption beneath her photo is a quote from Martin Luther King Jr.: "Nothing in [all] the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity."

Like what you see? Hate what you see? Either way, there's more where that came from. Donaldson, a lifelong District resident, is the creator, executive producer and writer of "Hot Ghetto Mess," a six-week TV series based on her Web site that will debut on Black Entertainment Television on Wednesday night.

The TV show isn't exactly like the Web site, Donaldson says, but it's in the same spirit. Which is to say that it features video clips of young African Americans (as well as folks of the Caucasianpersuasion) engaged in various acts of idiocy (random street brawls, gratuitous booty-shaking, etc.). It also puts cultural ignorance on display (people are asked in man-on-the-street interviews whether they know what "NAACP" stands for; they don't). The tone, Donaldson says, is more or less in keeping with the same finger-wagging critique embedded in the Web site's slogan: "We Got to Do Better."

"I think shame is underestimated as a tool for behavior modification," says Donaldson, sitting in the front parlor of her duplex in the District's historic LeDroit Park neighborhood. "I could have done it in a nicer way, I guess. This is just how I chose to do it."

This is not, she acknowledges, "the ivory tower approach. I'm saying, and a lot of other people are saying, that just because you're poor and you're young, it doesn't mean you can act like an idiot. If you're starting fights at a funeral, I'm talking about you. If you're going to the prom with your [breasts] hanging out, I'm talking about you. If you're having five babies with five different people, I'm talking about you. I've said it before: It's not where you live, it's how you behave."

Preachers and teachers and prominent African Americans such as Bill Cosby and Barack Obama have delivered that message before. But Donaldson, 34, might be a different kind of messenger: a Gen-X'er, a child of the Hip-Hop Age.
The Post article mentioned a TV show that she developed with BET. The name went from Hot Ghetto Mess to We've Got to Do Better. A name change that was made by some uproar over the content of this proposed program, that doesn't seem to be much different than the website from which it is based. As a matter of fact this website called What About Our Daughters was starting a campaign that caused the name change.

Still if you want to know what I think about this website. Well I don't know when I first saw it was entertaining and I suppose very wrong. The message is correct about "doing better", however, I've not decided that this vehicle is the best way to forward that message.

As for BET well this is probably the first time they have actually developed and promoted a program that is generating buzz such as this. I'm not a regular viewer of BET and if I had thought of it, I would have watch the premiere this past week.

Anyway, I'm not a regular viewer. It's just difficult for me to take in the regular viewing of music videos all the time. Once upon a time BET had some good news or public affairs programs with Ed Gordon or Tavis Smiley as hosts, but BET doesn't have that anymore.

So is this the program that might help BET get away from hours of music videos (or at least the hours I have seen of music videos? I guess we'll have to see.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

She rips cops, then gets raided

I heard this story on the Saturday morning Rainbow/Push program on CAN-TV this morning. They had this 63 year old grandmother recount her story about how she spoke up against police brutality and was hit with a search warrant in what she believe to be retaliation against her complaint. The person who introduced her sounded off some suburbs such as Winnetka, Wilmette, and a few others to say that this grandmother experience what a granny living in those burbs wouldn't have experience.

Anyway I found this story from the Sun-Times and I wanted to share it. I consider myself a police supporter, but the fact is there are a few police officers who are sadly misbehaving and they must be dealt with. Because if they are the good officers in the police department will suffer because of these bad apples.
Four days after a CHA resident was quoted in the Chicago Sun-Times complaining about the police, her home was turned upside down by officers looking for drugs.

Carol Wallace, a 63-year-old grandmother, has no criminal record and said she has never had any run-ins with the police in her 10 years at the Dearborn Homes public housing complex. She accused the police of trying to silence her.

"They did this just to harass me," Wallace said. "My nerves are shot, and I'm afraid. I feel like I've been violated."

In the Sun-Times, Wallace decried police for demanding Dearborn residents' and visitors' information for "contact cards," including names, nicknames, addresses, tattoos and other physical details. Her complaints also led to a recent tenants meeting with an area police commander, she said.

Wallace is "widely recognized as a strong asset to this development and a community voice," a case manager in the area said. Wallace has worked most of her life, as a medical technician and for the U.S. Postal Service. She's retired now.

The Sun-Times story ran July 19, and a search warrant for her apartment, looking for drugs, was issued three days later. About 11 police officers showed up at her door at 29th and State streets Monday.

Wallace said about six of the officers dumped clothes from a dresser and closet on her bed and floor and rifled through her medications. Police also told a friend at the apartment that visitors weren't allowed, she said.
Wallace filed a complaint of alleged misconduct with the Police Department's Office of Professional Standards on Wednesday.

"They will interview her, others in her building, there will be an official investigation," said police spokeswoman Monique Bond.

Holy bus route, Batman!

I don't think I'll be able to take any pictures of this, but so be it. More changes thanks to the Batman movie filming in Chicago. Of course these reroutes are only temporary. From today's Sun-Times...
Buses on several CTA routes are being rerouted this weekend because of street closings related to the filming of the latest Batman movie.
The reroutes will be in effect from 6:30 p.m. today until 6 a.m. Sunday.

Most of the affected bus lines will travel on their normal routes to Dearborn or Wacker and then detour around parts of LaSalle, Adams and Monroe that are closed for filming, the CTA said.

The following lines will be affected: northbound No. 1 Indiana/ Hyde Park, westbound No. 7 Harrison, southbound No. 14 Jeffery Express, eastbound No. 20 Madison, southbound No. 56 Milwaukee, eastbound No. 60 Blue Island and westbound No. 126 Jackson.

There will also be detours in both directions on the No. 151 Sheridan and No. 156 La Salle routes.
If you're taking a bus anywhere downtown I hope these rerouts won't be a problem for you.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Has Macy's Struck Out In Chicago?

It must be Macy's week here at this blog. I reported on an accident at Macy's that was in Yesterday's Tribune about a man who fell to his death at the State Street store of Macy's. This week a basement food court at the State Street store was closed thanks to city inspectors but it was to be re-opened. A Macy's store is closing and this store was one of the first suburban outposts of the former Marshall Field's chain. Now this...
Stars like Beyonce helped Marshall Field's put on the glam and at least give the illusion that the store is what made State Street that great street.

Even though Marshall Field's was slumping, some shoppers feel like in Macy's, the glam is gone. There is no Dolce and Gabana and no Jimmy Choo.

"It's just a different mindset now,” said shopper Cindy Hearst. “Marshall Field's was the top of the line, so they're going to have to step up a little."

“When they replaced my Field’s card with a Macy's card it in the mail, I cut it up,” said Jenny Llakmani.

Even a year later shoppers characterize the Macy's brand as an out-of-towner with a whole lot of attitude.

“They have alienated a lot of shoppers and a lot of people say they don't want to go back,” said Brandon Glenn of Crain’s Chicago Business.

"They act like they don't like you, like you are bothering them,” said Sofia Felters.

On the street, if you say Macy’s many people think New York, while Marshall Field’s was uniquely Chicago.

“The only thing I've done in Macy's is continued to eat downstairs, which now I find is infested with flies,” said Rebecca, a student.

Since Macy's took over, sales on State Street alone are down about 20 percent, according to McMillan Doolittle, a retail consulting firm in the Loop.

“It's not just about the name, it's the merchandise, it's the service, but a lot of that is nostalgia,” said Keven Wilder of McMillan Doolitte. “But it's definitely been a cheapening of the merchandise that's there."

"Some people will tell you they need to conduct focus groups with their shoppers and figure out what Macy's is doing wrong and Field's did right,” Glenn said.

If they were to hold focus groups, Macy’s could expect an earful.

“I've not set foot in the store,” said Shannon Kelly. “I don't intend to… ever.”

“I've been there twice… dissatisfied with the service, selection and the condition of the store,” said one man in his 50s.

"The staff I talked to are very well trained saying there is going to be new merchandise coming,” Wilder said. “They will not acknowledge there is a problem… they are saying that management is listening to what they have to say.”
Macy's certainly having a tough time here in Chicago. My mother is a life long Field's shopper and she doesn't like the change because of the selections they currently have. It's not as "top of the line" as it once was.

When the rumblings of a change started I learned more about Macy's. From what I heard at that time Macy's seemed a like a step down. Though I was rather hoping that it wouldn't happen, It seems that it has.

Also some say that they moved too fast to change the name of the Field's chain. I can agree with that maybe there was a way to save the Marshall Field's name if they had done more studies instead of rushing it. Or who knows perhaps the Field's chain should have been a less expensive cousin of Bloomingdale's.

In any case what's next will we see a return to the famed green shopping bag that I'm actually missing right now? I want to hope so I wish I was one of those movers and shakers who can make this happen or at least do the necessary work to make it happen.

Morris Brown College Urgent Campaign

MyUrbanReport has made this video for the Atlanta, Georgia based HBCU, Morris Brown College. You can also go to MyUrbanReport to see about the process of making this video, especially who edited it and who provided the voice over. I hope you enjoy the presentation.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Morris Brown College: The Shoot

I actually wanted to write about this yesterday.

Remember that back in April I posted a video about a rally that was held for this HBCU which was beset with problems in the last six or seven years. It was a great video and my man at My Urban Report presented that video and gives us this update on what he's doing for Morris Brown College.

Hopefully we'll see the actual video in the future but this is a worthwhile update. Amani Channel discusses with us his equipment and then how he's going to conduct his shoot. Although Morris Brown has their problems students are still attending classes so he especially shows us that. It's already looking good so far.

Cubs have been doing well actually...

Then we'll have to see about the rest of the season. Maybe they're really trying to impress the new owners of the club whether it's Mark Cuban or whomever. I hope you enjoy this Cubs fans. From the Tribune...
The "Cubbie swagger" Lou Piniella alluded to in spring training finally has arrived, though it's not the kind of in-your-face strutting one might expect from the hottest team in baseball.

The Cubs are winning games quietly without drawing much attention to themselves, preferring to let their play speak for itself. They go into every game with a confidence that's growing at an exponential rate.

"You start winning baseball games, and you expect to win them," Piniella said before the Cubs pounded St. Louis 7-1 Wednesday night at Busch Stadium. "That's the important thing."

The Cubs moved to within two games of first-place Milwaukee and are seven games ahead of the third-place Cardinals, who appear to be running on fumes.

"I definitely think there's some confidence, but we're also aware it's not going to fall in our lap," winning pitcher Ted Lilly said. "That comes from respecting the opposition, being aware there are a lot of good teams out there. Every day we're going to have to earn every win."

Lilly (11-4) pitched seven strong innings to earn his seventh straight victory, becoming the first Cubs left-hander to do so since Ken Holtzman won eight in a row in 1969, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

"I'm not counting," Lilly said. "My first focus is to keep us in the game."

Lilly is also the first Cubs left-hander to win 11 games before the 100th game of the season since Holtzman did it in '69. He is 5-0 in July with a 1.83 earned-run average, allowing only one run in four of his last five starts.

The Cubs offense also awoke from its recent catnap, knocking out six extra base hits (though no home runs) after a stretch of 16 consecutive singles ended with Alfonso Soriano's fifth-inning triple.

Soriano, Ryan Theriot, Aramis Ramirez, Cliff Floyd, Mike Fontenot and Jacque Jones all had multi-hit games, as the Cubs pounded 14 hits off of Adam Wainwright (9-8) and the Cardinals bullpen.

The Cubs scored five of their runs with two outs, continuing a recent trend.

"You get two-out hitting, and it's a little bit of a demoralizer," Piniella said.

The Cubs went 17-11 in June and are 14-6 in July, assuring themselves back-to-back winning months for the first time since April-June of 2005, when they went 12-11, 14-13 and 14-13.
I hope they make the playoffs and they have another good run like they did in 2003. No matter happened back then, it was still a good run that I remember fondly.

In other Cubs news Steve Stone is returning to Chicago, but it won't be doing the call for the Chicago Cubs...
The White Sox will make an intriguing call to the bullpen.

With TV analyst Darrin Jackson set to miss games in early August for the birth of his child, the Sox will summon that old right-hander, Steve Stone, to partner with Hawk Harrelson.

"It's very exciting to get the chance to call baseball games again," Stone said. "I thought my career had ended when high-def came in."

Stone called games for ESPN last season but this year has been mainly limited to appearances on WSCR-AM 670.

With Jackson's wife, Robin, due around Aug. 6, Stone will likely work the Sox's six-game homestand from Aug. 7-12. And if the Sox don't pick up radio analyst Chris Singleton's option, Stone could replace him next season.
The current broadcast team for the Cubs seem a bit bland and it was unfortunate that Tribune let go of Chip Caray and Steve Stone. They definitely had some personality. Before 2004, both the White Sox and the Cubs could boast broadcast teams with personality. I've always been a fan of Ken Harrelson.

In Macy's news this morning...

Well I'm trying not to be all Macy's all the time, but this first story is unusual. Unless the guard rails at the store just gave way, I can't believe this individual just fell on accident. From the Chicago Tribune today...
A man was killed Wednesday night when he plunged eight stories from a balcony inside Macy's State Street store in downtown Chicago. Police this morning said the death appeared to be a suicide.

The incident occurred shortly after 8 p.m., a few minutes after the sprawling department store at 111 N. State St. had closed for the night, according to police.

Witnesses said they saw the 29-year-old man on the 8th floor near the balcony shortly before he plunged to the ground inside the building's main atrium, near the corner of Randolph and State Streets, police said. Belmont Area detectives were still trying to determine late Wednesday whether the man fell or jumped.

A Central District police captain said there were numerous customers and employees on the first floor of the atrium who saw the man land, but officers had not found anyone who saw how he fell.

He was taken in critical condition to Northwestern Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead shortly after arriving, police said. The man was not a Macy's employee. A Cook County medical examiner's office spokesman could not confirm the fatality Wednesday night.

Jennifer McNamara, a Macy's spokeswoman, said they are investigating the incident and referred all questions to the Chicago Police Department.
Yeah I hope there will be updates on what happened to the man.

Also the Macy's food court is going to be reopened after the city inspectors give their OK...
Chicago health inspectors gave the food court on the lower level of Macy's State Street store the green light to reopen Wednesday afternoon, two days after it was closed for multiple violations, including an infestation of fruit flies.

Inspectors from the Chicago Department of Public Health evaluated the conditions of the MarketPlace food court, at 111 N. State, and determined "all the violations had been brought up to code," said department spokeswoman Sheri Brazley.

The store will offer a buy-one-get-one-free deal at the food court as a way of thanking customers for their patience, Brazley said.

On Monday, the food court was found to have a fruit-fly infestation; a leaking three-compartment sink; waste-water backing up from a clogged floor drain; and a poorly maintained inside trash area, where grease and food debris were found on the floor and walls around a receptacle, the department said.

Also on Wednesday, city inspectors found mice and fruit flies in a "limited area" of the kitchen of Navy Pier's Grand Ballroom Wednesday, forcing the city to halt on-site food preparation until it passes a reinspection.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Chicago Reader bought by chain

I haven't been a faithful reader of this paper, however, if you read into the story there is something interesting about this sale. From the Tribune...
The local owners of the Chicago Reader, an alternative weekly newspaper that combines long cover stories with comprehensive entertainment and cultural listings, said Tuesday they have sold the publication to a Tampa-based publisher.

The deal with Creative Loafing Inc., a chain of four alternative weeklies, caught Reader staff members by surprise. The paper has enjoyed stable ownership since it was started in 1971, and several of its 10 shareholders, including co-founder Bob Roth, worked in management.

But Roth, president of the company, acknowledged several factors made the timing right for an ownership change, including the uncertain future facing all types of newspapers.

Roth, 60, also said several of the Reader's owner-managers were contemplating retirement when Creative Loafing's Chief Executive Ben Eason approached the company.

"I think Ben Eason has a better idea of how to fix our company than we do," Roth said. "I think the company needs a more energetic management."

Terms of the sale, which includes the Reader's sister paper in Washington, D.C., and the syndicated column "Straight Dope," were not disclosed.

Alternative weeklies have not been immune to the economic forces that have challenged the newspaper industry in recent years. They face a steady decline of readers and advertisers. Free classified advertisements on the Internet, such as on Craigslist, have hit free weeklies especially hard because the weeklies tend to rely more on such listings for revenue than mainstream dailies, said newspaper analyst John Morton.

The weeklies also face new competition. Mainstream newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune have launched free daily tabloids filled with entertainment listings and ads for bars and nightclubs aimed at the same young-adult audience.

The Reader's circulation stands at about 117,000 copies weekly, Roth said, down from about 133,000 in 2002. It also distributes about 18,000 copies of a condensed edition in the suburbs.

Aldermen move to strip Burge of his city pension

Maybe a lot of you have been hearing a lot about a former Chicago police commander Jon Burge. Well I suppose he was living pretty good until this...
Chicago aldermen on Tuesday relived the nightmare of police torture by former Lt. Jon Burge -- and came away more determined than ever to cut off $2 million in annual pension payments to Burge and his Area 2 cohorts and their $10 million legal defense.
"We have to find a way to deal with this man. We can't allow him to live off the fat of this city . . . Jon Burge is not going to lay up and rest and sleep every night thinking he's out of this, because we are not going to quit," said Ald. Ed Smith (28th).

"The will is growing stronger and stronger" to cut off the financial spigot to Burge, who is retired and living in Florida, said Police Committee Chairman Isaac Carothers (29th).

During a daylong hearing that reopened old wounds, a videotape of three Burge victims was played, recounting the now-infamous torture including pulling plastic bags and typewriter covers over the heads of suspects, beating them with telephone books, handcuffing them to radiators and administering electric shocks to their genitals.

Aldermen also watched Burge repeatedly take the Fifth Amendment during a 2004 deposition when asked what he did to those offenders -- and whether he tossed the device used to shock suspects into submission over the deck of his private boat and into Lake Michigan.

The only question Burge answered directly was whether he received a city pension. His answer: "yes" -- roughly $2,500 a month.

Macy's in Lake Forest to close: paper

I never been to this place, and one reason I post this here is probably because it's no longer a Marshall Field's and the Macy's chain in the Chicago area has been struggling. Another reason is because it used to be a Marshall Field's and the fact that it's sounds like a freestanding store not much different than what used to be in Evanston and Oak Park.

This news is from Crain's...
Because of rising rent and fewer shoppers, Macy’s Inc. will close its downtown Lake Forest location at the end of January, according to the Chicago Tribune.

A Macy’s official told the Tribune that the combination of those factors contributed to the decision to not renew the lease on the 16,000-square-foot department store when it expires.

The store is the smallest in the Macy’s chain and one of the oldest of the former Marshall Field’s nameplates. The Marshall Field’s department store chain was purchased by Macy’s in August 2005; the New York-based retailer converted all stores to the Macy’s name in September 2006.

The Lake Forest store opened in 1928; it was the first suburban outpost for Marshall Field’s. Marshall Field’s moved the store to its current location three years later.

All 24 employees of the Lake Forest store are eligible to apply for open jobs at other stores, the Tribune reported.

For those of you using the feedflare to contact me

Yeah I think I saw several instances of that and I never got any messages. I'm trying to figure out the problem, while I do I'm going to take that feature off until I can find out why it's not working for me. Of course you can contact me thru the email address posted in the sidebar. As a matter of fact under the image that displays my email address, there is now a link where it says "questions, comments, or inquiries" (that reminds me I need a better ending than inquiries perhaps some of you can EMAIL me some suggestions).

itsmymind (AT) gmail (DOT) com

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Another story from the 2005 Hurricane Katrina...

From FoxNews.com...
A grand jury on Tuesday refused to indict Dr. Anna Pou, the cancer surgeon accused of murdering four seriously ill patients following Hurricane Katrina.

Pou and two nurses were arrested last summer after an investigation concluded they killed four people with a "lethal cocktail" at Memorial Medical Center during the chaotic conditions after the August 2005 hurricane.

Lawyers for the three said they acted heroically, staying to treat patients rather than evacuating.

Charges against nurses Lori Budo and Cheri Landry were dropped after they were compelled to testify last month before a grand jury, under legal guidelines that kept their testimony from being used against them. They waived their constitutional right against self-incrimination.

The grand jury had been investigating the charges since March.

Entertainment items...

When the new Star Trek movie comes out in 2008, we might have a brand new Mr. Spock. This is according to a report from Maureen Ryan's Chicago Tribune blog...
In an development sure to send nerd brains nationwide into overdrive, E!Online reporter Korbi Ghosh is reporting that Zachary Quinto, best known as the evil genius Sylar on "Heroes," is close to signing on the bottom line to be Spock in the upcoming "Star Trek" feature film.

"A source confirmed that the contract is with the business affairs team at Paramount, which is generally considered the last stop on the deal-negotiation train," according to a Monday press release from E!Online.com.

Wait! An actor from “Heroes” on “Star Trek”? The geek mind reels. Surely those eagerly awaiting Comic-Con, the giant sci-fi, film and comics convention this weekend, are all in a tizzy over the news.

Lucky for me, I’m going to Comic-Con (for the first time, and I’m already geeking out in anticipation) and you can be sure I’ll try to shove myself into the room where the “Heroes” cast will be talking about the second season of the show. Perhaps Quinto will discuss his new gig as well, you never know.
Also in other entertainment news, Drew Carey (man I'm glad Rosie O'Donnell isn't going to get the job as it was rumored that she was in the running) is going to be the new host of The Price is Right...
Genial comic Drew Carey was tapped Monday to replace silver-haired host Bob Barker on the CBS daytime game show "The Price Is Right."

The deal was set Monday afternoon shortly before a taping of CBS' "Late Show" with David Letterman, where Carey confirmed it.

"I realize what a big responsibility this is," he said. "It's only a game show, but it's the longest-running game show in American television and I plan to keep it that way."

Barker, 83, retired last month after 35 years following taping of his 6,586th episode.

Carey, 49, spent a decade on his own ABC sitcom and was host of the improv game show "Whose Line Is It Anyway?"

He will also be host of a new CBS prime-time game show, "Power of 10," that will debut next month.

Asked if he found the prospect of replacing such a TV icon daunting, Carey recalled talking to a friend who knows the game show business who told him, "As long as Bob Barker is cool with it, the fans will be cool with it."

"I'm cool with it," Barker said after hearing Carey's remarks.

City closes Macy's food court

This story was actually in the news yesterday. And no I'm not on the little this only happened because Macy's suck bandwagon. Besides would anyone be able to recall whether or not something like this happened under Marshall Field's...
City health inspectors Monday shut down the food court on the lower level of Macy's State Street store after finding an infestation of fruit flies and several other health violations.

The inspection of the MarketPlace food court was a follow-up to a report phoned in to the city's 311 center by a customer who complained of illness after eating a pre-packaged salad at the food court within the last two weeks, said Tim Hadac, spokesman for the Chicago Department of Public Health.

On Monday, the lower-level food court at 111 N. State St. was found to have a fruit-fly infestation; a leaking three-compartment sink; waste water backing up from a clogged floor drain;, and a poorly maintained inside trash area, where grease and food debris were found on the floor and walls around a receptacle, according to the department.

On July 16, Health Department officials found several violations and issued the restaurant a fine and a warning, Hadac said. They returned Monday for a re-inspection and found even more violations, he said.

"Not only did they not do anything, the problems seemed to get worse," Hadac said. "It was a surprising and disappointing lack of adherence to basic food safety regulation. . . . We stopped counting fruit flies when they hit 200."

Jennifer McNamara, Macy's spokeswoman, said the MarketPlace food court and adjoining Starbucks coffee store were closed at 1:30 p.m. Monday. None of the department store's other eateries, including the famed Walnut Room on the 7th floor, was affected.

"It will remain closed for cleaning and general inspection," McNamara said. "We intend to reopen tomorrow. We are fully committed to maintaining high standards with our food safety."

McNamara said passing a re-inspection is "our number one priority." A cleaning service has been hired to assist with the cleanup, she said.
I noticed that at other former Marshall Field's outlets that the cafes have been closed. Especially at River Oaks mall in Calumet City. Of course I couldn't tell you if that happened at any time before the conversion or even before the Field's chain was bought out by Macy's Inc.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Oh!!! Julia!!!

My girl just got knocked off of Hell's Kitchen. Sent home but it's not over for her, she's going to get sent to culinary school. Chef Ramsey said he was personally going to send her there. Yeah she's crying about it, but it's only the beginning.

I missed a lot of fireworks in this episode. Another member of the final five was sent home before dinner service was over with. See you Josh, I was amazed that he made it as far as he has.

BTW, last week it was Brad and Bonnie. Brad was sent home and for the second time in this season a contestant place themselves on the chopping block. The first was Joanna earlier in the season. Guess what they both got cut.

A lesson for you if you don't have to put yourself on the chopping block don't. Or
leave on your own accord.

For the record, Hell's Kitchen is still the only reality series I have found worth watching. Now I'm rooting for Rock.

Another gentrification story out of Harlem, New York...

From the New York Times...
Calvin Copeland was there when rioters burned and looted stores in 1964, when crack cocaine and AIDS tore families apart, when brownstones were for sale for $50,000 and few outsiders dared move in. He endured fire and financial ruin, yet each time he picked up the pieces and prospered, as bold and resilient as the neighborhood around him.

If he could be the master of his fate, he would live out his days in Harlem, Mr. Copeland, 82, said yesterday, serving soul food from the restaurant he has owned for almost five decades, Copeland’s, a relic of the past anchored in a place fast in transition.

Gentrification has pushed away many of the black families who used to patronize his business. “The white people who took their place don’t like or don’t care for the food I cook,” he said. “The transformation snuck up on me like a tornado.”

After falling behind on rent and bills a year ago, Mr. Copeland tried to hold on to his business, investing more than $250,000 of his savings, he said. Finally, in May, he acquiesced to defeat.

Copeland’s, at 547 West 145th Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenue, where Harlem is known as Hamilton Heights, will hold its last gospel brunch at 1 p.m. on Sunday and then close its doors for good.

“I just can’t do it anymore,” Mr. Copeland said.
Some of my friends at Morehouse see the gentrification of Harlem as disrespectful. It's mainly because of Harlem's significance in black American culture and the perception is that many of the new residents are white. Harlem was the capital of it in the 1920s.

Harlem is going thru events that wasn't uncommon around the country. Cities started to suffer from the Depression onward then things turn around. Of course in this case it means the indigenous population of a neighborhood gets sqeezed out and here come the new crop of people.

Well I'm not on the ground in Harlem, but I just hear things. The fact is that I still don't really know the dynamics of the Harlem neighborhood.

This is a very good story though and it's worth reading so have a look.

Racial solidarity, self-interest and 'the man'

This article was amongst the morning shorts at the Capitol Fax blog. Again one of my interests living in this city and I'm often fascinated by the changed taking place in the neighborhood of Bronzeville centered at approximately 35th and King Drive. You might have heard of other names for the neighborhood such as the black belt or the black metropolis.

Anyway, this article starts of like this...
'No more blacks." That was the forecast of a resident of the Oakland community when asked about the future of her South Side neighborhood.

"No more blacks?" I responded, worried in no small part because my research is about black gentrification.

"[A] couple of blacks" would be left, the woman then allowed. "They got money."

This simple prediction is rich with meaning. For one thing, it helps establish the players in the widespread upscaling of Chicago: The little man. The middleman. And then, The Man.
Hmmm, I was almost like ouch when I saw these first three paragraphs. The article doesn't really delve as much into race as it does class, especially some classism among blacks. Here's some more information...
In the North Kenwood-Oakland area, where I have lived and done research since 1998, the little man is the public-housing resident or the low-income homeowner.

The middlemen are mostly newcomers, African-Americans with money.

And atop the power pyramid is The Man, the proverbial "they," as in another resident's proclamation that "they're building all these homes knowing damn well most of us cannot afford them."

"They're trying to get the white people back in," this resident complained. "And they want this lakefront back."

All of these players, who, not incidentally, may be women, too, have a role in neighborhood development. But ultimately, it is The Man who has to get his priorities right. And when those priorities are skewed, it's the job of the middleman, as the broker between two worlds, to stand up for and alongside the little man.

I don't mean to let the little man off the hook. But the voices chastising poor people for their shortcomings and lack of initiative are everywhere in this country. I prefer to hold up a mirror and measure my own practices and pronouncements. How do we judge ourselves against the yardstick of inclusion?

The gentrifying black middle and upper classes recognize a shared history of oppression and the lingering effects of racism. They tend to be grounded by an upbringing in more humble black surroundings. Yet our society prizes individual success. It promotes aspirations to one day become The Man.

This creates a tension that few in the white middle class know much about. It tears at the middleman's allegiances and alliances. And it means that, sometimes, in the pursuit of racial solidarity, we black professionals act in ways contrary to our own class interests.

For example, by deciding to move into North Kenwood-Oakland, many black professionals pit their class and racial interests against each other. Wanting to take part in the renaissance of a historic black community, many sacrifice the greater home value and appreciation that would more reliably come from buying in whiter areas of the city.

An appraiser told one North Kenwood couple that nearby public housing depressed home values enough that the couple could not borrow the money needed for a rehab. Marshaling knowledge of building codes and home-financing rules, the couple basically rewrote the appraisal to secure the loan.

"I made it justified based on floor space," the wife said, explaining how she focused on the value of the large home itself and not on questions about the neighbors. "I can't fight the subjective subtracting, [but] at a minimum I was going to get credit for my third floor."

The benefits of this feisty insistence don't help just the middleman; the little man who lives a block away might now get a fairer price for her house. Being a black middleman means standing up in the face of the kind of discrimination that has long denied mortgage capital to African-Americans across the city.
That's interesting. You know I did a project based on gentrification in an urban policy class at school. I could have had one of possibly two tacks when I moved forward on this project, I could have gone full-blown with moving all the poor low income out or I would have to make sure that the poor would be able to enjoy the supposed benefits of the change in their hood. That is, there will be homes for them and hopefully, by extension, jobs as well. Besides we've seen that in the city businesses come in and often in the form of retail. Especially a big box such as a Target, Wal-Mart, or Home Depot. Or in some instances it could be a big time grocery stores such as a Dominick's or a Jewel.

You know that part of the story got me to thinking about one thing. Every now and then I might hear about classism amongst blacks. The lower income people don't like the more middle class or better. Sometime you might hear about how success isn't considered a black value (of course that could be either academic or professional especially if it isn't a "typical" mode of upward mobility such as music, acting, or athletics). Of course who knows it could be jealousy that people got their education didn't get sidetracked and such people are doing better than the low-income people allowed themsevles to.

Who knows? If nothing else though this article indicated that the lower-income amongst us shouldn't have a huge chip on their shoulder towards well to do blacks. If nothing else if they move in then the more likely that they might stay in the neighborhood. Whereas if people of other races move in the neighborhood is about to change and it's going to be without them.
But black middlemen sometimes act in ways that dismiss the little man. Some black leaders in North Kenwood-Oakland have joined calls for the demolition of public housing. And they have criticized the lifestyles of their poor and working-class neighbors.

"When we're thinking about working on Drexel Boulevard," remarked a black police officer during a planning meeting in the neighborhood, "we should really think about discouraging some of the current uses there."

Some objectionable uses included barbecuing, selling Sno-cones and drinking. It didn't matter that people barbecued on Drexel's wide parkway because they lived in apartment buildings with no grassy area for safely lighting the grill or spreading out a few chairs. No one seemed to recognize the Sno-cone vendor as a striving businessman. There was no hint of the double standard that said people drinking in Grant Park for city festivals was acceptable, but Chicagoans drinking on Drexel was not.

Instead, we middlemen pandered to the anti-urban ideal of nice, single-family homes with tidy back yards where people should do their barbecuing, drinking and socializing. And the meeting consensus drifted toward turning Drexel's parkway into a passive decorative space with large flower arrangements and sculptures.
Of course this happens too. While I am a fan of single family homes with a front yard and a back yard, I still like the idea of a storefront on a main street. Some of the new housing units built in recent years seems more urban and have lots where the owners of these units can park their cars or have attach garages. Well that's very necessary if you live close to downtown Chicago.

Anyway the article closes with this...
Flowers and sculptures bring me to the priorities of The Man. No Chicagoan enjoys the spring tulips on Michigan Avenue, the summer petunias on Wacker Drive or the Frank Gehry-designed Pritzker Pavilion more than I do. No one!

But I would be willing to sacrifice that enjoyment if it meant the city could afford the original bold proposal to set aside 25 percent of new housing units for affordable housing, rather than the 10 percent compromise recently passed in the City Council. Or to avoid the following farce: That demolishing the Lathrop Homes projects, which have become surrounded by a completely gentrified Lakeview, is being done to provide a "mixed-income community" for Lathrop residents.

I would even give up the Grant Park Outdoor Film Festival if it meant that more schools could get new funds.

I know it's not that simple. (And I hope I don't have to give up Summer Dance). But the City of the Big Shoulders has to make some choices between holding up the new "Cool Globes" lining Lake Shore Drive or supporting its residents, including the littlest of us.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Chicago St. president pays back $8,650

I'm going into the distant past here and really it doesn't have much to do with the story here, but when I was looking at college many years ago Chicago State University wasn't exactly at the top of the list. There were much better choices to go to school at least when I went to my high school's college fair. It was safe to say though that Chicago State seemed to have recruited heavily for students at my high school.

Fast forward to today. In the past few months Chicago State has been in the news more and they have an ally in State Senate President Emil Jones. Even better than that I may walk thru the campus every now and then and I see some capital improvements with a convocation center and a new library being built over there.

Alas that's not why Chicago State University is in the news. The university has been in the news for such things as this...
Chicago State University president Elnora Daniel has reimbursed the state $8,650 for expenses she wrongly billed to the state, school officials said Friday.
Daniel racked up the expenses on a university credit card during the 2006 fiscal year.

"On occasion, personal purchases were made on the credit card in error," the school said in a statement. "However, all personal purchases were reimbursed by the president."
You know a few years ago I had this vision for Chicago State. See my family and perhaps others might look at Chicago State as a school of "last resort". Meaning if things didn't work out anywhere else whether they didn't get accepted to the school of their choice, that's where people will go to school. I have had this vision where perhaps one day Chicago State won't be a last choice but a first choice. Of course doing this would require a lot of things maybe a higher endowment, better facilities, better services, perhaps better more credentialed professors, new or better academic programs. These are just a few things I picked up on in my time as a student.

So I'm sure inquiring minds want to know where was thing money going...
Some of the expenses included a portion of a meal purchased at an American Association of State Colleges and Universities conference in Phoenix in November 2005. Another improper charge included the cost of a hotel room in Springfield around the time of an Illinois Board of Higher Education meeting in April 2006.
CSU spokeswoman Robyn Wheeler said some of the expenses wrongly charged included alcoholic beverages purchased at meals where university business took place. State funds can't be used for alcohol.
The records released last week include tickets purchased for "Wicked," the Rockettes and "Dr. Doolittle," which university officials and donors attended. At a performance at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater in January, Daniel took her executive assistant and one of her associate deans, Pat Sloan, who the school says has donated money to the school's scholarship fund and is a prospect for a "generous planned gift."

However, no donors were present at an outing to "The Color Purple" at the Palace Theatre in April. Daniel charged three tickets -- at a cost of $264 -- to attend the production with her executive assistant and Martha Dawson, a "consultant/executive coach," the school said.
Hopefully this mess will be sorted out and the University President will know how to keep personal business on her own tab instead of the state's.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Here are some pictures from the Gotham Police Station at the old main post office

This was the sign I was telling you about. Gave me flash backs to the old Adam West Batman of the 1960s. I can hear that style music in my head right now. Though while the new Batman film, titled The Dark Knight, will certainly be less camp and more dark, I think the production crew made the right decision in choosing to film at the old main post office on the Chicago River and Van Buren.
Here are trucks for Gotham's Swat Team. See Gotham Police on one of them. Whatever the plot to this new Batman movie it sure looks like serious business doesn't it.
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This was mentioned on the Capitol Fax Blog today

I've read up on the intrigue around next year's Cook County State's Attorney's race. So I saw the post that linked to this article from the Chicago Tribune and Rich Miller starts off with this...
The prospect of this happening has to be prompting the city’s white leaders, particularly Mayor Daley, to encourage Dick Devine to change his mind and run for another term…
Here's what the Tribune says...
Ald. Howard Brookins Jr. (21st), who was recently elected to a second term on the City Council, says he plans to run for Cook County state's attorney next year.

Three-term State's Atty. Richard Devine has not decided if he will seek another four years in office. Devine, 64, is expected to make his decision by the end of the month, a source close to him said.

If Devine steps aside, the field of Democratic aspirants would likely get crowded quickly.

But Brookins, 43, said he intends to run regardless and is prepared to challenge Devine in the Feb. 5 Democratic primary.

"We're in this thing to win it," said Brookins, whose supporters created a new campaign committee last month. "We believe that the numbers are there. And we're going to give him a run."

Brookins said allegations of police brutality and criticisms that the state's attorney's office has not done enough to prosecute rogue police officers will be an issue in the campaign.

Brookins, who is African-American, said he expects to benefit from a higher turnout of black and liberal Democrats in the primary election as a result of the presidential candidacies of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Brookins, the son of a former state legislator, worked as an assistant state's attorney for one year under the late State's Atty. Cecil Partee, the only African-American to hold the office. He also worked as an assistant public defender for a year but has spent the rest of his legal career in private practice.

First elected in 2003, Brookins was targeted by organized labor in his re-election campaign earlier this year for his unsuccessful push for a Wal-Mart store in his South Side ward and for his opposition to a proposal to mandate a higher minimum wage for workers in such "big box" stores.

Although he was elected as an independent and has shown willingness to criticize Mayor Richard Daley, Brookins received support from the mayor after he was forced into a run-off election this spring against a labor-backed candidate. Devine, however, is a close political ally of Daley's.

Brookins is more closely associated with U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) but said he has not secured the congressman's support for his run.
Miller notes on his blog further that...
Brookins could be a real thorn in Daley’s side if he wins that race. Daley would then have to fight battles on three fronts, one with the US Attorney, another with the hiring monitor, and one with with the county.

Miller also links to Russ Stewart's June 20th column which is where I read up his low down on what might happen in the lead up to the state's attorney contest next year...
But, according to political insiders, the so-called toady may be poised to hit the roady. The consensus is that Devine, age 63, first elected in 1996, will not seek a fourth term in 2008. "He has not made any statement of intention," said John Gorman, Devine's media spokesman, who said that Devine will decide if he's running "by late August." Asked to provide a list of Devine's accomplishments during 12 years in office, Gorman faxed a sparse, four-paragraph summarization.

With the 2008 primary moved up to Feb. 5, the first day to begin circulating nominating petitions is Aug. 7, and the filing deadline is Nov. 7.

A large field of Democrats are eyeing Devine's job, including county Commissioners Mike Quigley and Larry Suffredin, Aldermen Pat O'Connor (40th), Tom Allen (38th) and Howard Brookins (21st), Sheriff Tom Dart, county Treasurer Maria Pappas and first assistant state's attorney Bob Milan. Quigley, Suffredin and Brookins are self-proclaimed "reformers" and critics of Rich Daley, John Daley and Todd Stroger. Brookins is black, and he would have the support of U.S. Representative Jesse Jackson Jr.'s organization. The longer Devine vacillates, the more convinced his potential successors will become that another "Sheahan Switcheroo" is afoot.

It will be recalled that Mike Sheahan, who served as sheriff for 16 years, announced his intention to retire just 2 days before the November 2005 Democratic slate making and 2 weeks before the filing deadline. He endorsed Dart, his chief of staff and fellow 19th Ward Democrat, and Dart was slated primarily because nobody else had time to get a candidacy organized. Dart was nominated because he faced desultory opposition.

It could be deja vu in 2007, with a "Devine Deception" delaying or discouraging opposition. "The 19th Ward, the South Siders and the Daley people all want Milan in the job," said one well connected Democrat. "But he is unknown and could never win a primary. So watch Devine announce, circulate petitions, file, and then withdraw on the last day, and watch Milan file on the last day."

Attorney and political activist Frank Avila agrees: "There are personal scandals, personnel scandals and professional scandals" in the office and attaching to Devine. "He had easy races in 2000 and 2004. He won't have an easy race in 2008. He'll quit."

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Batman movie filming to close downtown streets

This story was in my daily Crain's email today...
Filming for “The Dark Knight” will prompt the closing of some downtown streets through Sunday.

Lower Wacker Drive from Harrison Street to Michigan Avenue will be closed from 7 p.m. until 6 a.m. Thursday and Friday, reopening at 6 a.m. Saturday.

Lower Michigan Avenue from Lower Wacker Drive to South Water Street will be closed from 6 p.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Sunday.

The lowest level of Randolph Street and Columbus Drive will be closed from 6 p.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Monday.

The scenes to be shot involve high-speed chases and pyrotechnics, according to Rich Moskal, director of the Chicago Film Office.
You know a few weeks ago I drove by the old main post office near Canal and Van Buren. I saw a sign for the Gotham Police Department which for some reason gave me a flash to the 1960s Batman series with Adam West and Burt Ward. This sign was on the Chicago River side.

The front of the building was emblazoned with Gotham National Bank. So the old main post office housed a Gotham police station and I assume the main branch of "Gotham National Bank". This is certainly a creative use for a building that hasn't been used much in the last decade.

BTW, I went by the building today. I intended to take picture but I had problems with my digital camera. I might drop by again, but I may just get the Gotham police sign because the Gotham National Bank sign is no longer there. Darn!

Wow!!! 'Ex-aldermen crash college ribbon-cutting ceremony'

You know I don't frequently read John Kass' columns in the Chicago Tribune, but I've read enough to know that Mayor Daley has a tendency to turn on people when they are not of any use to him. And I'm not saying that this happened to these ex-aldermen one of whom had the mayor's support for re-election and still lost, however, they're not in office anymore and they're certain to of any use to the mayor any longer. Also if they were involved in the planning process for the new Kennedy King College, shouldn't they be invited to the ribbon-cutting ceremony?

Look that's not to say I'm a big fan of either Alderman. I believe Ald. Coleman was mostly there for the ride and didn't do much for her ward (as far as I know) and Ald. Troutman well she does have a federal indictment against her, but she certainly had things going against her before that. Still they were the incumbent when the new college was being planned and built they could have been invited. If they had been they certainly wouldn't have stormed the stage upset. From the Chicago Tribune...
Mayor Richard Daley has officiated at scores of groundbreakings and ribbon cuttings since he became mayor in 1989, most of them prosaic and forgettable affairs.

But a ceremony Wednesday at the new Kennedy-King College promises to be scorched permanently onto the mayor's mental hard drive after two angry ex-aldermen crashed the party in the midst of the congratulatory speechifying.

"Didn't even get an invitation to come!" exclaimed Shirley Coleman, interrupting the speech of a City Colleges of Chicago official as she took a vacant seat on the stage a few spots down from the mayor. "Just found out 10 minutes ago!"

From behind dark glasses Coleman fixed a steady glare that appeared aimed Daley's way as she was joined onstage by former Ald. Arenda Troutman, who took the seat next to hers. The mayor looked straight ahead.

When they represented the adjacent 16th and 20th Wards, respectively, Coleman and Troutman were involved in planning for the long-awaited $254 million college at 63rd and Halsted Streets. In 2003, they used a parliamentary maneuver to delay consideration of a zoning change, complaining that not enough of the construction work would be going to African-American firms.

Though she had Daley's support, Coleman was defeated in her re-election bid earlier this year by challenger JoAnn Thompson. Troutman lost to Willie Cochran after her indictment on federal corruption charges.

Officials who spoke Wednesday before the arrivals of the two former aldermen boasted that 174 workers from the neighborhoods around the new six-building campus had worked on the project and that about $90 million in contracts went to minority firms.

"It can be done," Daley said of the minority participation in remarks delivered before Coleman and Troutman invaded the stage. "Remember that. It can be done on every project, public or private."

Daley did not mention either of the former aldermen in his speech.

Montel Gayles, executive director of the public building commissioner, which oversaw construction of the $254 million project, sought to smooth ruffled feathers.

"We believe we sent you an invitation," he said to Coleman and Troutman as he stood on the stage near them. "Whether we sent it or not from my heart I apologize for you not receiving one, but we would not be here today if it wasn't for the work these two aldermen put forth. With no hard feelings and no regret, I am glad they are here. I am glad that they are here to share with us the success of this day. Now with that said, let's move on with our program."

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

A case of a church not being a good neighbor...

Artistmac's (from youtube.com) neighbor is Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church. Here are two of his videos the first I saw about overflowing dumpsters that have maggots crawling around and the second I saw was about loose landscaping bricks that was used to break into a neighbor's car.

You know I don't have a big beef with the church, but I think Fellowship needs to make nice with their neighbors. Check out Artistmac's videos.

How much closer to the return of Marshall Field's...

Last month I wrote about the possibility of Macy's Inc being sold to a private equity firm and that the flagship store on State Street returned to its Marshall Field's origins. Today in Crain's, there's more about Macy's...
Shares of Macy's Inc. were up about 9% Wednesday afternoon after an unconfirmed report that private-equity firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. was considering a bid for the department store chain.
The online edition of Women's Wear Daily magazine, citing sources, said KKR, which has filed for an initial public offering, was partnering with Goldman Sachs Group on an offer valued at $52 a share, or about $24 billion, which may or may not exclude Macy's debt.

The publication quoted private-equity sources as saying an agreement in principle could be ready within days and that parties may be aiming to get details ironed out before Monday, the scheduled date for a series of investor meetings planned by Macy's management.

Macy's spokesman Jim Sluzewski said the company does not comment on rumor or speculation.

Macy's shares were up $3.65 to $43.68 this afternoon on the New York Stock Exchange after hitting $45.50. So far this year, the shares are up about 12%.

Persistent talk of a possible takeover has lifted the stock about 10% since late June. Macy's, formerly known as Federated Department Stores, posted a string of disappointing sales at stores open at least a full fiscal year.

Sales at former May stores converted to Macy's have trailed expectations, and last week Macy's pared its profit forecast for the second quarter.

What's more, Macy's replaced its marketing chief in late May and faces lawsuits that charge it concealed that the integration of May Department Stores, acquired in 2005, was not going well.

"I think private equity smells a big opportunity here," said Brian Sozzi, a retail sector analyst with Wall Street Strategies.

Sozzi said he thinks a private-equity firm would make changes that Macy's likely would not be able to execute as a public company, including selling off some of the former May stores that have underperformed.

"A lot of consumers in these former May markets are backlashing against Macy's," Sozzi said. "They are used to a more lower-priced product offering and they haven't taken to the more upscale Macy's approach."

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

I found a treasure this evening

I found a website called Voices from the Days of Slavery that has digital recordings of former slaves. Right now I'm listening to the interview of a George Johnson from Mound Bayou, Mississippi back in Sept. 1941. Very interesting and somewhat eerie for me and only because for some reason I never imagined that someone would have thought to make a phonograph oral history recording. Hearing the cracking and skipping of a record. It was really great to hear this aspect of American history.

Alderman ahead in campaign for cash

You know in Chicago congressional campaigns are generally not very exciting. Generally the incumbents aren't going anywhere. Upstarts who want to go to the US Congress generally lose.

Yeah there might be a campaign that results in the loss of an incumbent especially if said incumbent has corruption charges against them or it's determined that it's time for a change. Yes I'm talking about Rep. Dan Rostenkowski back in the 1990s. He was a northwest side powerhouse who was indicted for mail fraud and lost his seat to a Republican of all people.

Around that time Rep. Mel Reynolds went down in flames when it was discovered that he was in an affair with an underaged volunteer. The result of that campaign gave the second congressional district Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. He still has his congressional seat today.

And then while the seat didn't change hands, this was certainly a bit more competitive than any congressional seat I've seen on the south side in years. In 2000, Rep. Bobby Rush had two other challengers. Two state senators were running against Rep. Rush, Barack Obama and Donne Trotter. Obama came in third and four years later was elected US Senator and Rep. Rush remains in his seat today. Also Donne Trotter is still in the state Senate and is a point man in the budget negotiations in Springfield.

Right now there is some excitment in the congressional races of the Chicago area with speculation over the future of Rep. Luis Guitierrez. He at first wanted to run against Daley this year for Mayor only to drop out when Congress fell back into the control of the Democratic Party. When he was considering a run against Daley, he said that he was going to not seek re-election to his seat next year.

So what's the speculation?

The speculation is that he may in fact seek re-election to his congressional seat next year. Interesting huh? I guess those who announce early to retire after the next election doesn't always follow thru do they. So while the political class in Chicago figure out what Rep. Guitierrez is going to do, we've got some aspiring congressman raising money for a possible race.

From today's Tribune...
Ald. Manuel Flores (1st), one of the City Council's youngest members, has raised far more campaign cash than two more seasoned rivals who also hope to replace U.S. Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-Ill.) in Congress next year.

Gutierrez announced in 2005 that he would not seek re-election in 2008, prompting interest from many veteran politicians looking to represent the state's only predominantly Hispanic congressional district.

Flores, 35, a former aide to the congressman and second-term council member, has jumped to an early lead in fundraising with almost $478,000 in campaign contributions over the last three months.

Next among the potential replacements for Gutierrez was Cook County Commissioner Roberto Maldonado (D-Chicago), who raised almost $183,000.

Ald. Ricardo Munoz (22th), a 14-year council veteran, reported receiving about $112,000. Munoz also lent $148,000 to his campaign and got a $49,000 loan from his mother, according to documents filed with federal election authorities last weekend.

The winner of the Democratic primary in February 2008 is almost guaranteed election in the district that spans from Chicago's Near Northwest Side to western suburbs such as Cicero.

Flores said Monday that his fundraising advantage shows that he is "putting forth the type of campaign necessary to win this open seat."

But a source close to Gutierrez said it is not yet certain that the congressman would stick with his decision to retire. Gutierrez had flirted with the idea of challenging Mayor Richard Daley in the February election, before changing tack and giving the mayor his warm endorsement.

Now the source said Gutierrez is "giving some serious thought to running again" for his seat in the U.S. House. The recent failure of an immigration-reform plan in Washington is among the factors that could prompt a change of heart for Gutierrez, the source said.
Well we'll see what's going to happen there, won't we?

Well I knew I wasn't the only one but man...

I'm often amused when people seems to say what I say. Almost as if they read what I said, though there is a good chance that they hadn't and it's only coincidental. Still I read this comment on the Capitol Fax Blog item with regards to Illinois Ministers vowing to shut down the Illinois House of Reps so they can vote on a budget that should have been approved back in May. Check out this comment from Tom...

Who is advising Blago on this stuff? Although this is an impolitic thought, it is pretty clear that Mike Madigan is not going to be influenced by African American ministers. Madigan sees the future of his majority and the democratic party in the collar counties. He takes the black vote for granted because he can, but also because the average voter, black or white, do not really care about these issues. Madigan appreciates more than most that pocketbook issues matter and he will not care one whit about stunts. Blago is not just a bad leader and bad administrator, he is a bad politician.
The bad politician post about the Governor wrote early in June.

You know I wonder if I should quantify what a bad politician is.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Ald. Walter Burnett's Clout City series...

Yeah I wish I can say he's writing this series but no. Clout City basically take a quote from Ald. Burnett (of the 27th Ward, home of Secretary of State Jesse White) and then they publish it. I'm not totally sure why they target Burnett. It was easier to target a Ald. Burt Nataurus or Ald. Arenda Troutman or even Ald. Dorothy Tillman and only because these individuals either put their foot in their mouths or they're just colorful characters or loud.

Still what is it about Burnett. Well I saw this post from June 8th, Clout City says this about the Alderman...

Walter Burnett, alderman of the 27th Ward, is earnest and straightforward. Or maybe he needs a filter.
Hmm is that why? Look at today's Burnett quote talks about Burnett's support of a certain north side team (well Burnett ward is near north side so it seems appropriate) and his unwillingness to bring it up with the mayor. Well today's comment elicited some scorn by the Clout City readers. Most of the comments suggest that he's terrified of Mayor Daley.

I don't know what to think, but this still makes for some entertaining reading doesn't it.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

I'm liking Windows Vista a little bit

Last week, we got our first new PC in years. For the most part I was running on a laptop computer. Now I got a PC from Dell. And I'm currently writing this post and a few earlier ones were written on Windows Vista.

It's taking some getting used to but at least I'm familiar with XP. Microsoft Office Programs will certainly take some getting used to as well. The configuration is a lot different than I'm used to and the templates aren't what I'm used to but they're still worth utilizing. So far I'm pleased.

Saturday, July 14, 2007


I had a chance to drive thru on Halsted street to take a look at the new Kennedy-King College. 63rd & Halsted I've always considered the perfect location because of the L roaring overhead and the fact that it was always a commercial street full of storefronts. Although because Kennedy-King is being built there a lot of those storefronts are being torn down.

You know the original building on 69th and Wentworth was huge. I went there to take my ACTs when I was in high school. It was early enough for my mother to drop me off and when it was time to leave all I had to do was take the L from there and it was a short walk about two or three blocks to the Dan Ryan L. Still I can imagine that when Englewood can be revitalized that it will look almost like the Loop. Perhaps not totally but there will be some type of hustle and bustle.

I was riding along with my mother today. She talked about walking amongst National Guard soldiers back in the late 1960s because they had to restore order there, becuase of riots after Dr. Martin Luther King's death. As a result a lot of the businesses that were there before left.

Once upon a time there were some nice movie palaces there. They were torn down later though. There was a Sears there. Other retailers such as a Carr's, Wiebolts (I barely remember them because they used to be downtown on State & Madison), Walgreen's, and a Paddor's (where at one point in time one of my aunts worked). Ironically the only big time retailer stayed was Walgreen's where they were on exactly the corner of 63rd & Halsted but were moved to the east of the new Kennedy-King College campus in the last few years.

You know, I had to ask my mother if a Jewel's were there when she used to walk the streets of Englewood. She said that store used to be a Hillman's. I remember there was a Jewel just north of Halsted but eventually Jewel left and the building became a WIC shop where people can pick up some food provided that they qualify for the WIC program.

In addition further north on Halsted were some boarded up shuttered apartments. And they were reconstructing the streets on Halsted as well. We also see more of the vacant lots going north on Halsted.

On the way to 63rd we were already seeing signs for the new Kennedy-King featuring the City Colleges of Chicago's Chancellor and another sign with a person involved withe the City Colleges or Kennedy King. We saw an old campaign poster for Shirly Coleman (she was running for re-election as the 16th Ward Alderman and election she ultimately lost) she was looking quite nice too. Got her hair done and she could probably lose some weight too. Let's see Englewood rise and hopefully if the news should pan out, be the recipient of a Wal-mart.

I took some pictures along the way. I would like to post some.

The New Kennedy King College
Englewood pics from Saturday
New Kennedy King College

Real Estate Curmudgeon - treating your skin disease

I missed this video from May 2007. I have been a fan of YoChicago for a while now. I followed their coverage of the south side neighborhoods of West Chesterfield, Chatham, Park Manor, Pill Hill, Burnside, and Auburn-Gresham.

Anyway this video talk about some of the themes that have come up on this blog overtime. Especially check out this post from November 15, 2005. It talks about the disparity in home value of two different neighborhoods that has roughly the same characteristics with minor differences. It's just that one is mostly white on the north side vs. the one that's mostly black on the south side and both can certainly be seen as middle class neighborhoods.

So Mr. Joe Zekas touches upon it. He calls this disparity a skin disease. Check out this note...

A 4 bedroom, 2 bath bungalow in Chicago's south-side Chatham neighborhood costs about $225K, but the same property in Belmont Heights on the northwest side goes for $350-$400K.

What's the difference? The Curmudgeon says it's nothing but the skin color of your neighbors, and suggests that's a "skin disease" that costs $800 to $1,100 a month to treat.

What is my point in posting this you may ask?

Well, because it's of interest. I like the Chatham neighborhood. I'm sure people from other parts of town will just blow off this south side neighborhood as just another ghetto. It certainly doesn't help if the general neighborhood is just about all black. It's believeable that it is a treasure that now one knows about until they actually drive thru.

Related Posts

Nike outlet opens in the Chatham neighborhood...
Chatham Village Square, Chicago
Dempsey Travis, Chatham Park Place, Chicago
Chatham Food Center
The Homes of Chatham Crossing...

Friday, July 13, 2007

Cuban interested in buying the Cubs!!!

We have been hearing about that for a while. I'm excited and I hope Cubs fans are excited. The question is will it happen.

I hope it does because for far too long the Chicago Cubs has had some tired ownership from the Wrigley's thru the Tribune Company. Tribune Company has been in trouble and was recently sold with the Cubs having to part company with the Tribune Company. So this is what happened with Cuban from MSNBC...

Add Internet billionaire and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban to the list of potential Chicago Cubs buyers.

“I submitted an app,” Cuban said in an e-mail to The Associated Press.

Interested parties must submit an application to Major League Baseball to examine the team’s finances. Cuban told the Chicago Tribune he sent in the application last week, although he wasn’t sure of the date.

The Cubs are up for sale because its owner, the Tribune Co., is selling itself to Chicago real estate mogul Sam Zell for $8.2 billion. That deal was contingent on the media company selling its non-core assets, including one of the most fabled franchises in sports at the end of the season.

Tribune chairman and CEO Dennis FitzSimons has conceded it was difficult decision, but one that “really makes sense for our shareholders.”

Several potential deep-pocketed bidders are expected to vie for the Cubs and possibly for Wrigley Field, including Cuban and Chicago native Jerry Colangelo, the Phoenix Suns CEO who once ran the Arizona Diamondbacks.

The Tribune, citing unnamed sources, reported Thursday the family of Omaha, Neb.-based TD Ameritrade Holding Corp.’s founder Joe Ricketts also was considering a bid. Ricketts family representatives declined to comment on the report when contacted by The Associated Press on Thursday.

Forbes magazine recently valued the National League club at $592 million, fifth-highest in baseball, although experts speculate the bidding could start at $600 million.

Cubs manager Lou Piniella seemed impressed with Cuban’s credentials.

“I don’t know him, but the guy basically, he’s a winner. He’s a character. He has obviously got the resources,” Piniella said Friday.
Well hopefully Major League Baseball will see this as a win-win. Cuban can build a winner with the Mavericks he can do it with the Cubs. In addition I can admire his enthusiasm for his NBA team Dallas Mavericks.

I took advantage of a new feature here...

Since Google are the new owners of Feedburner, Blogger (another unit of Google) has allowed me a blog publisher to redirect the feed produced by Blogger to the feed that I like to promote around these parts produced by Feedburner. When I did this sometime yesterday, I looked this morning and find that my subscriptions went up!

As a matter of fact that's one of the side effects of doing it. I'm sure there are some of you who joined the blog when I didn't have a Feedburner feed or you just entered the blog address to subscribe to the blog. Or when I converted to the "new" Blogger you might have used the link provided near the bottom of the blog (that is right before the del.icio.us tags and just under the last post on the main page. Either way in the future if anyone chooses to subscribe it will be thru Feedburner.

Also I wish I know who some of you people are. Let me know who some of you are. And if you have any questions let me know. Leave a comment or send an email at itsmymind (AT) gmail (DOT) com. Thanks for reading.