Monday, March 31, 2008

Lee Bey: The Urban Observer - Ida B...Gone

A few pictures of the now demolished Ida B. Wells housing project with some social commentary by Lee Bey. Here's a glimpse...
As I took these photos, groups of young men to the north of me--young brothers not unlike me as I grew up in the Avalon Park neighborhood in the 1970s and early 1980s--were engaged in trades of the underground economy.

"That's all you can do," I thought as I watched them. "They are getting rid of you, and you don't even have sense enough to figure it out."

Or maybe they have figured it out, but are helpless to do anything about it. A lifetime of rotten schools, stifled chances, and ill-kept public housing has left many of these young men with the only trade they can practice. They found a semi-skilled job that can't be outsourced or right-sized away. They work for a company that can't up and move its operations to India, China or the Sunbelt. The rest of us should be so lucky.

Yet I confess: My gut tells me that these are not reasons, but excuses--a sweet poison that tastes so good going down, but has devastating results. Black people have always had a tough time in this country. But our ancestors fought--often at extraordinary risk to their lives--to learn, to create, to advance, to build. Not just the people who make the history books, either. There is hardly a black person I've talked to over the decades who didn't have at least one family member who actively risked what he or she had in order to move up the ladder just a little bit more.

And then I think about the act of power, courage and protest that created black urban America in the first place: millions of southern African Americans who got tired of the defacto slavery conditions in the Jim Crow South and moved north to find jobs and opportunities. Along the way, they changed for the better the social and political landscape of this country and fought for freedoms that all Americans enjoy. But I wonder what they would say if they could see so many of their grandchildren and great grandchildren investing in 20" rims, rather than real estate; and fighting and dying over Buck 50 hats rather than equality, jobs and justice.

I know, I know. All black folks don't live this way. Black people today by-and-large are better-educated and financially better off than in previous years. But drive around some of the black neighborhoods in Chicago--better still, pay attention in a few months as we experience what my cop friends tell me could be a bloodier-than-normal summer--and tell me if there aren't also more people who are lost, left behind and dying.

It's time for a movement. Not a protest. Not another march. But a movement...

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Karl Marx

Friend of the blog Tom Mannis of The Bench has this picture on one of his posts ranting about Sen. Hillary Clinton's money woes as she seeks the Democratic nomination for President. Anyway, I'm stealing this because what you'll find here is Karl Marx's theory of justice. That quote at the very top of that picture.

I wish I could tell you what that meant. Perhaps that meant that money shouldn't be a measure of what you need and you shouldn't get more than you do need. Perhaps someone out there might have a better idea. That quote can be found if you read Marx's Critique of the Gotha Program.

I had a crash course in Marxism this past week. I understood that after overthrowing the bourgeoisie there will be a "dictatorship of the proletariat". This dictatorship I suppose could be represented by the dictatorship that existed in most of the communist states around the world. One could argue that the Soviet Union, China, North Korea, Cuba, Vietnam, and perhaps a few other communist states weren't true communism. Because these states were stuck in a phase and it was halfway between the end of the bourgeoisie and a truly communist society.

I learned in class that Marx just didn't account for human nature to rear it's ugly head. He didn't anticipate or indeed he wouldn't believe that the proletariat wouldn't ultimately give up it's newly found power in order to truly reach the ultimate goal. That goal was to reach this ideal communist society and in that society there would be no need for government. Idealistic, huh?

Well that explains why people have died for this idea. Especially in the course of violent revolution as this was supposed to take place. It explains why after many failures people still believe this is the ideal system. Yeah some people out there believed that communism is the best system even though in its various forms around the world it hadn't reached its potential. Some of them aren't accounting for what Marx accounted for, who knows if the bourgeoisie was overthrown (and read that as capitalism) then they might be the new proletariat unwilling to achieve the goal because of their new found power.

You know in spite of the capitalist system. Let me be honest when I say capitalism is hard. I said once that it sucks and someone took offense, but my statement only meant that capitalism is hard. It's almost like democracy.

Capitalism requires a lot of things. For example some of us have dreams, and I would expect that one of those dreams included being your own boss. That means you have to find your own way to make money. With this money, however you earned it and hopefully legally, you can provide for yourself the necessities you might need. At the bare minimum, you might want housing, food, if transportation is important then you might want to buy a car, for example.

Capitalism is hard because there are bound to be "winners" or "losers" in capitalism unfortunately. I would dare say some of these "losers" are the ones who aren't exactly strivers, the ones who are content from going to job to job without thinking much about advancement or even making more money than they would doing on the most menial of tasks. I would dare say these aren't the ones who aren't going out of their way to get an education or at least picking up a book and reading. That's an education, is it not. Most of these people might live off of the goodness of others.

Basically capitalism depends on the individual to make the most of the system. Of course if things are good, then they are good. If things are bad then they are bad. Hello, Great Depression! That was awful, but it just shows that economics or the business cycle is cyclical.

Hmmm, if people think communism is so wonderful perhaps they don't realize that even in those ideal societies there are economic cycles there as well. Sometimes there's no guarantee that the crop you planted might fully grow. There's no guarantee that there won't be a drought or even a flood. It's true under capitalism with an individual farmer as easily as it could be with communism if the state owned all the farms.

I could go all day with this, but I trust capitalism faster than I would trust communism. I would trust it because I know what I'm getting with capitalism while at the same time the allure of a communist society might sound great but I'm still at someone else's mercy. That is what communism might be able to provide they might taketh away or otherwise disappear because what is provided may not always be available.

BTW, I've yet to read The Communist Manifesto. Perhaps when I finally allow myself the opportunity I'd like to be able to talk about this in more detail.

Clinton Vows To Stay in Race To Convention

This week we have heard that there are forces in the Democratic Party who wishes for Sen. Hillary Clinton (our former First Lady) to leave the Democratic race for the Presidential nomination. I can see why if many are concerned that her continuing the race could result in a "civil war" of sorts withing the Democratic party. Especially if you believe that Clinton really wants to be president and is will to do whatever it takes to win this nomination, remember her nomination was supposed to be inevitable. Also note that some pundits believe that she might be going for something of a "scorched earth" policy. That is she wants to leave Obama bloodied if she doesn't get the nomination and it sets the stage for him to lose big in November. Good lord, politics is a dirty business! Here's more from the Washington Post...
n her most definitive comments to date on the subject, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton sought Saturday to put to rest any notion that she will drop out of the presidential race, pledging in an interview to not only compete in all the remaining primaries but also continue until there is a resolution of the disqualified results in Florida and Michigan.

A day after Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean urged the candidates to end the race by July 1, Clinton defied that call by declaring that she will take her campaign all the way to the Aug. 25-28 convention if necessary, potentially setting up the prolonged and divisive contest that party leaders are increasingly anxious to avoid.

"I know there are some people who want to shut this down and I think they are wrong," Clinton said in an interview during a campaign stop here Saturday. "I have no intention of stopping until we finish what we started and until we see what happens in the next 10 contests and until we resolve Florida and Michigan. And if we don't resolve it, we'll resolve it at the convention -- that's what credentials committees are for.

"We cannot go forward until Florida and Michigan are taken care of, otherwise the eventual nominee will not have the legitimacy that I think will haunt us," said the senator from New York. "I can imagine the ads the Republican Party and John McCain will run if we don't figure out how we can count the votes in Michigan and Florida."

Asked if there was a scenario in which she would drop out before the last primaries on June 3, Clinton said no. "I am committed to competing everywhere that there is an election," she said.

The Clinton campaign requested the interview Saturday to talk about how she could win and to emphasize her focus on Michigan and Florida.

Her remarks come as Clinton faces a mounting drumbeat, driven by the campaign of Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) and his backers, for her to bow out and avert a party crisis. Obama's supporters argue that he is too far ahead in pledged delegates for Clinton to catch up; Clinton counters by saying that neither of them has secured the 2,024 delegates needed for the nomination.

At a news conference Saturday in Johnstown, Pa., Obama welcomed Clinton to continue campaigning. "My attitude is that Senator Clinton can run as long as she wants," he said. "She is a fierce and formidable opponent, and she obviously believes she would make the best nominee and the best president."
It's also being said in a column by the Sun-Times' Michael Sneed that Sen. Clinton is almost broke. So on the financial front can the Senator continue to compete. It's also being said in a post on InstaPundit that she's neglecting her bills so that they can pay for ads. And I'm not so sure this helps Sen. Clinton but the NY's chapter of the National Organization for Women in what I would call an extreme press release announcing their support of Hillary Clinton.

Wow, it almost assumes women will just vote for Sen. Clinton in lockstep. Something that I would have a problem with, however, there are women who will vote exactly that way.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Zimbabweans line up early to vote in crucial elections

The one thing I do know about Zimbabwean affairs is the fact that the regime of Robert Mugabe attempted to redistribute land from productive white farmers and then gave this land to African farmers. While the idea was to right the injustices of European colonialism in Africa. The unfortunate side effect as it was understood was that this nation once had a food surplus has a food shortage.

I've also heard about electoral irregulaties. Robert Mugabe has been in power for the better part of 20 years and isn't ready to give it up. The last elections in Zimbabwe was ripe with charges of voter intimidation with Mugabe winning another term.

Now there's another election. Here's what the Sun-Times says...
Eager to vote, Zimbabweans began lining up before dawn Saturday for elections that present President Robert Mugabe with the toughest political challenge of his 28 years in power.

The opposition accuses Mugabe of plotting to steal the election and tensions rose Friday with soldiers and police in a convoy of armored personnel carriers with water cannons patrolling through downtown Harare, the capital. The security chiefs warned against violence and police presence at the polls Saturday was heavy.

The economic collapse of what was once the region's breadbasket has been a central campaign issue, with the opposition accusing Mugabe of misrule and dictatorship. Mugabe, appealing to national pride, blames the Westand charges his opponents are stooges of former colonial ruler Britain.

In southern Bulawayo, Moreblessing Ndlovu said he has chosen democracy over dictatorship. ''The people of Zimbabwe have had enough of this,'' he said, his bare feet reflecting his poverty.

''Everyone here is hungry. They want to see a change,'' Bulawayo said, pointing a snaking line of about 200 people waiting to vote. Some had gotten in line hours before the scheduled 7 a.m. opening.

Running against Mugabe are opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai, 55, who narrowly lost the disputed 2002 elections, and former ruling party loyalist and finance minister Simba Makoni, 58. Makoni has shaken up Zimbabwe's politics with his appeal to disillusioned citizens, threatening to take votes from both the opposition and the ruling party.

All three candidates voted early Saturday, with Mugabe telling reporters afterward he would accept whatever results emerged and rejecting opposition charges he had already orchestrated his own victory.

''We are not in the habit of cheating,'' he said. ''We don't rig elections.''

Tsvangirai sounded a resolute note, saying: ''The people's victory is assured.''

Most stations opened after 7 a.m. and people complained the process was slow. But Noel Kututwa, head of the independent Zimbabwe Election Support Network, said voting was going smoothly countrywide.
Wait the voting is today? Well let me go find an update right quick let's see how the election is turning. BTW, here's another piece by Pajamas Media about the Zimbabwean elections.

MLB: Civil Rights Game

On ESPN right now is the Civil Rights Game 2008 being played in Memphis, TN. The teams involved are the Chicago White Sox vs. NY Mets. I just saw two interviews with Martin Luther King III and Ruby Dee.

Well it should be obvious to you who MLK III's namesake is. As for Ruby Dee she played the wife of Jackie Robinson, in The Jackie Robinson Story. She played opposite of Jackie Robinson. Oh, BTW, Jackie Robinson just so happened to be the first black to break the color barrier in Major League Baseball playing for the Brooklyn Dodgers.

BTW, the History Channel will be airing a documentary on the life of Dr. King. Memphis, TN was where Dr. King met his death closing in on 40 years ago on April 4th. So I suppose it's appropriate that MLB is in Memphis today.

Friday, March 28, 2008

I had to change my profile pic again

The colored painted image of 19th century anti-slavery advocate Frederick Douglass sort of became unavailable. So the best I could do was find a similar picture a detail of that original painting, and unfortunately in black and white. I had to save it and then upload it directly to blogger in order to insure that it won't become unavailable at the wrong time.

It might be time for another profile pic change. It has become something of a tradition to use images of famous black leaders (and I mean respectable ones) to represent the face of this blog. One while it was Dr. Martin Luther King. Then another time it was the former President of Morehouse College Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays. Once upon a time I even used Bill Cosby as the face of this blog. Heh, one time a reader once thought that the pic of Bill Cosby was me. lol!

Earlier I just took any image I could find. I used Star Trek images such as pics of Capts. James T. Kirk and Benjamin Sisko. I even used this as a profile pic, and don't be offended I was of this mind once upon a time...
And it makes its grand return! I found others on the internet over time representing either the Republican Party or the religion of Islam. No doubt that if it was directed to the religion of Islam it's directed towards those individuals who are referred to as Islamo-Fascists. A term I always read as referring to Islamic fundamentalists.

Anyway I got some ideas on who should be next on the list. I can do Malcolm X and that would be for some people a controversial choice. I can do WEB DuBois. I can even do Booker T. Washington. Or perhaps I can find someone even more obscure than that. Well have to see. BTW, unless you've never researched the history of Morehouse College, you might believe and might be somewhat correct that Dr. Mays was obscure and let's not forget that Mays was somewhat of a mentor to a young Dr. King when he went to school at Morehouse.

God Or Government? By Rev. Jeremiah Wright


From The State of..., adding context with the full sermon with extra content than what most of us have seen on the 24 hr news channels out there. I guess I'm with him on one thing, Government can fail. Take this to heart for those of you who think Government is the answer to everything.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Payton Prep basketball coach charged with sexual assault

I found this story over at the Methods Reporter. All this guy had to do was pick on young, impressionable, and naive young ladies. I wish I knew what to say about this, I read a story last night about how a cross-country coach had a relationship with his young charge and was somehow able to marry this young lady. Apparently authorities couldn't figure out what to charge him with. I would be somewhat disturbed that if it was my daughter he was fooling around with. There is surely a much older, more mature woman he can drive to a sex shop and use sex toys on.

And I'm sorry for some of the graphics here. I don't normally talk about sex toys and sex shops. I'll never do it again.

Back to some political philosophy

Our class finished reading some writings by Mahatma Gandhi. The readings are remarkable. I may be at odds with him I imagine as far as the role of violence and even economics (he's more of the school of economic equality). Then again I take to the idea of non-violence and we should know non-violence was important because it was practiced by people such as Dr. Martin Luther King as a tactic in the civil rights movement. Of course this is still being used by civil rights activists today of course it seems like it's their only tactics among other more coercive methods.

BTW, Dr. King is a political philosopher apparently. I'm going to learn more next week as our class reads his book, Why We Can't Wait.

Anyway the stakes for Gandhi was the freedom and independence of India from British imperial rule. He wanted self-determination for India. Not only that, he wanted general societal change. He wanted to abolish the caste system. He didn't want to keep at the lower rung a group of people outside of the caste system known as the untouchables. He wanted swaraj - freedom in a spiritual & political sense - for everyone in India. In other words in freeing India from the British he wanted everyone to participate. He wanted equality for women as well, since women in India had the same status as the untouchables in Indian society.

Oh you might ask who are these untouchables. These untouchables took jobs that most Indians didn't want to perform. They would perform menial dirty jobs. They would be janitors for instance. They may be the ones who will will kill and dispose of animal cadavers. It wasn't expected that they were to interact with the rest of Indian society because they were seen as dirty so in general they were segregated from the rest of society. This to Gandhi was something of an injustice and he wanted to gain status for these untouchables and eliminate the caste system. This was something he was unsuccessful at although the caste system is illegal in India. Still old customs still persist unfortunately.

I can agree with him on "violent shortcuts" as what happened in Russia with the Bolshevik revolution. He believed in non-violence and in his case it was successful in securing independence for India. Independence wasn't his only goal if you read up on Gandhi, hopefully more extensively than I have so far, you might see is that he had a program for Indian independence and freedom. This involves for one thing eliminating the caste system, securing rights for women and the untouchables, and to eliminate the gulf between the very rich and the poor.

Well far be it for be to advocate for violent revolution. I think it would be hard to not resort to violence. Non-violence doesn't do any good if a regime is going to maintain its power and control by any means necessary. Sometimes that means you might have to resort to violence if it must mean self-defense. It's probably disturbing to people to think that way, but being strictly non-violent isn't an answer.

I would imagine however, that if one was engaged in a peaceful demonstration and was meant with violence by government authorities. An example might be the march on Selma in 1965 where on March 7th these marchers were beaten up by state and local police. In that case peaceful demonstration was met with violence by authorities and unfortunately the authorities couldn't spin this since TV cameras were right there to record the clash! In a free nation do you not expect to be shocked when police beats and tear gases a group of non-violent protesters who are only engaging in their constitutional right to demonstrate against something or petition the government.

You know I may have to rethink something. Sometimes non-violence can be a great tool, but it can't be accepted as the only tool. Gandhi swears by it and it worked for him and for Dr. King it worked for him as well. It's safe to say that if non-violence was used as a tool only to be wet with violent resistance by authorities then there can certainly be sympathy. Especially if they resort to having to use the court system and even the media to address and record their grievances.

Oh yeah another thing we can say about Gandhi and even Dr. King. America is supposed to be a free nation and Britain has a tradition of liberalism, yet neither nation lived up to their highest ideas. Both no doubt used these ideas against America and the Britain. Gandhi address this in my readings because apparently he knows that while America believes that all men are created equal, there is a double standard when it comes to how they treated the "Negroes" even though America abolished slavery after the civil war.

I'd like to read more of Gandhi, it's some good stuff. Oh and don't think I'm race baiting, because I don't believe that was what Gandhi was about and ideally neither should these so-called "black leaders" today. I'm not playing the racial grievance card either, something that unfortunately came up in Obama's campaign. It's OK to have a grievance against a government for past treatment, but it's another if racial grievance is the only agenda or platform

If you were able to read this long convoluted blog post, soon I will discuss another old unit. Last week we read a little about Karl Marx. I can hear the collective gasps out there already, but it's worth discussing. I'll be sure to keep it short as well.

I made over 100 page views on Wednesday

I not only have SiteMeter to track traffic but I also have StatCounter. You can't see it can you? Well that's the point.

You may ask you, that's all? Well that's significant for me. I looks at the traffic and I concluded that these 111 views came to read my take on LeBron James' Vogue magazine cover. BTW, don't be afraid to leave a comment if you agree or disagree. I don't think this blog has ever seen 111 page views, I'd be surprised if it ever sees 1000+.

Anyway this is significant readership and almost makes me wonder if I should select more carefully what stories I do blog about. Well I got lucky this time, perhaps I will again. This blog represents some of my thoughts so I suppose I will continue to seek out those stories that interest me and hopefully by extension they will interest you!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Elite Colleges' Scramble to Enroll High SAT Scorers May Undermine Diversity

Found this story at InstaPundit today...
Elite colleges have been undermining their own efforts to diversify by giving much more weight to high SAT scores than they did before, according to an analysis of College Board data presented this morning at the annual conference of the American Educational Research Association.

Over the past two or three decades, the share of freshman-class seats that elite colleges award to students with high SAT scores has risen significantly—and risen more quickly than the number of high scores, according to an analysis by Catherine L. Horn, an assistant professor of educational leadership and cultural studies at the University of Houston, and John T. Yun, an assistant professor of education at the University of California at Santa Barbara.

The researchers examined the freshman classes entering the 30 highest-ranked institutions in the 2007 U.S. News and World Report annual college guide. SAT scores of entrants were available for 19 of the institutions. Of those, all but four enrolled classes in which more than 30 percent of the students had SAT verbal scores above 700, and more than half enrolled classes in which more than 50 percent of students had verbal scores over 700. In 1979, by contrast, just one of the 30 institutions enrolled a freshman class in which more than 30 percent of the students had verbal scores above 700.

From 1989 to 2007, the researchers found, the share of entering freshmen with SAT verbal scores above 700 rose from 33 percent to 78 percent at Yale University, from 24 to 67 percent at Stanford University, from 9 to 54 percent at the University of Pennsylvania, and from 18 to 68 percent at the University of Chicago.

Of the 74,000 students nationwide who earned SAT verbal scores above 700 in 2006, roughly 25,000 enrolled in one of the 30 institutions. The most prestigious of the 30 institutions, such as the members of the Ivy League, have always had large pools of high-scoring applicants, but the institutions now appear to be placing more emphasis on entrants’ SAT scores—a trend the researchers see as linked to the weight that U.S. News and other publications give to students’ SAT scores in judging selectivity for the publications’ college rankings.

Other institutions—such as the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, and Wake Forest University—have experienced surges in the number of high scorers applying but also appear to be giving high scores more weight.

The researchers say that, by focusing so heavily on high scorers, the elite colleges they examined are ignoring promising minority students with lesser scores, increasing the competition for high-scoring minority students, and potentially “simply ‘pricing’ themselves out of the ‘market’ for a more diverse learning environment.” Especially among the most prestigious of the 30 institutions, it is hard to believe that putting less emphasis on high SAT scores would cause the institutions’ quality to suffer.
Well that's a story right there. These institutions should look for the best students. I'm not entirely convinced that you can decided merely from SATs or ACTs. I think it would be bad news to use that as a criteria. At the same time a person with high test scores is no guarantee that this student may remain elite. Though of course SATs & ACTs are used for a reaon, they work for people determining admissions standards.

Of course I can always see this as another way that young black men and perhaps other might effectively cancel themselves out of going to college if the main way they'll get into college is a high SAT score. I'm not saying it's unfair, but unfortunately there'll be students stressing themselves out over getting that top SAT score.

LeBron James' Vogue cover called racially insensitive

I can see the controversy here, a big black man is holding a little white lady. Oh and if you see the imagery that I placed in that first sentence it was intentional. Sometimes I think people read too much into these things. Let's see what the Trib says...
When Vogue announced its April cover starring LeBron James and Gisele Bundchen, the magazine noted with some fanfare that James was the first black man to grace its cover.

But the image is stirring up controversy, with some commentators decrying the photo as perpetuating racial stereotypes. James strikes what some see as a gorilla-like pose, baring his teeth, with one hand dribbling a ball and the other around Bundchen's tiny waist.

It's an image some have likened to "King Kong" and Fay Wray.

"It conjures up this idea of a dangerous black man," said Tamara Walker, 29, of Philadelphia.

Photographer Annie Leibovitz shot the 6-foot-9 NBA star and the 5-foot-11 Brazilian model for the cover and an inside spread. Vogue spokesman Patrick O'Connell said the magazine "sought to celebrate two superstars at the top of their game" for the magazine's annual issue devoted to size and shape.

"We think Lebron James and Gisele Bundchen look beautiful together and we are honored to have them on the cover," he said.

James told The (Cleveland) Plain Dealer he was pleased with the cover, saying he was "just showing a little emotion."

"Everything my name is on is going to be criticized in a good way or bad way," James told the paper. "Who cares what anyone says?"

But magazine analyst Samir Husni believes the photo was deliberately provocative, adding that it "screams King Kong." Considering Vogue's influential history, he said, covers are not something that the magazine does in a rush.

"So when you have a cover that reminds people of King Kong and brings those stereotypes to the front, black man wanting white woman, it's not innocent," he said.

O'Connell, the Vogue spokesman, declined further comment.

In a column at ESPN.com, Jemele Hill called the cover "memorable for all the wrong reasons." But she said in an interview that the image is not unusual -- white athletes are generally portrayed smiling or laughing, while black sports figures are given a "beastly sort of vibe."

For example, former NBA star Charles Barkley was depicted breaking free of neck and wrist shackles on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Dennis Rodman graced the cover of Rolling Stone with horns poking out of his forehead and his red tongue hanging out.

Images of black male athletes as aggressive and threatening "reinforce the criminalization of black men," said Damion Thomas, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at University of Maryland.

But others say the image show James' game face -- nothing more. And they note that Bundchen hardly looks frightened.

"James is a huge, black beautiful masculine statue and Gisele is a feminine, sexy gorgeous doll," said Christa Thomas, 36, a black account supervisor in Los Angeles.

"I didn't see any kind of racist overtone to it," she said. "I still don't. I think there is such a hypersensitivity to race still in this country."
That last sentence. What did I just say? Yup I thought so!

Hypersensitivity about race. I think the country is going thru it with the Jeremiah Wright story. They certainly don't like Rev. Wright's views on race in America and a lot of people who criticize him will not look at the context. Even if they do, they'll just insist that him or any other black talk about this issue in a nice calm way, instead of being an "angry black man" about it.

Still I can see the stereotype here a big black man going after him some white wimminz. I could just say that some people are still uptight about this idea of interracial dating, something I've discussed here a lot. Whether we're talking about black men and white women or black women and white men. Me personally I don't care (or at least try not to get caught up in) what two people do together, it's not my concern. I only hope that they're together for the right reasons and it's likely I'd say that for any other couple whether they're of two races, two social classes, or whatever other label one will use.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

I saved this link just now in my del.icio.us links

The Bronzeville Metropolis. Most of the writings I have seen there I agree with and hopefully some of you out there will agree with some of what they say too. Let me point you to a pair of their writings I have seen so far.

WHAT IS THE “BLACK MATRIX?” - PART I
Part II, "Black Matrix"
Black “Leaders” - Marching Out of Step
Billionaire Bob

D.C. Gun Crackdown Meets Community Resistance

I found this story over at InstaPundit this morning. I wonder what angle community leaders are using to oppose this initiative but I am certainly amused that there is resistance.

You know I realize this is their attempt to certainly get the guns off the street of course they're not making a distinction between guns used by criminals vs. those that may be used by law abiding citizens. I also realize that they're not breaking the 4th Amendment by requesting to search your premises especially without a warrant. Of course I could question if asking to search a premises for guns or anything else deemed illegal is reasonable.

This leads me to a story I remember a few years back. Chicago Public Housing residents were so fed up with the violence in their housing projects that they were more than willing to submit to searches for weapons. I was young back then and I wasn't sure whether or not this was a good idea or not, if I thought I had no other recourse to stop the violence who knows I might say yes to that although in the interest of security I would be giving up some of my god-given rights.

I wonder if there is great public support for programs such as this. The unscientific poll with this story says that there isn't, thank goodness. I wonder if people are concerned about their erosion of their rights in the name of security during the last eights years. This or they might be tired of the government trying to determine what's good for the people. That is in this context it's for the good and safety of the public for individuals not to own guns.

I want to know what you think about this out there. I can also ask if there is any such thing as an "illegal firearm". What does that mean? Does that mean a firearm purchased illegally outside of a gun shop?

And let's not be entirely loose here two people should be able to buy a gun from each other but I also understand that criminals have to buy their guns from somewhere and that could be of course another criminal. I'm starting to wonder if "illegal firearms" is a misnomer of sorts. Either way let me know your thoughts on these issues, especially whether or not you would allow the police to search your homes for firearms.

As for DC v. Heller a reader emailed me a couple of links for your perusal. For those of you interested in this case. First link and the second.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Have fun with this - Obama posters

I can probably come up with more positive or more negative posters, but this exercise is fun. Perhaps I might play with a few ideas later. Right now, some of you might have your ideas. Play with them here and make your own poster.

Detroit mayor indicted for perjury

I got this news today from HotAir. I've chronicled this story overtime here about Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick who not only had the misfortune of getting caught in an affair with his now former chief of staff, Christine Beatty. Despite great evidence that proved that he did have an affair he and Ms. Beatty chose to lie about it under oath. Even worse than that (it doesn't seem much different than what happened with President Clinton didn't it, Monica Lewinsky came out of yet another investigation) this affair came out of another investigation over the firing of a police office and a party at Detriot's mayoral mansion. It's turning into even more of a mess!

He is touted as the Hip-Hop mayor. He's a young man and perhaps it shouldn't be a surprise that he's run into his problems so far.

Here's a timeline of the scandals so far.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Oh and Happy Easter

Here's a blogthing...



Your Chocolate Easter Bunny Personality



You know what you want in life and how to get it.

You're not going to waste time or let yourself be meek



Whether it's chocolate, money, or power...

You take what you can get, and you act quickly.



You have a lot of energy, and people sometimes scared by your determination.

Not that you care what other people think. You're not going to apologize for who you are.



I hope everyone has a blessed Easter and a very safe Good Friday.

The 21st century equivalent of stuffing ballot boxes and dead people voting



Posted here is the last part of a documentary called Hacking Democracy about some people who are looking into the security of electronic voting machines. It seems that they're not so security. You want to watch the other parts of which there are nine, go here. It's pretty interesting.

This last part has the group looking into the integrity of this voting system. Two voted yes to the question of is this system secure. Everyone else votes no. The votes are tallied and it reflects that only 7 voted yes and 1 voted no. Another member of this group was able to hack into a memory card to assure that the results are exactly what he wants them to be. Scary isn't it?

Well, I don't know what to believe. I wasn't in that room with them. I do wonder however if we should trust computers. Perhaps the older methods were without a doubt much better. Just a simple paper ballot with humans doing the counting. At least we wouldn't have to blame a computer.

What are your thoughts out there?

ADDITION: You may also watch the full version of Hacking Democracy at Google Video.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I'm watching DC vs. Heller on C-Span right now!!!

America and the Courts on C-Span is featuring oral arguments in the case DC vs. Heller. This case is challenging the handgun ban in Washington, DC. It's interesting how the Justices of the US Supreme Court and the lawyers (especially Alan Gura who's arguing for Dick Anthony Heller) discuss precedents, old state constitutions, the founding fathers, English common law just to discuss whether or not the second amendment refers to a common right (i.e the militias or the purposes of national defense) or an individual right (i.e. a person has the right to bear arms for the purposes of self-defense). I realize that unless I did my research to justify arguing against any gun control legislation that exists in American law (I could be talking about municipal ordinances, state law, or even federal law) I would have a little trouble in making my case. Obviously Gura has done his research and so have the individual justices of the Supreme Court. I'm basically enjoying this back and forth.

Let me be honest when I say that I support the right of an individual to carry a gun for their own self-defense. I believe it is unresonable to not expect a citizen to wait for police protection especially when many citizens have one complaint about the police, that they don't always show up on the scene in a reasonable amount of time. That is by the time they arrive the deed is done.

If you want to know a little more about what's going on at the Supreme Court of the United States here's a blog for your purposes. And they are following DC vs. Heller and probably in better detail than I have presented it at this moment. SCOTUSblog is where to go.

Pajama's Media: Obama's Race Against Race

In reading this article I'm very disappointed that they're still pegging most blacks (if not all blacks) are monolithic in terms of how they believe in this idea of racial grievance. Indeed a lot of black don't see Obama as the "black" candidate. Of course the "black" candidate may very likely not be close to winning a major party nomination for President.

I saw a video where former President Bill Clinton said that in 1984 and 1988 Rev. Jesse Jackson won South Carolina. I wonder why that should matter if for nothing else but downplay Sen. Obama's momentum so far in this race. Of course it hasn't so far though I will say that the momentum is being tested by the whole dead horse involving Rev. Jeremiah Wright and Trinity United Church of Christ. Let's not get distracted here.

Fact is racial grievance isn't going to win a race for President, but is only a vehicle for blacks to say that America is racist and is not living up to its responsibilities (whatever those are). If Obama won South Carolina because of the black vote then that should be proof enough that blacks have rejected the idea of racial grievance. Perhaps blacks are tired of this idea that America is such a horrible country and we have to call them out on it. I guess on that account perhaps Rev. Wright's preaching is probably bad news for Sen. Obama.

Anyway here's an excerpt from this article. It's worth a read...
What should someone who is passionate about E pluribus unum—who believes it is essential for America’s future that race have no place, that what Americans have in common must be embraced more than our diversity—think of Senator Obama’s candidacy?

First and foremost, the fact that an African-American candidate should be so popular, and should run a campaign that is racially undivisive and positive, is wonderful. Obama has rejected identity politics; true, he had to if he was to succeed; still, he did. The whites and other nonblacks voting for him have as well; his black supporters may not have, but it’s unrealistic to expect them to ignore Obama’s race, and he has not run as “their” candidate.

This does not mean, incidentally, that Geraldine Ferraro was incorrect in her observation that, were he not black, he would not be the Democratic front-runner.

It is almost inconceivable that a white male who, a little more than three years ago, was a state legislator with no national or international credentials, would—by dint of speechmaking ability alone—be poised to win his party’s nomination. But the point is that Obama did not ask for this adulation because of his race, even if race in part explains it.

Indeed, the fact that Obama has been so successful undercuts, perhaps decisively, the premise of the whole grievance industry: that America is racist, that black people cannot succeed, and that the ideal of E pluribus unum is an unrealistic one for the foreseeable future. Instead, the Obama candidacy shows that, for all with eyes to see, the future is now.
In other news this video disturbs me. Another man of the cloth, no one has ever heard of goes after Obama. It causes me to wonder if the whole religion industry in black America is in good hands. This video caused me to believe that it might not be in good hands.
This video is pure Obama hatred. His issue is that Obama has a white mother. Is that what makes him so horrible a person?

Friday, March 21, 2008

Mayhem at FOX News over Sen. Obama

OK, another post about Obama. Two videos provided by the Huffington Post one with a FOX News personality walking off the set over some comments made by two other FOX News personalities and then Chris Wallace host of FOX News Sunday taking these two personalities to task over their comments.





Here's another perspective on this from The Carpetbagger Report...
But to suggest that Obama’s off-hand remark is somehow a major scandal seems wildly excessive. Looking at the context, it’s clear Obama was not denigrating all white people. Referring to his grandmother, the senator said:
“She’s extremely proud,” he said. “The point I was making was not that my grandmother harbors any racial animosity. She doesn’t. But she’s a typical white person who — if she sees somebody on the street that she doesn’t know — there’s a reaction that’s been bred into our experiences that don’t go away, and that sometimes come out in the wrong way, and that’s just the nature of race in our society. We have to break through it. And what makes me optimistic is you see each generation feeling a little less like that.”
“Obama basically called all white people racist”? C’mon.

Obama's Invitation by the Southern Avenger

I'll let you take of this as you will. It makes sense to me though I'm sure others have their opinions about this one. BTW, this is certainly not the the first video of the Southern Avenger I've posted. Check out this post I made over at Illinoize and cross posted atThe Sixth Ward on a different subject.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

This takes me back!

This seems like a long time ago when I was in school for this. Well this video aired at 6AM and it was unlikely that I was ever up that early. Still I remember this except I would watch cartoons that aired during the noon hour.

Channel 32 was a different animal in those days. I mean cartoons in the morning until about 1992 or 1993 when they started the whole FOX News in the Morning thing. Then for the rest of the day either cartoons or TV reruns. FOX 32 was certainly a wild west of sorts for a TV station that was a member of a brand new TV network. Even in those days FOX took chances more than they seem to now!

In this era I could watch cartoons. I don't remember exactly what would be seen on 32. Perhaps The Care Bears or My Little Ponies or even the favorite of most young me in my generation, ThunderCats. I also remember that I could watch a nice helping of Our Gang.

You know something what many of us find airing on TV during the day is bland compared to what they show on TV these days. I can literally live without the saturation of courtroom programs, talk shows, even the reruns of recently run programs. I wish I can go back to the time when one could find in abundance reruns of programs that aired in the 1960s and 1970s like there were over a decade ago.

Hey, if I hadn't watched TV in the early 1990s I wouldn't have had a nice early does of Battlestar Galactica many years before the premier of the newer version that everyone seems to like on the Sci-Fi Channel. Ah those were the days!

BTW, I wanted to lighten things up around here. Sometimes it pays to do that. It's my mind after all!!! ;-)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Clout City on the Rev. Jeremiah Wright story

Mick Dumke gives his observations on the story with regards to Wright's story & Trinity United Church of Christ. He doesn't seem to be piling on the racist nature of the church or at least the comments of the former pastor. If anything this seems like a vehicle to go after those churches who have found themselves in financial bed with the administration of Mayor Daley.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Jewel plans to open store on South Side

Remember when I used to blog a lot about the living-wage ordinance back in 2006. I wonder if this was where Target would have built. If Target isn't coming then I wonder what happened. Still this Jewel-Osco should put a dent in that fabled "food desert". There is another Jewel nearby on 115th and Halsted, could this new Jewel be a replacement. From Crain's Real Estate...
Jewel-Osco is set to open a new supermarket this fall in the Marshfield Plaza on the South Side.

Jewel’s 62,000-square-foot store would join retailers such as Target Corp. and Staples Inc. in the shopping center, which is located at 119th street and Marshfield Avenue, according to Los Angeles-based Primestor Development.

The shopping center is Primestor’s first development in the Chicago area. It is being built on a site that once housed a 600,000-square-foot Libby Food canning plant. It’s part of an ongoing redevelopment of the retail business in the neighborhood.

“From out extensive work in underserved markets in Los Angeles, we know that supermarkets are critical to any redeveloping area,” said Arturo Sneider, a partner at Primestor. “Jewel-Osco, which is so much a part of the fabric of Chicago, will create, at the very least, a weekly draw for the rest of our extraordinary lineup.”

Monday, March 17, 2008

Name of Obama's pastor 'is being assassinated'

Still sick of this story but we see the congregation of Trinity sticking up for their former pastor. It's too bad that they might be seen in a certain way that's definitely not flattering. From the Sun-Times...
Sen. Barack Obama's church staged a strong defense of its senior pastor Sunday, comparing criticism of the Rev. Jeremiah Wright to the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Obama's Democratic presidential bid has drawn scrutiny to Wright's outspoken comments on race and U.S. policy, as well as the Afro-centric flavor of Trinity United Church of Christ, 400 W. 95th St. Critics have said Wright is wrongheaded, militant and divisive. The church says Wright's commitment to social justice is a flashpoint for some conservatives.

"Nearly three weeks before the 40th commemorative anniversary of the murder of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr.'s character is being assassinated in the public sphere because he has preached a social gospel on behalf of oppressed women, children and men in America and around the globe," the church said in a statement released Sunday.

During a Sunday evening service, Pastor Otis Moss III spoke of "external forces" that want to "box us in and vilify us."

In a Palm Sunday sermon laden with symbolism, Moss seemed to liken a biblical donkey or colt to the oppressed. To undermine it, "You have to assassinate the colt's character," Moss said to shouts of "Preach."

"The domesticated donkey says, 'You need to stop talking that social justice stuff,' and speak only of Jesus," Moss said.

In the church's statement, Moss criticized basing Wright's legacy on a few comments. After 36 years of preaching, "It is an indictment on Dr. Wright's ministerial legacy to present his global ministry within a 15- or 30-second sound bite," Moss said.
I'm still conflicted about what Obama should do. People have an issue with the rather racial orientation of Trinity United Church of Christ, something I don't think is a problem and I definitely don't see Trinity as a racist church. Of course at the same time some of Wright's statements have given me pause

People are already uncomfortable talking about race. As for talking about America in the way that he has, I wish I knew what to say. Objectively questioning American policy isn't wrong, but America hating is another thing of course those two issue can often be linked. Where does questioning American policy end and America hating start.

BTW, I didn't realize until watching the TV version of Beyond the Beltway on TV's Channel 20 last night that these are some old videos going back between four to six years back. One video I saw was recorded a few days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. That sermon had to come across as a blow torch thru butter to those who were in some way affected by that tragedy.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Lawndale, Eminent Domain

A community on the west side of Chicago is in the same league as the much more affluent Lincoln Square neighborhood because they're both facing issues of eminent domain. The Bench had this video in their sidebar. Tom Mannis has covered the issue of eminent domain on his blog over time. Even provided his own video on the situation in Lawndale. I posted that at Illinoize.

BTW, according the Newsalert the incoming Governor of New York David Patterson is no friend of eminent domain. Of course if only there was a similar advocate in Illinois.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

I'm sick of this Jeremiah Wright story

You know aside from the story about Gov. Spitzer, was the story about Jeremiah Wright. Rev. Wright is the outgoing pastor of Trinity United Church of Christ on the south side of Chicago. The controversy involves a number of things especially questions about whether this church is racist or not, but that's not the story this week.

The story this week was over some comments Wright made. These comments can certainly be seen as somewhat hateful or anti-American. These are comments that would give me pause and I'm certainly concerned that a man of the cloth would use such strong comments such as "god-damn America". A lot of his comments I wouldn't agree with certainly.

I also understand that he comes from a different generation. An activist generation that paved the way for the Barack Obamas of the world. Of course that generation may not be as apt to hear it as his generation was. Also note that Barack Obama is just young enough to have been involved in activism that led to the end of apartheid in South Africa in the early 1990s. Of course that's a whole other story.

If Barack Obama is to lead a new politics free of division then he would be correct to cast aside Rev. Wright in his quest for the White House. At the same time I understand that there are those elements out there that are uncomfortable with this old fiery preacher. I have no doubt that there are those uncomfortable with what Rev. Wright says especially if it involves the issue of race, though I'll be honest when I say I'm not that comfortable with it.

This week I saw this story beaten with a dead horse on FOX News Channel with Sen. Obama outright saying that he'd quit Trinity if he heard enough of the talk from the mouth of Jeremiah Wright. I would wish that Obama had never said that because the Senator obviously was inspired by his pastor. I would think it's a bit outrageous for anyone to expect him to dismiss a man who was such an important part of his life. I'm also sure that Wright respects a prominent member of his congregation enough to excuse himself from the campaign of said member if he turned out to be a problem.

All the same what's unfortunate is that Wright is a problem when a member of his congregation is seeking to become President of the United States. He's had a 40 year or better career in the ministry and I can't believe this is the first time he's been in the news. Even if he was perhaps it was never about what he said in a sermon. I wish I could tell you because I have never seen him in a news story.

BTW, I saw Obama's interview on Fox News last night during an episode of Hannity and Colmes. Sean Hannity seems to be the worst of the media beating on a dead horse. In addition to that he replayed an earlier interview with Rev. Wright when he appeared on Hannity and Colmes. Hannity always gives me a good reason to either not be a faithful watcher of Hannity and Colmes nor his syndicated radio program.

Also on FOX News, Bill O'Reilly interviews N'Digo publisher Hermene Hartman and a supporter of Barack Obama who wears dreadlocks. This segment was a drop-down drag-out brawl. Well I exaggerate but there was a lot of over talk in that segment. Of course Hartman and the Obama supporter support Wright and both said some things that confirmed some of O'Reilly's preconceived notions about where they stand. At the end of the interview Hartman invited O'Reilly to Trinity one Sunday with Billy O willing to accept the invitation.

You know what this is a dead horse. That's how I seem to look at this story. I'm sure that if there is a big picture to this perhaps Wright and Obama figured this out already when everyone else did. All I know is that this election has provided better soap operas than any other I have ever seen.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Ban on tiny plastic bags sandbagged

Remember this story. Chicago's city council actually grew a pair moved to "sandbag" this bill. In other words they killed it or at least it won't come to vote in front of the full city council. So let's see which Alderman saw this potential ordinance as frivolous. From today's Sun-Times...
Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6th) said Thursday she joined her colleague, Ald. Helen Shiller (46th), in sandbagging the plastic bag ban at this week's City Council meeting because it would "criminalize legal conduct."

"Their position is there's no use to any of these bags other than for illegal purposes. But Ald. Shiller brought to their attention that people who do bead work buy beads in small bags. I mentioned that a lot of young girls have these intricate braids and that those beads also come in plastic bags," Lyle said.

"I've seen these little, bitty, tiny plastic bags. You know they're selling crack cocaine in it. But we've got enough laws we can't enforce. We don't want to make any more or criminalize legal conduct."

Shiller could not be reached for comment.

Ald. Ed Smith (28th), Health Committee chairman, said he held the matter in committee because some of his colleagues have reservations and want another hearing to air those concerns.

"Drugs are handled and passed along in other [containers], rather than just a particular bag, and they had some concerns about that," Smith said.

Asked if he still supported the ban, Smith said, "Oh, sure. I do. Any measure -- whether it's minuscule or whatever -- that can make a dent on the drug activity, we need to do it because it is killing this country. Not only the young people."
Well OK, Ald. Smith is not one who thinks this ordinance is frivolous so he's in that camp. He thinks banning these little baggies would help make a dent in drug activitiy. I wish he could come up with more constructive ideas than banning something.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Since we got one scandalous politician out of the way...

How about looking at another scandalous politician. AverageBro talks about the situation in Detroit. It seems Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick isn't ready to give up Detroit's Mayoralty, although the folks up that way seem ready for him to go. Unlike what happened in New York this scandal has nothing to do with prostitution, but more to do with philandering, lying under oath and text messages.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

NY Gov. Spitzer Resigns!!!

Since Friday I've limited my posting to once a day. This was too good to pass up.

I saw NY Gov. Eliot Spitzer's press conference on FOX News this morning. He has announced his resignation effective March 17th his Lt. Gov. David Patterson will succeed him. Patterson will be the first black man and first legally blind person to succeed to the NY Governorship at that time.

The anchors after his press conference said that he seemed a lot more contrite this morning than he did when he made his initial statement on Monday. Well I couldn't say I didn't watch that press conference but I caught this one. This was such as spectactular fall. He was elected very overwhelmingly in 2006 for his first term and ran into political problems. It was primarily thru his own temperature listening to these reports who are in the know about NY politics. I just heard that he only lasted 14 months, if only he could stay about from those prostitutes.

I also hear that while his wife, I would have assumed she might want to leave him, urged that he stick around. She wasn't ready to let the privilege go either. They did say about Spitzer that you'd have to pry this power out of his hands.

More from ABC News.

VIDEO: A documentary about gun control.

A documentary by Libertarian radio talk show host Larry Elder entitled Michael & Me countering the gun control views of famous documentarian Michael Moore. Michael Moore of course has made such documentaries such as Roger & Me, Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11, and Sicko. This video will run about an hour and 30 minutes so if this interests you give yourself some time to enjoy.

If the embed doesn't work then here's a direct link.

ADDITION: Check out this Tribune editorial that uses recent shootings such as those at Virginia Tech or Northern Illinois University and even the recent student shot outside of Crain high school. This editorial proposes more restrictions. I wonder where this editorial gets their stats from.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Illinoize: When the Law is an Ass

A post written by Cal Skinner who also blogs at McHenry County blog talks about a black man who has been in jail for just about 26 years for a murder he didn't commit. Apparently another man's lawyers knew that their client has actually committed that murder, it was because he admitted it, BTW. Anyway thanks to lawyer-client privilege their hands were tied.

I wonder if they could have convinced him to turn himself in. I wonder if that's what they did and he wouldn't do it and there wasn't much to do. Unfortunately I have no way of knowing that angle. If they didn't convince him then I certainly think that's a problem and perhaps the lawyers didn't do their jobs. Of course I would wonder if that would preserve lawyer client privilege.

In any event, this man has been in jail 26 years for a crime he didn't commit. Apparently the lawyers and judges involved have yet to figure out how to get this man free. Then Cal Skinner wants the lawyering (I think I just made that word up) profession to adjust their ethics rules to assure that there won't be another situation like this.

Monday, March 10, 2008

A recurring theme apparently



Look at what all of these individuals have in common. They like to bite their lips. If you don't know these people the first man biting his lip is NY Governor Eliot Spitzer, then my governor Rod Blagojevich, and then of course you see the 42nd President of the United States Bill Clinton. If I recall correctly I've seen a number of pictures of Blagojevich biting his lip, especially last year when he couldn't seem to win a victory to save his life. Clinton well I'm sure he bit his lip thanks to Monica Lewinsky and other scandals that came up during his presidency.

What about Spitzer though? Well today he has a reason to get caught biting his lip today. Yup a recurring theme amongst mostly Democratic politicians although I can't say for sure whether or not a Republican has or hasn't been caught biting their lip.

ADDITION: Gov. Spitzer is expected to resign tonight he was only governor for more than a full year.
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Sunday, March 09, 2008

Youth charged in deadly school shooting

These school shootings are very unfortunate and I really wish there was a way to solve this problem. Why should high school students be worried about riff-raffs who don't go to school either harrasing them or assaulting them. It's really unfortunate.

I could turn this into an angle about metal detectors. I don't know if students these days still have to go thru metal detectors today, but way back when that's how I started my day. Really unfortunate because while I would disagree with it, I understand why they had to take that precaution. Because some thugs just couldn't leave their conflicts out in the streets.

In this case at Crane this only happened on school grounds after school. So it was not even inside the school. It's also unfortunate that CPS is making note of how many students have been killed or died. The only reason we hear this statistic is only because someone got assaulted.

Well here's some news from the Trib today...
A 15-year-old student was charged with first-degree murder Sunday in the fatal shooting a Crane Tech High School classmate shortly after school let out on the West Side on Friday.

DeVonte Smyth, of the 1100 block of West Washburne Avenue, was ordered held without bail and charged with one count of first degree murder in the death of Ruben Ivy, 18.

Ivy is the 18th Chicago public school student killed since school began in September.

Smyth, 15, was charged as an adult during a hearing at the Cook County courthouse, according to the state's attorney's office. Prosecutors described Smyth as a gang member. The Crane Tech sophomore has no criminal record, according to court records.

Smyth's family and friends declined to comment after the hearing Sunday.

Attorneys said Smyth and Ivy attended the same school, but did not know one another. On Friday, however, Ivy's family and friends described a long-running feud between the gunman and Ivy. They also disputed initial reports that the fight began over a hat.

The shooting occurred near the school in the 2200 block of West Jackson Boulevard about 3 p.m. on Friday, 10 minutes after the school day ended. Ivy was taken to Stroger Hospital, where he was pronounced dead at 3:44, according to a report by the Cook County medical examiner's office.

A second student was beaten with a golf club during the melee. The 15-year-old student remained at Stroger Hospital on Sunday, according to Chicago police. No charges have been brought in the battery against him, Officer Laura Kubiak said.
Oh yeah Chicagoist has this to say about the usual calls for more gun control.
But are more gun laws really the answer? These shooting incidents are seemingly on the rise despite the Chicago handgun ban already in place. And it's probably not a real stretch to assume that most of the shooters don't possess FOID cards and didn't obtain the guns legally. Going after the method of violence instead of the root cause seems to make as much sense as banning baggies to reduce drug sales. The common denominator in many of these stories are gangs -- wouldn't money and effort be better spent on reducing gang-related activity, and helping to provide more opportunities for kids so they are not lured into gang life to begin with?
Most of us might feel better with gun control laws but that is very likely not the only solution. If nothing else it's the easiest solution. Too easy and perhaps ineffective. I will always say that it's better to go after the criminals that go after the guns and understand that responsible gun owners aren't the ones committing crimes. Still we might need to request that instead of gun-control perhaps there must be other solutions to be had to curb this unfortunate problem.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

WOW what an introduction...

This just goes to show you what goes on in this world. This story comes out of Memphis. On Electronic Village they talk about a "massacre" murders in a home in Memphis. A brother killed his brother and then proceeded to kill everyone else there with a few survivors of course.

There is a pic you see on that post, a post mortem picture of a young lady. I won't show that here. Express your disgust, if you have any to this guy. Hence the title of this thread to mention this blog. There are more pictures of this young lady here.

Some of you will be offended. I was horrified not by the fact that these pics were posted but what happened to her and the other eight people who were killed apparently at the hands of an ex-con brother. I'll let you read what happened to the rest of those people, but this young lady was shot in her kneecaps and was suffocated. The look on her face should tell the story of her mental state at the time.

I can always ask the question, what's going on in Memphis, TN? I really wish there were pics of this young lady alive instead of in a morgue. I'd rather she'd still be alive as a matter of fact. I mean wow!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Here come the Republicans!

Clout City on a newly elected Republican committeeman who has bold plans in the Daleyland known as the 11th Ward which mostly encompasses the Bridgeport neighborhood. I found this portion to be telling...
The 11th Ward is one of the biggest political paradoxes in the country—it’s obviously Democratic, but people there are conservative. They are against affirmative action. They are by and large Catholics against abortion. They are for putting in the pornographic filters in the libraries.

What people outside the ward don’t understand is this: the Daleys are not liked in the 11th Ward. They may be feared, but they’re not liked. People there are still Democratic because they’re intimidated by the Daley mafia. They’re afraid if they revolt they won’t get their garbage picked up. But I think this is the beginning of a political conversion. The Daley name is getting really old and haggard. People here are becoming more bold, more outspoken. I’ve only been in office ten days, and I have six or seven precinct captains, and one of them was a longtime precinct captain for John Daley. I plan on filling all 50 precincts with captains.
All I can say is that he certainly has an uphill battle. I can agree there certainly needs to be more political competition in Cook County and I hope that there will be. Segvich might want to work on the local Republican party countywide and citywide. Of course he has his plate full in the 11th ward provided that people will not only listen but will vote Republican.

He boldy predicts that Daley won't be mayor beyond March 2011 because he'll either lose an election or will find himself indicted. I don't know about that. You can read up more about Carl Segvich at his website.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Classical liberalism

A few things to know about Classical Liberalism. Some people involved with Classical Liberalism. John Locke, Adam Smith, and Alexis de Tocquville.

1) Limited government - fence government off from individual rights
2) Rule of law - laws are written so that citizens will know them and that we recognize laws and abide by them.
3) Sanctity of private property & freely made contracts - means of production shouldn't be owned by the state/government
4) Avoidance of arbitrary & discretionary power - to have a written constitution in order to avoid arbitrary and discretionary power
5) Each individual is responsible for their own fate in society.

I will have a little more from my class notes and from the reading. I'm actually finished with this unit so I can just spend spring break reading ahead or finishing this reading.

What is the Picador Project?

A project that seeks to get people to value and defend their freedoms instead of valuing more the nanny-state mentality that is prevailing in the current environment. The idea here is to start small. That is you can't start at the top and go directly to the President or make a run for Congress if you don't like what you see out there. One must start locally and on that link is a sort of blue print.

Hat-tip InstaPundit.

TheStateOf . . . Black Small Business

It's still one of my favorite blogs. Read on...
The other day, I (J) was talking with a black woman that owns a large, successful business in Los Angeles and she said, "Big J, I can't find good employees. The smartest blacks are in white corporations. I'm left with the blind, crippled and crazy."

Similarly, as I wander and wonder around Los Angeles, I sometimes marvel at the number and intensity of Korean and Latino-owned small businesses. Cleaners, bakeries, restaurants, ice cream shops, clothing stores, etc. You name it, you can buy it locally in latino and Asian communities.

In contrast, in black Los Angeles, there are T-Mobile stores, franchises and big corporate stores like Target. I've noticed this in every other American city as well. This keeps blacks chained to the meager wages paid by corporations, rather than reaping the wealth built by business assets.
They ask some basic questions about this. Mainly why isn't there a small business base in the black community? Well I do believe it was had before desegregation but why don't we have it now? And is there a trend and what can be done about it?

I don't have enough answers but I do think it must change. If you want to believe that most blacks have run into problems with the law and it's difficult to turn it around unless someone out there is willing to take a chance with them. It could be said that other communities might be able to get away with that but blacks can't because there just aren't a lot of entrepreneurs out there.

Of course I can go into more cultural things. Say certain people like to get rich quick instead of making the necessary plans and decisions to profit. I wish I had an answer and it's something that should be pondered.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Chicago may ban little baggies

Well while I found this story on Newsalert I also found it over at the Capitol Fax. Another facet of the war on Drugs being debated on Chicago's City Council is to ban these small plastic bag that may contain some type of narcotic. Of course this could be weed or crack or any other illegal substance. Of course if a business deals with such bags this is just a license for the authorities to shut down these businesses.

Of course this will be done under the auspices that we are protecting our kids and that it is a destructive force in our society. One just wonders why we are debating some of these trivialities what we really could be doing to curb drug use in our society and I'm sorry banning these little bags won't solve the problem. So maybe the City Council should focus on well cutting some waste so that in a reasonable amount of time we can cut these county and city taxes!

Then again I could discuss how we should just end this drug war and go after those "street pharmacists" out there instead of those businesses who might deal in little plastic baggies.

Both blogs cite a Sun-Times article.

School that got Pilgrim funds lost sex case

Oh man why does this have to be an even bigger mess and are these stories beating a dead horse?
A private school that Gov. Blagojevich said errantly received $1 million from his administration failed to stop a former kindergarten teacher from being sexually harassed and unlawfully retaliated against her when she complained, a state panel ruled in 2006.

The judgment by the state Human Rights Commission against Loop Lab School and one of its former officials, Tyrone Johnson, came two months before Blagojevich's administration awarded the $1 million grant to the school.

Gov pledges another $1 mil. to church Blagojevich: $1M for church went to 'wrong place'

The little-noticed sexual harassment case raises troubling new questions about why the school got the money and to what extent, if any, its operation was vetted by Blagojevich's administration.

Late Tuesday, the governor's office said the school did not disclose the sexual harrassment judgment before getting the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity grant.

"DCEO is reviewing the school's compliance with the grant agreement. There appear to be some red flags that they're investigating more closely," Blagojevich spokeswoman Abby Ottenhoff said.

Loop Lab School has been the focal point this week of one of the most embarrassing escapades under the two-term governor, who publicly acknowledged sending state dollars to "the wrong place."

The governor promised $1 million to historic Pilgrim Baptist Church in Bronzeville to rebuild from a catastrophic 2006 fire.

But Loop Lab School, which rented fire-damaged quarters from the church but had no other affiliation, was given the money insteadand, in turn, used it to buy space in a downtown office building once owned by John Thomas, an undercover informant in federal government corruption and real estate investigations.

Church officials and even the governor were unaware of where the reconstruction money had gone until Monday when the Chicago Sun-Times broke the story.

The sexual harassment controversy involves a kindergarten teacher's claims against Johnson, the school's former personnel manager and administrator who allegedly put his hand in the teacher's shirt and on her buttocks, kissed her and placed a candy bar between her legs over her protests, the commission ruled.

The teacher complained to the school's business manager and, later, its director, Elmira Mayes, who implied the teacher's job could be in peril. The business manager allegedly accused the teacher of theft, as well.

The teacher, whom the Sun-Times is not naming because she was deemed to be a sexual harassment victim, resigned, sued and won.

Late Tuesday, Johnson denied her accusations, calling them "frivolous," and said, "There's a lot of what they said is not even true. They can't even prove a shred of it."

But neither Johnson nor the school mounted a defense in the case and were declared by an administrative law judge to be in default. They were ordered to pay damages to the ex-teacher in excess of $40,000 -- money the woman has yet to collect.

Now, the teacher's lawyer, Patricia Motto, said she intends to stake a claim on the $1 million state payout to Loop Lab School, which used that money last year to buy and renovate the second floor of 318 W. Adams St. but has yet to hold any classes there.
While I can certainly understand if this teacher truly was harrassed by other employees at her workplace. On the other hand I can accuse this woman of being greedy. I don't know but the sad thing is now this money that was supposed to go to Pilgram Church as promised by the governor two years ago after the historic Louis Sullivan designed building was burned as a shell of its former self was sent to this school and now taxpayer's money might be taken as a spoil in a lawsuit.

They say that he makes these promises but fails in the follow up. Say like he decided that he forgot his promise or something. That or he just doesn't care about the details. Man this governor is awful!

Report details challenges facing black women

From the Sun-Times today...
This is a triumphant time for black women: Condoleezza Rice in the global diplomatic spotlight, Michelle Obama captivating campaign crowds as a potential first lady, billionaire Oprah Winfrey playing political kingmaker.

It's also a traumatic time: Rutgers University basketball players disparaged by radio host Don Imus, a black woman kidnapped and tortured by whites in West Virginia, the home-owning dreams of black women disproportionately dashed by foreclosures.

That remarkable mix is the focus of this year's State of Black America report, issued Wednesday by the National Urban League. It features essays looking at the array of challenges faced by African-American women: economic, social, psychological and medical.

''The one thing that is certain is the need to hear and amplify the voices of black women,'' longtime civil rights activist Dorothy Height writes in the foreword. ''Too often, our needs, concerns, struggles, and triumphs are diminished and subordinated to what is believed to be the more pressing concerns of others.''

Julianne Malveaux, the president of Bennett College for Women in Greensboro, N.C., contends in the report's opening essay that the image of black women in popular culture has barely improved in the year since the Imus incident.

White men continue to dominate on TV's Sunday morning news shows, she writes, while ''the gyrating, undulating image of African-American women in rap music videos and, by extension, on cable television is as prevalent as ever.''

The report delves deeply into economics, noting that black women are more likely than white or Hispanic women to be running a household and raising children on their own. According to Malveaux, black women hold more jobs nationwide than black men, yet -- despite their breadwinner roles -- earn less on average, $566 a week compared to $629 for black men.

In an essay about the home loan crisis, Andrea Harris, president of the North Carolina Institute for Minority Economic Development, suggests that black women have suffered disproportionately. Assessing recent federal data on subprime loans, which are a main culprit in the foreclosure epidemic, Harris says black women received far more of these loans in 2006 than white men.

''It is easy to imagine the devastation that is headed toward African-American women and their communities,'' Harris writes.

An essay by Dr. Doris Browne, a public health expert, details the above-average rates of cancer, diabetes and heart disease among black women.

On an upbeat note, former Labor Secretary Alexis Herman notes in her essay that black women are making huge strides as entrepreneurs. The number of businesses owned by them increased by 147 percent between 1997 and 2006, compared to an overall business growth rate of 24 percent, she wrote.
A lot of challenges but at the same time a few triumphs. Health is absolutely a concern especially when you hear stories about how black women are more likely to die of breast cancer. At the same time though black women are an emerging force in the Democratic party.

I often try to speak up for the guys but the guys need the ladies as well. And yeah I could say the ladies need the guys. We do often hear about the guys but most of us don't have to look too far to see what the ladies are doing. For the most part it seems single motherhood for black women is everywhere.

Of course I would wonder is this by choice or is the men in their lives unwilling to step up to the plate. I could always think that it's a combination.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Let's see if the Governor plans to keep this promise

The Illinois Channel blog has a press release where the governor promises more money to Pilgrim Baptist Church on Chicago's south side for the purposes of educational and human services facilities. As you may have heard there was a little flap about the money not going where it was supposed to go originally.

Rescuing the Rust Belt

An offering by author and economist Thomas Sowell, Ph.D. Hat-tip to a blog of the economist Greg Mankiw.

Another Detroit scandal!

I decided to check out John Ruberry's assertion made in a comment that if you look on the websites of Detriot's two newspapers Detriot Free Press and Detriot news, I absolutely found that auto-industry news right on both of their homepages. The problem here is that, well the American auto-industry is in decline. That may or may not change, but another story grabbed my attention looking at both of these news-sites...
A former homicide lieutenant who investigated the death of exotic dancer Tamara Greene said in a sworn affidavit he suspects the woman was killed by a member of the Detroit Police Department.

Lt. Alvin Bowman also said in the affidavit he is aware of links between Greene and "high-ranking city employees" and an unnamed associate of Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick.

Bowman gave the deposition in a federal lawsuit brought by Greene's family against the city of Detroit, Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and other city officials.

Greene's family alleges that top city officials interfered with the investigation of Greene's April 30, 2003, drive-by killing for political reasons. City officials deny the allegations.

Greene's name has been linked to a long rumored but never substantiated party at the mayor's Manoogian Mansion.

Bowman, who alleged in a separate lawsuit that he was transferred out of homicide for attempting to investigate Greene's killing, said in a Feb. 29 affidavit, "I suspected that the shooter was a law enforcement officer, and more specifically, a Detroit Police Department officer."

Bowman was awarded $200,000 in a jury trial against the city.

Deputy Chief James Tate, a spokesman for Detroit police, could not be reached for comment this morning. James Canning, a spokesman for the mayor, declined comment, citing ongoing litigation.

Mayer Morganroth, the Southfield attorney representing the city and the mayor in the Greene civil lawsuit, today described the Bowman allegations as "garbage."

"It's ridiculous," Morganroth said of the party allegations. "Find a person who was there. Find a person who knows anything firsthand."

Greene was shot about 18 times with a .40 caliber weapon -- the kind issued to Detroit police -- while sitting in a parked vehicle, Bowman said in the affidavit.

Bowman believed Greene was the target of a contract killing, partly because the shooter had ample opportunity to shoot the male passenger in the vehicle, but did not do so, he said.

"In the course of our investigation, I learned from the Michigan State Police that they possessed a telephone record linking Ms. Greene to high-ranking city employees not long before her murder," Bowman said in the affidavit.

"I also learned that Tamara Greene danced for and was employed by an associate of Mayor Kilpatrick."

Morganroth said Attorney General Mike Cox investigated the party allegations and ruled it an urban legend. A .40 caliber Glock is a gun frequently used by drug dealers, not just police officers, he said.
I wondered if this might be the new scandal that isn't needed in Detroit right now since Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is embattled thanks to some perjury and some text messages. Carrying on an affair with his now former chief of staff. This has been something that has been floating around in the press, in fact I've covered it here, for the better part of two months or so now! I wonder if this needed to happen for Kilpatrick right now!