Wednesday, July 30, 2008

House Majority Whip: Climate Change Hurts Blacks More

I heard of the idea of environmental racism where people might dump any polluting factory or waste near black communities. Now I just have to wonder if Rep. James Clybourn (D-South Carolina) is serious and what facts he has to back this up...
Climate change is no longer just an environmental issue. It’s now an issue of race, according to global warming activists and policy makers.

“It is critical our community be an integral and active part of the debate because African-Americans are disproportionately impacted by the effects of climate change economically, socially and through our health and well-being,” House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., said July 29.

Clyburn spoke at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., to help launch the Commission to Engage African-Americans on Climate Change, a project of the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.

The launch came on the heels of a separate report by the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative (EJCC), which claims African-Americans are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change. EJCC describes itself as a “climate justice” advocacy group.

“Though far less responsible for climate change, African-Americans are significantly more vulnerable to its effects than non-Hispanic whites,” the report says. “Health, housing, economic well-being, culture, and social stability are harmed from such manifestations of climate change as storms, floods, and climate variability.

“African-Americans are also more vulnerable to higher energy bills, unemployment, recessions caused by global energy price shocks, and a greater economic burden from military operations designed to protect the flow of oil to the U.S,” it says.
When I was younger and perhaps less informed perhaps I could have believed this. These days I take it with a grain of salt. I may not to a lot of research, but I also understand that there is disagreement on global climate change.

That being said why must blacks be singled out as being affected by this? Why does he think that blacks would be more affected by climate change? He cited some good reasons but why stop at one race?

If you're poor might you be more affected by a natural disaster? All blacks aren't poor and can probably manage higher utility bills.

Wait, perhaps this is about spreading the idea of blacks as victims? I should be insulted!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Cuban's Cubs?

A segment in today's Chicago Business Today.

Cuban is my own personal favorite but I often heard that there aren't too many fans amongst the ownership of Major League Baseball, especially reportedly Jerry Reinsdorf. I wonder how many run-ins they've had as owners in the NBA.

You see in addition to owning the American League's Chicago White Sox, Reinsdorf also owns the Chicago Bulls. Mark Cuban owns the Dallas Mavericks. The Mavericks went from a sleepy losing franchise to a team that will make the playoffs consistently. Well I'm not sure since I don't watch the NBA anymore.

Mark Cuban has a certainly energy that I think would fit in well at Wrigley Field. In addition it would be great to having an owner with the drive to win up there. Probably in more ways than they've had so far in the Tribune Company although contrast that from the era when the Cubs was owned by the Wrigley family. Tribune Co ownership have seen Cubs teams going to the playoffs for the first time since the Cubs' last appearance in the world series in 1945.

Cuban, Cubs and Cubdom from the Chicago Sun-Times!

Army says sorry to black WWII soldiers

You know if they waited this long to apologize to some old soldiers, I just wonder what this is going to do now. I would imagine not much because the damage has already been done and it's been so long ago. Sun-Times:
The Army formally apologized Saturday for the wrongful conviction of 28 black soldiers accused of rioting and lynching an Italian prisoner of war in Seattle more than six decades ago.

''We had not done right by these soldiers,'' Ronald James, assistant secretary of the Army for manpower and reserve affairs, said Saturday. ''The Army is genuinely sorry. I am genuinely sorry.''

Relatives of the soldiers joined elected officials, military officers and one of the defense lawyers to hear James give the apology before hundreds of people in a meadow near the old Fort Lawton parade grounds and chapel in Discovery Park.

In addition, the soldiers' convictions were set aside, their dishonorable discharges were changed to honorable discharges and they and their survivors were awarded back pay for their time in the brig.

All but two of the soldiers are dead. One, Samuel Snow of Leesburg, Fla., planned to attend the ceremony but wound up in the hospital instead because of a problem with his pacemaker.

The convictions were overturned in October at the prodding of Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Seattle), largely based on the book On American Soil about the riot on the night of Aug. 14, 1944, and subsequent events at Fort Lawton.

Dozens were injured in the melee that started with a scuffle between an Italian prisoner of war and a black soldier from the segregated barracks near the POW housing. A POW, Guglielmo Olivotto, was found hanged the next day.

The Army prosecutor was Leon Jaworski, who went on to become special prosecutor in the Watergate scandal.

Forty-three black soldiers were charged with rioting and three also were charged with murder. Two defense lawyers were assigned to the case and given two weeks to prepare without ever being shown an Army investigation criticizing the way the riot was handled.
Only two of these soldiers are still alive today. Surely it takes time to turn the wheels of justice but this seems like an empty gesture to me. These veterans had to suffer this for most of their lives only to see the Army realize their mistakes years later. Very unfortunate.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I saw Dark Knight

Cesar Romero, Jack Nicholson, and Mark Hamill have nothing and I mean nothing on Heath Ledger. Wait for a formal review either here or at The Movie Cabinet.

Don't trust anyone under 30?

In his provocative new book The Dumbest Generation, Mark Bauerlein argues that "the digital age stupefies young Americans and jeopardizes our future" by turning out hyper-networked kids who can track each other's every move with ease but are largely ignorant of history, economics, culture, and other subjects he believes are prerequisites for meaningful civic participation.

Bauerlein, an English professor at Emory University who has written for reason, notes that a 2003 Foundation for Individual Rights survey found that only one out of 50 college students could name the first right mentioned in the First Amendment. Between 1982 and 2002, the National Endowment for the Arts estimates that the share of 18-to-24-year-olds who reported reading a single poem, play, novel, or short story outside of school or work dropped from 60 percent to 43 percent. "I tell students in class all the time, 'You guys are lazy and ignorant,'" says Bauerlein. "Don't tell me how busy you are. You watch two hours and 41 minutes of TV a day."

Bauerlein is a self-described "educational conservative," but his politics do not fit easily into existing categories. "I believe in a core knowledge, a core tradition, that everyone should learn," he explains. "Socially, I'm pretty liberal and libertarian; I think the drug war is one of the most absurd and costly government programs ever created."

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Report: black males in CPS half as likely to graduate as whites

OK, I think this report should be a travesty:
The Chicago school district enrolls more black males than any other district in the country except for New York City. And yet, a new report suggests that the school system and neighborhoods are failing these young men.

"Fifty years after Brown (v. Board of Education), less than 50 percent of African-American males are graduating high school," said John Jackson, President Schott Foundation.
Young black men are having a harder time graduating high school than their white counterparts, according to a national study released Friday by the Schott Foundation.

While the numbers of those heading off to college are slowly increasing, only little more than a third of African American males finish high school.

In the 2005-2006 school year, the Chicago school district graduated only 37 percent of the total number of black males enrolled versus 62 percent of white males.

While the numbers are similar to other large urban centers, they are quite unfavorable when compared to Prince George's County in Maryland, for example, which includes the Washington, D.C. area. There, for that same year, nearly the same number of black and white male students graduated.
In further reading this article there is one reason why young black men aren't doing well enough to graduate high school in Chicago:
But the problem is not just with schools. Pamela Sherley is on the front lines of that battle as assistant principal of Robeson High School in Englewood, where the graduation rate was about 47 percent this year. She says the main problem is a lack of attendance.

"Because of family issues, because of neighborhood issues - that has a lot of impact. When they're the ones really taking care of their younger brothers and sisters, they have that parental responsibility," said Sherley.

Christopher Sesson is on Robeson's football team and one of those who is planning to graduate next year. He's very clear on what made the difference for him.

"I have a mother and father at home. That's what's helped me a lot," Sesson said.
Attendance? Well family issues are understandable and I hope that the schools can somehow work things out with these students where this won't hurt their marks. I don't know about neighborhood issues. Those who don't want to be in school will need an excuse to not show up. To me neighborhood issues might suggest criminal activity, that is they're either involved in criminal activity or it's not safe to go to school on a given day.

That other quote, it's in there for a reason. I want to ask this question. Where are the men?

We need you guys! The older guys who've either made it or who've struggled in their lives. These young men need your advice, encouragement, and wisdom. Or better yet, leadership!

I'd like to note it's easy for women to get together and push each other. Women thrive on that, more so than most men. I would suggest that young men need something from older men. A man has to be there to guide his children in the right direction. Unfortunately in some homes it's the women as head of the household. Perhaps the man of the house is the older brother who still doesn't know a lot about the world.

In any event, I'm not the only one with the answers. Perhaps some of you out there can offer some comments.

Via Newsalert!

Friday, July 25, 2008

I took a bus on Ashland yesterday

I was out early enough to take an Ashland express bus yesterday. I was sitting behind some seats with these stickers.

When I see these I was thinking what could these mean, then I just thought this was a reference to those who have recovered from addictions to drugs and alchohol. I also wonder if this was a plea for them to vote based upon issues of recovery.

BTW, before I sat here I noticed a beer can, Budweiser, sitting here. I moved it only because it was in the way, but I wonder if someone just couldn't wait to have a drink before they get on a CTA bus. The Ashland route is one of the longest in the city so who knows whether this can came from some who lives in the ghetto or from all the way on the city's north side. Whoever left that can on the bus certainly needs some recovery.

Anyway one of those stickers has a website, I should see what they represent.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Another story about a politician wanting to ban something

I blogged about this story over at the Sixth Ward, but I wanted to present a passage from this story...
Figueroa is asking businesses along the Division Street business corridor, dubbed the "Paseo Boricua," to cease selling flavored cigars, which are emptied of tobacco and filled with marijuana or crack cocaine. Figueroa then hopes to present signed petitions to the City Council advocating a citywide ban.

Ald. Billy Ocasio (26th), who said he is already considering a city ban of such tobacco products, wishes more business owners did what Figueroa is doing.
Almost reminds me of this story that's almost as absurd what is banning a certain type of cigar going to do to prevent anyone from consuming marijuana and crack?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

I think I should return to Booker T. Washington

During year one of this blog, I wrote a post about another black leader from the past, Booker T. Washington. Washington was head of the Tuskegee Institute (well it's now a university these days). I bought his book a while back, Up from Slavery.

So far I'm still in the first chapter. I wanted to talk a little bit about the book on this blog as I read it. Unfortunately I only managed to talk about the introduction written by author Ishmael Read.

I don't know how I came across this old, almost forgotten post. Perhaps I was doing a search of some type and it brought me back to that post. And I saw that grammar and spelling was out of whack so to bring this back to your attention I had to edit it a little bit. What a difference two years can make!

Anyway since I didn't read Washington's philosophy directly from his own voice all I have to go on is the bits and pieces I have heard over time. Washington certainly was of the school of work your way into equality. He certainly had the belief that learning a trade was important to establishing black Americans as an integral part of America.

Anyway I want to share something with you and hopefully I can get back to his book that I've sat on for over three years and haven't even started in earnest reading. A blog named for him, Booker Rising, had this interesting post that I saw yesterday:
Mr. Jackson was always a challenger. He confronted American institutions (especially wealthy corporations) with the shame of America's racist past and demanded redress. He could have taken up the mantle of the early Martin Luther King (he famously smeared himself with the great man's blood after King was shot), and argued for equality out of a faith in the imagination and drive of his own people. Instead -- and tragically -- he and the entire civil rights establishment pursued equality through the manipulation of white guilt. Their faith was in the easy moral leverage over white America that the civil rights victories of the 1960s had suddenly bestowed on them. So Mr. Jackson and his generation of black leaders made keeping whites 'on the hook' the most sacred article of the post-'60s black identity. They ushered in an extortionist era of civil rights, in which they said to American institutions: Your shame must now become our advantage. To argue differently -- that black development, for example, might be a more enduring road to black equality -- took whites 'off the hook' and was therefore an unpardonable heresy. For this generation, an Uncle Tom was not a black who betrayed his race; it was a black who betrayed the group's bounty of moral leverage over whites. And now comes Mr. Obama, who became the first viable black presidential candidate precisely by giving up his moral leverage over whites.
An interesting perspective. If this was over "moral leverage" then I wonder if someone like a Booker T. Washington would have been dismayed. At the same time, I like what an Obama candidacy means perhaps the black candidate needs not tell America how unfair it has been. Perhaps a good candidate should talk about opportunity available not necessarily pull out the worst about America.

Anyway I don't want to sound like a rambling fool when I post about Mr. Washington again so I'd like to offer you another post to read about him. Hopefully you might read Up from Slavery and perhaps you can come back here and offer your thoughts.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Support Bongo

One amazing project affected by the “black blogger boycott” is Bongo, a film and web series that follows a group of street youth recording a hip hop album in Tanzania.

Jay Grandin and Leah Nelson do amazing work. They are now looking for contributions to help finance the project. Regardless of how you feel about the Verizon situation, check out their work and help meet their fundraising goal by making a contribution on this page.
Via 1939Media!

Monday, July 21, 2008

No license for being a dropout?

From The Hill:
A proposal by Rep. Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.) to take away the driver’s licenses of high school dropouts sparked a confrontation on the House floor with the leaders of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) and the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC).

Emanuel pulled back on the legislation, but the episode inflamed existing tensions between Emanuel, the No. 4 leader in the House, and the minority caucuses. The Illinois Democrat has pushed the idea of getting tough on dropouts by taking away driver’s licenses for months.

Emanuel argued for the idea in a June 7 op-ed in the Chicago Sun-Times.

“Dropouts should not be drivers,” Emanuel wrote. “Requiring drivers under 18 to verify they are working toward a high school diploma is a commonsense step that works to reduce the dropout rate.”

The article noted that West Virginia, Kentucky, North Carolina and Georgia already deny licenses to students who drop out before turning 18.
While I would like to see our young people continue their education, I question if such a measure to deny high school dropouts their driver's licenses is going to cause more harm than good. It's great to see in the rest of the article that hispanic and black members of Congress don't support this law.

There are some good reasons such as pregnancy or having to drop out to support their family. Though I'm sure it's very easy to believe that some students who drop out of high school just aren't serious so that we have to force them to stay in school. My philosophy is that it's not a smart policy.

These are probably the ones who are disruptive, because they most likely don't want to be at school. Of course that could involve bad parenting as well, however, if there are those who don't want to be in school for whatever the reason then why force them. Especially if they have something else lined up, that's legitimate, while they figure out how to further their education.

I almost forgot to add that I wonder why is this proposal being considered by the US Congress. Shouldn't this be a state issue? The federal government doesn't issue driver's licenses, the states do. Another attempt to enforce federal will on the individual "sovereign" states.

Article via Newsalert!

No-driving bills would ground dropouts in California

Sunday, July 20, 2008

It's the law: No sagging pants in Chicago suburb

AP story via Newsalert:
Be careful if you have saggy pants in the south Chicago suburb of Lynwood. Village leaders have passed an ordinance that would levy $25 fines against anyone showing three inches or more of their underwear in public.

Eugene Williams is the mayor of Lynwood. He says young men walk around town half-dressed, keeping major retailers and economic development away. He calls the new law a hot topic.

I've done other posts where there were similar proposals or laws enacted around the nation. I just feel like there are slippery slopes to this. I'm erring on the side of not criminalizing bad fashion choices.

If you want to encourage young men to say, dress in business attire, there are certainly better ways of achieving that than passing laws against bad fashion choices. If young men want to walk around with sagging pants showing their underwear and when running using one hand to hold up their pants and in addition to that incur the stereotypes that might come with the style, then let them. Hopefully they'll learn although unfortunately for some young men no one is around to teach them about how to dress.

Items about banning things
Another town bans sagging pants.
MyUrbanReport talks about an ATL ordinance banning sagging pants...
Low hanging pants

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Marathon Pundit visits Mound Bayou, Mississippi

John Rueberry took me up on my suggestion.

Mound Bayou is a municipality in the Delta region of Mississippi founded by ex-slaves in the late 19th Century. I visited there last year for a family reunion as a result I took some pictures around town. You can find them over on Flickr.

Some interesting reading for today!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Video: Nichyria Byrd on Channel 2

Watch it here! I blogged about her a while back at the suggestion of a reader.

The end of the Jackson Park L east of Cottage Grove

I found this video that showed the demolition of this L line we would today call the East 63rd Green Line. That part of town could have had that L line as a sort of asset but it was determined to be a part of the blight on that part of town and there was success in tearing it down.

Imagine this, once upon a time this line went into Jackson Park right past Stony Island. Don't believe me? Check out this page from

This decision seems to have been controversial and I would like to point you in the direction of this article...
In a controversial decision that brought an angry reaction from community activists in the audience, the Chicago Transit Authority Board voted Wednesday to back a plan to tear down a three-quarter-mile section of the Green Line.

The board followed the lead of the city, which contends that demolition of the CTA's elevated structure between Cottage Grove and Dorchester Avenues is critical for residential redevelopment along 63rd Street in the economically depressed Woodlawn neighborhood.

The long-running battle over the rail segment now shifts to Washington, where federal officials have been asked by the city to provide funds for demolition and forgo repayment of grants used to make improvements on the line.

The debate over whether to retain or tear down the Cottage-to-Dorchester segment has stretched over the last two decades, said Joseph Boyle Jr., the city's commissioner of planning and development.

Disagreement on what to do has "prolonged the discussion and delayed the decision," and there has been little development along 63rd as a result, Boyle told the board. Taking down the elevated structure "will allow 63rd Street to become a focal point for community activity rather than a barrier," he asserted.

Demolition opponents charged that the tear-down plan is designed to permit continued purchase of city-owned parcels along 63rd by the Apostolic Church of God and its pastor, Bishop Arthur Brazier, a veteran Woodlawn community leader. But Boyle said the city's only interest is in neighborhood regeneration.

Citing the results of a March 12 hearing and other public comment, city officials have told the Federal Transit Administration that 56 percent of area residents favor demolition.

Activists who oppose razing the structure charged Wednesday that the numbers were "ginned," and they slammed the CTA's decision to support the city's position.

"I think it was an act of cannibalism," declared Jackie Leavy, project coordinator of the Neighborhood Capital Budget Group, a community-redevelopment umbrella group. "They are eating up their own rapid-transit infrastructure.

"In 10 years, when the Woodlawn community repopulates, those householders are going to be asking why they don't have clean, quiet rapid-transit service," Leavy said. "Clearly the facts show that redevelopment has been going at an increasing pace for several years."
The deed was done and if you go over to Hyde Park Progress and look at this post, people are still talking about this if you look in the comments. Here's an example:
This facility, however, was never opened and was actually torn down due to political pressure brought to bear on the CTA® by certain residents of Woodlawn and Reverend Arthur Brazier, who believed the structure over East 63rd Street would further blight Woodlawn and prevent redevelopment.

That is one of the more bizarre chapters of CTA history, right there. And, I must say, one of the more prominent cases of human folly in recent history.

Brought to you by the same guy who developed the 47th Street Co-Op location.

A mindset straight out of the early 60s -- Urban Renewal written all over it. Old timers with old ideas -- a problem in every neighborhood.
In a time where we want to get cars off the road for the sake of the environment and to ease congestion I hope that we never buy into this idea that we don't need an L or some form of rapid transit. Or indeed that an L contributes to blight when it could have just as easily been spruced up and been in regular service.

If Woodlawn is ever going to become the next hot neighborhood, especially if the University of Chicago is moving further south, I wonder if CTA could just simply do a re-extension? Perhaps there can be L service to the Museum of Science and Industry.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Fox News: Jesse used n-word

I could have believed that the Rev. Jackson did enough damage by saying that he should've cut Obama's "nuts" off, but it looks like there is a new story.
Here's the other thing the Rev. Jesse Jackson said on Fox News two weeks ago about Barack Obama: "He's talking down to black people ... telling n-----s how to behave," according to various Web sites.

Fox News' Bill O'Reilly said a "weasel" at Fox leaked the full quote to an Internet site.

RELATED STORIESFox: Jackson used N-word in crude off-air remarks Jackson's gaffe a plus for Obama candy seller Jackson apologizes for comment about Obama Jackson apologizes for comment about Obama

O'Reilly let out the first bit of the quote last week. As Jackson waited to appear on another Fox program, he whispered to a fellow guest that he was annoyed with Obama for statements Obama was making at African-American churches.

"I want to cut his nuts off," Jackson whispered, making a sharp motion with his right hand.

Jackson's alleged use of the n-word is ironic because Jackson has called on African Americans not to use it.
Why Jesse, why?

I conjured up a few angles to this. And surely some are saying what does this have to do with Obama. Is this a way to knock Obama down, because a major "civil rights leader" decided that he had a disagreement with Obama? Or perhaps these reports are a way of forcing Jesse Jackson into the background? That is someone has a vested interest in crowning Sen. Barack Obama as a new spokesman or indeed a new black leader.

There are so many ways to run with this. This may not be a big conspiracy, but we'll have to admit for certainly that Jesse Louis Jackson has done nothing but put his own foot in his own mouth.

Via Newsalert!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Black drug dealers using white supremacist legal theories

I wonder if this means that race relations has truly come a long way? Obviously this is not a case of two groups of people singing along around a campfire, however, they are stealing each other's ideas. From Washington Monthly:
On November 16, 2005, Willie “Bo” Mitchell and three co-defendants—Shelton “Little Rock” Harris, Shelly “Wayne” Martin, and Shawn Earl Gardner— appeared for a hearing in the modern federal courthouse in downtown Baltimore, Maryland. The four African American men were facing federal charges of racketeering, weapons possession, drug dealing, and five counts of first-degree murder. For nearly two years the prosecutors had been methodically building their case, with the aim of putting the defendants to death. In Baltimore, which has a murder rate eight times higher than that of New York City, such cases are depressingly commonplace.

A few minutes after 10 a.m., United States District Court Judge Andre M. Davis took his seat and began his introductory remarks. Suddenly, the leader of the defendants, Willie Mitchell, a short, unremarkable looking twenty-eight-yearold with close-cropped hair, leapt from his chair, grabbed a microphone, and launched into a bizarre soliloquy.

“I am not a defendant,” Mitchell declared. “I do not have attorneys.” The court “lacks territorial jurisdiction over me,” he argued, to the amazement of his lawyers. To support these contentions, he cited decades-old acts of Congress involving the abandonment of the gold standard and the creation of the Federal Reserve. Judge Davis, a Baltimore-born African American in his late fifties, tried to interrupt. “I object,” Mitchell repeated robotically. Shelly Martin and Shelton Harris followed Mitchell to the microphone, giving the same speech verbatim. Their attorneys tried to intervene, but when Harris’s lawyer leaned over to speak to him, Harris shoved him away.

Judge Davis ordered the three defendants to be removed from the court, and turned to Gardner, who had, until then, remained quiet. But Gardner, too, intoned the same strange speech. “I am Shawn Earl Gardner, live man, flesh and blood,” he proclaimed. Every time the judge referred to him as “the defendant” or “Mr. Gardner,” Gardner automatically interrupted: “My name is Shawn Earl Gardner, sir.” Davis tried to explain to Gardner that his behavior was putting his chances of acquittal or leniency at risk. “Don’t throw your life away,” Davis pleaded. But Gardner wouldn’t stop. Judge Davis concluded the hearing, determined to find out what was going on.

As it turned out, he wasn’t alone. In the previous year, nearly twenty defendants in other Baltimore cases had begun adopting what lawyers in the federal courthouse came to call “the flesh-and-blood defense.” The defense, such as it is, boils down to this: As officers of the court, all defense lawyers are really on the government’s side, having sworn an oath to uphold a vast, century-old conspiracy to conceal the fact that most aspects of the federal government are illegitimate, including the courts, which have no constitutional authority to bring people to trial. The defendants also believed that a legal distinction could be drawn between their name as written on their indictment and their true identity as a “flesh and blood man.”

Judge Davis and his law clerk pored over the case files, which led them to a series of strange Web sites. The fleshand- blood defense, they discovered, came from a place far from Baltimore, from people as different from Willie Mitchell as people could possibly be. Its antecedents stretched back decades, involving religious zealots, gun nuts, tax protestors, and violent separatists driven by theories that had fueled delusions of Aryan supremacy and race war in gun-loaded compounds in the wilds of Montana and Idaho. Although Mitchell and his peers didn’t know it, they were inheriting the intellectual legacy of white supremacists who believe that America was irrevocably broken when the 14th Amendment provided equal rights to former slaves. It was the ideology that inspired the Oklahoma City bombing, the biggest act of domestic terrorism in the nation’s history, and now, a decade later, it had somehow sprouted in the crime-ridden ghettos of Baltimore.
Wow, I didn't finish reading that but I need to read the whole thing. This story was via Instapundit.

Martin Luther King Jr. family in estate dispute

AJC. How unfortunate:

Two of Martin Luther King Jr.'s children have filed a lawsuit against a third, embroiling the family in a legal dispute over the estate of the civil rights icon.

Bernice King and Martin Luther King III filed a lawsuit Thursday in county court to force Dexter King to open the books of their father's estate.

The lawsuit claims that Dexter King, the estate's administrator, is refusing to provide his two siblings with documents concerning the estate's operations. That includes financial records, contracts and other documents, the lawsuit said.

Jock Smith, an attorney who plans to represent the elder siblings in the case, said Friday that the decision to sue their brother was not an easy one.

"This was very heartfelt on their part and very, very taxing on them to have to do this," Smith said. "They are not happy that they had to bring this action. All they're asking for is ... to be included in their daddy's legacy."

Dexter King has 30 days to respond to the lawsuit. In a statement released on Friday by The King Center, he called the lawsuit unfortunate.

"I'm disappointed that our personal family disagreement, as it relates to the family business, has evolved into being handled in a public legal forum," the statement said. "It is my hope that this inappropriate and false claim by my siblings will be swiftly resolved and we can go about the business of focusing on our parents' tremendous legacy."

Dexter King is also chief executive officer of The King Center and chairman of its board of directors.

The lawsuit claims that Dexter King and the estate "converted substantial funds from the estate's financial account ... for their own use" on June 20 without notifying his siblings.

The lawsuit also claims that Dexter King may have taken assets from the firm "for his own benefit" and that the assets may have been "misapplied or wasted."

Story via The State of.

Let me see in writing this blog I wrote about the death of their mother. I also blogged about how MLK III put Bill Clinton to sleep. And then a vid that announced the first grandson in that family, that grandson being MLK III's child. Even the 40th Anniversary of the assassination of MLK Jr. It's unfortunate that this dispute is in the news.

Obama the leading voice of black America!

That's not the only thing worth noting in this piece by Chicago Argus:
Yet when it comes to this Gallup poll, my personal favorite statistic is 6 percent.

That is the number of poll participants who said they think they themselves are the best voice for what they believe in when it comes to issues of race. Any time that people indicate they are not letting someone else speak for them or think for them, I consider that to be a great accomplishment.

Independent thought – it’s what we ought to be all about as a society.
Awesome! Read the whole post!

It harkens back to a vid that I posted a few months back from Cobb proclaiming that "black people don't need black leaders, white people need black leaders".

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Girl (Mya Lyons) Found Stabbed To Death

Read the story at WBBM-AM.

I don't intend to excerpt this story just offer my two cents.

This story should bother a lot of people. I just have to wonder what deranged mind would kill a child. It should bother you that she was sexually assaulted by her killer. There are just plain some awful people in this world.

I saw this story first on WBBM-TV and I saw the father being interviewed. How he conducted himself spoke to me. He had the emotion of a father who lost his child. I'm so sorry that it was his child and I wished that no father should suffer this type of tragedy.

How Chicago shaped Obama

An article from the New Yorker, probably the same issue as the cover unveiled on this blog earlier, about Barack Obama is a very interesting piece. If there are those of you out there who are young and seeking to start a political career then perhaps this is the article for you. This excerpt should pertain to that segment:

While it’s true that nobody sent Obama in the sense that Abner Mikva meant it, one of Obama’s underappreciated assets, as he looked for a political race in the early nineties, was the web of connections that he had established. “He understands how you network,” Mikva said. “I remember our first few meetings. He would say, ‘Do you know So-and-So?’ And I’d say yes. ‘How well do you know him? I’d really like to meet him.’ I would set up some lunches.”

The 1992 voter-registration drive, Project Vote, introduced him to much of the city’s black leadership. “If you want to look at the means of ascent, if you will, look at Project Vote,” Will Burns, the former Obama aide, said. In Chicago progressive circles, Burns, who is thirty-four, is described as an up-and-coming African-American legislator in the Obama tradition. Obama’s refusal to endorse Burns in his primary earlier this year infuriated and mystified a number of Chicago Democrats, though Burns himself displays no bitterness and is now an adviser to the Obama campaign.

At Project Vote, Burns said, Obama “was making connections at the grassroots level and was working with elected officials. That’s when he first got a scan of the broader black political infrastructure.” It was also the beginning of a dynamic that stood out in Obama’s early career: his uneasy relationship with an older generation of black Chicago politicians. Project Vote “is where a lot of the divisional rivalries popped up,” Burns said.

In this early foray into politics, Obama revealed the toughness and brashness that this year’s long primary season brought into view. As Burns, who has a mischievous sense of humor and a gift for mimicry, recalled, “Black activists, community folks, felt that he didn’t respect their role”—Burns imitated a self-righteous activist—“in the struggle and the movement. He didn’t engage in obeisance to them. He wanted to get the job done. And Barack’s cheap, too. If you can’t do it and do it in a cost-effective manner, you’re not going to work with him.” Ivory Mitchell, the ward chairman in Obama’s neighborhood, says of Obama that “he was typical of what most aspiring politicians are: self-centered—that ‘I can do anything and I’m willing to do it overnight.’ ”

During Project Vote, Obama also began to understand the larger world of Chicago’s liberal fund-raisers. “He met people not just in the African-American community but in the progressive white community,” David Axelrod said. “The folks who funded Project Vote were some of the key progressive leaders.” Obama met Axelrod through one of Project Vote’s supporters, Bettylu Saltzman, whose father, Philip M. Klutznick, was a Chicago shopping-mall tycoon, a part owner of the Bulls, and a former Commerce Secretary in the Carter Administration. Saltzman, a soft-spoken activist who worked for Senators Adlai E. Stevenson III and Paul Simon, took an immediate interest in Obama. “I honestly don’t remember what it was about him, but I was absolutely blown away,” Saltzman says. “I said to several people that this guy, who is now thirty years old, is someday going to be President. He will be our first black President.”

Obama’s legal career helped bring him into Chicago’s liberal reform community. In 1993, after he finished his work with Project Vote and was seeking to join a law firm, instead of returning to Sidley Austin he took a job at Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland, a boutique civil-rights firm led by Harold Washington’s former counsel, Judson Miner. Miner had perfect anti-Daley credentials, routinely filing lawsuits against the city, and was a founding member of the Chicago Council of Lawyers, which was to Chicago’s legal √©lite what the Independents were to the Democratic machine.

Working at Davis, Miner enhanced Obama’s profile. “When you go work for Judd Miner’s law firm, that’s another kind of political statement,” Don Rose, a longtime Chicago political consultant, who ran Jane Byrne’s campaign, told me. Will Burns said, “I think it might have been helpful with a certain group of people that Barack may have wanted to have at his back at the outset. So you get the support of the liberals and the progressives and the reformers, and then that gives you a base to then expand to pick up other folks. And then folks would be willing to give money to the bright, shiny new candidate.” Joining Miner’s firm, like living in Hyde Park, was a way of choosing sides in the city’s long-running political battle between the machine and the Independents. Toni Preckwinkle explained Miner’s legal work this way: “They’ve shown a remarkable willingness to take on the Democratic organization and the Democratic establishment in this city and win. Which is why I like them and a lot of people hate them.”

If Project Vote and Miner’s firm introduced Obama to the city’s lakefront liberals and South Side politicians, it was his wife who helped connect him to Chicago’s black √©lite. One of Michelle’s best friends was Jesse Jackson’s daughter Santita, who became the godmother of the Obamas’ first child. Michelle had worked as an aide to the younger Daley—hired by Valerie Jarrett, who is now one of Obama’s closest advisers. (Jarrett, an African-American, was born in Iran, where her father, a doctor, helped run a hospital; she and Obama formed a bond over their unusual biographies.) It was also through Michelle that Obama met Marty Nesbitt, a successful young black entrepreneur who happened to play basketball with Michelle’s brother, Craig. (Nesbitt’s wife, Anita Blanchard, an obstetrician, delivered the Obamas’ two daughters.) Nesbitt became Obama’s closest friend and a bridge to the city’s African-American business class.

It's a very good article and it includes a bit of a knock against the governor that Bill Barr blogged about. A knock by Obama's current political operative on his thoughts before the governor ran for that spot some 7 or so years ago.

I hope when reading this article you understand how hardcore politics can be in Chicago. I suppose if you can make it in such a tough system you can make it anywhere. Of course, one shouldn't want to be defined by Chicago politics, as I think even Obama seeks to distance himself from.

Read the whole thing. I'm still not thru, but it's very long.

Also the interview with the Washington correspondent to the New Yorker mag, Ryan Lizzi discussing the dynamics of Chicago politics on NPR. The Sixth Ward will send you there.

Watched Raw last night as per usual...

Get a load of the last paragraph of this recap from
JBL then rushed Cena and bashed him in the back of the head. JBL placed Cena against the side of a car. JBL then ran to a second car and drove it into the car that Cena was propped up against. It made it look like Cena was crushed between the two cars. JBL stared around, trying to figure out what he had just done. Fade to black
Almost reminds me of the angle where Vince McMahon was blown up in his limo last year. When the announcers stopped announcing and nothing but silence, especially the sounds of air conditioners or machines outside of the area something horrid was going to happen.

It did as you just saw in that brief excerpt. I just have to as WWE, why? I think drama is good, but I sometimes wish that in order to advance an angle WWE writers didn't have to resort to homicide. I can get that anywhere I don't need to know that a wrestler who literally drive a car into another wrestler who has the misfortune of being unconscious sitting on the pavement with his head propped up on a car door.

Don't get me wrong there have been angles where wrestlers were literally run over by a vehicle or thrown off of a bridge. I remember many years ago a video with Sting and the British Bulldog had them dodging a bomb and they jump out of the water triumphant. I just thought that was goofy, but they were in WCW and they seemed to do such stuff. Another time in WCW Macho Man Randy Savage was literally crushed in a limo by a Hummer, but at least that was more palatable than what JBL did to Cena.

Then again I'm glad JBL realized that he might have went too far. It was portrayed very well and I would imagine if someone realized they went too far they'd be like what just happened. It's just unfortunate that the creative team seemed to have gone too far with this one. I don't think I want to see a wrestler almost kill another wrestler (even if it was fake).

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Swamp: Obama campaign slams New Yorker cover

You know the cover to the New Yorker magazine only confirms it. I'm not totally sure where the whole terrorist fist jab came from, indeed, it might have come from those on the right wing who probably just assigned a title to it and it just stuck. Still let's be honest here.

Why does a fist bump (the one you might have seen Barack and Michelle do to each other at a rally in the past month or so) gotta be called a terrorist fist jab? What's so threating about this hand gesture usually called a "dap"?

Here's more on that story from The Swamp:

The cover of the new New Yorker magazine depicts a caricature of Sen. Barack Obama as Muslim, standing in the Oval Office with a flag burning in the fireplace and a painting of Osama bin Laden hanging on the wall. He gives a fist bump to his wife, Michelle Obama, who is pictured wearing military fatigues and an automatic rifle slung over her shoulder.

The New Yorker said the cover by Barry Blitt called "The Politics of Fear" is meant to satirize "the use of scare tactics and misinformation in the Presidential election to derail Barack Obama's campaign," according to a press release about the new magazine issue.

The Obama campaign, as well as the campaign of Republican rival John McCain, slammed the cover as offensive:

"The New Yorker may think, as one of their staff explained to us, that their cover is a satirical lampoon of the caricature Sen. Obama's right-wing critics have tried to create," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement, reported by Politico. "But most readers will see it as tasteless and offensive. And we agree."

"We completely agree with the Obama campaign, it's tasteless and offensive," McCain spokesman Tucker Bounds said in a statement.

Obama has fought rumors that he is Muslim and that his wife once said a slur on videotape directed toward white people. Conservatives also challenged the patriotism of Michelle Obama. The campaign started a website,, aimed at combating those and other rumors.

This summer, FOX News anchor E.D. Hill said the widely-televised fist bump shared by Obama and his wife had been characterized as a "terrorist fist jab." (She apologized and lost her show, though FOX said the network had already planned to replace her show in the lineup.)

A journalist asked Obama about the New Yorker cover during a press availability Sunday in San Diego, according to news reports.

To be honest, I'm not sure who to vote for. At this moment I'm not jumping on the Obama bandwagon to November. For now I'll just see how the campaign goes on all fronts. The way I see it there are four Presidential candidates I can vote for. Strike that there are only three I would vote for.

I know where the rumor that Obama was a Muslim comes from. He has a funny name and he's part African and he went to school in Indonesia. For some dumb people who want to believe that, it's reason enough. To be sure, there does seem to be a culture of fear.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Is Buying a Gun a Suicidal Act?

Here's an answer for those of you who believe that buying a gun is automatically bad news. Especially Ald. Sandi Jackson who was on Public Affairs saying that there shouldn't be guns in the city of Chicago and the ruling in DC v. Heller was a mistake.

The answer is a column from Steve Chapman who is a columnist at the Tribune:

It's a rich irony -- as though smoke alarms were increasing fire fatalities. But the argument raises two questions: Is it true? And, when it comes to gun control policy, does it matter?

As it turns out, the claims about guns and suicide don't stand up well to scrutiny. A 2004 report by the National Academy of Sciences was doubtful, noting that the alleged association is small and may be illusory.

Florida State University criminologist Gary Kleck says there are at least 13 published studies finding no meaningful connection between the rate of firearms and the rate of suicides. The consensus of experts, he says, is that an increase in gun ownership doesn't raise the number of people who kill themselves -- only the number who do it with a gun.

That makes obvious sense. Someone who really wants to commit suicide doesn't need a .38, because alternative methods abound. Gun opponents, however, respond that guns inevitably raise the rate because they're uniquely lethal. Take away the gun, and you greatly increase the chance of survival.

Read the whole thing.

What I always figure in the efforts of gun control and other more "controlling" efforts is that it seems our leaders doesn't trust people. That's not to say everyday men and women don't do dopey stuff all the time. It's just that leaders out there think that they can legislate forcing people to do the right thing or perhaps the safest thing. I doubt it works that way and imagine there were better methods than just looking busy.

Jackson's cutting remark may be helpful to Obama

Reading this John Kass column something struck me. I suggest you read the whole thing.
Rather than listen to Washington talking heads explain our town's politics, I called a friend, a prominent African-American activist of the far left persuasion. He considers me his token conservative buddy.

"All I want to know," he said, "is how much David Axelrod paid Jesse to say that @#$%! [rhymes with "it"].

He was speaking rhetorically, knowing that Obama/Daley strategist Axelrod wouldn't pay Jackson for such nonsense when he could get it for free. Jackson's rhetorical castration—and the grunting—helps Obama with white voters. Even those Hillary Clinton voters who, in Obama's mind, cling to their guns and religion can see it.

"Jesse's got an ego. He can't stand it. He couldn't stand it when Harold ran things. He can't stand it now, watching Barack climb up the Daleys into the White House," said my friend.

He was talking about Chicago's first black mayor, the late Harold Washington. I covered Washington's opening announcement of his historic campaign. The platform at the Hyde Park Hilton was ringed with large, tough, black police officers in plain clothes, their arms locked, letting no one up there with Washington.

The reason?

Washington didn't want Jackson up there. He knew the Rev. would try to grab the limelight. Once Washington was elected, Jackson was politically invited to leave Chicago for Washington, where he ultimately ran for the presidency.

That's what Chicago does with politicians who could threaten the mayor. We get them to run for the White House.
I suppose the next step is to figure out how Obama is a threat to the mayor. The Senator doesn't seem to have a record of making waves.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Obama's $100,000 garden grant wasted

Is it possible that this is another broken promise by the upstart young presidential candidate, Barack Obama. From the Sun-Times:

As a state senator, Barack Obama gave $100,000 in state money to a campaign volunteer who failed to deliver on a plan to create a botanic garden in one of Chicago's most blighted neighborhoods.

Obama -- who was running for Congress when he announced the project in 2000 -- said the green space in Englewood would build ''a sense of neighborhood pride."

Instead, what was supposed to be a six-block stretch of trees and paths is now a field of unfulfilled dreams, strewn with weeds, garbage and broken pavement.

Kenny B. Smith, whose nonprofit group got the money, said it was spent legitimately, mostly on underground site preparation. But he admitted Thursday that the garden is a lost cause because other government money never came through.

"We gave up," said Smith, who heads the Chicago Better Housing Association. "It was a losing battle."

You know what I think I'll take that original statement back...

But a reporter walked the site last week with a landscape architect from the Illinois Green Industry Association who found no evidence of the work Smith cited. The only major changes since 2000: A gazebo was added, and some trees were cut down.

Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said through a spokesman he wasn't responsible for monitoring the work; the staffs of Gov. Blagojevich and former Gov. George Ryan were.

"It is clear that Englewood residents have not been able to benefit from a completed community garden," Obama spokesman Ben LaBolt said. "Sen. Obama will . . . do everything he can to ensure that the Englewood community gets the resources it needs to provide its residents with a livable neighborhood."

OK, well whoever is to blame for this, it's a fact that this looks like a mess. A promise of something unfulfilled.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Businessman Dave Bing: I may run for mayor of Detroit

Perhaps happy days will return to Detroit with this man running for mayor. Detroit Free Press:

"I don't think most of us that live in Detroit or call Detroit home feel real good about it right now and that's so unfortunate because there are so many good things happening right now," said Bing, the 64-year-old founder and president of the Bing Group, an automotive supply company and a real estate developer whose latest project is a condo development on the city's waterfront. "All of this overshadows that. We've got to get back on track to turn this ship around, and I think it will be with new leadership."

If Bing decides to run, he will face several opponents who have circled the bloody water created by the mayoral scandal. And whoever the new mayor is would face myriad problems, including lost trust in the business community, lost tax revenue as the city's residents who can afford to move are moving, the failing schools and investigations into every main body of government -- the mayor's office, the council and the school district.

It is not a job for the faint of heart. Bing is far from that. Angered by Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick's persistence in staying in office while fighting perjury charges, Bing said the mayor is splitting the city between the haves and the have-nots.

"The unfortunate thing for those of us who are strong supporters of the city is that it becomes more and more difficult to circle the wagons and be protective," he said. "It's just a matter of time for those people, regardless of how much they love the city, to find options to move, and we could see an outpouring of whatever middle class we still have here, and that's a death knell because we've lost so much of our middle class. You can't just have all poor people and think the city's going to do well. And that's what happening right now. We've got to change that."

The mayor's office declined to comment.

From 1990 to 2000, the city saw a drop in the percentage of the population below the poverty level -- to 26.1% from 32.4%. But by 2006, the percentage of Detroit's population below the poverty level was back up to 32.5%, and as residents who can afford it relocate out of town, they are taking their tax dollars and Detroit's future with them. Soon, the city will not be able to survive on the tax revenue that is left.

Bing said that, if he runs, it would be for a single term because the next mayor needs to be a short-termer who can make unpopular choices, get the city back on track and then leave it to other Detroiters to continue.

"Do we have capable people in the city who can change things? I think so. But what we don't need to happen is to split the community more than it is split right now. It's not about black and white. It's not necessarily about city and suburb. It's about credible leaders right now and unfortunately, we've got a problem there."

And Bing places the blame for that squarely on the shoulders of Kilpatrick, who he said is literally trading the city's future for his own.

"I don't think we can prejudge the legality of what the mayor is going through," Bing said. "But whether he's guilty or innocent is not the issue to me right now. It's the harm that's being placed upon the citizens. And I don't think anybody can deflect that. I just think some kind of way, the political leadership, the business leadership, the educational leadership have all got to sit down at the table and figure out a model that works for everybody, and tough decisions have got to be made. We are not going to be the city that we were 10, 20 years ago."

As I would have imagined the "hip-hop" mayor figures. I talked to a guy who's into the political scene in Detroit. Mayor Kilpatrick was said to be playing politics. To me that means that nothing much is getting done although one does have to play to get something done, but you can't just play.

I wonder when the next election is. I'd like to take an interest in what's going on up there in Michigan. Via Newsalert.

Judicial Watch files complaint over Obama’s mortgage

I don't see this hurting the junior senator from Illinois as he seeks the American presidency. Let's see what happens with this story. What made this story news? The Hill:
Judicial Watch, a conservative legal watchdog group, filed the report after The Washington Post reported that Obama received a discount on a mortgage for a Chicago home valued at $1.65 million. The complaints said the Illinois senator received a loan at the interest rate of 5.625 percent, which Judicial Watch says is lower than the standard rate of between 5.93 and 6 percent indicated by surveys.

The complaint asks the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate whether the favorable rates constitute a prohibited “gift” under Senate rules.

“It appears that due to his position as a U.S. senator, Barack Obama received improper special treatment from Northern Trust resulting in an illicit ‘gift’ which has a value of almost $125,000 in interest savings,” wrote Judicial Watch President Thomas Fitton in a letter to the Ethics Committee.

The complaint also notes that Northern Trust employees have given $71,000 in donations to Obama’s campaigns.

At least this has nothing to do with Tony Rezko although this is probably something still worth taking a look at. I'm not sure this would hurt him, but we'll have to see. It's a long time between now and November.

Via Newsalert.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Is "black hole" a racially insensitive term?

I don't think so, but it seems there are those who'll make something out of nothing.

There's a story out of Dallas where a pair of black public officials took offense to a white public official's use of black hole. I wonder what happens if they someone uses the term black hole in a scientific way instead of the abstract way used in this instance:

A special meeting about Dallas County traffic tickets turned tense and bizarre this afternoon.

County commissioners were discussing problems with the central collections office that is used to process traffic ticket payments and handle other paperwork normally done by the JP Courts.

Commissioner Kenneth Mayfield, who is white, said it seemed that central collections "has become a black hole" because paperwork reportedly has become lost in the office.

Commissioner John Wiley Price, who is black, interrupted him with a loud "Excuse me!" He then corrected his colleague, saying the office has become a "white hole."

That prompted Judge Thomas Jones, who is black, to demand an apology from Mayfield for his racially insensitive analogy.

Some people need to get a grip!

Doctors' Group Plans Apology For Racism

From the Washington Post via Newsalert. Apparently the American Medical Association once denied membership to black doctors. Here's an excerpt:

The country's largest medical association is set to issue a formal apology today for its historical antipathy toward African American doctors, expressing regret for a litany of transgressions, including barring black physicians from its ranks for decades and remaining silent during battles on landmark legislation to end racial discrimination.

The apology marks one of the rare times a major national organization has expressed contrition for its role in the segregation and discrimination that black people have experienced in the United States.

In a commentary in the July 16 Journal of the American Medical Association, Ronald M. Davis, the organization's immediate past president, noted that many of the organization's questionable actions reflected the "social mores and racial discrimination" that existed for much of the country's history. But, he wrote, that should not excuse them.

"The medical profession, which is based on a boundless respect for human life, had an obligation to lead society away from disrespect of so many lives," Davis wrote. "The AMA failed to do so and has apologized for that failure."

AMA officials declined yesterday to discuss specifics of the apology, including how it came about, saying that information would be released today. But the Davis article refers to a committee of experts convened and supported by the organization to examine "the historic roots of the black-white divide in U.S. medicine."

This is a good step for an organization such as this, but then what's next?

What if Hyde Park hosts Midwest White House?

I've been slacking on the Sun-Times columns of both Mary Mitchell and Laura Washington for a while. The column whose title I stole for this blog post by Washington was written back on June 16th. It's something worth pondering if Obama becomes the new Commander in Chief:

What will happen to Hyde Park if a certain mansion on South Greenwood Street becomes the Midwestern White House?

If U.S. Sen. Barack Obama ascends to the presidency in November, will Chicago's very own Hyde Park vanquish the Western White House in Crawford, Texas? Will Obama purchase a Ford pickup and start clearing brush along East 53rd Street?

Will Hyde Park's desperately meager dining offerings improve? Will the neighborhood's pathetic nightlife scene pick up?

These are crucial questions confronting Hyde Parkers, the national and international press corps, and the world leaders who will be compelled to spend time in the HP.

My mother has lived in the Hyde Park/Kenwood area for 17 years. Her high-rise co-op overlooks Lake Michigan, Louis Farrakhan's mansion and Art "Oprah's Chef" Smith's sprawling culinary complex. She's looking forward to the descending hordes.

The tour of the stars' homes is coming, she hears.

"Security will probably be even better," she declared the other day. "The tourists will come and say, 'let's drive by the president's house.'"

That's good for the 'hood, Mama says. "People tend to spruce up when they know there's money involved."

Read the whole thing.

While we're on the topic of Barack Obama what about the comments made by Rev. Jesse Jackson. Average bro has the story.

I at times pondered or in fact believe that these comments might be a symptom of the generation gap. Indeed one expert said there is a gap between the younger generation looking to step up to the plate and the older generation not ready to let the younger generation move up. It might be that dynamic certainly, but I'm sure that's not the whole story.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Missing teen's family presses Chicago cops

I'm watching this story on Channel 2. If and when I see a vid or a write up for this story I'll post it here. In the meanwhile, the Tribune can take it away. I had to Google for it!
About a dozen friends and family members of a missing 15-year-old Chicago girl gathered Wednesday outside a West Side police station to urge authorities to step up their investigation into what happened to her.

It has been nearly six months since Yasmin Acree, a freshman at Austin Polytechnical Academy, went missing.

Acree's mother, Rose Starnes, was joined by about 10 ministers from across the city to raise concerns about the investigation. They said it took two days for police to gather a lock that may have been cut from a wrought-iron gate outside the teen's home and questioned why the investigation focused on her as a runaway rather than as a crime victim.

"The lock should have been in the possession of an investigating officer," said Rev. Ira Acree, a relative and pastor of Greater St. John Bible Church in Austin. "I'm very suspicious at this point."

Police Cmdr. Joseph Salemme called accusations they were not doing their best "a little insulting." Investigators have worked more than 2,000 hours on the case and sent numerous items to Illinois State Police for lab analysis, he said.
Let's hope they find her! I hope nothing bad has happened to her.

UPDATE: Channel 2 story on the missing Yasmine Acree.

I just know that can't be Lincoln

Image via The Daily Dish.

I can see a little Obama in Lincoln here, but it almost feels like something that shouldn't have been tried. Let Obama be Obama and leave out Lincoln's beard, ears, and hair. As well as his style of dress, especially his tie.

The owners of a small South End gallery say they had the best of intentions when they commissioned a famous and often mischievous street artist to install a massive political mural on a construction wall lining one of the artiest strips of the South End.

The mural, 13 feet high and nearly a block long, features multiple composite portraits of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama and Abraham Lincoln, their faces melded together in a rainbow of colors. It is meant, the gallery said, to inspire dialogue.

That it did. The morning after artist Ron English and his band of volunteers finished the mural, "Abraham Obama," it stirred a tempest in this insular arts community, though it had nothing to do with Lincoln, Obama or English himself.

Rather, residents, business owners, and even fellow gallery owners expressed frustration, angst, and anger over the way some English enthusiasts descended upon the city, plastering windows, telephone polls, and other surfaces with miniature posters meant to advertise the massive exhibit.

By yesterday, the sponsors of the exhibit, Gallery XIV, got a call from Boston police, apparently prompted by a complaint by the nearby Boston Center for the Arts, where two unauthorized posters were plastered.

"My best alibi and the truth is that I had no idea what we were getting into," said Will Kerr, director of exhibition sponsor Gallery XIV. "We were just interested in the installation on Thayer Street, which is an incredible work of art. I'm really trying to be a good neighbor and do damage control."

Almost reminds me of another website featuring digital images of Abraham Lincoln that I found over at Instapundit.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

A Black business icon, Parker House sausage could soon be up for sale

From the Defender:

If a planned meeting this week between Parker House Sausage Company, Inc. CEO, Maurice McFolling, and officials from the city's Department of Planning and Development does not go well, the Black-owned food manufacturer may be forced to sell the company to a non-Black owner.

“I do not want to sell, but if we have to finance our own relocation, then we would have no choice but to sell,” McFolling told the Defender. “It would be too expensive to build a new facility. I'd rather expand on the property we already own, but we can't because we are landlocked.” McFolling said that if the city wants Parker House's land to use for further housing development along South State Street, then the city should pay to move his company.

“The city did it with Luster Products when they were located downtown on South Michigan Avenue, so they can do the same for us,” he added. Luster Products, Inc. is a Black-owned company now located in the Back of the Yards community, at 1104 W. 43rd St. The city relocated Luster so that housing could go up at the haircare manufacturer's former South Loop location.

But if relocation cannot be worked out for Parker House, McFolling said a sale would be the next best option. And if that were to happen he doubts if the new owner would be Black. “I seriously doubt we would be able to find a Black buyer who has the experience to continue running the businesses and who could afford to purchase it,” McFolling said.

“As far as what the company would fetch for, I couldn't tell you.” He said the company did between $6 and $7 million in sales for 2007. Parker House, a fixture in the Bronzeville community since its inception in 1919, cannot expand its headquarters at 4605 S. State St. because the land is no longer zoned for industrial use, said McFolling.

“We can only use the rest of the land we own for storage so that does us no good,” he said. Parker House is located in Ald. Pat Dowell's Third Ward, and McFolling said he has received little to no help from her. But Dowell said she has not spoken to McFolling about his desire to expand or to relocate. “I would like to talk to him (McFolling) to see what his needs are for the company,” Dowell told the Defender. “But I do know that the city has no intentions on acquiring his property. All eminent domain procedures for the third ward must come through my office, and there has been no such action presented to me.”

I was disappointed when I learned that another black owned business was sold. That business, Chatham Food Center, is no longer black owned. I posted a story about that I also found on the Defender over at The Sixth Ward.

All I can say is that this is business. It may be unfortunate that we may be discussing one or two less black owned firms, but business owners have a right to cash out the fruits of their labor. Black businessmen & women are no different. Hopefully somone else will be able to step up in their place and so be it that they must start a new firm.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Mentholated Racism

Courtesy of Reason.
The Congressional Black Caucus has joined criticism of the bill that would let the Food and Drug Administration regulate tobacco products, complaining about the omission of menthol, disproportionately favored by black smokers, from its list of prohibited cigarette flavors. As I noted in a column last month, this provision has been in the bill since 2004, but black leaders did not start to complain that failing to ban menthol cigarettes was racially discriminatory until after a May 13 New York Times story headlined "Cigarette Bill Treats Menthol With Leniency." The front-page article reported that "some public health experts are questioning why menthol, the most widely used cigarette flavoring and the most popular cigarette choice of African-American smokers, is receiving special protection as Congress tries to regulate tobacco for the first time." (Here's why: Because Philip Morris, the only major cigarette manufacturer supporting the bill, does not want to give up the money it makes from Marlboro Menthol, the No. 2 brand in this category.) Two weeks after the Times story ran, the National African American Tobacco Prevention Network withdrew its support for the tobacco bill, and now the Congressional Black Caucus, responding to Johnny-come-lately criticism from former Secetary of Health and Human Services Louis Sullivan, has taken up the cause as well.
It is noted that this bill is considered racist but it's also noted that this bill is already a bad bill for other reasons...

Last week the House Energy and Commerce Committee overwhelmingly approved legislation that would authorize the Food and Drug Administration to regulate tobacco products. Since the FDA is usually portrayed as a benevolent (if occasionally sleepy) watchdog, you might assume the bill is all about consumer protection. But it's actually aimed at consumer prevention, which is not quite the same thing.

A consumer protection bill that reduced competition, raised prices, restricted choice, blocked information, and made products more hazardous could not really be counted as a success. Yet the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act, which has broad support in both houses of Congress, promises to do all these things in an effort to discourage consumption.

The act imposes new regulatory burdens and advertising restrictions that will help industry leader Philip Morris, which supports the bill, maintain its market-share advantage over smaller cigarette manufacturers, which oppose the bill. The compliance costs and reduced competition are likely to raise prices, which counts as an advantage if your goal is "smoking prevention" but a disadvantage if your goal is to buy a pack of cheap smokes.

Likewise, the bill restricts variety, which consumers like but public-health paternalists do not. Under the act, smokers will be allowed to choose any cigarette flavor they like, as long as it's menthol (which happens to be the one flavor Philip Morris uses). Although people above the age of 18 have been known to enjoy the occasional clove cigarette, Camel Crema, or Kool Caribbean Chill, these flavored varieties have been deemed too kid-friendly and therefore inconsistent with the goal of smoking prevention.

While added flavors (except for menthol) are unambiguously evil, toxins and carcinogens may have a positive role to play if they discourage people from smoking by raising the specter of cancer, heart disease, and emphysema. Hence the bill instructs the FDA to approve a "modified risk tobacco product" only if it would "benefit the health of the population as a whole taking into account both users of tobacco products and persons who do not currently use tobacco products."

To make that judgment, the FDA is supposed to consider "the increased or decreased likelihood that persons who do not use tobacco products will start using the tobacco product that is the subject of the application" as well as "the increased or decreased likelihood that existing users of tobacco products who would otherwise stop using such products will switch to the tobacco product that is the subject of the application." In other words, the FDA could decide to keep a demonstrably safer cigarette off the market because it might attract new smokers or dissuade current smokers from quitting.

Another well meaning bill not doing what it's expected to do.

10 things that might surprise you about the Constitution

I found it, but I couldn't find it on the Tribune's website. I found it from Here are some points I want to highlight...
The entire Constitution applies only to government. That means students at a private university have no First Amendment right to peacefully demonstrate on campus, while students at a public college have such protection. If you work in the private sector, you cannot wear a button supporting a candidate while on the job if your employer objects.

From 1791, when the Bill of Rights was ratified, until the 20th Century, those amendments restrained only the federal government. Any state could abridge those fundamental rights. In 1937, the Supreme Court upheld the murder conviction and death sentence of a man Connecticut put on trial twice for the same crime, in violation of the double-jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment. The Court said the amendment didn't apply, and the state executed him.
Well the first point I'm not surprised by. I can either choose to publish some comments here on this blog or I can choose not to. Of course in the case of this blog, I don't moderate the comments here, but I have on occasion saw fit to delete some comments.

One major reason for that is to cut down on spam. Some of them may be on target on a particular subject, but they may contain a website. It's almost as if they're peddling something and using my blog to spread the product.

Recently there was a post on my blog that I thought was a personal attack. Indeed I didn't want my blog to be a vehicle for that. As a matter of fact what was said may very well have been the truth and the commentor chose to use this blog as a platform to spread some ideas about this individual's private life. I also thought it libelous of course that has to be proven should that individual choose to pursue legal avenues against that activity.

That being said I don't exactly have to publish anyone's thoughts here. The guidelines are next to nothing here as far as comments. I just make adjustments as needed, and it's largely under my discretion. It helps that the comments section isn't busy.

As for the second point, that states don't have to observe the bill of rights. Well I'm glad that era is over the rights one would have under the federal government should just as easily be observed by state and local governments. Why in the rest of the country should a man be tried twice for the same crime in direct violation of the 5th amendment. Of course it should be noted even state constitutions have bill of rights, Illinois' constitution have a bill of rights that serve to in some respect reinforce the federal bill of rights.

To be sure, I think states do have a certain sovereignty. A sovereignty to tend to their own affairs as they see fit. Of course as sovereign states, would such states have a right to leave a union such as the United States?

All the same, if you're part of a union that has a constitution as the supreme law of the land, then a sovereign state should have to honor that supreme law of the land. We shouldn't expect any less! That means you Mayor Daley as he seeks to beat the Supreme Court ruling in DC v. Heller!

Oh and please read the whole thing!

Freedom: First step in the pursuit of happiness

Actually I read this in the paper last night. Worth sharing here at least the point that caught my eye when I read it. There was another section I'm trying to find on line at the Trib's website so that I can share that with you as well.

From Steve Chapman's Trib column:
Other countries may have a similar inclination to quarrel over whether people have a legitimate claim to religious freedom, a fair trial, health care or housing. The right to life and the right to liberty, on the other hand, are common assumptions around the world. But only America was founded on a right that, even today, sounds eccentric: the right to the pursuit of happiness.

The delegates in Philadelphia who approved the Declaration of Independence had a long list of complaints about King George III. They excoriated him for maintaining a standing army, dissolving elected assemblies, imposing taxes without the consent of the taxpayers and sending out "swarms of officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance."

Those are all specific, tangible abuses understandable to anyone. But the idea that the king was somehow interfering with Americans' propensity to chase after bliss was a novel one at the time. No more. One of the notable changes in the world in recent decades is the spread of freedom, including the freedom of each person to pursue happiness as he or she conceives it.

Letting people do that, it turns out, actually makes them content. This may sound like the most incontestable of truisms, but it's not.

Some science suggests that happiness is essentially a fixed commodity. It may rise or fall sharply because of events—getting a raise, breaking a leg—but over the long run, people adapt to those experiences and revert to their natural level of satisfaction (or melancholy).

Scratch that theory. According to a recent global survey, happiness is not only variable but on the rise in most of the world.

Two things, it appears, are needed to increase the supply of happiness: freedom and money. As it happens, a substantial amount of freedom is crucial to the creation of wealth. There is no such thing as a rich totalitarian country, as even the onetime totalitarians in Beijing finally realized. So in a very real sense, freedom is the key to happiness.
What is freedom to you? If you were to ask me that question there would probably be some confusion. I'm not totally sure what this idea of freedom entails.

My answer would be that I'm free to live my life as I see fit. In addition whatever I choose to do in my life for a vocation is something that I enjoy and I'm successful at. No one should be able to restrict whether or not I have the ability to live my life as I see fit or in did to make a living in a career or job of my choice.(of course this should be within reason, especially law and at that law shouldn't restrict every single thing I do).

Of course the concept of freedom is different for everyone. For some freedom is the provision of certain services or goods such as housing, food or an education. For others freedom is the protection from the infringement of certain rights such as freedom of speech, practice of a religion, to petition a government, or even self-defense.

So the question still stands what is freedom to you?

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Why can't I lift my voice?

More about the anthem story from Denver, Colorado courtesy of The Field Negro:
There has been a story out for a few days now. I am sure you all are aware of it. You know the one, about the sister in Denver who sang the National Anthem with the words of the black National Anthem, "Lift Ev'ry Voice And Sing". Girlfriend sang the words of the black National Anthem to the tune of the Star Spangled Banner. My first thoughts were, how the hell did she pull that off musically? And then, of course, came the firestorm. Black and white folks were outraged. Well, some black folks were outraged, and damn near all white folks were. They accused her of deceiving the city of Denver to make a political statement. (Why is it than when shit has to do with black folks it's always "political statement"?) Girlfriend had to publicly apologize to the Mayor. And not surprisingly, even the "O" man threw her under the bus. (I swear if they had an under the bus toss in the Olympics, the U.S.A. would have to send the "O" man, because he would get a fucking gold medal. But I digress) Lucky for her she is 52 years old because her music career is pretty much kaput.

"I pulled a switcharoo on them" is what she told the Denver Post. And she explained that she was a child of the segregated South, and singing the song this way was her own artistic expression of the pain she feels at times from being a black A-merry-can. Okay, I am feeling all of those things. So why am I not feeling this particular protest? Why am I not behind girlfriend 110%? Why wasn't I blogging about this shit the next day, and saying that the politicians and the people of Denver should leave this poor woman alone?

It's because I have all these questions that I am now questioning my right to call myself a black man who speaks his mind no matter what, and no matter who it offends. Would I have openly defended Tommie Smith and John Carlos if I was blogging in 1968? Damn it now I am not so sure. Because I sure don't feel like defending Rene Marie. Is it because "we have come so far as a country" since 1968? Is it because it was Denver Colorado, and not Jackson Mississippi? Is it because the only consequence girlfriend will suffer is that she won't be asked to sing for the city of Denver again? Damn, more questions than answers, I hate that.

Poor Mayor Hickenlooper (Dude that's a seriously fucked up name), the poor guy says that he wished he had "interceded during the performance" (Now see, if you had done that Mr. Hickenlooper, we would have had a problem).
I think she was making a political statement. She kind of explained it away as such of course if she left no explanation or even denied it was a political statement then how could changing from the Star Spangled Banner to Lift Ev'ry Voice & Sing STILL be a political statement?

Still why would Field Negro have a problem with the mayor of Denver interceded during her performance. She didn't sing what she was supposed to sing especially something appropriate for the occasion. Now if someone had a problem with what she sang at a moment where she gets to sing what she wants, that certainly would be a problem.

Not disappointed

I went back to Lem's Saturday afternoon and got what I wanted to get in the first place. Although a day late, I finally got my fourth of July rips, an order of a small end & small rip tips.

BTW, what made me think that small ends were just a different version of rib tips? Don't get me wrong I've had small ends before but it didn't occur to me that a small end was just another slab of ribs!

Since I've had my ribs for the year I think I'll cool it off of Lem's for a while. Go back to cooking steaks although my goal at some point is to cook some ribs of my own. Just start off with some spare ribs eventually work my way up to cooking some rip tips.

Also perhaps making some BBQ sauce like you would see in this video from the BBQ Pit Boys!

Awesome and YUM!!! Do it yourself BBQ is probably not only cheap but hopefully awesome if you make it to your liking.

An update of sorts to this previous post
A little disappointed

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Former Republican Sen. Jesse Helms Dies At 86

Booker Rising offers their thoughts on the death of the former Republican member of the US Senate. He died yesterday aged 86 and had been out of the Senate since 2003...
Until yesterday, I thought dude was already dead. Anyway, I was never a Jesse Helms fan, whose conservatism was racialized and exclusive. I'm definitely in the Jack Kemp conservative school of racial equality, democratizing capitalism, etc. My conservative uncle yesterday said he wasn't a Helms fan. "He was old-school conservative, with that racist outlook. Not my guy", said Unc.
More about Jesse Helms from the LA Times' Top of the Ticket blog and another perspective from Jack & Jill Politics.