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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

White Sox wins the AL Central

Both the Cubs and the White Sox are in the playoffs. This will make watching the baseball postseason even more interesting with two Chicago teams going for that World Series.

It should also be noted that LA has two hometown teams in the playoffs. Both the Anaheim Angels and the LA Dodgers. I wonder how out of sorts LA baseball fans are at the moment.

Tribune:
There's nothing like defending your home turf on a playoff-type stage.

Just ask John Danks, Jim Thome and A.J. Pierzynski, who each stood tall and strong in vaulting the White Sox to the American League Central title Tuesday night with a 1-0 victory in the division tiebreaker.

The Sox advanced to the postseason for the second time in four seasons and will play AL East champion Tampa Bay in an AL Division Series starting Thursday at Tropicana Field.

Danks redeemed himself for a 7.91 ERA against the Twins in four regular-season starts in heroic form. Danks pitched eight innings of two-hit ball on three days' rest.

Thome accounted for the Sox offense with a home run off Nick Blackburn to lead off the seventh.

Pierzynski, who began his career with Minnesota, prevented the Twins from scoring by blocking home plate to stop a run in the fifth inning.
Hmm I wish I had a similar image for the Cubs' Division win. Anyway let's see how Chicago's baseball teams will do in these playoffs.

I visited the online CTA Gift Store

I must say I like some of their items but what I really wanted to see was a holder for any CTA Chicago Card or pass and they don't seem to sell anymore. They might want to consider developing that product unless of course from the times they did sell them, when the primary fare media was the Transit Card, they didn't make a lot of money off of that. Still it's great to see their gift shop back.

I could honest go for either their CTA messenger bag. The one that has one of the old CTA logos and perhaps any product that contains an old CTA token. It's also awesome to have a t-shirt with signage from your neighborhood L stop. Even a farecard shaped mouse pad.

I just wish there was a way to suggest items for this store to sell, but it's a good start.

Oh do what I did last night. Just copy and paste the CTA's website at transitchicago.com. Go to the "Wayback Machine" at archive.org. Then go back thru the years of old CTA website designs and look up Gift Express, and see what products they sold back in either the late 1990s or early 2000s.

Downtown rally to be held today for Cubs

Oh man I can't wait to see future coverage of this. May this year's playoffs be a good one. Tribune:

A noontime rally will be held today for the Cubs at Daley Plaza in advance of the team's first playoff game Wednesday against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Baseball Hall of Famer Billy Williams, WGN Radio's Ron Santo, Mayor Richard Daley, Gov. Rod Blagojevich and actor Jim Belushi are expected to be among the attending luminaries. Belushi will emcee.

The event is free and open to the public, and will run from noon to 12:45 p.m.

Of course it should be noted that the White Sox could find themselves in the playoffs as well. This is pending their one game playoff against the Minnesota Twins. The Sox struggled late in the season and couldn't hold their lead in the AL Central. And neither could the Twins apparently.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Another Political Science Department meeting

Well a student who was representing the Department gave us some updates, especially why the professors left the Department. Unlike the meeting I went to a couple or so weeks ago this one wasn't packed. And even the man who gave his presentation said well he probably could have planned this better and done this during another part of this week. There were only five or six of us in this classroom.

First off I learned a little more about why three political science department professors left the school. One was a huge surprise, he couldn't prove that he had the degrees he's said he has. So they released him from his position here. The other two well one I know left because they didn't get tenure, but it's still unclear to me what another professor left. Though reading the article in the Maroon Tiger he's had his issues with the school recently.

In any case one of the students wondered why Morehouse would just simply let go of three of their professors like that. And the discussion went into a general run down of what this student has seen in his time here at Morehouse. For instance he said once that a professor told a classmate of his that he wasn't going to pass the course. Then assignment that this student has turned in were magically missing.

He talked about his frustrations in getting his last class to graduate. Whether or not that means he registers for a course taught by a professor, then because of the current situation in the Poli. Sci. department he has to cancel that class because he has to teacher other necessary courses. Or he attempts to cross-register at other neighboring institutions only to get thwarted.

He also says that his records finds themselves magically missing. His academic records. As a result he says that he has to keep his own records. He admits that he shouldn't have to, but that's what he resorts to. As a result he's even started looking for ways that might force the school to get its act together. That is he's resorting to checking out those organizations responsible for accredidating colleges. Pretty drastic correct?

In any case, he's indicated because of his experiences in attempting to graduate from Morehouse, having been thwarted several times he's lost confidence in this school. Because the poli.sci. department is in upheaval at this moment he's probably not the only one. Either students have to figure out if they're going to graduate on time or who knows what.

The main point of meeting with this student was to collect an agenda to speak with the President of the college. Well it turns out the meeting for the moment will be with the college Provost. With the few of us in attendance that didn't sit very well. Even talked about what they hear about the Provost who is also known as the Dean of the Division of Business & Economics. The views of him aren't positive.

I suppose we'll have to see. I expect that this meeting will be interesting. Hopefully something good can come out of this. While everyone else has their frustrations I'm going to try to look at this with some optimism.

Something Needs to be Done about the Communiity Reinvestment Act

From IL GOP Network. No doubt discussion about this whole sub-prime lending business that has made the financial industry a mess right now:
To understand what's going on in this meltdown, you need to understand about the CRA.  The melt-down has other roots, but the CRA is critical to what has happened over the years and, along with its related Federal acts, must be dealt with to prevent more problems

Two of my sons who work in the financial sector say that the start of the current problems was the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) of 1976.  It was the bad loans mandated by CRA that were bundled together and sold as investments, involving Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. As a consequence, there is no way to correctly value these bundles of loans.  Closely related to the CRA are the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act (HMDA), and the Fair Housing Act (FHA).

The CRA was proposed during the Carter years by Sen Proxmire to eliminate redlining.  The major justification for CRA was the perceived unfairness of using bank deposits in poorer areas to provide loans to people who lived outside of the depository's geographic area.  The remedy was CRA which requires "geographic credit allocation" that has no relation to the market and little relation to the credit-worthiness of borrowers or the true value of collateral.
This post is worth reading. Even if the formatting is a bit frustrating.

I wonder if black communities were better off with out the CRA? Especially since a neighborhood like Chatham had a locally owned bank to provide loans and such to area residents. Is it worth it to force a big downtown bank to provide lending services to a depressed community?

Don't get me wrong certainly we can do without this idea of redlining, especially if it's done in an indiscriminate way that treats black middle-class neighborhoods the same as poor black neighborhoods. Still would the CRA be much good if loans weren't at some point offered to people who couldn't afford them?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Big Government meets corporate welfare

Some people don't like President Bush because of Iraq but then there are certainly those who don't like his domestic policies since he's become President. Just ask those who have an idea about what conservatism is and they'll tell you that Bush isn't anywhere close to being a conservative. They might talk about his domestic policy or they might talk about his foreign policy as well.

Read this:
The Bush administration is pushing for a $1 trillion-plus blank check – $700 billion just to buy bad mortgages – to bail out financial and other segments of the economy, complete with czarlike powers for the treasury secretary. This president has expanded the government by a greater percentage than LBJ, has created massive new entitlement programs, has further centralized education in Washington, D.C., and has advanced novel theories of executive privilege that obliterate some of the key checks on the centralization of government power crafted by the nation's founders.

Can we at least dispense with the silly rhetoric and admit the obvious? This administration does not stand for limited government, the Constitution, fiscal responsibility or free markets. The last point is crucial. Supporters of free markets believe that government should enforce some ground rules, but that companies should compete with minimal intervention. Businesses are free to make an enormous amount of money, of course, but they also must be free to fail. Yet the administration has pushed one set of market interventions after another, and when big companies fail, it is quick to turn to you, the taxpayer, to cushion the blow. That's not capitalism, unless one sticks the word "crony" in front of it.

With the meltdown in the financial markets, these Republicans are advancing a plan to throw an enormous amount of taxpayer dollars at the problem, and Democrats are busy gloating. "You see, unfettered capitalism is a failure! We need more regulations, more government, more control." It's absurd to argue that any market in the United States is unfettered or free of regulation. And it takes a little bit of time to explain how past government interventions have led directly to the current meltdown that Americans are experiencing. The only complaint by Democrats, by the way, is with some of the details, and, of course, Democrats were most eager to push the "everyone deserves a mortgage" mandates that led to this mess in the first place. Not that "compassionate conservatives" complained about this at the time.

Fortunately, there are still a few sane voices out there. Somehow, congressional Republicans have regained some of their backbone. Some are opposed to the bailout plan. Here is Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., speaking about the fundamental problem with the Bush bailout: "There are much better ways of dealing with this problem than forcing American taxpayers to pay for every asset some investor doesn't want anymore. We should start by reforming government policies and programs that created this mess, including the Federal Reserve's easy-money policy, the congressional charters of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and the Community Reinvestment Act. Then Congress should pass a number of permanent and proven pro-growth reforms to encourage capital formation and boost asset values."
Via RealClearPolitcs!

My belief is that business that either engage in bad investments or bad business should fail. I trust a businessman (or businesswoman) to know whether they should tread into dangerous territory or not. Subprime loans from the little I know seems risky especially if you help people get mortgages they either don't qualify for or can't afford them. Why should a government help pull a business from failure especially if it was their fault?


The best case scenario for this is that well there should be some reforms. Perhaps the US Government shouldn't be so interventionist, but at the same time we now know that we should give people loans they can't afford to pay back. Perhaps government policy shouldn't entail helping people buy a home. It looks like for some it wasn't YET in their interest to buy a home. It's a mess folks! 

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pastor Manning is back!

You might have heard from him, he's done videos going after Sen. Obama and his family. This rant here is over the top and bizarre I don't know what to say about it. For one thing I'm not sure who my vote is going to but this guy is going to drive a lot of people to Obama. The main idea here is that he wants white folks to take back control and pull the purse strings for their children who are donating dollars to those "terrorists from Chicago".

Huh?

Previous posts
Trinity of Hell!
Pajama's Media: Obama's Race Against Race

Friday, September 26, 2008

Ring of Honor had a PPV???

I was reading one of my new favorite pro-wrestling new website. In fact a "twittered" it a few days ago. Anyway I'm amazed to find out that this independent wresting promotion that calls itself Ring of Honor (RoH) has produced a PPV (check out the recap here). Oh yeah and as I start to write this I'm watching an introductory video for the promotion.

Anyway for some reason in the last few weeks, I've been having some nostalgia for the programming I saw from Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) that I started to watch in the summer of 1998. Never before have I seen wrestling as I have in ECW. It was violent, bold, and entertaining. I became a huge fan although I still call myself an WWF(or WWE) fan.

These days not as much a WWE. WWE now include the promotion that was ECW and now it just seems like another WWE wrestling program. If I wanted to watch more WWE, I'd rather watch Raw or Smackdown. Although I understand that now that ECW I watched so many years ago isn't the same ECW that was ressurected and under a big time corporate entity now!

That being said I'm glad to see Ring of Honor enter the PPV game. To be sure I've only read about them. I have never seen any RoH matches on TV or even online. I do know that the company emerged after the bankruptcy of ECW back in 2001. It may not be like ECW in every detail, but I'm glad that one more company is taking another step to expand.

When I first saw ECW probably August 1998, they probably already had a pair of PPV events under their belts. I had no idea about them, in fact, it was possible that I saw them on Monday Night Raw but I didn't totally comprehend what their role was or indeed the following ECW had. In any event what ECW did eventually I was able to see up close and personal on TV in less than a year's time.

Ironically enough I recently found out that ECW has been on Chicago TV long before I finally caught them one day on probably channel 62 WJYS-TV.  Since ECW didn't have great distribution or indeed their programs were geared towards an adult or more mature audience I'm not sure I would have caught up to them before 1998. The program jumped from either Channel 26 or surprisingly enough Channel 50 WPWR-TV which is odd since between UPN, Star Trek, or Babylon 5 my eyes would be on Channel 50.

From the time I started watching the program to whenever ECW stopped producing it, I would watch them on either channel 62 or more frequently Channel 26 (the "U") WCIU-TV. I had to love their promotion of live events, PPVs, even videos of their best matches. And the music whether heavy metal, funk, or gangsta rap was another thing that I remember about ECW.

So anyway I look forward to the expansion of RoH, and I hope that it'll be the number three wrestling company in this country behind WWE, and Total Nonstop Action (TNA). I just think it's more than time for another company to produce something that will be the next wave in professional wrestling. Right now having one company recycling the same angles that we've seen over the past decade and seeing a sanitized product of sorts.

Just for the hell of it, how about one segment of the program one known as ECW Hardcore TV embedded for your enjoyment. Especially important if you're a wrestling or ECW fan.
Oh and I should add ECW did have a national TV network program on the network formerly known as TNN (now SpikeTV). I had no idea that it has been just over nine years since August 1999 since the show premiered on TNN. SpikeTV would have WWE programming and much later they became the home of TNA not too long after WWE returned to USA.

White Sox knocked out of first place

This'll be 2003 all over again. Both teams had the chance to make it to the playoffs, but stumble. Well hopefully it's just that aspect. Take it away Tailgate:
But under the pressure of maintaining a hold on first place in the AL Central with the eyes of the nation watching, the White Sox collapsed harder than WaMu, with Thursday's 10-inning 7-6 loss the bitterest pill to swallow. It left them in second place, a half-game behind, and may force them to spend an entire winter wondering how they blew a 6-1 lead.
Unfortunate. I really would like to see a cross-town world series if it was meant to be. At least I can say the Cubs still have their Division title this year. And I look forward to their playoffs run.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

White Sox welcome Divine Nine to African American Greek Night

If you're a member of either Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, then this event at "The Cell" is for you. Courtesy of Teesee`s Town:
It promises to be a night of fun – networking, socializing and the thrill and excitement of major league baseball under the stars – when the White Sox welcome “The Divine Nine,” the Black Greek-letter organizations (fraternities and sororities), to U.S. Cellular Field for the first-ever African American Greek Night on Friday.

Opening pitch: 7:11 p.m. The Divine Nine is made up of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, founded in 1906 at Cornell U.; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, founded in 1908 at Howard U.; Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, founded in 1911 at Indiana U.; Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, founded in 1911 at Howard U.; Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, founded in 1913 at Howard U.; Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, founded in 1914 at Howard U.; Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, founded in 1920 at Howard U.; Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, founded in 1922 at Butler U.; and Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, founded in 1963 at Morgan State U.

Specially priced tickets ($45, bleachers; $35.50, upper reserved) are offered to The Divine Nine members to see the Sox take on the Cleveland Indians. Prior to the game, there’ll be a pre-game party at Gate 1 from 5:30 p.m.–7 p.m. Each ticket includes unlimited drinks (beer, soda, water), a hot dog and a bag of chips–during the pre-game only! Advance sales only! Email Rozzie McHenry at rmchenry@chisox.com for more details and to place your order. Play ball!
This is interesting to note. I've discussed a little about these organizations overtime. Even noted anniversaries that they've had, especially the Alphas, AKAs, or the Deltas.

Burke's debt plan

I found this Sneed column among the goodies in the Capitol Fax morning shorts. I think I'll offer my two cents after I provide an excerpt:
Scoopsville: Watch for Ald. Ed Burke (14th) and Ald. Leslie Hairston (5th) to introduce an amendment to the city's municipal code that may send shock waves through Wall Street.

•  •  The buckshot: Sneed hears the aldermen want to make greedy investment bankers -- involved in the nation's economic collapse -- ineligible to underwrite city debt unless they agree to cap executive compensation.

•  •  Translation: No firm can award more than $400,000 in compensation for all executives.

•  •  The upshot: "This would be a cold slap in the face of greedy executives paying themselves millions of dollars in compensation packages," Burke said. "The legislation is intended to shoot bullets at a Gucci gulch gang of lobbyists trying to protect the bad guys."

•  •  Translation: The aldermen claim it's a backdoor way of making investment bankers more accountable to taxpayers.
You know this is just another way of making business the boogie men. To be sure these business executives making millions or however much they make while running failing companies or indeed they're running companies that engage in bad business practices, they make an easy boogie man. Still I question the logic of attempting to control how much a company can pay their talent.

I can appreciate what Burke is doing. Obviously he's somewhat bothered by the fact that some of these Wall Street firms are collapsing and that government is about to bail them out. The best deterrent to me as far as putting a dent into such events as this whole sub-prime crises is to let these businesses fail. If you want your business to succeed you won't engage in short-term investments and if you do hopefully you won't be stuck with them.

I agree something should be done. I would imagine that the financial industry won't engage in activities such as this anymore. Government will apply some more regulations though it could be debatable as to whether that's the answer or not. Still this is a problem and there needs to be a change somewhere.

For further reading might I suggest you go to this post over at Newsalert that brings to our attention an article from New Geography entitled, "Back to Basics: The Financial Crisis Requires a Paradigm Shift". 

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I wish I could have these tickets

I'm looking at the price of these NLDS series for the Cubs, $35. If I was at home I'd try to buy this tickets. The only problem I can imagine is that these tickets will be sold out. The only downside.

Fact is, this is the only time I'll ever be able to see Chicago Cubs playoff tickets. I hope that changes soon though and I can catch the Cubs in playoffs action, in the near future.

Oh and how about the Chicago White Sox. They lost last night but there's another game tonight!

Barack Obama, John McCain and the Language of Race

Some of the themes here seemed to have been similar to what has been discussed in the Illinois Channel Links I showed you last week with regards to the 1908 Springfield race riots. Of course let's stay in the modern day here. We are talking about a NY Times editorial about the current presidential race.

It was not that long ago that black people in the Deep South could be beaten or killed for seeking the right to vote, talking back to the wrong white man or failing to give way on the sidewalk. People of color who violated these and other proscriptions could be designated “uppity niggers” and subjected to acts of violence and intimidation that were meant to dissuade others from following their examples.

The term “uppity” was applied to affluent black people, who sometimes paid a horrific price for owning nicer homes, cars or more successful businesses than whites. Race-based wealth envy was a common trigger for burnings, lynchings and cataclysmic episodes of violence like the Tulsa race riot of 1921, in which a white mob nearly eradicated the prosperous black community of Greenwood.

Forms of eloquence and assertiveness that were viewed as laudable among whites were seen as positively mutinous when practiced by people of color. As such, black men and women who looked white people squarely in the eye — and argued with them about things that mattered — were declared a threat to the racial order and persecuted whenever possible.

This obsession with black subservience was based in nostalgia for slavery. No sane person would openly express such a sentiment today. But the discomfort with certain forms of black assertiveness is too deeply rooted in the national psyche — and the national language — to just disappear. It has been a persistent theme in the public discourse since Barack Obama became a plausible candidate for the presidency.

Consider me strange but sometimes I wonder if we see race in everything now that the Senator is the first black man to represent a major party running for President. Reminds me of this video I found a week or so ago. IF you choose not to vote for Barack Obama for President or you choose not to vote for Sarah Palin for Vice President, you're either a sexist or a racist.

Anyway perhaps as we go forward in this election we might want to consider leaving the racial angle behind. Perhaps every white politician isn't denegrating Obama for his race. And Obama's race shouldn't be a reason we vote for him. I just thought this was an interesting editorial.

Via MyUrbanReport!

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008

A video of a frustrated man

I liked to watch the vids Ira Gallen posts on YouTube. Either classic film footage or perhaps footage of what you might have seen on TV back in the 1950s and 60s. His job was to basically preserve old films and old TV programs. You can also visit his website TVDays.com.

Every now and then I'd find that his videos were taken offline. Someone out there will claim copyright infringment and then YouTube will remove not only the offending material, but the account itself. In fact once I wrote a blog about what happened to PubDef sometime in 2007 regarding their fair use of a news report in St. Louis.

Anyway I just thought you'd enjoy this and I hope this would be a complimentary post since I hadn't posted all day. Oh and also check out this playlist of NYC videos in the 1980s and this was also shot by Ira Gallen who seems to be pretty handy with a camera. It made me look up old camcorders as well as. It even made me look up current camcorders on the market but that's another post.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The end of the investment bank

I wonder whatever that means. Is it the rash of bailouts and mergers that are going on amongst several investment banks? Check out this post from EdCon.com. Via Instapundit!

Don't confuse voting blocs and bigotry

I spring boarded off of this column from Russ Stewart when I wrote it last night. You'll see the finished product over at the Sixth Ward today. Just my thoughts on the main thesis of his column that black politicos in Illinois think that they have a claim to the office of state Senate President.

I have another good item for you to read.

Dawn Turner Trice from the Chicago Tribune talks about voting blocs. Especially as to how blacks might consider voting for Barack Obama as President. I found this interesting:
I've written a few times that the black vote is the least nuanced ofthe voting blocs. Each time I've written that blacks won't vote forObama solely because he's black, Lordy, I've received a firestorm ofe-mail asking how I explain the huge percentages of black support Obamareceived in the primaries.

I explain it this way: MaybeAfrican-American voters thought he was the best candidate. I've neversuggested that his race wasn't a factor for blacks (as it is for somewhites). But it's one of many factors. Maybe blacks feel strongly abouthis policies. I don't understand why people think that blacks don'tvote their interests.

An excellent example of this comes from Chicago's 2007 mayoral election. Mayor Richard Daley(who is white) received a huge heap of the black vote against CookCounty Circuit Court Clerk Dorothy Brown (who is black) and William"Dock" Walls (also black).

"Identity appeal" always is crucial in politics. With race, it's hard to tease out how much race factors into the equation.
It was also mentioned that there was an AP-Yahoo poll that said that one-third of whites have negative views of blacks. It may not bode well for Obama's candidacy for President, that being said Trice still says that people will in the long run vote their interests. Whatever those interests may be.

Races won't vote, individuals vote. Perhaps there won't be a big Bradley effect. The voters might decide the day they finally go to the voting booth. That's how it's going to be for me because I haven't decided who I'll vote for.

Anyway the only point here is that everyone has their own story. You go near the end of this column Trice mentions the stockbroker who lost their job, a blue-collar worker who's home is in foreclosure, or a mother who wants equal pay for equal work. Race or ethnicity in this election matters little looking at those crucial issues.

What do you think?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cubs win the NL Central!

This is the first time in my memory that the Cubs have made back-to-back appearances in the playoffs. So this is definitely historic, perhaps this will be the Cubs' year, but I won't get ahead of myself. I look forward to the playoff run and hopefully the Cubs will once again find themselves in the NLCS like they were in 2003.

Tribune:
On a warm, late-summer day with shadows creeping over the ballpark and a crowd of 41,597 on its feet, Kerry Wood induced Aaron Miles to loft a fly ball to center field with two outs in the ninth inning and the tying run on first. Jim Edmonds swallowed it up with ease, starting a party that would last all night in Wrigleyville.

The 2008 Cubs accomplished the first step of their long journey, but no one will be satisfied if it ends with a rerun of last year's finish, a three-game sweep at the hands of the Arizona Diamondbacks in the first round of the playoffs.

"It has been a really, really nice year, and I'm proud of our team," manager Lou Piniella said. "Now we can start planning for the postseason, and hopefully we can give the fans what they want.

"And we all know what that is."

Everyone knows what Chicago wants, and Piniella hopes the fans realize the players want it just as much as they do. The Cubs cruised to the division title this year, leading the National League in runs scored and ranking second in pitching heading into the final week of the regular season.

"The difference between this year and last year is we did it playing ahead. Last year we came from behind," Piniella said. "And the difference this year is we won it on the field in front of our fans. I thought the tribute — the fans staying around and the players going out to left field and right field and down these lines — it was special.

"It goes to show you how much our players and our organization appreciate the support our fans give us."
Last year the Cubs won the Wild Card. In 2003 they won the NL Central. In 1998 they won the Wild Card. I especially remember 1989 when the Cubs won the NL East.

The 1989 NL East title was won in Montreal with Harry Carray making the call at that time. I was enthused and it was probably the first championship I remember. I don't remember the Super Bowl Shuffle and I definitely don't remember the White Sox' 1983 West title or the Cubs first appearance in the baseball post-season since 1945, the 1984 NL East championship.

Heh, thanks for reading that brief Chicago basbeall championship history. I look forward to talking about this more as the playoffs progress. I very much look forward to following this because I followed 2003 intensly and I regret not following 2007 intently.

Oh and let me not miss out on talking about the White Sox, they're not out of the playoff picture yet. Both teams might find themselves in the playoffs. In fact it almost happened back in 2003. I was working at a store when a Cubs fan and a Sox fan made small talk and they both were wearing their respective team's jersey.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A group of black men heckle Obama in Florida

Read some background on this here. Then contrast that with an earlier demonstration here.

S. Africa's ruling party ousts President Mbeki

Wow, this is news from the AP. I can't say that I've been following South African politics, but I would have assumed that the ANC was solid.
South Africa's ruling party said Saturday that President Thabo Mbekihad agreed to resign after being asked to step down, a move that couldheighten turmoil in Africa's economic powerhouse.

African National Congress secretary-general Gwede Mantashe said thetop-level National Executive Committee has ''decided to recall thepresident of the republic before his term of office expires.''

Mantashe said that Mbeki accepted the news.
I think I need to find out what else prompted this. Well it was said in this article there was some pressure to call for early elections from a former deputy. This might require some digging.

ADDITION: Here's more from Bloomberg:
The order by the ANC's 86-member National ExecutiveCommittee came eight days after a High Court judge suggestedMbeki pressured prosecutors to pursue corruption charges againstZuma, the likely winner in 2009 elections. He can't be namedimmediately because he is not a member of parliament. Thelegislature will choose an interim successor from its ranks.

Zuma, 66, has the backing of labor unions and the CommunistParty, who opposed Mbeki's sale of state companies and effortsto balance the budget deficit. Zuma, who wrested control of theANC from Mbeki in a Dec. 18 party vote, has pledged to increasespending on health and education and do more to fight crime.

``We are determined to heal the rifts that may exist'' inthe party, ANC Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe told reporterstoday in Johannesburg.
It seems like Zuma was able to force this. Zuma might be the next President of South Africa. He's even said to have been courting white South Africans:
Zuma has also courted poor white Afrikaners, alienated byMbeki's criticism of South Africa's white community and byaffirmative-action policies.

``We are going to go through a phase of quite a lot ofpolicy uncertainty,'' said Kevin Lings, an economist at StanlibAsset Management in Johannesburg, said in a telephone interview.``Zuma is by his nature, and the way he's approached things,more consultative than Mbeki. It will delay decisions on keypolicy initiatives.''
Of course Zuma has his problems which was probably why he was forced to leave the Mbecki administration...
Zuma has been under investigation for taking bribes fromarms dealers since 2001, and charges against him were reinstatedon Dec. 28.

Judge Chris Nicholson invalidated the charges on Sept. 12,saying prosecutors didn't follow proper procedures and that thecase may have been politically motivated, a ruling the NationalProsecuting Authority plans to appeal.
The ANC is the dominant party in South Africa so it's not likely that there will be a big shakeup. Who else might be able to step in if the ANC seems unable to govern?

Via Instapundit.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The real difference between liberals and conservatives

An interesting lecture by psychologist Jonathan Haidt. It puts some things into perspective. Especially the gulf between being a liberal or being a conservative. Or better yet how both of those groups doesn't necessarily have to be enemies. The two groups can be cooperative in some way or another.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

1908 race riot in Springfield from the Illinois Channel

In July of last year I posted a link to a program from the Illinois Channel about the race riots. The IL Channel has two more programs about the race riots on the air this week. You can watch this online of course or you can watch this on CAN-TV this weekend. When you get to the CAN-TV website check the programming schedule.

The first program has IL Chan's Terry Martin (who's also the executive director) interviewing Carole Merrit at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library in Springfield. We see a little bit of the museum exhibit about the race riots. There is some discussion about race playing a role today is it did then.

The second program has a panel of historians talk about the Springfield race riots and it's legacies. I will also note that this panel marked 100 years since the race riots.

Both programs' duration is about 1 hr. 30 mins.

Ron Paul on Fannie and Freddie Bailouts

Video via Newsalert! But I want to present a couple of more stories about the current trouble in the financial system.

Chicago mayor criticizes business bailout - AP
How Washington Failed to Rein In Fannie, Freddie - Washington Post
Government’s Freddie, Fannie takeover could benefit Black borrowers - Defender

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Ariz. country club sued for alleged discrimination

A question can be posed here. Should a private club be allowed to discriminate for whatever reason provided? Could that be based on race, gender, etc.?

If I realized a private club wouldn't admit me because of my race (for example), then why would I force them to admit me? I definitely wouldn't want to be a token. Let that club fail if they refuse for abitrary reason not to admit people.

If people weren't in the mode to sue private clubs for discrimination and just let these clubs succeed or fail because of it, then I would expect that we wouldn't see actions such as this:
Arizona's attorney general has sued the Phoenix Country Club, alleging it discriminates against women by prohibiting them from enjoying the same amenities and networking opportunities as men.

The country club has a men's grill that excludes women and a women's grill that excludes men, but the suit alleges that the men's has superior amenities and is well-known as a place to network and broker deals in the business community.

''The allegations against the Phoenix Country Club represent significant and systemic acts of discrimination,'' Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said in a news release Tuesday.

The Phoenix Country Club released a statement that said it ''has a long tradition of treating all members and their guests with the utmost respect and dignity.''

The statement said the club's board of directors participated in extensive discussions with the attorney general's office and other parties over the past several weeks.

''The club has made several good-faith proposals that we believe would have resolved the matter in a manner that would have respected the legitimate concerns of all parties involved,'' the statement said. ''The claimants and the Attorney General's Office apparently have rejected all of those proposals and have decide to go the route of litigation.''
Here are the facts of this case:
The lawsuit alleges that in December 2006, Logan and Barbara Van Sittert were subjected to verbal abuse and threats after they submitted a letter to the club asking that women be allowed in the men's grill.

The lawsuit also claims the country club threatened the Van Sitterts and others with suspension or expulsion from the club if they sued the club or spoke badly about the club in the media.
What do you think? Should a private club be able to admit whoever they want to admit without governmental interference? Is a private club a little different than employment?

African-American town hall meeting addresses social issues

This is out of the city of Rockford, Illinois. See the Chicagoland area isn't the only Illinois region that has a significant population of blacks. From the Rockford Register-Star:
Nationwide, 50 percent of African-American males do not graduate high school.

“In Rockford, seven out of 10 do not graduate,” Rockford School Boardmember Mike Williams said. “They are four times more likely to beexpelled, and we have a have a high truancy rate.”

Williams was one of about 25 men who participated in anAfrican-American Task Force town meeting Tuesday night at NorthwestCommunity Center.

The Task Force, recently established by Gov. Rod Blagojevich, ishosting a series of town hall meetings around the state this fall,dedicated to identifying and addressing social issues effectingAfrican-American males such as high school and post-secondaryeducation, incarceration and parole, economic earnings, child welfare,life expectancy and health disparities.

Based in part on the outcome of the town hall meetings, the Task Forcewill develop state programs and initiatives aimed at improving thelives of African-American men.

“In Chicago, we identified the need for a clearing house whereAfrican-American men can go for resources,” said Lloyd Sutton of theChicago-based Employment and Training Resource Development Services.“We’re here today trying to find out what Rockford needs.”
A lot issues being discussed here. Education is one issue and another is health care and nutrition. Another issue is what to do with these men after their incarceration is over.

Well let me take back a statement, Rockford may not exactly have a significant black population but East St. Louis does. I'd be curious to find an article about a town hall meeting there and they've long been a struggling community. I wonder what their needs are.

Via the Capitol Fax morning shorts.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Retro Identity Politics

In this election we've seen some identity politics thrown around. It might have been done in terms of race with Obama running and certainly some are whipping up support for him based on race. And in recent weeks it's based upon gender.

See John McCain hopes to gain some of the women vote because he chose a woman to be his running mate. Sort of outflanking Obama, who chose not to pick a woman, namely Sen. Hillary Clinton, as his running mate. Even though there are those Hillary supporters who are upset about that, some might conclude that Obama made the right move here in not picking his major rival for the Democratic nomination.

All the same the NY Times takes aim at identity politics:
And so, for younger voters at least, what’s truly remarkable, for all the discussion about the subtext of race and gender in the campaign, is how much of an afterthought history has actually been. Obama had already won his first caucus by the time racial tension entered the Democratic primaries; no one ever seemed to question his viability as a candidate in the way they did Jesse Jackson’s two decades years earlier. Clinton ran not as the woman in the race but as the establishment candidate, awash in money and endorsements. The criticism of Sarah Palin immediately after she was named to the ticket elicited some cries of sexism from the Republican camp, but her own biting response at the convention centered, instead, on the contempt displayed by big-city Democrats and reporters for small-town Americans. Attitudes about race and sex are certain to be factors in the minds of many voters (there must be a reason Obama fared poorly with white, working-class men in the primaries), but they are only a few factors among many others, rather than the decisive disqualifiers they would have been 20 years ago. It turns out that the biggest deal about racial and gender identity in the campaign is that, especially to younger Americans who live and work in a vastly changed country, it isn’t such a very big deal after all.

Maybe this is why John McCain’s selection of Palin, bold as it was, felt oddly retro — like another Republican moderate, George H. W. Bush, elevating Clarence Thomas over all the other judicial luminaries in America in 1991. Say what you will about Palin’s qualifications for the job (she does give a pretty great speech), but no one will argue that her elevation to the national stage wasn’t premised primarily on old-school identity politics, the ’80s-era idea that women pledge allegiance to the family of women more than they do to party or ideology. Palin was elevated from obscurity largely on the basis of her womanhood and treated by her party and the media, during the convention in St. Paul, as if she had just won “American Idol.” (During the night of Palin’s big speech, a CNN reporter sat at a restaurant in Anchorage with Palin’s sister, who recalled her response to the news of the selection: “Oh, my gosh, you’ve got to be kidding. This is great, but this is crazy.”) In this way, Palin has more in common with Geraldine Ferraro than she does with Clinton, her candidacy having been born of gimmickry even as it struck a blow for progress.

It will be a little while before we know whether Palin really does appeal to the sisterhood of persuadable voters, but the early returns suggest that the assumptions underlying the pick might have been outdated. In a typical survey, conducted for the liberal group Emily’s List, 59 percent of women — and an even higher number of women who identified themselves as independents — thought McCain’s choice had been mostly a result of political calculation. It probably doesn’t help that McCain telegraphs a paternal awkwardness in his appearances with Palin, as if he isn’t quite sure where he should be standing. A guy’s guy who cherishes gridiron heroics and whose closest aides have always been men, McCain seems slightly miscast as a gender pioneer. If, as the old joke went, the first President Bush reminded many women of their first husbands, then McCain may well remind them of their first bosses — well-meaning and eager to evolve but never really comfortable unless he’s helping you on with your coat.
You know the last three paragraphs of this piece is important, but please read the whole thing. It's pretty good, especially looking at this as a "political scientist":
In fact, Palin’s conservatism on issues like gun ownership and abortion enables McCain to placate, yet again, the most doctrinaire elements in his own party, while her being a woman is supposed to signal to McCain’s admirers that he remains a maverick at heart. This last theme is the one McCain hammered at again and again in his convention speech. Independent voters, it seems, are to believe that, after winning office as a conservative ideologue, McCain will throw off his evangelical cloak and there, just underneath, will be the red, white and blue tights of the antiestablishment superhero.

The problem with this plan is that such postinaugural transformations are never really possible. The way you win the presidency forecloses certain options for governing; factions you offend during the campaign don’t want to give you any victories once you take office, and if you then try to distance yourself from the people who did support you, you end up with a coalition of no one. This is largely why Bill Clinton, having antagonized much of his own base in 1992, found himself barely able to muscle a few pieces of big legislation through a Democratic Congress, and it’s why George W. Bush, after the long standoff in Florida, never had a chance of building bipartisan bridges in Washington. If McCain campaigns on the outdated platform of a culture warrior, then he will have little choice but to govern on it too.

This is, after all, the point of this election business — not simply the pursuit of power or social progress, but the task of governing. Voters seem to understand that, which is why most are neither consumed by their prejudices nor swept away by the promise of historic firsts. Race and gender will influence the outcome of the campaign, but to this point, at least, they are not the influences that count most; voters want to know whether Obama is ready to assume the presidency and whether Palin would have the instincts to inherit it. Twenty years ago, it might have been impossible to have either of those conversations without being shouted down by charges of oppression. Now it’s all politics as usual, and that’s a kind of progress, too.
Via Real Clear Politics!

Political science department stuff

Yesterday, I attended the meeting for political science majors regarding the staffing situation in the political science department. I blogged earlier about the underclassmen meeting that took place a week before. The reason there were two different meetings was because freshmen and sophomores have different needs than juniors and seniors.

There is a chance for the department to recover (of course this situation is only temporary) by the time the underclassmen become seniors. But for those for whom the future is now they have to worry about getting there so that they can go in 2009 or 2010. What's going on this current year will affect upperclassmen the most.

There are no political theory (philosophy) courses offers this fall. Not even the introductory sophomore level course that I had taken last semester is offered. The man reason is that they couldn't find a replacement for the professor who left Morehouse who would teach them. The department chair hopes to have an adjunct from another college or the school's scholar-in-residents to teach some of the political theory courses in the department.

The department chair talked about contingency plans. Students might need to figure out what courses they need to take in order to graduate. That might mean that they have to cross-register at other colleges to get their necessary credit. They can do that at AUC schools but also at other schools in the Atlanta area.

Also unlike last semester there is no capstone courses offered because of the staffing situation. There is no senior seminar, but the chair will allow for approved substitutes. Such as for instance if you are on a track then you can do an approved capstone in one of the courses in the track. Of course it has to be a 300 or 400 level course. He says that it's important to have a capstone course because if you want to get employed or go to a graduate school they'll look for that.

He also stressed that if you leave the department without a theory course students will be hurting themselves. It's probably stressed for those who are seeking to continue their education. Especially if you're going to grad school, it might be required to study some political theory during the course of your graduate studies in political science.

You know I don't talk about my progress at school much but I must admit that I don't have the worries of many of these students. I'm almost through with my requirements in fact the future for me is RIGHT THIS MINUTE. Though I will admit that the department's situation is of concern at the moment and I'm glad I attended that meeting to hear about as much of the structural issues as possible.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Latinos now outnumber blacks 2 to 1 in South Los Angeles

LA Times:
n 1990, Latinos and African Americans each comprised 47% of the area's population; today Latinos outnumber blacks 2 to 1.

But that ethnic transformation is one of the few dramatic changes in an area that for decades has known one constant: poverty. According to a newly released report by UCLA's School of Public Affairs, almost one-third of the area's residents have been living below the poverty line since 1990.

"South L.A. has been a neglected part of the city," said Franklin D. Gilliam Jr., dean of the School of Public Affairs. "There have been efforts to rebuild, but those efforts haven't been as successful. And that's because we have not developed a strategy for dealing with the long-term and persistent effects of poverty."

The UCLA report points out that the area is a place of stark contrasts, with solid middle- and upper-class pockets -- View Park and Baldwin Hills -- on the west and communities that lag behind nearly every measure of prosperity farther east. It's most often defined as an area of immense need.

A year after the 1992 riots, UCLA released a lengthy report describing the unrest as a "predictable outcome" of a festering crisis in a region where joblessness, hopelessness and a crippling lack of skills and education existed side by side with wealth, privilege and opportunity.

UCLA researchers returned to the area this year to gather data for the new report, titled "The State of South L.A.." The study sought to define 60 square miles -- bounded by the 10 Freeway, La Cienega Boulevard, the 105 Freeway and Alameda Street -- with about 885,000 people, close to 10% of the county's population.
A lot of information here about the area that used to be known as South Central. If you want to know why Latinos are moving in and blacks are moving out, this article doesn't address it. In fact, that's not important. The same conditions might persist no matter what ethnic group lives.

Via Newsalert!

Fighting back against stereotypes

I watch cable access. Peak time for me will usually be Saturday and Sunday morning. I might watch the Illinois Channel or after that I might watch any black themed programming that might air. I rarely watch beyond that.

You might catch me watching the Rainbow/Push Saturday morning program on the religious CAN-TV channel. Oh yeah CAN-TV has several channels. One with separate purposes with one being religious, another being educational, and others that I've yet to figure out.

Anyway here's a program that I'm probably missing:
Tired of pervasive media images that she said portrayed young African-American women solely as loose, gyrating, uneducated "hootchie mamas," Chicago mom Wanda Muhammad developed a television show to inform and inspire young people to make positive choices regarding health, education and careers.

"They didn't have shows that showed them sounding articulate and about going to school," she said. "Usually, what they see is someone getting killed and becoming mothers out of wedlock."

Since the first broadcast in 2006, Muhammad has expanded the program, which airs on public access CAN TV's Channel 21, to include young males. She changed the name from "Let's Talk, Baby Girl" to "Shaping Young Minds."
I'd like to see this show. Just to see what exactly they are talking about.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

New tiny url for the blog

I had one, but now I know that I can customize it to my linking. I would twitter it, but I want don't want to over use the service. This is the address I like to use when I comment on WordPress blogs such as The Capitol Fax.
To get your own tiny url for your blog or website go here.

Oh and twitter widget is coming soon!

Thoughts on a proposed new school

It been in the news during the week that CPS is making plans for a school that is to be a safe learning environment for homosexual students. I'm happy to see some sanity come in for this proposal:
Conservatives say the Social Justice High School-Pride Campus would be a misuse of public funds and require administrators to take a moral stance on homosexuality, a judgment well above their pay grade. Even some gay rights advocates argue that isolating the gay and lesbian population from the mainstream would be damaging and prevent different groups of students from learning to interact.

"If we're going to set up a separate school, let's put the bullies in the school and not our gay kids," said Rick Garcia, public policy director of Equality Illinois, the state's largest gay rights group. "Kids should be able to go to school in a safe environment wherever they are."
Garcia is right. I've said this once or twice on the blog myself. Indeed I go further. My plan is not necessarily to place bullies in another school, but to just kick them out of school. Especially the ones who's only purpose is to disrupt class and prey on their fellow student. Ahem! Regardless of sexual orientation.

That reminds me I wonder how safe our schools are. Especially when we go to our neighborhood schools. Might some of these students regardless of their sexual orientation need a safe learning environment. Then why not focus on that? Why not focus on making our schools a safe learning environment for ALL students?

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Random event and a flashback!

One evening there was a knock on more dorm room door and it was a hometown guy who noticed looking at the info on my door that I was also from Chicago. He had to speak to me and decided to pick some information about what part of town I'm from. Well it kind of was left at what high school I went to.

His response to my answer was "DAMN!!!". I've been out of high school a few years now and I would still be amazed that this was the reaction I got from that name. It only means that my high school alma mater still has that rough reputation.

My old school hasn't changed their reputation one bit since I left. Unfortunately I haven't really kept up with how the school has been doing since I left. Not even the scores (once upon a time it was the IGAPs) that I would regularly follow in the papers every spring. When I check the scores my school was constantly amongst the lowest amongst the high schools.

I'm sure there was a story behind it. Were the teachers failing to instruct the kids on what they were expected to know? It might be partially that, but these days I have my own answer.

The issue was discipline. The school was a bit out of control. That meant that students might choose to curse out teachers or administrators who dared to take back control of their school. It might mean a student engaging in disruptive behavior by blurting out a profanity in the classroom or throwing food in a lunchroom causing a commotion. Even pulling a fire alarm.

Another aspect of discipline is largely unseen. We could ask what are the parents doing at home. For some they're not doing much, perhaps they let their children run wild when they really should be studying. Or perhaps for those who are doing something well it's not working whatever it is.

All the same my school wasn't the most ideal environment and sometimes I wish I had made some different choices in my youth. Perhaps different choices than my parents probably would've liked, but then it would've worked for me. If I had been a better student in those days, I probably could've been a Whitney Young student for example. Perhaps I was capable and if I had been a different more assertive person I'd have went for it.

All the same that's history now and at this moment the school's reputation is what it is now. Still and this will be the subject of another post on another time. I as an alumni of that school could do something to change the reputation? Better yet what could I do as an alumni to help create a better environment for future students?

When I write that post I would direct this to other alumni. It's pretty easy to graduate from a high school especially if it's an elite high school and then turn around and say life goes on. Then like I said that's another post for another time.

Palin pick helps McCain

The thesis of the latest Russ Stewart column. Some of what he said well is likely common knowledge these days (see my earlier post on this subject here). I'm referring to how a presidential nominee chooses his/her running mate.

The pundits will spend a lot of time haggling over experience. Unfortunately politics trumps history more and in the history of the Presidency there are some Presidents who succeeded to the office who didn't belong there. One example would be Andrew Johnson who succeeded President Lincoln. His selection was purely about politics, but I could have only wondered if anyone could have foreseen Lincoln's untimely demise.

I like what he said about Palin:
The current knock on Palin is that she is inexperienced. She doesn't have the resume of Biden, Cheney, Gore, Kemp, Lieberman, Mondale, Dole, Muskie, Humphrey, Johnson, Lodge or Nixon.

She has been governor of Alaska since January of 2007, and she was the mayor of Wasilla, a suburb of Anchorage, for 6 years, and a city council member for 4 years. That gives her just shy of 8 years of administrative experience and 4 years of legislative experience. That's more than Agnew, who was the governor of Maryland for 2 years and a county executive for 4 years. That's more than John Edwards (2004), who was a senator for 6 years. That's more than Sargent Shriver (1972), who was the Peace Corps director and the ambassador to France.
His basic conclusion he reaches is that this election features two astute and calculating VP nominees and that the outcome will show which selection was the shrewdest.

Friday, September 12, 2008

HIV hits black women harder

Every now and then I might hear about this. This could be attributed to issues in how black culture comes to terms with homosexuality in the black commuity. That is in part how men who haven't come to grips with their sexuality will engage in sex with other men and then come home to their girlfriends.

I know there's more than one cause here. This may have nothing to do with sexuality or what not. Perhaps black men and black women are knowingly engaging in risky behaviors. It could be sexual behaviors or it could be drug use.

Oh yeah it should be noted that one can also get HIV/AIDS thru the sharing of infected needles. You might see that in those who uses needles to inject into themselves illegal drugs.

All the same here's a story in the Sun-Times today:
New infection rates among black women are nearly 15 times higher than those for white women, according to the CDC report, which breaks down HIV infection by race, gender and age.
Among whites, new infection rates in 2006 were highest for gay and bisexual men in their 30s and 40s. But for black gay and bisexual men, 13- to 29-year-olds were the most at-risk.

The age difference might be the result of young black men not having access to HIV prevention services, not having experienced the AIDS epidemic of the 1980s and partnering with older black men who have HIV, said Dr. Richard Wolitski of the CDC.
Also noted in this article was that 80 of gay and bisexual men in 15 cities weren't reached by HIV efforts within the last year.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Portion of Virginia slave burial site saved

Defender:
A portion of a 250-year-old burial ground for slaves and freed Negroes that now lies beneath a parking lot will be preserved and recognized as part of the city of Richmond, Va.’s effort to confront its slave-trading history. The 50-by-100-foot section of the former Burial Ground for Negroes had been destined to continue as a parking lot under the ownership of Virginia Commonwealth University.

However, VCU, which earlier this summer faced protests over its failure to recognize the burial ground, has changed its mind. VCU recently announced an agreement with the Richmond Slave Trail Commission to preserve that section of its parking lot for a future memorial and quit parking cars in that section.

The university has blocked off the portion of the parking lot identified with the burial ground, but is parking cars on the rest of the property that it bought earlier this year. No timetable has been given for development of the memorial. The commission is taking charge of that effort. A panel created by the city is developing a series of historic stops to illustrate Richmond’s robust role in the slave trade and this would be one.

Between 1808 and 1865, the city was the second largest slave auction site in the nation. The burial ground lies just north of the former site of Lumpkin’s Slave Jail, which is part of the trail and where the commission is undertaking an archaeological dig. Before the Civil War, the jail, dubbed the Devil’s Half-Acre, was the largest holding pen for slaves. After the war, Lumpkin’s became the initial site for a school for newly freed slaves that eventually became Virginia Union University.

The burial ground was used from around 1750 to around 1812, after which the city approved a new cemetery for Negro Richmond residents further north. According to the state history agency, Interstate 95 was built over the main portion of the burial grounds, while the asphalt parking lot seals 10 feet or more of fill that has accumulated since the last person was interred.
This aspect of American history should be preserved. The early slaves were important in building this great nation. At the same time, there is an unfortunate legacy to remember about slavery. Especially the racism and the inhumanity. All the more reason why slave burial grounds should be treated the same way as an Indian burial ground or anything like that.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Morehouse Political Science Department upheaval

I talked a little about what's going on in the dept. last spring when I took a pair of courses and one of my professors who is also the Chairman of the dept. shared some inside information about what was going on. Taking the course I knew that one of the faculty, she also taught my political theory class last semester was leaving the school. Unfortunately I finally found out in the Maroon Tiger that she wasn't the last to resign from the dept.:
During that September 8th session with underclassmen, Dr. Gregory Hall announced that he is searching for new professors, encouraging administration to increase salaries for Spring adjunct professors, and working to ensure that students receive the credits they need. In the meantime, the chairman said, students must stay abreast of their courses, communicate, and "demand accountability" from both him and school administration.

Led by Hall, the Political Science department has been struggling toright itself ever since the summer departures of three professors.

In May, Dr. Sharon Vaughan resigned. Vaughan, a Political Theory professor, was popular among students.

Senior Joshua Harris said, "[She] was a tremendous advantage and asset to the department. To lose her meant losing one of the most qualified professors that has taught me."

According to Hall, Vaughan submitted her resignation in the Fall,but the department has had trouble finding an adequate theorist to replace her. He explained, "Finding a good, committed, well-developed theorist is perhaps the most challenging task we face."

The inability to replace Vaughan, Hall believes, may have been just as damaging as what happened next.

The month after Vaughan cleaned out her office, Dr. Hamid Taqi suddenly left Morehouse. In July, Dr. Abraham Davis followed.
Well, I wonder what's up with that. Dr. Davis explained a little more. He himself was a popular professor. He taught a course Constitutional Law that faded many a student. They called him "Dr. Death" because that was one course that a student shouldn't mess around with, although they may try anyway. Anyway Dr. Davis left after serving 41 years as a professor, he was one of the last hires of Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays, who was President of Morehouse College:
He said of his departure, "I left based on my own decision." He added, "It [the problem] started with the Massey administration and continued with the Franklin administration. They know why I left and they should level with the students."

Davis declined to go into further detail about his reason for leaving, though he did express regret about the situation and criticized school administration.

"I wish students the best and I feel very badly for students because some were seniors. They really left students in a bad way."
I really had no idea about where the Political Science Dept. stood at the school. I had no idea that Pol. Sci, is the second largest at the school. Probably the second largest behind the Business Dept. At that I learned last semester than many Pol. Sci. majors had left the Business Dept. Business is a demanding major and I must add that I'm surprised that Biology isn't number 2 or at least up there as far as those with declared majors.

I should add, I intend to be at that meeting for upperclassmen. I hope the ship can be righted soon.

W. Deen Mohammed dies!!!

From the Tribune:
Imam W. Deen Mohammed, one of the most prominent African-AmericanMuslim leaders in the nation and the son of the late Nation of Islamleader Elijah Muhammad, died Monday, sources told the Tribune.

"Brother Imam," as he was affectionately known, was 74. There was noimmediate confirmation of his death by his family. The Cook Countymedical examiner confirmed that a Wallace Mohammed was pronounced deadat his home in the 16100 block of Cambridge Drive in Markham, aspokesman said.

Muslim community leaders said Mohammed was scheduled to speak Tuesdayin Chicago, and many grew concerned when he did not appear. His lastspeaking engagement was at Navy Pier on Saturday at an event sponsoredby the Inner-City Muslim Action Network.

Mohammed inherited from his father the Nation of Islam, a religiousmovement crafted out of black nationalism and bits and pieces of Muslimpractice. He immediately tried to move its followers toward mainstreamIslam, eventually leading to a split between those who agreed withMohammed's approach and those who joined a revived Nation of Islamunder Louis Farrakhan.

Mohammed was a spiritual wanderer who was banished several times by hisfather for filial impiety—once for remaining close to Malcolm X,Muhammad's prized disciple who turned into a critical voice within theNation of Islam before he was slain.
Remember this scene in the film Malcolm X. Malcolm ordered a member of his entourage to never come around him again. He said that he didn't want to get between the young man and his father. I didn't understand what this meant at the time. I realized this young man might have been W. Deen Mohammed whom Malcolm was talking to.

Here's more:
In 1976, Mohammed made a public appearance carrying an American flag.He proclaimed the time had come for black Americans to celebrate America. The following year, Farrakhan broke away to revive the Nation of Islam and its traditional teachings.

Mohammed's lifestyle was markedly different from that of his father,who presided over a religious empire from a family compound he constructed amid the historic mansions of the Kenwood neighborhood on Chicago's South Side. Muhammad was surrounded by a phalanx of bodyguards, dubbed the Fruit of Islam.

Mohammed also rejected his father's sometimes overtly anti-white preaching—a rhetorical style continued by the fiery Farrakhan,Mohammed's rival for leadership of African-American Muslims. Farrakhan and Mohammed long traded barbs and theological jabs before publicly reconciling at a joint worship service in 2000.

"For me, [Islam] is too big a cause for our personal problems and differences to stand in the way," Mohammed said.

Mohammed was also deeply committed to building bridges between African-American Muslims and the increasing numbers of immigrants from the Middle East and Asia.
Can I declare this man's legacy a positive one? Unfortunately he's not as well known, at least in my mind, as Louis Farrakhan.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Republican quits after racial slur about Obama

I just don't know what to say about this. This was an ignorant statement to be sure, especially what he said about Dr. King. These were some very controversial statements to be sure:
The leader of a statewide group of college Republicans has been forced to quit after posting racial comments about Barack Obama on the Net.

Adam LaDuca, 21, wrote on his Facebook page that Obama has ''a pair of lips so large he could float half of Cuba to the shores of Miami (and probably would.)''

LaDuca, who previously had called Martin Luther King Jr. a ''fraud,'' also wrote: ''And man, if sayin' someone has large lips is a racial slur, then we're ALL in trouble.''

The College Republicans asked LaDuca to resign after his remarks were publicized by a liberal blog.
You know it seems Republicans have to watch themselves more than a Democrat. Not sure if it's fair, but it certainly doesn't pay to make such a statement if the spotlight is going to be placed onto you. Fair or unfair.

Rev. Wright in sex scandal???

WTF?

OK, I still had some semblance of respect for the old pastor, but man I'll be damned if this is true! I mean seriously, men or women of the cloth are still human, but there are just some standards they have to adhere to. Think about it, how can you preach about not being adulterous or not fornicating if you're engaging in that activity yourself.

NY Post:
Elizabeth Payne, 37, said she had a steamy sexual affair with thecontroversial, racially divisive man of the cloth while she was anexecutive assistant at a church headed by a popular Wright protégé.

When word of the unholy alliance got out, Payne's husband dumpedher, and she was canned from the plum job at Friendship-West BaptistChurch, she told The Post.
"I was involved with Rev. Wright, and that's why I lost my job and why my husband divorced me," Payne said.

She refused to reveal when the adulterous affair started or how she met Wright.
But fellow churchgoers at Friendship-West "found out about the affair in the spring," Payne said.

At the time, she was secretary to the Rev. Frederick Haynes III, a longtime Wright disciple.
Here's more, it makes it much worse for me. I'm not a follower mind you, but if this is true this is very unfortunate:
Payne's husband, Fred Payne, 64, said he learned of the affair inlate February, when he discovered e-mails between his wife and Wright.

"There must have been about 80 of them, back and forth," he said."Wright said things like he was going to leave his wife for Elizabeth."

Wright has been married to his second wife, Ramah, for more than 20 years.

The preacher reportedly wooed Ramah away from her first husband inthe 1980s, when the couple came to marriage counseling at Wright'sTrinity United Church of Christ in Chicago.

After discovering he had been cuckolded, Fred Payne, who hadmarried Elizabeth in October 2006, headed straight for divorce court.

"I was downright mad about this bull- - - -," said Fred, who saidhe is "in the oil and gas business," belongs to a hunting club andmakes his own bullets in his garage.
His second wife was reportedly taken from her first husband. That's bold, let me tell you! I wish I can tell you how play this story will get. He isn't Obama's pastor any more so I would imagine this story wouldn't make the news unless of course this was considered local news only.

Via Instapundit!

Monday, September 08, 2008

Voter Registration: The Struggle in Mississippi

This video is courtesy of the Obama campaign. It seems as if Obama is playing the whole Civil Rights card by discussing the stories of the voting rights struggle in the state of Mississippi. Some are certainly making his campaign a moment of racial achievement all be it symbolically.

BTW, over at the Sixth Ward I posted an Obama campaign video that was shot over at Spelman College.

Chicago Argus takes a look at the death of Dantrel Davis 15 years ago

Chicago Argus discusses this story I barely remember. It had to have been on the news that many years ago, but I'm not sure I could have comprehended the impact. Apparently it does although this murder occurred back in 1992.

All this young boy was doing was walking to school on October 13th, 1992. Of course he was going to school in a tough Chicago housing project, Cabrini Green, where he lived. That begs a question.

What have we lost in this death of this young boy? Well obviously we've lost a child, but because he was a child of the projects some will probably say he would have just been another thug. Of course that's easy to say and it would be unfortunate that some of us would be so callous as to predict the fate of a boy so young it would have been possible for him to turn things around and be a productive member of society, at a bare minimum.

Well that was the question that Gregory Tejada seeks to answer this morning. It's a good read.

The picture of Dantrell is from the Chicago Tribune in a gallery surrounding his story.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

When did the idea of freedom become a political orphan?

You know there should be another question posed. What is freedom? Freedom has a different definition for everybody.

I have my notion, but my notion is very different from another guy's or lady's. I have the freedom to determine my own destiny without interference from another individual. That would be my definition although I'm sure the dictionary definition would differ from that.

Still the ideas of freedom and liberty is a normative concept. It's abstract but that doesn't stop people from defining them in their own ways. In fact that definition that I gave for my concept of freedom isn't enough.

So here's the aptly named column from Steve Chapman on the two major parties and why they didn't discuss freedom at their nominating conventions in the past two weeks:
This year's Republican National Convention had a different theme for each day. Monday was "Serving a Cause Greater than Self." Tuesday was "Service," Wednesday was "Reform" and Thursday was "Peace."

"We must, and we shall, set the tide running again in the cause of freedom. And this party, with its every action, every word, every breath, and every heartbeat, has but a single resolve, and that is freedom. "

—Barry Goldwater, accepting the 1964 Republican presidential nomination

So what was missing? Only what used to be held up as the central ideal of the party. The heirs of Goldwater couldn't spare a day for freedom.

Neither could the Democrats. Their daily topics this year were "One Nation," "Renewing America's Promise" and "Securing America's Future." The party proclaimed "an agenda that emphasizes the security of our nation, strong economic growth, affordable health care for all Americans, retirement security, honest government, and civil rights." Expanding and upholding individual liberty? Not so much.

Forty-four years after Goldwater's declaration, it's clear that collectivism, not individualism, is the reigning creed of Republicans as well as Democrats. Individuals are not valuable and precious in their own right but as a means for those in power to achieve their grand ambitions.

You will scour the presidential nominees' acceptance speeches in vain for any hint that your life is rightfully your own, to be lived in accordance with your beliefs and desires and no one else's. The Founding Fathers set out to protect "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness," but Barack Obama has a different idea.

The "essence of America's promise," he declared in Denver, is "individual responsibility and mutual responsibility"—rather than, say, individual freedom and mutual respect for rights. The "promise of America," he said, is "the fundamental belief that I am my brother's keeper; I am my sister's keeper."

In reality, that fundamental belief is what you might call the promise of socialism. What has set this country apart since its inception is not the notion of obligations but the notion of rights.
...

What do Republicans believe in? McCain told us Thursday: "We believe in a strong defense, work, faith, service, a culture of life, personal responsibility, the rule of law . . . We believe in the values of families, neighborhoods and communities."

Would it be too much to mention that what sustains the American vision of those things is freedom? That without it, personal responsibility becomes hollow and service is servitude?

Apparently it would. Republicans are big on promoting freedom abroad, but in this country, the term encompasses a lot of things they don't like—the right to a "homosexual lifestyle," the right to protest the Iraq war, the right to privacy, the right not to recite the Pledge of Allegiance, and more. Conservatives who once thought Americans had too little freedom now sometimes think they have too much.

Liberals, on the other hand, are wary of embracing freedom precisely because of its historic importance to the right. They fear it means curbing the power of a government whose reach they want to expand.
It can be argued that neither side believes in this idea called freedom. Enough not to make it apart of their conventions. Perhaps both sides take this concept for granted. Perhaps one side or another disdains the concept for whatever reason they might have.


It's easy for me to turn this post into a convoluted argument for why freedom is either a good thing or a bad thing. Perhaps the question should be posed as a matter of philosophy. What is freedom?


I think I mentioned that everyone has a different concept. Freedom might mean an entitlement, but the entitlement might be the provision of services such as an education or health care. Some believe that this should be provided of course the lack of freedom comes in how to pay for these services. Not everyone wants to pay for public education or universal health care alas one is not able to opt out if they wish.

Anyway I said too much what is your concept of freedom?   

Harold's Chicken Shack Commercial

I have a more serious post I'm working on. Since I'm at the moment back in school this has caused me to have a hankerin for some of this great fried chicken.

I had some when I was home on Labor Day. However, it wasn't what I was used to lately and on top of that I went to a different location. I like to have ketchup directly on the food, but on that day I got it on the side.

It's all good though, that was the way I used to eat it with ketchup on the side. These days I got used to eating that food with ketchup on it. I see that they'll advertise their food with some form of sauce on it and that works for me! It's just too bad that, i'm not even anywhere near Bloomington nor Champaign, Illinois.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Black People Are Stupid...

Would that statement be true or racist and could it also be considered an incomplete statement? If one is to believe black people are stupid then there has to be a reason. For some unfortunately the incomplete statement or some baloney reason used could be seen as a fact. That would be sad.

Again from a new buddy, SgtWilliePete from YouTube. Well he's not a buddy, but I enjoy his commentaries. For an interesting change he isn't discussing his issues with black women.

Close the Government Schools

From LewRockwell.com and something to consider although this isn't a Chicago-centric piece but I can see a relation to what's going on in Chicago especially with the school boycott that was called off.

On April 6, the Post ran an op-ed submission from Andrew Coulson, director of the Cato Institute’s Center for Educational Freedom, headlined “The Real Cost of Public Schools.”

“We’re often told that public schools are underfunded. In the District, the spending figure cited most commonly is $8,322 per child,” Mr. Coulson wrote.

“But total spending is close to $25,000 per child – on par with tuition at Sidwell Friends, the private school Chelsea Clinton attended in the 1990s.”

Mr. Coulson added up all sources of funding for education from kindergarten through 12th grade, excluding spending on charter schools and higher education.

“For the current school year,” he found, “the local operating budget is $831 million, including relevant expenses such as the teacher retirement fund. The capital budget is $218 million. The District receives about $85.5 million in federal funding. And the D.C. Council contributes an extra $81 million. Divide all that by the 49,422 students enrolled (for the 2007–08 year) and you end up with about $24,600 per child.

“For comparison, total per pupil spending at D.C. area private schools – among the most upscale in the nation – averages about $10,000 less. For most private schools, the difference is even greater.

So why force most D.C. children into often dilapidated and underperforming public schools when we could easily offer them a choice of private schools?

“Some would argue that private schools couldn’t or wouldn’t serve the District’s special education students, at least not affordably,” Mr. Coulson wrote. “Not so.

“Consider Florida’s McKay Scholarship program, which allows parents to pull their special-needs children out of the public schools and place them in private schools of their choosing. Parental satisfaction with McKay is stratospheric, the program serves twice as many children with disabilities as the D.C. public schools do, and the average scholarship offered in 2006-’07 was just $7,206. The biggest scholarship awarded was $21,907 – still less than the average per-pupil spending in D.C. public schools. If Florida can satisfy the parents of special-needs children at such a reasonable cost, why can’t the District?

“The answer, of course, is that it could.”

Instead, Mr. Coulson concludes, the failure to “think outside the box” leaves Washington’s parents, students, teachers, and even well-meaning reformers trying to “manage a bureaucracy so Byzantine it would give Rube Goldberg an aneurysm.
Read the whole thing. An interesting piece with regards to the public school system and what needs to be down to build a system that puts our students first. That should be the first job of any education system to provide the best services and facilities possible to education our students.

Let me just say sometimes I question if Americans treat an education as a right (or entitlement) instead of a privilege. I'd say if it was more of a privilege instead of an entitlement would our students take it more seriously? Indeed would our parents? Getting an excellent education should be serious business and I would say let's treat it as such.

BTW, I'm working on a post talking about what would happen when I get to see my former high school classmates at a class reunion in the future. My thesis would be that while it's great to meet and greet old friends but we could also do something to make our alma mater better. Even better than it was when we went to school there. Stay tuned.

Article via Newsalert!