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Friday, August 29, 2008

A lot has changed in three years apparently

One of my Flickr favorites.

This building is on the block of 71st right on Stony Island. This was once the HQ of the Republican Committeeman of the 5th Ward. I can probably look him up somewhere but at some point he either retired or he lost an election and as of June 2008, there is no longer any signage on this building.

The signage says "The Frederick Douglass Crusaders: Reviving the principles of Frederick Douglass". To be honest I'm not sure of the principles of the anti-slavery leader other than the fact that he wanted to free his fellow slaves. I might have to look up what other things Mr. Douglass stood for.

If anyone wanted to join this organization or indeed the Republican party this building doesn't seem very inviting. There aren't any windows here, although I suppose no building is perfect. Indeed for many years this part of Chicago, roughly the South Shore neighborhood, wasn't considered very safe. The neighborhood is changing however.

You could go to Starbucks or even Bank of American just past 71st Street. There is a newer much more modern and more aestetically pleasing Metra Electric station on 71st Street. You might see signs on Stony Island advertising a TIF district with the name of Leslie Hairston who is the fifth ward alderman.

Anyway I wonder what else is in store for this building.

Achievement

A profanity laced video by sayf*ckalot!
He even mentions the first white valedictorian at Morehouse College. I can agree with him on this one, being the first white guy to be a valedictorian at an HBCU isn't an achievement in and of itself. Although sure he achieved something as a valedictorian and that shouldn't be taken from him at all. What do you think?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Blogging break

If I post at all for the rest of the week it will be sporadic. I got some business to take care of and it's likely to take me away from blogging. It's about time for a brief break because this year I've been posting virtually non-stop. I didn't even take spring break off like I usually would. In any event you can check out the newly returned and now unveiled It's My Mind in Beta. Perhaps I'll have some mobile pics there if I don't post here. I'll see you sometime after Labor day.

Delegate says Jones called her 'Uncle Tom'

I would often like to think even black politicos can get along better than this. That or perhaps someone did say something in jest only to pull an emotional trigger. It's best to do this with people who might actually laugh at what you said. From today's Sun-Times:
A black Hillary Clinton delegate on Sunday accused state Senate President Emil Jones of calling her an "Uncle Tom."

Jones -- Barack Obama's political mentor -- denied using the racially loaded slur against Chicago political consultant Delmarie Cobb, but two aldermen who said they witnessed the Saturday night exchange back up Cobb's account.

"Last night, I was called an 'Uncle Tom' by Emil Jones in the lobby of the hotel, right in front of [Ald.] Freddrenna Lyle and [Ald.] Leslie Hairston and [Ald.] Latasha Thomas," said Cobb, a member of Clinton's Illinois Steering Committee. "I walked over to him and asked him, 'What did you just call me?' "

The embarrassing flap came on the eve of the Democratic National Convention, which will open tonight with a string of Chicago speakers talking about Obama's life story. Jones is often referred to as Obama's "political godfather.''

Lyle, alderman of the South Side's 6th Ward, said she was standing with Jones when the conversation took place in the lobby of the hotel where the Illinois delegation is staying, but she dismissed it as Jones engaging in harmless banter with someone he knows, although Lyle said she told him, "Emil, that's bad even for you."

Another of the aldermen who was standing in the lobby added, "He said it in jest."

Cobb has been a high-profile Clinton supporter, and she said she is still paying the price in the African-American community.

"If people are still making digs at the Hillary Clinton people because we supported her, that is not going to bring us on board. It makes us feel as though we're outsiders, and we're Democrats," Cobb said. "The litmus test for being black is [seen as] supporting Barack."

Lyle said she saw Clinton supporters walking into an Illinois delegation meeting at the Marlowe Restaurant on Sunday and being handed Obama buttons, only to put the buttons in their pockets. That prompted the greeters to say, "You can tell the Hillary Clinton people, they never take the buttons."

Speaking outside Denver's Palm Restaurant, Jones said he never called her the name.

"I emphatically deny it," he said. "I told her I never said that. She may have misunderstood."

Told that Lyle heard him call Cobb the name, Jones said, "That was not. That was not. That's all I have to say."
I would imagine that the only time this could come up is when two black politicians, one an incumbent the other the upstart, would engage in this type of banter. It's dirty banter, but some politicians will engage in that behavior even if it may make them look bad. Still it could make the other party look worse.

Besides, I remember watching the film Street Fight, this is the type of activity that you would see. It pitted an upstart running in Newark, New Jersey against a long-time incumbent mayor who wasn't ready to let go of his office. Such a story almost reeks of a serious beat-down because this upstart dared to run against him. But that's politics for you.

Now it boils down to who you support, whether that's Sen. Clinton or Sen. Obama. You know I haven't decided who to vote for in November. I still intent to vote for the best man for the job. My POV is that she, Ms. Cobb, should have been able to support who she want's to support. Ideally since the primaries are over and Obama is the presumptive nominee, then that means Cobb and her fellow Hillary supporters will support the man who lead the party in November.

Obama is already getting hammered by the Republicans and I'm sure by others for not choosing Hillary, although Sen. Clinton might be OK with that. Clinton will also have a roll call vote at the convention. Clinton still has her crew who still believe she should be the nominee although the numbers at the moment doesn't add up. Does anybody remember how women Democrats just took issue with Obama being ahead of Hillary?

Anyway interesting article and hat-tip goes to Marathon Pundit. Oh and the Democratic National Convention starts today!

I should comment on this article but Marathon Pundit already gave his two cents. It was about how the outgoing Senate President saw the young Obama before he started his political career.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Property rights: the poor relations of con-law

Last night I was at The Plaza my mom told me that police officers in Evergreen Park, a suburb outside of Chicago, were actually going onto private property to write tickets. They were going into the parking lot of a shopping mall looking for cars to ticket. I thought there was something wrong with that.

Thru Instapundit I found this post from The Volokh Conspiracy. The bloggers there has posted an abstract excerpt of an article discussing Supreme Court jurisprudence on property rights for the past two decades...
Over the last twenty-five years, the Supreme Court has expanded protection for constitutional property rights. After decades of neglect, the Court has begun to take property rights seriously. At the same time, however, protection for property rights still falls far short of that enjoyed by most other individual rights . . . In case after case, the Court has expressed support for property rights, but stopped short of providing them with more than minimal protection . . . Despite the Court's own rhetoric to the contrary, property rights are still the poor relation of the Constitution.

Part I of this article analyzes the Court's recent property rights jurisprudence. It particularly focuses on the Court's decisions interpreting the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. I examine key decisions on public use, regulatory takings, remedies for takings clause violations, and access to federal courts for citizens who claim that their property rights have been violated...

Part II considers some of the standard rationales for denying judicial protection for property rights equal to that enjoyed by other constitutional rights. It addresses claims that property rights deserve little or no protection because they are already protected by the political process, because the courts lack expertise on economic issues, because judicial protection would benefit the rich at the expense of the poor, because the Courts should not enforce supposedly arbitrary common law property baselines, and because judicial protection for property rights might harm the environment. I suggest that each of these concerns is overstated, and that many apply with equal or greater force to the enforcement of other constitutional rights. Moreover, expanded judicial protection for property rights might actually benefit the poor more than the wealthy and may in some important cases promote environmental protection rather than diminish it.

Finally, Part III briefly considers the future of constitutional property rights. In the long run, judicial protection for property rights can only be effective if it is embraced by jurists from a broad portion of the political spectrum. Property rights probably will not get much more judicial solicitude than they enjoy today if support for them remains confined to judicial conservatives and libertarians. Outside the Court, some liberal jurists and activists have shown an increasing willingness to reconsider traditional post-New Deal hostility to property rights. The strong left of center reaction against the Court's decision in Kelo v. City of New London may point the way forward to cross-ideological cooperation on these issues.
May I note that if you read The Second Treatise of Government by John Locke a 17th century English philosopher, the most important right an individual has is property rights. It'll be proven true if anyone can do what they want to your property, then you're not likely to have rights. Especially if you're in business.

For instance a few years ago on 20/20, John Stossel was doing a program on myths. He stated that one reason Africa wasn't doing so well is that there are many barriers that prevent commerce from taking place. Mainly regulations, corruption, no streamlining, and yes little or no property rights. They showed footage of a business being torn down on a whim by an African government.

Anyway this is just something to consider on a Sunday afternoon.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Black Women Are So Detached!

Just an interesting video and I wonder what any of you out there might have to say about this. I warn you that there is some strong language used in this vid.

U. of C. shunning poor patients?

I had to write about this. Story from today's Sun-Times...
Medical center officials and Obama's presidential campaign staff say the Urban Health Initiative -- along with a three-year-old companion program called the South Side Health Collaborative -- will dramatically improve health care for thousands of South Side residents. They say that, rather than having to wait hours at U. of C.'s emergency room, those patients get seen sooner and at less expense at neighborhood clinics and other hospitals. U. of C. even offers them a ride on a shuttle bus to other centers and sometimes provides the doctors at those facilities.

"Senator Obama sees community health centers as a vital part of efforts to invest in prevention and reduce costs," said Ben LaBolt, an Obama spokesman.

But the Urban Health Initiative has critics, including South Side residents and medical professionals.

"I've heard complaints from a handful of constituents, but I've also had calls from people in the health care profession complaining," said Ald. Toni Preckwinkle, whose 4th Ward is just north of the hospital. "The medical professionals who have come to me are accusing the university of dumping patients on its neighboring institutions. ... Whether it's being implemented in the way that's in the best interest of the patient, I can't tell you."

Sen. John McCain, Obama's Republican opponent, criticized the Democratic presidential hopeful Friday for having pledged on the campaign trail to expand health care for Americans at the same time his top political strategist "was running a campaign to cut coverage for the poor."

Axelrod, whose firm stopped working on the project in October, responded that he was concerned that presidential politics was distorting the university's efforts to improve health care for poor people and to lower costs.
...
At the same time, the Urban Health Initiative is improving the university's finances. Fewer poor patients are showing up at the U. of C. emergency room for basic medical treatment and are no longer admitted to the hospital. That frees beds for transplants, cancer care and other more-profitable medical procedures that the university prides itself on.

"The collapse of the health care system was driving more and more people to the emergency room," Axelrod said. "The trend line was and is a disastrous one from the standpoint of maintaining the hospital. Their goal was to find an answer."
You know I'm not seeing the shunning here. In order to see a doctor, I don't think my first stop should be an emergency room. I'd rather go to a local clinic. Save the emergency for those with life threatening conditions.

Surely there can be savings to avoiding emergency room care as well. Health care hasn't figured in the presidential election although here in the state health care has been a treasured, even overhyped issue, by my governor. It's also an issue in Cook County where the hospital has been scrutinized.

I also know that there is an issue with insurance. That is for the most part insurance is required for treatment. A law was passed in the state where you can still be covered by your parent's health insurance until you're 26. Still I wonder if insurance should be a barrier to entry at any hospital?

If there are problems in the health care field there are surely some reforms to be made.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Rep. Tubbs Jones dies

I posted a link to a story reporting her death over at my other blog Unconventional Wisdom last night with a link to this blog's round-up earlier reports of her death, taking her off life support, or that she was still alive.

Today, I'll post a story about the impact of her death, this one from the AP:
Tributes from political allies and even one-time enemies came pouring in for Democratic U.S. Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones, a trailblazer whose energy and outspokenness made her one of Congress' most dynamic leaders.

Tubbs Jones, the first black woman to represent Ohio in Congress, died Wednesday evening after suffering a brain hemorrhage caused by a ruptured aneurysm. She was 58.

"She poured her heart and soul into her job," said U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich of Ohio. "She worked so hard and gave everything she could. I'm devastated. Wherever we'd go, we'd speak of each other as brother and sister. It's an incalculable loss."

Tubbs Jones represented Ohio's heavily Democratic 11th District for five terms. She was the first black woman to serve on the powerful House Ways and Means Committee and the first to serve as a common pleas judge in Ohio.

The congresswoman suffered the hemorrhage while driving her car in suburban Cleveland Heights on Tuesday night. She had been driving erratically and her vehicle crossed lanes of traffic before coming to a stop, police said. An officer found her.

An aneurysm is a dangerous weakness or bulge in a blood vessel that can leak or rupture, causing bleeding. In Tubbs Jones, the aneurysm burst in an inaccessible part of her brain, said Dr. Gus Kious, president of Huron Hospital in East Cleveland where Tubbs Jones died. Several news organizations, including The Associated Press, incorrectly announced her death about four hours before she died.

Tubbs Jones, who chaired the House Ethics Committee, was a passionate opponent of the war in Iraq, voting in 2002 against authorizing the use of military force. Just as the war was starting in March 2003, she was one of only 11 House members to oppose a resolution supporting U.S. troops in Iraq.

May she rest in peace!

Two King children are sued by center

This story is turning into a mess, though I'm not ready to say nasty yet. AP:

Two of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s children have been sued by the institution their mother founded —- the latest chapter in a family drama that has become increasingly public in recent years.

In the suit filed on Monday, Dexter King said his siblings have established foundations that compete with the King Center and have used the Atlanta center for personal gain. It also says the foundations conflict with their duties on the center’s board of directors, which all three children serve on.

The lawsuit continues an escalating feud between Dexter, Bernice and Martin Luther King III.

Bernice King and Martin Luther King III sued Dexter King in July to force him to open the books of their father’s estate, which sold a collection of more than 10,000 of his personal papers and books in 2006 for $32 million.

Dexter King has been chairman and CEO of the King Center for Nonviolent Change since July 2004. Their late mother, Coretta Scott King, founded the King Center shortly after her husband’s 1968 murder.

Read the whole thing for more details on why there is a lawsuit and read my earlier post on a lawsuit by Bernice and MLK III on their brother Dexter. I can only wonder what happened where the family has become reduced to this.

Via Peach Pundit!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Chicago's black politicians building own dynasties

The AP writes:
In a city where the mayor holds the job his father once did, politics can seem little different from the early years of the legendary Democratic Machine. But the faces of political privilege, long dominated by white ethnic groups, have changed as powerful black politicians unabashedly use their clout to build new dynasties.

The next in a long line of successions has been set in motion by Illinois Senate President Emil Jones, one of Barack Obama's first political mentors, who in announcing his retirement this week made it clear he wants his son to take his seat.

It's the latest twist on the "it's our turn" catch-phrase popular when Chicago elected its first black mayor in 1983, said Laura Washington, a professor at Chicago's DePaul University.

"It also means it's our turn to be as corrupt and irresponsible to the Democratic process as their white predecessors have been," said Washington, who also is a Chicago Sun-Times columnist.
Also from the Tribune from the mouth of outgoing Senate President Emil Jones:
Senate President Emil Jones Jr. pointed Tuesday to famous political dynasties from Chicago and beyond as he defended his effort to pass his South Side legislative seat to his son, Emil Jones III.

"I recall John F. Kennedy, president of the United States, when he became president, he recommended his brother. Right? And his brother was elected," Jones said, in an apparent reference to Sen. Ted Kennedy, who followed his brother as a senator from Massachusetts.

"Mayor Richard M. Daley begot . . . Richard J. Daley," Jones continued, inadvertently reversing the order of the Daley mayors.

Jones also mentioned House Speaker Michael J. Madigan, who helped daughter Lisa Madigan become first a state senator and then state attorney general.
I don't want to make a racial issue out of this but this just brought to mind some of the issues that came out back in 2006, when County Democrats were trying to figure out what to do with the incapacitated John Stroger. Whether or not to replace him and then with whom.

Either way I wonder if someone shares the sentiments of current Cook County Comissioner Bill Beavers during the time where it was unsure if John Stroger was coming back to office...

Ald. Beavers: --It’s always a double standard when it comes to black folks and white folks, OK? Old Man (Richard J.) Daley had a stroke and was out for a year. Nobody said one word. They were even afraid to whisper that he was sick around here, OK? President Stroger is alive and well, and until he decides that he don’t want run again, it’s up to him. And whoever he decides is going to replace him, that’s what’s going to happen.

Andy Shaw: That doesn’t sound very democratic.

Ald. Beavers: Listen, if white folks can do it, black folks can do it, OK? Easily, all right? We’ve got control of the votes in the city and the county, so we do what we want to do, all right? Remember that.

And following in the tradition of Dan Lipinski, Beavers help to usher in the Todd Stroger era in Cook County government.

Oh you don't know who Dan Lipinski was? Well Lipinski is the current Congressman in Chicago's 3rd Congressional District. He was appointed at virtually the last minute by his father Bill Lipinski to that congressional seat. In fact Bill was the incumbent congressman at that time, but during the summer he elected to remove him name from the ballot and was able to place his son in his slot instead. That was just over four years ago and needless to say, Dan Lipinski has been in Congress ever since.

I just want to note the difference between Lipinski, Stroger or now Jones (in fact the son who might inherit his father's seat is being referred to as Threemil lol) versus Madigan or Daley was that one group chose not to stand in a primary. Instead Lipinski, Stroger and Jones chose to circumvent the primary process and insert someone else (that is kin) in their place. Playing on the idea of familiarity or indeed thinking they might know someone if only because of their last name.

At least with Daley or Madigan, they stood on their own even if they had a family name to stand behind. Still if their family name helped them, they at least didn't get inserted sometime after a primary election. In other words they earned their spot on the ballot in a general election. They especially were just appointed to their ballot spot or their position thanks to their family name.

Want more
Illinois politics: All in the family - Clout Street
A fine tradition of Chicago mediocrity - Sun-Times
And It Came to Pass - The Broken Heart of Roger's Park
More on Emil Jones' bait-and-switch - Marathon Pundit

US Rep. Tubbs Jones of Ohio Suffers Aneurysm

I actually heard on the radio that she has passed away, but I can't find a write up at this moment. The most I found was that she was to be taken off of life-support. Surely there will be more out there. WOW!!!

Here's an AP story about her aneurysm.

CNN says that she's still in critical condition but also states...
Democratic sources previously had told CNN Tubbs Jones had died.
The Hotline on Call blog indicates that...
Rep. Stephanie Tubbs Jones (D-OH), the first African-American woman to represent OH in the House, is in critical condition at a Cleveland hospital after suffering an aneurysm. CNN and other outlets have been reporting her death. But her physician, speaking at a press conference moments ago, said she has limited brain function but is still alive.

The Cleveland Plain-Dealer reported earlier today that Tubbs Jones died after suffering a brain aneurysm last p.m. while driving and that she was removed from life support at 12:19 pm.
Why the eagerness to report her demise?

College drinking debate: 18 or 21?

This AP article was actually the subject of the Capitol Fax blog's question of the day. My entry at CapFax was that I didn't have a position I would have no problem with lowering the legal age nor do I have a big beef with current laws. Although I did say that people are willing to get a drink whether they are of the legal age or not. Still I was suprised to see a certain school mentioned in this article:
College presidents from about 100 of the nation's best-known universities, including Duke, Dartmouth and Ohio State, are calling on lawmakers to consider lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18, saying current laws encourage dangerous binge drinking on campus.

The movement called the Amethyst Initiative began quietly recruiting presidents more than a year ago to provoke national debate about the drinking age.

"This is a law that is routinely evaded," said John McCardell, ex-president of Middlebury College in Vermont, who started the organization. "It is a law that the people at whom it is directed believe is unjust and unfair and discriminatory."

Other schools on board include Syracuse University, Morehouse College and Lake Forest College.
Morehouse of all schools would like to see a lowered legal age for alcohol consumption. Unfortunately one would have to travel far and wide for a drink at Morehouse. The school is basically dry, you're not supposed to have possession of alcoholic beverages on campus. There aren't any bars or clubs nearby although a lot of students go to clubs when the school week is out.

I don't have a big idea on this. People are already concerned about DUIs and DUI deaths. It would be appropriate to consider that if a college students wants to drink said student needs an education of some sorts. Hopefully that education comes before an accident happens or some unfortunate incident occurs.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The mentally ill on the Chicago 'L'

Case one was a guy who got on the train at Cermak. He wasn't dressed badly but he still had a homeless look. He didn't look clean and he sure didn't look like he should be wearing heavy boots during the summer.

In any case he started rapping on the train. I didn't totally comprehend what he was saying, but he was loud and vulgar. That much I was certain of.

Someone on the train was talking about him loudly and this guy moved on. I quickly figured out what he was rapping about. A white lady was on the train with us and after he got off the train I figured out that he was saying, "Get your ass up off this bitch!" He directed that at this white lady who got off the train at 35th.

On a whim he also got off the train at 35th. Thank goodness! Before the train pulled off he gave a nice solid kick to the train and we the passengers on board heard a nice little thump! As she moved away from him he was still yelling at her and she kept going although I'd be concerned that he'd try to make an assault.

You know maybe he didn't like her because she was white, but she didn't deserve that. Whatever did she do to him. If some white woman did a number to him many years ago, settling the score doesn't involve talking about some random white woman on the train.

Also I ran into a guy I thought I've seen on the train before. This guy was begging and unlike the last time I saw him during the past winter, at least he wasn't talking about hating people and that he "should kill you" and also spitting all over the place with little regard for where the phlegm landed. You could still tell he had some problems that should be apparent, but he knew enough to still beg for some change.

Another passenger on board the train was complaining under her breath. Today had to be the day for these crazy people on this train. I was thinking the same thing, when you think about it.

I wish I can say this doesn't happen, but it does. I wish I could tell you how long I've been riding the 'L' and I can't say that I've ever had a day like this. Of course there have been people with issues on board the train in the past. Whether they're homeless, mentally ill, or in one case an obvious drug addict.

Let's talk about the drug addict.

A few years ago I was on the train and it was almost rush hour and some silly kids where really humiliating this drug addict who got on this train begging. This man looked horrible there was a moment I saw that his skin was peeling off.

In any case to get more money the kids told him to go up and down the aisle singing. I don't remember the song, but I'm sure the song selection would have been humiliating to the drug addict although he was getting his he may not have cared. He got his money from the kids (or I should say teenagers who looked like they were high school aged) and even he realized he was being humiliated and indicated that he'd have enough.

The stories one can tell by being on the 'L' and the people out there who required help in their lives. Especially to get off the streets, mental health help, or even help with addiction. Of course they won't seek help if they refuse to acknowledge that they have a problem. Too bad that we'll know, hear, or even read stories like this.

Chicago Public Schools to add more cameras, security personnel

Tribune:
When Chicago Public Schools open next month, some of the schools identified as troubled spots will see improved emergency procedures and more surveillance cameras and security personnel, school officials said Monday.

The new measures come after 26 students were killed during the last school year—mostly by gunfire—and 10 more were killed during a summer of violence, according to Chicago Public Schools.

Getting rid of firearms from schools is a top priority said Andres Durbak, director of the city schools' Office of Safety and Security.

"At schools we can deal with fights," Durbak said. "But we cannot have fights including weapons."

Neighborhood violence, particularly gang violence, also impacts school security, said Durbak, who oversees a budget of more than $50 million for the security of 409,000 students at 600 schools.

"Severe gang violence in the area affects our schools," he said. "When something happens in the evening, it comes and visits us in the morning."

Durbak stressed, however, that fights and killings near schools or close to dismissal times are rare. He also said that crime in schools is declining.
It's easy to critique this. At least this article doesn't mention having metal detectors and all that. It would be nice if these schools didn't need to take these precautions, unfortunately there are those out there who don't might bringing to school what happened the night before. I always thought treating school like going to court or visiting a loved one in jail was unfortunate even unnecessary.

I experienced fire alarms when I was in high school. Once there was a hat-trick (three in a row in one day), someone was doing that for kicks! At least aside from placing a rewards on the identities at least we can prevent some fool from pulling an alarm. That is really disruptive.

Also if Meeks is complaining about the money the city schools get, he might want to look at not what money is coming in. Meeks might also want to find out where that money is going. Security could become a drain on educational resources more than any budgetary shortfalls.

Finally why does this article have to start off with 26 students who were killed. Most of them were probably killed at home or in their neighborhoods. Indeed it's possible some didn't even attend a CPS school, that is they dropped out or attend an alternative school. There was one case that I know of where a student was killed outside of his school, it's mentioned in this article. Other than that those 26 CPS students killed this past year has nothing to do with these measures that the chief of security at CPS wants to institute.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I think I've learned something again

On Saturday I went to the Seaway Bank Community Art Fair. There were some good work and other products to be had there. I really like one artists painting of the Chicago Skyline.

He's either got the Skyline at night, at sunset, or during the day. It was the most vibrant paintings I have ever seen. I just wish that I had $300 or so dollars to make a purchase. The paintings would have done the city proud and of course they looked like a lot of work was put into the paintings.

BTW, what have I learned on this day?

Well I had my camera with me to document the scene but a lady called me out and told me to not take pictures of her work, it was copyright infringement. The only thing I could have reasoned was that I wouldn't have made her work out to be my own. That probably wasn't the point and while I can't say I liked that, my personal policy is to respect that. The main reason being is that it's her property.

In any case I had to ask some questions and look things up about copyright infringement. It wasn't entirely illegal to take a pic of her or any artists work. Indeed I was just taking pictures, the only problem is that if I made it public, that is I post a digital picture onto this blog and someone might download that pic and hang it on the wall without having to know who that particular artist is nor would they want to make a purchase. While I'm sure this can be a scare tactic without requiring more information and because I moved on I sort of saw her explanation as baloney. It would have been enough to just ask that I not take any pictures of her work.

Of course I'm sure in situations like this, it's got to be about the money. If she could benefit by me posting a pic of her work especially if I was to sell the pic or indeed place the pic in a book. At least something that results in a financial gain for me then she'd want a part of that action. In that case I can't blame her for trying to be proactive. Though sometimes I wonder if that might hamper any sales of her works, especially if her goal is to be protective.

I don't want to run into any trifles and I'm not going to make a tense situation worse. Most of the time I find it easier to just cease and desist and not argue. If no harm was intended I hope that a situation such as this doesn't turn into a very serious one.

Oh and if there is a lawyer in the house who can further clarify this scenario and copyright infringement then by all means please do. Although I'm not asking to hire a lawyer. Just consider this a crash course more than anything else.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Drug Task Force falsely arrests 2 separate people

I don't want to stay on this trip. I just want to say that stories like these should bother people. Yeah drugs are bad, depending on it's effects on individuals. I know that there might be moments where I might post articles that suggest this drug war is a bad thing, however, all I could ask for is a re-examination of what it's supposed to accomplish. If its goals are to put innocent people in jail then I think that's bad. Here's the story:
Twice in the past 18 months, agents from the 4th Judicial District Drug Task Force have moved to prosecute an innocent man or woman.

In both cases, agents mistakenly identified the accused as having sold drugs. In addition to what the wrongly accused have endured, the mistakes - along with the recent guilty plea of a task force agent who developed a drug habit and stole cash from suspects - have forced prosecutors to drop numerous charges against drug defendants in the district, which includes Sevier, Jefferson, Cocke and Grainger counties.

Attempts to interview the drug task force's director, Mack Smith, have been unsuccessful.

Both of the accused citizens, Patty Diane Yates, 38, of Morristown and James Russell Kitts, 44, of Seymour, are mulling legal action against the Drug Task Force, although the law generally doesn't provide much of a chance for citizens to collect damages when they are the victims of false arrests.

Kitts has received an apology. He had friends in law enforcement who came to his defense, and the charges against him were quickly dropped, allowing him to resume his career.

Kitts, a UPS worker and youth athletics coach, was arrested June 25 on multiple charges of trafficking in prescription painkillers. Smith later issued a public apology to Kitts and said a Drug Task Force agent had identified him as a drug dealer based on information that included 911 records and Tennessee motor vehicle registration records. The agent, who wasn't publicly identified, was booted from the task force.

Yates wasn't so fortunate. It took authorities nine months to drop the charges against her, during which she was suspended without pay from her $10.86-an-hour factory job. She and her husband ended up losing their house and have been forced into bankruptcy, she said.

"We lost everything," Yates said. "We're having to start all over. ... I lost so much money it's unreal. It should not have taken them that long to figure out they had the wrong person."

Yates, who says she has no criminal record to speak of other than traffic tickets, has received no apology or explanation of why she was handcuffed and taken to jail twice on bogus drug charges.
Here's a recurring theme in some of the other stories you've seen on this blog on this topic...
Seals adamantly maintained that Yates was the woman who'd sold drugs, but Smith determined there might have been a different woman at the White Pine house named "Patty" who had children with the last name of "Yates," Murphy said.

"The only person who could have resolved the issue was the confidential informant, and that person disappeared and we couldn't locate that person," Murphy said. "It's amazing. ... I've been here for 10 years and no one has reported (a misidentification) happening in Jefferson County before this."
A criminal informant that is basically accountable to no one. They get whatever rewards they would receive by informing even with false information. Via Instapundit!

Previous Post
Guilty Before Proven Innocent

1908 race riot: NAACP says it's time to move forward

From the State-Journal Register:
Responding to Mayor Tim Davlin’s apology last week on behalf of the city regarding the riot, Rivers said it is time to move forward.

“I … say to the mayor and to the citizens of Springfield, the NAACP standing here assembled, we’ve heard your apology. We know it took you a long time to get to it. We all know the political conspiracy that happened to make you do it. But we put all that behind us. We don’t question your sincerity,” Rivers said.

Rivers and other national, state and local leaders of the civil rights organization filled the Old State Capitol on Friday to commemorate the riot and to mark racial progress since then.
If you want to know more about the 1908 Springfield race riot you might want to check this out first.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Quotes from Bernie Mac's memorial service

It had taken place this morning at the House of Hope located in the Pullman neighborhood on 115th Street just off of the Calumet (or Bishop Ford) Expressway. From AP:
"To me, Bernie was more than a TV uncle. He was a mentor and someone I truly looked up to. He was the embodiment of kindness, professionalism and generosity." _ Jeremy Suarez, who played Jordan, Mac's nephew, on television's "The Bernie Mac Show."

"He went from 103rd Street and (Martin Luther) King Drive to Beverly Hills. From the wheel of a Wonder Bread truck to a world of wonder. He had plans to do one more tour, but somebody must have told God that he was good." _ Ali Leroi, Mac's longtime joke writer.

"One of the hardest things for a black man is to be an individual. Bernie Mac was a man. He stood alone." _ Comedian D.L. Hughley.

"Bernie said he always walked alone, we've heard it a thousand times. But I don't think he walked alone. He walked with Jesus." _ Comedian Steve Harvey.
Mayor Daley and state treasurer Alexis Giannoulis was quoted in this brief article. I wonder if they really know anything about the late great comedian.

Seattle Police Chief Norm Stamper on Ending the Drug War



A former big city police chief talks about his opposition to the drug war in addition to knowing that there is some support amongst police officers or politicians to take a legalization approach to illegal drugs.

Friday, August 15, 2008

S.F.'s black students lag far behind whites

Well San Francisco isn't doing well as far as their black students from the SF Chronicle:

San Francisco schools earned bragging rights on state standardized tests again this year - performing better than the state as a whole across every grade in both math and English - but any celebration was clouded by the subpar proficiency of the district's African American students, who continued to fall further behind their peers.

Nearly all other categories of San Francisco students, regardless of ethnicity, income or English language ability, outscored the city's black students in California Standards Test results posted Thursday.

On the plus side, the scores of black students did go up about 1 percentage point in math proficiency and nearly 1 percentage point in English.

But that wasn't as much as everyone else, meaning the achievement gap in San Francisco got worse.

"The achievement gap is the greatest civil rights issue facing our country today," school Superintendent Carlos Garcia said in a statement.

The number of white students who were proficient or better in both math and English was about 50 percentage points higher than the city's black students. In second-grade English, for example, 23 percent of blacks were proficient, compared to 74 percent of whites.

Special education students had slightly higher proficiency rates than black students in second-, third- and fourth-grade math as well as fourth-grade English.

The district tested 41,000 students, including 4,800 African Americans, in grades two through 11 in the spring.

Read the whole article, it's very interesting. Why aren't black students on the same level as their peers? Does it have anything to do with the middle class leaving San Francisco?

Via Newsalert!

I found an interesting book I found today at Border's

If you're looking for a Chicago themed book how about a book by a former Chicago Police officer, Jerry Ardolino. Entitled Extreme Cop: Chicago PD: The True Story of the Wildest, Most Violent Cop in the History of the Chicago Police it almost reads like it should be an action film. Well at least if you believe the introduction.

In fact I wouldn't be surprised if an action movie was in the works. Although in some respects it could be more realistic than anything Hollywood could devise. In any event I just read the intro to the book by the author I didn't buy it, but if I had to make a purchase for this book I would have. Perhaps you should as well.

Here's an official website.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

How college gender imbalances impact the social scene…

Back to a theme of interest on this blog, why young men aren't going to college. From Why Boys Fail:
My commentary running today on the back cover of the Chronicle of Higher Education takes an unvarnished look at what can happen to the campus social scene when the female/male imbalance passes 60% female. That’s the gender imbalance campus admissions officers fear most, the threshold where you can feel a palpable difference on campus. What this means to the campus social scene is guaranteed to make parents of college-bound girls cringe a bit

Moving past 60% at some point triggers what biologists refer to as the operational sex ratio, which in the animal kingdom refers to the changes in mating habits that occur when one sex outnumbers the other. Humans are not immune, including college campuses.

Fyi: By the year 2015, the average graduating class from four-year colleges will be 60%. Trying to maintain healthy relationships between the sexes is one reason so many college admissions officers quietly grant admissions preferences to men (not that they would call them preferences. Rather, they draw large, overlapping circles to explain an admission policy that, in the end, favors men and discriminates against women).
Interesting, to see that Colleges see this as a problem. Perhaps there will be more changes on the way or at least I should hope so. We've encouraged young women to go to school, that's not to say we shouldn't continue. Still we need the young men to be educated as well.

Hopefully we can get the ball rolling on that, especially in poor inner city neighborhoods where the children might need a decent education the most. In some respects I support Rev. James Meeks (who's also a state senator in Illinois) as he seeks to enroll CPS students (well it's more of a protest of inequities between school districts) in a suburban school district. Perhaps some attention has to be made in the area of school funding, although that's not the only place the spotlight should be.

Via Instapundit!

Heh, I might have missed a point here. I see Newsalert also picked up this story with the comment...
College is becoming a rather unhappy place for women. But,a very happy place for guys.
Heh, well that could be a selling point more than anything. It could be theorized that men don't want to compete with the ladies, but then if there aren't as many men around then one could say there isn't competition for the women. Of course that's not to say that's why a young man should go to college. ;-)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Arguments against multi-member districts

Part two of a post from Saturday.

If I understand correctly the main reason that the composition of the state house representatives was changed by voters in 1980 was to save money. The idea was to capitalize off of voter anger at state legislators approving pay raises for themselves.

Wait a second, isn't that what they're trying to do in the state senator. Isn't someone like an Emil Jones attempting to get some pay raises? Even at a point where state finances aren't where they are reported that they should be?

Well anyway, to find arguments against this I had to look into the past. I found this article from Illinois Issues. Aside from the whole cost savings issue there's also...
  • Streamline the process, making the House more efficient and productive because fewer lawmakers mean fewer bills introduced, a smaller staff, and a smoother operation.
  • Promote competition and enhance accountability because one-on-one contests will encourage more folks to run in smaller districts and make it easier to oust entrenched incumbents.
Hmmm, it probably did one thing, however, it's safe to say one-on-one contests didn't do they job that proponents expected it to do. It's rare especially in the city to hear about anything resembling competitive state legislative contests. There were one or two in the primaries this year.

In fact here are some opposing arguments...
  • Deny representation for members of the minority party in a given area.
  • Promote regional rivalry.
  • Concentrate power in leadership hands.
  • Reduce the number of women and minorities in the House.
Oh well it's probably safe to say those actually came to pass. Perhaps three out of four. Perhaps half because I'm not sure I see a regional rivalry. If there is a rivalry it's mostly among Chicago politicians such as Rod Blagojevich or Michael Madigan. So far these isn't a rivalry between for instance the rest of the state vs. Chicago. Or at least it's not as visible so long as powerful Chicago politicians aren't able to get along with each other.

In that case downstate Illinois isn't the only region that is suffering from neglect.

I wish I knew whether or not repealing the cutback amendment or at least bringing back multi member districts in some form is even high on the agenda if there is to be a con-con by 2010. Remember voters must call for one just as they're about to elect a new President of the United States in November.

To be sure, yeah I'm disappointed that politics isn't working well in Illinois at the moment. If there must be a change, it probably more likely to affect the Governor's office. There is certainly some changes to be made to the legislature. Of course whether or not that means a change of the general composition or otherwise is a good question.

You may have noticed something reading this blog, I don't care for Blagojevich as a governor. Of course I want to take care and not direct any proposals that are designed for him. All we can do is make some changes to for instance the amendatory veto. It could be said that an executive has no right to change legislation although at least an executive should have the right to cancel out parts of legislation because s/he would deem a particular item unconstitutional.

Anyway there are some changes to be made. Is a larger state legislature a good idea? Is the idea of cumulative voter and multi-member legislative districts? I'd have to find more information to determine that.

Is politics an art?

I've been sitting on this post since July. It was inspired by some comments made on the Capitol Fax blog. You notice a pattern here, I troll there a lot! Anyway this should be worth some interesting thoughts for those of you who are interested.

Perhaps the appropriate term is a craft. Certainly it could be an art or science, but it's just that there probably more art to it than science. Perhaps the art is left to those public officials who have an agenda, at that a serious agenda where the consequences are taken seriously. The science is probably left to those who work in the system.

Perhaps the campaign workers who help to move a campaign forward. They might provide the science, that is the science of making polls. Then perhaps there's the art of identifying those in the electorate who will vote for you. There is an art or perhaps a science in crafting a message.

In my time studying political science, there was a question posed. Is political science a science?

It was an essay question when I took this course, scope and methods in political science. I answered that it was a science and there was at least one person that I know of that answered that it wasn't a science. Who's right?

I wonder if anyone has a handle on the differences between politics being an art or science. It could be argued that politics contains both in some respects and that perhaps there is more art than science to it.

The only thing I can say about political science is that it's a field of study that can be studied scientifically with a scientific method not much different that what you might find in a natural science such a biology or physics. It's certainly a field that is much deeper than using the scientific method. And politics itself is certainly a lot deeper than what could be portrayed in the press.

RELATED
Term limits

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Governor Blagojevich a "homeboy"

You know, I so wish I knew how to use Photoshop so that I can craft an image of the Governor with an afro, hip-hop fashion, gold chains, and perhaps a pair of shades. That would mock his statement that he made at the Chicago City Club more than anything I can ever write here.

I believe this is a form of pandering or perhaps he thinks so much of himself that he can declare himself a friend of the black community. After all he does have a black man as an important ally against another white man whom he can't seem to get along with too well.

You know, Bill Clinton was often referred to as the first black President. The difference between Clinton and Blagojevich was that at least someone gave the former President the title and he himself did sort of run with it. He enjoys or at least enjoyed good relations with the black community. What does Blagojevich have to show of his support from blacks?

He botched one or two attempts at giving a historic church with an architecturally significant building their million dollar check. Also he offered that check at the very beginning of an election year. He doesn't seem to be able to close the deal on reforming public education or it could be concluded that his interest isn't in it. Yet he's the first black Governor of the state.

You know I've never understood why people referred to Bill Clinton as the first black President. The reasons that have been used to justify this have struck me as negative. Let me see the man was after him, he liked to fool around with the ladies, and there's one more I can't pull down exactly. I don't think the governor can nail down the fool around part, but he certainly can claim the man is after him.

My thing is if he can get something done in Springfield he can claim as many mantles as he wants. At this moment in time, he really can't talk!

Want more?
Presumptive hubris from Capitol Fax
Groan!?!!? from Chicago Argus

Monday, August 11, 2008

Why The Black Community Is Willing to Give Obama A Pass

AverageBro had this post about that posing the question as to whether or not blacks are giving Obama a pass or even if there is a way to pressure him into representing blacks. I'll let that post stand on its own instead of excerpting it. Let me offer my two cents.

I remember during Obama's 2004 race for the US Senate, I was watching a cable access program featuring primarily a pair of black men in some Afrocentric costumes. One was outright talking about whether or not it was better to elect the conservative black Republican Alan Keyes instead of Barack Obama. This discussion probably should have turned a person on their head hearing this.

That discussion probably should dispell some notions. Perhaps one of those notions being that perhaps not all blacks trust one of their own to represent them. Even if this individual was willing to vote for Keyes many won't because let's face it Keyes is not a likeable fellow.

That being said, in some respects I listened and I considered it. At that time it was easy for me to say Barack isn't black. The rationale was that he was actually of African descent and he was bi-racial. Although to be sure if he was an American Black and he was bi-racial I'd look at Obama differently than I had at the time.

Today I look at him differently it doesn't matter to me where his genealogy leads, but more his record as a politician. To me it seems very thin for a guy who has been in politics since 1997. Still his race is playing a role in this election. It's unfortunate for a man who seemed to campaign by transcending his own race.

So let's look at this post:
I think it first begs the question as to whether or not this country is ready for a black man to be president, and I think it’s clear that the answer is no. This country is merely ready for a president, who happens to be black. This is what Michael Eric Dyson in his book Is Bill Cosby Right? calls “incidentally black” is evidenced when he said, “I’ve said publicly that I do not subscribe to the notion that the painfully slow response of FEMA and the Department of Homeland Security was racially-based. The ineptitude was color-blind….I see no evidence of active malice, but I see a continuation of passive indifference on the part of our government towards the least of these.”

Moreover, for the record, it was Hillary Clinton, or should I say, That Woman, who publicly called for the resignation, or firing, of then FEMA head Michael Brown.

The more national that Obama has become, the more that he has distanced himself from the so-called “black events.” Yes, he’s kept a relationship with the NAACP and the National Urban League, but during the primaries, he was quite sure that he stayed away from certain colorized events. I just think that its interesting that we live in a country, and participate in a system that allows for a Sen. John McCain to stand in the pouring Memphis rain amidst hecklers and boos on April 4th, 2008 commemorating the 40 year assassination of Martin Luther King and Barack Obama has to be somewhere in New Mexico talking about illegal immigration so as not to come off as the black candidate.

“Just until he get’s elected” is what most people’s rationale is. I think that’s a cop out and it screams a disengagement of intellectualism. Are we really willing to give him a pass for some issues just because he’s black? I mean, this guy gave up his pastor and his church—is he beholden to himself, or is he only beholden to the system? I think at the end of the day, he’s going to be no better for blacks than Bill Clinton was. It’s not the end of the world, but somehow blacks are really expecting this guy to push us over in the campaign season and then all of a sudden come out for us on some key issues when he gets in office.

Blacks are giving him this pass in the campaign season simply because we want to see someone with our skin color in office. It’s really that simple. We’ve collectively (not necessarily individually) thrown out all forms of criticism and labeled them as hateration: from Rev. Jesse Jackson to Tavis Smiley who was quite clear in The Covenant that we must hold our elected officials accountable regardless of race. (Again, another instance, we gave Obama a pass on the State of the Black Union two years in a row, but if Hillary Clinton hadn’t shown up, then black folks woulda been up in arms.) Newsweek reported in 2007 that Cornel West has told Barack Obama concerning a statement in his 2004 Democratic National Convention speech that “You have to be true to yourself, but I have to be true to myself as well." And this was following West’s remarks at the 2007 SOTBU asking him “what are you willing to sacrifice for.”
What are your thoughts? Is America ready for a president who happens to be a black American? Would Obama be your first choice? Why do you think America is ready for a "black President"?

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Sunday afternoon items

First Bernie Mac now Issac Hayes passed away this weekend. Mac was 50 while Hayes was 71 65. You might know Issac Hayes for composing the Shaft theme and his role as Chef on South Park. As for Bernie Mac you might have seen his FOX sitcom, The Bernie Mac Show, in addition to movie roles in such films as Mr. 3000, Guess Who, & Ocean's 10.

Oh and I wanted to blog about this when I saw it, The State of asks whether or not soul food can survive the health consciousness of blacks these days.

Final items, as a Tribune to Bernie Mac here one of his early TV appearances on HBO's Def Comedy Jam. The language is very harsh so that you'll know.


And here's the Shaft theme

A quote

Provided this morning by Jack & Jill Politics...
“Every man and woman is born into the world to do something unique and something distinctive, and if he or she does not do it, it will never be done.”
This quote is provided by Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays, the late former President of Morehouse College. You might have read about him around these parts.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

House’s slavery apology rebuked, called a ‘stunt’

In some respects, I feel the same way. This is just a way for someone to feel better about who knows what and continue to neglect important issues to a particular group. Defender:

An official apology for slavery and Jim Crow from the U.S. House of Representatives provoked mixed emotions in Philadelphia recently.

For J. Whyatt Mondesire, president of the Philadelphia Chapter of the NAACP, the apology was a publicity stunt.

“It’s too late, too little,” said Mondesire. “It was a stunt.”

Emphasizing that he was speaking personally and not for the NAACP, he continued by saying that a more appropriate gesture would be “a serious conversation about reparations. But I don’t think that will happen.” The House formally apologized to African Americans and their ancestors for slavery July 29.

The House of Representatives acted alone with the Senate remaining silent.

For Karen Warrington, a spokeswoman for Rep. Bob Brady, the vote was a first step.

“I think that the vote was a step in the right direction and that America has to acknowledge the evils of slavery,” said Warrington, she was speaking personally, not as Brady’s representative.

If the apology opens a dialogue on slavery and its evils, then it will have been a good thing.

You know I was with Mr. Mondesire until he had to mention reparations. Yeah we should discuss that, especially the fairness of it. Who should pay reparations? Who should be responsible for this unfortunate institution or practice in American history? For me to support reparations those are some answers I would like to see.

Bring back multi-member state house districts

I have been sitting on this post since about the spring. Now it will see the light of day partially inspired by yesterday's question of the day by Rich Miller of the Capitol Fax blog. Perhaps later on either today or on Sunday I shall post some arguments against multi-member state house districts.

I have always intended to write this post for a while. I have seen a few posts that are in support of bring back this unique system in Illinois. This was abolished in the early 1980s with the advocation by the man currently sitting as the state Lt. Governor, Pat Quinn.

My support is basically with the idea that state government needs some fresh faces in politics. I know that this may not be the best most ideal way, but it is one way. I've read stories about colorful members of the Illinois House of Representatives who once this cutback amendment was passed were out of a job, because for the most part they were out of step with a majority in their newly created single member districts.

During this presidential campaign I followed the candidacy of Ron Paul. He's a Texas congressman who is said to be a constitutionalist, libertarian, or the only true conservative in the race. I wish Illinois could have their own version of Ron Paul. Someone outside of the mainstream of politics in Illinois and hopefully someone who isn't "bought" by any campaign committees of either party. And I do understand that certainly puts any aspiring candidate whether or not there is a return to the multi-member districts at a disadvantage.

I talked about this system early last year. It's my understanding and I'm sure that someone can enlighten me, that voters get three votes and they could use them as they choose. If a district leans Democratic, then there would be an election of two Democrats with the election of one Republican.

Of course that is assuming that those are the only two dominant parties in that district. Of course this could open the doors to representation by say either the Green Party or the Libertarian Party or any other third party that exists in the state. I haven't been able to establish exactly whether or not the top two winners amongst one party would win and then the top vote getting amongst Republicans, Greens, Libertarians, or whatever would be elected as a state representative.

I would hope that this might bring in some fresh ideas into the debate in Illinois. For example, people are debating how to fund education. Some want to change the system away from paying for public education with a property tax. On the other hand, I would personally like to see the end of the monopoly of public education with true competition for students and money between both private and public schools. If that was considered unreasonable I would like to see an increase in the number of charter schools in the state, if not zero limits on the number of charters in Illinois.

That of course is not the only issue. I posted on Illinoize that a Republican state senator would like to eliminate the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board. This state board is in part one reason why a suburban hospital is planning to close. This board didn't allow them to expand to a more prosperous suburb and they still have to approve whether or not this hospital will close.

Of course other issues that could use some advocates, such as taxes. That is whether or not there should be a progressive income tax in Illinois. Also should any tax increase considered by either a county or municipality be put up to vote to the residents of those municipalities or counties.

Or another of my pet issues, guns. The state constitution guarantees a right to keep and bear arms although it is subject to police power. I suppose the issue here is should a citizen be allowed to keep a gun for their protection of themselves and their property. Should municipalities be allowed to pass gun control ordinances? Also should citizens have a concealed carry permit? I could even ask if the Firearm Owner's Identificaiton card should continue to be issued?

Of course what's made the news in the past week is recall that's making some news. It's moving downstate, but this is certainly one issue independent of a constitutional convention that an independent could take up the mantle. It doesn't matter whether or not there is an unpopular politician in office anywhere in the state.

I'm sure I've only touched the surface of the issues that could be taken up by a hopefully a newly composed legislature full of representatives voted in thru cumulative voting. Of course before we can even consider the return of multi-member district in Illinois there has to be a constitutional convention and Illinois voters can consider it until election day in November. This is when we'll be electing the next President of the United States. Perhaps I'll do more posts about this whether cumulative voting or a constitutional convention until November.

Friday, August 08, 2008

James Meeks on running against the governor

You know I thought we went around in this circle before.

Back in 2006 as I followed the race for Governor, State Sen. James Meeks was talking about circulating petitions to start his campaign for governor. Then later on he talked to the governor about Meeks' pet issue, public education and Meeks' effectively got out of the race. What a difference two years can make.

He was on a local program, FOX Chicago Sunday, talking about among other things, whether or not he might run against the governor in 2010. He said it right there mentioning that he almost ran against the governor on this issue. The Capitol Fax blogs about the story this morning...
The only “base” the governor has left is the African-American community (and that’s not solid any longer), and particularly African-American ministers. If he has any hopes at all of winning a multi-candidate primary in 2010, he has to make sure that no viable black candidate runs, particularly a black minister.
Hmmm, this got me thinking just now. Sometimes you don't get into a race to win it, you get into a race just to ruin another man's chances. Better yet, you can be the candidate for those who are concerned about schools or you can be the black candidate or the family values candidate. Seems almost Machiavellian doesn't it?

I've written about the governor a lot since he got re-elected. There were stories about him about his work habits or his general psychology. It was easy for me to blast into him or it was more difficult for my to sympathize. That doesn't take away from the fact that for many people in Illinois he hasn't done the job the people had expected him to do.

In any case Meeks has been making the news in recent weeks. He had a rally in the loop yesterday which had about 2,500. Before this rally he's been planning a first day boycott where we wants to attempt to enroll Chicago Public School students at this suburban high school New Trier.

To be sure the children in the poorest neighborhoods in the city deserve better as far as education options. I'm still lukewarm to the idea that you can just throw money at the problem. Meeks might be correct in attempting to shake-up the funding formula but since schools have what they have as far as finances what about shaking up the quality of the schools.

What about hiring and retaining better teachers who can do more with less? How about making schools compete? That is the best schools should be rewarded and the ones that aren't doing well shouldn't.

How about removing metal detectors from our schools? Oh and I should add, at Jones College Prep located near the Loop on State and Harrison they have metal detectors. I saw them in the window when I walked by one afternoon. That's a travesty and a waste especially if this is the school where the students are expected to go to college. If Jones is a good school one of the best in the city, shouldn't we trust them to not bring any weapons to school?

There are a lot of problems with city schools and it requires more than money. All it takes is someone willing to roll up their sleeves to make the necessary changes. At the very least someone willing to take the risk and speak up on unpopular issues. Meeks is there already, but I think willing people need more to be moved to action.

Oh and I most certainly hope the governor doesn't even think he can run again in 2010. He should know that he has a serious target on his back. No amount of fundraising nor negative ad could help him this time around. Especially if the people are already tired of him and it seems like they might be.

Microbrewers' prices going up

For some reason, I have taken an interest in this idea of home brewing. I haven't started doing that yet, but watching a video from this blog Wandering West Michigan showing a store where one can pick out particular beers in addition to buying ingredients to make beer.

I see this video from Crain's talking about how area microbrewers are having to adjust prices because beer ingredients such as wheat, hops, and barley have increased. I was talking to a friend who suggests that perhaps they could grow their own hops. It could be cheaper that way.

Oh and for your vocabulary pleasure microbreweries can be exchanged for craftbreweries.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick to Spend Night in Jail for Bond Violation

AP:
A judge ordered Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to jail Thursday for violating the terms of his bond in his perjury case by making a city business trip to Canada and not informing the court.

The mayor, who is accused of lying under oath in a civil case and faces eight felony counts, made the trip last month without telling the court in advance, leading the county prosecutor's office to request Kilpatrick be punished.

Only minutes earlier, the mayor offered an apology to the court, telling District Court Judge Ronald Giles that for seven months, "I've been living in an incredible state of pressure and scrutiny."

But Giles sent the mayor to jail anyway, telling him he would have given any defendant the same treatment.

"What matters to me though is how the court overall is perceived and how if it was not Kwame Kilpatrick sitting in that seat, if it was John Six-Pack sitting in that seat, what would I do? And that answer is simple," he said.

Circuit Court Judge Thomas E. Jackson said he wouldn't hear an appeal by Kilpatrick's lawyers until 9 a.m. Friday, meaning the mayor was to spend the night in jail.
You know I was reading the Wiki entry on the mayor and saw that he made a statement that could be seen as a threat against the Detroit prosecutor Kim Worthy. The big man has got it bad in more ways than one!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

I just hate it when...

Stuff just creeps on you at the last minute. My mom asked me to go to this place Room 21 near 21st and Wabash and at the moment she came in, I had no intention of going anywhere this evening. I would have just started cooking and that's it.

I got dressed although I'll have to admit I wasn't in my best clothes. If I had known I was going to go to this place I would have certainly been more clean and I would have brought out some clean clothes. So the fact that I was out and I wasn't exactly ready to go to such a nice place, it wasn't exactly ideal. Well you figured that, yes?

The food was good and I was liking the entertainment. The bar, well I'm not big on hard liquor but I was glad to see that I have my choice of beer. Of course that would have only been as if I wanted to drink on this occasion.

It reminds me, last year I was in Bronzeville. My mom e-mailed me about a fundraiser from a relative she was running for the state legislature. I had to convince her to go, I wanted to check one of these out.

The place was a nice ballroom right on King Drive. The event was upstairs, the place seemed to have an afrocentric theme. It was very nice, alas once again I didn't look nice. I almost looked like I came right off the street. Even worse, I had some lead time in this instance as well.

Heh, I'll get it together.

The fundraiser was nice. The food was good, the not very favorite part was the fluffery. A singer celebrating the candidate, "A hero lies in you". If I was running for office I wouldn't want that kind of fluffery, it would be embarrassing to me.

Life and times!

Oh and the official website for Room21.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Where There's Smoke, There's Government Intrusion

From LewRockwell.com:
This is still a free country, right? Last week, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation to more closely regulate the wages that firms pay workers and to more strictly regulate tobacco products by putting them under FDA supervision.
The Los Angeles City Council also approved a one-year moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in a 32-square-mile low-income area in the city; the poor, after all, have “above-average rates of obesity” and must be protected from themselves.
Perhaps the government may just want to ask people if they are poor before we let them enter certain restaurants.
Barack Obama promises a national ban on smoking in public places. Such micro-managing of people's behavior will likely only get worse, as anyone who has been to countries such as Sweden can attest.
Heh, I shouldn't be surprised about this from Obama. That proposal just makes the federal government even more powerful. Shouldn't such an idea be reserved for the states instead of forced on the states by an intrusive federal law or regulation.

Here's something else worth noting:

Proposals such as Obama’s for a national ban on smoking in public places have their own problems. The ultimate objection to smoking focuses on the harm that it imposes on others. The evidence for harm from second-hand smoke is extremely weak, but, for the sake of argument, let’s accept the claim.

Environmental problems arise because the costs of polluters’ actions are passed on to other people. The classic case is the “common pool” or “overfishing” problem. Fishermen tend to overfish an area until the fishery is depleted. If one fisherman lets a fish go so that it can spawn, there is no guarantee that another fisherman won’t catch that same fish. But this problem is eliminated in privately-owned fisheries, such as private lakes or fish farms. If a fishery is running low on fish, the owner can leave fish to spawn, knowing that no one else will catch them.

Outdoor air pollution suffers a similar “common pool” problem; if too many individuals or companies emit too much pollution, the combined result can produce illness and even death. Everything from cars to power plants emits byproducts that can be classified as harmful, but no one would argue that we should eliminate cars and power plants because their pollution costs outweigh all their benefits. Similar to fishermen out at sea, individual car makers or factory owners are unlikely to take into account the cost that their pollution imposes upon others. Altruism only goes so far. This creates a legitimate space for government intervention – governments can regulate pollution levels by limiting, taxing, or otherwise restricting pollution emissions.


Allowing the government – whether federal, state, or local – to regulate pollution may be necessary, but we can only watch with dismay as the government uses this authority to steadily expand its coercive powers. In doing so, it inevitably begins mandating solutions to tangential “problems” that are best left to the market to solve. Solutions that actually make the country poorer.
I know that people can argue about whether second hand smoke is sound. I can't say I've done enough reading about second hand smoke but I can certainly pick up that even amongst doctors or scientists there is a disagreement over the merits of second hand smoke. This is one reason why I can't support these smoking bans. Plus the fact that such ideas can be seen as fads of the moment.

Now if there is a need for a national health-care system this would bother me:
When I visited Sweden in back in 1979, Swedes were worried that binge drinkers were damaging their health. But shouldn’t how much people drink in the privacy of their own home be their own business? Not to other Swedes, who worried that the government health care system meant they would have to pick up others’ medical costs.

I watched the television news in horror as police broke into homes and took people to detox centers after neighbors alerted the government to people who they felt were drinking too much. But they were equally outraged that people would do things to their bodies that would make others pay for their health care.
I don't want people feeling that they have a right to intrude on what I do in the privacy of my own home. Especially if I am to be responsible for my own behavior and how it affects me. It shouldn't boil down to because everyone else is paying for it.

Also wouldn't it just be better to change the system if you're concerned about having to pay for someone else's risky behavior? I certainly don't want to pay for treating someone else's risky behavior. Indeed I don't want to be an enabler either. But I sure don't have any intentions to intrude on someone else's privacy thinking only of myself.

Monday, August 04, 2008

NBA chief backs Cuban bid for Cubs: report

I'm not totally sure why Stern's support is news here. Still I would like to admire the passion Cuban could bring to the Cubs and Major League Baseball. Besides I should mention that his fellow NBA owner, Jerry Reinsdorf (who not only owns the NBA's Chicago Bulls but also MLB's Chicago White Sox), is not said to be a fan of his. It should be noted that a sale of the Cubs must meet the approval of the owners of 23 out of 30 MLB clubs and Cuban's level of support is said to be unknown at this point.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Men win suit against scandal-scarred Texas college

Here's a story with an HBCU connection!
Three former Texas Southern University students credited with helping expose a spending scandal that led to indictments of top administrators won a retaliation lawsuit against school officials.

A federal jury decided Friday that William Hudson, Justin Jordan and Oliver Brown were kicked out of the university and arrested as payback for criticizing Priscilla Slade, university president at the time, and other school leaders.

The students played a role in bringing to light a scandal that tarnished TSU and led to charges against Slade. In a plea bargain, Slade agreed to repay nearly $130,000 of the half-million she misspent in school funds on clothes, home furnishings and landscaping.

Jurors awarded actual damages totaling nearly $200,000 to all three students, and the jury is set to return next week to decide punitive damages.

"At least someone stood up for us, and the jury stood up for us," Brown said in Saturday's editions of the Houston Chronicle.
I hate to think this is a recurring theme. Chicago State University was almost in the same situation, and this time the President resigned her position. Perhaps it's easy to get carried away.

Via Newsalert!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

A Vote for McCain is a Vote for Racism

Read this post over at Brain-Terminal.com. You know this is something that should undermine Obama more than it should McCain. Of course voting for McCain only to keep the Democrats out or a black man out that would undermine McCain. Bad form either way.

Besides Obama has more appeal than just being a black man or a bi-racial man. Those who support him and even Obama himself should recognize that.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Protest at Obama Rally

I'm out of town at the moment at one of my stops I saw this on TV. Obama handled this well, but one way I looked at it was that not all blacks are very enamored of Obama. Of course blacks don't have to be if other people in the country seems to be enamored of him.