Saturday, May 31, 2008

Gladys' Luncheonette

If I drive thru the Bronzeville neighborhood I might run by this abandoned restaurant on 4527 S. Indiana. I wonder when this place closed but the owner, Gladys Holcomb passed away in 2003. The person who took this photo (by Curtis Locke on Flickr) said that she served her soul food on the south side of Chicago for 52 years.

Attached to this is a resolution by the Illinois General Assembly of course I can't figure out when this was written and passed. Surely this happened not too long after Mrs. Holcomb's death in 2003. I was surprised to find out some of the luminaries who ate at this place...
WHEREAS, Gladys' Luncheonette became one of the most popular "soul food" restaurants in the Midwest, known for its delicious fried chicken, smothered chicken, smothered pork chops, peach cobbler, "melt-in-your-mouth" biscuits, and other down home, southern delicacies; many famous people were known to dine at the Luncheonette including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Lou Rawls, Redd Foxx, Governor Jim Thompson, Della Reese, Reverend Jesse Jackson, Gladys Knight, and a host of others...
The food must have been that good with all the luminaries going to this place, especially the governor of Illinois.

Here's another nice picture of the building from David Schalliol on Flickr!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Video: Reparations

I don't touch upon this issue too much, but this is a day because the very entertaining Showtime program and one I don't get to watch often enough has a program about this very subject. Penn & Teller's Bullsh*t meets Conrad Worril, John McWhorter, HK Edgerton, and others to discuss the US Government paying reparations. I should warn you there is some harsh language used and there are three parts to this vid. Enjoy!

Driving thru Bronzeville on Memorial Day

I was leaving the loop when I just decided to take a ride along Michigan Avenue to check out this "emerging" neighborhood. The history fascinates me of course if you've been reading this blog for any length of time you'd know this was at one time a very historic black neighborhood with a heyday that ended when blacks were able to move into other parts of the city they were restricted from. In any case I often like to look at how things look now as well as the architecture.

I saw a book at a bookstore that was about Chicago mansions. Bronzeville is home to many of them. In fact there's the Swift mansion that's next door to the HQ of the Chicago Urban League. You can see a video about an election party for an aldermanic candidate that took place there last year. And a pic is provided as well from Flickr.

I wish I knew the demographics there as far as income or race/ethnicity. This is a historic black neighborhood though to be honest I would disappointed if blacks didn't make up a significant percentage of the population there.

As for housing prices, I had to rely on EveryBlock Chicago real estate listings for Bronzeville and see that prices are between $85,000 to $1.6 million. Not the most reliable guide to real estate prices but it was the best I can do. This allows me to comment on something.

As I rode down I was with my mother and we both saw a white lady about to walk her dogs talking with her black neighbors. She has almost maybe 2 or 3 dogs with her. I thought she was taking a risk, but then my mother theorized that the price was right and she went on in and purchased the property. Can't risk waiting for an area to turn around because by that point the price won't be right, especially if you want them to be low.

I suppose that makes sense. Aside from real estate I can see some other business opportunities in that area assuming that the prices were right to buy some property and build a business. I can certainly see a need for some good restaurants or perhaps even a good grocery store and it need not be a big-box national chain. Perhaps someone might be able to provide a ma & pop gourmet grocery or something. I'm sure there are better ideas than that. In fact it would certainly be nice if there could be a steakhouse in that part of town.

Anyway, let me go back to the talk about mansions for a second. I would love to flip those mansions or perhaps to move into one. If I recall during Bronzeville's heyday when blacks were forced to stay on a narrow strip of real estate in the city most of these mansions were divided into apartments. These days if they're not being turned into mansions again they're certainly being converted into condominiums.

I should also add that we also drove thru Motor Row between Cermak and the Stevenson Expressway on Michigan. I suppose they won't be selling cars on this stretch of real estate anytime soon there. There's movement on the former home of the Chicago Defender, as a matter of fact Rich Miller blogged about that recently. Though Bronzeville is close to downtown Motor Row is even closer.

Of course the next step is to figure out what to do about those projects that are still up between Cermak and the Stevenson on State Street. Some have in fact been boarded up already. Rest assured that some changes are certainly coming!

The State of Libertarianism

From Reason. Something that I found interesting while I read this article...

But let's look back before we look to the present—and to the future. The Randian libertarianism that emerged in the 1950s was a fierce critique of planning and centralization, manifested in its minor (New Deal), major (Swedish), and malignant (Soviet) forms. The school of anti-statist criticism, reinforced by √©migr√© economists, was further strengthened by the obvious failures of American "Big Government" in the 1960s, from the war in Vietnam to the "War on Poverty." Interestingly, during that same decade of the '60s, libertarianism received a major boost from the so-called New Left. These leftists were ostensibly socialist, or even communist, but, in fact, they were more typically, in practice, anarchists and libertarians. Indeed, by the decade of the 1970s, it became clear that radicals and counter-culturalists were mostly interested in "doing their own thing," an attitude leading them toward an insistence on personal freedom-or, as they put it, not being hassled in their "personal space." Thus the New Left helped spawn the New Age, producing a generation of intensely capitalist music producers, natural food entrepreneurs, and then, most portentously, computer geeks and software developers. But of course, in their private moments, these folks retained their youthful predilections for drugs, sex, and rock and roll.

By the 1980s, these libertarian Boomers were in alliance, conscious and unconscious, with President Ronald Reagan. That is, even if yuppies looked down their nose at Reagan over matters of partisan style, they remained in tune with the pro-business substance of the Gipper's "supply side" ideology. The result was a robust consensus for lower taxes and freer trade, in both political parties. And of course, at the end of the '80s came the end of Communism, inspiring some to proclaim that a full-scale "end of history" was dawning—the permanent and decisive victory of liberal capitalist democracy.

Moreover, in the 1990s, the Internet seemed to bring with it the promise of libertarian nirvana, connecting everyone all across the cyber-flattened "borderless world" in a win-win capitalist nexus. Finally, in that same decade, the failed effort by right-wingers to impeach President Bill Clinton—a libertarian Boomer if there ever was one—was seen by many as the high-water mark of censorious "social" conservatism.

The whole piece is very interesting and a lot more broad. Go read the whole thing if you have the interest.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

I know this is old news

Back on April 2oth, I had just seen a rerun of an episode of the animated sitcom King of the Hill entitled "Trans-Fascism". You can see a brief synopsis of this episode here. It just has to be the most hilarious episode ever.

What happened was that apparently in a well-meaning attempt to consider the health of the citizens of fictional Arlen, TX the city council banned transfat. It started a black market of sorts in trans-fat foods. Sugarfoots the physical restaurant was closed, however, owner Buck Strickland who also owned Strickland Propane started a mobile restaurant providing these foods. Of course Sugarfoots on wheels spawned a competitor that effectively bullied it's way into Sugarfoots' territory. What eventually killed the ban was the lack of cleanliness of the competitor and the fact that people got sick from the competitor's food. Hey an unintended consequence of a ban that was well meaning and it only caused a black market in addition to food illnesses.

It brought to mind Chicago's attempts to ban transfats back in 2006. New York was successful that same year in banning transfats throughout the food services sector. And I found John Stossel's musings on the attempts by government to ban transfats.

I should mention that I found another old article from Channel 2 about a trans-fat ban, thankfully this is just about two years ago...
"There's no reason why every restaurant can't switch over in 10 minutes," said Ina Pinkney of Ina's Restaurant.

This restaurant owner says it's not only a health-conscious mind that made her switch to trans-fats-free oil. She also says it makes good business sense.

"If you buy the deadly oil, it costs 'x,' the good oil costs just a tiny bit more, but it lasts 75 percent longer, so you do the math on that," Pinkney said.
It almost makes me wonder what's even the point of making a ban when businesses can make a market based decision to discontinue the use of an ingredient why should a state mandate that such an ingredient be banned. Why is it that the state feels the need to ban things that it feels is harmful to citizens who are willing to ingest such ingredients? Why does the state or should I say"well-meaning" politicians believe people are so incredibly stupid enough to ingest things that they know might not be good for their health?

I should be noted that as of May 27th, a ban is being considered state-wide on transfats:
The war on trans fats has come to a standstill at the State Capitol. A House committee chose not to advance a bill that would ban foods containing trans fats from being served in Illinois schools.

State Representative Mary Flowers said people should protect children from trans fats as diligently as they protect them from gang bangers.
This was why I originally started this post over a month ago. A video hosted by Drew Carey courtesy of was about regulators attempts to shut down carts that didn't have the approved equipment in order to peddle their products. These proprietors are either forced out of business unable to make a living because of the meddling behavior of these regulators or those who are still moving forward with their carts, however, they're not reaping any profits because those goes toward fighting the regulators in courts.

I can certainly understand the need to protect the public from those who aren't going to keep themselves clean in making their food. Certainly going bankrupt has to be a good reason for either a simple food cart to a big-time restaurant to keep themselves clean. Indeed it doesn't do much good for a food service business' reputation for there to be reports of people getting ill from their food. Of course this is just one way to say government should stay out of the market.

Gum Disease Might Boost Cancer Risk

This makes dental care very important now. Most of my mother's aunts and uncles have lost their teeth, I've always wondered if it was hereditary. It might not be, I made my first official visit to a dentist and I got what I've been waiting for a long time for, a cleaning. Of course it was more serious than that, all the plaque collected over the years resulted in peridontal disease so now in order to keep my teeth for a long time to come I not only have to brush but I have to floss thoroughly.

Indeed when I found this link thru Instapundit the headline was aptly titled, "another reason to floss."
There may be another good reason to floss each day: A new study finds that gum disease could raise the risk for cancer.

"Men with history of periodontal disease had a 14 percent higher risk of cancer than those who did not have periodontal disease, and the increase persisted among never smokers," said lead researcher Dominique Michaud, a cancer epidemiologist at Imperial College London, in the U.K.

People with gum infections do have an increased amount of inflammatory markers circulating in their blood, and inflammation has been linked to cancer, experts say. But the exact link, if any, between gum disease and cancer remains unclear.

This new finding needs to be examined in other populations and among women, but it at least suggests that oral health may have some impact on cancer risk, Michaud said.

"If other data can support this association, then it will have implications for prevention and may provide some new clues on the role of the immune function in cancer development," Michaud said.

Go read the whole thing. Then save up for a dental appointment and get your teeth examined. It might be doing you a big favor! You might be able to save your teeth, if not decrease your risk for cancer.

Black Homesteaders At Ewing, NE

Something of interest sent to me via John Rueberry from Marathon Pundit. The blog is called Prairie Bluestem.
World Herald writer Paul Hammel relates how an IRS agent, Dennis Vossberg of Plainview, NE, learned of the black settlers and became so interested in their history that he finally wrote a book.

After the book was published, readers began donating money for a monument in honor of the black homesteaders of Bliss, Nebraska. The monument has been placed in a small country cemetery west of Ewing, where about 20 of the settlers are buried in unmarked graves.

Bliss, Nebraska, named after its postmaster, was a small town located near Goose Lake in southeast Holt County, near the Wheeler county line. The black homesteaders at Bliss were freed slaves.

It's believed that the black settlers arrived in the early 1880s. They were misled by dishonest land agents who told them that the land around Goose Lake had veins of coal. The land that they settled on was difficult to farm. Depending on the weather, it was a wet marshland, a dry sandy wasteland, or anything between. The last black settlers at Bliss left around 1918.

During the terrible dust storms of the 1930s, the wind blew out a small black cemetery at Bliss, exposing caskets and bones. Three local ranchers moved the remains with horse-drawn wagons to Valley View Cemetery, southwest of Ewing, and reburied them. Valley View Cemetery already contained about ten unmarked graves of black homesteaders.

The identities of some graves are known, but others are unknown. The monument, to be dedicated on Memorial Day, lists family names of the black homesteaders of Bliss.
Check out Rueberry Mississippi Manifest Destiny series, it's a very interesting look at his recent vacation in the state of Mississippi. Keep an eye on it there are more stories to come.


On the Sixth Ward blog, I blogged about Daley's comments that George Ryan got more done in Springfield that the ones who have been there starting in 2003. That caused me to ponder the difference between Rod Blagojevich and George Ryan. Was Ryan more effective than his successor?

For Mayor Daley the answer is yes! And he's certainly not the only one who has that idea. This is what Chicago Argus has to say about Ryan...
He was an old-school politico who got things done and didn’t get caught up in the political partisanship that has poisoned modern-day politics.
I can agree with this. Of course the fact that he had spend the better part of 30 or so years in politics would raise my eyebrows. If one stays in the system long enough while one benefit might be knowing the system enough to use it effectively, the one drawback could be that such an individual might be comfortable in that system. That could be problematic especially if said individual is so comfortable that they're not willing to make any changes.

In all the years Ryan spend in Illinois politics it's certainly possible that he couldn't see the change in tide against what he eventually got convicted for. Surely the former Governor had seen it all whether he was serving in Kankakee, his hometown or in either the state general assembly or in the Illinois executive branch as either Lt. Governor, Secretary of State or Governor. Whatever happened under him as Secretary of State it was certainly something that might have been done for years in state politics. Unfortunately if most of them hadn't been caught, Ryan finally was.

Our current governor unfortunately seems to have taken corruption or more accurately "pay to play" to much higher levels than ever before. Ironically Blagojevich was said to have campaigned as a reformer but unfortunately he didn't govern as one. Worse still Blago has proven himself to be ineffective.

Looking at these series of updates on the Capitol Fax blog there isn't much hope for a capital budget. Something that appears to have been a priority for many in the legislature seems to still be a struggle at the current moment. A capital budget takes care of roads and infrastructure and this was also one of George Ryan's achievements. Can anyone say Illinois FIRST?

Either way could it be concluded that Ryan may have been corrupt, however, he was more effective. Unfortunately we have as his successor a man who was supposed to change business as usual in Springfield only to continue business as usual in Springfield. Even worse a man who usually kept his word is replaced by one who no one in Springfield trusts.

It just occured to me both have spent most of their lives in the public sector. Although Ryan was a pharmacist he spent almost 30 years of his life in politics while Blagojevich has spent perhaps close to 20 years starting as a worker in the Cook County State's Attorney office and then with stints in the state House of Representatives, US House of Representatives, and finally Governor of the great state of Illinois. It's just too bad that he hadn't built or maintained the relationships that might have helped him in some of his contrived endeavors as governor.

Additional posts
Illinois corruption update: Ex-Gov. Ryan runs out of appeals, ex-Gov. Thompson to ask for sentence to be commuted - Marathon Pundit
Ryan Pardon? - Second City Cop

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Coach Carter

On FX recently I caught this movie from beginning to end and I like this movie. Hopefully you'll agree because maybe your teenage plays on a team and you might hope that the team is coached by a man like Carter. This film is based on a true story.

The setting is Richmond, California. A struggling city with a struggling school where it's not expected of many high school graduates to go on to college. It's a tough town with the issues of violence, gangs, & drugs.

Carter was an alumni of Richmond's high school where he's coaching. His credentials as a baller is hanging in the rafters. He has a son who was attending a much more well off private high school who chose to be at his dad's side at Richmond. I should also add that Carter also owned a local business there while he does have a stipend coaching is not his day job, consider this a volunteer gig.

When the coach makes his debut he offers his players contracts. I like this touch perhaps playing basketball on the lowest level should be treated in some respects as the pro-level. In order to play on his team there are some requirements that must be met. The first is presentation, the players must dress in a suit and tie and I suppose the idea might be a show of professionalism. No big deal, except for the parents who at the coach's meeting with them claimed they couldn't afford it although the coach said that one could buy a tie at the goodwill store for .50 cents.

The second requirement is GPA. Players must maintain a 2.3 GPA at least .3 tenths above the district mandated GPA at 2.0. The method behind this is explained by Carter who is looking forward to his players GPA and future college prospects. If a player only had a 2.0 they'd have to score much higher on the SATs than they would if they earned a 2.3. This should be well enough to earn a basketball scholarship to college.

In order to check on his players to make sure they were living up to their bargain in the classroom he had to pester school officials for progress reports. The principal questioned why he would go so far and what does that have to do with his coaching. When he finally did get progress reports he decided to cancel practice and forfeit some of the season so that his players can lift up their grades in order to play.

This is where resistance to his coachship started to get stiff. A window at his store was shattered, he was spat on by a parent, and he had to deal with parents who just didn't see the point about what he was doing. This conflict came to a head at a school board meeting. He made his case told the board that if they didn't support his efforts he'd quit. He had locked his team out of the gym and the school board voted to end this lockout.

I should note that the principal may have agreed but didn't see eye to eye with coach Carter. Of course she may have fell victim to pessimism. She thought apparently that basketball was going to be the highlight of thier school experience and that Carter had no right to even take that away from them. Of course Carter is attempting to look at a bigger picture here to perhaps get beyond the bare minimum and allow these students the idea that they can get the opportunity for education beyond a high school diploma.

Thankfully his team was behind him and they got their grades up so they can play basketball. They were still a great basketball team even after this lockout. At the end of the movie many of these players did actually go to college and playball on the college level even graduate. During the course of this movie a mother mentions that even the idea of junior college was a big step.

Get this movie when you get the first chance!

Ex-gov to President Bush let Ryan go

From today's Sun-Times. I'm thinking this is a bad idea. Not sure why, perhaps because Bush has his own problems on different fronts and some of them have nothing to do with Iraq:
The highest court in the land refused to hear his plea. Now only one person can help George Ryan:

President Bush.

After the U.S. Supreme Court turned down the disgraced former governor's request for an appeal, Ryan's lawyer -- former Gov. Jim Thompson -- said he would ask Bush to commute Ryan's 6½-year prison sentence.

"The man has gone from being the governor of the state of Illinois to being a prisoner in the federal penitentiary," Thompson said. "His career is gone. His reputation is gone. His pension for the moment is gone. . . . I think everybody's interests have been served."

Even with time off for good behavior, Ryan, 74, wouldn't get out of prison until he's nearly 80, Thompson said. "I think it would be appropriate for the president of the United States to commute to time served."

If Ryan's sentence were commuted, his conviction would stand, but he would be freed.

Thompson's comments came after the top court declined without comment to take up Ryan's appeal. Ryan was convicted in 2006 of steering state contracts and leases to friends, and, in return, taking cash, gifts and trips. He was also convicted of lying to FBI agents and filing false tax returns.

"It appears that the long legal saga is finally over," said Patrick Collins, the former prosecutor on Ryan's case. "I've never taken any pleasure that George Ryan has to serve an extended prison sentence." But wiping out Ryan's sentence, he said, "would send a terrible message to the public and to the victims of corruption."

Seeking a commuted sentence, rather than a pardon, could improve Ryan's chances, Thompson said. "Asking for a commutation acknowledges the conviction," he said.

Ryan's racketeering conviction included efforts as secretary of state to quash a probe into a highway tragedy that killed six children of the Willis family in 1994. On Tuesday, Willis family attorney Joe Power had little empathy for Ryan.

"He's had over 70 years of a good life which the Willis children have been deprived of," Power said. Power said Republicans have led the call for tougher sentencing.

"Should we give out exceptions now for Republican governors?" Power said.
We'll see if President Bush will come thru for him. I still think Gov. Ryan should serve his time. Letting old school politic reign has cost him something when he could've have taken a stand against it.

BTW, Gov. Ryan before he left office in 2003 commuted all death row sentences in Illinois after placing a moratorium during his single term in office. He was about to be nominated for a Nobel peace prize although he was at the time either under indictment or on trial for corruption. I've always wondered whether or not him doing this was all political or genuine.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

When Southern Cooking Migrates North

Over at the Sixth Ward in recent weeks a frequent topic of discussion has been Lem's Bar-B-Q located on 75th Street in the Chatham neighborhood. Of course Lem's is not the only black/southern restaurant mentioned in this podcast. I've been to Lem's but these other places I've never been too and they're worth sharing here.

When Southern Cooking Migrates North

BTW, stay tuned over at the 6th for pics from Lem's BBQ.

Chicago Libertarians Get Organized for New Presidential Candidate

It's interesting to hear about the different political groups that make up Chicago. It's even more interesting especially since these groups are more or less in the minority. Imagine that Libertarians in Chicago!

Still this piece by Chicago Public Radio which talks about local libertarians working for their standard bearer former Georgia Republican Congressman Bob Barr exposes one problem with getting on the ballot here in Illinois...
Lakumb says in Illinois, one of the top priorities is making sure Bob Barr's name appears on the state ballot come November. But to do that, Libertarians need several thousand more petition signatures than Democrats or Republicans.
I'd like to see a change in ballot access. The rules only seem to enable a two party system that I would imagine many people are disillusioned by. Then there are those of either party who'll vote for a person with that magic label next to their name because they don't want to see the other guy get elected. That's not very conducive to producing the best possible candidate isn't it?

Monday, May 26, 2008

King's First Grandchild Born at Atlanta Hospital

I was reading Parade magazine yesterday

A Marine veteran talked about his experience at Iwo Jima. This aspect of his story stuck in my mind the most:
One incident on Iwo Jima did have repercussions for Nummer years later. “One night,” he recalls, “off in the distance, I could see somebody running around. This figure kept coming closer, and it was getting darker. Pretty soon he got close enough to where he could hear me. I yelled out, ‘Tree!’ If he’s another Marine, he’s supposed to yell back, ‘Oak!’ or whatever. Nothing. ‘Car!’ I yell. He’s supposed to yell back, ‘Ford!’ or whatever. So I told him to drop his weapon. But he kept coming. Guys said, ‘Shoot!’

“My finger just froze on the trigger—and down he went.”

The next morning, a lieutenant congratulated Nummer and told him he could have any artifacts found on the body.

“I got his wallet and bayonet.”

Four decades later, these mementos of his 36 days on Iwo Jima haunted Nummer. “I had this wallet from this guy that I shot. It was no good to me, so I thought: I’ll send it back.”

He met three Japanese men at a car show in Denver, and one offered to take the papers to Japan.

“About a year later, I got a letter from the daughter of this guy that I’d shot. She was 40 years old, born 10 days after he left. Never knew her father. She was so happy that she finally knew what happened to her dad.”

The letter said:

Dear Mr. Nummer:

My name is Mrs. Kimie Sato, a daughter of Siguo Kubo, who was a soldier who died on Iwo Jima. I received my father’s papers from you... How I wish I could...see you and thank you. My heart was choked with memories of my grandparents and my mother...when I was handed the articles left by my father... They are treasures for me now... Thank you very much for your kindness.

Kimie Sato

Later, “I went to Iwo Jima—1995, the 50th anniversary,” Nummer says. “Our plane landed late, so we were the last ones to get to the ceremony. They announced my name on the loudspeaker to come to the podium. So I went, and there was a package for me. Kimie had a nice tie for me, coasters, a tablecloth, different stuff she was so proud for me to have.

“Some people thought I was wrong by sending those papers back, but I don’t think so. They were no good to me, but to her they meant the whole world.”
Did she know Richard Nummer had killed her father?

“No,” he says. “I never did tell her that. Couldn’t do that.”
Go read the whole thing. This part of his story allows me more admiration of our servicemen. I hope today's veteran's display the same prudence as this old WW2 vet. Happy memorial day!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Cartoonist stood up for 'the little guy in society'

Above you see an example of the work of Chester Commodore something I took out of a gallery of images provided by the Sun-Times with this article. I chose this cartoon to highlight the fact that the segregation that existed in the south when many blacks moved from down south for the idea of better opportunity up north faced more segregation when they came to Chicago and perhaps other cities in the north. The legacy of this still exists in Chicago where there isn't a lot of integration in the neighborhoods or schools in the city. Another legacy the CHA highrises around the city where many poor blacks were housed for many years are being torn down. As you can see there is a lot to chew on in this article:
One of Chicago's most beloved cartoonists was a man named Chester Commodore.

His work depicted pols and celebs, poked fun at famous folks' foibles and took on heavy issues of the day with a searing sense of irony and humor that was often rooted in tragedy. Many of his cartoons appeared in Accent, a Sunday magazine that used to run in the Chicago Defender newspaper.

His work, along with other related memorabilia, is on display at the Carter G. Woodson Library, 9525 S. Halsted, as part of a free exhibit called "Chester Commodore, 1914-2004: Work and Life of a Pioneering Cartoonist of Color." The exhibit runs through Dec. 31.

"He turned out to be an extraordinarily influential man," says Michael Flug, senior archivist at the library's Vivian G. Harsh Research Collection of Afro-American History and Literature.

"His cartoons were reprinted very widely in magazines and newspapers across the country. They appeared in documentary films. And I think it's because he had a sense of standing up for what he called the little guy in society."

The exhibit includes a smiling caricature of himself (the only one he ever drew) and a popular comic strip called "Bungleton Green."

But it also shows work depicting more serious subjects: lynching victims ignored by the FBI, justice unserved in Black Panther leader Fred Hampton's murder, the manacles of school segregation symbolically shattered by the U.S. Supreme Court decision in the Brown vs. Board of Education case.
I haven't been to Woodson in a while perhaps I might go over there and visit so that I can have a look at this exhibit.

For those of your grilling this holiday weekend!

Another item I found via Instapundit:
Hamburgers and hot dogs? Check. Lighter fluid? Check. Beer? Check. More money?

Americans are about to fire up their barbecues for the start of the summer cookout season, and one thing has become painfully apparent: It's going to cost a lot more than it did last year to cook a burger, or just about any other barbecue favorite, on the grill.

Food inflation is the highest in almost two decades, driven by record prices for oil, gas and mounting global demand for staples such as wheat and corn, and for proteins such as chicken. And that's reaching into Americans' back yards.

The price of an average barbecue - with burgers, hot dogs, beer, soda, condiments, salad, paper plates and lighter fluid - could run families about 6 percent more than last year.

That's making shoppers pause as they fill their carts for the Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of the barbecue season.

"I'm finding myself questioning every purchase, wondering if it's gonna get eaten, or if we really need it," said Tony Caballero, an advertising and marketing consultant, as he filled his cart with paper plates at a Food Emporium in New York City. "When you do your everyday shopping, you try to cut corners. But it's a shame to have to scale down when you're trying to throw a party."

The consumer price index for food rose 4 percent last year, compared with an average 2.5 percent annual rise for the last 15 years. On Monday, the U.S. Department of Agriculture raised its forecast for next year by half a percentage point, to a range of 4.5 to 5.5 percent.

Basic economics account for most of the increase: Bad weather has hurt crops, economic prosperity has driven up demand in developing countries, and surging fuel prices have raised transportation costs.
Has this economic enviroment caused anyone out there to change their food buying habits? Are you out there grilling regardless?

No graduation ceremony for student who rode horse to school

Heh this story via Instapundit gives a great idea. Protesting gas prices by riding a horse instead of driving a car. Most folks in a city of course if they refuse to drive either take public transportation or they might as it seems common in Chicago ride a bike. It's too bad that I can afford a horse and surely I have to learn to ride that horse. On top of that I have to house the horse and I'm not so sure I can do that either. Even worse I've never learned to ride a bike.

Anyway here's the story, the first paragraph talked about another Tennessee teen who rode his horse to school to protest gas prices. Another student is being punished for doing the same:
It was a different story all together for a Dickson County High School student who was told this week he would not be able to participate in his graduation ceremony for riding his horse to school.

Caleb Anderson rode the horse to school on his last day of classes. The trip took him almost four hours, arriving at Dickson County High at 7:40am after leaving home at 4am. According to Caleb's grandmother Sandra Anderson, Caleb didn't think it would be as big of a problem as the principal made it out to be. Besides, he was doing his part as a new high school graduate to go green and save a little gas.

But once Caleb arrived at school, Dickson County High Principal Ed Littleton told Caleb to get the horse off the school property. Police arrived shortly after Caleb put the horse in a friend's pasture near the school. As punishment, Caleb was told he will not be allowed to participate in his graduation ceremony Friday.

Caleb missed an exam due to the incident but his grandmother tells us he didn't need the credit to graduate anyway. Seniors participating in Friday's graduation ceremony held a practice ceremony earlier today.
I guess someone doesn't like horses. Even if this is a green way of traveling from points A & B. Although I'll have to admit I'm not sure I'd want a horse on my property either. I would imagine that it could get messy quickly!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Ed Martin blasts the unionizing of charter schools

A commentary produced by the St. Louis, MO political website Take this as a criticism of teacher's unions in general.

$38K pension windfall after just eight weeks

Rich Miller just blogged this on his blog. A former state senator who recently resigned her post for one with the governor has resigned her post with the governor for another position with the Obama campaign. The problem is with the fact that she just upped her pension.

In some of Russ Stewart's column when it comes to speculating about the possible futures of local leaders what figures prominently is the status of their pensions. It's not like anything resembling decent public service matters but how long you've served the state and the size of that pension. This pension unfortunately is billed to the taxpayers.

Thankfully according to Miller no legislator elected after 1994 can ever get such a pension bump. Still this is almost milking public funds for their own private benefit and people who work a regular job can't get such a generous pension either. I'd say politicians such as Ronen and even public employees or civil servants if you prefer, should have to scrap like everyone else to assure their own financial health in retirement.

Also the Illinois Senate is seeking a pay hike, I don't know why.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Violent Mobs Make Their Way South To Cape Town, South Africa

This story via The News Junkie. I wonder if South Africa is unraveling right now:
Attacks on foreigners in the Gauteng province seem to have abated with police reporting that the situation has been "quiet" since Wednesday evening.

Director Govindsamy Mariemuthoo insisted on Thursday that the heavy police presence and number of arrests made have somewhat quelled the situation.

However, reports indicate that renewed violence had broken out in the Ramaphosa informal settlement, outside Reiger Park on Gauteng's East Rand on Thursday.

Ekurhuleni municipality spokesperson Willy Dlamini said incidents had been reported in the area. He was unable to provide any further information.

The xenophobic attacks broke out in the Alexandra township last Sunday and have since spread across the province and now into Mpumalanga, the North West and KwaZulu-Natal.

While the situation in Alexandra was calm, it was evident that the flame which had been ignited in the township had not yet been extinguished.

Resident Florah Khwerana said: "People are tired, this is not going to stop now."

She said government and dignitaries who visited the township in the wake of the violence and condemned the violence were making the situation worse.

"They are living the good life... they don't know how we live. Its like the government is against its own people and this is making us more angry," she said.

Khwerana said while the violent nature of the attacks were wrong, residents were very angry.

"How can everyone provide food at the police station for them and here there are our own people hungry. They don't provide for their own."

Karabo Mapetho agreed that the violence was wrong, but she too wanted foreigners to return to their homes.

"This fight will never be over until they go home," she said.

Mapetho said foreigners were viewed as criminals by the local community and this was the main reason they had to leave. They also took jobs which could potentially be filled by South Africans.
I was going to make this about apartheid since that's not an issue in South Africa there is certainly some growing pains to be had there. Xenophobia isn't going to be good for a nation on a continent that would need some good news for a change.

Morehouse College faces its own bias

Another story about Morehouse via The State of. There is certainly an issue with this which was brought forth many years ago with a beating that had anti-gay overtones.
Michael Brewer, a senior at Morehouse College, was strolling purposefully around this storied campus on a hot spring day, his heavy frame dripping sweat, his hands clutching a small stack of fliers.

"No more hate," the fliers read, in a stylish typeface. "No more discrimination. No more."

"What's up, brother?" Brewer said in a lilting, cheerful voice as he approached a fellow student in a dark business suit. "Take one of these, if you will."

The young man gave the flier a glance. It was promoting what was perhaps the most ambitious week of gay rights events in the history of Morehouse, the only historically black all-male school in America.

"What the hell is this?" he said under his breath. He laughed and threw it in the trash.

But Brewer had already moved, unfazed, into the lobby of WheelerHall, where he was taping up posters. The events had been his idea, and he knew they wouldn't go over well with everyone.

"Morehouse is like this enclave where Stonewall never happened," Brewer said, referring to the 1969 New York protest that galvanized the gay rights movement. "It just doesn't exist in this realm of reality."

Brewer, 22, didn't come to Morehouse with the intent of changing it. But he found that he had no choice. He had arrived here from Oklahoma City pretty comfortable with himself: outspoken, proudly smart and, at 5 foot 9 and 300 pounds, hard to miss.

Early on, he decided he wouldn't water down his gay identity.

And that, historically, has been a problematic strategy at Morehouse. The 141-year-old college has played a key role in defining black manhood in America. But with a past steeped in religion, tradition and machismo, it has struggled to determine how homosexuality fits within that definition.
I like to keep to a minimum stories like that because I'm sure for many this is very much a touchy subject. I suppose you can try to talk to a Morehouse man or student about this and see what type of reaction you get. I suppose there is a good question, what defines a Morehouse man?

The State of offers their own opinion...
TheStateOf . . . Morehouse. This is probably the clearest example of how the homosexual lobby is intent on destroying masculinityMorehouse has played a key role in defining manhood and now the media want manhood to be defined by gayness.
Here's another item worth looking at here at video entitled Gamma Lamma Gay. You'll need Quicktime to view this vid.

I suppose that I see nothing wrong with general expectations that a Morehouse man should marry a Spelman woman and become successful in his endeavors. Also sexuality shouldn't be how a person defines themselves or even a means to judge an individual.

It took about three years to break most kids

While I would certainly support a get tough approach to get our public schools under control what is described in this piece I found via Newsalert would bother me. I'll provide an excerpt but read the whole thing:

A local reader writes in:

"I have been reading your series of columns on schools with much interest and I'm in full agreement with you. But I was wondering if you are aware of what goes on in the Clark County school system in regards to the treatment of students, ... policies and actions that border on something straight out of a prison.

"Students who are deemed 'behavior' problems are expelled from regular school and sent to something called 'behavior school'. Once there they can expect to be strip searched -- strip searched. I still find this hard to comprehend. The system apparently treats children as some sort of enemy, to be controlled, to ensure docile compliance.

"Some schools have instituted dress codes whereby a student can be expelled if their clothes are wrinkled, if they wear a belt deemed 'inappropriate.' ... One mother expressed to me her feeling that it's almost as if the district wants students to quit, rather than bother trying to actually educate them in anything."

There's a lot going on in this post. Going along with the history of the school system in this country. Here's another telling excerpt:

"School is the first impression children get of organized society; like most first impressions, it is the lasting one. Life according to school is dull and stupid, only consumption promises relief: Coke, Big Macs, fashion jeans, that's where real meaning is found, that is the classroom's lesson, however indirectly delivered.

"The decisive dynamics which make forced schooling poisonous to healthy human development aren't hard to spot. Work in classrooms isn't significant work; it fails to satisfy real needs pressing on the individual; it doesn't answer real questions experience raises in the young mind; it doesn't contribute to solving any problem encountered in actual life. The net effect of making all schoolwork external to individual longings, experiences, questions, and problems is to render the victim listless. ...

"As I watched it happen, it took about three years to break most kids, three years confined to environments of emotional neediness with nothing real to do. ...

"The strongest meshes of the school net are invisible. Constant bidding for a stranger's attention creates a chemistry producing the common characteristics of modern schoolchildren: whining, dishonesty, malice, treachery, cruelty. Unceasing competition for official favor in the dramatic fish bowl of a classroom delivers cowardly children, little people sunk in chronic boredom, little people with no apparent purpose for being alive. ...

Something to consider when it's time to send your child to their first day of school ever!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Classical Liberalism, Libertarianism, and Individualism

Continuing my research into the philosophy of classical liberalism. Thanks to sewing the seed in this quest courtesy of English philosopher John Locke. Read more from this article here.

Classical Liberals emphasize the importance of individual freedoms of various kinds. We see these as moral rights. There is, however, a great deal of room for disputes about the scope and character of these rights, as in government by consent. We do argue about these rights, which can enliven any gathering of Classical Liberals. We do agree, however, that any government that does exist exists to safeguard or protect the individual rights of its citizens, that is, that is the proper role of government even though we realize that some actual governments don't do that. So we might say that this ought or should be the role of any "legitimate" government.

We also expect that if people's rights are safeguarded and protected, human interaction will generate well-being or happiness for each individual. This is achieved through voluntary market transactions, voluntary mutual aid and charity and, in very limited ways, possibly through government action. We believe that individuals are the best judges of their own interests and that government should be limited in scope and function by what citizens will consent to and by individual rights. So we tend to favor a self-limiting Democratic Republic with a written constitution that guarantees protection of individual rights against a simple majority rule.

Virtually all Classical Liberals agree with the ideal of the rule of law, rather than the rule of men. And the law should be general in character, publicly available, not retrospective, not arbitrary and capricious, but objective and based on a rational foundation. Government should act only on the basis of the law, and not on mere whim or circumstance. Furthermore, the state should be broadly neutral regarding people's concerns, such as with religion for example. While we all agree that law and order in any society is important and it is the government's job to see to this matter through protecting the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, there is some disagreement among Classical Liberals over the matters of national defense and "public goods" such as mail services and other things that people need but that are not provided or are underprovided by the free market.

Classical Liberals also emphasize private property. In fact, many of the early Classical Liberals fostered the idea that individual rights included primarily the rights to life, liberty, and property. In the U.S. Declaration of Independence the right to property was changed to the right to the pursuit of happiness. I happen to agree with this modification because, in my opinion, the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are "absolute" rights, whereas, the right to property is not absolute on its face but is derived from the former three and especially the right to the pursuit of happiness, which is a primary right while the right to property is secondary.

By the way, not all Classical Liberals agree with me on this so, as you can see, there are disputes, mostly minor fortunately, among those of us who claim to be Classical Liberals. I see this as positive because it means Classical Liberalism is not simply a dead political philosophy but a living one with many theoretical and practical problems still to be resolved. But the right to property is definitely important to us and your private property should not be interfered with by others, including the state, outside the law. The law should protect justly acquired private property, the only exception being in certain specified emergencies and only then with due process of law.

Curtain closing on popcorn store

I haven't been to Garrett's in a while. I didn't have any idea that they had changed ownership. Perhaps while I'm home I should drop by some of their other stores that aren't closing and perhaps I'll even visit their eventual new location on the Mag. Mile. I suppose I got tired of getting the typical caramel/cheese mix. From the Tribune today:
The sweet smell of caramel popcorn will no longer be wafting along the Magnificent Mile.

Garrett Popcorn Shops is closing its flagship store at 670 N. Michigan Ave. on May 31. It has operated there for 25 years.

The store is shutting down to make way for the Ritz-Carlton Residences, a condominium tower slated to open next year.

"The flagship store will be missed, but you can't take Garrett out of Chicago—the two just go together," said Scott Schroeder, executive vice president and chief financial officer of Garrett Popcorn Shops.

Garrett Popcorn, which has four other shops in downtown Chicago, is looking for another location on North Michigan Avenue, said Schroeder, who hopes to have a new store open before the holiday season. He said he is trying to get a spot on street level.

About 5,000 people a week are drawn to the little shop, and in summer the line frequently extends out the door. The family-run business, founded in 1949, was sold in 2005 to CarmelCrisp, a Chicago partnership established by real estate developer Lance Chody. The new owners opened two stores last year in New York and beefed up its Web business.

This summer Garrett Popcorn plans to open shops at O'Hare International Airport and at Rockefeller Center's cafe. In June it will start same-day delivery to office workers in Manhattan and the Loop.
Wow Garrett's will even take New York by storm. How about that?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Robert Williams & the 2nd Amendment by the Southern Avenger

A black activist forced to take up arms in order to defend not only his rights but the rights of his people in the oppressive Jim Crowe era. The Souther Avenger's description...
Largely forgotten, Southern civil rights leader Robert F. Williams' conservative example of the eternal importance of the right to bear arms.
As per usual another great commentary by SA.

More on Mr. Williams on Wikipedia.

Is there hope for Illinois on the right to bear arms?

Found this story thru a blog, Gun Control Watch:
The McLean County Board took action Tuesday to protect the rights of gun holders.

Board members approved a resolution to oppose any state law that would infringe on a gun holder's second amendment rights.

The resolution is meant to inform the Illinois legislature where the county stands on the issue of gun control.

According to McLean county board chairman Matt Sorenson, 82 out of the 102 counties in Illinois have passed similar legislation.

Now the next question is what are the odds that the Illinois legislature or even anyone else in power throughout the state are likely to listen and then willingly change course. I hope they are listening.


To start I want to mention Tom Mannis at The Bench who talks about why the people in West Virgina and Kentucky chose to vote for Hillary Clinton instead of Barack Obama. While I've heard that Sen. Clinton sought to racialize her campaign in a desperate ruse to secure the Democratic nomination for President and to cut into the margin of the young upstart Sen. Obama. At the same time one could question whether or not the press is attempting to talk down voters in those two primaries because they didn't vote for Obama their chosen candidate.

I should also add and I don't have the story available. It was said that West Virgina has the lowest number of college graduates in the nation. Does that mean one must be educated to support Obama and uneducated to vote for Hillary?

The next item I found via Instapundit who remarked, "WAIT, I THOUGHT it was supposed to be John McCain with the temper problem." Here's the story from that link provided:

Obama, to be sure, had allies in the black caucus, but he had his share of critics as well. His chief antagonists were Rickey Hendon, who represented a district on the city’s West Side, and Donne Trotter, ho would run against Obama for Congress.

Hendon and other African-American lawmakers from the West Side often found themselves at odds with their South Side brethren, but the rift between Hendon and Obama was particularly acute. Hendon and Trotter would “just give Barack hell,” said Senator Kimberly Lightford, an Obama ally in the black caucus. Hendon, nicknamed “Hollywood,” because he once aspired to produce films, was a flamboyant personality in Springfield, known for his smart-aleck humor and occasionally inappropriate public manner. In one legislative session, the two nemses nearly came to physical blows when Obama, apparently inadvertently, voted against a bill that included funding for a project that assisted Hendon’s district.

Years later, details of the incident remain in the eye of the beholder. Obama supporters say that Obama had stepped away from his seat and asked someone else to vote for him, not an uncommon practice considering the thousands of votes each session. His proxy, however, accidentally voted against his wishes. When Obama asked that the record reflect that he voted the wrong way, Hendon publicly accused Obama of duplicity. Hendon has never been shy about holding back his feelings, and he had a special way of penetrating Obama’s usually smooth exterior. Soon, the two men were shouting at each other on the senate floor. They took their disagreement into a nearby room, and a witness said that Obama had to be physically restrained. Neither man cares to discuss the incident today, but Hendon remains unconvinced of Obama’s explanation that his vote was accidental. Individuals close to the situation say Hendon still believes Obama voted against his project to pacify North Side fiscal conservatives who were leery of some West Side projects. For his part, the rarely reticent Hendon won’t discuss the altercation, except to confirm that it occurred. “I have been advised to leave Barack alone and that is what I am going to do,” Hendon said. “I am going to let things stay in the past. It happened. That’s all I can say. It happened.”

I had no idea the Senator had it in him. I'd be disappointed if I knew this about our public officials. It's OK to have passion but wow I would be shocked if civility turned into fisticuffs.

On the other hand I could understand if we were talking about Alan Keyes. Keyes ran against him for the senate seat and I do recall an instance where these two intersected at a local parade and Obama was already starting to poke into Mr. Keyes. I don't think the voters in Illinois would have faulted him for that.

Oh and I should have blogged about this earlier from that same link provided by Instapundit. Obama apparently has difficulty hiring good help!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Oh, shoot!

Well I suppose this alderman wants to cover his mistake. I wish he would be more courageous if he just repealed the gun control laws and the registration requirement. Sadly not only would that be just too easy, but there are those who don't want that. You know the whole mistaken belief that society is safer without guns although you can make guns illegal but there are those who don't care if guns are illegal. Sun-Times:

Ald. Richard Mell (33rd) is a former hunter with an arsenal of weapons that reportedly features shotguns, rifles and pistols, including a Walther PPK of James Bond fame.

Mell forgot to re-register the weapons as required every year by the ordinance that he helped to pass as one of the City Council's most senior members.

So, what does an alderman do when he finds himself in violation of the law? He writes a new law. Mell has quietly introduced an ordinance that would reopen gun registration in Chicago and create a one-month amnesty for himself and other gun owners in the same predicament.

During the monthlong window, gun owners who attempted to re-register their guns between May 1, 2007, and April 1, 2008, only to be rejected on grounds the registrations had lapsed would be allowed to re-register without penalty.

"It's not just for me. It's for other people with the same problem. It's giving people who legitimately registered their guns at one time only to let it slip by a chance to come back into compliance," Mell said. "Some people didn't realize that, every year, you have to re-register your guns."

According to Newsalert who also blogged about this article if you arrived in Chicago after 1983 you can't own a gun. Of course it should be noted that it's been often said that Alderman are allowed to carry a gun. Unfortunately their constituents aren't I suppose it could be just as easy to say even the people can't own a gun neither can the aldermen. Alas not only is that too easy, but supposing the aldermen might think that they're entitled to own a gun, but they can reason that the people shouldn't be allowed to.

Kind of an unfortunate double standard don't you think?

Monday, May 19, 2008

Doctor Offers Sex Changes For Kids

From The News Junkie!

To be entirely blunt people who think that they're a man in a woman's body or a woman in a man's body have issues. I would totally be horrified if they attempted to turn their bodies into something they're not. Unfortunately it doesn't stop there.

There are stories where kids have been diagnosed with this problem and then they are allowed to indulge. There was a story with a boy going to school as a girl. For some reason I thought that was odd and I wonder where are the parents in this.

As much as I think this type of activity is strange and certainly I have no problem with a person determining who they are and their place in the world why subject children to this when they have yet to figure this out. A child who thinks that they're a girl in a man's body certainly will change their mind on that at a certain age. It would certainly be a mistake for a parent to say yes to a sex change let alone allow a child to indulge in cross dressing behavior by claiming to be a girl trapped in a boy's body.

At times I wonder what's wrong with people when they come up with these types of ideas!

I apologize if this story offends I try not to blog about these stories often and that will certainly become a general policy around these parts. Thank you!

Circle of life

I found this story via the Capitol Fax morning shorts today. Another health related story involving blacks:

Gwen Baldwin eagerly is awaiting the birth of her first grandchild, a boy.

Baldwin checks in regularly with her son to make sure he and his wife are doing all the right things, such as going to regular prenatal check-ups and eating healthy. Baldwin tells her son, who lives in Arizona, not to smoke around his wife. He assures her he's not.

Her entire perspective on pregnancy has changed since she became project facilitator for the Circle of Wise Women, which works in conjunction with the Kane County Health Department on community outreach regarding African-American infant mortality.

She is still shocked at the statistics.

The five-year average, from 2001 to 2005, for African-American infant mortality was 13.6 deaths per 1,000 live births in Kane County, according to the Kane County Health Department.

According to Uche Onwuta, the health department's chief epidemiologist, that is more than double the rate for whites, with 5.8 per 1,000 live births.

"I look at pregnancy differently and I look at babies differently," said Baldwin, of Elgin. "I see life as a huge gift and we really need to embrace it."

I wonder what is the problem why do blacks have high infant mortality rates. Here are more stats:
Roughly 16 percent of babies born to African-American women weigh less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces, compared to 7 percent for whites, according to the most recent birth data released in 2005, Onwuta said.

"When I go to the African-American community, no one is really aware of the statistics," Baldwin said. "When I start sharing it, it's new to them. Then people ask, 'What is it in the African-American community?"

The reasons for such high statistics are complex, but the lack of prenatal care is a major problem, Baldwin said.

Often, African-American women do not take care of themselves before getting pregnant and do not seek medical care after getting pregnant, Baldwin said. It creates a domino effect that could lead to low birth weight and infant mortality.

"If we have a healthy mother, we'll get a healthy baby," Baldwin said.

I hope you're noticing a pattern in some of these stories of blacks and their health. We don't seem to be doing a good job in taking care of ourselves out there. Especially if you believe in these statistics. Of course I'm talking about eating right and preventative care, certainly not treatment.

Of course some could also bring up the high risk activities blacks might engage in. That could include the consumption of narcotics and alcohol, cigarettes, driving fast, criminal activity. A person could control that but they can also control their diet and how regularly they can see a doctor.

I beg a question, what should we do about this?

Zimbabwe party: Military plotting to kill leader

I could take this with a grain of salt because this is politics we're talking about here. Then again this is Zimbabwe where an aging leader is unwilling to let his power go and allow for a peaceful transition so it isn't a surprise that the opposition is making such an accusation. Sun-Times:
Zimbabwe's opposition party accused the country's military Monday of plotting to assassinate the group's presidential candidate using snipers.

The Movement for Democratic Change said Morgan Tsvangirai planned to return to Zimbabwe to contest the June 27 runoff election once security measures are in place to protect him against the alleged assassination plot. The opposition says it received details of the alleged plot on Saturday as Tsvangirai was on his way to the airport in Johannesburg, South Africa, to return home.

''The assassination plot involves snipers,'' party Secretary-General Tendai Biti told The Associated Press after a news conference in the Kenyan capital of Nairobi. He said 18 snipers were involved in the alleged plot.

''It is the military (plotting), the JOC (Joint Operational Command) that has been running the country'' since Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, lost March 29 elections to Tsvangirai. ''I cannot speak (more) of that because it would put a lot of lives at risk,'' Biti said.

Biti also condemned African leaders' failure to confront Mugabe, Zimbabwe's leader of 28 years, in the strongest terms yet used by his party.

He said the campaign of violence blamed on Mugabe's regime could backfire, saying that many of the millions of Zimbabweans who have fled the country planning to return to vote in the June runoff presidential election.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Ron Paul on the Second Amendment

I found this vid over at a new blog I got wind of called Gun Control Watch. Another item courtesy of that blog lists states to avoid if you want to keep your gun rights. Unfortunately Illinois has made that list and unfortunately with the violence going on this spring it's not going to ease up anytime soon. Just think of Rev. Jesse Jackson's bright idea.

Saturday, May 17, 2008 Mississippi drug war blues

Another drug war related post and it should remind you of this earlier post. Throw in the dynamics of race into this with the police officer being white and the man charged with his murder being black. Of course there were apparently no drugs found on his property but he's been in custody since 2001. Still not only is race a dynamic in this story but the police tactics which was described in the write up for this video as "military tactics". It should disturb fair people if there is a reason to suspect that a person might have been railroaded.

Look up more here.

EDIT: I forgot to add a link to my earlier post!

Friday, May 16, 2008

From NBA glory to homeless shelter

This article is via Newsalert.

Gentlemen if you're looking at a sports career I would advise you to consider other means of making living beyond basketball in case your career doesn't turn out the way you thought it would. If you're not careful and you don't save your money you might not be living the high life you thought you would. In an extreme case you could be homeless.

When I saw this story I first though about former Chicago Bulls player Bob Love. Of course his only disability was his stuttering. His wife didn't want to be with a man who can't talk. He went from a basketball player to working in a cafetria. Of course both the man in the article and Mr. Love comes from an era before NBA players were signed to millionaire contracts.
Once the tables have been moved out of the way and the floor has been mopped, Joe Pace grabs a tan mattress off a stack, slides it into a corner and beds down at the Family and Adult Service Center on Third Avenue.

His feet hang over the edge of the mat, so he rolls up a blanket to support them. He shares the room with 60 people. He pays $3 a night for this privilege.

Thirty years ago next month, Pace slept in one of Seattle's finest hotels, though he can't remember which one, as a visiting pro basketball player for the Washington Bullets, sharing in an NBA championship won in this city at the expense of the Sonics.

A snack bar, room service and chocolate left on the pillow are no longer an option for this 6-foot-10 man, who is homeless in Seattle.

"Sometimes I don't want to wake up, I'm so sad," he said. "Sometimes I wake up crying and say, 'What did I do to be like this?' "

Instead of becoming a millionaire, Pace, 54, frequents the Millionair Club, another downtown facility for the destitute that provides meals and job leads. He sits at the front door as a security guard from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., wearing a gold badge and clutching a black walkie-talkie. He performs this chore more for something to do than as a source of income, regularly limping outside for cigarette breaks.

Pace spends the rest of his afternoons riding on buses, using a disabled passenger pass he bought for $8. He is afforded this right because he has degenerative disks in his back and is in need of surgery he can't afford on both knees. He takes trips to Woodinville and Tacoma, simply to kill time.

Then it's back to his homeless shelter. Pace usually is asleep by 8:30 or 9 p.m.

"NBA players are all looked at as millionaires, but a lot of guys back in those days didn't make it, and Joe is one of them," said Zaid Abdul-Aziz, a former Sonics forward. "The image of them as big, opulent people isn't always true. They take a fall sometimes."

Of all the things Pace longs for, the simple pleasure of soaking in a hot bathtub ranks near the very top. There have been the rare moments when he has paid for a hotel room just to turn on the water and give his aching, middle-aged body some needed relief. It beats the homeless shelter showers he considers risky at best in regards to good hygiene, especially when barefoot.

For that matter, he doesn't shake hands or exchange high-fives anymore with people he encounters in a similar situation, and he's friendly enough. Repeated colds and congested lungs have forced him to adopt this policy. Fist bumps are much healthier.

"That hand could have 5,000 germs on it," he said unapologetically.
Go read the whole thing and then look at the young man at your life and bring him back down to earth with this story.

What's Your Noble British Name?

Your Noble British Name Is:

Sir Geoffrey Edmund Portal

It's time for a little fun here. It's been a while!

What's with those 10% of black people who don't support Barack Obama?

Article via Althouse with hat-tip to Instapundit.

Ninety percent of black Democrats support Barack Obama. So that might leave an observer wondering: What the hell is up with that other 10 percent? Are they stupid? Do they hate their own race? Do they not understand the historical import of the moment?

I can shed some insight on this demographic anomaly. In gatherings of black people, I'm invariably the only one for the Dragon Lady. I'll do my best to explain how those of us in the ever-shrinking minority of a minority came to our position.

But, before going any further, let me fully disclose my predispositions. I disliked Obama almost instantly. I never believed the central premises of his autobiography or his campaign. He is fueled by precisely the same brand of personal ambition as Bill Clinton. But, where Clinton is damned as "Slick Willie," Obama is hailed as a post-racial Messiah. Do I believe that Obama had this whole yes-we-can deal planned from age 16? No, I would respond. He began plotting it at age 22. This predisposition, of course, doesn't help me in making the case against Obama, especially not with black people. But, believe me, there's a strong case to be made that he isn't such a virtuous mediator of race. And it's this skepticism about Obama's racial posturing that has led us, the 10 percent, into dissent.

I noted earlier that I already had my issues with Obama. His resume is certainly thin as a politician. Here's a little more:
But, once you stare past the radiant glow surrounding Obama and begin to study the exact reasons for his so-called racial transcendence, you can't help but conclude that it is mostly hokum. Why do black people love Obama? In large part, it's because of the dark-skinned woman on his arm. Black people (especially black women) are nuts for Michelle. Had Barack married a white woman, his candidacy would've never gotten off the ground with black people. And would whites really be so into him if he hadn't had a white mother? Based on U.S. political history, you would have to conclude: not a chance. My suspicion is that people are ultimately comfortable with Obama because a member of his family looks like them--and, if you think about it, that's not terribly transcendent.
I do have to give Barack credit for not catering his campaign to one group by itself. He's got a following amongst the young and it doesn't matter whether or not they are black or white. I must admit however that this paragraph certainly makes a good question as to whether or not people truly like Obama as a Presidential candidate not merely as a man who had a white mother.

Go read the whole thing.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Black College to Have First White Valedictorian

I was trying not to post about this. That's not to say this isn't a good thing, but I certainly have my two cents on this. For one I think it's unfortunate that they have to bring up the man's race.

He's a valedictorian would it have made a difference if he was black. I'd rather hope it wouldn't although unfortunately some people make a big deal about race. Meh I feel wrong for bringing it up so I think I'll stop here.

Congrats to Mr. Josh Packwood. The article via Newsalert (article from a different source to be sure, however, the article that was linked there was formatted sloppily) which is why I post this, although I've seen this on a number of blogs indicates that he has a 4.0 GPA in Economics. A field that I have no doubt is tough because I've taken some Economics courses. It's certainly a job well done and hopefully he'll do big things outside of Morehouse.

I am a Morehouse student, I tend to think of Morehouse as a college on par with some of the best colleges around the nation. It could be on par with Harvard or Yale though Morehouse probably could be compared more favorably to similar small liberal arts colleges around the country as well. I wouldn't sleep on Morehouse and I wouldn't sleep on Mr. Packwood either.

I suppose the only thing you could take away from Morehouse is it's mission of educating black men and perhaps other aspects that might include the black experience in America. Discussions of race might enter most of the course one may take there, but for the most part I doubt that the education you would get beyond race is much different. There is one thing I have seen in the chatter about this story.

The one part about the Morehouse "mystique" where you earned your grades. I saw a comment on one of the many blogs out there about how an exchange student from an Ivy League school almost failed all of his classes. According to the commenter this ole boy had it easy where he was and he had to grind. I'm sure if you talk to enough Morehouse students you will hear about stories such as this.

BTW, the Morehouse College Class of 2008 and I do believe they're called the "renaissance" class since there is a new president and he wants to mold renaissance men will graduate May 18th.

The libertarian generation

Via A Chicago Blog. A blog post discussing the messages of the Harold & Kumar movie franchise. In those films are apparently a libertarian message.

Addition: Over at A Chicago Blog a petition in support of a constitutional convention in Illinois. I think I'll sign that myself. Just practicing what I preach.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Trinity of Hell!

I showed you a video of this minister a few months ago. Pastor James Manning is back throwing around flames against Jeremiah Wright, Oprah Winfrey and Sen. Obama. I may have my issues with Obama, but is this extra stuff necessary. I'm going to guess that he has no proof when he says that Obama has had a homosexual affair with his pastor and that Oprah's a lesbian. This video is trash and even worse spoken by a minister.

Via Newsalert!

Chicago City Council Committee Stands Against Possible War in Iran

Wow! Local politics takes a preemptive strike against any future military actions in the Middle East. Oh my I'm so happy Chicago's City Council is taking a stand on something that they ultimately wouldn't be at the table for making a decision anyway. Certainly there are things much closer to home that needs to get done. CPR:

Chicago City Council committee says it officially opposes a future U-S led attack on Iran. In a hearing today, 49th Ward Alderman Joe Moore said Chicago residents can't afford another war.

MOORE: It is Chicago's sons and daughters who will be asked to fight and perhaps give their lives in a war against Iran. It is Chicago's tax payers who will be asked to spend billions of dollars on another unncessary and costly war.

Supporters of the resolution testified they feel the U-S is taking the same steps with Iran that led to the ongoing war in Iraq. 11th Ward Alderman James Balcer questioned the resolution.

BALCER: If they have sanctuaries in there for terrorists that are building up supplies, we have a right and an obligation to protect our troops and to take out those sanctuaries.

Balcer was the only mEmber to vote against the resolution. The full City Council is expected to vote on it tomorrow.

Oh my there goes the friend of Craig Gernhardt and Tom Mannis again he might want to keep his eye at home instead. That's not to say I know what's going on in the 49th but we might need him to work on solutions in Chicago. There are certainly issues worth tackling int he city.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Chicago alderman hopes to force vote to repeal foie-gras ban

Joe Moore tends to get ragged up there in the 49th Ward. Craig Gernhardt and Tom Mannis goes after him pretty good up there. Of course most of us in the city may not know much about the dynamics up there in his ward. What we do know about him is the big box ordinance in 2007 and the foie-gras ban. Well if the city council has its way he won't even have that:
Aldermen opposed to Chicago's controversial restaurant ban on foie gras said they will try to force a vote Wednesday to repeal the measure, which gained the City Council widespread notoriety since its approval two years ago.

Noting opposition to the ban from the restaurant industry, Ald. Thomas Tunney (44th) said Tuesday he would take action to force a council vote to overturn the measure. The legislation prohibits restaurants from serving the delicacy made from the enlarged livers of geese and ducks.

"We think we have the votes to do it," Tunney said of the repeal effort.

Tunney, a strong ally of Mayor Richard Daley, has dismissed the ban as "the silliest law the City Council has ever passed," and warned that it could stifle economic development in the city.

The Illinois Restaurant Association, led by former Daley chief of staff Sheila O'Grady, challenged the ban in court. But last year a federal judge dismissed the restaurant group's lawsuit, ruling that the city had a constitutional right to enact the measure.

Ald. Joe Moore (49th) sponsored the ban at the urging of animal-rights groups. On Tuesday, he decried Tunney's parliamentary maneuver to force another vote.

"There's really no reason to bring this up again," Moore said. "Restaurants continue to survive and thrive. I can't think of one restaurant that has closed because of this."

Foie gras, once a staple in some of Chicago's most upscale restaurants, is produced by inserting tubes down the necks of geese and ducks. The birds are then force fed to expand their livers to as much as 10 times normal size.

The ban was passed in April 2006 by a 48-1 vote. But Tunney noted Tuesday that there was no discussion of the measure on the council floor before the vote. The ban was passed in an "omnibus" vote at the end of a meeting, packaged together with other ordinances considered to be routine.
Surely if you want to think about the animals there are much more effective ways of eliminating foie-gras as a delicacy than passing a law or ordinance where there are certianly more pressing issues to consider. I know to say that is easy, but too bad that we're discussing it now even if it is a silly law!

Rebecca Walker On How Her Mother’s Feminism Affected Her Life

This is a very compelling article I had actually found yesterday via The State of. If you don't know Alice Walker is the author of the book The Color Purple. Check it out when you get the first opportunity.

Anyway duaghter Rebecca certainly has her own feelings on growing up a Walker. A daughter of a feminist and Jewish man who had come out of the second world war and the Holocaust. If you read Rebecca's story there is certainly a conclusion to be made with regards to how "ideology" played a role in raising a kid. I suppose the lesson here is ideology and background isn't a substitute for being a good parent. Read on:

Walker had also joined the early feminist movement — Gloria Steinem is Rebecca’s godmother — and it was her politics, more than anything, that shaped mother-daughter relations. The so-called “first wave” feminists believed that housework was another form of slavery and that women did not have an innate need to nurture but had been conditioned into their subordinate role as wives and mothers through centuries of patriarchy.

“My mother is very ideologically based, and her ideology is much more important in many ways than her personal relationships,” says Rebecca.

When Rebecca became pregnant at 14, Walker wasn’t shocked: she calmly picked up the phone and arranged an abortion. “Her feminist thing was about empowering me to have an active sexuality and to be in control of my body, and that trumped any sense of boundaries,” Rebecca says.

Certainly, Walker believed that what she was doing was right. Leaving her teenaged daughter to “do her own thing” was a way of fostering Rebecca’s independence and avoiding inadvertently passing down patriarchal values.

“Her circle were questioning power relationships and whether a mother had any more knowledge than a child. Some friends of hers were living on communes. I know those kids and they’re totally screwed up.

“Some were sexually abused, all kinds of bad stuff happened, but even those who survived intact don’t want to create communes for their children. They didn’t want to be raised by 10 different parents — again, it was this ideological thing trumping the maternal instinct.”

Towards the end of senior school, an ecstatic Rebecca showed Walker her offer letter from Yale. Instead of celebrating her daughter’s success in landing a place at one of the world’s top universities, Walker asked her coolly why she wanted to go to a bastion of male privilege.

Rebecca went to Yale anyway, and started thinking about feminism for herself. Her first book examined what feminism meant to young women and what role it played in the modern world. “When I began to challenge status quo feminism, my mother started to feel very injured,” she says. “To have a daughter who was questioning feminism — it was seen as a threat. Imagine Margaret Thatcher having a hippie child who wanted to live in India and become a Hare Krishna. It was that kind of schism.

“I keep telling people feminism is an experiment. And just like in science, you have to assess the outcome of the experiment and adjust according to your results, but my mother and her friends, they see it as truth; they don’t see it as an experiment.

“So that creates quite a problem. You’ve got young women saying, ‘That didn’t really work for me’ and the older ones saying, ‘Tough, because that’s how it should be’.”


The final showdown happened while Rebecca was pregnant, and is chronicled in her new book, Baby Love — a diary of her pregnancy in which she explores modern women’s dilemmas about relationships and motherhood.

Having been raised to believe that “it’s not nature, it’s nurture”, she was not prepared for the strength of her feelings for her baby. “I adore him,” she says. “He’s really into running and jumping and he’s very attached to me. It’s all, ‘Mommy, Mommy, Mommy’, and it’s very difficult to leave him.”

People she meets constantly express surprise at what’s happened — surely having a child should have brought her closer to her mother, rather than splitting them asunder? She agrees.

“People don’t really understand how strong ideology can be,” she says. “I think sometimes of that group and that feminism as being close to a cult. I feel I had to de-programme myself in order to have independent thought. It’s been an ongoing struggle. When you have a cult, you have a cult leader who demands a certain conformity . . . And when you have a celebrity who has cultural-icon status, economic power beyond what you can imagine, you can’t resist that person — if you want to stay in their realm. Because once you start challenging them, they kick you out.”

I've probably given plenty away but go ready the whole thing. Daddy Walker is not absolved although he seems to be a little more sensible than Alice although I must say I don't know everything about that dynamic amongst both parents and Rebecca so I can't say too much. I suppose this feminism in this article concerns me. Almost the type that stifles reason.

It seems that if you go too radical with a theory feminism is a theory or perhaps several theories lumped under one name the results could be problematic. Rebecca calls it an experiment but them I suppose before you can experiment you have to have a theory. Of course the problem is less that you're dealing with an experiment/theory as you are with the results. One can't just deal with what ought to be.