Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year's

Nothing of great substance today to report. I'm going to make a post to the Sixth Ward in a second. Stay safe out there and make some reasonable resolutions. Best of luck in achieving them.

And stay tuned for the start of year 3 at the same post date and same post time as the very first one back in 2005. See you in 2008!

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Yesterday morning I was watching

American Eats on the history channel where they talked about cookies. I saw the part of the program where they talked about the first major advertising campaign for a product from The National Biscuit Company (Nabisco) to advertise this product called Uneeda Biscuit. You might have seen almost faded signs on buildings around the country such as this even though this product has been out of circulation for years.

These "biscuits" in American Eats actually resembled crackers not much different than the saltine crackers we'd buy today though I'm sure that the recipe back then was very different. Besides this episode wasn't about crackers of any kind but cookies. Sweet cookies whether made by Nabisco, Sunshine Crakers, the Girl Scouts, or Famous Amos.

That brings me to another part of this program.

I have enjoyed Famous Amos cookies. I didn't realize until not too long ago that Famous Amos was created by a black man, Wally Amos (I found his website after I watched this program you should see it in my del.icio.us links). Anyway I remember this story I heard from many years ago.

I heard that many blacks had a problem with how Famous Amos was no longer associated with his creation. It was often said that Famous Amos was taken from him. Though no one realizes that a deal was made Wally Amos is a businessman and he took his cash although the product name Famous Amos is no longer his. A small price to pay when you make a deal the name itself is distinctive.

I read up more on Mr. Amos. Wally used to be a talent agent who would bake cookies and would use them to attract his clients. Famed R&B singer Marvin Gaye was one of the people who was an early investor in his cookie business. Today Famous Amos cookies is a brand of Kellogs, the same people who make those famous corn flakes. Wally Amos is still around making cookies under another brand of course. Though he first became famous in Los Angeles he now lives in Hawaii.

Why the Constitution Doesn't Work in Michigan

This Townhall.com column was found courtesy of Newsalert. Perhaps a cautionary tale for Illinois voters if they seek a constitutional convention next November. At least they don't have to circulate petitions for one since voters are expected to vote for a convention every 20 years. Still there are those who don't want one and wants to maintain the status quo.

Even the world's most repressive regimes often have laws on the books that pretend to grant citizens certain political rights. What matters is the extent to which citizens are actually allowed to use those rights — you know, in real life.

In Michigan, taxpayers are now trying to recall ten state legislators, and in the process testing how "real life" their democratic rights are.

The ten targeted solons come from both parties. Prior to their fateful votes to raise taxes against their constituent wishes, taxpayer groups repeatedly warned them that a recall effort would be launched against them if they voted for the $1.6 billion dollar tax increase. And yet, a few months ago, vote for the tax boost they did. And it passed, adding yet more depressive burden to the state's lingering recession.

Michiganders, and all people for that matter, are free to agree or disagree on taxes, as well as with recall campaigns. But it remains an undisputed fact: the Michigan constitution does provide citizens with a process for recall.

But does the right to recall mean anything to politicians, practically?

State Representative Tim Allen says, "The fight is to keep them off the ballot." Notice: His goal isn't to win an election. It is to prevent the voters from ever getting the opportunity to decide.

State House Democrats plan to use "blockers" against the recall petitioners. One Democrat, unnamed in media reports, says the plan is to "shadow" or "follow" those who circulate the petition and "have a debate with each potential signer in an attempt to convince them not to sign the recalls."

In other words, a campaign of stalking and voter intimidation.

We've seen this before — in Michigan and elsewhere. It is a tactic of increasing popularity on the big-government left. Hire blockers to swarm around petitioners at the mall or grocery store or library, creating angry street theater to scare away normal folks wishing to sign a petition.

"In past petition drives where blockers were employed, these blockers have often screamed at citizens attempting to sign petitions, or argued with petitioners every time a citizen approaches to sign the petition," explains Leon Drolet, head of the Michigan Taxpayers Alliance. "Opponents of the Michigan Civil Rights Initiative petition drive went as far as to approach tables set up by petition gatherers and pour water over the signed petitions."
Now these people are seeking petition signatures and then approval and are running into resistance at the official levels of government. Particularly the election commissions who doesn't believe that citizen's can't understand it although that's not very believeable. It's almost like not trusting the people to make the right decision as to whether or not they might sign the petitions or not.

The only relationship to Illinois is that here in this state many are starting to seek the recall initiative here. There are many who don't want that here. That being said it looks like Michigan citizens have an uphill battle if recall is what they want.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

I went to The Plaza today

You might know this place as Evergreen Plaza in a suburb of Evergreen Park on 95th and Western. This place has gone thru many changes over the years. They no longer have a two tier parking deck, a movie theater, and some of the stores have left (such as Walgreen's, Montgomery Ward's, or Circuit City to name a few) but the mall is still moving forward. Oh yeah why do I mention this.

I went today for the first time since there was a Christmas tree fire before the holidays. I went there and there was an area sectioned off with some dark plastic curtains (or I could call them hefty bags) where I will assume the fire started. The mall was closed for a time, but it's open now at least. Stores are open and I will assume they did decent business before Christmas. I am certainly glad that the fire didn't become widespread or at least no lives were lost.

Another 2nd amendment post

I found this article thru InstaPundit. Just a goody to read when you wake up and check this blog in the morning. Now is the time for me to turn off the computer.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Missing woman Anu Solanki is alive, authorities say

Put this in the "What happened here?" column. This has been in the news this week that a woman left work and hasn't been heard from since. Now police believe that this married woman is with a man, who's not her husband, out there somewhere. It has gotten weird. From the Chicago Tribune...
Police said today that they believe Anu Solanki, 24, missing since Monday, is alive and is with a 23-year-old man from California.

Using cell phone records, detectives learned that Solanki was in contact with Karan C. Jani many times on the day she disappeared. Police believe Solanki may have met Jani at the Dam 1 Woods after she left work that day to properly discard a broken religious statue. Authorities said they have not found the idol and believe she went to the woods to meet Jani.

On the day she disappeared, Solanki placed a call to a female friend around 1:40 p.m. In that conversation, she told her friend she was at the Des Plaines River by the dam, but phone records showed she was actually near DeKalb, detectives said.

Cook County authorities released a photo of Jani today and asked if anyone sees the couple to contact police. Authorities said they do not know where they have gone.

Authorities said they don't know how Solanki and Jani met, but phone records showed they had been in contact for about a year. Jani is a recent graduate of the University of Southern California and could still live in that region, authorities said.

On Friday, Cook County Sheriff Thomas Dart asked the couple or anyone who might see them to reach out to authorities. Though Solanki may have left williingly, her family is still concerned. Dart said. Solanki was married in May in New Jersey and Dart said her husband, Dignesh Solanki, did not know Jani or that she had a relationship with him.

Authorities believe the two fled in a rental car, but they did not know what make or model. Since she's disappeared, Solanki's cell phone has not been working, Dart said.

He added that authorities have spent $250,000 in the search for Solanki. He also said at this time they do not anticipate any criminal charges being filed against anyone.

The search for Solanki started Monday after family members reported Solanki missing and said she might have gone to the Des Plaines river to dispose of a broken Hindu idol. A car belonging to Solanki, of unincorporated Des Plaines, was found Monday in a forest preserve parking lot at Hintz Road and Milwaukee Avenue, near Wheeling. She told her husband she wanted to discard of a statue of Ganesh that had been mailed to them recenlty and arrived broken.
Unless there is no foul play involved here I do wonder if she willing left with this man and is choosing to run around the country with him.

Affirmative action may be on ballots

I'm not sure what to say. Is it possible that Affirmitive Action has had its day? I don't know but several states are going to vote on whether or not to continue such programs.

A campaign is underway to ban affirmative action in five states already embroiled in debates over illegal immigration.

Efforts are proceeding in Arizona, Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska and Oklahoma to put initiatives on November ballots that would end programs to increase minority and female participation in government and education.

The push is led by Ward Connerly, a California management consultant who successfully ran similar campaigns in California, Washington and Michigan.

It is part of Connerly's effort to ban race- and gender-based policies nationwide.

The initiatives will add to the racially charged atmosphere in state elections, says Michael Kanner, a political science professor at the University of Colorado at Boulder. All five states have had big increases in their Hispanic population since 2000, leading to racial tensions and debates over illegal immigration.

Arizona, Colorado and Oklahoma have passed the nation's toughest laws against illegal immigration. Among their provisions, they penalize employers of undocumented workers. In Missouri, Gov. Matt Blunt is pushing for tougher immigration laws and enforcement. In Nebraska, towns with large food processing companies that employ Hispanic immigrants have been targeted by federal immigration raids.

"It's about race in both issues," Kanner says. "Affirmative action, by its nature, is associated with minorities. In Colorado, for example, the dominant minorities are Hispanic, so it is inevitable that the two will be tied together."

Connerly, founder of the American Civil Rights Institute, a group working to end affirmative action, says, "We will deliberately try to stay away from the issue of illegal immigration. It's a tangential issue that we cannot control."

He says, "It's a simple principle we are promoting: equal treatment for all Americans."

Connerly says he believes in affirmative action if it is based on socioeconomic conditions, not gender or race.

His campaign is in its first stage in Colorado, Arizona and Nebraska, gathering signatures to qualify to be on the ballot.

It has turned in signatures in Oklahoma, but is stalled in Missouri in a court dispute over language. Connerly's language says the state shall not discriminate or grant preferences based on race, sex or ethnicity. The language substituted by Secretary of State Robin Carnahan goes further and says the initiative would end programs that provide equal opportunities for women and minorities.

African-American Gay Community Scared Over Deaths

I often would stay very clear away from this subject. The reason being that this can get very touchy. Whatever my POV on this or other's POV on homosexuality, you would have to see this as unfortunate. Though at this moment we don't know if these victims' sexual preference was a reason they were targets.

BTW, this story directly mentions the Trinity Church choir director that was killed over the weekend. More from CBS2...
Activists fear gay African-Americans are being targeted for murder. Two openly gay men were killed recently on the South Side, as CBS 2's Mike Parker reports.

African-American gay and lesbian groups are talking about the murders of two openly gay Black men in the past month.

On November 17, 24-year-old Larry Bland was shot to death in his Englewood home. Bland, a security guard at Northwestern Hospital was shot more than once after struggling with a man who had entered the house through an unlocked basement door.

Then on December 23, 47-year-old Donald Young, the choir director at Trinity United Church of Christ, was shot multiple times in his South Side apartment. His roommate found his body.

"We're calling on the police department to let the community know what's going on," said Marc Loveless of the Coalition for Justice and Respect. "Are we under attack? Is this a serial killer?"

Chicago Police Department Acting Sept. Dana Starks said, "I understand the concerns of any group, any community when it comes to homicide. As of right now, I cannot say whether there is a connection."

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Gun Seized After Katrina? NRA Wants You

Found this article this morning among the other goodies over at InstaPundit...
The National Rifle Association has hired private investigators to find hundreds of people whose firearms were seized by city police in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, according to court papers filed this week.

The NRA is trying to locate gun owners for a federal lawsuit that the lobbying group filed against Mayor Ray Nagin and Police Superintendent Warren Riley over the city's seizure of firearms after the Aug. 29, 2005, hurricane.

In the lawsuit, the NRA and the Second Amendment Foundation claim the city violated gun owners' constitutional right to bear arms and left them "at the mercy of roving gangs, home invaders, and other criminals" after Katrina.

The NRA says the city seized more than 1,000 guns that weren't part of any criminal investigation after the hurricane. Police have said they took only guns that had been stolen or found in abandoned homes.

NRA lawyer Daniel Holliday said investigators have identified about 300 of the gun owners and located about 75 of them. Some of them could be called to testify during a trial, he added.

"Finding these folks has been a nightmare," Holliday said. "That is really the guts of our case - to establish that there was indeed a pattern of the police going out and taking people's guns without any legal reason to do so."

In April 2006, police made about 700 firearms available for owners to claim if they could present a bill of sale or an affidavit with the weapon's serial number.
Looking at this article, you wouldn't want any governmental entity to just seize your guns and not allow you the opportunity to get them back. They are your property not much different than if seized your property for no good reason and after it was established that nothing justified them seizing it, they wouldn't give it back. Guns are property after all and hopefully property used by a very responsible person since guns aren't toys.

It makes sense to take a gun after they've been unclaimed and they're just lying around. Important since you know, you don't want anybody to claim a gun then turn around and use it to commit crimes. Still I hope those who are responsible law-abiding citizens will be able to re-claim their guns because they have an ally in the National Rifle Association.

Benazir Bhutto Assassinated in Pakistan

One of the few forays into foreign affairs that this blog will go into. Benazir Bhutto has a long history in Pakistan. She was a prime minister of Pakistan elected twice to that position. Bhutto had returned to Pakistan after a self-imposed exile starting in 1998. She had avoided other assassination attempts unfortunately this attempt was successful. From Washington Post.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Not Relevant? Sharpton Scoffs at the Idea

Since Sharpton is seeking to be the new activist in town how about an article about him from The Washington Post. I'm often amazed that he's even taken seriously in light of his dubious career in Civil Rights activism. It looks like the Washington Post has an angle on Rev. Sharpton you know with Senator Barack Obama running for president.

It was noted in this article that Sen. Obama is the first black politician to have a serious chance of winning not only the Democratic nomination for President, but the Presidency himself.

For Sharpton, the hyperkinetic pace of his past year and the pleas for support from presidential aspirants provide the answer to the question some are posing: How does Al Sharpton remain relevant in a Barack Obama world?

Obama, a Democratic senator from Illinois, has emerged as the first black politician with a serious chance of capturing his party's presidential nomination and the White House. And there have been other notable, if quiet, political successes, such as Deval Patrick becoming the first African American governor of Massachusetts, and David Paterson being elected New York's first black lieutenant governor.

Those successes have led some to suggest that the country is ready to embrace, in the post-civil rights era, a new kind of black leader, one who transcends race and appeals to as many white voters as black.

Sharpton has "been eclipsed, because Obama puts guys like Sharpton in the shadow," said Fred Siegel, a historian of New York City at the Cooper Union college in Manhattan. "Suppose Obama is elected president. He's terrible for Sharpton, because that takes away Sharpton's job. He's a kind of racial ambulance chaser. It's hard to engage in that game if there's another powerful African American politician."

But Sharpton has thrived this year with his high-decibel microphone-to-megaphone activism, even in the face of a federal investigation of his 2004 campaign finances. In an interview punctuated by interruptions from his cellphone, he scoffed at the notion that he is being overshadowed or is any less relevant.

"It borders on insulting to say that because some blacks are doing well in politics, we don't need organizations to protect civil rights," he said. "The role I play in American life, and the role that Deval Patrick and Barack play, are two different roles."

He also calls that view of his diminishing importance a misreading of modern black history. "We've always had blacks on the inside and blacks on the outside," he said. "You always had blacks so-called in the system and blacks outside."

In New York, his home base, Sharpton remains a polarizing figure for many, best remembered for championing the cause of Tawana Brawley, a black teenager who said she was abducted and raped by six white law enforcement officials but whose claims were later discredited.
You have got to be kidding me here. Of course in the history of politics in America aspiring politicians have had to deal with shady characters because they control the votes in a given area. Of course I wonder how many votes Sharpton controls.
But Sharpton has survived those past controversies to become a political power broker of sorts. Once shunned for his street antics, jogging suits and bling, he is now courted by local and state politicians who dutifully troop to the Harlem headquarters of his National Action Network every January for his celebration of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.

"He seems to have evolved into a new respectability, at least in the city," said Norman Siegel, a lawyer and former director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, who has known Sharpton for 20 years. Regarding the King celebrations, Siegel said, "Every single elected official, no matter what they said about him in the past, they'll show up."

But Siegel said Sharpton still has a negative reputation among many white New Yorkers; Siegel has acquaintances who ask him, somewhat derisively, whether he is still friends with Al Sharpton.

Sharpton derives his role in large part because of a continued sense of dispossession and racial injustice that persists among many in black America. "Reverend Sharpton is the catalyst that continues to bring people together on issues of empowerment and injustice," said Charles Ogletree, the Harvard University law professor and scholar on race and equality matters. "Whenever there is any event involving racial injustice, he is always the first responder."

Even with the rise of successful mainstream black politicians who are able to transcend racial issues, Ogletree said, "Since the black community's concerns and issues are not monolithic, the Reverend Sharpton will always be relevant."

He has managed to maintain his clout even while continuing to face controversy, most recently an FBI and IRS investigation into financial records from Sharpton's 2004 presidential campaign. Earlier this month, federal agents served early-morning subpoenas on eight of Sharpton's aides, ordering them to produce records and documents for a Brooklyn grand jury.

Sharpton dismissed this latest probe as government harassment resulting from the protest he led last month outside the Justice Department where he demanded increased enforcement of civil rights laws and more prosecutions of hate crimes. "If that doesn't look retaliatory, what does?" he asked.
It's great to know blacks aren't all that monolithic but disheartening to know that he'll always be "relevant". At least Rev. Jesse Jackson has some respectability he doesn't have the baggage Rev. Sharpton has (although I've read that Sharpton patterned himself somewhat after Jackson).

Will Smith, Hitler, and the perils of benevolence

InstaPundit on Christmas Eve ago posted a story about Will Smith who made a statement about Adolf Hitler not waking up one morning doing some evil. He was attempting to say nice things about Hitler in an interview. Read the follow up on this story from Pajamas Media, this may either clear up some things or inflame them further.

I like Will Smith somewhat. I think in the future he might want to stay away from making such statements. In approaching Hitler a topic that could very much cause blood pressures to rise amongst various groups, he might cause himself some harm.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas!

I don't know if I may blog on Christmas day. I think it's certainly time for a blogging holiday, but I wish all of my readers a Merry Christmas. I hope that all is well with you on this wonderful holiday. May everyone have a great and joyous one!!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

Choir Conductor At Well-Known Church Killed

Put this under the "What happened here?" banner. From CBS2Chicago...

A Chicago man who conducted choir for two decades at a well-known black church on the city's South Side has been killed.

Forty-seven-year-old Donald Young was found unresponsive in his South Side apartment on Sunday morning. He suffered multiple gunshot wounds.

The Cook County medical examiner's office ruled his death a homicide and Chicago police are investigating.

Reverend Jeremiah Wright Junior says Young was well-loved at Trinity United Church of Christ.

Young also taught fourth grade and was planning on attending graduate school to become a principal.
Just so you'll know yeah this is the same Trinity that has made national news since Senator Barack Obama started running for President this year. It has a "controversial" value system that has raised eyebrows that has for the most part subsided in recent months.

Get on the bus

Wow, interesting article. Greyhound is experiencing a surge of sorts. They've been making changes and they are reaping the benefits. That is they're not going into these small towns, they're cleaning up their terminals, they've made changes to their buses. They're making a change in their overall presentation.

This was in today's Sun-Times...

Maybe it's all those flight delays at O'Hare Airport. Or the fact that people are more environmentally conscious than they used to be.

Maybe it's the price of gas.

Whatever the reason, Greyhound and other players in the intercity bus industry are seeing a surge in growth for the first time in more than 40 years, according to a new study from DePaul University.

Much of that growth is being fueled by the introduction of low-cost carriers such as Megabus.com. But older companies such as Greyhound are also attracting more customers, thanks in part to changing attitudes about traveling by bus.

Student researchers at DePaul's School of Public Research found that increased demand for city-to-city bus service has caused carriers to increase the number of scheduled runs nationwide by 13 percent just since February 2006.

"Obviously, the intercity bus industry suffered from a reputation as the travel means of last resort for many years," said Joe Schwieterman, a professor at the school. "But with more upscale coaches being put into service with amenities like larger seats and on-board movies, the companies have started to close the gap on other modes of travel."

It's the first sign of a renaissance for intercity buses, which were a key mode of transportation in most U.S. cities during the first half of the 20th century.

That all changed in the 1960s with the introduction of the interstate highway system, which was quickly followed by the exodus of residents from central business districts in the city to the suburbs. Cars became king, diminishing the need for bus transport.

As a result, U.S. cities lost nearly one-third of their scheduled intercity service between 1960 and 1980 and more than 60 percent of the remaining services between 1980 and 2005, the study said.
Some of what I've said, I have seen. Plus these were advertised in commercials by Greyhound within the past couple of years or so. I expect that some of this is making a difference.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

A recent comment

On that story about that girl who beat her son to death. I blogged about that this past Tuesday. I want to address a comment that was left for that story last night...
First of all let me say this....just because she looks mean in her picture does not justify your saying YUP she did it! why...cause she looks mean! Wow listen to yourself. I wonder if she was white what would you say? Think now......She is a young beautiful mother whom cared for her children deeply! Hell for her age she did better than mothers older than her...at least she asked for help! People quit being so quick to be judgemental....put your self in her shoes! And pray for her not talk about her. Now think seriously why would she kill her son? As you can see she was DEEPLY DEPRESSED...

A.J
I appreciate comments as always but I do want to address this. Understand that is entirely why I wrote this to expose my prejudice of sorts. I was entirely wrong to come to that conclusion without knowing more about this story. It is sad that a woman who by the account I mentioned was a good mother have one moment where she just loses it, and it could cost her. She may lose her kids or she may go to jail.

I'm particularly disappointed that this individual brought up race asking if I would say that if she was white. To be sure I don't know if I'd say that if she was white. If I saw a picture of her I probably would and without knowing her story I'd be wrong for coming to that conclusion as well. One thing is certain I wouldn't be justified in looking at a pic and saying yup she did it. That wouldn't be fair!

This is what 0-tolerance gets ya

InstaPundit has a post that has stories of students getting into fights but whether or not they had to defend themselves or not inflexible administrators will suspend them. A student isn't allowed to defend themselves but curl up in a fetal position, yeah that'll work in a school that's very lawless. Such a maneuver will get them whooped even more!

The first story you'll see a video from a Nashville, Tennessee TV newscast talks about a girl who attempted to walk away from the situation twice. A fellow student stays on her and assaults her not with fists but a bag or something. The victim never threw a punch according to written reports since there was a security camera and the assault wasn't seen on camera. Both the victim and the perpetrator were suspended for five days.

Why do these rules and regulations have to be so inflexible? I can also ask if some of these zero-tolerance policies are just knee-jerk reactions to past incidents of school violence with the naive idea that some of these kids might just stop while they're ahead. I somehow don't think that's smart.

I hope these school districts realize that they might just as soon open themselves up to a needless lawsuit unless they change their policies!

Governor Blagojevich going down...

The chatter that I've seen today is sure looking that way. I just saw a story over at the Tribune's Clout Street about the federal investigation of the governor...

For years, Rod Blagojevich has projected two distinct images that define his tenure as Illinois' governor.

In one, he is a populist champion with an agenda of "putting people first" by pushing causes like health care for all. In the other, he is a consummate politician with cronies who offer advice while raising campaign cash and asking for favors.

Now, under the lights of a federal investigation, the distinctions are blurring, and the crony image is threatening to wash out the populist one.

Federal prosecutors for the first time have put Blagojevich inside their widespread investigation of pay-to-play in his administration. Blagojevich told one convicted federal informant, "You stick with us and you will do very well for yourself," according to a court document prosecutors filed.

The governor's office denied that he is the "Public Official A" described in the court document as offering state business to convicted political insiders.

In 2008, the spotlight will shine even more brightly on Blagojevich as one of his biggest fundraisers, Antoin "Tony" Rezko, goes to trial in February on charges he tried to trade his access to Blagojevich for kickbacks and contributions to the governor's campaign fund.
Can it be that we are seeing the end of a governorship? The end result being that he might either be forced to resign or indeed forced out of office for his indiscretions? Will he have the decency to leave when the investigation get close to him?

If nothing else he might be the second governor in a row to find himself indicted for corruption. The other being George Ryan who's now serving his sentence in federal prison in Wisconsin. The unfortunate thing is that we knew he had some corrupt tendencies and he got re-elected last year anyway!

Well let's see some of the chatter out there shall we?

Time to resign, Rod from Reverse Spin
Merry Christmas, Governor from Illinoize
Hahaha from Second City Cop

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Black Business Monthly

I found a new tabloid when I went downtown on Friday. There are issues dedicated to the cities with a sizeable black population. If you go to their website you will see issues from Minneapolis/St. Paul and Chicago with publications coming soon for Los Angeles and Tennessee. They really should have Atlanta, Georgia as an offering, perhaps they will one day soon.

Anyway the December 2007 issues has on the cover prominent black bankers in Chicago. We'll see Walter Grady, CEO/President of Seaway National Bank; Dennis J. Irvin, President and CEO of Highland Community Bank; Norman J. Williams Chairman/CEO of Illinois Service Federal Bank; and Gregg H. Brown of South Side Federal Credit Union. I don't know about the South Side Credit Union but the rest of the banks mentioned are black owned.

Check out the PDF version of the Chicago tabloid and hopefully you might see copies around the area in the future.

Who's Afraid Of The Gold Standard?

Andrew Sullivan quotes a reader who talks about the gold standard position of Ron Paul.
For the record, I have no idea about McCardle's views on the Iraq War and no reason to think she is being disingenuous in her criticisms of Paul's economic policies (unlike, for example, the truly odious David Frum). But this statement, unfortunately, perpetuates one of the most common myths floating around about Ron Paul in the blogosphere, namely that he supports the immediate restoration of a strict gold standard for U. S. currency. While Paul would ultimately like to see the dollar pegged to gold again, he does not advocate doing this precipitously. What he does support doing right now is legalizing private currencies backed by gold and silver.

Legalizing private commodity-backed currencies would give individuals the right to guard themselves against the inflationary tendencies of the greenback, without the various legal obstacles imposed by the current system. Paul's hope is that over time enough people will voluntarily to switch to gold-backed currencies as to make the final transition back to a real gold standard for the dollar relatively painless. His views on this subject are succinctly outlined in his essay "The Political and Economic Agenda for a Real Gold Standard" in the 1985 book "The Gold Standard: An Austrian Perspective," edited by Lew Rockwell. Furthermore, as Peter Boettke explains in recent posts on his blog, these views are not merely the eccentric ramblings of a deluded old man, but similar to the opinions on monetary policy held by a number of distinguished economists, such as the Nobel Laureate Friedrich von Hayek.

Blogs, Privacy, and Sitemeter

I found this article over at Little Green Footballs. Has anyone had any problems with Sitemeter?

Sudden divorce syndrome

I found this story from InstaPundit and then he links to Dr. Helen, who just so happens to be his wife. When I saw this article linked in Dr. Helen's blog I had to just say that this was so wrong. Let's go thru the first scenario mentioned...
Like every husband who suddenly turns into an ex, Martin Paul, a pleasant, unassuming 51-year-old, knows exactly where he was when it happened. He was sitting on the back porch of his pricey hilltop house in the Boston suburbs one sunny Saturday morning, relaxing over coffee.

Paul is a professional collector, primarily of coins, but of other rare objects as well: Sonny Liston’s ring belt; a submarine that appeared in the James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me. It wasn’t easy to build up his collecting business, but he had finally got it humming, and he was pulling down close to seven figures a year. Plus, the oldest of his three sons had suffered a frightening brain injury, but after two years of treatment, he had finally recovered enough to go to college. For the first time in a very long while, life was good.

And so, that Saturday, he wanted to tell his wife he was thinking about finally easing off a little. They’d started going on expensive vacations in Europe and Hawaii, and he figured she’d be pleased at the prospect of taking more trips together, or at least at the prospect of seeing him around the house a little more, and not buried in his basement office. He had met her in graduate school over a quarter century ago, and they’d had their ups and downs, but he was still crazy about her. And he thought that, with a little more time together, she’d be crazy about him again too.

But no. She scarcely listened to any talk of retirement, or of vacations, or of anything he had to say. She had plans of her own.

“I want a divorce,” she said.

Paul was so stunned that he thought he must have misheard her. But her face told him otherwise. “She looked like the enemy,” he says. He started to think about everything he’d built: the thriving business, the wonderful family, the nice life in the suburbs. And he thought of her, and how much he still loved her. And then, right in front of her, he started to cry.

That night, he found a bottle of whiskey, and he didn’t stop drinking it until he nearly passed out.

Things turned shitty very fast. His wife took out a temporary restraining order, accusing him of attempting to kidnap their youngest son. The claim was never proved in court. Then, with the aid of some high-priced lawyers, she extracted from him a whopping $50,000 a month—a full 75 percent of his monthly income. Barred from the house, he was not allowed regular access to the office he used to generate that income. (On the few times he was permitted inside, his wife did not let him use the bathroom. She insisted that he go outside in the woods.) “My lawyer kept telling her lawyers, ‘You’re killing the Golden Goose,’ ” recalls Paul. “But they didn’t care.”

Crushed by the payments, and unable to work, he soon faced such a severe cash-flow crisis that he had to declare bankruptcy. His wife still did not relent. She charged that Paul had been abusive toward one of their sons. Paul says the charge is absurd, but it did its work, limiting his visitation rights.

Paul was sleepless and nerve wracked; his spirits plunged. He still missed his old life with his family. He missed the sound of it—the bustle of all the activity, the life. “I can’t stand the silence,” he says. “I miss hearing my wife breathe as she lay in bed beside me.” In his desperation, he twice overdosed on prescription medication, but managed to call 911 each time before the drugs took full effect, and medics rushed him to the hospital in time. “I don’t want to die,” he says wearily. “I want to live. But I can’t live with this torture.” He did manage to keep a few mementos of his former life. Pictures, mostly. But also the kids’ baby shoes. “I was always the emotional one,” he says. “But that’s all I have—the shoes, a few pictures. That’s all. I used to be jovial, happy. But not now. I’m a broken man.”
I feel for the man. He was with a woman who woke up one day and she didn't care about him anymore, if at all. And it sounds like she did everything she could to hurt him including making up unsubstantiated charges. Where this comes from only the woman in question can answer.

I can see how a guy can be clueless though. Things to him might be looking good but he takes his wife for granted. Though the excuse of "he's never around" or "he doesn't give me attention" seems convenient but I'm sure there's some truth in it. Or perhaps he found himself marrying someone for the wrong reasons and somewhere along the road what was love at first turns to hate.

Well I don't know what's up, but I hope that you read this piece and for those of you guys and gals out there, I hope you make some wise choices when you seek out your mate. Don't be shallow but definitely be discriminating. Hopefully you'll find the one you'll be meant to be with "forever". Well one can only hope.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Judge Strikes Louisville Smoking Ban

I found this story over at Newsalert. Sounds great if you are against the Illinois smoking ban that is to take effect next year.

In fact CBS2 has a countdown to the impending ban on their homepage read more about it here. Anyway back to the story from Kentucky...
As Churchill Downs goes, so goes Louisville, according to a circuit judge who struck down a citywide smoking ban citing an exemption for the famed horse track.

A Jefferson Circuit Judge ruled that because an exemption in the smoking ban crafted for Churchill Downs was unconstitutional, the entire law was illegal.

"Only after voting that Churchill Downs would keep its exemption did the Council pass the Smoke Free Law; the converse of this fact is that the Council would not have passed a Smoke Free Law devoid of said exemption," Judge Steven Ryan wrote.

The decision hinged on a previous court ruling, from November, that struck down the exemption allowing smoking in some parts of the historic racetrack.

The ruling means the city cannot cite smokers, restaurants or bars for allowing patrons to light up inside.
Over at Illinoize I posted a story about the discussion of how state officials are going to enforce this law. I never has a look at this law but if state officials can't even figure it out, this law must be way too broad. A mistake from the beginning.

A plant?

You know it's been in the news within the past month or so that Sen. Hillary Clinton has been planting friendly people in crowds during debates and such to help solidify her support. Well Todd Stroger seems to have picked up on that strategy and it doesn't seem to help him look any better. He can do sit down interviews but the least he can do is not have someone talk up his unpopular tax increases...
Stroger has been under siege for nearly three months for having proposed a highly unpopular 2-percentage-point hike in the county sales tax.

After taking a few calls from unhappy taxpayers, Williams said he had time for one more caller.

On came "Jonathan from Chicago."

Jonathan talked intelligently about the county’s budget mess last year and then went on to defend the tax hike and cite a national study comparing cities across the nation.

"The last 15 areas that raised their sales tax saw actually no less than 25 percent growth in the year after they did it," Jonathan said. "A lot of this is just gloom and doom, the world’s going to fall in. But when you look at what’s actually happened, the world’s never fallen in."

The random caller, of course, wasn’t so random. It was Stroger’s $100,000-a-year communications director, Andre Garner.

Confronted later, Garner declined to comment but said, "Well, you guys won’t put this stuff in the newspaper," referring to his on-air comments.
This article courtesy of Clout Street.

Remember that story about that boy who got beaten after he got off the bus

I blogged about that back in July 2007. CBS2 has a video update on Dreyvon McCray. I'll just say that he's still with us and he has recovered.


Here's a write-up.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

LA City Council to ban fast food in poor neighborhoods

Yeah this is really a genious move. Instead of banning fast foods how about encouraging the building of super markets that sell healthier food instead of attempting to ban a business from opening up shop. They kind of got it backwards.

Also this article from PajamasMedia suggest that the City Council of Los Angeles thinks that the poor are too stupid to make smart decisions about what they consume. If that's true then this is not an excuse to even try something like this...

Better hold on to your burger: The nanny state is coming to rip that Whopper outta your hands. Begone, fatty fries! Chase away that chicken sandwich that, well, happens to be skinless and grilled, but could have a smear of mayonnaise on the bun. After all, there’s a chance that consumers may be too dumb to hold that mayo, or to sub a side salad for the salty fries.

But even if you think that a government has a right to regulate healthy choices for its citizens, this might vanilla-shake you right out of that nanny state mentality.

Here in Los Angeles, the City Council’s Planning and Land Use Committee pushed forward a proposal by Councilwoman Jan Perry to ban new fast-food restaurants. Not on the tony Westside, mind you, or even the solidly middle-class Valley.

No, the bureaucratic schoolmarms that be are just targeting South Los Angeles with the ordinance.

Because the nanny state says poor people are evidently too dumb to pick food for themselves.

“We have a serious problem in my district with fast-food restaurants and the increasing level of obesity and diabetes,” Perry told the committee last week.

Never mind that the obesity could have something to do with the fact that it’s not safe for kids to run and play in gang-choked streets. It’s also a fact that low-income families can hardly feed the kids off the Whole Foods market deli and still be able to pay the rent. Fast-food joints, in addition to offering more healthy choices than ever before, also have these things called dollar menus that have helped fill the tummies of college students and the homeless alike.

Mitt Romney plays the Martin Luther King card

I found this at HotAir this morning. I'm not sure what to make of it. If it's supposed to make people feel better about him (and not necessarily blacks but anyone who was of that generation who supports civil rights) I don't know if it's going to work.

Anyway read the information over there because taking some quotes down won't do this story and commentary justice. The story is actually about his dad George Romney who used to be governor of Michigan.

Mitt Romney is seeking the Republican nomination for President of the United States. He used to be the governor of Masschusettes.

Andrew Sullivan's Daily Dish talks about this story as well.

Scared of high school? CPS has plan for 8th-graders

I went to a one day orientation before I attended my high school. I barely remember what it was about. All my dad and I had to do was sit in an auditorium until it was time to go. I forgot what was said that day.

High school for me was somewhat miserable. It's mostly because at that time I didn't go to the best high school in the world. Even a tolerable one. My parents felt that it was best for me to go to school much closer to home. Not that I didn't understand, things can get dangerous out there. Especially when the testosterone might be running out there in city streets. Still it wasn't exactly what I wanted and I couldn't get done.

I think this program by the Chicago Public School is a good start to help get some of these students ready to go. It surely can't indicate the variable that'll come up when you finally attend a class, but I would have loved to have something like this if I had went to high school after 8th grade. From the Sun-Times...
Thousands of Chicago eighth-graders could receive as many as three weeks of orientation activities in their new high schools before opening day under a new program intended to ease the critical transition from eighth to ninth grade.

As part of a plan that could cost $10 million, Chicago public school officials want to offer this year's eighth-graders up to a week in their new high schools in June, when older students could serve as guides or mentors. Plus, newcomers would be invited back for another two weeks in August, just before school starts.

Chicago Schools CEO Arne Duncan said the average eighth-grader missed 10 days of school last year, but the average ninth-grader skipped 27 days -- more than five weeks.

"We want to get these kids in and connected to their schools,'' said David Gilligan, CPS Chief High School Officer.

Though still in the brainstorming stages, the new orientation program could offer as many as 30,000 eighth-graders a mix of academic, logistical and social help.

In June, activities could include a walk through a typical high school schedule, a tour of the building, an overview of how credits and grade-point averages work, and an introduction to counselors, teachers, coaches and extracurricular activities.

By August, kids could get help with skills such as note-taking and time management. They could get their schedules, books and lockers. They might do team-building to bond with classmates.

The state's top-scoring high schools -- including Chicago's Northside College Prep, Winnetka's New Trier and Hinsdale Central -- hold freshman orientations.

Northside and New Trier offer freshmen outdoor adventure camps. Hinsdale Central matches newcomers with a "student leader'' over the summer who can walk them through their schedules and help them get books.

Chicago sued over cell phone ban while driving

To be sure cell-phones are a great luxury but I'm often irritated at how so many people take this luxury for granted. I'm irritated a people who might choose to talk on the phone while walking down the street. Then there are those who choose to talk on the phone while they drive. Especially if they are holding the phone to their own ear.

There are better ways of conducting your business especially if you must be on the phone while you drive. Still I don't know what to make of this story from Crain's...
Chicago's ban on motorists using hand-held cell phones is being challenged in court.
A Chicago law firm said it has filed a federal lawsuit because the city failed to put up signs giving drivers proper notice of the law after it was passed in May 2005.

The lawsuit claims the city has wrongly collected more than $2 million in revenue as a result of the more than 25,000 tickets that have been issued.

Fines start at $50 and up for violators.

City Law Department spokeswoman Jennifer Hoyle said they will review the lawsuit but disagree that the city was required to post signs.
Oh I thought this was about liberty. Nevermind still it seems fair if there was fair warning about the law, although if you live in the Chicagoland area this was blaring all over the media when it passed and went into effect. Whether or not you only read the papers, listen to the radio, or watch the TV.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Reporter brings skin disorder to light

I've seen this out there a lot I knew it was some type of disease with regards to pigmentation. I'm sure everyone has this disease at some point, but it's very noticeable amongst "people of color". Especially this guy who has to work on TV in Detroit...
Lee Thomas' skin is changing him.

His once brown, even complexion is now mottled with pale patches. "I'm a black man turning white on television, and people can see it," says Thomas, an anchor and entertainment reporter for the local Fox Broadcasting Co. affiliate. "If you've watched me over the years, you've seen my hands completely change from brown to white."

Thomas has vitiligo, a disorder in which pigment-making cells are destroyed. White patches appear on different parts of the body, tissues in the mouth and nose, and the retina.

"There is no cause. There is no cure, and it's very random," Thomas says. "I could turn all the way white or mostly white."

Relatively few people had heard the term "vitiligo" until Michael Jackson revealed in the early 1990s that the disorder was behind his skin turning brown to white.

It's not fatal, but experts say vitiligo robs people of self-confidence, evokes ridicule and unpleasant stares, and pushes some into unforced seclusion.

The 40-year-old Thomas says that's not where the disorder needs to be. He openly talks about vitiligo and how it has affected his life and career, and he has written a book about his journey titled, "Turning White: A Memoir of Change."

Along the way, Thomas says, he's met others with the disorder and has become a celebrity spokesman for the Columbus, Ohio-based National Vitiligo Foundation.

Vitiligo attacks the soul and psyche, foundation Executive Director Robert Haas says.
"When was the last time you saw someone with vitiligo handling your food? It is the public's image that it is some leprosy-type of disease," he says.

That was Thomas' fear.

He uses a combination of creams and makeup to cover the growing patches of skin. Only family members and those closest to him knew the secret he had kept since age 25.

Thomas first noticed a change after getting a haircut while working in Louisville. He looked in a mirror and thought the barber had nicked him. A closer look revealed a pale spot, about the size of a quarter.

"I got two more on the other side of my scalp, on my hand and one in the corner of my mouth," he recalls. "That's when I went to the doctor and got diagnosed."

But over time, the vitiligo was becoming more obvious.

"I thought my career was over," says the Emmy Award winner, who routinely travels to Hollywood for one-on-one interviews with celebrities including Will Smith, Tom Cruise and Halle Berry.

Thomas finally agreed to tell his story on television in November 2005.

After the first segment on Thomas' vitiligo aired, he took a leave of absence and missed the initial response from viewers.

"I received 40 to 50 e-mails a day the entire time he was gone," said Dana Hahn, WJBK's vice president of news. "So many people found support and encouragement in his story. I've never seen the kind of response to any story in my 12 years at Fox 2."

At the time, Thomas was already writing his book.

"As all those things happened, the tone of the book changed," he says. "I was writing for all those people who were afraid to come outside."

When he's out socially now, Thomas forgoes the makeup he wears on camera.
The article was from the Chicago Tribune but the actual photo that I have of him exposing his neck that was affected by this disease is from the Rocky Mountain News.

Hiring monitor still sees patronage at City Hall

I wonder if this is a big surprise to anyone because it shouldn't be. From the Sun-Times...
Two and a half years after the appointment of a federal monitor — and more than 17 months after the conviction of Mayor Daley’s former patronage chief — City Hall is still struggling to implement a hiring system free of politics, the monitor said Tuesday.

“Whereas the city’s compliance had substantially increased during 2006, the same cannot be said for the city’s compliance in 2007,” monitor Noelle Brennan wrote in her annual report.

The monitor acknowledged that she has not uncovered the kind of “wholesale overt manipulation of interviews” on display during the federal corruption trial that culminated last year in the conviction of former patronage chief Robert Sorich. But, she said, “Other, more subtle types of manipulation of the hiring process have surfaced.”

Brennan said the alleged violations she has uncovered in response to 685 complaints run the gamut — from “hundreds” of city employees illegally “acting up” in higher-paid, temporary positions to the city’s failure to “meaningfully enforce consequences for noncompliance.”

“Acting up’’ means an employee is put in a higher-paid job without a formal promotion or process.

Fire Department brass even went so far as to order one “acting up” employee to “work from home for several months to avoid detection,” Brennan wrote. The inspector general’s office is investigating.

The monitor branded as “an area of significant concern” Daley’s failure to discipline current city employees “directly implicated in Shakman violations” during testimony at the Sorich trial.

“The city’s ongoing failure to effectively monitor compliance with the reformed policy, coupled with the failure to take any disciplinary action when violations occur is certain to result in ongoing violations,” she wrote.
The only way this should change is if there's a change in regime at city hall. I generally like Daley as a mayor, but if this is a problem he's not doing enough to curb it. He may claim he knows nothing, he's still the head man in charge and can make the necessary changes if he wants to. Doesn't seem like he wants to.

Story On Flight Taxes 'Ridiculous'

That is the governor's story according to CBS 2...
Gov. Rod Blagojevich said Tuesday it's "ridiculous" to suggest he might owe taxes for personal use of state aircraft.

The Associated Press reported this week that Blagojevich, his family and guests have taken hundreds of flights on taxpayer-financed airplanes with no clear business purpose. Tax experts said the Internal Revenue Service could consider the flights taxable fringe benefits.

The AP review estimated the value of the flights could add at least $225,000 to Blagojevich's income and leave him with a tax bill of $60,000 or more.

"That is the most ridiculous thing that's ever been written," Blagojevich told reporters at a Tuesday appearance in Mattoon.

He did not answer a reporter's question about whether he had ever spoken to a tax attorney about the matter or whether he would do so now.

Congress has cracked down on personal use of company aircraft in the past two decades, and several government executives have faced questions about state-financed flights. They include former Virginia Gov. Douglas Wilder, former Massachusetts Lt. Gov. Jane Swift, and former Arizona Gov. Jane Hull.

Blagojevich's own lieutenant governor, Pat Quinn, said it would make sense for Blagojevich to seek an outside expert's advice.

"The best way to go is for the governor to have a sophisticated tax lawyer take a look at the issue and answer any, any questions," Quinn said Monday.

Tax experts told the AP the IRS likely would consider Blagojevich's principal place of business to be Springfield, the seat of state government. That means anytime he flies to his hometown Chicago with no job-related event planned, it's a personal flight and he either must reimburse the state or pay taxes on the value as income.

But Blagojevich aides said the analysis is flawed because the governor's main office is in Chicago, not the Capitol.

The Illinois Department of Revenue, which could collect state tax revenue if Blagojevich were found liable for the trips, agrees with the governor. General counsel John McCaffrey told the AP last week that the governor's base of operations is Chicago, so "his travel to Springfield was all for legitimate business reasons."
Heh, sometimes I wonder if it was him that was spending money, then there's a good chance he might try to cut down on some of these expenses. Instead he might be taking advantage of the poor little taxpayer who he purports to fight for. Makes you wonder who he really cares about.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

South Side woman, age 24 and mother of 8, held in son's fatal beating

This story I have found in the local media over the weekend it was related to another story that I had blogged about on Saturday I believe. The more I read up on the story the sadder I get, not because a child is dead but I want to look at the mother who is charged in this child's death. The story I read in the Tribune suggested that she actually cared about her children.

The picture I saw of her however suggest to me that she was mean. She looked as if she could be abusive, but the story suggested something else...
As officials with the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services probe the cause of Brandon's death, state documents reviewed by the Tribune show that the agency had contact with Murph dating to 1992, when at age 8 she became a ward of the state due to neglect by her mother.

Murph was placed in the care of her grandmother, spent some time in a group home, then returned to her grandmother in 1997.

That year, Murph had her first baby at age 13.

Murph gave birth to her second child in October 1998 and her third 10 months later in August 1999. That year, Murph moved to a DCFS shelter.

In 2000, Murph moved again to a parenting teen facility for state wards and had her fourth child.

Progress reports detail how Murph, still a teenager, tried to be a good mother while disappointed with her own.

Workers at the facility noted how Murph fed and bathed her children. She kept up with their medical care and vaccinations. She got them to day care on time.

"She feels that she is a better mother to her children than her mother was to her," they noted.

But workers worried for the young mother, who was still grappling with the pain of her own childhood. In July 2000, Murph told workers that she had a physical altercation with her mother during a visit.

"Despite her doing well with the kids, she seems to be depressed and has expressed concern over not being able to visit her family," workers said.

In 2002, Murph moved to a caseworker-supervised apartment and had her fifth child in September. In 2003 and 2004, Murph gave birth to two more children.
And this was all that it took for her to be charged with first-degree murder...

Lakeshia Murph, 24, became frustrated with the crying of her son Brandon Nelson-Murph and beat him with a belt and her fists until her hand hurt, prosecutors said Monday.

Brandon's father came home early Saturday, found the boy limp in bed and took him to a hospital, said Cook County Assistant State's Atty. LuAnn Snow.
When I first saw this story with the pic of the mother at CBS2, my prejudice was exposed. We might have heard about a lot mothers who are just plain mean to their kids. I suppose I can accuse her mother of this same type of meanness or neglect. Still I looked at this girl's pic and I was like yup, she would.

Not that I condone her actions by any means. She should be punished and I hope that if she doesn't go to jail that she might suffer in someway for what she did to her child. She's still responsbile for her actions, but I may also surmise that this came from somewhere. I can also say that she unfortunately became another part of the cycle of abuse. This is only speculation of course.

Still I sort of now regret coming to my conclusion before I knew more about this story. This story is sad all the way around. From the life of Ms. Murph to the death of her son.

Anita Alvarez on Public Affairs

I saw this program yesterday unlike the other programs I mentioned Howard Brookins, Larry Suffredin, and Tom Allen with candidates for State's Attorney standing for election the issue of guns didn't come up until the closing credits were running. And during this time, I heard Ms. Alvarez who is a deputy State's Attorney under outgoing state's attorney Richard Devine said that she doesn't think citizens have the right to have a firearm and we would be safer without guns out here in the streets. Heh, typical!

A far cry from Alderman Brookins who believes that responsible people or citizens should be allowed that right though he won't consider, yet, concealed carry. A far cry from his city council colleague Tom Allen who wants to go after the criminals who may engage in illegal activities with guns whether they're illegally selling them in the streets to be used in crime or whatever. Not a far cry from Cook County Commissioner Larry Suffredin who doesn't seem to trust law-abiding citizen from using their right to have a firearm responsibly.

It's very easy for me to declare that Suffredin and Alvarez are candidates that have a sort of nanny state mentality that suggest that they don't trust people to be responsible and make wise choices whether it's with firearms or other areas. Not that I don't understand where this comes from especially with people being people they don't always make the most wisest decisions but why believe you should have to ruin it for everybody. The least a state's attorney can do is prosecute those who committed a crime with the use of a firearm, at least a state's attorney can't legislate more gun control. All they can do is prosecute the crimes before them.

You know this could just lead to other issues I want to pontificate on later. Perhaps even leading to me discussing more about the Illinois state constitution. One assignment I have for those of you reading this is to look up a Supreme Court case South vs. Maryland. I'm going to get back to that later.

In the meanwhile, here's a YouTube video of this program where show host Jeff Berkowitz discusses other issues with Ms. Alvarez such as police torture and police brutality. Enjoy!!!

A Clinton Racial Backfire?

Title from this post over at Andrew Sullivan's The Daily Dish. What's making the rounds in the political bloggosphere is Bob Kerrey's (a former Democratic Senator from Nebraska) remarks about Sen. Obama. He links to another blogger who has his ideas about these comments and Hillary's campaign.

Quinn Calls for Statewide Gambling Referendum

This sounds good to me just doesn't seem very likely. Looking at some Illinois politicians talking about something to this effect they don't seem to be very gung ho for it.

Chicagoist blogged about this yesterday and the Illinois Channel blog posted a an open letter to Governor Blagojevich as well.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Quinn 2010

Wow!!! The Lt. Governor of Illinois who served under the incumbent governor since 2003 running against him in 2010. Let's back up a minute.

The story about the governor's works habits last month brought up that Blagojevich might seek a third term in 2010. Does this man have no shame in what he's doing today? So this could open up some doors to who might run against him.

So all this is coming from Channel 2's Dan's Daily Briefing as Dan (don't know his last name) talks to Channel 2's political editior Mike Flannery. Here is the video.

The split between Governor and Lt. Governor isn't the only story discussed but next year's presidential election. I promise that there will be more stories about this here as we go forward!

A Constitutionally protected potty-mouth?

I just saw this story over at the Southtown Star. Almost hilarious but then I suppose I'm glad about it too. I understand that there are those who consider profane/foul/vulgar language quite offensive or problematic, should a person be cited, fined, or even arrested for it?

woman who was cited for loudly cursing at her overflowing toilet - and then at a neighbor who told her to quiet down - has been acquitted on First Amendment grounds.

District Judge Terrence Gallagher dismissed the disorderly conduct charge against Dawn Herb, 33, ruling she was within her rights when she let loose a string of profanities Oct. 11.

Although the language she used "may be considered by some to be offensive, vulgar and imprudent ... (it is) protected speech pursuant to the First Amendment," the judge wrote.

Herb was cited after Patrick Gilman, a police officer who lives near Herb, called authorities to complain.

At a hearing Monday, Gilman testified that he was at home, off duty, when his 12-year-old daughter ran in and said she had heard loud curses coming from a house down the street.

Gilman said he went outside, heard the bad language and yelled out to Herb to "watch your mouth." He said that she cursed at him instead. That's when Gilman called authorities.

In Pennsylvania, someone can be convicted of disorderly conduct for using obscene language in a way that causes "public inconvenience, annoyance or alarm."

Hoped-for casino boost faces long odds

From Crain's. Here's one good reason not to be under any illusion that casino gambling will be a panacea for providing more revenue for capital needs. Capitol needs being building roads, schools, public transportation and things like that.

So let's take a look...

As a downtown Chicago casino inches closer to reality, results from gambling forays in Detroit and other Midwestern cities suggest a limited payout here for the convention and tourism industries.

Three casinos near downtown Detroit, the first of which opened in 1999, have done little to attract more visitors or otherwise boost the city's struggling economy, according to Donald Holecek, a Michigan State University professor emeritus of tourism development. "People would come in for a day and stay in the casino," he says.

Chicago casino boosters cite a potential impact of as much as $950 million a year in annual revenue and 2,500 new jobs from a casino with 4,000 gambling positions, figures that could grow to $1.2 billion and 3,200 jobs for the hospitality industry as a whole. But critics say much of that would not be new money.

"The good thing (about casinos) is they make a lot of money," says William Thompson, a University of Nevada at Las Vegas professor of public administration. Casinos "pay a lot of taxes. The bad thing is they make the money off local residents. It's a zero-sum game."
A 'zero-sum game'? Ah, so these tourists who come in don't spend their money at these casinos? They're not gambling. That or there are no tourists.

Detroit may not be a good example only because I can only imagine that they aren't getting much tourism up there in the "Motor City". Might Chicago's attempt at gaming prove my theory correct that conventioneers and tourist won't spend at a casino? And yes, I do mean gambling.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Casino debate in Springfield

State Senators Bill Brady and Lou Lang talking about gambling expansion this morning on Channel 2's Eye on Chicago. Have a watch.

Bobby Rush: Mitchell Report Goes Beyond Baseball

He's going to do something about performance enhancing substances in sports. From CBS2Chicago...
This week, Congress will get involved in the baseball steroid scandal with hearings and potential investigations. Rep. Bobby Rush will also introduce a steroid bill, as CBS 2's Katie McCall reports.

Congressman Bobby Rush (D-Chicago) says the impact of the Mitchell Report extends far beyond Major League Baseball.

"The pattern of behavior documented in this report undermines Americans faith in honesty and fairness in many sports," Rush said.

Rush lamented the steroid use revealed in the report, which included the names of 91 players, 33 all stars, and 10 MVPs. He applauded Sen. George Mitchell for bringing the shameful truth out into the night.

"He hit a home run for the American people," Rush said.

For his part, Rush is promising to introduce legislation next year that will hold players, coaches and even owners accountable for doping not just in baseball, but in all professional sports.

"Congress has no point but to step up to the plate, get drugs out of America's pastime," Rush said.

The legislation says Rush will resemble standards set forth by the World Anti-Doping Agency, and will require frequent, independent testing of athletes and strict fines for violators.

Rush also wants to develop easier tests for Human Growth Hormone (HGH). Right now, a blood test is required to detect use of the hormone and he says unions have stood in the way of having athletes submit to those tests.

Most importantly, says Rush, he wants to reach young athletes and hammer home this message.

"Steroid use is not the way to succeed in sports," he said.
I haven't really followed this story, but I must admit that I was highly shocked to find out that Yankees baseball pitcher Roger Clemens was named in this report. Then again it makes since because he's still in the game, even after being in his 40s. Then again people do have some longevity in the game of baseball. Does anyone remember Charlie Hough, his signature pitch is the knuckleball?

Anyway there is one thing that baseball is going to get over, Barry Bonds.

Rep. Julia Carson, 69, Loses Battle With Cancer

From CBS2Chicago, she made history as the first black to represent the city of Indianapolis, Indiana to the US House of Representatives...
Rep. Julia Carson, the first black and first woman to represent Indianapolis in Congress, died Saturday, a family spokeswoman said. She was 69.

Carson died after a battle with lung cancer, spokeswoman Vanessa Summer said.

Carson announced last month that she was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer and that she would not run next year for a seventh term representing Indianapolis' 7th District. She had not been in Washington since September, when she was hospitalized with a leg infection.

She had said that she expected to return to Washington after recuperating, but a doctor then diagnosed that her lung cancer, which had been in remission, was back.

Carson was first elected to Congress in 1996. She championed children's issues, women's rights and efforts to reduce homelessness and was a staunch opponent of the war in Iraq.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Preamble of the US Constitution

Many years ago as I fufilled my requirements to graduate from the 8th Grade many years ago one of the things I had to do was pass Public Law 194. That means that I had to take a test on the US Constitution and the Illinois Constitution. That's the one thing that helped spark my interest in politics. I passed both with flying colors.

Anyway one of things I did for more points towards the test on the US Constitution was recite the Preamble. With some practice and memorization and repetition I did it flawlessly. I can't do it anymore though, but when I did it it didn't take but maybe 5-10 seconds.

So here's the preamble to the Constitution...

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
I just found the Constitution at the website of the National Archives. I figured it might be interest to you. Of course note that the Constitution and the Bill of Rights are listed separately. The rest of the amendments beyond the Bill of Rights you may have to find elsewhere, like here. Of course if you do a Google search you can find many sites that host the text of the Constitution.

Oh and I want to see the actual copy of it one day!

Man running for State Rep

Michael E. Mayden a baseball coach seeking to represent the 28th Illinois House of Representatives. This district is a part of the 9th and 34th Wards and of such southern suburbs as Blue Island, and Crestwood. Perhaps I should have done some research here. Any here are a couple of vids of interest.





He has a YouTube channel and a website as well.

I just saw him CAN-TV channel 19 this afternoon.

What happened here???

CBS2 has a story of abuse not sure who at least we know DCFS is on the case and the Police are investigating...
Police are investigating after a 2-year-old boy was severely beaten in his Auburn-Gresham neighborhood home.

A father arrived at his home at 7802 S. Carpenter St. at 12:30 a.m. Saturday, and found the little boy unresponsive, police News Affairs Officers said.

The toddler was taken to the hospital, where bruises were spotted all over his body, police said.

He was taken to Children's Memorial Hospital, where as of 7:50 a.m. Saturday morning he was reported in extremely critical condition.

Rape of the 34th Ward

This page over at IBC34 caught my eye this morning. Lots of pictures that tell a story about general neighborhood neglect. Vacant lots, unrepaired potholes, and developers who come in and buy the properties but doesn't allow for the dollars to stay in the community.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Billboard Erected In Search For Missing Sisters

More news about the missing Bradley sisters from CBS2...
The family of a missing man is helping in the search for two little girls who vanished six years ago.

Tionda and Diamond Bradley now have their first billboard, located on the Dan Ryan Expressway near 84th Street.

The Bradley sisters were last seen leaving their South Side apartment building in July 2001.

The sister of missing West Chicago man John Spira worked with Lamar Advertising to get the new billboard for Tionda and Diamond.

John Spira, also known as "Chicago Johnny," was last seen in February at his business.

The Noose…And It’s Role In Lynching Black Americans

Hermene Hartman the Publisher of the magapaper for the urbane, N'Digo has an editorial about the history of the noose and lynching. Better catch up to it quick because after the next week or so, you're not going to see it again. It's pretty good too. I'll offer some excerpts...
One of the focal points of the entire Jena 6 episode was the appearance of nooses hanging from the tree under which several Black students had sat the previous day. Eventually, the tree was cut down.

Shortly after Jena 6 garnered international outrage, a noose appeared on the door of a college professor at Columbia College in New York City. It, too, provoked a strong reaction.

There’s no escaping the symbolism of the noose.

The right-now generation may not know all the details, but from the hip-hoppers to the be-boppers, lynching –– by the noose, or any other means –– is known to be a part of the nightmare of being Black in America.
The what, where, why and some stats...
A part of the Black Holocaust, lynchings were/(still are?) used by White Americans to control, threaten, and abuse African Americans. These terrorist acts occurred during and after slavery all over the United States, but mostly in the Southern Black Belt states of Mississippi, Georgia, Alabama, and Louisiana.

A lynching is the illegal execution of an accused person or people by a mob, and the term is probably derived from the name of Charles Lynch, who led a rifle regiment during the Revolutionary War, and afterward, purportedly had his troops execute marauders and murderers in the new country without benefit of a trial.

Though lynchings occurred regularly until the mid-1950s, the Tuskegee Institute estimates that 3,118 Black Americans were lynched between the 40 years from 1882 and 1922, with at least 50 of them being Black women. It is difficult to even come close to knowing the exact number of lynchings that occurred however, because, obviously, not all incidents were reported.

Lynched victims were hanged (by a noose), burned, mutilated, tortured, shot, even hacked to death. A noose was placed around the neck and the victim hanged from a tree, sometimes after the torture.

Never Again.
At times, lynching was perceived as entertainment, having a certain theatrical flair, as the events were produced and advertised as a festive occasion –– “Come see the killing of the nigger!”

Sometimes after church on Sundays, White citizens came with their picnic baskets –– and their children –– to the event, a family outing for White people to watch Black people terrified and killed.

With the emergence of the Ku Klux Klan in the late 1880s, the number of lynchings ratcheted up dramatically. The Klan wore white garments and their heads were covered as they protected their purity. Between 1880 and 1920, an average of two African Americans were lynched each week in these United States.
...
The primary victims of lynching, Black men, mostly were lynched for just about any reason –– from minor crimes to major crimes, to no crimes at all. It was just a common form of punishment.

Lynching could result from insulting a White person, suing a White person, making threats, trying to vote, unruly remarks, entering a White woman’s room, using obscene language, voting for the wrong party, stealing, burglary, child abuse, testifying against a White person, living with or having sex with a White woman, demanding respect, resisting a mob, robbery, informing, gambling, or just simply being obnoxious. You could be lynched simply by accusation, with no proof and no trial.
Here's another thing worth noting when talking about this shameful occurance...
In 1937, Abel Meeropol, a Jewish teacher in New York, saw a photograph of a lynching and found the photographs so disturbing that he wrote a poem called Strange Fruit. He saw Billie Holiday perform in New York and presented her with the poem.

Billie liked it and turned it into a song of the same name, which Time magazine called a “prime piece of musical propaganda.” But the Chicago Triune, on January 1 of each year, began publishing a record of all the lynchings that had taken place in the previous year.

National attention was re-focused on lynching in 2000 with the publication of the book Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography and Postcards in America. The book featured 98 lynching photographs from a collection of 130 such pictures that White Florida antiques dealer James Allen and his partner John Littlefield amassed over 15 years.

The book was a best-seller, and 60 of the photos were put together as a traveling photo exhibition to museums across the country. The exhibit was so popular that even Stevie Wonder wanted to “see” it, according to the book Imagery of Lynching: Black Men, White Women, and the Mob, by Dora Apel.

Apel writes that Stevie was given a private tour and description of the pictures by James Allen himself, and when Stevie asked Allen why he collected the photos, Allen replied that, among other reasons, “I am a gay man and the discrimination I’ve known in my life has been from White males. I’m just angry and this is a way to express my anger.”

Allen added that he got the pictures not only from dealers, but “KKK members, the trunk of a prominent Savannah family, and from people where the photographs were kept in albums alongside vacation pictures.”

So, yes, there is a long abusive history with the noose during the Black Holocaust, and Black people today react to the noose imagery with a sense of injustice and indignation.
According to Hartmann hate crimes rose by 8% last year. And she doesn't want to forget and wants to say never again. Almost like a Holocaust victim from Germany. Hopefully we can let people know that displaying the noose is absolutely no joke and directing it at someone who might take a different meaning to it than they would is most certainly a bad idea.

Let's talk about some indictments

Some of the governor's people this time. Story from the Sun-Times...
U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald cautioned Thursday that people shouldn't jump to conclusions about three people linked to Gov. Blagojevich being indicted on the same day.

But, for the second time, the governor is identified in a federal corruption indictment -- this time as "Public Official A," a source close to the investigation said.

Former investment banker P. Nicholas Hurtgen allegedly told a hospital executive "Official A" wanted hospital projects steered to a preferred contractor, and that the desire to reward that contractor was "all about money" for political campaigns, Hurtgen's indictment alleges. The governor's office issued a forceful denial, claiming not to be that public official.

But, regardless of that denial and Fitzgerald's admonishment, this much is clear: The indictments of Hurtgen, Christopher G. Kelly and Abdelhamid "Al" Chaib leave Blagojevich facing a world of political, financial and potentially criminal trouble.

"It's like the game Battleship, and the shots are landing all around him," said Jay Stewart, executive director of the Better Government Association. "If [the investigation] isn't directed at the governor, it's sure coming close to him."
What are the odds that the US Attorney would find something on Blagojevich and make a lot of people's wish come true by indicting him next and taking him off the hands of the people of this state. I'll just take a wait and see attitude on this however.

83-year-old Mugabe To Seek A Sixth Term As The President Of Zimbabwe

Well this is certainly a case of a politician that won't let power go. If you've been following what's been going on in Zimbabwe things don't appear to be going too well there. I could point to strongman Robert Mugabe as the cause, but let's check this article out first...
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe, who has been in power since the nation's independence in 1980 resisting pressure to step down, has been endorsed by the ruling party as its candidate for the presidential elections to be held in March.

83-year-old Mugabe was the sole choice for the party delegates at the Zanu-PF conference in the Zimbabwean capital Harare, allowing the president to seek a sixth term in office, which critics say will prolong the country's deepening economic crisis.

Zimbabwe is embroiled in its worst economic crisis, with rocketing levels of unemployment and inflation. Human rights violations and political unrest are high in the African nation. A thriving black market, fuel shortages, a deficit in foreign currency, and soaring poverty add up to the misery of millions.

Zimbabwe's official inflation is estimated at around 8,000%, the highest in the world, while unofficial figures show an even worse picture of the economy.

Mugabe's nomination was unanimous, according to party chairman John Nkomo. "It means this congress has fully and unreservedly declared Comrade Robert Gabriel Mugabe as the presidential candidate for next year's presidential elections,” the AFP quoted him as saying. Mugabe had the backing of all 10 of the party's provincial bodies, Nkomo said.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Ten-year-old boy found hanged

Is this suicide or is this an accident? Do the parents really care about this boy? What is it with these young children killing themselves? From the Sun-Times today.

I only question this because I just can't imagine how a young child can concieve of suicide on their own.

A 10-year-old boy hanged himself at his South Side over the weekend.

Kemonta Mims, of the 6100 block of South King Drive, was pronounced dead Saturday, Dec. 8 at 1:22 p.m. at University of Chicago Comer Children’s Hospital. Mims died from the hanging and his death was determined to be a suicide, an autopsy performed Sunday determined, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office.

Police responded to the boy’s home Saturday and he was found inside his bedroom closet. A belt was wrapped around his neck and hung on a nail, according to Grand Crossing District police.
Another post of interest
Can someone tell me something?

CTA planning to add buses

Wait one minute how are they asking for money when they're crying broke but the political establishment seems unwilling to roll up their sleeves to give them more revenue. Well this Trib article explains why...
At a time of possibly massive service cuts, fare increases and employee layoffs, the CTA won its board's permission Wednesday to explore financing the lease of 150 new buses in a proposed $120 million deal.

"This certainly appears to be a big disconnect," CTA president Ron Huberman acknowledged about the megadeal, which comes at a time of possible sacrifice.

But he said he would only ask the transit agency's board to move forward on the bus lease if the state approves new transit funding to help erase a projected $158 million CTA deficit in 2008, and if the bus-financing package is affordable.

"But we cannot run the CTA without the equipment to operate the CTA," he said.

Huberman called the deal to acquire 150 diesel-hybrid articulated buses -- at a discount of about $60,000 per bus -- a fleeting opportunity made possible because the King County Metro system in Seattle didn't exercise its option to purchase the buses.

The CTA would then get rid of 200 of its oldest buses, saving $6.9 million a year in maintenance, labor and fuel costs, he said. The CTA's oldest buses have been on the road for 16 years, logging an average 580,000 miles apiece.

Money saved through lower operating costs would be directed toward the bus lease, which includes the additional advantage of allowing the CTA to write off the depreciation of the vehicles, Huberman said.

The CTA is preparing to cut 81 bus routes, lay off 2,400 employees and raise fares on Jan. 20 because of the continuing budget crisis. There are no signs from Springfield that legislative leaders and Gov. Rod Blagojevich are close to resolving a transit funding impasse that has dragged on for most of the year.

After report, Chicago State takes steps to tighten control of school finances

This story if from the Associated Press about the story yesterday about Chicago State...
Chicago State University trustees have taken steps to tighten their control over school finances.

The move comes after a published report this week that the university bought two copy machines in 2007 from a firm that's owned by a Chicago State employee.

Among other steps, board members voted to meet more often. And chair Betsy Hill emphasized that purchases greater than a quarter million dollars will have to be brought before the board.

The trustees also told the Chicago Tribune they intend to look into how the $251,000 purchase _ without a bidding process _ was allowed to happen.
...
Earlier this year, a state audit revealed financial controls at Chicago State were too lax.