Sunday, September 30, 2007

Who's Who in Black Chicago?

Check out this video from CBS2 about a new book highlighting the prominent & accomplished blacks in the City of Chicago. Interviewed is the book's publisher Beverly Coley.

John Edwards on African American Males

John Edwards was at a MTV/Myspace this past Thursday and was quoted as saying the following...

“We cannot build enough prisons to solve this problem. And the idea that we can keep incarcerating and keep incarcerating — pretty soon we’re not going to have a young African-American male population in America. They’re all going to be in prison or dead. One of the two.”
If you don't believe that then here's the following video...

The video I got from BreitBart.tv. Also this story was brought to my attention via the National Review Online who also linked to the Washington Post attempting to refute Edwards' prediction...

In 2005, according to the Census Bureau, there were 864,000 black men in college. According to Justice Department statistics, there were 802,000 in federal and state prisons and jails, "even with the old heads holding on," Morton says.

Between the ages of 18 and 24, however, black men in college outnumber those incarcerated by 4 to 1.

BTW, this article is about a documentary that I blogged about last month. The director was on C-Span to talk about it. Go check it out!

Friday, September 28, 2007

Cubs makes the baseball playoffs

They clinch the National League Central Division title for the second time in this decade. I still remember that memorable 2003 even the play that Steve Bartman became infamous for. That was 2003 and this is 2007.

We have a somewhat new team. A brand new manager. Sammy Sosa is gone. Moises Alou is gone. Mark Prior and Kerry Wood have had problems getting in top shape to be regular pitchers. Of course I'm sure there are others I could name but their names elude me at this point.

The last manager to get the Cubs into the playoffs was Dusty Baker. A year before he led the San Francisco Giants to the World Series but couldn't bring home the ring. He was manager of the Cubs for 4 years but after 2003 he couldn't get the Cubs back into the playoffs. So he was fired. Now we have Lou Piniella who has been a proven winner with a World Series ring under his belt. How many managers had the White Sox or Cubs hired could claim that?

Anyway I really look forward to the baseball playoffs this year.

Body identified as Nailah Franklin

Today it's a fact. If it wasn't yesterday it's proven today. Again very sad and very tragic. RIP Ms. Franklin. From the Tribune...
Dental records today identified the badly decomposed body of a woman found early Thursday in south suburban Calumet City as Nailah Franklin, the 28-year-old pharmaceutical representative reported missing more than a week ago, Chicago police said.

A woman's body was discovered naked and partially buried in a densely wooded area behind a vacant store about 4:45 a.m. Thursday by two Calumet City police officers on routine patrol, according to police and a law enforcement source.

An autopsy was performed today on the badly decomposed body. Police, who are now conducting a death investigation, said the cause of death is "inconclusive."
Like I said yesterday no more updates until we know more about the circumstances surrounding details of her disappearance and death.

Local Politics, Web Money

The role money plays in not only national politics but also local politics. I saw this past municipal elections how the alderman often got a lot more money to either run or maintain their elective offices. The results are somewhat mixed, those with money won their races and some with money lost their races.

Well I've always been uncomfortable with money in politics. It seems those with the money to burn aren't doing the one thing that's really important in politics (or at least should be important) and that's to put out your platform your vision for what you plan to do if you're elected. Of course as seen in the gubernatorial contest last year the incumbent governor used his big war chest to hammer his opponent who didn't have much money to play with to combat those negative ads.

Well I wanted to point this article out to you. Still Illinois centric but interesting. I wonder if the internet could level the playing field for fundraising. From the Wall Street Journal...
Presidential candidate John Edwards has long been one of the top money-raisers at Democratic fund-raising site ActBlue.com. But, for a short time recently, he was almost surpassed by Daniel Biss, a 30-year-old mathematics professor running for the Illinois state legislature.

The Biss phenomenon illustrates another way the Internet is shaking up politics and changing the way races are run this year: online fund raising is now filtering down to low-dollar state and local races, where a little bit of extra money goes further than it would in a national race.

"It just seemed like a natural choice. You set up a site and two hours later you're there," says Mr. Biss, who teaches at the University of Chicago. "The opportunity is so much greater at the local level where the impact is so much greater."

So far, Mr. Biss has raised $37,148 online for his bid to win a Republican-held seat representing the north Chicago suburbs -- a figure pumped up in part by an appeal from one of Mr. Biss's friends, who vowed to subject himself to various cyberspace humiliations if viewers met certain donating targets. The resulting video has been watched more than 16,000 times on YouTube.

ActBlue was created as a political action committee in June 2004 by two Democratic activists from Cambridge, Mass., shortly after the presidential campaign of Howard Dean showed the power of online fund raising. The idea was to transfer that force to Democrats more broadly. Since its inception, ActBlue has raised more than $28 million for Democratic candidates, mostly by making it easy for supporters to bundle together small-dollar donations made via credit card. Mr. Edwards, for example, has raised more than $4 million online via ActBlue.

ActBlue started by focusing on presidential and congressional races. Last year, the site began making its services available for local races in some states. Local candidates have collected more than $750,000 so far this year, up 20% from the total local candidates raised through ActBlue last year, according to ActBlue. Much of the money in the 2006 campaign, about $500,000, was raised by liberal bloggers and their readers on behalf of Democratic secretary of state candidates in seven states. Five of them won.

ActBlue runs on donations from users and provides its services free to candidates. Republicans have tried setting up similar sites but none have taken off so far. Some campaigns, like Mr. Biss's, also use ActBlue as a low-cost way of processing donations from local fund-raisers.
I can tell you this I think Americans have the right to support whatever candidate or cause they support. Perhaps this is the future anonymous people or perhaps groups of people banding together and getting together to donate money to a candidate that they support the most. Hopefully this candidate might be able to use this money to get the exposure he needs to become a viable and successful candidate and most importantly such an individual might actually win on election day.

I haven't checked these links out today, but why not give you guys a couple from this article.

ActBlue.com
Daniel Biss, Democrat for State Representative

Thursday, September 27, 2007

I posted about the body found in Calumet City this afternoon...

At about 1PM about Nailah Franklin and the body found in the Cal City forest preserves I have deleted this post...
Apparently it is Nailah Franklin. Now the next question I would like to know is what happened to her. And At least until there's more in the news about the circumstances around her disappearance and death I think this might be the last update I'm going to post on this story. Very tragic.
Well I see a lot of people are out there writing her obituary already and while that may very well be her body they found the reports I've seen so far doesn't solidly confirm that she was identified. I saw out there that this body was badly decomposed. Could they identify a woman who was decomposed assuming we're talking about a facial decomposition. Well the only people who know are the police and I suppose Franklin's family.

I was trying to get at a couple of stories from Channel 2 but at this moment I can't get to 'em. Instead I have this article from FOX 32 in Chicago that says that neither authorities nor her relatives have confirmed the indentity of this person's body. She may still be out there ladies and gentleman but we'll see whenever they identify this body.

Body Found Near Search Area For Missing Woman

From CBS2Chicago...
A woman's body has been found near the River Oaks golf course in Calumet City, the same area where police and FBI agents have been looking for a missing Chicago woman.

A Calumet City police watch commander said Thursday morning that a body was found near 260 River Oaks Drive in Calumet City at around 5 a.m.

As CBS 2's Dorothy Tucker reports, authorities said the body appears to be that of a woman, and it was found in a deeply wooded area of the Wentworth Woods Forest Preserve.

Chicago police were notified and Calumet police detectives were sent to the scene. Police called it an active crime scene.

The body was unidentified Thursday morning, but it was found in the same area where police have been searching for Nailah Franklin, 28, who has been missing for eight days.
Let's hope it's not her.

FBI and Chicago Police continue search for Nailah Franklin

This video report from CBS2Chicago had law enforcement scouring the forest preseves at 159th and Torrence in the south suburb of Calumet City in their search for Nailah Franklin who's been missing since September 9th.

I should also mention that it was in the news that Ms. Franklin had filed a police report against a man who had threated her. Here's a report about him from Tuesay from CBS2...

The exhaustive search for a missing Chicago women now enters its second week. Tuesday evening, CBS 2 learned more about a former friend of Franklin's, who says he is cooperating with police and has nothing to hide.

Since Franklin disappeared last Tuesday investigators have reviewed the surveillance tape taken from the lobby of her apartment complex; they've examined articles removed from her apartment; and they've questioned many of her acquaintances, including a man Franklin filed a police report against two weeks ago. She accused the man of threatening her.

Tuesday, CBS 2 talked to a very close friend of that man and she says he wants the public to know he was not involved in the disappearance of Franklin. Through the friend, the man sent a message to CBS 2 saying, "Along with everyone else, I am deeply concerned about Nailah's whereabouts and ultimately her safe return home. My prayers are with her and her family.”

According to the friend, the man is cooperating with police. She says he was called in for questioning Friday where he spent three hours talking to detectives. He's given them full access to his e-mail and phone records and provided witnesses who can account for his whereabouts last week.

Police confirm they've interviewed the man and he does have a criminal record. In 2001 he was charged with fleeing to avoid federal prosecution and conspiracy to steal a car. He also has an order of protection against him filed by a woman in DuPage County.

Despite his background, today the man has a successful business. Police say the man is one of a number of people they’re talking to and the investigation continues.

Tuesday evening, Franklin's family said they never met that man, which was unusual.

“All the relationships with boyfriends that Nailah had, we've always known that person; been introduced to that person,” Acox said. “This was not someone that we knew.”

Chicago City Council on your computer screens?

According to Chicagoist...
We cannot wait for tomorrow. Not just because it's the season premieres of The Office and Ugly Betty, but also because there's an even more important show debuting. On the internet.

We write, of course, of City Council Meetings, which, starting tomorrow, will be streamed online. Clear your calendars; the meeting starts at 10 a.m.

These meetings were supposed to be broadcast back in 2004, but aldermen are pretty pretty princesses. "Some aldermen complained that cameras free to pan the Council floor could paint an unflattering portrait of inattentive aldermen. They were afraid aldermen who arrive fashionably late, wheel and deal on the Council floor or doze off during long-winded speeches would be forced to clean up their act or risk providing video evidence for aldermanic challengers." And people say our government's priorities are out of whack.

The Sun-Times story says the "cast will be on the City Clerk's website," which we found tough to believe because ... well, click that link. It's like, the hyper color T-shirt of websites. But we called to check and were told the broadcast is a go, and tomorrow we should just "click on the website." Okiedoke. The fancy schmancier Committee On Finance site is supposed to carry it, too, but while that site's more attractive, it hasn't been updated since September 5.
What an unexpected surpise? I wonder if this would make for compelling watching. Meh probably not but at least city political junkies won't have to wait for the news coverage on either TV, newsprint or even online to see what happened at a session of Chicago's city council. This also means we might see the Children's Museum drama come to a head!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Blackhawks Owner Bill Wirtz Dies

In the wee hours of the morning I had one of those can't sleep moments so I decided to flip open the laptop and then check my email and other things. In my email I found this story that I suppose many are waking up to especially as they go to work today. From Channel 2...
Blackhawks owner Bill Wirtz, one of the most controversial figures and Chicago sports who was notorious for driving a hard bargain, died early Wednesday morning at the age of 77.

Wirtz died at Evanston Hospital after battling cancer.

The family, led by Arthur Wirtz, purchased the Chicago Blackhawks in 1954. In 1966, William Wirtz became team president.

Wirtz was chairman of the Board of Governors of the National Hockey League for 18 years and helped negotiate the merger of the NHL and the World Hockey Association in the late 1970's.

Wirtz was also awarded the Lester Patrick Trophy for service to hockey in 1978.

He became almost legendary for his frugality and refusal to allow Blackhawks home games to be shown on television.

Together with Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, Wirtz helped back the construction of the United Center, which replaced the Chicago Stadium, the long-time home for Blackhawks. The Chicago Stadium was demolished in 1995 after plans to keep it open as a secondary facility fell through.

But since moving to the United Center, the Blackhawks have made just four playoff appearances -- only two since 1997. The Blackhawks haven't played in the Stanley Cup finals in 15 years. As a result, the Blackhawks -- one of the six original NHL teams -- averaged about 12,700 fans per game in an arena that seats 20,500.
I hate to say it but there have to be Blackhawks fans celebrating the man's demise and there have to be hopes that the team's fortunes will change after so many years of disappointment. I can sympathize with Wirtz's need to keep an eye on the money and be frugal but the fact is no organization can survive if you let good people go because you don't want to spend any money on them. If you're not willing to invest in your team (in this instance but it can be applied to any other business) then it isn't going to be that successful.

May the man rest in peace but may the Blackhawks be a different team in the future. Who knows some of the players who were let go perhaps we should find a way to get them back. If the White Sox can win a world series, the Cubs get close to a pennant and twice this decade at that, and the Bears can go to the Super Bowl we certainly know that the Blackhawks will have to come close to another playoff appearance in the near futures. And yeah I know I set the ball very low here.

Wow Billy O!!!

Bill O'Reilly, the host of the FOX News Channel program, The O'Reilly Factor, has gotten himself in trouble today. Apparently he went to a soul food restaurant Sylvia's in New York's Harlem neighborhood and made some comments that are getting some play over at Media Matters and Crooks & Liars. Now he didn't make these comments on his TV program on FOX but on his syndicated radio program.

I want to preferace this by saying that while people are expressing outrage at what he said, I was more shocked that he went to a black establishment. Plus this situation can always beg the question who did he bring with him or who brought him along. Was it a black friend or colleague? I never got that part of the story.

Either way more than it being a bigoted statement I take this more as a backhanded compliment than anything. Plus it was often said that Billy O (I heard that on his show one night some hipster wrote him a letter and addressed him in that fashion) at his age should have know better than to think and say as he did but he said it. People are out to get him or that he does have his enemies in that world. It's probably the only reason this story is getting some play.

I just found a clip of his comments he made on his radio program from Media Matters as well.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Speaker blasts Blagojevich's lawsuit

From Crain's today about the lawsuit as a result of the downstate political personality clash...
State Capitol feuding has escalated with House Speaker Michael Madigan blasting the governor's lawsuit over special sessions as an assault on the Constitution's declaration of equal branches of government.

"The governor's actions are far beyond the bounds of political gamesmanship," Madigan wrote in a 58-page response to the lawsuit, which Gov. Rod Blagojevich slapped on him a month ago for refusing to call special sessions at the specific times Blagojevich wanted during the General Assembly’s record-breaking budget stalemate.

"Though his means may be the legal mechanism of a lawsuit, his ends traverse into a dark realm that ultimately seeks to replace the rule of law with rule by a single man," said the response, filed Monday in Sangamon County Circuit Court.

Blagojevich also that argued his constitutional authority to call special sessions was being eviscerated because Madigan told lawmakers to skip special sessions after a state budget was passed.

But Madigan said in his response that Blagojevich, in an "unprecedented misuse of executive authority," called 16 special sessions at inconvenient times and with little notice to apparently punish lawmakers for refusing to pass legislation he wanted.

"He wants to force lawmakers to remain in Springfield indefinitely, with the hope that this effective imprisonment will force members to the point of exhaustion and capitulation to his will," Madigan wrote in a letter sent to lawmakers Monday explaining his position.
I want to point you to Rich Miller's Daily Southtown column. In this column it was mentioned that the Governor had a lawsuit against the Clerk of the Illinois House of Representatives. That lawsuit was dismissed...
The governor maintained that the clerk violated the state Constitution on Sept. 4, when the House met for a regular session, and his $500 million vetoes from the state budget weren't entered into the House Journal. The Constitution specifically requires that veto messages be entered "immediately" and then gives the originating chamber (the House, in this case) 15 days to take action.

The governor's lawyers were demanding that Kelley force the House to retroactively enter the message into the journal, which would have meant that by last Thursday's court date, the Sept. 19 deadline would already have passed for any action on the overrides.

Judge Kelley said in open court when announcing the case's dismissal that complying with the governor's wishes by requiring the House forfeit its right to act on the vetoes "would be a grave injustice not only to members of the House, but also the people of Illinois who have the right to see the legislative process run its course."

But there's more to this than first meets the eye. Attorneys for House Speaker Michael Madigan and the governor had been meeting with Kelley behind closed doors to discuss the case. Kelley obviously wanted to see a settlement rather than get the courts involved in a Constitutional battle between two feuding branches of government, sources from both sides said. Since the House already had scheduled an early veto session for Oct. 2, Kelley suggested that the chamber "enroll" the veto message on Sept. 17, which would allow for an up or down vote on the first day of the veto session. The House earlier had offered to enroll the message on Sept. 19 but decided to comply with the judge's wishes to avoid open litigation and a possible loss.

That wasn't good enough for the governor's office, however, which can't seem to come to an agreement with Madigan on anything this year. The governor demanded a full hearing on Thursday, and lawyers from both sides filed their briefs. The governor's attorneys demanded that Kelley order the House to backdate the journal entry to Sept. 4, flatly denied that the case was "mooted" by the Sept. 17 action and generally stuck to its guns.

To the reporters present at the hearing, it appeared that Kelley stuck it to the governor. Not only did he have harsh words for the governor's case, he also slammed the "Hatfields and McCoys" atmosphere of the never-ending legislative session that has pitted Madigan and Blagojevich against each other all year.
One more item. A press release from Michael Madigan the Speaker of the Illinois House or Representatvies. It was regarding another lawsuit that the governor filed to dispute who had the authority to determine the meeting time of a legislative special session the presiding officers of the General Assembly (being the Speaker of the House or the President of the Senate) or the Governor...
In essence, the governor has sued because the House started two of the special sessions a few hours earlier than the governor would have preferred – in other words, because the House acted on his supposedly urgent business too urgently.

I believe that the House made every reasonable attempt to comply with the governor’s 16 special session proclamations, even though: none of them could have resulted in the passage of a comprehensive budget bill because they were written to only allow the General Assembly to consider a portion of the state budget; many of them were duplicative; many were received with only a few hours’ notice (in two instances less than an hour); and for none of them did the governor furnish any legislation for the body to consider, permit any witnesses from his administration to testify or himself appear in support of a bill.

It bears noting that besides his evident contempt for fundamental constitutional principles, Governor Blagojevich has also done the legislative process harm through his gross abuse of the power to call special sessions. He has called 33 special sessions during his five years in office. In contrast, the 39 governors who preceded Blagojevich called a combined 89 special sessions since 1818. The power to call a special session is an extraordinary one; the framers of our 1970 Constitution intended that it be used sparingly and to deal with unusual or emergency circumstances. Though aware that it would be possible to use it for malign purposes, they thought it highly improbable any governor would do so. It only took 37 years for them to be proven wrong.

Having failed to achieve many of his objectives through the normal legislative process, in no small part due to his absence from the Capitol for much of the regular spring session, the governor has elected to appeal to the courts to try and gain the upper hand. However, as the motion to dismiss makes clear, the governor’s motivation for his lawsuit is not a noble defense of sacred constitutional principles. Rather, he seeks to control the start of the special sessions because he wants to force lawmakers to remain in Springfield indefinitely, with the hope that this effective imprisonment will force members to the point of exhaustion and capitulation to his will.
OK so it boils down to how the Governor and the Speaker of the House can't seem to get along. We hear about how the Governor came in with this idea of triangulation except that in his tenure as governor he never had to face a Republican majority in either house of the General Assembly. So he homes in on the who provides the most difficulty, the Speaker of the House.

Now I don't know how far back this bad blood goes. I believe Madigan has a prominent role in Blagojevich's re-elections and I'm willing to bet that he wish he hadn't been. Either way it seems we see who's being a cry-baby and who's being more of an adult. Of course I can also say that Madigan is proving who has more pull and he's using it in his "personality clash" with the Governor.

I still wonder if it had to be that way. And I understand that is a rather naive thing to ask.

Hunt intensifies for missing woman

In their continuing search for Nailah Franklin the feds have been brought in to use their resources and equipment in her missing person's case . Here's the Sun-Times story...
High-tech equipment from federal authorities will be brought in to assist police in the investigation into a missing Chicago businesswoman, officials said Monday.
...
Finding out what happened to Franklin will depend largely on physical evidence, sources said. Detectives were still waiting for forensic tests to be finished on Franklin's car. They also were tracing Franklin's last steps and checking security tapes from her condominium building in the 1500 block of South Sangamon.
Two laptops were missing from the condo: her work and her personal computer, her family said.

Detectives also were pursuing information about a complaint Franklin made to Chicago Police about a man who had made threatening phone calls to her. The man, whom she met this year and dated for a few months, also has been named in an order of protection by another woman and has a criminal background, sources said.

Monday, September 24, 2007

African-American boycott of L.L.Bean enters 80th year

Hat-Tip goes to HotAir.com.

For those of you who don't know this is satire from a tabloid known as The Onion.

Marine Unit searches shoreline for missing woman

Another update on Ms. Nailah Franklin. If they're searching along the lakefront this just can't be good!!!! From the Sun-Times...
The Chicago Police Marine Unit has been performing "surface searches" on all 27 miles of local shoreline for a missing Chicago woman whose car was found in Hammond, Ind. over the weekend.

The police Marine Unit has been using boats to perform "surface searches" from Evanston to Calumet Harbor, Ind. on and near the Lake Michigan shoreline, about 27 miles, according to Marine Unit Sgt. Robert Fitzsimmons on Monday morning.

"With the boat we run a couple hundred yards off shore, by the bricks and boulders, where you can’t see," according to the sergeant. "We haven’t done actual dives."

The process has been made "a little harder" because searchers don’t have an exact address of where the woman was last seen. Fitzsimmons could not confirm a report the woman’s purse was found in Chicago.

Following the recovery of 28-year-old Nailah Franklin's car Saturday morning, Chicago police sent divers into a golf course's pond in south suburban Calumet City.

For about three hours, divers searched River Oaks Golf Course pond, but had "negative results," according to a Calumet City police lieutenant.

Franklin’s car, a 2005 Chevrolet Impala, has been returned to Chicago for forensic and evidence processing. The search and investigation are ongoing, police News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli said.

Chicago police were assisted by Cook County Forest Preserve police and Calumet City police, according to Cook County Forest Preserve police spokesman Steve Mayberry.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

FBI Reviewing Anti-Jena 6 Web Page

This story has apparently raised the attention level or both sides, even apparently "white supremacists". From the Tribune...
The FBI is reviewing a white supremacist Web site that purports to list the addresses of five of the six black teenagers accused of beating a white student in Jena and "essentially called for their lynching," an agency spokeswoman said Saturday.

Sheila Thorne, an agent in the FBI's New Orleans office, said authorities were reviewing whether the site breaks any federal laws. She said the FBI had "gathered intelligence on the matter," but declined to further explain how the agency got involved.

CNN first reported Friday about the Web site, which features a swastika, frequent use of racial slurs, a mailing address in Roanoke, Va., and phone numbers purportedly for some of the teens' families "in case anyone wants to deliver justice." That page is dated Thursday.

The Rev. Al Sharpton said in a statement Saturday that some of the families have received "almost around the clock calls of threats and harassment," and called on Gov. Kathleen Blanco to intervene.

A Blanco spokeswoman said the governor had asked law enforcement -- primarily state police -- to investigate.

Where Barack Obama goes to church

Illinois Review posts this video about Sen. Obama's church home Trinity United Church of Christ. This seems like an oddly positive post about a church that many on the right wing attacked as "racist" earlier this year. The main idea here is that perhaps Rev. Jesse Jackson's statement about Obama being "white" is really against the ideas espoused in this video...

Update on the missing Ms. Franklin

The Sun-Times provides it today...

There was still no sign of a 28-year-old University Village woman, missing since Tuesday, after police found her abandoned car in Indiana, police said Saturday.

The woman's car -- a 2005 Chevy Impala -- was found Friday night, outside an abandoned building in Hammond, Chicago Police said. Inside the company car assigned to Nailah Franklin, police found some of her "personal effects,'' spokeswoman Monique Bond said.

Franklin's last contact with friends and family was through text messages allegedly sent Tuesday.

A Hammond man who regularly walks past the place where the car was found said he first noticed the car Tuesday night. But it wasn't until Friday, while watching an evening newscast, that Jim Neveau began to suspect the vehicle was Franklin's.

"I memorized the plate numbers and walked back to the car to check it out, and they were the same," Neveau said Saturday. He said he had a friend call the news station, which then contacted police.

Police towed the car to Chicago to process it for "forensics and evidence processing," Bond said.

Police divers spent several hours Saturday morning searching a retention pond at the Cook County Forest Preserve River Oaks golf course near 159th Street in Calumet City, which abuts Hammond.

Police would not say what if any specific piece of evidence led them there, but authorities stopped searching the pond by late morning.

What happened to Franklin, an Eli Lilly & Co. pharmaceutical representative, remains a mystery. Her boyfriend, Andre Wright, said she visited him in Milwaukee last weekend, returning home Sunday.

"She was fine," Wright said.

On Tuesday, she allegedly sent text messages to Wright, her boss and one of her sisters, simply saying she was at dinner and would call them later. She never did, and after she missed a business meeting Wednesday, her family got worried.

Adding to their concern was that she had recently told police a man she once dated had left her threatening phone messages. Wright, who was helping to canvass Franklin's neighborhood, said she had told him the man "was a dangerous guy."

Police would not say whether they'd interviewed the man.

Asked if he had been questioned by police in connection with her disappearance, Wright said, "I've been cooperating with authorities."

Saturday, September 22, 2007

N'Digo talks about the filmmaking scene in Chicago

Not a very good portrayal. It needs work. Not that there isn't hope since digital makes things a little cheaper. Then the next problem is distribution then like any other artist the filmmakers want to make money as well. Here's the problem...
One major disadvantage is the lack of film schools; unlike Los Angeles and New York, which have UCLA, USC, Columbia University, New York University, American Film Institute, not to mention the numerous other film programs and workshops, Chicago has only one major film school, Columbia College.

And there doesn’t seem to be evidence of significant Black participation within Columbia’s film department. During the four years that I taught in that film department, I can count on one hand, and perhaps a few on the other, the number of Black students that I’ve taught.

Unfortunately, the situation hasn¹t improved, according to filmmaker Francis Polo, a recent graduate of Columbia College: “I was the only Black Student in 95 percent of all my classes,” he says.

Polo adds that the lack of enough schools or workshops to study and gain experience in filmmaking begets the lack of competition among filmmakers in Chicago.

“The standards in Los Angeles and New York are so much higher than in Chicago,” he argues. “In those cities, everyone is trying to prove themselves, everyone wants to get their foot in the door, and in order to do that you have to stand out as one of the best, so this competition forces filmmakers to step up.”

To put Mr. Polo¹s words bluntly, if you¹re a filmmaker in Chicago, and you look around and notice that everyone else is making crap and getting away with it, what motivation do you have to do better? There’s no reason for this drought of Black film students, unless Black students feel as if they are not capable, talented or smart enough to study filmmaking.

“Chicago has an abundance of extremely talented people,” explains filmmaker Ytasha Womack. “But there is a fundamental resistance among too many local aspiring filmmakers to learn the art, craft and the business side of filmmaking. But this resistance is a manifestation of the fear to grow, learn new skills or work with experienced industry professionals who will force them to dig deeper and be better.”
Then there's also the fact that some Chicago filmmakers may leave Chicago for either Hollywood or New York. That's where most of the business and competition are. Then some make the mistake of hiring friends or associates who don't have any experience in the process of making a film.

I should mention one more thing. This coverstory began with a little black Chicago film history wanna lesson...
In the beginning, there was Chicago--the very location of The Railroad Porter, the first Black film ever made.

The Railroad Porter, a comic chase movie, was produced in 1912 by the multitalented William Foster, (aka actor Juli Jones), who also worked as a press agent, sportswriter, writer and director of the Pekin Players, an early, Chicago-area all-Black theater company, and a salesman of Haitian coffee.

Sadly, not much is known about The Railroad Porter, as it is one of thousands of silent films that were not preserved and are now lost to history. However, the film ignited a spark in what was to become the Black film industry; other Black film companies began to spring up in Chicago, including the Royal Gardens Film Company. Shortly thereafter, the great Black filmmaking pioneer Oscar Micheaux opened his first film production company in Chicago on 538 S. Dearborn Ave.

Micheaux’s first feature film, The Homesteader, was shot in and around Chicago in 1919.
Supposing those who want to be filmmakers can leave Chicago for their college and go to either film school or a mass media program around the nation. If you're interested go find one, there's gotta be a school you guys can go to some where and get a degree in filmmaking or to get some form of training.

Where's Ms. Franklin?

There's an update on the search for her. They found her car and other personal effect but not her. Hopefully they will find her alive. Update from CBS2Chicago.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Desperate Search For Missing Chicago Woman

I was at my blog then I was trying to get back to the Capitol Fax Blog. You know I had just been there and since I tend to have up two or three browser windows I accidently closed the window that had the Capitol Fax Blog up. By mistake I clicked the link to Channel 2 News and I found this story...
Police are sorting through leads and have some ideas in the search for 28-year-old Nailah Franklin, who apparently disappeared earlier this week, and they are asking for the public's help in finding her.

She lives in the 1500 block of South Sangamon Street in University Village.

As CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine reports, friends and family say she is bright, beautiful and successful, living in a nice building in the trendy new neighborhood near the University of Illinois at Chicago. The last thing her family and friends expected was for her to just disappear.

Two Chicago police detectives were at her condo building Thursday to check out the building's hi-tech surveillance system, with cameras in the lobby, at the elevators, and in the garage, where she parked her car.

Franklin and her sisters were very close. She doted on her 1-year-old niece, Harper. She was a successful pharmaceutical representative, and loved going out with friends. But she had a problem, which she reported to police – phone messages from a man she once dated.

"I heard it, I heard the message," said Franklin's friend Dana McClellan. She said the message contained the following: "Basically 'I could do harm to you. You haven't seen that side, of me but I do have a bad side and I could do harm to you.'"

Her last contacts were three text messages Tuesday night, when she didn't answer her phone, claiming to be at dinner.

Police have released a missing person flyer, saying she missed a crucial meeting with her boss Wednesday morning, which was out of character for her. When the company contacted her family, sister Leila Franklin Acox rushed to Nailah's apartment to search and immediately noticed two computers were missing.
Here's a basic description...
Franklin is 28 years old, 5-feet 2-inches, 115 pounds, with brown eyes and brown hair. Her car is a 2005 gray Chevy four-door Impala, license plate 1957855.
...
If you have any information about the case, police ask that you call (312) 746-9259.
While it doesn't seem like they ever find these missing persons in one piece I really hope they find this woman.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

This was a cool story

From the New Communities Program website talked about making fresh foods on urban farms around the city or farmer's markets around the city (one farmer's market you can go to on the south side was one located near Seaway National Bank at the main branch on 87th and Langley). Anyway I really liked this paragraph...

In South Chicago, a fruit and vegetable garden on the border of a racially divided area has forged relationships among diverse residents. In Englewood , an organic farm replaced an ugly vacant lot and became a job training site for ex-offenders and others.
Of course this story addresses an issue that I and I imagine many over Chicago area residents have read about in the newspapers. How people in poor neighborhoods lack access to a good supermarket. In some corner stores in neighborhoods without supermarkets the best food you can get maybe cold cuts, cereal, potato chips, popcorn, candy, Hostess cakes, etc. The stuff people should be eating, especially young people, such as fruits and vegetable you might not find at a corner store in an impoverished neighborhood.

Here's a little more about what this article is driving at...
The three initiatives come at a time of rising concern over poor nutrition and obesity in low-income areas. A recent study identified many African-American communities in Chicago, including large sections of South Chicago and Englewood, as "food deserts" because of their poor access to grocery stores.

Those residing in food deserts were more likely to become obese, even after accounting for education and income. They were also significantly more likely to suffer from diabetes and heart disease and face premature death, the study found.

"It's easy for people to say 'You should eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day,' but that's very difficult to do when you don't have access to fresh produce," says Chris Kierig of the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children.
I'm sure uniniated probably would like to know what quantifies a food desert. What does it mean to have "poor access to grocery stores"?

Anyway a good article worth bringing to your attention.

Debate No-Shows Worry GOP Leaders

Let me start off my saying it took me a while to realize why Republicans suck when it comes to outreach towards black Americans. They're generally clueless in more ways than one. I think it's all about marketing.

Republicans base it all on history. History is great and all but what about today?Why should a black person vote Republican today?

Is it tax cuts? Is it health care? What about education? How about urban development? Building an atmosphere of economic growth.

And OK one of the Republican ventures into the realm of affirmitive action hasn't exactly been met with success. Then running black candidate for office hasn't been met with success. I can be unfair and point to Alan Keyes as a primary example.

Far be it for me to say I know all the answers to why Republican doesn't go far amongs black voters. The answer seems simple to me and it goes beyond what I think Republicans have been doing for years.

This forum at an HBCU probably could have worked to bridge that gap except that GOP candidates don't seem to want to go and other Republicans are upset about it...
Key Republican leaders are encouraging the party's presidential candidates to rethink their decision to skip presidential debates focusing on issues important to minorities, fearing a backlash that could further erode the party's standing with black and Latino voters.

The leading contenders for the Republican nomination have indicated they will not attend the "All American Presidential Forum" organized by black talk show host Tavis Smiley, scheduled for Sept. 27 at Morgan State University in Baltimore and airing on PBS. Former New York mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani, former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, former senator Fred D. Thompson (Tenn.) and Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) all cited scheduling conflicts in forgoing the debate. The top Democratic contenders attended a similar event in June at Howard University.

"We sound like we don't want immigration; we sound like we don't want black people to vote for us," said former congressman Jack Kemp (N.Y.), who was the GOP vice presidential nominee in 1996. "What are we going to do -- meet in a country club in the suburbs one day? If we're going to be competitive with people of color, we've got to ask them for their vote."

Making matters worse, some Republicans believe, is that the decision to bypass the Morgan State forum comes after all top GOP candidates save McCain declined invitations this month to a debate on Univision, the most-watched Hispanic television network in the United States. The event was eventually postponed.

"For Republicans to consistently refuse to engage in front of an African American or Latino audience is an enormous error," said former House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.), who has not yet ruled out a White House run himself. "I hope they will reverse their decision and change their schedules. I see no excuse -- this thing has been planned for months, these candidates have known about it for months. It's just fundamentally wrong. Any of them who give you that scheduling-conflict answer are disingenuous. That's baloney."

Former Republican National Committee chairman Ken Mehlman urged candidates to "reconsider this opportunity to lay out their vision and other opportunities in the future."

"Every one of these candidates I've talked to is sincerely committed to offering real choices to African American and Hispanic voters, and in my opinion have records that will appeal to many of these voters," he added.
I found this post from The Swamp with regards to President Bush's thoughts about this and other issues that are seemingly important to blacks as we head up for campaigh 2008...
Forget Hurricane Katrina. Forget Jena, Louisiana. Forget that the four top Republican candidates for president are snubbing a debate on minority issues next week at historically black Morgan State University in Baltimore.

President Bush said today that his Republican Party has a "good record" on issues of importance to minority voters, and that his party's candidates should campaign for votes from blacks, Hispanics and other groups.

"My advice to whoever will be our nominee is to reach out to the African-American community, as well as other communities," Bush said during a White House news conference today. "Because I believe that we've got a very strong record when it comes to empowerment, when it comes to education or homeownership or small- business formation."

Bush was asked by Suzanne Malveaux of CNN to comment on whether race relations in the U.S. are deteriorating, in light of events such as the noose found hanging from a tree near a building housing African-American programs at University of Maryland College Park, and the decisions of Rudolph W. Giuliani, John McCain, Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson to skip the Morgan State debate next week

Bush stopped well short of saying that the top contenders should alter their current campaign plans during primary season and reach out to black voters, who are overwhelmingly registered Democrats. He seemed to steer his response to whomever becomes the nominee next year.

"We've got a good record to run on," the president said. "And my advice to our candidate would be to run on it."

I got another good one for you. Bush's response to the Jena 6 story...
"I understand the emotions," the president said. "The Justice Department and the FBI are monitoring the situation down there. And all of us in America want there to be, you know, fairness when it comes to justice."
I like you Mr. President, but this needs work.

Chicago has stoplight cameras

So this article is somewhat relevant. I found this from over there at Instapundit...
Ticket-happy traffic cameras, the bane of many a driver’s existence, are back in the spotlight again this week after the state supreme court in Ohio heard arguments over whether cities there can fine commuters for running red lights—an infraction typically under state jurisdiction that lets drivers off with just a citation. Now the fate of traffic cameras all across Ohio is being questioned after an Akron attorney sued the city when local law enforcement officials mailed a citation to his wife. PM contributing editor Glenn Reynolds wrote about traffic cameras last year, highlighting how unreliable and dubious they can actually be when it comes to safety. The Ohio verdict won’t be decided for a few months, but until then, plenty of people are weighing in on whether the cameras are invasion, unsafe or just plain unreliable.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

PubDef's videos taken off YouTube

I've enjoyed the video work of Antonio French although I'm not a resident of St. Louis. If you want to start a political blog of this same vein this is truly a good place to start. A full service blog with video and a great design and it seems fair.

Anyway here's French's story...
Yesterday evening, Multimedia KSDK, Inc. filed a complaint with YouTube about our posting of a video contrasting a September 13 story by reporter Mike Owens which ended with a promise to air a tape of an allegedly crooked real estate seller "saying he makes regular payments of cash to the local alderman" with their September 14 follow-up story that makes no mention of the allegation.

At 5:29 PM we received notice that YouTube took that video off-line. Then late last night, around 1:00 AM, all of our videos went off-line. That's around the time KSDK Channel 5 filed a second complaint, this time on the posting of the original Sept 13 video. YouTube responded by suspending our account and taking all 500 of our videos off-line.

First, we believe our usage of Channel 5's video falls under the "Fair Use" doctrine, the same doctrine Channel 5 presumably operates under each week as they use video content from other sources in their news broadcasts. In fact, PubDef's own video has appeared on local television without our expressed written consent, presumably under "Fair Use".

Secondly, KSDK never contacted us to ask us to remove the content and its labeling of us as a copyright infringer with YouTube is wrong and has caused us and our readers quite an inconvenience.
Anyway he took advantage of blip.tv another video hosting service. So here are the PubDef videos. And I guess you can chalk this up to another attempt by the MSM to maintain their pull over the citizen, grassroots media.

Dan Rather sues CBS

The man who was the anchor of the CBS Evening News for over 20 years is going after CBS. He had resigned his anchor chair not long after a story about President Bush was largely discredited by bloggers. Here's an account from FOXNews.com...

Former CBS news anchor Dan Rather has filed a $70 million lawsuit Wednesday against the CBS network, its parent company Viacom Inc., and three of his former bosses.

Rather said he was denied airtime on "60 Minutes," among other complaints outlined in the lawsuit, CBS Radio reported. He accuses CBS and its executives of making him a "scapegoat" in an attempt to "pacify the White House," according to CBS Radio.

Rather's complaint stems from "CBS' intentional mishandling" of the aftermath of a discredited story about President George W. Bush's time in the Texas Air National Guard, the suit charges.

The lawsuit, filed in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, also names CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves, Viacom chairman Sumner Redstone, and Andrew Heyward, former president of CBS News.

Rather is seeking $20 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages.
This story is developing at this moment.

OJ is not a smart man

I saw this in an email from FOX News. I didn't feel like looking for a article from there so I got the Sun-Times instead...
Prosecutors filed formal charges Tuesday against O.J. Simpson, alleging the ex-football star committed 10 felonies in the armed robbery of sports memorabilia collectors in a casino-hotel room.

Simpson was arrested Sunday after a collector reported armed men charged into his hotel room and took several items Simpson claimed belonged to him.

Simpson, 60, was booked on five felony counts, including suspicion of assault and robbery with a deadly weapon. District Attorney David Roger filed those charges and added five other felonies, including kidnapping and conspiracy to commit kidnapping, according to court documents.

Simpson, accused along with three others, faces the possibility of life in prison if convicted. He was being held without bail and is scheduled to be arraigned today.
Simpson and the others allegedly went to the hotel room at the Palace Station casino under the pretext of brokering a deal with Alfred Beardsley and Bruce Fromong, collectors of Simpson memorabilia.

Once in the room, Simpson prevented one of the collectors from calling 911 on his cell phone ''by ripping it out of Fromong's hand'' while one or more accomplices pointed or displayed a handgun.

The complaint doesn't specify which of the men involved was carrying the weapon.

Fromong, a crucial witness in the case, was in critical condition in a Los Angeles hospital on Tuesday, after suffering a heart attack Monday, according to a spokeswoman at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Beardsley has said he doesn't want to pursue the case.
A lot of people seem to see this as come uppance. A lot of people in the world of public opinion haven't let this case go. OJ is still going to be guilty in their eyes although he's been found guilty of murder over a decade ago.

Still for a man who should stay out of the public eye he sure has been able to keep himself in trouble recently. It was a book that would have told a story about how he committed the murders of his ex wife and her companion. A book that is now owned by the Goldman family (Nicole Brown Simpson's companion Ron Goldman). And while the book is said to be available OJ no longer owns the rights and the Goldman's are going to get the proceeds that they never could get from the wrongful death lawsuit a few years ago.

You know you might hear a black comedian talk about how black people don't believe OJ committed the murders. I never really figured that out too much, since I suppose I believe in the system, even though we see stories where the system doesn't work. Especially where the criminal should have gone to jail but a goofy judge elected to be more lenient.

I never understood the racial aspect of the OJ case. Blacks overwhelmingly supported OJ while white wanted him in prison. That may not be the case now at least. Blacks dont care about OJ. After this case I really don't care about him. Because right now he can't help but attract bad publicity and he keeps reminding people of the crime he was acquitted of when he should be keeping a low profile.

This is why I say OJ is not a smart man.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Tuesday's items of interest

  • Last week there was a big protest of Macy's with former Marshall Field's customers picketing outside of the flagship Field's store on State Street. Today Steve Garfield talks about his experience about paying off a credit bill to Macy's and the resulting confusion. This is something I'm sure many have experienced with the conversion of Marshall Field's stores to Macy's. BTW, the man making the phone call with regards to this charge account isn't even based here in the states.

  • The 2nd ward of Chicago is now represented by a white alderman after 90 years of being under the stewardship of a black alderman. Now it looks like the newly elected white alderman might attempt to take away the 2nd Ward Democratic Committeemanship for another black. This black being 1st Congressional district Congressman Bobby Rush. From Michael Sneed of the Sun-Times...
    Sneed hears rumbles 2nd Ward Ald. Bob Fioretti may challenge U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush for his Dem committeeman seat. Hmm.
    That should be very interesting, yes?

  • One of my favorite blogs get some recognition from the Sun-Times. Congrats to Second City Cop.

  • Finally from Peach Pundit...
    It’s great to live in a country where people really do think they can run for President though 99.999999% of the nation has not one damn clue who they are.

Aldermanic privilege threatened...

There are two stories out there today and then there's Ald. Brendan Reilly's statement. Ald. Reilly represent the 42nd ward of Chicago and this was encompasses the new proposed location of a Children's museum that is currently located on Navy Pier.

While I seek to take a different trip on this story. There is a racial component to this story. I'd like to address that as well. But lets go after this treasured understand about how an Alderman runs their own respective wards...
Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd), whose ward includes the park, has said he will issue his position Tuesday on the museum proposal.

By Chicago tradition, the local alderman's support for a project that needs city approval is considered critical.

But Daley made it clear that even if Reilly sides with opponents, it will not be the deciding factor.

The discussion about the museum must extend to the alderman's 49 colleagues in the City Council and to ministers and community groups citywide as well, the mayor said.

"Grant Park belongs to all of us and not to one ward ...You have to make that a strong statement," he said.
I wonder if this could be dangerous water for the mayor to attempt to trample onto Aldermanic privilege. Well many mayors have sought to go after treasured practices of Chicago city government and most have not fared very well.

Now onto the racial aspect...
Mayor Daley suggested Monday there are racial undertones to opposition of a new Chicago Children's Museum in Grant Park, and vowed to put the matter before the City Council despite opposition from rookie Ald. Brendan Reilly (42nd).

"You mean you don't want children from the city in Grant Park? Why? Are they black? Are they white? Are they Hispanic? Are they poor? ... Why not? Wouldn't you want children there?" Daley responded when asked about the vigorous campaign against plans to build the new museum in Reilly's ward just east of Millennium Park.

Asked point-blank whether he believes high-rise residents near Grant Park are trying to keep buses filled with inner-city school children out of their neighborhood, he said: "Well, I hope not. Because if it is, that's wrong. . .. That is a disgrace."

Daley's remarks angered Reilly, who called them "totally ridiculous" and "irresponsible." A neighborhood opposition leader said she was "shocked" and "disgusted" by Daley.
Check out this nice piece of theater from Father Michael Pfleger a white priest at a mostly black south side Catholic parish...
Daley's race remarks may have been prompted by the Rev. Michael Pfleger, pastor of the predominantly black St. Sabina Catholic Church. Pfleger said he recently discussed with the mayor an incident he says occurred last week at a New East Side neighborhood meeting over the museum project.

According to Pfleger, one woman asked him why the museum wasn't being built in a black neighborhood and another suggested it be moved to Foster Park at 83rd and Loomis.

"I said, 'Foster Park is in the black community. What are you trying to say?'" Pfleger said in an interview. "I said, 'That is a racial comment. Our conversation is over. Please walk away from me.'

"When I hear comments like that, I interpret that as racial. I don't know how else to interpret it," said Pfleger.
BTW, I want to offer you Ald. Reilly's comments from Crain's...
“There is only one Grant Park and it should remain forever open, clear and free for future generations, from every corner of Chicago, to enjoy for many years to come,” Ald. Brendan Reilly (42th) said in a statement.
...
Ald. Reilly said his opposition to the museum’s proposal has nothing do with the merits of the museum or its design. Rather, it’s his priority to preserve Grant Park as an open space.

“I believe that supporting the Children’s Museum proposal to build on Grant Park would set dangerous precedent that would open the floodgates for other entities to lobby for their own locations on Grant Park,” he said.

You know I want to add more more thing here and it does make sense. Not that I'm for putting a museum in space that was supposed to remain open and free and clear of any buildings...
A decision to allow the museum to go forward would be a plus as the city seeks to host the 2016 Olympic Games, O'Neill said.

"If the Children's Museum were to be chased out of that location, that sends a message to a lot of people, even around the world, that we are not welcoming people from all over to our front yard," he said. "Grant Park is where the Olympics are going to be celebrated. There are going to be kids."
Again I'm kind of neutral in this. I don't have an opinion as to whether this should be located on Chicago Park District land or on the south side as that lady suggest to Father Pfleger. Children of all walks of life should be welcomed to this museum where ever it is. The thing is though is that while this is a valid discussion from both sides I wonder if the racial aspect that the Mayor is attempting to bring up is only a distraction.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Here's a good health care video

Well today must be video day here with the Jena 6 video and all.

Anyway last week John Stossel has a 20/20 special about health care last week. I found videos from that program on YouTube. He addresses the 40-something million uninsured in this country, the Canadian health care system, even the health insurance industry. He even alleges that if people didn't have to pay for health care (either thru government or their health insurance provider) people don't care how much something costs. That is they'll take something such as medication or treatment that they really don't need.

In this video we see one thing that more Americans (or Canadians) should be allowed to do. They should be forced to save for their medical expenses. Not only that they should be forced to spend money for the more mundane conditions such as a sprained ankle or a sore throat. If the condition is more serious such as I don't know perhaps cancer, they there's a plan for that to should cover him.

You can find other videos here. I hope you enjoy. John Stossel really gets on Sicko director Michael Moore in these videos as well.

Students Speak Out About Jena Six!!

Check out this video from MyUrbanReport. Amani Channel has been on this story better than I was. All I did was point you to some pieces by Mary Mitchell. This video gives you the perspective of an Atlanta University Center Student from both Clark-Atlanta University and Morehouse College. Enjoy!

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Russ Stewart talks about the State's Attorney race

Right now there must not be a clear front runner. So it looks like the odds are about equal and the one who works the hardest will break out of the pack. Or so I can think. From the column...
For Northwest Side Alderman Tom Allen (38th), who is seeking the Democratic nomination for Cook County state's attorney in the Feb. 5 primary, the recent Democratic slatemaking session sent mixed signals about his viability.

The bad news is that he was not slated. Hence, he will not have the automatic backing of committeemen allied with Mayor Rich Daley. The good news is that nobody was slated, and the 50 Chicago ward Democratic organizations and 30 suburban township organizations can endorse whomever they wish.

The bad news is that Allen, who has been an alderman since 1993, is not a ward committeeman, is largely unknown among white city committeemen outside the Northwest Side, and is totally unknown among black and suburban committeemen. Allen must spend the next 4 months trekking from precinct captain meeting to precinct captain meeting, making his pitch. The good news is that his principal white foe, county Commissioner Larry Suffredin, whose political base is in Evanston and Skokie, is equally obscure, and the principal black contender, Alderman Howard Brookins (21st), is not viewed enthusiastically by black committeemen.

The bad news is that Allen lacks gravitas as a candidate. He can't claim to have a lifetime of experience in putting crooks behind bars. The good news is that neither can Suffredin nor Brookins. But expect the newspapers to endorse Suffredin, viewed as the "reform" candidate.

The bad news is that if a slated Democrat in a countywide primary is not assured of victory, what chance does a nonslated regular Democrat have? In 2000 Alderman Pat Levar (45th) was slated for clerk of the circuit court. His campaign was orchestrated by the late Tom Lyons, who was the county Democratic chairman and a close Daley ally. Levar lost badly to a black independent candidate, Dorothy Brown.

But the really bad news is that having a political base on the Northwest Side, which consists of 10 wards, pales by comparison to having a political base in the predominantly black wards or among Lakefront and North Shore liberals. To win a county primary, Allen has to win upwards of 75 percent of the vote in the Northwest Side and Southwest Side white ethnic wards, 60 percent of the suburban vote, half of the Lakefront vote and 10 percent of the black vote. That's just not going to happen.

At the Sept. 6 slatemaking, Allen got 90,861 weighted votes, or 33.6 percent of the 270,162 votes cast by the 80 committeemen. His support came from the white ethnic wards. Brookins got 107,904 weighted votes, or 39.9 percent of the total, all from black committeemen, and Suffredin got 66,522, or 24.4 percent, primarily from north suburban and Lakefront committeemen. A fourth candidate, assistant state's attorney Anita Alvarez, got 4,875 votes.

The primary, featuring Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in the presidential contest, will engender a huge turnout. Turnout in 2000 was 573,012 in Cook County, with 148,370 in the suburbs and 424,642 in Chicago. In 2004, when Obama was embroiled in a U.S. Senate primary, turnout zoomed to 764,163, with 279,538 in the suburbs and 484,625 in Chicago. Expect the 2008 turnout to equal or exceed that of 2004.
How might Ald. Howard Brookins fare in the primary next year...
In 2008, aided by a huge black turnout, Brookins will get 90 percent of the vote among blacks. Even though he has desultory support from the Daley-allied black committeemen, black voters will flock to Brookins once they focus on the race and realize that an African American could become state's attorney for the first time in history. But Brookins will be lucky to get 50,000 votes in the white and Hispanic areas.
The prediction...
Brookins will win if Suffredin and Allen split the white vote and Brookins gets 15 to 20 percent of the white liberal vote. Suffredin could win if Allen tanks like Levar. It's hard to imagine any scenario in which Allen wins.
The rest of the column goes into what happens if you decide that you can't make it to a slatemaking meeting. If you're running for office and you want to be slated (that is have the support of your local political organization) you might need to schedule a vacation at another time. This is about another race but here's a case in point...
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District: Smith faces stiff competition for the dunce cap from water district Commissioner Cynthia Santos, who has served since 1996. Santos was on vacation on Sept. 6. To use the phrase from the 2006 governor's race: What was she thinking? As a result, incumbent commissioners Kathy Meany and M. Frank Avila were reslated, and Dean Maragos was slated. Now Santos must circulate petitions and collect 15,000 signatures -- a job which the committeemen will do for the Meany-Avila-Maragos ticket.

Santos and her husband, state Representative Rich Bradley (D-40), probably can start contemplating a permanent vacation. Bradley is facing a tough primary against Deborah Mell, the daughter of Alderman Dick Mell (33rd). Both will be jobless after 2008.
What was she thinking?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Chris Benoit depressed

I haven't really followed the developments of this story that took place this summer. A haunting story still and the wrestling press is still talking about it. Apparently roid rage wasn't what killed the Benoit family here.

Reading various reports over the past few days it was said that there were examinations of Benoit's brain. Think about what you might see in a forensics special. Say the type you'd watch on HBO and you'll know what I'm talking about. That is they cut open your skull and then slice your brain into sections to determine if there's anything amiss in your brain. A part of the autopsy.

Well I shouldn't have given those gory details about what a coroner does after a person's death but it's what happened with Benoit. They found out that he's had concussions over the course of his wrestling career. For those of you who don't understand wrestling, the sport may not be real competition, but there are truly many ways a person can get a concussion.

Let's just say that someone might really put too much into a kick. The kick isn't supposed to connect, but sometimes they do. Or maybe someone put too much into a chair shot. Or still with all the high risk moves wrestlers do these days someone just has to land wrong. I can't list every possible way a wrestler gets a concussion, but these are things one can only hear about.

Then this news provided by 1wrestling.com, that Benoit wrote diary entries that indicated depression. This got me to thinking maybe a neurologist might be able to visit this blog and answer this question. Could a concussion change the general brain chemistry and cause depression of some type?

I'm sure the investigation is still going on as to why Benoit did what he did back in June. And let me give you some of this story as well...

Journal entries written by wrestler Chris Benoit show he was wracked with grief and preoccupied with death after his best friend died in 2005, according to a lawyer representing Benoit's father.

Benoit, who killed his wife and 7-year-old son and committed suicide in June, wrote the diary as a series of letters to the friend, fellow wrestler Eddie Guerrero, according to lawyer Cary Ichter, who represents the wrestler's father in estate litigation.

Benoit's father, Michael Benoit, referred to the diary earlier this month, saying it was "written by someone who was extremely disturbed at the time." The father has said murder-suicide was out of character for his son and supported medical tests that recently showed Chris Benoit suffered brain damage that could have caused depression and irrational behavior.

Authorities say anabolic steroids were found in the home and Chris Benoit had a high amount of synthetic testosterone in his body when he died, leading to some speculation that steroid-induced rage sparked the killings.

Ichter, who said he knew Benoit for years, described what he said were Benoit's writings but he did not make copies of the journal available for review.

Ichter noted that at one point Benoit wrote to his friend, "I will be with you soon," an apparent nod to his own mortality.

"It showed that he was very depressed," Ichter said of the entries.

Related Posts
FOX News reports that Chris Benoit and family found dead...
What happened to Chris Benoit and family...
This is bizarre

21st Century Families: No More Mommy, No More Daddy - Just Casual Sex and Emptiness

I wanted to post this yesterday from The State of... however I just couldn't make that effort so I decided that I should post this today. I would be very concerned about this going on in Canada and to a lesser extent this could happen here as well. The State of... also connects this to the plight of black families here in the states as well. First let's go to the springboarding article...
The Affleck family didn't imagine things were going to turn out the way they did.

After all, George Affleck's parents were a conventional family of the '60s who got married and stayed married, raised four children and lived in three Vancouver suburbs.

But today, the Affleck clan represents all the trends sweeping through Canadian families.

The unmarried now outnumber the married as common-law relationships, single-parent families and single-person households continue to increase, said 2006 census figures released by Statistics Canada on Wednesday.

George is a single father with joint custody of his two children, with a girlfriend who may soon be moving in.

His two best friends are gay men in long-term relationships.

Two of his three sisters were single mothers for part of their lives and now have blended families.

His nieces and nephews have lived at home well into their 20s. And his mother, who never remarried after his father died 21 years ago, lives on her own in White Rock where she has an active social life with many other widows and widowers in the same situation.

It's his one sister, who's been married to the same man in a traditional marriage all her life, who sometimes seems like the odd one out.

"I think the 1970s had a huge impact on all of us," says Affleck.
The State of... take is this...
TheStateOf . . . 21st Century Families. If we look at what the breakdown of the family has done to black America's stability, imagine what will happen when it spreads to the rest of America . . .
I wonder how cohabitation has become an alternative to tying the knot? If you hear experts and politicians make speeches about the black family some will claim the welfare system did it. Especially since daddy wasn't supposed to be at home with his kids and their baby momma (btw, I hate that term baby daddy and momma).

I can understand why a lot of people don't get married. My parent's marriage wasn't the best and neither were so many others in my family on both sides. Relationships are funny you know things go well earlier on then things go downhill from there. Then things are rocky at the start but go up from there. On top of that you may have to question why some are couples in the first place. Especially if one concludes that so&so is trouble while the other isn't considered trouble.

I suppose people don't want too much trouble in getting out of a situation. Meaning that I can understand people not wanting to go thru the legalities of divorce. Dividing up the assets and all. Still there are a lot of questions worth asking here.

Friday, September 14, 2007

RTA accepts

Hat-tip to the Capitol Fax Blog. Almost as if they need a hat tip since they're the blog to go to for politics and public affairs in Illinois. This story is from the Sun-Times...

Drastic CTA service cuts and fare increases will be put on hold until November, now that the Regional Transportation Authority this morning approved Gov. Blagojevich’s offer to advance $24 million in state transit subsidies for the CTA.

The CTA planned to cut 39 bus routes and raise fares by as much as $1 on Sunday, after months of talks in Springfield failed to produce a funding package for mass transit.

Those negotiations are still ongoing, but Blagojevich’s offer gives lawmakers until Nov. 4 to strike a deal.

The RTA board voted 10 to 2 to accept the offer, which also includes money for Metra and Pace.

But officials made it clear that they expect a long-term funding solution that would keep the CTA, Metra and Pace from having to beg Springfield for additional funding every year.

There hasn’t been a state capital plan for mass transit since 2004.

RTA chief Jim Reilly said that the bailout plan approved today is “not only not a long-term solution, it’s not even a good short-term solution. But at the end of the day, we have to remember that we’re dealing with people’s lives.”

Well there won't be any service cuts and fare hikes this month or next month, but this still assumes that the legislature can come to an agreement on a more long term solution. Unfortunately I'm not sure if I'll hold my breath. The situation has been a mess in Springfield especially in light of the whole budget struggle.

Imagine the comments about this on the Capitol Fax Blog. Comments that will say that they don't trust the governor or the mismanagement of the CTA. You might need to watch the comments from the Capitol Fax post.

Tribune editorial on the CTA story...

The continuing saga about the mess that the CTA is in right now. To start earlier this week the Governor of Illinois is proposing giving some more money to the CTA (or actually the RTA and they still have to approve it and all the money isn't going to the CTA, but most of it will) in hopes that there will still be an agreement that will allow the CTA more funding and in hopes that they will avoid making the service cuts and fare increases that are scheduled to be made in November. The CTA was all set to make these cuts in increases by next week, but with the promise of new money they've agreed to hold out.

Anyway let's see what the Tribune has to say...
Will Monday's commute be just another rush hour, or an even bigger mess than usual? That's the tough choice facing the Regional Transportation Authority, which will decide Friday whether to approve Gov. Rod Blagojevich's offer to let the Chicago Transit Authority borrow $24 million of its own money to keep the buses running awhile longer.

Without that money, the CTA will cut 39 bus routes, lay off more than 600 workers and increase fares by as much as $1. Riders will have to leave home earlier and pay more to cram into what's left of the public transportation system -- or give up and drive. Blagojevich also offered to advance $6 million for Pace and Metra, and to free up the entire $54 million paratransit subsidy for 2008, to ensure that suburban riders can get to work.

So the governor's offer is tempting. But the responsible answer for the RTA is to say no. Fronting next year's money to the CTA now would be irresponsible.

The money -- an advance against the CTA's 2008 funding -- would allow the system to keep running until Nov. 4. But if a funding deal isn't approved by then, the CTA will have to make even deeper cuts for the rest of 2007 and will begin its 2008 fiscal year with $24 million already spent.

The governor is asking the RTA to gamble that lawmakers can pass a transit bill before November. But don't count on him to lift a finger to help. Remember, Blagojevich and the legislative leaders have known this moment was coming for 11 months but haven't resolved it in all that time.
Well here's a bit more into this crisis...
The CTA began its 2007 budget year with a $110 million deficit and a plea for help from the General Assembly -- not for another one-time bailout, but a long-term funding solution. Absent that help, the CTA planned to make ends meet by cutting $38 million from its budget, spending its last unobligated capital dollars on operations, raising fares and cutting service. The fare increases and service cuts wouldn't be necessary, CTA officials said, if lawmakers could please get the job done by Sept. 16. They can't.

One reason is that Blagojevich has promised to veto any transit funding proposal that isn't built around his half-baked plan to finance transit by closing "corporate loopholes." His position hasn't changed, and that alone is reason to reject his $24 million band-aid.

The CTA has been living beyond its means since at least 2001. That's the last time it didn't have to beg the legislature for more money to make ends meet. Since 2003, the CTA has been spending capital dollars on operations; in 2006 it started redirecting maintenance money too.

Those stopgap measures allowed the CTA, the General Assembly and the public to duck reality for far too long. The result? The CTA cut corners on maintenance and inspections, contributing to a 2006 derailment that injured 150 passengers, the National Transportation Safety Board concluded this week.

The agency's cash reserves were so low that it could cover only two weeks of expenses, the Illinois auditor general reported in March. Nearly a third of the bus fleet is older than 16 years -- four years past the recommended life span. The retiree health-care fund will be exhausted this year, forcing the CTA to pay those costs -- up to $70 million a year -- from its operating budget. The employee pension fund is projected to run dry by 2012. And the CTA still doesn't have enough money to maintain current service.
The basic gist of this editorial is that the governor and the general assembly is to blame for why the CTA is forced to increase fares and cut service. Not the RTA and I suppose we can blame the CTA for not managing there money. For so long the CTA seemed to be doing alright, but now they slipped back into some of the bad habits of the past.

For a while back in the 1990s it seemed that all city agencies were operationg with a budget deficit. I'm sure it happens with the best of them no matter what you do. Still it was the CTA once upon a time, then it was the public schools with budget deficits. Headline news almost all the time at one point in time.

It hasn't change I guess. I saw Arne Duncan, CEO of the public school campaigning for more money. Now the CTA is struggling to maintain their operations. I can at least say for the CTA, it's a matter of mismanagement and the state government isn't doing much to provide some form of oversight.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Death of John Stroger's godson...

The Capitol Fax blog is giving the rundown on this news. It looks like his death was a suicide but authorities still have to have an autopsy. Unfortunately comments are closed for that post or perhaps not so unfortunate since people do have a tendency to run off at the mouth at the wrong time.

Oh and ironically this story was in the Capitol Fax Blog morning shorts today...

Orlando Jones' sweet government deal just got sweeter -- by about $75,000 a year.

Jones is a godson and former top aide to former Cook County Board President John Stroger. He also once worked for politically connected developer Tony Rezko, who is under indictment on corruption charges.

These days, Jones is a consultant and lobbyist whose clients include William Blair & Co., a Chicago financial firm that pays him a six-figure "referral fee" every year -- for a job he did in 2004.

Now, Jones stands to grow even richer from the deal. Here's how:

The Illinois State Board of Investment oversees retirement funds for state employees, lawmakers and judges. In 2004, the state agency invested $280 million with the William Blair firm.

Orlando Jones & Associates is making money off that arrangement because Jones told state pension officials about William Blair's services. He made the introduction.

For that, Jones got 20 percent of the management fees the state paid William Blair in the first year of the deal. Jones' cut: $221,852, records show.

In year 2, Jones was to get 15 percent of William Blair's fees. That came to $219,668.
Year 3, Jones got 10 percent -- $149,609.

Year 4 is off to an even better start. Jones is to get 10 percent of William Blair's fees every year the firm continues to do business with the pension board. This summer, the state board gave William Blair more money to invest, bringing the total to $505 million.

When William Blair gets more money, so does Jones. His referral fee stands to net him about $224,000 this year, his biggest payday yet.

This just in!!!

The Tribune has reported that a Chicago political insider has passed away...
Orlando Jones, a Chicago political insider and the godson of former Cook County Board President John Stroger, was found dead on a Michigan beach, Berrien County authorities said today.

Undersheriff Chuck Heit of the Berrien County Sheriff's Department said that Jones, 52, was found dead between 6:30 and 7 p.m. Wednesday at Gowdy Shores Beach in Union Pier.

"The investigation is not complete," said Heit, who said an autopsy was scheduled for this afternoon.

Sources close to the 8th Ward Democratic Organization, the home base for current County Board President Todd Stroger, said today that Jones was found after his wife filed a missing persons report this week.

Jones served as chief of staff to John Stroger, who was succeeded by his son Todd, and parlayed his connections into a lucrative consulting career in state and local government.
I hope we might be able to find out more about his role and activities as a political insider.

Sun-Times editorial about the CTA mess

There's a lot of blame to go around as to why in November now, the CTA will be forced to raise fares and cut service on the city transit system. This editorial claimed that Mayor Daley was uninvolved, however, he did attend a rally in support of public transit in Chicago. It almost seems like that's all he did.

Anyway here are some points that I liked from it...

A world-class city such as Chicago shouldn't have a second-rate transportation system.

Other great cities have figured that out. They know it takes a wise investment and great service to get people out of their cars and into buses and trains. Our leaders still don't get it.

Mayor Daley seems strangely uninvolved on the issue. As the CTA counted down to doomsday cuts this week, he was in Paris riding a bike. Gov. Blagojevich offered a Band-aid fix Wednesday -- $24 million that will postpone those cuts until November, as long as the RTA goes along. But he still refuses to support the most realistic plan to address chronic funding problems.

The CTA has been heading toward financial disaster for several years, plagued by mismanagement and revenues that have not kept pace with costs. That's why the agency seems to be holding out its hat begging for money every year, and partly why the rail cars, tracks and buses have been falling into such a sorry state of disrepair.

There were high hopes that this would be the year for legislative help, especially after Daley replaced CTA President Frank Kruesi. He was not well-liked by lawmakers, and his replacement, Ron Huberman, has so far lived up to his reputation for management efficiency. But those high hopes were dashed on the rocks of this year's stormy legislative session.

Concerned lawmakers crafted a plan to boost transit funding with a quarter-cent increase in the regional transit sales tax and with a small increase in the real estate transfer tax in Chicago. Those increases would provide the CTA -- as well as Metra and Pace, which are also operating in the red -- with a stable funding source. The bill also would put more teeth in the RTA's oversight of the three transit agencies. That could help address some of the issues raised in a scathing federal report on last year's train derailment, such as the poor inspection of the Blue Line tracks.

The bill has so far failed, largely because the governor has threatened to veto any sales tax increase. And he has refused to offer an alternative, other than to trot out his tired and rejected plan to close what he calls "corporate loopholes."

Yeah, I don't know about the mayor but Blagojevich. He doesn't want to increase sales taxes. He seems to thrive on doing things the hard way. It doesn't matter what the reality says he just won't make the difficult choice no matter what.

Sometimes I think that's what hurts him the most. A lot of people say he won't govern and that he acts like he's still on the campaign trail. A great campaigner but a horrible governor. I wonder if insiders think he's in over his head as governor and should have stayed in Congress.

I should also note reading the Capitol Fax blog and other sources it seems people in government can't bring themselves to trust this guy. Some of this is because of how he has conducted himself as governor. I wish I could provide some better examples, I could talk about the budget mess going on in Springfield.

BTW, I want to point out this article to you. Hopefully to make this crisis more real to you. If I were a parent and had to send my child to school on public transit I would want them to get to school as rapidly as possible. Preferably with the shortest distance but I would want them to go to the best school possible in the city.

How about an excerpt...

There is no bullet train for Jaurez Johnson to travel the 12 miles from his Far South Side home to the 16-year-old's high school in Bronzeville.

Still, the 90-minute morning commute -- a combination of walking and traveling by bus -- seems almost quaint to the Dunbar Vocational Career Academy junior now that he's looking at tacking on another 20, possibly 30, minutes to the bus ride, he estimates.

That may come Monday morning, a part of the day he'll be seeing a little more of as riders across the region wait and see whether the CTA's doomsday plan kicks in. Johnson's No. X3 King Drive Express, which ferries between the South Side and school, is on the list of 39 bus routes to be axed.

"It's going to be terrible because I like to get here on time if I can," which is right around 8 a.m., Johnson said.

"Right now, it [the X3] stops every two or three stops, it stops at the main cross streets," he said.

That's not to say he can't hop a regular No. 3 King Drive bus, which also slices down King Drive between 95th and downtown but makes every stop on the route.

But that's precious time, he says.

"Before, I was getting up at 6:25 a.m. and running to the bus stop, getting there about 6:45 a.m," said Johnson, whose family lives at 121st and Princeton.

Now he'll be setting his alarm for 6 a.m., he says.

Something to ponder.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

This was just too good to ignore

Tony Peraica was barely re-elected as a county commissioner was defeated for the Cook County Board presidency by Todd Stroger (someone who I still think shouldn't have won last year but he did) and he wants to run for Cook County State's Attorney. People didn't look at him too well when he did that little stunt involving marching on election headquarters when the count didn't go his way last year. Now it appears he may need to shake up his staff...

He called her a bitch.

He called her worse.

And each time, the caller to Cook County Commissioner Liz Gorman ordered her to "work with" rival Republican Commissioner Tony Peraica.

Now, a onetime campaign staffer to Peraica is charged with making the obscene and disparaging calls to Gorman.

Fred Ichniowski, 63, insisted Tuesday, "Tony didn't make me do anything."

Yet the Hickory Hills man then referred all questions to Peraica's chief of staff, Mike Manzo, and those in Peraica's law office.

Peraica distanced himself from Ichniowski, saying "he was a volunteer who did work for my campaign" but was not a top operative.

Peraica said they met after he represented Ichniowski on a criminal charge in 2002 of slashing the tires of several cars belonging to nuns. Records show Ichniowski also has a previous conviction for telephone harassment.

"I'm not aware of'' calls made to Gorman's office, Peraica said. "I wouldn't condone that. It's outrageous."

Yet reports show Ichniowski told police that "Peraica encouraged his volunteers to contact [Gorman] and expressed his disapproval of her new position" as county Republican Party chairman. Peraica, now running for state's attorney, bitterly fought Gorman's nomination.

Gorman said she regularly received harassing calls from the same man but notified police only after he grew more angry and vulgar in February as the board was in a budget battle and she ran for GOP chairman.

Sometimes the addage is true that you're only as good as the people around you. Peraica may need to change the people around him. Besides people already view Peraica as angry, perhaps Peraica needs to get some people who aren't as angry as this guy.