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Friday, February 29, 2008

Boy Scouts - "Get in Touch"

It would be nice if there were commercials like this again. To see today's young black boys and an adult black male role model to be engaged in such an activity. If there are a problem with boys anywhere at school or outside of school the question that should come to mind is, "where are the men?"

This vid is courtesy of FuzzyMemories.tv

Leap Day!!!

Apparently this is a leap year. Every four years or so the month of February gets an extra day. So Februaries as most of us know normally doesn't have a 29 day.

Also I breezed through my third blogging anniversary. Sorry about that. When I get to rolling I can just breeze thru things such as that. Now the blog has not only seen two primary elections, a presidential inaugural, a gubernatorial election, a presidential primary, and a mayoral election. The blog has gone thru a leap year as well!

This will be a bit of a blog holiday. I think this will be the only post for today. Please remember this blog has been around three years!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

A state of war with the people

Another John Locke quote from his book Second Treatise of Government. It certainly could apply loosely to a number of situations. For instance I could apply this to Daley's control over the Chicago City Council on a small scale. On the other hand I could point to, loosely, Blagojevich's attempt to circumvent the legislature in order to use his perogative to hammer thru his health care plans. Or better yet his amendatory veto to add free rides to seniors on the recent transit bailout bill.

Perhaps an even better example still, at least for those of who you are against President Bush and the war in Iraq, that there was no debate on going to Iraq. They passed an authorization, an authorization is very different than a declaration of war (I should come back to that). They decided not to really address the merits and acquiesced to the prevailing sentiment. That sentiment being fear and a desire to beat back terrorism. Something certainly Americans had between 9-11 and the start of the Iraq war.

Of course in the future it's worth remembering this quote because the crises I've outlined and of course there are other throughout history that I or anyone can point to where this would be true. In other words it pays not to let those we choose as our leaders to bring us down the wrong path. That is the path we many not exactly want to go down.
I may be demanded here, What if the executive power, being possessed of the force of the common-wealth, shall make use of that force to hinder the meeting and acting of the legislative, when the original constitution, or the public exigencies require it? I say using force upon the people without authority, and contrary to the trust put in him that does so, is a state of war with the people, who have a right to reinstate their legislative in the exercise of their power: for having erected a legislative, with an intent they should exercise the power of making laws, either at certain set times, or when there is need of it, when they are hindered by any force from what is so necessary to the society, and wherein the safety and preservation of the people consists, the people have a right to remove it by force. In all states and conditions, the true remedy of force without authority, is to oppose force to it. The use of force without authority, always puts him that uses it into a state of war, as the aggressor, and renders him liable to be treated accordingly.
Of course if you have the need for more context you might want to pick up Locke's book and give it a read. I just thought this was a very powerful paragraph. I felt the need to share. The chapter is XIII: Of Subordination of the Powers.

Could this change your mind about Obama?

Read this post from The Capitol Fax and let me know if you still think Obama's a nice guy or if you think he might have a little ego or is a little thin skinned?

Sen. Clinton appeals to the sistas of Delta Sigma Theta

Well while blacks generally support Obama, I do wonder how much support Clinton may have among black women. If I recall correctly there are those who had a problem with Oprah supporting Obama because it was felt that as a woman she should support Clinton. I don't agree with that and one should support who they want to support. It's how it should work.

Since Hillary isn't hot right now, according to the Black Greek Network (hmm we haven't heard from them in a while) the New York Senator makes an appeal to the ladies of the black collegiate sorority for their support....
A final face-off between Democrats running for president: Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama debate once again in Cleveland before the primary on March 4.

Hillary Clinton, making the hard sell to women at a student rally Monday night.

Daytime host Ellen DeGeneres cut in, helping Clinton spell out the high stakes in next week’s primaries.

Earlier, Clinton appealed to the women of Delta Sigma Theta, one of the country’s largest black sororities, highlighting one member’s Oscar bid.

“The Delta’s are a who’s who of women who have stood up and who have led, who have changed this country for the better. And I know you were all rooting for Ruby Dee,” Hillary Clinton said.

Polls show Barack Obama has made huge gains among women since December. In Dayton Monday night, Obama said he and supporters are the real deal.
The question here is mostly likely if this could help Hillary in Ohio. I wish I knew but I think this year's elections have turned out a lot of surprises and it won't be over until either party holds a convention.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Illinois Business Roundtable says no we can't to improving Illinois government

I haven't opined much about the Constitutional Convention lately, but here's one group who thinks voters shouldn't consider convenining one courtesy of Progressive Advocacy. As you should know by now, voters are to decide if we will have a state Constitutional Convention in 2010. We have to vote on this every 20 years.

In 1988, apparently Illinois voters didn't want a constitutional convention. In general though the landscape in 1988 was much different than it is now. I sense a general dissatisfaction with state government today. THough I hope voters use clear heads when they vote for a convention. In 1988, perhaps there wasn't a need for change although there might have been those interests who did what they could to keep things as they are now.

Still I would err on the side of change and I hope people vote for change. All the people got to do is decide that there should be change. I think the state of Illinois would be better off if the people of Illinois took back their government. That means asking for a convention to either amend the state constitution or to totally rewrite the document.

Some good posts by Chicago Argus...

The blogmaster, Gregory Tejada had a good post about the possibility that Joliet might lose their status as a prison town. It's a good read but I don't want to talk about that.

The post about the wrangling over airport expansion is Chicago caught my interest. I remember that they wanted to build an airport on the southeast side although that proposal never went forward. Basically why O'Hare hasn't expanded yet, or there isn't an airport in Peotone or even why Gary isn't anywhere close to its potential is because of short-mindedness and politics.

Former governor and convicted felon George Ryan was mentioned...
Meanwhile, Indiana officials continue to push for small-scale development of Gary-Chicago International out of hopes that future political mood swings could allow them to be ready to accommodate a future major expansion.

What I remember the most about the 1991 bi-state commission airport hearing was listening to Ryan when he said he could never, in good conscience, make any type of vote that would support putting a Chicago-area airport in Indiana.

That logic is so short sighted.
George Ryan was on a bi-state commission to determine where an airport would be placed. He voted for Kankakee, the first I've ever heard that although I couldn't say at the time that I would have understood that or followed it closely. Peotone has been proposed for many years and Gary, Indiana. Well the only time I knew about that was when an agreement was reached between Daley and then Gary Mayor Scott King.

I would imagine Gary could use the boon of an airport. Especially since it's a struggling town and it needs jobs and industry. Still because some can't get it together for new airport capacity or allowing a Chicago area airport across the state line, especially if it's cheaper to do an airport that's already built is unfortunate. I wonder why it's more important to make allowing for a solution difficult than it is to allow a solution to be made?

Anyway another good post to read over there is about how a GOP candidate for Congress dropped out of his race a couple or so weeks after he won the primary. I guess I understand that better after reading that piece but if this is not something you really wanted to do, then the best bet is to not go for it in the first place. It could save some humiliation.

Clout City on Cook Republicans

The Chicago Reader politics blog gives their take on the situation involving county Republicans in a heavily Democratic county. This year the only candidate up countywide is Tony Peraica for State's Attorney. In addition they had a notice for "qualified" candidates to be submitted for slating by the county Republican party. Obviously some job they did since they either found no one to run or they didn't even try to slate anyone to run for other county offices this year.

It's certainly difficult to run candidates in a county that isn't likely to vote for them but just giving up like it seems county Republicans did this year is bad. I suspect that things could change depending on who will be the new county Republican chairman since Liz Gorman says that she won't run for re-election. Let's hope that Tony Peraica won't be the county GOP chair however. It could become a headache they won't need!

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Interesting discussion in my seminar course today

If we're not talking about writing papers in the class we're talking about business in the political science department. There are other things worth discussing, but let's take those one at a time.

First off and this is the first time I ever I heard this. The Political Science Dept is growing. When I first arrived at Morehouse it was obviously a small department of mostly 6 or 7 professors on staff. There are two other programs within this Deptartment mainly International and Urban Studies. Ultimately they're approaching enough students to overtake the Business Department.

I chuckled at that! I'm not a business major, although I sure could have enrolled as a Finance major. I chuckled because I hear a lot of the business majors whining and complaining about the work they have to do. Financial statements, value chains, mission statements, and other terms that I have no idea about. Still they do I heard one business professor talk about how one of his colleague has passion. That professor might make or break you!

So the lack of surprise is that a lot of the guys come to the Political Science Dept saying they're not liking the Business program. Some of it is probably because it's demanding though of course I'm not saying that political science is any easier. I'll give you one example.

The constitutional law professor is a legend of sorts because he's said to have sent more HBCU students to Ivy League law schools than any other HBCU professor. Because of the rate he may fail or hold back students he is often referred to as "Dr. Death". If you don't brief the cases and make the attempt at reading or studying. Indeed you may choose not to come to class weeks at a time until the next test but you choose not to read during that period, a student shouldn't be surprised if he finds himself with an F at the end of the term.

He's not the only example but he is one example. For me political philosophy is hard. To me while reading is important it requires great critical thinking. Indeed it certainly helps if you had some exceptional reading comprehension. I guess it's intimidation because philosophy tends to be, in my opinion, heady!

In comparison to business you're learning how to research but mostly social or political phenomena. Also political science is apparently a jump off for law school. To be honest I hear it's not the best preparation. You might be better off majoring in English or Philosophy if you seek to enter a law school. In fact some Political Science majors choose to specialize within the department in political philosophy if they desire going to law school.

Also you may not have to work with numbers as much. You know statistics! There is a scope and methods course in the department but there isn't a course in social science statistics. If that's your speed or you want to go to grad school you might have to consider enrolling in a course outside of the department say an Economics or Sociology statistics.

Tangent: Hmm, now I wonder why some people choose to major in political science to begin with? I'll tell my story later!

Another issue that has come up is money. Morehouse isn't a very wealthy school perhaps compared to other liberal arts colleges. Also the political science department could use some money for scholarships especially in addition to perhaps other necessary resources in the department. I heard many years ago and it was touched upon today by another student that in general academic departments aren't allowed to raise money for their departments. All this money has to go thru the office of business/finance of the school. Almost unfortunate since the previous chair of the department has roughly the same issue and he figured other schools allowed departments to raise funds why not Morehouse?

So our professor who also chairs the department says that if he's not on campus he's out trying to raise funds. He mentioned how he a Morehouse alumni is interesting in donating some money into the department, he owns a local business here in Atlanta. He wants to know how the department works or at least the work put out by the students, especially as they graduate. Well an important thing to do if you want to make an investment.

Our chair couldn't stress this enough that there are areas of instruction they need to improve over. Students aren't well versed in scope & methods. Another issue among political science majors is writing. My political philosophy professor mentioned a student who doesn't know how to put together a thesis or even write a good essay even though he passed English composition. So at least she's going to help him thru that end and that's great. Hmm the previous chairman wanted to have a writing lab but apparently didn't get too far with that, unfortunately.

Oh yeah he mentioned a young Morehouse graduate running for Congress against John Lewis. If you follow the Congressional Black Caucus that is a name you should have heard of. Been a congressman for the city of Atlanta for decades apparently. So he suggest finding ways of getting students to help him out in his campaign.

A lot of stuff to cover I only wished that I knew about this little tidbits beyond having to attend class for this! And just a little taste about what they're teaching us down here. If of course you're interested.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Social Contract

I'm reading John Locke. Well I indicated that already who is a social contract theorist and a natural law theorist. Hints of social contract was in Plato's dialogues with Socrates. In sharing the definition I should ask, Is the US Constitution or even a state constitution a social contract...
Social contract - an agreement either between the people and a ruler or amongst the people. This agreement specifies the terms upon which they are prepared to enter society or submit to an authority
More from John Locke and the idea of classical liberalism later.

Chicago Public Schools hopes to solve dropout problem

When I was in high school there were students who would miss perhaps months worth of school. I could go by the weeks they would miss. It's not like say the month of January would go by and you wouldn't see them. Perhaps you saw them one day that month then they stopped showing up for a while.

I almost wonder why students stopped showing up. I would expect that's as important as attempting to prevent students from dropping out. Oh and dropping out is said to be more common for boys than girls but I've noticed there were those girls who dropped out as well. Some of this might be because they have babies, but I'd like to know beyond that what causes a girl to drop out.

Here's an easy answer for me. Lack of parental involvement. If the parents don't support you when you're in school why would you bother going. We might have heard stories about how parents cast their children off on the school system as if it's their job to raise their kids or at least babysit them during the day. Of course that might not be the only factor. So here's a Tribune excerpt...
Nearly half of Chicago public school 9th graders who started high school in the last seven years have dropped out without earning a high school diploma, according to a study to be released Monday.

The report, CPS Graduation Pathways Strategy and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, analyzed the district's dropout numbers since 2000.

It found that the number of students who did not finish high school hit a high in 2000, when 49 percent of freshmen who started their studies in 1995 did not graduate.

Since then, the number of students who have dropped out has been edging lower. In 2006, that figure dropped to a seven-year low when 44 percent of the 31,600 9th graders who began high school in 2001 failed to graduate.

"It's a huge issue, and it's not just a huge issue in Chicago. It's a huge issue in all of the large urban districts across the country," said Carmita Vaughan, the district's dropout prevention and recovery director. "For whatever reason over the past 10 years, there has been an alarming trend of students who are not successfully finishing high school."

Among the findings, the study, which was based on data from the 2005-06 school year, found that about a third of incoming 9th graders entered high school at ages older than the traditional 9th grader. Among those students, the graduation rate dropped to 27 percent, Vaughan said.

Girls were more likely to graduate than boys, the study found. The dropout rate for African-American students was highest among all the students, with about 49 percent failing to graduate. About 30 percent of white students dropped out, Vaughan said.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Time for an elected school board

A very old item I found on the District 299 blog from Parents United for Responsible Education. I had to go back aways in their February Archives. I missed it. Anyway here's an excerpt...
CPS thinks it's a good idea to close schools for the purposes of gentrification, but not when the city is under "whiteout conditions." It's OK- little kids and moms can struggle through knee-deep snow to mostly-empty schools. Who will complain?

The upcoming hearings on school closings will be no more than idle exercises. Bored hearing officers will pretend to listen. A stenographer will duly record the hundreds of impassioned speeches from parents, students, and staff. And the Mayor's school board will rubber stamp the plan as proposed.

People are angry. People are frustrated. We've about reached the boiling point.

Talk is building out in the communities that it's time for an elected school board and time to take total power of the schools away from the Mayor. We already have at least one legislator who has expressed support for changing the law. And people are angry enough to make it happen.
Before Mayor Daley took absolute control of the school board wasn't they elected prior to 1995. That school board seemed to have a great inability to get things done. They were always crying about deficits and things like that, yet they didn't seem able to do anything about it.

I'm not exactly indicating that I favor the system that exists now but I wouldn't mind it if members of the school board were elected. And the mayor is only allowed to appoint most of the top officers of the school district with of course the approval of the school board. And I've heard that Daley wants to curb the powers of the Local School Councils I guess I'd rather they had an elected school board before they have to mess with the powers of the LSCs to run the schools as they see fit.

Mentoring young black males

A great issue worth discussing for black history month. That's something that's explored in this video from Channel 2. In my lifetime I've ran into one too many young black men who cancelled themselves out of doing some worthwhile things. One of those things is college, but of course that's not the only thing that would allow them to contribute positively.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

40 years later and aint a damn thing changed!

A rant from a blog that doesn't get updated enough, New Leadership Blog. We are in fact approaching the 40th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King's death and Domonique Huff doesn't like what he sees on any street in the nation called MLK Drive! Here's an excerpt and there is some offensive language in this piece and try to keep it in context...
t’s 2008 and this year, we will be remembering the 40th anniversary in which an assassin’s bullet claimed the life of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Each January, we always enjoy that day off from work with pay or a free day from classes.

When I drive on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in Atlanta and any other major city I am not impressed with what I see. What do I see? I see niggers (yes, I said it—that’s what those people are) hanging out on street corners, trash thrown everywhere, business erosion, bad government schools, lack of representation on the city council, county commission and state level, lack of community pride and respect.

Is this what Dr. King took those damn bullets for back in 1968?

To see black people with no sense of decency or standards on a street named in his honor. It’s more funny to me that Atlanta has had several years of do nothing black mayoral leadership. The same blacks that cry and constantly remind us about the civil rights struggle but yet do nothing to uplift and repair our broken communities. The black community does not need another governmental program or any more government funding. What we need is for someone to finally start speaking and telling the truth. We need for some tough love and to cut the bullshitting. We need to stop worshiping the losers, having children out of wedlock in fatherless homes and start snitching. Many people mourned the death of the two officers in Dekalb County but yet nearly someone dies everyday in Dekalb County. Where is the mourning for them? Where is the 100 police officer search party seeking out their killers? Dekalb County police like Atlanta police and city government are not interested because we as citizens are not interested. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson should not have to come and rally for you to stand up and say something. A white racist liberal should not have to get you agitated for shits and giggles.

Sub-prime explained

A slideshow explaining the current mortgage crisis. You will run into some vulgar language but expect to be either educated or entertained.

"New Coke Vs. Classic Coke" with William Perry & Jim McMahon

Those were the days weren't it? This commercial aired January of 1986 and at that time the Bears were either on their way to the Super Bowl or they were already there. And there was a "new" Coke in town. Well I don't want to go back and forth on whether Coke or Coca-Cola was better. I'm much too young for that.

Needless to say "Refrigerator" Perry is definitely not in need of a case of Cokes to fill his refrigerator. It's more likely to be Coca-Cola Classic. Not just that it isn't very healthy to go thru a case of Coca-Cola anyway.

What a throwback either way. I certainly don't remember cans looking like that. These days though I'm more used to these "hospital" pops that I might find in my refrigerator. In addition to these normal sized pop cans you can find these "hospital" sizes in your local grocery store or perhaps at Wal-Mart or Target.

BTW, "hospital sizes are roughly half the sizes of a regular can of Coca-Cola and I was told not too long ago that they were so called because they were served in hospitals. Interesting.

Another video throwback courtesy of the online Chicago TV museum FuzzyMemories.TV.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Chicago Democratic Feud

A video from Crain's Chicago Business about the Democratic Presidential race between Obama and Clinton. A lot of divisions to me made here as far as race or gender goes. Even a break down amongst Chicago Business people especially John Rogers of Ariel Capital Management.

I most certainly hope not!

The state of attribute their quote of the day to former Virgina Governor (also the first black man elected governor of a US state) and sitting Richmond, Virginia Mayor Douglas Wilder.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

City's 'Food Deserts' Can Lead To Big Health Risks

This has been a big story in Chicago for the past few years. Perhaps even longer than that at least for those who live in such "deserts" and they're concerned about it. Still I don't get the solution part as talked about in the Channel 2 story.

Hey I've got an idea! No more research you see a problem perhaps you can open a grocery! Or perhaps you can get a grocery chain to open a store in the neighborhood. If nothing else though and you're willing to run that business or at least find some capital or some partners open up a grocery store! Stop complaining if you see a problem and trust me I know it won't be easy.

Yeah you'll lose money though there is a good probability that you'd profit from such a venture. Still, all this whining and crying like Bobby Rush is doing isn't solving the problem. Good thing he's bringing attention to it, but obviously he's glossing over the main solution. The main solution being find someone willing to open a grocery store whether a budding entrepreneur or a chain such as a Wal-Mart, Dominick's, Jewel, Market Foods, Target, or Aldi's to name a few examples.

Why continue to do research on what you know is a problem? And why seek a solution to a problem where the solution is obvious? The solution is obvious that's what's missing in this story.

BTW, I could have sworn that they went to 79th and the Dan Ryan to take a shot of the abandoned Dominick's store that closed within the past couple or so years. Almost seems a little unfair, doesn't it. Besides there's a Jewel right down the Dan Ryan and another one on 79th Street just across the expressway.

Labor theory of value or private property

I wouldn't have put two and two together by just reading this in John Locke's Second Treatise of Government. I had to read Chapter V: Of Property to understand it a little. The text of it is...
The labour of his body and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever then he removes our of the state that nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with, and joined it to something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property. It being by him removed from the common state nature hath placed it in, it hath by this labour something annexed to it, that excludes the common right of other men: for this labour being the unquestionable property of the labourer no man but he can have a right to what that is one joined to at least where there is enough, and as good left in common for others.
Of course I'm sure this opens up a can of worms. Perhaps this good wasn't claimed by anyone else. Then I saw another thing that interested me, taking more than you need. This apparently would be considered stealing because others could enjoy this acorn or apple. I'll get back to this idea soon enough so I craft more of a response to that.

If I return to Locke in the immediate future I'd like to share my notes on "classical liberalism".

Gov plans $300 per-child tax rebate

The bellyaching over this might not be much different than what it was for a stimulus package being advanced by the federal government. The idea here is that it's our money anyway and they're giving us the priviledge of getting it back. I can view this in the same way as many see the federal stimulus package.

Blagojevich yesterday offered his state of the state address, he wants to stimulate the economy of the state and hopefully lessen the effects of a recession. He still wants to expand access to health care (his pet project as of late so to speak) now he actually wants to take care of businesses by offering them tax breaks. Last year he wanted to raise taxes on them!

And of course the issue coming up is how are we going to pay for this. Let's be honest during his terms as governor no one will accuse him of being fiscally conservative. The governor likes to spend and it makes his no tax pledge look foolish, although to be fair if you know most of the electorate doesn't want their taxes increased then raising taxes would be hard to do. Still if you want to spend and you have a little more political capital then our current governor does at this moment, then it follows that you might have to raise taxes somewhere. If not at least raise income or sales taxes or even the GRT.

I don't know what do you think out there. Are you OK with $300 of you money that should already be yours being given back to you? Do you think this is another smoke & mirrors promise by the governor that will come to nothing?

Gov plans $300 per-child tax rebate - Sun-Times

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

CPS to do an about-face

I wish that when I was in high school they allowed us a specialty at least to make most of us prepared for the work place. They generally didn't or at least didn't allow us that option or at least not at my high school. Perhaps the one size fits all model for public education doesn't work because most students aren't going to be cut out for either going to college or working in a field the education system was gearing us up for. So I'm glad there is a plan for some curriculum variety. From the Defender...
In 2001, under a multi-million dollar Chicago Public Schools redesign initiative, Orr High School was divided into three smaller schools. But high drop out rates, and low test scores have proven that the initiative did not work, and CPS CEO Arne Duncan is reversing the organization's decision.

Orr is on his list of critical “turnaround” schools. New proposals are being developed for these schools, and will be presented to The Chicago Board of Education this month. “The need for change in these schools is urgent. We can't wait to provide better education options for our children.

We have to find a way to do it now,” he said. Under Duncan's proposal, Orr will be managed by the Academy for Urban School Leadership. The AUSL led the turnaround effort at the Sherman School of Excellence in 2006 and the Harvard School of Excellence in 2007. CPS officials pointed to increased test scores at Sherman, and increased attendance at Harvard as evidence of AUSL's success and are depending on them to do it again.

Longer school days for ninth and tenth grade students, the ability for students to choose a liberal arts or technical course of study and a teacher training center are all part of the AUSL's plan.

All faculty who currently teach at Orr's three subdivisions - Mose Vines High School, Applied Arts Science and Technology Academy High School and Excel-Orr Academy - will have to reapply for their positions, CPS officials said. Yesterday, students from the three schools packed into the CPS central headquarters, 125 S. Clark, for a forum on the proposed changes.
I don't share the pessimism that there will always be gang fights. I think it can be cut down to zero if we can rid some of our schools of these kids who only go to class to stir up trouble. I wonder what the issue of disclipline is in the high schools these days. I really would like to know that today's students don't have to be screened before they go to class everyday.

Regime change in Cuba won't be boost for Illinois

I remember this many years ago though at the time I didn't understand what this meant. Though I'm glad the Daily Herald is able to refresh my memory. If you don't remember then Gov. and not yet felon George Ryan went to Cuba on business...
In the fall of 1999, a newly-elected Gov. George Ryan lead a delegation to Cuba intending to lay the groundwork for Illinois firms should a regime change end the U.S. embargo.

Executives from Peoria-based Caterpillar Inc., Moline-based Deere & Co., Decatur-based Archer Daniels Midland Co. and Deerfield-based Baxter International Inc. flew down on a United Airlines flight to Havana to meet with Fidel Castro.

Yet as Castro, 81, announced Tuesday he would not accept another term in office when parliament elects a new president this weekend, the intervening years and the pending regime change hold little immediate prospect for Illinois businesses.

"That was really more of a Ryan story than it was an economic story," said John Pelissero, vice provost and a political science professor at Loyola University in Chicago. "The issue was to be ready when there is regime change. But I don't think anything really changed for Illinois."

The U.S. economic embargo of Cuba is going on 48 years, after Castro seized power in a revolution that resulted in the nationalization of both individual and U.S. properties.

Reacting to the news Castro's brother, Raul Castro, may be taking over the presidency on Sunday, the Bush administration said it doesn't intend to lift the embargo anytime soon.

Due to the lack of a U.S. presence, other countries have invested in the country.

Venezuela's Hugo Chavez barters oil for doctors and teachers. Spanish hotels, French power companies, Italian car dealerships and Canadian cell phone companies are present, but U.S. firms are barred from even having subsidiaries working in Cuba.

Economists say Cuba is a potential market for corn and soybean producing states such as Illinois.

Cuba also needs development of its tourism, electronics, telecommunications, high tech, heavy machinery and health-care sectors.
Found in todays CapFax morning shorts. Oh and I talked briefly about Castro's resignation here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Daley unveils annual gun control legislation

Daley, You know you could just address the financial issues of city government instead of chasing after this idea of gun control. You might need to listen to the man who's going to sponsor this legislation. From the Sun-Times...
Moved by the shooting deaths of five students at Northern Illinois University, Mayor Daley today unveiled his annual package of gun control legislation, even as a state senate sponsor acknowledged that none of the bills could have prevented the tragedy.

Once again, Daley wants to ban semiautomatic assault weapons and .50-caliber military-grade rifles, use the State Police to license gun dealers and limit handgun purchases to one a month per person.
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He also wants to close the “private sale loophole” that allows people to buy guns from each other without scrutiny.

But there are a few new wrinkles, like mandating trigger locks and locked containers in homes where guns are accessible to children under 18, instead of 14. Daley also wants to ban the sale and possession of high-capacity magazines and require that some semiautomatic pistols be capable of microstamping ammunition to trace it.

After joining the mayor for his annual gun control news conference at police headquarters, State Sen. John Cullerton (D-Chicago) acknowledged that none of the bills would have prevented Steve Kazmierczak from opening fire on Valentine’s Day afternoon in a crowded NIU lecture hall.

Kazmierczak struggled with mental illness, but he was not prohibited from buying guns. He had a valid firearm owner’s identification card and purchased the guns legally.

But Daley said the magnitude of the NIU tragedy and other recent shootings in schools, stores and government buildings just might turn the tide.

“The tragedy in Tinley Park. The tragedy out at NIU. The tragedy at Kirkwood [Missouri]. All the tragedies in the junior and four-year college systems across the country. Then, you go to high schools. I think it’s an epidemic,” Daley said. “And it’s an epidemic whether or not we’re becoming immune from it. It doesn’t shock people. It doesn’t frighten people anymore. …That’s something America has to come to grips with.”
Guns owned by responsible people shouldn't be a problem and I really think it makes no sense to restrict people from owning guns. I also think that it's not good that Daley doesn't trust the people who live in "his" city to be responsible with guns. Perhaps responsible citizens with a firearm might make our streets much safer.

Daley and others I really think are going after the wrong boogey man here.

NU to build $90-million home for music school

I have a class with the chairman of the Political Science department here at Morehouse. He always says that there are things they like to do here but often can't because they lack the resources. In fact he made the camparsion between his alma mater, Northwestern University. And this article from Crain's may illustrate the resources they have versus Morehouse...
Northwestern University announced Tuesday it will build a $90-million building that will enable it to consolidate its School of Music.

The five-story building, to be on the south end of campus, should be complete by 2012. Northwestern is in the process of selecting an architect and hopes to start construction late next year.

The university is not disclosing how much money has been raised so far for the project or where financing will come from.

“We will continue to raise funds for the facility as plans for it move forward,” Henry Bienen, Northwestern’s president, said in a statement.

Currently Northwestern’s School of Music is in three buildings. The university has not determined what it will do with the space when the School of Music moves into the new building, which is to be just south of Pick-Staiger Concert Hall and Regenstein Hall of Music.
Oh, BTW, I did a post by John Locke this morning. I deleted it so that I can rework it. I wanted to start fresh the premise I had started on before I went to my political theory class today was flawed. And I really got more material that I will share at a later date!

Momentshowing: Political Video

Jay Dedman and another vlogger, Schlomo are to moderate a panel on the impact of web based video on the political conversation. I hope he has more when it happens. The date is March 5, 2008, however you might want to see his post for more details.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Obama's Lifted Speech?

Found this story with regards to similarities between a speech given by then Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate, Deval Patrick and Sen. Barack Obama as a Presidential candidate over at LGF. Does anyone see a big deal about this?

Is there only so many ways you can say nothing? Another perspective can be found over at InstaPundit.

And also how about this video provided by Steve Garfield's Video Blog.


InstaPundit has more about gun-free zones on college campuses

Actually he links to three articles as of this moment I have haven't clicked on all three links, but to be very honest the first link has a very disturbing proposal that I hope no college will ever consider. It almost reminds me of my time in a city high school where I would start my day walking thru a metal detector. Screening heavily with a big wall to prevent anything from getting in or out is a bit disturbing to me. In comparison I'd rather go to class with a responsible adult who's carrying a firearm instead of feeling like I'm in prison.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Keeping blacks in the Democratic Party

For some of you probably an odd ball statement but one worth considering. That's the underlying argument in this Pajama's Media article. Bill Clinton's willingness to gamble the Democratic Party's most faithful constituency so that he can return to the White House with his wife. Here's quote...
Nearly two weeks after a crime had been committed in South Carolina, the prime suspect, Bill Clinton, was finally “tracked down at a local diner” in Maine February 8. Wagging his familiar finger, Clinton informed a reporter from Maine TV station WCSH that he “learned a very valuable lesson. … I have to let her defend herself.” And just in case the old familiar wagging finger was not enough, Bill added the biggest whopper of all: “I don’t want to be the story.”

But if the polls are to be believed, hiding Bill up in Maine was too little, too late. Democrats are abandoning Bill Clinton — and Hillary — like rats from a sinking ship. The Clinton-Obama near-tie on Super Tuesday was the line of Obama’s ascent crossing that of Hillary Clinton’s demise. Barack Obama has proceeded to defeat Hillary in every state since. Bill Clinton’s power is no longer “crackling through his jeans.” The sudden loss is the Clintons’ Ceausescu moment.

Is racism the unforgivable crime finally ending Democrats’ 16-year love affair with Bill Clinton? No, it’s worse: from New Hampshire to South Carolina, Clinton’s carefully calculated and racially tinged attacks on Obama risked setting black America free from the Democrat Party.

It was the 1960 presidential campaign of John F. Kennedy which brought the majority of black voters out of the Republican camp and into the Democrat Party — for 95 years the party of segregation and before that the party of slavery. In spite of the fact that Republican support was required to overcome Democrat segregationists in both houses of Congress, President Lyndon Johnson’s role in forcing passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and 1965 Voting Rights Act sealed the deal. But black voters are also Democrats’ Achilles heel. Even a 10-20% shift by black voters back to the Party of Lincoln could prove fatal to the Democrats. History lessons won’t do that, but Clinton’s big mouth could.

Bill Clinton’s campaign strategy comes right out of Hillary’s infamous and long-hidden 1969 senior thesis on radical organizer Saul Alinsky. Alinsky’s 13th Rule for Radicals is: “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” For three weeks in January, the Clintons and their backers did their best to polarize non-black Democrat voters against Obama, bringing up Obama’s admitted past drug use and firing off one-liners like “Lyndon Johnson,” “fairy-tale,” “shuck and jive,” and “spade work” to increasing choruses of anger from liberals and conservatives alike.

But it backfired. America’s leading radio host Rush Limbaugh focused the spotlight on the racially divisive subtext of what he called the Democrats’ “uncivil war.” Senator Ted Kennedy (D-MA) apparently phoned Clinton several times warning him to tone it down. Al Sharpton said Clinton should “shut up.” But Clinton took no heed, willing to gamble his own party for a return to the White House.

Going after black senators is a long Clinton tradition. Life Magazine gave Hillary an initial taste of nationwide media exposure after her 1969 Wellesley commencement speech in which she denounced the first black man to be elected to the U.S. Senate in 100 years. But that was different. Her target then was a Republican, Sen. Edward Brooke of Massachusetts.

Today’s Clinton problem is not that their remarks are perceived as racist or as racially divisive. The problem is that they could drive some black voters out of the Democrat camp. In the eyes of Democrats, the Clinton attacks on Obama are wrong for exactly the same reason that Hillary’s attack on Brooke was right.

Ted Kennedy himself once in 2005 famously appeared to slip and blurt out “Obama bin Laden”. But when three weeks of racially tinged Clinton remarks ended with Bill comparing Obama’s victory in South Carolina to those of Jesse Jackson in 1984 and 1988, Kennedy had heard enough. Endorsing Obama, Kennedy told a cheering Obama rally January 28, “With Barack Obama we will close the book on the old politics of race against race, gender against gender, ethnic group against ethnic group, and straight against gay.” Caroline Kennedy, in a January 27 New York Times essay, called Obama “a president like my father.” The Kennedys couldn’t deliver Massachusetts for Obama February 5, but that’s secondary. The focus is keeping the black vote Democratic.
This is something that Republicans are looking for but then they just have to be able to seize it. Not that I would have much faith in that, but who knows. Obama's candidacy might mess up the calculus a little and Sen. Clinton in her eagerness with win the nomination might have hurt herself in this race. We still have a few more primaries to go so we'll have to see what happens.

Hat-tip InstaPundit.

Calls for more gun control

Should we be surprised. I saw some posts on the NIU shooting last week over a Clout Street. Read them here, here & here.

This afternoon I see this post from Crimefiles about a Sun-Times column by Carol Marin. He obviously disagrees with Marin. Obviously believing that "gun free zones" is a bad idea and subscribing to the simplified, "guns don't kill people, people kill people".

The only question I can muster is, what do we do about these crazies with the guns. I don't necessarily think that allowing American college to students to carry guns on campus is the answer no more than not allowing responsible adults own guns is the answer. To be sure I don't know what the answer is right now.

For some and I suppose for me as well allowing a responsible adult (by adult I do mean a civilian especially if the police can't get at the scene of the crime quick enough) is as good an answer as any in stopping a person with problems from engaging in a shooting spree. That's what happened at the University of Texas at Austin in 1966 when a man decided to start shooting at the top of a tower on Campus. It's mentioned in Crimefiles' post.

So two answers have been advanced gun control isn't the answer especially if it infringes on the right of a person to defend himself and his property. I don't think allowing students to have guns on campus is an answer either. Although I must admit if a responsible student had a gun in his possession when this shooter was engaged in his spree who knows if this person could have saved some lives or cut that spree short!

Oh and I have to ask, what is this gun culture Carol Marin speaks of? Yeah there are those who might treat a gun like a toy, such individuals probably couldn't be trusted with a gun if someone else's life depended on it. Then there are those who use a gun for nothing more than self-defense. I submit that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. How does this create a sick gun culture?

Do gun control advocates really believe that the police has the ultimate job of protecting citizens?

Recalling the Legacy of Amos P. Scruggs

I didn't get to this right away and the link is going to change so I hope that this will be in the archives. Anyway this program is about the first black graduate of the University of Illinois Law School from all the way back in 1907. It aired on the Illinois Channel last week and this was mostly an interview with the former Mayor of Detroit, Dennis Archer. Another offering here for Black History Month!

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Angry Black Voter: Black elected officials and black superdelegates begin to ditch Hillary

Well I suppose this is just another facet of the current news with regards to Democratic superdelegates. The ones who are not beholden to what the voters wants. It seems right now Democratic voters want Obama not Clinton.

TO be honest I have educated myself on this system and I guess most of us haven't heard of this because well since the current primary system is in place there isn't much reason to know that Democrats have superdelegates. There is now especially if this race between Obama and Clinton is especially close.

You know I can look at this as Obama's very first serious race where he has serious competition and he's doing amazingly well. I'm saying this as a guy who didn't start off as not a very big fan of his. Obama has certainly held his own in this race.

The post that I'm alluding to in the title talks about the news that Rep. John Lewis, congressman from Atlanta might tilt away from Clinton to Obama. Even though most of the superdelegates as I've stated already have no obligation to vote for primary voters choices. A superdelegate such as John Lewis might have to consider political implications if they choose to say Obama now is not your time.

Well all I can say is that the choice is theirs. To me if the theme of this election is change, I really don't think Sen. Clinton is it. To me she represents the 1990s and I know people want to go back to that time, but that time has passed and I'm not just talking about the time of "prosperity" but all the scandals. Do we really need that?

Either way this is an interesting election and I would dare say a very crucial one. I should look at the Republicans too but that's even more research than the Democrats. Their race so far is not as close, although it seems most Republicans (especially the conservative wing) doesn't seem to care too much for Sen. John McCain. Although it seems Republican voters are voting for McCain anyway!

Morehouse Men

This was the video that helped me decide to partake in this journey of Matriculation at Morehouse College. If I had known such a video existed I'd have probably been a bit more active in getting into college during my senior year. I certainly had the grades to go to Morehouse, but as for everything else well that's another question.

Either way I found it on Amazon.com. It's a good documentary made back in the early 1990s. There are a lot of good stories in it. Stories about the school and its students. I enjoyed it and I hope you will too, perhaps it might convince a young man in your family to try out college, if nothing else.


Oh and I never bought a copy. I would like to thank the Chicago Public Library for loaning me a copy many years ago. This cost me a dollar or so to rent for a week or so, but it was worth it and probably a little better than buying the video and certainly better than renting from a Blockbusters! Well assuming that Blockbusters even had this documentary available.

Addition: I started this post in January, Founder's Day has just passed and apparently the new college president Dr. Michael Franklin (a Chicago native apparently, graduate of Morgan Park High School) was recently inaugurated. Unfortunately I wasn't hip to the inaugural festivities. Still I will post over at the Eye pics from an exhibit about Dr. Franklin's matriculation here.

Oh and look at this Morehouse College has their own YouTube channel!!!

Friday, February 15, 2008

Another shooting, a Tennessee cure

Thru InstaPundit. I suppose this is one way to respond to these school shootings, espeically at Northern Illinois. I don't necessarily believe students should carry guns on campus unfortunately things like this cause certain people who don't believe in citizens owning guns to distrust people with guns.

Urban League calls for coordinated plan to help city's blacks

Well if I were them I'd ditch public education. Perhaps not ditch it investment is necessary but there needs to be reforms. There has to be a guarantee that teachers will be held accountable and that parents won't be forced to send their kids to failing schools. And maybe the time will come where public schools will be forced to compete with each other and private schools for enrollment.

There are a lot of ways to attack this issue so let's just go to Crain's Chicago Business for this story...
Chicago’s black middle class could shrink dramatically if civic and corporate leaders fail to financially support public education and entrepreneurial development.

That’s the warning being sounded by the Chicago Urban League, which on Wednesday released a report to identify the key areas that can either make or break economic development for blacks in the Chicago area.

The report, done in conjunction with San Francisco-based consulting firm Global Business Network, was “intended to highlight the need for a unified, coordinated economic development plan for African American Chicago.”

It was funded from a $6.2 million grant that the BP Foundation is providing to the Chicago Urban League over a three-year-period to develop programs to help blacks, and the Chicago area, prosper.

The Chicago Urban League boasts that Cook County is the most densely black populated county in the nation with 1.4 million blacks. Of those, 1.1 million live in the city’s limits, representing 37% of Chicago’s residents.

Cheryle Jackson, president and chief executive officer of the Chicago Urban League, said the goal of the study was to identify areas of deficiency then use that information to help formulate possible solutions such as creating a business network to help African American-owned firms get advice from non-minority owned companies.

“It is always good to set a course,” she said.
In other news the Chicago Public Schools are seeking more money from Springfield. Yeah good luck, it was hard to get them to really move swiftly on the CTA issue late last year!

New Report: Black children doing better than ever

From the Chicago Defender. Apparently Black kids still lag behind white kids in quality of life...
Black children are doing better than ever, but still have a long way to go before closing the racialethnic gap in quality of life, according to a report released last month by the Foundation for Child Development. The report was the first ever to analyze and compare trends in the well-being of Black, white, and Hispanic children over a span of nearly two decades.

According to the report, all children experienced overall improvements in quality of life between 1985 and 2004. However, because improvements were greater for Black and Hispanic children during this time span - particularly after 1993 - the gap between them and whites is narrowing. But even if trends continue at their current pace, it will take at least an entire generation to fully eliminate these gaps.

“Even if we manage to continue to make progress towards closing the racial-ethnic gaps in children’s well-being at the same rate we have been, it would take another 18 years before Black children essentially caught up with white children,” Ruby Takanishi, president and CEO of FCD, said. “As a leading world superpower, America can do and should do better than this,” Takanishi continued. The report is entitled “Racial- Ethnic Inequality in Child Well- Being from 1985-2004: Gaps Narrowing but Persist.”

The researchers pulled data from several years of the FCD Child Well-Being Index-an annual analysis of the quality of life for all American children. It found that the gap in the overall quality of life separating Black children from white children narrowed by 26 percent- a change driven largely by promising improvements in safety, economic security and health for children of color.
Some other good news mentioned is that black children are less likely to commit a crime, Black youth are more likely to vote in fact it's better than white youth, obesity rates rose less for Blacks and Hispanics, and also gaps in family well-being narrowed as parents have gained employment and health insurance. The improvement is still needed in education!

There are still gaps in reading and math and there is also a gap between black & white in completing undergrad studies.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Woodruff Library Debuts Negro League Exhibit

I just found out from Morehouse's Maroon Tiger. I promise that when I allow myself the first opportunity I will check it out. Then I'll have some pics to share. I have most of February to do so!

A recent Russ Stewart column

Published apparently the day after the primary last week. To set it up there is a strategy a foot here in elected members of the General Assembly. Madigan wants to build up his membership and stick it to the Republicans. Jones wants to add to his super majority. Sadly the result will be knowing how Madigan feels about Blagojevich and Jones' alliance with the governor, there might be more gridlock in the state until it's time to elect a new governor.

Then I really like this portion of this column...
Unlike the Republicans, who have primary elections between candidates who compete to be the most politically orthodox, meaning socially and fiscally conservative, Madigan recruits and funds Democrats who are the most demographically electable, regardless of ideology.
You know who said a party has to be pure in order to be winners. At the same time I would think you'd still have core values to guide your principles. Still if your only principle is to win then I suppose who cares about how good your ideas are.

This paragraph got me thinking along those line. Still I'm sure there is a method to the madness of slating a good candidate to win in an area that you want to win in. Ah the great sport of politics.

Chicago must improve opportunities for African-Americans

Of course I have to know what this entails. A good education is important of course this has to encompass more than the public schools. Investment in black-owned businesses are important. If there are jobs the churches are good to get the word out. Anyway here's the story from the Trib...

Chicago's African-American population has the city's biggest untapped economic potential and will play a key role in determining whether the city is globally competitive in the next decade, a study released Wednesday states.

To realize this potential, Chicago's government and business leaders must improve academic, business and job opportunities for African-Americans, who make up 37 percent of the city's population, the Chicago Urban League report says.

"Education is critical because it is a strong determinant of individual and family income and a powerful predictor of personal success in an increasingly competitive economy," the report says. "Economic entrepreneurship is essential because it is a primary source of jobs in African-American communities and it's significance has traditionally been underestimated by policy analysts."

The study argues that by increasing access to capital for black entrepreneurs, the city could be far more effective in "unlocking the puzzle of inner-city poverty."

The study's conclusions were buttressed by a Nielsen poll of 500 African-American voters in Chicago. Of those polled, just one-quarter felt the public education system provides a quality education to students and almost a third felt the single greatest barrier to success was a lack of access to quality education.

A total of 36.3 percent polled said there was a need for more investment in African-American businesses, and 52.7 percent said they would like to start a business in their communities if financial barriers were lowered. Overall, 47.1 percent felt economic conditions for African-Americans living in Chicago would improve.

"African-Americans are hopeful about their future in Chicago. The challenge is that they lack a pathway to success," said Cheryle Jackson, president of the Chicago Urban League. "Black people believe in the American dream. They're just not sure it's for them."
This article was from today's Capitol Fax morning shorts.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Possible suspect arrested in Tinley Park slayings

When I posted about two shootings last week I should have included this horrific crime from Tinley Park. There is an arrest apparently, let's hope their either have the right guy or this puts them in the right directions. From the Tribune.

Congressional Black Caucus Needs to be Held Accountable

To a certain extent I can agree that the CBC needs to be held accountable. In this post by the African American Political Pundit their accountability is held to account because....
As Black Agenda Report notes, For the first time since the CBC Monitor began tracking the voting behavior of Black members of the U.S. House, no member scored higher than 80 percent. The “tripwire” bills showed great fissures in the Black Caucus on so-called Free Trade, willingness to cave to the Bush administration and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on funding the Iraq war, and on a bill that threatens a witch hunt in search of the sources of domestic “extremist belief systems” and violence-inciting “propaganda” on the Internet.
My beef with the Caucus is that in general I percieve them to be fairly monolithic. Not only that most of them doesn't have to worry about running into competition for their seats. If they stay quiet long enough or do what they need to do in their districts or even not step on the wrong toes, they got their seats for almost life.

Parents protest test in English

Article from Sun-Times via Newsalert. Without a doubt one of the main gripes in this country about immigration from Latin America is that most of these individuals don't seem to be interested in assimilating in this country and learn English. This article proves it with indeed hostily by the parents because they don't want their children to take a standardized test in English...
Angry Chicago Latino parents threatened Tuesday to keep their kids home on test day next month if state education officials insist on giving students who are still learning English an achievement test in English.

Facing threats of federal sanctions, state officials were ordered last October to give the same state tests native English speakers take to some 60,000 Illinois public school kids who haven’t yet mastered English.

During a news conference Tuesday at the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, about two dozen Latino parents charged that the test mandate is “unfair,’’ “anti-immigrant’’ and “anti-bilingual education.’’

They were joined by State Sen. Iris Martinez (D-Chicago), who said the federal government was “trying to take this program [bilingual education] away from us’’ by forcing children to take a test in English before they are fluent.

“This is a way of attacking children who don’t understand the language,’’ said Martinez, who is pushing a resolution to delay the test for a year.

Previously, Illinois kids in bilingual education programs for less than three years took an alternative state test in English.

But last October federal education officials ruled that test did not meet federal No Child Left Behind standards. They ordered Illinois bilingual education students who have been in public schools for more than a year to take the same tests native English speakers take, starting March 3.

Speaking through a Spanish-English translator, parent Erika Soto said her third-grade daughter is “very smart, but because of this test, she is going to be labeled a failure. So how is she going to feel?’’
I can understand every child is different, but I think more than a year is a reasonable enough time for a student in a bilingual program to be able to take a test in English. If more time is needed say two years or three years perhaps stave this off until say the 5th, 6th or 7th grades, that's fine. You know maybe these parents are trying to stave off the inevitable and trying to prevent their kids from learning English and keeping their native tongues.

Who knows what it is, but this protest may not help them with those who believe they must learn English.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Clinton-related conspiracy theory

So is the former President derailing his own wife's chances of being our first female President. Well let Brain-Terminal.com point you in the right direction. I'll let you decide if there is a conspiracy theory!

Tax refund

A vulgar, profanity laced vid by sayf*ckalot!

Monday, February 11, 2008

Ripping Stroger backfires on candidates

Reading this story almost makes you wonder what happened exactly. Well it's not very difficult to understand in fact. If you've got enough workers to campaign for you then you have an uphill battle.

Still what about the voters? Why did a statement by Ed Smith about being endorsed byTodd Stroger didn't turn into a scarlet letter of sorts? Could it be that it was because Ed Smith himself was endorsed by Daley. Some people don't see much of a difference between Daley and Stroger, they generally do have each other's backs. Besides Daley helped Stroger get elected in 2006, even if it was more of a strategic move than anything else.

Then what about Deratany vs. Berrios. This was an obscure race to be sure. Perhaps that's why Deratany lost, this was so far down on the ballot and perhaps even a forgettable race anyway. Deratany had a TV ad but obviously that didn't help.

If this was about Stroger and trying to use Stroger as a dirty word backfired. Perhaps this is just a signal that voters need a little more than being anti-Stroger. I'm not sure what that entails, but it has to be something why it seems voters are OK with the machine remaining in place as it is.

Here's a Southtown column from last week about how voters seem to be content with things the way they are. At least enough to not vote anyone out.

DC: A failed state?

I found this article from InstaPundit this morning...
The "Failed State" Brief in DC v. Heller:

On behalf of several association of private security guards and detectives, and the Buckeye Firearms Foundation, a brief in DC v. Heller supplies the facts of the appalling mismanagement and institutional incompetence of DC's Metropolitan Police Department. Almost everyone who lives or works in the District of Columbia is well aware that the District's government performs very poorly compared to almost all other big-city governments in the United States. Nevertheless, the Buckeye brief is shocking.

The four core empirical subparts of the brief are titled: "The MPD Has A Significant Problem Hiring And Retaining Qualified Police Officers." "The MPD Has A Significant History Of Mismanagement." "The District's '911 System Is A Joke'." and "The MPD Has A Significant History Of Corruption." Every one of these points is proven beyond a reasonable doubt, relying almost entirely on reports in Washington newspapers.

Moreover, although paying for security, through a private security guard firm, is still legal in DC, the MPD controls the licensing of security guards, and works hard to suppress the private security business through licensing abuse, and by prosecuting security guards on specious charges.
I wonder if this is why they can't get a full vote in the United States House of Representatives as they've been trying to do for years. Perhaps DC needs to clean up their house before they can get more privileges.

On second thought, this also looks like a way to attack the DC gun ban. This might be true everywhere in fact. The police aren't going to do their job to protect you, well it could be argued that it never was their job and it would be impossible in fact, so might as well put that in the hands of individuals. Allow them the necessary tools instead of believing that American cities will turn into the wild west because someone is carrying a weapon.

Jeremiah Wright preaches last serman

For the better part of the past year he's been given a lot of grief because of the basic tenants of his church. Because of this, Trinity United Church of Christ has been called a black supremacist church or racist and perhaps any other title you can create out of this. I don't necessarily agree with the naysayers, but these charges have been out there although we don't hear about it as much.

Anyway he's retiring apparently. The Tribune has the story...
n a stirring sermon that weaved the hopefulness of past African generations with dreams for the future, Rev. Jeremiah Wright Jr. preached his final sermon Sunday at Trinity United Church of Christ, leaving a 36-year legacy as pastor and activist in the black community.

Despite the howl of a bitter wind, hundreds packed into Trinity, 400 West 95th Street, to hear Wright, 66, a fiery speaker, preach at the church one last time. Wright had served as spiritual mentor to Sen.Barack Obama. In the late 1980s, Obama joined Trinity and would later base his historic speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention on a Wright sermon called "Audacity to Hope."

Obama was one of the thousands who joined Trinity under Wright's leadership. When Wright became Trinity's pastor in 1972, the church had 85 members. Today, Trinity has a congregation of 8,500, with more than 80 ministries, making it one of the largest and most influential black churches in the nation.

At Sunday's 11 a.m. service, Wright preached on the New Testament account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead in the sermon "Looks Can Be Deceiving." He spoke about the tradition of African storytelling to illustrate how past generations preserved and passed on stories to teach their children how to hold onto hope amid the pain and suffering of slavery.

Though Wright did not mention Obama by name, he spoke about how a biracial child could use that same hope to overcome racism, go to an Ivy League law school and become a politician. Obama received his law degree from Harvard University and was the first black editor of the Harvard Law Review.

"How many children of biracial parents can make it in a world controlled by racist ideology?" Wright said.

"Children born to parents who are of two different races do not have a snowball's chance in hell of making it in America, especially if the momma was white and the daddy was black. A child born to that union is an unfortunate statistic in a racially polarized society," he said.

"But, if you use your mind, instead of a lost statistic in a hate-filled universe, you just may end up a law student at Harvard University. In fact, if you use your mind, you might end up as the editor of the Harvard Law Review. If you use your mind, instead of [being] a statistic destined for the poor house, you just may end up a statesman destined for the ... Yes, we can!" Wright said, using the popular Obama slogan to bringt the crowd to its feet in cheers.
You know I saw when that church was first constructed back in the 1990s. The lot it was on I recall that it was an abandoned strip mall. Just to the west by a couple of block was where the church used to be. Apparently the congregation was too big for its britches. That church is now an annex of sorts.

I barely remember the "Free South Africa" signs. They were up at a time when South Africa was under the rule of Apartheid where different races there were separated and the only ones who the most say in their nation were the whites there. And I suppose the activism of Jeremiah Wright and others were successful ultimately.

I wonder if this was planned all along for him to step down as pastor and give the Senator some breathing room. Of course in politics people will continue to beat on a dead horse.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Another friend of the blog

He recently set up shop at a WordPress blog, Schmult, his newest post there talks about his ordeal with cancer. He warns you not to do any research it'll freak you out. Hey, I took his advice.

BTW, he's on my vlogroll under What's Going On on Blogger but like I said he's set up shop at WordPress now!

Marathon Pundit goes backwards in time

Five days late but better than never!

To talk about that interesting year in Chicago politics, 1995. The sitting Representative for the safe Democratic district was Mel Reynolds and it turns out that he just so happened to have sexual relations with a minor. The story I heard was the authorities leaned on this young lady to force her to give the Congressman up. I could conclude someone was out to get him but the fact was he had no business getting it on with a minor. That is a fact!

So this started a scramble that ultimately put the son and namesake of Rev. Jesse Jackson into a seat in the "People's House". You know I remember a woman ran for that seat but I had no idea that Emil Jones was in the running as well. Of course back in 1995, I would have had no idea who the future President of the state Senate was anyway. All these individuals have a connection to the political scene right now.

Jesse Jackson Jr. is still a sitting Congressman for the 2nd Congressional District and it often rumored that he has an eye on Chicago's Mayoralty. Then there's his wife who is an Alderman in the 7th Ward and is seeking the important position of Democratic committeeman there on Super Tuesday!

Oh yeah I should mention if you thought that the feud going on with Beavers and Jackson started with the municipal election think again. Apparently reading Mr. Rueberry's post 1995 kicked it off and the future may look very bright for the Jackson clan.

And the woman well she, Alice Palmer (a name that I couldn't remember yet a woman was in the race) held the state senate seat that by 1997 would be held by Barack Obama until he took his US Senate Seat in 2004. Well, Obama apparently used the time honored practice of challenging the petitions of his opponents and knock them off the ballot. That includes Alice Palmer. I believe I saw Alice Palmer's name on the ballot in Chicago for delegate pledged to Sen. Clinton.

Of course, I already mentioned Emil Jones. I do know that for a long time he was the Senate Minority leader. Until 2003, Democrats held a minority in the Senate but that year would see Emil Jones elected as the Senate President.

Let me not give away any more of Rueberry's post and I'll let you go over to Marathon Pundit and give him a read. So go!

One of the friends of the blog

Amani Channel posts an introductory video about himself. He blogs over at MyUrbanReport. If you've read my blog in the past year you've seen his work, whether I post some of his videos here or I linked you to some of his posts. BTW, I reposted something that I had written here close to a year ago over at The Sixth Ward.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

South Side teacher accused of binding special-education student

I really like to know the circumstances of this story. Perhaps it doesn't matter if in general this is considered unaccepted. This almost allows me to go backwards in time to what I've experienced as an alum of the Chicago Public Schools.

Well I was in school during the time that they used corporal punishment. No one seemed to have a paddle so generally my teachers would use anything from a hand, a yard stick or at worst a pointer. Pointers really hurt, I'd rather they would use a yard stick. Sometimes the hand in question didn't just hit where you think it should it, the said hand would go upside your head on the wrong day.

Teachers would also put soap in a student's mouth when they used vulgar or profane language. Let me tell ya that wasn't a very pleasant experience. It also wasn't uncommon for teachers to tape a student's mouth shut when they couldn't stop talking. Almost like this case except it was restraint instead of keeping one's mouth shut.

Oh and I should be honest about something. What was worse than the pain of the punishment itself was the humiliation. If you had your detractors they didn't mind laughing at your expense although they might suffer the same humiliation on the teacher's worse day as well. You should know kids are if they're not receiving the punishment it's very funny and sometime they want to get you in trouble just to get the punishment. It might be deserved or it might not.

If I were a parent, I don't know I can't say I'd be upset at a paddlin, so long as they have my permission and hopefully my kid doesn't have any visible injuries on him. In addition to that I'd better know why he was being paddled. Also any of the other things that I've mentioned I'd rather they not do that to my child. That will include restraining him with duct tape to a chair!

Macy's Layoffs: Do Department Stores Have a Future?

It seems the Chicago area isn't the only region that has the same problem with Macy's. Oh yeah hat-tip InstaPundit who seems to have similar feelings about the loss of a local nameplate just like many Chicagoans feel about Macy's taking over Marshall Field's and then changing the chain's name...

Macy’s is hurting; sales are down. (Apparently someone did tell Gimbels.) Locals will be laid off. Not unexpected. There’s a two-pronged problem here.

Department stores face a torrent of competition – catalogs, online, Target on one end, upscale boutiques on the other, the other department store across the mall. Perhaps it’s an outmoded model for retail. It made sense once to concentrate all the goods in one massive store, but few stores need to be everything to everyone anymore. They’re like giant overladen pack animals, panting as they climb the hill. Department store spent the 20th century getting bigger and bigger; now they’ll spend the 21st century shrinking. Sad it may be for some, but that’s retail – without change, there wouldn’t even be a Macy’s on 34th in New York, because the retail core would still be stuck down on 14th.

There’s something else at work, though. I can’t help wondering if the decline of local brands didn’t sever some psychic bond people had formed with the very concept of department stores. In the short run, I’m sure they made money streamlining the brands, but in the end they made them interchangeable and rootless. Herberger’s is still expanding – they’re opening up their 17th store in Minnesota. Sure, they’re owned by Bon-Ton now, but the company kept the local nameplate.

Term limits

There was an interesting discussion in my political theory class one class period about this. My professor says that term limits doesn't address the problem that are inherent in our government. For instance money in politics.

It could also be said that turnover might be high with term limits. That is after an officials term is up it's time to find someone new. In other words we now have a new argument, get some fresh people in.

OK I can address that one better than money in politics (I don't know much about that). Let's see there have been a lot of complaints about this in Illinois or Chicago. One person being in the state legislature or city council or even an executive office for too long. In that regards term limits could makes sense but let me add an angle to this. The art of politics or governing.

Do you think there is an art and practice in it? Does it take time for a "green" or "n00bish" public official to really learn his or her job or craft. Well so does legislating or leading general or governing. This is stuff that can't be learned in a set period of time.

Of course if you can get what you want accomplished done in 2 or 4 years then more power to you. Better yet perhaps if you're able to make the necessary adjustments that you seek to make is there really a reason you want to stick around? I know that for some that is very difficult to do.

Now let me tell you where this is coming from. Our current reading in Machiavelli's The Prince. Yeah I hear the collevetive gasps out there but they do teach that book in our colleges. Not a bad idea either to talk about his ideas of acquiring power. That's what the book is all about, heh maybe when I'm thru with this reading I'll give you my reflections. I hope that you'll read it yourself and remember folks it's just a book. All you have to do is read it.

Anyway the first day we talked about this book we talked about a lot of things. For example who might have been "Machiavellian". I discussed that the other day and to be sure that's not the only example provided. Still somehow we happened to run into this subject.

Another point can be made, if the point of term limits is a matter of getting rid of the bad apples in the process. You know people like, for example, Rod Blagojevich. Would term limits change that?

It's not likely that it would since in every profession or avocation (more accurately when I use that word I'm going back to the idea of citizen politicians people who aren't governing full-time if that's possible) there are people who are bad at it. Also if people choose to elect these bad apples then perhaps we should talk about personal responsibility. People deserve the government they get.

If the general consensus among say your friends is that taxes are too high, but instead of going to the ballot box and voting out the ones who continue to raise your taxes, you still vote for that regime. Then what do you expect? Did you expect them to stop raising you taxes after you gave them your vote again?

If you did and they did the deed anyway, then you got exactly what you were asking for with your vote. You could give me your reasons why you did what you did, but it doesn't matter if you have a basic complaint. The complaint being that taxes are too high. Of course again that's only one example.

You know these answers policy wonks come up with as the solution to all our problems, before we jump on it, we should really give it some thought. I'll be honest when I say hey I do it at times to. Still I wonder if I should have the right to continue to vote someone in, who I believe, is doing a great job at the helm. If they are then I should continue to vote for that person.

If it's time for a change. Then what happens in that case is, either you be the change. Or you find someone who can be the change. And then get some people out there to think there needs to be a change and then they will support you. Of course complaining about it or finding a sacrificial lamb to give it a shot won't help. I suppose that's the way democracy must work.

Friday, February 08, 2008

There have been a lot of shootings lately

I just now saw a story about a shooting at a school in Louisiana. Also there have been shootings in Los Angeles and Missouri link to both stories from Second City Cop. Hmmm what is wrong, I wonder?

I still want to say, you guys know my position on guns. I don't think they're the problem. So to me the issue isn't with the fact that these people had a gun to shoot people. Instead what I'd like to know is what went thru their heads when they decided that they wanted to shoot somebody.

It almost makes me wish, short of taking guns away from everyone, that there was a way to prevent things like this from happening. By no means are these stories the only one I can find. Second City Cop will have plenty of stories about inner city gun violence, although at the same time the general position they have is in support of allowing citizens to own guns.

Remembering Negro League Baseball

InstaPundit links to another blog that writes about a book about the iconic and defunct baseball league.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Illinois awards grant for sculpture to mark race riot

This was story on today's Capitol Fax morning shorts...
It's been almost 100 years since a race riot left seven dead in Springfield, and the state has awarded a $300,000 grant for a sculpture in commemoration.

The sculpture is to be made by Peoria artist and Art Institute of Chicago professor Preston Jackson. It's slated to be unveiled during the NAACP's state convention in Springfield in October.

The race riots began in August of 1908 after a white mob turned on black residents after an attempt to lynch two black inmates in the Sangamon County jail. The rioting also left hundreds injured and dozens of homes and businesses destroyed.

The grant was awarded yesterday by the Capital Development Board's Art in Architecture program.
RELATED POSTS
Presidential library seeking loan of race riot material
Springfield to comemmorate the 1908 race riots
Students to Install Exhibit on 1908 Springfield Race Riots on Friday, August 3
Springfield Race Riot of 1908 from the Illinois Channel

Wheeling man cited for roasting pigs outside

Why? Doesn't he have the right to roast pigs on his property? Who are they to tell him to get rid of his equipment? From the Tribune....
This is our tradition since I was born in the Philippines. Whenever they had a fiesta, there was always a roasted pig," said Amante Enad, 55, who will argue his case before a judge next week in the Rolling Meadows branch of Cook County Circuit Court. The Wheeling Department of Community Development cited Enad last week after he was mentioned in a Jan. 25 Chicago Tribune story about lechon, a Filipino word that means "roast pork." The story described how Enad and other Filipino-Americans celebrate their heritage preparing the dish, even in the dead of winter.

Though some people interviewed in the story roast pigs as part of a side business, Enad says he doesn't charge for his services, providing it free to religious festivals at a Glenview church. He said he does so out of gratitude for prayers answered when his wife recovered in 2005 from hip surgery. Village officials ordered him to get rid of his roasting equipment, Enad said.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

How about this for a photo-op

The Tribune's video of Sen. Obama going to his local polling place and casting his ballot. A cool vid provided by the Tribune.

Addition: Another video provided by the Tribune about an artist creating Obama posters.

Macy's isn't ready to give up...

From today's Tribune. They're trying to make their national expansion work. They're doing this by eliminating the division that was created when they bought May Company, the company who at the time of the takeover owned Marshall Field's. Field's fans really have an uphill battle to bring back the iconic Chicago department store...
Macy's Inc. plans to eliminate the former Marshall Field's headquarters in Minneapolis as part of a move to consolidate regional offices and boost sales and cut costs.

As part of the closure, Macy's North chairman and CEO Frank Guzzetta, 62, a former Field's executive who has been focused on reviving the State Street flagship in Chicago, will retire in the spring as the division is melded into Macy's East in New York.

The department store chain said the restructuring will affect about 2,550 workers and save about $100 million a year starting in 2009.

Macy's North in Minneapolis, which is the former Field's division, will be merged into Macy's East in New York and affect about 950 positions. Macy's Midwest in St. Louis, which includes the former Famous-Barr and L.S. Ayres stores, will be combined with Macy's South in Atlanta and that will affect 850 positions. And Macy's Northwest in Seattle will fold into Macy's West in San Francisco, affecting 750 positions.

The regional headquarters are a holdover from the many regional department store chains Macy's acquired when it bought May Department Stores Co. in 2005. In lieu of the regional headquarters, Macy's will set up regional offices in Chicago, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Seattle.

Macy's Chairman and CEO Terry Lundgren said in a prepared statement that the reorganization is aimed at improving sales and earnings and "will speed up decision making and simplify the process of working with our vendors."