Monday, June 30, 2008

Eye on Chicago: Chicago Shakespeare Theater

Heh, I don't know how I missed this segment. A few years ago I had an opportunity to go to this theater located on Navy Pier but things just didn't work out. I was in school at the time and we was on the unit on Shakespeare's A Mid Summer's Night Dream and the professor at the time offered tickets to see the play. I never partook in that although I hoped that I could find some matinée tickets and just never made a purchase.

I heard that the stage was designed to get the audience into the action. The professor said that he wanted to yell out and see if the actors would respond to him. I recall him mentioning that this was appropriate in Shakesphere's day but certainly not considered acceptable today. I wonder if he ever made good on his promise.

Visit their official website here!

That segment I mentioned from Channel 2 aired June 15th.

West Siders Want Handgun Ban to Stay

From Chicago Public Radio also via The Capitol Fax morning shorts today. Interviewed are some people who resides in West Garfield Park about the possible overturning of the gun ban in Chicago:

WOMAN 1: I think it’s going to be more killings, more robberies, more drive-bys, more crime.

MAN 1: I think it’s going to be kind of crazy. If everybody has got a gun, it’s going to be wild, wild west.

WOMAN 2: I don’t think it’s going to change one bit the amount of gun violence in this community. The people that commit the gun violence, they don’t go and stand in line and send in their applications for gun permits. They obtain illegal weapons and they use them illegally.

MAN 2: I lost a son in 2002 due to handguns. With this law being changed, somebody else’s son is going to be killed .

I cross posted this onto my other blog, The Sixth Ward. I decided this was an important issue worth covering on those parts as well.

The only thing I didn't add was my two cents worth. I think in some respects that these individual's fears are unfounded, however, I understand where it's coming from. Assuming that these individuals come from high crime areas.

I certainly share their concerns, however, while there are those who will start shooting for any reason. Of course those individuals are probably ones who ought to go without a gun. Of course should this impact anyone else who won't shoot for any reason.

I just saw the comment of Woman 2. It's the most sensible quote amongst them all. She's got it right! It's one reason I would like to see the overturning of the gun ban. It's not effective.

Bronzeville ready for its renaissance

Another look at a changing neighorhood. A neighborhood with a lot of history. That history which is mostly racial is making this neighborhood attractive to many people looking to buy a home or build a business. From the Tribune on Friday...
Once the equivalent of New York's Harlem during the Jazz Age, Bronzeville has a rich history as a vibrant center of African-American culture from the turn of the 20th Century until the 1960s, when the neighborhood fell into decline. The name Bronzeville refers to the skin color of African-Americans who migrated to the area from the South and was first used by James Gentry, an editor for the Chicago Bee.

Today, amid the renovated graystones and brownstones, Bronzeville is witnessing revitalization efforts.

Where 35th and State Streets meet rests a snapshot of what the neighborhood will look like in the next few years. Just steps away from U.S. Cellular Field sit newly constructed condos, townhouses and single-family homes that blend in with a trendy Starbucks and Jimmy John's sandwich shop.

The lakefront community sits minutes away from Chicago's major highways, including Interstate 55, Interstate 90 and 94, and Interstate 290. Residents can easily jump on the No. 4 Cottage Grove bus, the No. 3 King Drive bus or the Green Line train to head downtown.

About five years ago, neighborhood liquor stores and greasy spoons were just as much a fixture on State Street as were the Robert Taylor Homes and Stateway Gardens housing projects. Now several of those businesses are boarded up and vast stretches of empty fields await development.

"Although the housing market in historical Bronzeville mirrors the nations recent downturns, new development continues to be built and buyers are looking in full force to purchase new construction, gut-rehab graystones and state-of-the-art condos," said McDonald. While the market in Bronzeville may appear to be oversaturated with new development and foreclosed properties, McDonald said its an opportune time for buyers to catch great deals.

"This is how Donald Trump got rich," said McDonald. "It's a really good time to get in while the market is slow."

Accompanied by low-interest rates, he adds that developers are more than motivated to sell, offering incentives such as covering closing cost.
Price ranges in Bronzeville can vary depending on location. The farther north you travel, the more you will spend per square footage. A one-bedroom condo can run up to $200,000.

A single-family home can cost up to $500,000, and there are places in Bronzeville that could set you back $1 million.

Bronzeville, once predominantly African-American, is starting to see an influx of newcomers from diverse backgrounds and varied income levels, who value the area's rich cultural heritage.

In response, several area businesses have melded fine dining and the community's musical roots.

Blu47, at 47th and King Drive has combined dining with jazz and gospel music. Open since 2004, the restaurant features an upscale contemporary American menu. Famous for it's braised barbecue short-ribs and chicken lollipops, the restaurant showcases live jazz acts on Thursdays and gospel on Sundays.

The owner, Darryl Petty, has lived in Bronzeville for 15 years. "Our establishment is very family-oriented," he said. "I chose this location because the area is very up and coming, and business has been good since we've opened."

Other area businesses have also flourished, such as the Bronzeville Coffee House at 528 E. 43rd and the Negro League Cafe, at 43rd and Prairie.

Besides serving Caribbean and Southern-influenced entrees, the Negro League Cafe has entertainment on the menu, including neo-soul, hip hop, and rhythm and blues. There's even a spoken word and open-mic night.

More businesses have moved into the area in the past year, but there is still a need for more retail shops and grocery stores.
Change is coming. In this article there was mention of the housing projects on State Street. They're either torn down with new hosing in its place south of 35th or north of about 31st the projects that haven't been torn down are being remodeled. In addition if we go further north to about Cermak Road, I have to wonder if those projects are subject to demolition with those residents having to figure out if they haven't already where else they're going to go next.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

How Do You Get A Good Rep?

Heh, there are many of us who gets a better handle on it better than others.
My high school experience, like that of nearly everyone who attended my school, was a perplexing one. It seemed there were only a few "popular" people -- those that everyone knew and liked -- and wanted to be like. Everyone else was much like me: they struggled to become more popular, with little success. Everyone had a few friends, but somehow these friends were never as good as the popular people would be, or so it seemed.

One of the things that I believed was preventing me from becoming popular was my reputation. Those who knew me saw me in a certain way -- a non-popular way. Maybe if I started to do popular-ish things, then people would notice me and I'd eventually become popular. I tried being nice to people, telling jokes, buying people lunch, wearing better clothes, but none of it seemed to matter much. Everyone who bothered to notice me thought pretty much the same of me as they had before.
So it may be that the reason I never became popular in high school was that I was going about it backwards. Instead of trying to acquire a reputation first and get friends later, I needed to get the friends first, then work on my reputation. But how do you get friends if you don't have a reputation -- good or bad? That, unfortunately, is what makes high school such an awkward time for so many of us.
The author was apparently talking a little bit about his high school experience. Most of this piece relates to a study about building reputations. As it turns out, you had better watch your rep. If you think people are talking about you they are and unfortunately they may not always be flattering about you. What this could mean is that this could hurt your reputation and some of this could be unfair especially if the "gossip" is over either superficial issues or perhaps more important issues such as temperament.

Of course one could change their behavior let's say from the less desirable traits to more desirable traits. Unfortunately for those who already have seen the less desirable traits they will continue to consider the worse traits instead of noticing the new traits. In other words although one has changed what others might view of you won't.

While high school is probably one construct studied this kind of this never goes away. Perhaps you go to college and you meet new people. That certainly changes things and you have a new reputation though amongst new people. Perhaps the bad habits that made you unpopular makes you popular in a new setting or perhaps the new qualities you developed in your unpopularity made you more popular in a new setting.

And then let's go to another subject touched upon, the work world. That is a place where connections are very important especially if it helps an employee garner more work, responsibilities or even a promotion. At that it certainly pays to start off with a good impression, otherwise, it's certainly going to be very difficult for a worker to move up in the work force and increase their value in the work force.

via The Daily Dish.

Robert Mugabe’s thugs shout: ‘Let’s kill the baby’

In maintaining control of this African republic, the brutality knows no bounds. Article via Newsalert:

A baby boy had both legs broken by supporters of President Robert Mugabe to punish his father for being an opposition councillor in Zimbabwe.

Blessing Mabhena, aged 11 months, was seized from a bed and flung down with force as his mother, Agnes, hid from the thugs, convinced that they were about to murder her.

She heard one of them say, “Let’s kill the baby”, before Blessing was hurled on to a bare concrete floor.

Blessing, who may never be able to walk properly, was one of the youngest victims of atrocities against the opposition party Movement for Democratic Change in the run-up to last Friday’s sham presidential election.

As Mugabe, 84, the only candidate in the election, prepared to be sworn in as president today, it emerged that his forces of terror plan to pulverise opponents to prevent them from ever threatening his leading Zanu-PF again.

Leaked minutes of the Joint Operations Command (JOC), which has orchestrated the violence since Mugabe lost a first round of voting in March, revealed that it is willing to wipe out opposition supporters.

This is certainly one of those situations where peaceful demonstration as advocated by Mahatma Gandhi isn't likely to help this situation. This has got to be one of the sickest stories that I have seen coming from Zimbabwe. It's very unfortunate that the population has been largely intimidated from actually being able oppose this old man who just doesn't want to let it go.

A website regarding the attempt to overturn Chicago's gun ban.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

When Crime Fighting Confronts Political Correctness


Go read the whole thing when you get the chance I haven't finished reading it so far. It looks like an article regarding removing people from the projects and these individuals unfortunately bringing their bad habits with them in their new neighborhoods. Article from The Atlantic.

Supreme Court gun ruling blows holes in conservatives' case

Crain's Greg Hinz talks about the double standard as far as reading the second amendment goes. I may agree that perhaps the justices might misread it and that the conservatives may like this decision while criticizing others decisions they don't agree with. I suppose there is a double standard, I mentioned that when the news broke on Thursday. There is a decision liberals like there will be a celebration if there is a decision they don't like there will be bellyaching. I suppose no one gets all that they really want from the Supreme Court whether or not you agree that the court either interprets the law or legislate from the bench.

Still while I can agree that citizens right to self-defense isn't explicable stated in the constitution, I would see the part about the right of the people to bear arms. That being said it mentions the militia first and then it mentions the right of the people. To me, it means that the right of the people to keep and bear arms isn't predicated on whether or not they're in an organized or unorganized militia.

It's just too bad that with the idea of safety in mind or indeed fear that this language would be cast aside to say that citizens can't be allowed to keep a gun. Like I said I would be concerned about a few fools who might get into a rage and start shooting or an individual who seems to have a great inability to keep a gun away from children. To me that's not a reason to keep otherwise responsible people from owning a gun.

And as for the court there will be double standards all the time, because the court doesn't always rule the way they think it should. We should probably have to accept that and move on and at that there is a way to negate that ruling if it becomes unpopular. Especially thru the legislative process.

An answer!!!

From Reason...
But things changed on Thursday. In a landmark 5-4 decision in the case of District of Columbia v. Heller, the Supreme Court held that D.C.'s gun ban was unconstitutional under the Second Amendment since it deprived individuals of their right "to use arms for the core lawful purpose of self-defense." In a forceful, tightly argued opinion, Justice Antonin Scalia declared that the amendment protects an essential individual right, one that is "unconnected with service in a militia."

One major thing the decision didn't do, however, was directly address a crucial question going forward: whether the constitutional right to keep and bear arms is applicable against the states as well as the federal government (which administers Washington, D.C.). Under what's known as the incorporation doctrine, the Supreme Court has gradually ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment applies many of the protections contained in the Bill of Rights against infringement by state and local governments. The Second Amendment, however, has been glaringly absent from this process. Did Heller change that, too?

Technically no. But since the Court wasn't asked to settle that matter, the fact that it didn't do so is no cause for alarm. In fact, the decision offers cause for some real hope. Justice Scalia's extensive reliance on historical sources and scholarship sends a very promising signal to those who'd like to see the Second Amendment enforced against the states. If history matters, and Heller certainly says that it does, then strong evidence for incorporation is likely to carry real weight in future litigation.

So let's consider the origins of the Fourteenth Amendment, which states in part, "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." As legal historian Michael Kent Curtis makes clear in his definitive book, No State Shall Abridge: The Fourteenth Amendment and the Bill of Rights, the radical Republicans who drafted and then spearheaded the 1868 ratification of the amendment clearly intended it to apply the entire Bill of Rights to the states.

In short, these legislators, most of whom had been active in the anti-slavery and abolitionist movements, wanted to secure the life, liberty, and property of the recently freed slaves and their white allies in the former Confederate states. This quite obviously and quite necessarily included the right to keep and bear arms for purposes of self-defense. Ohio Rep. John Bingham, for instance, the author of the Fourteenth Amendment's crucial first section, which was quoted above, declared that "the privileges and immunities" it refers to "are chiefly defined in the first eight amendments to the Constitution." Similarly, Sen. Jacob Howard of Michigan, who presented the amendment to the Senate, described its object as "to restrain the power of the States and compel them at all times to respect these great fundamental guarantees," including "the right to keep and to bear arms." For a state judge following the methodology laid out in Heller, such information could prove very persuasive.
Read the whole thing. Alan Gura who was successful in his case representing Heller at the Supreme Court is involved in overturning the gun ban in Chicago. Awesome.

You may want to know though an answer to what? Let's see here:
City officials insisted they were confident they could fend off the legal attacks. Benna Solomon, deputy corporation counsel, asserted that the Supreme Court decision applies only to the federal government—which Washington is part of, but not Chicago.

"The court notes that it [was] not required to consider whether the 2nd Amendment also applies to state and local government, and therefore it does not consider that question," Solomon said.
I'd like to talk more about the suit against the City of Chicago in light of the Heller v. DC decision but I'll save that for another post. But I don't think that argument from the city is going to fly.

Oh I should also add that heads are going to explode on this one. There's going to be a challenge to a gun ban in San Francisco. A gay man wants a gun to protect himself from harm.

Friday, June 27, 2008

A little early to be thinking about 2010 is it?

In the first year of this blog, there had been a presidential election the year before. Seemingly a critical election, although now people weren't very happy with the direction of the nation. Indeed unhappy enough that they decided to vote in a Democratic majority in the US Congress. And it seems Americans are still not happy with the direction of the nation as we head into another election, but this time we choose a new President.

You know when Bush was inaugurated President there were people already lining up to run against him. This had to have been before September 11th happened. At that point President Bush seemed a lot weaker but then 3 years before what I would have thought a loss for Bush, I always though 2001 was a little early to speculate about who'll run against the President. Perhaps it's never to early to plan if you're serious but I always thought it wasn't something important enough for the press to start speculation.

Hey but wait, why did I put 2010 in the title?

Well. that's because in the first year of this blog's operation I took aim at the 2006 gubernatorial election. I wish I could tell you if I saw it as critical and obviously I did as time went forward on that election. Things were different in Illinois circa 2005-06 as there were federally between 2001 and 2006.

Perhaps the only thing I recall is that I wasn't that much in tune to state politics though at one point in time I was more in tuned to federal politics. I grew to realize that some spheres are more important than others although they're all connected. Federal, state, or local there is a connection involved there. Somehow local and state communities will have to elect representatives to the federal level. On top of that what happens at the state and local level not only affects us the citizens but also affects how the rest of the nation or indeed the world views us.

That being said overtime I saw speculation over who might run against my unpopular governor Rod Blagojevich in two years time. We've always heard about Lisa Madigan, but also in the past week there's been rumblings about former Clinton administration Commerce Secretary William Daley running for governor. We've also hear about former Chicago schools superintendant Paul Vallas making moves to run for governor. Then I saw this column from Russ Stewart.

I almost forgot! Perhaps the governor isn't even going to make it to 2010. He might get indicted or he might get impeached. If things had worked out he could have been subject to recall. Whatever the case may be, I get the idea that there are those who aren't very happy with the direction of the state right now.

As a result now we see a field formulating. Although it's only two years before the next election. I don't know what is the ideal window for a politician to consider joining a race. One might join too late if not too early. Perhaps this is the perfect time to look into running for governor if that's what you want to do.

Although in a way anyone thinking about the governor's race is probably going to be starved for attention with a presidential race going on. Especially since an Illinois senator is in the race for the presidency. Still I would like to see who might have the goods to replace a governor who has often been said in the press to be absent, inept, and lazy. I think I'll look forward to 2010.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I just realized the strange juxstaposition of the Supreme Court opinion and the baby shot himself stories

I assure that it wasn't intentional. Those were the two stories that caught my attention today. And for some these might represent two different schools of thought on the issue of guns.

Surely it's clear to most of you my position on guns. I believe people should be allowed to have a gun mainly for their own self-defense. I don't care if you live in Winnetka or if you live in Englewood or Roseland, two city neighborhoods where there is crime.

When gun control was proposed surely those who proposed such legislation and indeed their enactment were well meaning. Of course I'm sure there are those of us who sees this as window dressing, that is this is just good PR for the politicians to be sure that the public knows that this problem of crime is getting a good look. Of course some of the proposals by the politicians are at times a bit simplistic.

While the public get the satisfaction they need in knowing that our leaders are working on the problem at hand something else might be at work. Perhaps these guns that our leaders might seek to curb are not in the hands of criminals, but in the hands of law-abiding citizens. I could see that as an unintended consequence. Of course it doesn't matter to some if there's a gun around something bad is always going to happen no matter how responsible that person is.

Don't misunderstand me here. Guns are dangerous and we should be scared of them. If you're a gun owner you above all should understand that a gun is a dangerous tool. And the story about the child shooting himself in the head should underscore that.

Of course the fact that a gun is dangerous is enough for some to want to call for it's banning. Of course there are other items that are dangerous and could harm, kill, or maim.

For instance, knives are dangerous they can certainly main, harm or kill. Should we ban knives of all types? Should it matter that people don't normally use knives in those ways, but knives are used to cook and prepare food mainly?

What about cars? Cars can cause more damage than a gun or a knife. If you're an environmentalist you believe cars are dirtying our clean air, polluting it. But to bring it back down to earth cars can kill. Cars can run over people as they had a man in Hartford, Connecticut. They can be used in the commission of a homicide. Do we ban cars in that case?

Also I was looking at the Capitol Fax blog today. There are a lot of round about arguments trying to argue whether or not the court is an activist court or even if the court is legislating from the bench. I accept that the court has at times been an activist court where they certainly impart their world view on their rulings. Sometimes they get it right and sometimes they get it wrong.

I could say on abortion they got it wrong, although I can't argue with a right to privacy if I understand the case of Roe v. Wade aside from the whole abortion issue where my stance is certainly against abortion. I would say there that the court pulled the right to an abortion out of the blue. In the comments section on the Capitol Fax, one commenter didn't mention that.

One mentioned the court striking down laws against discrimination as a violation of equal protection. They mention that as a case of a double standard between conservatives and liberals. The conservative believes that the judiciary is legislating from the bench or are judicial activists while those who are opposed to gun control seems to be arguing the same thing that the court is being activist. At that this is to more or less attempt to highlight how if conservatives get the ruling they want then what the court does is OK, but on the other hand the conservatives complain when liberals get the ruling they want. When the court rules no one gets what they want.

Well in any event we're going to hear some bellyaching. Mayor Daley doesn't want to lose his gun bans and promised to fight any attempts to overturn it vigourously. I suppose gun control in America's cities aren't over yet by a longshot. Oh btw there's one other thing I want to add.

earlier this week posted an announcement of a second amendment rally to be held on July 11th at the Thompson Center. If you believe law-abiding citizens should be able to own and use a gun for their own self-defense. I should go because I support that right. Hopefully politicians will recognize that there are people who believe they have that right.

Court says individuals have right to own guns

The court's 5-4 ruling struck down the District of Columbia's 32-year-old ban on handguns as incompatible with gun rights under the Second Amendment. The decision went further than even the Bush administration wanted, but probably leaves most firearms laws intact.

The court had not conclusively interpreted the Second Amendment since its ratification in 1791. The amendment reads: "A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."


The issue caused a split within the Bush administration. Vice President Dick Cheney supported the appeals court ruling, but others in the administration feared it could lead to the undoing of other gun regulations, including a federal law restricting sales of machine guns. Other laws keep felons from buying guns and provide for an instant background check.

I wonder if there will be a domino effect and could affect any other gun control laws around the country. Let's not misunderstand, there are those out there who fear this because they're concerned about people going around shooting because they have their guns. I trust that the only ones doing the shooting are already criminals.

Let's see if there is a posted opinion from the court. I'll get back to you!

Joliet boy, 3, playing with handgun fatally shoots self in head

OUCH!!! I can only imagine that if there was a press conference some police officer might say that a gun shouldn't be kept in the home as had happened in another local case where a child shot himself playing with a gun. To me it's not a matter of a gun shouldn't be kept in a home it's just that someone isn't keeping that gun in a secure place in hopes that their child won't get his hands on it.

A 3-year-old Joliet boy died Wednesday afternoon after a loaded handgun he was playing with went off in his home on the city's east side.

The child, Julius Rogers, apparently was alone in the living room playing with a .45-caliber semiautomatic handgun around 12:40 p.m. when it fired a round that hit him in the head, said Joliet Police Chief Fred Hayes.

The boy's mother was in the kitchen at the time of the shooting, Hayes said.

Police Wednesday evening did not expect charges to be filed against the mother, Hayes said.
In other news and I'll place this in a separate post, the DC gun ban has been struck down, if I find an article to that I'll post it as well. Of course that's not to turn this into a gun themed day.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The lesser of two incredibly awful evils

Megan McArdle talks about life in Zimbabwe during two different eras. One era with the nation known as Rhodesia and the other era as Zimbabwe under the regime of Robert Mugabe. Via Instapundit.

I'm not sure this is a good idea

If the city GOP is already in irrelevance they might find themselves there even more with this photoshop. Very bad idea!

Hell's Kitchen

I usually enjoy this series and I've been lucky enough to see every episode this season, but as the series wraps up its season next week I feel like it's lackluster. Not sure why exactly perhaps none of the aspiring chefs seems to have been able to prove they have some talent. Chef Ramsey seems to be complaining more than he complimented this season.

Either way I'm glad I was able to predict who might make it to the finally two and I'm halfway confident I know who's going to win. I knew that Petrozza the way things were shaping up would find himself in the final two. So the other member of the final pair was either Corey or Christina. It would be Christina at least though it was hard for me to gauge who should be in the final two.

Now the next step is to know is it Petrozza who wins or Christina. I'm not sure it's going to be Petrozza he is not MY favorite to win and I would blame that on his past performances and his inability it seems to stay clean in the kitchen. He seems to be a bit absent minded as well. Of course this only depends on the performance that us as a TV audience will see next week.

What usually happens on Hell's Kitchen is that when the playing field is dwindled to two contestants they get to essentially run their own kitchens or their own restaurants. They can truly pursue their own visions for their own eating establishments and I think that's awesome. Let's see who might be able to run a restaurant and perhaps even be able to attract customers. It would certainly be interesting to see who's idea of a restaurant might be more attractive.

Let me add also that I'm really not sure why I prefer Hell's Kitchen to any other reality show. Perhaps I have more of an interest in food than I do in who'll be an apprentice, who'll be the next top model, or even who might be standing alone in a desolate piece of real estate. I've enjoyed this series and I hope that I still will. Honestly there are some things I can live without in this series. For on this I can live without the cliffhanger endings and the over commentary by Ramsey and the contestants.

Of course at the same time I still like Ramsey's passion. That comes through and his kitchen is not the place to play. Surely many who has graced his kitchen has learned that the hard way and perhaps shaped up fast. Let's remember his passion to cook has enabled him to have the fortune he has found as a chef.

Oh and let's not forget FOX has allowed him another reality series, Kitchen Nightmares. It premiered last year and Ramsey is traveling across America to consult with aspiring restaurateurs and help them run their establishments. The same intensity although Ramsey isn't going to run another person's business like a boot camp as he does Hell's Kitchen. It would be interesting what he runs into in the next season.

Both Hell's Kitchen and Kitchen Nightmares are British imports and I would like to show you the most interesting episode of the British version of Kitchen Nightmares I have seen. Ramsey finds himself at an English soul food restaurant. Well think of a Soul Queen in Chicago, but implanted in Britain without the buffet style meals. I was blown away when I saw it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Top Cop: "I Hate To Say It, But The Parents Are To Blame"

I just saw this story on WBBM-TV on the 5PM newscast:
An 8-year-old boy was in the hospital Tuesday afternoon after being shot overnight in Humboldt Park in an attack that appears to be gang-related. But in an unexpected twist, Chicago's top cop blamed the boy's parents for the tragedy.

Josue Torres was reported in serious but stable condition at Stroger Hospital of Cook County Tuesday afternoon after undergoing a four-hour surgery. He was alert, surrounded by friends and family, and was expected to recover, but the shooting still has friends and neighbors furious.

Josue was sitting in his family's van Monday night, parked near the corner of Spaulding and Division with his mother and six other siblings, all between the ages of 8 and 14. His stepfather had just stepped out of the car to talk to Eudes Padilla when someone fired shots into the vehicle.

"We heard some shots, two shots, then there was all this screaming." Padilla said. "Whoever done this shooting is the dumbest dumbest person that could be on this earth. He's dumber than dummy."

A gunman in a passing black car with tinted windows fired the shots, striking only Josue, according to police News Affairs Officer David Banks. The car fled the scene in an unknown direction and has not been located, Banks said.

Police said the shooting appears to have been gang-related and they're investigating whether Josue's father was the intended target. At a news conference Tuesday afternoon, Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis said Josue's parents share the blame for the shooting.

"I hate to say it, but the parents are to blame for that 8-year-old being shot. They choose to engage in this activity," Weis said. "(The father is) engaging in gang activity and, more than likely, he's probably breaking some laws. ... As long as we have people who are willing to break the law and engage in criminal activities, these are some of the consequences that we face. We have an innocent boy whose dreams will be shattered, whose family's dreams are shattered and it's horrible and we've got to do something about it."
Read the whole story and the doctors at Stroger Hospital, has done a wonderful job in saving that boy. I know they've been given grief thanks to the state of Cook County government at the moment. So this is one positive event for that beleaguered hospital.

As for Superintendent Weis. Perhaps he made a bad call for bringing to light the criminal past of this boy's father. Daddy is certainly upset that his child was almost killed but why would he want to make it worse by blaming the father at a press conference no less? I don't think that was a good move at all!

Why Johnny Isn't Going To College

I found this article thru Newsalert and I would like to note and HBCU connection that I was surprised to find in this Phyllis Schlafly piece. If you don't know Phyllis Schlafly she's a conservative activist who is often opposed to feminism. Read the whole thing when you get a chance...
It's too bad that male sports are being eliminated on most college campuses. Except for Texas, USC, and a few other places, radical feminism rules in the athletic departments at the expense of popular male sports.

Feminists oppose anything that is all-male or all-female unless it's gay marriage. They won't be able to ban the Rose Bowl anytime soon, but the Feminist Majority Foundation posts this warning on its website: "By encouraging boys to become aggressive, violent athletes, and by encouraging girls to cheer for them, we perpetuate the cycle of male aggression and violence against women."

Meanwhile, the feminists are censoring out hundreds of traditional manly college sports teams. If your favorite college once had a wrestling, baseball or track team, check again: there's a good chance it has been eliminated.

Several years ago, Howard University Athletic Director Sondra Norrell-Thomas announced her elimination of both its wrestling and baseball teams on the same day. It should surprise no one that Howard University's male enrollment has dropped to only 34 percent compared to 66 percent female.

On June 2, 1997, the feminist National Women's Law Center announced that it would file a complaint against Boston University, the fourth largest private school in the nation, over its sports programs. Within months, BU ended the football team that had been in existence for 91 years.

It is no surprise that male enrollment at Boston University is now down to 40%. One transfer student expressed his dismay in the student newspaper upon learning that his new school has 16,000 undergraduates but no football team.

In the entire State of Washington, there is no longer a single major college wrestling team, despite wrestling's huge popularity in high schools. Wrestling is one of the least expensive sports, requiring almost no equipment and having a low risk of injury, but feminists are working to eliminate all masculine sports.
The quote I placed in bold. It seems to be someone is reading too much into something. Besides sports are about fun not about perpetuating the so-called stereotypes between men and women. I think someone needs to ease up.

To be honest here, I'm not particularly a sports fan. As a student of Morehouse College, I'm not a regular spectator at most sporting events held at school. Although I would like to visit Tuskeegee before I finally graduate. That being said while sports might be a great selling point for a school especially if that sport is football, basketball, or baseball that should not be a reason why students should attend a school in my opinion. Of course this article catches my eye because sports are being used as a pawn by those individuals with an agenda to remake a society in their own image.

I recall many years ago that Title IX (someone can correct me if I'm wrong) is used as a basis to eliminate a number of sports programs in schools. The reasoning behind that is that there is a need or a want to allow women to participate in college athletics. Since there is a mandate of sorts for there to be athletic programs for women in college then unfortunately that means some men's sports which unfortunately usually includes baseball, wrestling and other sports have to get cut to provide for women's basketball, volleyball, or softball. This is just in general from the stories I understand.

Meh, I wonder if those who are looking for a school to go to should look into finding a single sex school if there has to be competition between who competes in what sport. Morehouse is a single sex school but all male schools are dwindling. There are of course plenty of all female schools around the nation.

Just for the heck of it I want to point in your direction this link to a Glenn and Helen podcast with an author who is seeking to figure out why young men aren't going to college these days. This is one of things that concerns me and to bring it back to a racial aspect I hate to see young black men cancel themselves out of college for whatever their reasoning might be. They do that and their female counterparts are a lot more driven to go even if they don't graduate in the long run.

Monday, June 23, 2008

A tribute to George Carlin

A very profanity laced video in honor of the comedian George Carlin who died last night. I mostly know him as Mr. Conductor on this children's series Shining Time Station. But to this YouTuber, sayf*ckalot, he was so much more. Even in the category of American hero.

Again there's some strong language here. If that's a problem you might be better off not watching. This guy is angry and probably for good reason.

Great Lakes drilling an idea to be delved

I suppose this would be a great idea if people just didn't get the idea that if drilling happened in the great lakes then environmental disaster would result. It's pretty easy to say we should reduce our consumption of fossil fuels while also building fuel efficient vehicles or alternate fuels but for right now there isn't a big stomach for that. We should work with what we have and I will agree we shouldn't be dependent on foreign oil, but sadly that's a problem for someone out there.
It's easy enough for us flatlanders to favor offshore drilling to increase oil supplies and bring down gasoline prices. But what if the "offshore" we're talking about is drilling in Lake Michigan and the other Great Lakes?

Picture drilling rigs in the lake within sight of Chicago and North Shore towns. Imagine oil spills and near-dead, crude-oil-soaked birds flopping about on Oak Street Beach. Imagine the disappearance of smelt and salmon. Imagine poisoned water supplies. Imagine the end of the world.

Well, at least that's the kind of exaggerated rhetoric we'll hear from the East, West and Gulf Coasts in response to proposals by President Bush and the Republican Party's presumptive presidential nominee, John McCain, to lift the federal ban on drilling on America's outer continental shelf. Democratic presidential rival Barack Obama wants to keep the ban.

Neither proposal explicitly calls for drilling in the Great Lakes, and I'm not for raising alarms. But Congress imposed a ban on it a few years ago, and Congress can remove it. Don't think there's no interest in drilling in the Great Lakes. Michigan draws the greatest interest because it (and parts of other Midwest states) is sitting on top of the Niagaran coral reef, believed to be loaded with oil and natural gas reserves. Just under Lake Erie is a trillion cubic feet of natural gas, waiting to be tapped. Politically, the idea might seem dead right off the bat. After all, who would dare violate the health and sanctity of the world's largest body of fresh water?

Canada would. And does. Yes, politically correct Canada, that one. In addition to the Great Lakes, Canada allows offshore drilling in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. (The People's Paradise of Cuba also is eyeing offshore drilling, some of it as close as 45 miles to the Florida coast, using techniques much less environmentally sound than American companies.)

Maybe Obama, in the interests of clean water, thinks he could jawbone Canada and Cuba into giving up those oil and natural gas resources. Michigan has several active wells tapping into the reserves under the lake using "directional drilling," allowing drilling on the diagonal, as it were, reducing chances of an in-water oil spill. (Environmentalists also oppose this technique.) Those wells were grandfathered in before the Great Lakes ban was imposed.

America's outer continental shelf holds some 14 billion barrels of oil and 55 trillion cubic feet of natural gas, which according to Sen. James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican and ranking member of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, is more than 25 years of Saudi Arabian imports. That's in addition to the uncounted billions of barrels in North American oil shale, which, of course, is being extracted by Canada, but not by the United States.

Is Great Lakes drilling safe? Has it brought alarming and wholesale environmental destruction? A 2002 report by the Public Interest Research Group in Michigan asserted that drilling in Lake Erie has caused 51 natural gas leaks from 1997 to 2001 and 83 oil spills from 1990 to 1995. The group's report, called "Dirty Drilling," called the leaks significant and a threat to wildlife. Canadian authorities dispute the report and call the drilling safe.

Well, not to worry. Nothing will happen. Nothing ever does.
Does anyone have any thoughts? Go read the whole thing.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Zimbabwe opposition leader pulling out of election

NUTS!!!! A tyrant not ready to go apparently has won once again. Story via Instapundit...
Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai said Sunday he is pulling out of this week's presidential runoff because mounting violence and intimidation have made it impossible to hold a credible election.

Tsvangirai announced his decision about Friday's election during a news conference in Zimbabwe's capital after thousands of ruling party militants blockaded the site of the opposition's main campaign rally in a now routine pattern of intimidation.

"We can't ask the people to cast their vote on June 27 when that vote will cost their lives. We will no longer participate in this violent sham of an election," he said. "Mugabe has declared war, and we will not be part of that war."

He said it is the United Nations' responsibility to make sure the people of Zimbabwe are protected from the violence now under way in the country.

Tsvangirai said he would put forward new proposals by Wednesday on how take the country forward. He did not provide any details about what the proposals would include.

"Our victory is certain, but it can only be delayed," he said.

Tsvangirai won the first round of the presidential election on March 29, but did not gain an outright majority against 84-year-old President Robert Mugabe, who has held power since independence from Britain in 1980.

That campaign was generally peaceful, but the runoff has been overshadowed by violence and intimidation, especially in rural areas. Independent human rights groups say 85 people have died and tens of thousands have been displaced from their homes, most of them opposition supporters.

Tsvangirai complained that he was being treated like a "common criminal," with his attempts to tour the country stymied by police at roadblocks.

The state-controlled media have banned opposition advertisements, claiming they "contain inappropriate language and information." The media cited one ad that claimed that Tsvangirai won the election, "which is not the case, hence the runoff."

Tendai Biti, the opposition party's No. 2, was arrested within minutes of his return from South Africa last week and is being held on treason charges.

Tsvangirai had hoped to address his main campaign rally for the runoff Sunday afternoon.

But a Movement for Democratic Change statement said that armed soldiers and police in full riot gear took over the show ground early afternoon. It said that riot police mounted road blocks around the venue and on the main approaches to Harare. It said troops were jogging down another road leading into central Harare.

The party said military helicopters were flying around the city and around the second city of Bulawayo.

"Zimbabwe clearly is under military rule," the statement said.

The former breadbasket of Africa is only becoming the land of Mugabe for the foreseeable future.

3 in 10 Americans Admit to Race Bias

From the Washington Post today...

As Sen. Barack Obama opens his campaign as the first African American on a major party presidential ticket, nearly half of all Americans say race relations in the country are in bad shape and three in 10 acknowledge feelings of racial prejudice, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

Lingering racial bias affects the public's assessments of the Democrat from Illinois, but offsetting advantages and Sen. John McCain's age could be bigger factors in determining the next occupant of the White House.

Overall, 51 percent call the current state of race relations "excellent" or "good," about the same as said so five years ago. That is a relative thaw from more negative ratings in the 1990s, but the gap between whites and blacks on the issue is now the widest it has been in polls dating to early 1992.

More than six in 10 African Americans now rate race relations as "not so good" or "poor," while 53 percent of whites hold more positive views. Opinions are also divided along racial lines, though less so, on whether blacks face discrimination. There is more similarity on feelings of personal racial prejudice: Thirty percent of whites and 34 percent of blacks admit such sentiments.

At the same time, there is an overwhelming public openness to the idea of electing an African American to the presidency. In a Post-ABC News poll last month, nearly nine in 10 whites said they would be comfortable with a black president. While fewer whites, about two-thirds, said they would be "entirely comfortable" with it, that was more than double the percentage of all adults who said they would be so at ease with someone entering office for the first time at age 72, which McCain (R-Ariz.) would do should he prevail in November.

Even so, just over half of whites in the new poll called Obama a "risky" choice for the White House, while two-thirds said McCain is a "safe" pick. Forty-three percent of whites said Obama has sufficient experience to serve effectively as president, and about two in 10 worry he would overrepresent the interests of African Americans.

Obama will be forced to confront these views as he seeks to broaden his appeal. He leads in the Post-ABC poll by six percentage points among all adults, but among those who are most likely to vote, the contest is a tossup, with McCain at 48 percent and Obama at 47 percent.

His campaign advisers hope race may prove a benefit, that heightened enthusiasm among African Americans will make Obama competitive in GOP-leaning states with large black populations. But to win in November, Obama most likely will have to close what is now a 12-point deficit among whites. (Whites made up 77 percent of all voters in 2004; blacks were 11 percent, according to network exit polls.)

I'd like to address the issues of the gap as far as race relations between blacks and whites. It seems to me that as far as race relations blacks aren't going to be happy with the state of things. Certainly there are those whites who despite their best efforts aren't going to be able to relate well. There are certainly reasons for that.

Race is obviously an uncomfortable issue. My observations is that blacks don't mind talking about it perhaps more likely amongst themselves and it possible that some might bring it up in an unusual circumstance. Say for example with their white co-workers at lunch or around the water cooler. And sometimes that individual might be defensive although they may not have a great reason to be defensive.

Of course there are those who might have some goofy ideas about race relations. I saw a very dreadlocked, afrocentric black male who said that if there were no white people we wouldn't have problems with race relations. There are those who might see the institutions blacks have built up over the years such as HBCUs, United Negro College Fund, black greek organizations, churches, and probably some other things not easily quantified as racist. Some see the double standard in allowing blacks the ability to base their organizations and what not on race.

Of course I can always argue these institutions existed way before America supposedly became a color blind society. Furthermore it could be argued for example if the United Negro College fund is racist because it's basis is to help blacks students get into college, then why not be up in arms about a so-called United Caucasian College Fund. At the same time it could be said that for whites there are already scholarship opportunities and certainly more creative than using a specific race as the basis for it.

Fact is race is still a touchy subject. People can use it as a means to offend or even worse to generalize. When that happens how can anybody be comfortable?

I don't consider myself an Obama supporters but I will give the Senator credit for breaking some barriers. He is the first man of color to actually win a major party nomination for President of the United States. His campaign isn't exactly seen as a race based on although there are those who through their own reasoning might see it that way. And at that only because of his funny name and his skin color.

Here's more from the article...

Many think Obama has the potential to transform current racial politics. Nearly six in 10 believe his candidacy will shake up the racial status quo, for better or worse. And by nearly 3 to 1, those who think Obama's candidacy will affect race relations said it will have a positive impact. (Four in 10 said it probably will not make much of a difference.)

African Americans are much more optimistic than whites on this score: Sixty percent said Obama's candidacy will do more to help race relations, compared with 38 percent of whites. Two-thirds of those supporting him for president think it will improve the situation.

But sorting out the impact of these and other racial attitudes on the presidential election is not straightforward.

About a fifth of whites said a candidate's race is important in determining their vote, but Obama does no worse among those who said so than among those who called it a small factor or no factor.

Nor are whites who said they have at least some feelings of racial prejudice more or less apt to support Obama than those who profess no such feelings.

Race is important in determining in a vote. I would say that's unfortunate and for me his race is less important as his record. I would want some evidence that the Senator is a leader in addition to some form of executive experience. Indeed the vague concept of uniting Americans whatever that entails. Race wouldn't be factor for me though it's disappointing that it's a factor for some. Even worse if Obama does lose in November, his campaign could make it an issue of his race that he lost that election. That would be an unfortunate excuse.

Another excerpt...
Obama has some convincing to do among the 29 percent of whites who fall into the scale's lowest category. (Twenty-one percent were in the top grouping, 50 percent in the middle.) Almost six in 10 whites in the low-sensitivity group see him as a risky choice, and a similar percentage said they know little or nothing about where he stands on specific issues. Nearly half do not think his candidacy will alter race relations in the country; 20 percent think it will probably make race relations worse.
Yeah not sure if his campaign should be based upon changing race relations in this country. Even so the symbolism shouldn't be lost upon Obama either. Go read the whole article when you get the opportunity.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

The Chosen...The Damned...And Other People

I going through this small book by Dempsey J. Travis. My mother got this book one night and signed it by the south side entrepreneur at a local neighborhood bank. If you get anything out of this book, the man has been around a long time and he's met a lot of people over the course of his long life.

This is a collections essays about people some of whom he's met and some of whom well he mostly likely haven't, but they are important in the history of Chicago, Illinois. For instance there's a chapter on Al Capone, it's likely he never met Capone but his role in Chicago history is certainly undisputed.

Of course Capone isn't the only thug in question ever heard of Ted Roe? He ran the policy racket on the south side. Policy is said to be the forerunner of today's Illinois Lottery. Policy is where like in the lottery people would play the numbers. Another interesting thing about Roe is that he had a nice little row with Sam Giancana a member of the Chicago outfit. The same outfit that counted at one time Al Capone as its leader.

Of course let's stay positive here. He's also writes about playwrights August Wilson & Lorraine Hansberry, singer Marian Anderson, another entrepreneur Thomas Rand, even the long-ago murdered Chicago Alderman from the then racially changing west side, Ben Lewis. There's also a chapter on the old Bronzeville neighborhood likely a different place than it is in the present day.

In any case you may notice in the sidebar that I have a book list. One of the books included therein is The Autobiography of Black Politics. That's one of his books and don't let the title decieve you it's more of a history of black Chicago politics. I would suggest that you check out some of his other books because I know I will.

NYC Student Suspended For Giving Teacher A Noogie

Sometimes I like to talk about the overkill American schools might go to in order to assert their control over their students. In this instance, I would probably say that it's probably not a good idea to give a teacher a noogie. Even if said noogie was authorized by her.

Besides she's an authority figure not some classmate you can do that to. She's a bit above being one of the peers. Students shouldn't forget that of course that's not to say that some authority figured haven't earned the respect they believe they're due. That or along the way they lose it anyway.

If you think back to high school, memories of "noogies" and spitballs probably aren't far behind. On Friday, one Long Island honors student and his father are speaking out after the freshman was suspended for 10 months – all because he allegedly gave his Spanish teacher a noogie.

Ethan Mirenberg, 14, remembers his Spanish teacher, Sharon Cantante, as being a "great teacher," even though he received the nearly year-long suspension for supposedly giving her a noogie.

"I'm dismayed," he told CBS station WCBS-TV in New York City. "You can't let people throw you under the bus."

The Lynbrook School District alleges Mirenberg, a football and lacrosse player, forcibly grabbed Cantante by the neck and continued to press his knuckles against her scalp despite her pleas to stop.

And they say it happened more than once, but Mirenberg said it didn't happen that way. Instead, he described it as a "pat on the head."

The Mirenbergs presented pictures of other students giving Cantante noogies, and she's even smiling in them. Bill Mirenberg, Ethan's father, said his son's friends back up the story.

"This teacher, Ms. Cantante, is well respected in our school. Ethan enjoyed her class, did well. I myself had a good relationship with her as the parent of a student," he said.

Bill added that his son's friends told him he didn't do what he's accused of.

The Mirenbergs' lawyer said the eighth grade Spanish teacher didn't mind getting noogies every once in a while and he wants his client's name cleared.

"I want Ethan's record expunged," the boy's father said.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Video flashback: 1986 lottery drawing

I barely remember this even the tunes that you hear in the background. Of course these days, I'm hardpressed to know when the lottery comes on. Especially since I don't play the lottery.

My dad used to play the lottery. He would have collections of tickets around the house. Indeed he would also have collections of slips where he would pick some numbers for another drawing. In this clip there was the Daily Game and Pick Four. I also remember a super drawing that had to been worth more than playing those aformentioned drawings, but what it was called is alluding me and that was what I believe my dad was playing when he used those slips to pick his numbers.

Oh I should add we also had those tickets at home for the purposes of scratching and winning. Oh man that was so long ago and this vid from FuzzyMemories brought back some memories. Of course I saw other vids like this earlier.

You know I looked up the Illinois Lottery on Wikipedia not too long ago. I understand that since the lottery airs on WGN now (as opposed to FOX 32 back in 1986) and that means that the lottery airs nationwide on the superstation version of WGN.

A compelling argument for the 2nd Amendment

From of ALL places the Daily Kos. Here's an excerpt:

When it comes to discussing the Second Amendment, liberals check at the door their ability to think rationally. In discussing the importance of any other portion of the Bill of Rights, liberals can quote legal precedent, news reports, and exhaustive studies. They can talk about the intentions of the Founding Fathers.

And they will, almost without exception, conclude the necessity of respecting, and not restricting, civil liberties.

So why do liberals have such a problem with the Second Amendment? Why do they lump all gun owners in the category of "gun nuts"? Why do they complain about the "radical extremist agenda of the NRA"? Why do they argue for greater restrictions?

Why do they start performing mental gymnastics worthy of a position in Bush's Department of Justice to rationalize what they consider "reasonable" infringement of one of our most basic, fundamental, and revolutionary -- that's right, revolutionary -- civil liberties?

Why do they pursue these policies at the risk of alienating voters who might otherwise vote Democrat? Why are they so dismissive of approximately 40% of American households that own one or more guns?

And why is their approach to the Second Amendment so different from their approach to all the others?

Well, if conversations on this blog about the issue of guns are in any way indicative of the way other liberals feel, maybe this stems from a basic misunderstanding.

So, allow me to attempt to explain the Second Amendment in a way that liberals should be able to endorse.

Go read the whole thing.

To be honest I might shy away from the idea of the "right to revolution". I look at the right to bear arms more of a safety device than anything else. It should be my right to defend myself and my property and not be forced to wait for the police to react when as it turns out they show up and the deed is already done.

Of course that's not to say that people might discuss the 2nd amendment with the idea in mind that the police department, where ever you live, is out of control itself. If citizens want to depend on the police for their protection they should understand that sometimes the police aren't as restrained as they would think they should be. That is should the police even if trained in the use of a firearm or any other form of force should be more trusted than the people they're supposed to serve?

At the end this post makes a great point about guns being dangerous in the hands of someone not trained in its use. Not much different than a car in the hands of an untaught driver. Let's make no mistake a misused gun can cause a lot of harm.

Of course in making an argument against the 2nd Amendment and for more gun control, there are those who will make every use of fear to move their agenda forward. Opponents want the fear of harming a family member with a gun in their own home. Or perhaps a child could get shot, perhaps a gun owner's own child or perhaps their neighbor. Perhaps even a person with a gun controlled largely be fear with little to no reason might be compelled to shoot and unfortunately this person might not be a criminal, but certainly an innocent.

I should also add it seems gun control advocates can't seem to tell the difference between a law abiding citizen and a gun toting criminal who couldn't care about any gun control law. I'm sure a criminal knows that a gun could put them in jail, but certainly in that world a gun is necessary. At the same time the gun isn't the cause of crime. Indeed someone has to have the intent to murder gun or not.

Anyway something to chew on if you're interesting in arguments for the 2nd Amendment.

EDIT: I once again forgot the link.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Will Moredock's White Guilt by the Southern Avenger

An examination of the liberal pathology of white guilt - as exemplified by SA's colleague, Charleston City Paper columnist Will Moredock.

My two cents is that it's never good to dismiss one's own people in the worst way, but more likely it's to lift them up. Perhaps this liberal columnist may not be doing that task in the best way. In which case perhaps it pays not to be self-loathing.

Even if I may be at odds with other people of similar race, ethnicity or culture it does me no good to trash them with the idea of making it more enlightened. In any case I post this video as more or less something to chew on. Another great one by The Southern Avenger.

Chicago-born diplomat riles Zimbabwe leader

Hey there's a Chicago component to the turmoil going on in Zimbabwe as they prepare for the future in terms of who will be running the nation. Tribune:
Early Wednesday, for example, McGee drove to a tense slum in Harare, the capital of Zimbabwe. At no trifling risk, he said he watched young backers of President Robert Mugabe round up about 500 men, women and children. The militants marched the terrified crowd down a road to a field, where they were forced to chant pro-Mugabe slogans. Laggards were brutally assaulted with clubs and tire irons.

McGee and his companions discreetly shot some video. But he is no journalist. Nor is he an aid worker. Nor a rights activist. He's the startlingly assertive U.S. ambassador to Zimbabwe.

"I've been sent here to do a job, and I'm not interfering in the internal politics of this government," McGee, 59, said by phone from Zimbabwe, where he has been mocked as a "self-anointed Good Samaritan" by the official media and threatened with expulsion by Mugabe. "We're just trying to cast some light on a terrible situation."

For anyone accustomed to the stereotypes of risk-averse U.S. diplomats hunkering down in fortified embassies against an often hostile if not anti-American world, the barrel-chested McGee comes across as something of a shock: an activist diplomat who has virtually dared one of the world's most oppressive regimes to eject him as he embarks, video cameras in tow, on high-profile "field trips" to alleged torture camps, hospitals crammed with bloodied opposition activists and, most recently, the embattled slums of Harare.

Mixing fancy dinners at his official residence with nauseating slide shows of Zimbabwean voters who have been beaten to a pulp, Washington's man in Harare has even cajoled a few fellow ambassadors into following his lead: brazening the way through police checkpoints to expose a largely hidden wave of political terror that, since an inconclusive March election, has killed about 60 people and displaced at least 30,000 more.

Like many human-rights groups, McGee attributes most of the electoral violence to Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party. Using language that would scorch a more conventional diplomat's eyebrows, he has dubbed Zimbabwe an "outlaw country" and its leadership "a bunch of greedy people who want to remain in power at all costs."
Go Ambassador McGee!!! I'm very glad to know someone in American government is concerned about the situation there in Zimbabwe.

Here's a State Department Bio and another article about the ambassador from Wikipedia.

Go read the whole article when you get a chance!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Black conservative castrati???

Apparently some prominent black conservatives are jumping on the Obama bandwagon as he seeks to become the first "black" President. I suppose they don't want to be the only people who won't vote for the first black President. Perhaps this is about their own survival in a new world where a man who isn't white can become the leader of the free world.

Anyway you'll see more discussion about this on the blog, Booker Rising.

My two cents worth is that while people should vote for who they want to vote for, I think one should vote not for the first black President but also the best man or woman for the job. Also why vote for a person who you're largely at odds with as far as policy prescriptions are concerned. For me right now it's difficult for me to decide right now who to vote for because neither candidate is ideal. I don't want to treat this election like a horse race or indeed to keep one candidate or another out of office.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Speaking of the Democratic nominee for President

The News Junkie presents a button from a Republican state convention in Texas. It's dumb to be sure and surely one can conclude that a racial inference was being made here. Other buttons take swipes at Latinos and of course another treating this election like a horse race indicating that they will hold their nose and vote McCain.

Another post by Crime File News I'll place in the camp of let's hope not. The US Secret Service is on alert as they are assigned to protect Sen. Barack Obama. There are those who unfortunately see Obama as some sleeper agent. Blogmaster Paul Huebl closes with...
If anything happens to Obama the racial unrest would make the Rodney King or Martin Luther King riots seem like a tea party. Lets hope people vote with ballots and not bullets.
Let's hope not!

On the bus

I decided to take a trip to Hyde Park today before I continued thru downtown Chicago. If you didn't know Hyde Park is the home of the Democratic nominee for President, Sen. Barack Obama. Also it's a vibrant and diverse neighborhood right on the lakefront with parks on the west (Washington Park) another on the Lakefont (with Promontory Point) and of course one to the south (Jackson Park).

There's the Museum of Science and Industry in Jackson Park. There's also the wonderful campus of the Senator's former employer, the University of Chicago. In addition there is some nice housing stock abound as well. You might find mansions that I'm sure wouldn't look out of place in the suburbs, but it's right in the city. Of course if you were looking for housing in Hyde Park there's always apartments and probably some condominiums as well.

As for transit well there is no direct L access there. You do have Metra if you want a train to take downtown. Of course Hyde Park is easily served by CTA buses. If you're lucky you might catch an express bus to downtown. Or perhaps you can catch a bus to an L line such as either the Green Line or the Red Line.

I was on the bus when I took this pic today. I took the route 6 Jackson Park Express into downtown today. A nice view of the lakefront and it was cool riding thru the nice parts of Hyde Park.

BTW, this is the excuse to provide some advice.

If by any chance you're going to be taking the bus for any reason, I would suggest you get the Chicago Card. The reason being is that you get and extra 2% fare by adding $20 to your card. And when you board a bus especially some of the low-floor buses, all you have to do is turn to your left and scan that card.

While one can still use the transit card you won't have the economic advantage on those cards as you would with the Chicago Card. I've seen one too many black folks boarding a bus using a transit card though even with the transit card when it was the most common fare card in use there were those who insisted to pay their fare in cash. of course this was before it cost $2.00 in cash to ride the bus or train and these days there is no longer a transfer unless you use a transit card or Chicago Card.

I had the misfortune of losing mine. I didn't but mine back in my wallet and it did have the tendency to fall out of my pocket. I'm still in pain from that because I had just put $20 on it. Never fear though I went to CTA headquarters to get another one and thankfully it didn't cost me a dime.

Well thankfully with the new card I have a PIN number to use so that the next time my card gets lost, CTA will replace the card although they will subtract the amount as a replacement fee. You have to provide the PIN number however. I don't know if there's such an assurance for those with the transit card.

I remember one time I used a transit card and I had put a few dollars on it. Unfortunately it got bent and when I attempted to use it on a rail turnstyle, it didn't work. I never did get a reimbursement if there would have been one. Oh and yeah this includes defective or damaged Chicago Cards if you need to replace one.

Sorry for the distraction. There's one more thing.

Notice how crowded this bus was? It was only noon and there wasn't a seat on board the bus to be had! Hyde Parkers will use a bus for sure.

Chicago Card website
Historical CTA fares

Morehouse students on ABCs World News Tonight

Morehouse College is featured in this report that chronicles the historic Presidential Democratic Nomination of candidate Barack Obama.

Students Chad Mance, Terrence Woodbury, Brandon Douglas, Bryan Richardson and Kenton Wainwright were interviewed by ABC correspondent Steve Osunsami.

This piece originally aired on June 3, 2008

Monday, June 16, 2008

The State of on affirmitive action

It starts off talking about an article where a white community college student might question the double standard in affirmitive action with a black business consultant that still thinks affirmitive action is still relevant. Not to what The State of says...
TheStateOf . . . Affirmative Action. I (J) am not sure affirmative action even exists anymore, except in school acceptance. My problem with affirmative action is that it seems to ingrain within black minds the thinking that we cannot succeed, and that’s more harmful than anything. Plus, if there is a black President, I don’t see how any blacks can continue professing the “oppression” racket. That line of thinking has matured.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sheriff Says Rev. Jackson's Gun Protests Costly, Misdirected

From WBBM-AM, well someone has got to tell the ole Reverend. I would almost wonder why this never occurs to Jackson:
Lake County Sheriff Mark Curran agrees that the violence must be stopped, but he is critical of the protests at D.S. Arms.

In a statement issued Saturday, Curran said Jackson's protest at D.S. in August 2007, where he was joined by the Rev. Michael Pfleger, cost "the taxpayers of Lake County" approximately $5,200, because of the security detail that was provided by the sheriff's police. The security cost of Saturday's protest was not yet available.

"D.S. Arms is a wholesaler of guns and does not sell guns to the general public ," Curran said, "although it will sell guns to licensed gun stores that sell guns at the retail level. The largest percentage of D.S. Arms guns are sold to the government (this includes the United States Military and numerous law enforcement agencies)."

I believe that the Reverend Jackson’s efforts could be better utilized than demonstrating in front of a licensed wholesaler of guns," Curran said.

Curran said efforts to stop abortion, address the lack of male role models for young men and reduce sexual promiscuity could do more to affect violence in the streets than protests at a gun manufacturer such as D.S.

"Raising children is a difficult job and it is even more difficult when we do not have a certain level of maturity," part of Curran's statement said. "This is a message that needs to be given especially by those that claim to be delivering Gods message."

I would encourage the Reverend Jackson to consider my suggestions, however while he is here we will fully protect and treat him with all the love and respect that we would show to any visitor," Curran said.

Father's Day

On Friday Rich Miller of the Capitol Fax posed his question of the day in terms of the holiday that has creeped upon us this weekend, Father's Day. Miller asked his readers to "tell us a sweet story about your dad."

My response in that thread is as follows:

Some of the more interesting times my dad and I had was going to the area race tracks especially during the summer. We could go to Arlington, Sportsman's, Hawthorne, Maywood, and Balmoral. I thought about that when the Preakness was on TV last week.

I can go further than that of course.

I can talk about the days my father and I spent on the old Navy Pier. There was a stand or perhaps a shack where when we dropped by we could buy some "fish chips". This was way before the Pier was redeveloped and once upon a time we could park close to the lake where this establishment was. We could watch the seagulls and the waves of the lake.

Sometimes we might go over towards the Adler Planetarium. We might watch the planes land at Meigs. More likely my dad, mom, and myself would sit and enjoy the breeze off the lakefront. We would go there often during the summer.

My dad liked to drive around town and we'd be all over the city. We might be on the west side or the south side. We might even find ourselves out in the burbs somehow. I'm somewhat thankful for those times where he was able to work nights and his days would be free. Although to be honest, in 20/20 hindsight it would have been nice if he didn't have a lonely night job.

A lot of the comments in that post, discussed how they realized their dads where human. Well I certainly had a front row seat to that. Without saying too much some of my dad's human failings is why he isn't with us today.

It's been 11 years since he passed away. The city has changed in his absence. In some respects I've changed. At times I think that he should be here with us today and what that meant is that perhaps he should have changed. Who knows we'd be in the backyard BBQing together during the summer.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Chicago and police officers lose case and $7.7 million for false arrest

A more detailed story than the one I posted last night and much closer to what I saw on WGN last night:
A trained nurse, Rachelle Jackson immediately ran toward the sound of the crash. A Chicago police car had collided with another vehicle and was starting to smoke, two officers still inside. Fearing an explosion, she quickly pulled one officer from the passenger side.She never imagined her act of kindness nearly six years ago would land her in jail for more than 10 months on charges that she robbed, battered and disarmed a peace officer.

Jackson filed a lawsuit, and on Thursday a federal jury found against the city and several Chicago police officers, awarding Jackson $7.7 million for false arrest,malicious prosecution, coercive questioning and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

"I'm going to go home and lie down for a little bit," an ecstatic Jackson, 41, said after the verdict. "I feel relieved. I'm happy, and I'm thanking God."

The case began in November 2002, when a car ran a stop sign in Jackson's neighborhood, slamming into the squad car. Jackson was walking nearby and rushed to the scene. When she arrived, the officer behind the wheel was unconscious and the passenger, Officer Kelly Brogan, was dazed.

She pulled Brogan from the wreckage and helped her to a nearby stoop. Soon after, police approached Jackson and told her that the driver's weapon had been stolen. When she was asked to go to the police station for questioning, she thought it was as a witness to the accident.

Instead, Jackson was accused of the theft. She was held for two days with little food and water and was threatened with violence until she agreed to sign a statement police had prepared for her. She was then charged and spent more than 10 months in the Cook County Jail awaiting trial.

Her case was later thrown out by a Circuit Court judge. Jackson sued the city, Brogan and the two interrogation officers in 2003.
It seems the Chicago Police as much as I respect and support the work they do, they're having a rough year. It doesn't help if it seems the police has lost a lawsuit to a person who didn't steal a weapon, but who in fact attempted to help them out of a burning police cruiser.

Oh and here's a video version.

Friday, June 13, 2008

A woman spent 10 months in jail after helping police officers

I just saw this story on the WGN news tonight:
Rachelle Jackson, a southside Chicago woman, won $7.9 million dollars in her federal civil rights claim. "Rachelle is a hero, and the jury knew it," said Christopher R. Smith, one of the attorneys for Rachelle Jackson.

On November 19, 2002, Rachelle Jackson heard twisting metal and ran to aid the occupants of a Chicago Police vehicle that had been in a car crash. The car caught fire, but Rachelle rescued Chicago Police Officer Kelly Brogan from the car anyway. Many residents responded to aid the officers. During the chaos, someone stole the service weapon of Officer Brogan's partner, who lay slumped over the steering wheel unconscious. Rachelle went to the police station to be a witness.

Once there, officers subjected Rachelle to over fifty hours of coercive and abusive interrogation, without access to a bathroom. Days later, Officer Kelly Brogan, who Rachelle rescued, came forward with a lie that Rachelle Jackson had attempted to remove her star and steal her gun; Rachelle claimed she pulled the officer from the burning car. After over ten months in jail, Cook County Circuit Court Judge Schultz exonerated Rachelle of wrongdoing, just as the federal jury did yesterday. The eyewitnesses, except for Officer Brogan, all corroborated Rachelle's story.

The jury found in favor of Rachelle on six claims, as follows: Federal False Arrest - $150,000.00; State False Arrest - $250,000.00; Coercive Questioning - $500,000.00; Length of Confinement - $1,000,000.00; Malicious Prosecution - $2,000,000.00; and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress - $4,000,000.00.

I have some questions, WHY? If I can find a more thorough story, I'll be sure to post it!

Pat Foley set to regain Blackhawks announcing job

From the Tribune. If somehow I'm not able to watch a Blackhawks game next season I can at least dial it up on the internet and listen to games thru Foley left the team a couple of years ago and has been in the Hockey wilderness either with Colorado or the Chicago Wolves:
Mark Giangreco won't bother waiting for the official announcement.

"The second John McDonough became president of the Blackhawks, I knew Pat Foley would be back," the hockey maven and WLS-Ch. 7 sports anchor said. "He exemplifies what Chicago used to be and should be—a local, regular guy calling Blackhawks games and doing it in a way that excites everybody—players, fans and other media people."

Now that Foley has completed his second season with the Wolves, he's on the verge of being introduced—OK, re-introduced—as the Hawks' TV play-by-play man. The announcement is set tentatively for Monday.
Foley's 25-year run with the Hawks ended in May 2006. He clashed with management, and observers say the Hawks' miserable play drained some enthusiasm from his calls and affected his work ethic.
This may not have had anything to do with it, but I made the request to get Foley back in post during the month of December.

It's been years since I had Garrett's popcorn

It's been years since I've have their cheese/caramel popcorn mix. I don't why I stopped eating that popcorn but I bought some today when I went downtown and it's still good! Why did I stop? Perhaps I had so much and I just moved on or I put my money onto more important things.

Visit Garrett's official website. If I ever have a housewarming and I get to invite some friends there should be a 1 gallon of canned popcorn available. That would be fun I think.

Sale of Cubs no 1-2-3 inning

For me when it comes to sports, the athletes are as interesting as the business itself. Of course I don't know the smaller aspects of the business such as attracting fans to the baseball park. Perhaps it's as much the field amenities and promotions as it is the athletes the fans pay to watch.

These past few months if you've been following politics the idea circulated that the state of Illinois was interested in buying Wrigley. The attempt to make this deal was partially to pad the pockets of Tribune Co. owner Sam Zell and to avoid the use of tax money to either buy the stadium or to make some needed renovations. The motive for this sale was said to be for Sam Zell to make as much money as possible. This is why there were several items in the news as far as selling the Cubs from Tribune Co.

One item was that he wanted to offer the field's naming rights for sale. Then the next item was for the Cubs and Wrigley field to be sold separately. Then of course was a possible sale to the state. Of course the state isn't really negotiating anymore.

Now the Tribune has more on the mechanics of a deal that will be a part of an impending sale of the Cubs to any interested party:
The difference in the Cubs situation, however, is that Zell is trying to pass muster with both the Internal Revenue Service and Major League Baseball, which has its own set of rules and requirements. That adds an extra level of complexity as potential new owners prepare preliminary bids due in early July.

Two sources said the documents peg the Cubs' 2007 cash flow at $31 million. Revenue, one said, is in the $250 million range. Given that experts have built expectations that Tribune Co. could fetch more than $1 billion for a package of the team, Wrigley Field and Tribune Co.'s 25 percent share of the Comcast SportsNet Chicago cable network, the first challenge is to devise a way to fund such a lofty price tag.

Added to the complexity is Zell's requirement that the transaction allow Chicago-based Tribune Co. to avoid as much tax liability as it can while "monetizing" the team. Even if the price ultimately falls below $1 billion, Tribune's capital-gains exposure from an outright sale would be enormous, analysts said. The company, which owns the Chicago Tribune, bought the Cubs in 1981 for $20.5 million.

Zell avoided capital-gains taxes in the Newsday transaction by creating what's known as a "leveraged partnership" to own the newspaper for the next 10 years. By taking a 3 percent stake in the partnership and assuming a type of exposure to the debt used to fund the deal, for IRS purposes Tribune Co. technically did not sell Newsday. Nevertheless, it received a $630 million cash payout it can use to pare down the $8.2 billion in debt incurred when Zell took the company private last year.

Robert Willens, a New York-based tax analyst, said one arcane complication in this structure is that in order to avoid triggering capital-gains taxes, the cash payout to the original owner cannot be larger than the liability it takes on as part of the deal. Also, the payout has to be funded by debt. Consequently, these deals tend to be heavy on borrowings to maximize the cash payout.

For the Cubs transaction, this could present a problem since Major League Baseball imposes limits on how much debt one of its franchises can carry. Sources close to the deal said the rules are complex, but for a team such as the Cubs, the debt ceiling might be in the range of 10 to 15 times cash flow. If the Cubs generate around $30 million in cash each year, that implies a debt level of less than $450 million, much less cash than Tribune would likely want to generate from the deal.

One way to generate a bigger payout would be to put additional debt on Wrigley Field and structure a similar tax-advantaged transaction for that asset. To make that work, Tribune Co. has suggested the new team owner submit to a preset 20-year lease that would provide cash flow to fund the Wrigley-related debt.
This is certainly worth reading if you're interested in the business side of sports.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Illinois State Senator (and Rev) Meeks next under the Obama bus?

Via Bill Baar.

Rev. James Meeks is a pastor at Salem Baptist Church and also a state senator on the far south side of Chicago. He is a super delegate for Obama as well. As a minister he certainly has some strong views, but that's not to say they don't give people pause.

Among those clips you might find from him is one where he talked about being racially profiled leaving his church one night I chronicled that here a few years ago. Apparently some of his comments got him onto Hannity & Colmes although personally Meeks should find himself on O'Reilly. O'Reilly may be a hot head but I think he's a lot fairer (I think I hear some boos already).

I was going to predict how much traction this will get, but it's not worth it. We'll have to see what happens with that.