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Friday, October 31, 2008

Studs Terkel dies

This guy was an important Chicago institution. I was at Border's in Beverly one Christmas I would have had one opportunity to get a look at him, never took that opportunity. One important reason is that I never either heard his radio program or read his many works. Yet he is so well know about town

BTW, I was reading this obituary from the Tribune (hat-tip CapFax) and I gotta kick out of this...
He moved with his family when they purchased the Wells-Grand Hotel, a rooming house catering to a wide and colorful variety of people. He supplemented the life experiences there by visits to Bughouse Square, the park across the street from the Newberry Library that was at the time home to all manner of soap box orators.

"I doubt whether I learned very much [at the park]," Terkel wrote. "One thing I know: I delighted in it. Perhaps none of it made any sense, save one kind: sense of life."
Reminds me of some of the sights and sounds you'll see in this old time film from one of the fore runners of 20th Century Fox. You'll see scene of people on soap-boxes taking full advantage of their freedom of speech. Why don't we have such a tradition anymore I wonder?


Does anyone have a Studs Terkel story they'd like to share? I would appreciate it.

Easy question although I understand that there will only be one. Who will be the next Studs? Will it be you?

TNA wrestlers talk politics


Heh, it seems most of them believe income redistribution could help their bottom lines. I hate that logic and I would question if there will be more money in the pockets of those lower to middle class people whom Obama wants to give a leg up.

Redistribution doesn't necessarily mean more money for the people. It could just as easily mean more money for the government for these wonderful programs that it might be determined that the American people want or need.

Anyway this should be entertaining and it last almost an hour.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Self-Determination vs Marxism



From Cobb:
Examining the deep philosophical affinities between black self-determination and the principles of the American Republic. Why socialism, Marxism, Communism and Left Politics are bad for blackfolks.

Main idea here is to not allow anyone else define you. Especially government.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Check out Russ Stewart's presidentail election analysis...

He uses the example of a race from long ago in North Carolina. A Senate race between the late Jesse Helms sitting incumbent and black Moderate Democrat Harvey Gantt back in the year 1990:
North Carolina is a microcosm of America, with liberal urban areas such as Raleigh, Durham and Charlotte, conservative suburbs and rural areas, and a black population of 21 percent. Like Obama, Gantt was a moderate Democrat who eschewed the "victimization" attitude of blacks such as Jesse Jackson. Unlike McCain, Helms was a hard-right conservative who vociferously opposed abortion, gun control, gay rights, foreign aid and affirmative action. He was detested by many but loved by just a few more.

In 1990, after trailing Gantt narrowly in the polls, Helms won by 106,758 votes, getting 53 percent of the votes cast. Likewise, in 1996, after running even with Gantt in the polls, Helms won by 171,958 votes, again getting 53 percent of the votes. The politically correct explanation is that North Carolina is filled with white racists who won't vote for a black candidate and that Gantt was the only Democrat who could have lost to Helms. Yet, in 1984, Helms beat the popular white Democratic governor, Jim Hunt, by 86,280 votes, with 52 percent of the vote.

The Helms-Gantt contests prove only that some white voters feel guilty about not voting for a black candidate and that they will not be honest with pollsters. As applied to 2008, when every poll has a margin of error of 4 to 5 percent, an additional "Harvey Gantt Factor" 5 percent must be factored into the equation. That means McCain, despite dismal poll numbers, could still triumph in key states, but he will not win the election.

Bush lost to Al Gore in 2000 by 539,940 votes, but he carried 29 states with 271 electoral votes, one more than a majority. Bush beat John Kerry in 2004 by 3,011,951 votes, and he carried 30 states with 286 electoral votes.

Obama is ahead by 10 percent or more in 18 states and the District of Columbia, with 238 electoral votes. He is ahead by roughly 5 percent in six more states (Washington, Colorado, New Mexico, Minnesota, Florida and Virginia), with 75 electoral votes, within the margin of error, or essentially tied, in five states (Nevada, Missouri, Ohio, West Virginia and North Carolina), with 56 electoral votes, and trailing slightly in three states (Indiana, Georgia and North Dakota), with 29 electoral votes.

To win, Obama need only carry his solid blue states, 18 of which were won by Kerry in 2004, plus Iowa (which is won by Bush), plus a few more states with 32 electoral votes (such as Florida, with 27); he need not win any toss-up states.
Read the whole thing.

Stewart even brought up the fact that if Hillary was the Democratic nominee this election probably would be at hand. Of course I would wonder if Americans who be just as hesitant to elect a woman President and they would a man of color. We'll find out on election day, but this one is going to be exciting.

To be sure this is almost like the 2000 Presidential race. Not only was no one totally sure who'd win the race on election day, but we weren't sure who was going to win the race after election day. I hope that won't the case this time around although voting for either McCain and Obama is probably a tough choice for a lot of people.

Who do you think should be President? Include anybody you'd like.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Two Skinheads plot to kills 102 black people and Obama

AP:
Two white supremacists are in federal custody this morning for allegedly plotting to kill dozens of African-Americans and ultimately targeting Barack Obama.

Investigators say self-described white supremacists --20-year-old Daniel Cowart and 18-year-old Paul Schlesselman-- had planned to rob a gun store and target a predominantly African-American high school in Nashville.

Police say they wanted to shoot 88 people and decapitate another 14. The numbers 88 and 14 are symbolic in the white supremacist community.

Agents say the men then planned to go on a national killing spree, with Obama as their final target.
If this story doesn't disturb you I don't know what will. These are some very troubled individuals. It's not just enough to just go on a killing spree, and that's troublesome enough already. They also wanted to behead people.

It's a good thing that their plan was foiled!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Downturn in Economy Brings Back Layaway

To springboard from this story from the AP, courtesy of YouTube. I had a nice little discussion with my mom about the state of the economy. People want stuff now and they don't want to think about whether they can afford it or even stretching out the payments.

I would love to have a HD Television or and HD Camcorder, but I know I'd break my bank just to purchase one. I wait until I afford it, that being said, I won't even try to make a purchase but I'll do all the looking I want. At least until price come down or at least until I can afford to make a purchase.

We may have instant credit but I understand that there is a credit crunch. Perhaps it's more important to pay as you go before you can actually own a product, right?

StreetWise Changes Could Mean Extra Profits

Interesting:
Since its launch 16 years ago, StreetWise has always sold for a dollar. Publisher Michael Speer says that means a profit of 65 cents per paper for Streetwise vendors, many of whom are homeless.

SPEER: While all the cost of living has gone up around us, these individuals have never had an increase in the amount that they're making on the paper.

But soon they will, assuming they can sell as many papers. Streetwise is doubling its cover price, a move that will also double the profit for vendors. For the extra money, readers will get a glossier publication, with more content. The new Streetwise goes on sale mid-next week. 


For some reason I thought StreetWise was a ripoff and not just to those who buy these papers, but for the guys selling them as well. Perhaps a profit of 65 cents is better than begging for pennies or hustling on the streets for money or indeed better than nothing. How much would a person pay for a papers from StreetWise this article doesn't make clear, but what could be the profit 75 cents or a dollar assuing it goes up to close to two dollars.

Others things I've observed.

There used to be a Walgreen's on Randolph and State. I was leaving the store and some guy walks up to me, I would call it aggressive because of how he ended the convo. If you're going to be selling those papers the least one could do is make people comfortable buying from you. IMO that wasn't what he did.

Another time there was this guy selling papers. Assuming this was the same guy whom was yelling on the streets on that very same street corner Jackson & State, he sold a StreetWise paper to some guy who said something to him and this guy only nodded. That's another person who's not likely to get money from me or a number of people for a StreetWise.

Others have been more agressive but probably not in a bad way, but more annoying. I walked past one guy who was selling StreetWise and I had no intention of buying from him. This was near the Thompson Center. He didn't cut it off there as I was carrying a backpack at that time. He wondered if I have something to eat, like a cracker or what not. Hmm, not sure that's good!

Another time on State & Randolph another guy I walked past him but he was right behind me trying to get me to buy one of his papers. Somewhat playful I thought, but wasn't conducive to me making a purchase for his paper. I kept going because I wasn't interested.

Please don't think for a second that I'm putting down any StreetWise vendor.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

D.C. Official Observing Night Life Is Arrested

This is an oddball story I found from the Washington Post:

Nancy Shia, commissioner for single member district 1C-06, said she was charged with being disorderly, failing to obey a police officer and assault on a police officer. She said last night that she was not guilty of the offenses. A police report said she impeded an investigation, took pictures within a crime scene and failed to leave when told. It also said she opened a police vehicle to photograph a suspect who was a juvenile.

Shia said she followed instructions, did not intrude on any crime scene and did not open the door of any police vehicle. She said she photographed two women who had just been arrested and were sitting in the street. A third person who was arrested was also there, but not in a car, she said.

The incident occurred about 2:45 a.m. in the 2400 block of 18th Street NW. Shia, 61, said she is a freelance photographer and a member of her commission's public safety committee, and was "observing the situation" and taking pictures on 18th Street, which she said is "out of control." D.C. police said Friday that they would add to patrols in Adams Morgan after a series of street robberies.

Well I would have easily thought this was a story about observing the actions of the police. Perhaps even the police doesn't want an evidence of misconduct to be observed by responsible citizens and then used against them.

We need vigilant citizen now especially if in Chicago a retired police commander finds himself in a federal courtroom because during his time in the Chicago Police he tortured mostly minority suspects. Some of these suspect found themselves on death row because they were tortured to admit to crimes they didn't commit.

Story via Instapundit!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Report: Kids less likely to graduate than parents

Wasn't the younger generation the ones who probably weren't the first in their families to go to college? Then why is it that things seem to be going backwards? Defender:
Your child is less likely to graduate from high school than you were, and most states are doing little to hold schools accountable, according to a study by a children's advocacy group.

More than half the states have graduation targets that don't make schools get better, the Education Trust says in a report released Thursday.

And dropout rates haven't budged: One in four kids is still dropping out of high school.

"The U.S. is stagnating while other industrialized countries are surpassing us," said Anna Habash, author of the report by Education Trust, which advocates on behalf of minority and poor children. "And that is going to have a dramatic impact on our ability to compete," she said.

In fact, the United States is now the only industrialized country where young people are less likely than their parents to earn a diploma, the report said.

High schools are required to meet graduation targets every year as part of the 2002 federal No Child Left Behind law.

But those targets are set by states, not by the federal government. And most states allow schools to graduate low percentages of students by saying that any progress, or even the status quo in some cases, is acceptable.
Yeah, sounds like the states are settling. Very low standards for progress.

At times I can be down on the public schools, but for those who want to see changes the unaccountable aspects of our schools are a drag on progress. Should we expect more from our schools?

If that's the case then simply throwing money on the problem can't be an answer anymore. Perhaps the schools have to fight for their money or their funding and prove to the people or to government that they deserve better funding.

It should be agreed then that whether your school is in a poor rural county, a ghetto neighborhood, or the ritziest of areas that they should have to prove their worth. They should be like any business, that is they have to put out a product or service that people will want to use. Although at the same time they shouldn't take that service for granted especially if they're not performing to expectations whatever those are.

Let's also say that if our kids aren't likely to get a diploma there's something more going on beyond lack of funding or even lack of accountability. Especially import if parents should take a special interest in their kids education. Unfortunately there are those parents who don't hold that interest.

What should be done about this issue?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Two more weeks until Election Day

In a way I can't wait and in a way I dread it.

If things go smoothly we will know who will be the next President of the United States. Will it be John McCain, Barack Obama, Bob Barr, Cynthia McKinney or Chuck Baldwin? I know one of those names you've never heard of (you know the curse of being a third party candidate), but the others have served in Congress either as a Senator will obviously in the case of McCain and Obama or in the case of Barr & McKinney in the US House of Representatives where they used to hold seats.

Let me take back my statement on third party candidates. We've all heard of Ross Perot or Ralph Nader. I recall a few years back that Nader had some support because no one was particularly happy with either George W. Bush or Al Gore as they vied for the Presidency in 2000. In which case what's the difference between a Perot or a Nader vs. Baldwin. At least Baar who is the standard bearer for the Libertarian Party and McKinney who's the standard bearer of the Green Party have name recognition. We might especially remember McKinney for the controversy that caused her to lose the Congressional Seat she's held in 2006. BTW, Baldwin represents the Constitution Party.

In any event I don't have much news on my end. I expect to do some exit polling on Election Day down here in Atlanta. This is connection with Morehouse and the goal is to track the behavior of black voters in the city. Morehouse's Brisbane Institute is also coordinating with Tougaloo College in Jackson, Mississippi to conduct exit polling of black voters there.

There was a sample size I forgot the number that the coordinators of this project was shooting for, but I heard Gallup goes for at least 1200 to represent the entire nation. However I do believe this project is shooting for a larger sample size than that and surely this is supposed to reflect the voting behavior of blacks all over the nation. Besides in this election turnout is expected to be high for blacks, is the primary reason because of Sen. Obama's run for the Presidency? Hopefully these exit polls will establish why blacks chose to vote on Election Day in two weeks.

Of course in order to assure that a single voter who takes part in the exit poll survey could very represent say 100 people or 200 people. That number of course will be numerically quantified in time depending upon how the sample is proportional to the population. I wonder if the statistical margin of error will have a role in the sample proportion.

Anyway the expectation here is that in offering the survey to voters who have voted at the polls we won't be handing surveys to every single voter. We might have to do every 3rd or 5th voters or however random it has been determined that we should be. Perhaps that's especially important if one voter is suppose to reflect however many black voters that this one voter is suppose to represent.

I'm sure most of you reading this blog are familiar with exit polls. There are more than a few elections where relying on exit polls became troublesome. Exit polls have been used by the media to call an election. This was the case in Florida in 2000, exit polls were released before the closing of the polls in the Florida panhandle. Of course we know about the confusion that occurred on election night and lasted into December of that year when George W. Bush was finally declared the winner in Florida and thus the Presidency.

I want to also note that in 2004, exit polls had predicted a victory by John Kerry. Exit poll figures were leaked onto the internet and there were discrepancies between the exit poll data and the vote count was outside the margin of error. Compound this problem with irregularities in the election.

I'm sure that this project will have learned some lessons from what happened in past elections. I'm not totally sure if the data in this poll could be used to call an election. This project is expected to be academic anyway of course the main idea again is to have some type of projection of Black voting behavior.

Also there is supposed to be a watch party for this election in Forbes Arena open to all students. So election day should be an exciting day for students in the Atlanta University Center. The majority of students, I would expect, will be largely in the tank for Barack Obama. They hope their boy will win this election, but on that day we shall see.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Wrestling personality James Cornette talks about WCCW

Many of you may have recognized a recurring theme on this blog no matter how erratically it may come up from time to time.

In any event you might have heard of James Cornette, he was often a manager in wrestling. You might have seen him in WCW, WWE, and currently in TNA. Some of you might have heard of a tag team he managed, The Midnight Express.

Cornette has been around a long time in the wrestling business. He talks honestly about what happened to one of the most successful promotions in the nation, WCCW - World Class Championship Wrestling. This is a promotion that started in Dallas, Texas and it was owned by the Von Erich Family. These days if you want to watch old WCCW programming you have to go thru WWE.

Anyway, Cornette talks a little about what made this promotion a success but he talks more about what caused its downfall. Now the Von Erichs (real family name was Adkisson) were Fritz who was the patriarch and of course his sons Kevin, Kerry, David, Mike, and Chris. You might have heard of Kerry Von Erich he wrestled briefly as the Texas Tornado in the WWF.

Of all the sons Fritz had outlived four of them. Well actually five since another son died in childhood. The only surviving son of Fritz is Kevin Von Erich. In fact you can watch him talk about his one of his experiences in professional wrestling. The other sons, grown sons if you will, has passed away either thru a drug overdose or suicide. This is sort of what Cornette was addressing.

Cornette says that Fritz' sons had no one to reign them in. On top of that they were stars in their early 20s. They had the world at their fingertips and yet it seems perhaps they weren't very happy. Cornette said that the Von Erichs had no responsibilities and they had fame and forturne very early.

Another thing discussed was the WCCW was a very successful promotion and then in a small time it was gone. It probably didn't help that several of the Von Erich brothers had met unfortunate demises. Still WCCW was known around the nation and eventually as Cornette said this case became a study on how not to run a promotion.

I should note that WCCW was based out of Dallas from a now demolished venue known as the Sportatorium. It might have the same amount of name recognition as the ECW Arena in Philladelphia. Although that venue now has a new name and is home to several wrestling promotions as well as other events.

Also WCCW apparently was syndicated but when they were on the air I was in no condition to take command of the remote control at home. My exposure to them began when I started watching ESPN and it would come on at 3 in the Afternoon and I'd watch matches from not only WCCW but a successor USWA. It sort of broke the monotony between WWF and WCW who were prevalent back in the early 1990s.

Those were the days, weren't they and with all these other feds today TNA, RoH, and I will even include CZW the days of differing wrestling promotions offering something different might be slowly returning. ECW, USWA, WCCW, and others are gone but the "sport" and notice I put that in quotes will survive so long as someone will keep professional wrestling fresh.

Reviving Austin's glory days

To be sure, this could be another area where we could improve our education system. Not just the public schools either. We might have to be honest when we says that not all the students in school are either going to make it to college or even want to go to college.

I don't want to discourage anyone who wants to go. It doesn't matter much to me if they make the grades or not because sometimes you might hear stories that some made good marks in school and they didn't make it to college or didn't graduate. Of course there might be various reasons for that.

The main thing to point out is that we can't allow our young people to go out of even high school without some kind of training. Not just give them skills to continue their education on the post-secondary level, but for the workplace.

Check out this article from the Austin Weekly News:
The symposium, "Advanced Technology, Training and Leadership in Manufacturing: A Renaissance for the West Side," takes place this Saturday Oct. 18, at Austin Polytechnical Academy, 231 N. Pine Ave. APA, one of three small schools on the Austin high school campus, focuses on training students in the manufacturing industry.

The free event includes seminars on careers in the field and on emerging technology. Information on job training programs will also be available, as well as a youth workshop on robotics and engineering.

"Manufacturing today is much different than it was 10 years ago, much less 20 to 30 years ago," said Erica Swinney-Stein, of the Center for Labor and Community Research (CLCR), a non-profit consulting and research organization.

Manufacturing, Swinney-Stein noted, is still one of the top three sectors in the economy but suffers from a shortage of skilled workers. Jobs in the industry are less labor-intensive but more hi-tech.

"They require a much higher level of critical thinking and problem-solving skills. It is not yesterday's manufacturing," she said.

To help residents better understand manufacturing, the Center for Labor has teamed up with the Digital Development Oversight Committee to host the day-long symposium. One of its goals is to spark discussion on transforming Austin into a manufacturing powerhouse. The loss of West Side manufacturing companies like Sunbeam and Western Electric in the '70s and '80s devastated communities such as Austin. But redevelopment has come in the form of gentrification, retail jobs and a distribution center to be located on the Brach's site, 401 N. Cicero, explained Swinney-Stein.

Instead of becoming a place of "Wal-Marts and warehouses," Austin could be a center for manufacturing windmills for the renewable energy sector, she stressed. Austin Polytech has already partnered with 44 different manufacturing companies and offers certification in National Institute of Metalworking Skills.
Another good piece of west side news has the prospects of a retail site on Madison Street that offers more shopping options of area residents. Sounds good to me of course I wonder how serious a food desert there is out west. I'd like to see future articles on that.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Intensity may help the Republican

Well McCain has largely been behind in polling. Actually I don't take much stock in polls because polls can not only be wrong, but also easily manipulated. Right now though it might be for most of us to believe that Obama is likely to win this election.

Still check out this article from Boston.com via Newsalert about McCain's performance last night:
John McCain last night put Barack Obama through a red-hot grilling, barely hiding his disdain for the Illinois senator and his outrage over Obama's policies.

Obama responded with cool, collected answers - sometimes too cool, answering McCain's teeth-gritting attacks with a grin that seemed more amused than offended.

The difference in the senators' temperatures - a combination of long-evident personality differences and McCain's increasing sense of urgency about Obama's growing lead in the polls - probably struck different voters in different ways.

But McCain's very intensity may have at least prompted some voters to take a second look at Obama and his policies.

"McCain came out swinging," said Wayne Lesperance, political scientist at New England College in Henniker, N.H. "Barack Obama was very cognizant of his lead and very cautious. It was reminiscent of the last round of a fight where a boxer is just trying not to be hit. If you score it on points, McCain won, but not by nearly enough to overcome Obama's lead."

McCain sought to sow doubts about Obama in many ways, some of which seemed likelier to stick than others. They included Obama's truthfulness - "There's the eloquence," he chimed at one point, claiming Obama's support for restrictions on late-term abortions had a hidden loophole in providing exceptions for "the health of the mother." (It's a loophole, but one that's been crucial to past Supreme Court decisions and hardly hidden.)

McCain also questioned Obama's judgment ("You don't tell other countries you're going to unilaterally renegotiate," he declared about Obama's vow to reopen the North American Free Trade Agreement) and personal associations, sounding like a prosecutor demanding all the facts about any links between Obama's campaign and the liberal activist group ACORN, which has been accused of voter registration fraud. (There are no links, Obama said.)

While McCain often undermined his points with overstatements - claiming, for example, that ACORN's alleged offense was "destroying the fabric of democracy" - his clear-eyed anger at Obama was striking enough to make Obama's coolness seem overly lax.

Obama almost never answered a McCain jab with one of his own, preferring to try to defang the attacks with a mild explanation of his own policy.
I was at a party last night so I largely didn't watch the debate, however, I'm glad that C-Span posted the dabates over at YouTube. If you haven't watched the debates last night you can watch the whole thing right here. Perhaps you can come back and evaluate McCain's and Obama's performance last night.

I look forward to it!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Survey: Blacks save much less in retirement plans

A story from the AP:
The poll by Ariel Investments LLC and the Charles Schwab Corp. found that 62 percent of the blacks surveyed own stocks or mutual funds, lagging the 82 percent of white respondents who said they do.

Executives at Chicago-based Ariel Investments, an African-American-owned investment management firm and mutual fund company, said black stock ownership remains a weak spot as it has been throughout the 11 years the company has been sponsoring the annual survey.


"We certainly haven't seen the kind of progress that we had hoped for," said Mellody Hobson, Ariel's president.


One marked change: The survey has shown historically that black investors have expressed a preference for real estate investments over the stock market. This year that preference fell to a new low, with just 39 percent of blacks labeling real estate the "best investment overall." Their preference stood at 61 percent at the height of the real estate market in 2004.


Blacks are on equal footing with whites when it comes to accessing and enrolling in their employers' defined contribution plans, according to the survey, which was based on interviews with blacks and whites with household incomes of at least $50,000. About nine in 10 of both blacks and whites who are working have access to a plan such as a 401(k), and of those about 90 percent of each group contributes regularly.


But the median monthly amount that blacks contribute to their 401(k) plan is $169, compared with $249 contributed by whites. As a result, the median total household savings for retirement reported by black respondents was $53,000. White respondents had more than twice as much at $114,000.


The results of the nationwide survey, conducted by Argosy Research, were compiled from telephone interviews with 503 blacks and 506 whites from June 11 to July 13 and carry a margin of error of about 5 percent. The poll would have missed investors in many lower-income areas, since some interviews were conducted in areas with median incomes of $40,000 or more in order to bolster the African-American sample.
Oh man I would have loved to have crunched those numbers!

This article actually started off mentioning the social and cultural factors as to why blacks don't save as much as whites for their retirement. I would like to see an explanation for that. In fact you go directly to the source at Ariel Investments.

Perhaps this might provide one answer to the social aspect again from AP...
The survey found that about two-thirds of blacks, versus about half of whites, said they would increase contributions to their retirement plan if employers provided access to financial advisors, seminars about retirement investing or education about the features of the plans.
If I can understand black folks often times hadn't have anybody to teach them how to either save their money or invest it. I guess it could be added that blacks may not know exactly where they should put their money and then maximize their returns. A house would help that certainly but don't buy a house that you can't afford.

And hold off on your dreams of buying that brand new car. If you buy a used car, hopefully you'll buy a car that don''t require much money in repairs. Simple fact is spend that money wisely.

I think I'll start taking my own advice.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Bradley Effect in Illinois

Rich Miller points out that Illinois politics history indicates that there are no signs of a "Bradley Effect". The Bradley Effect is basically an attempt to explain discrepancies between polls and election results when a white politician runs against a non-white politicians. It was named for Tom Bradley, the late former Mayor of Los Angeles, who ran twice for Governor of California only to lose both times.

Miller goes back to 1983, when Harold Washington ran for Mayor of Chicago and won. It can't be said there was a Bradley effect because for the most part ethnic whites in ethnic wards were hostile to him anyway. There shouldn't be any surprise that they weren't going to vote for him.

Miller's post talks about the Bradley effect in relation to undecideds in Obama's campaign for the White House. He especially notes that not all undecideds are racist and thus won't affect the outcome as current polls stand.

In Illinois Republicans are hoping for an effect to help them and this time it won't be based upon race. It will be based upon the state of politics in Illinois. They're pointing to exactly the Governor and to Cook County Board President Todd Stroger, both of their terms in office has largely been seen as disastrous.

Still Illinois Republicans have to consider how Barack Obama looms large in state politics as he is seeking the Presidency. In fact since neither Blagojevich and Stroger is on the ballot this year who knows if they might have an impact on the state as we move closer to Election Day. It should be noted that they're also concerned about the negative ads that McCain has put out against Obama with the belief that it's not going to help them as the GOP is seeking to maintain their seats in the General Assembly.

Hmmm, is it inappropriate to mention a Con-Con in this post. Maybe it's a little late for that now, but perhaps the GOP should campaign not against two officer holders who currently aren't up for re-election. Instead to change the system that in some respects enables the stand-still of state government. Just a thought!

Thabo Mbeki to Zimbabwe to mediate new crisis

Mbecki having resigned the Presidency of South Africa recently is still in demand apparently. Now he has to mediate in another African nation of interest, Zimbabwe. What is he doing there?
President Robert Mugabe swore in two vice presidents Monday, having already said his party would control all key ministries, prompting condemnation from the European Union and pushing power-sharing talks to the brink of collapse.

With opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai having threatened to walk out of the talks, former South African President Thabo Mbeki was flying to Zimbabwe Monday to try to save the deal he originally brokered.
The European Union condemned Mugabe's unilateral move. British Foreign Secretary David Miliband said Europeans would "play no part in supporting a power grab by the Mugabe regime."

"It is important that there is an international united response that says that the results of the elections need to be respected and a power grab will not be respected," Miliband told reporters at EU talks in Luxembourg.
While Zimbabwe's politicians grapple with each other, half of the population — 5.1 million people — faces starvation, two-thirds of children are out of school and water shortages have led to deadly cholera outbreaks in three parts of the country, according to aid agencies.

Mbeki was flying to Zimbabwe on Monday afternoon after all parties called for his intervention, his spokesman Mukoni Ratshitanga said. Mbeki has been chief negotiator in the dispute that erupted after elections that gave Tsvangirai's party the most votes.

On Sept. 15, Mbeki persuaded the rivals to share power, with the opposition holding 16 Cabinet seats and Mugabe's party 15. But the two sides have yet to work out details of the new government, including which side would control which ministries.
What do you expect with a man who made it clear he wasn't going to lose his re-election? Now he doesn't seem like he's even willing to share power with his rivals. This shouldn't be a surprise to anyone should it?

Monday, October 13, 2008

Liberal Outrage: A Pro-McCain March In Manhattan


How exactly this behavior is supposed to help Sen. Barack Obama is eluding me at this moment. This is what I call very hostile opposition. It's almost as if Republicans or conservatives did something to them once upon a time. This would just as easily bother me if it was the other way around Republicans flippin' off and acting indignant towards marching Democrats with Obama signs. Surely that would get more press than this has.

Oh, BTW, Evan Coyne Maloney at Brain-Terminal discusses the latest meme that Republicans are getting more and more unhinged. Well this video that I showed was shot last month you might want to consider who is more unhigned and then wonder why that is.

Vid via Newsalert!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Another way of looking at this new CPS gay high school

Courtesy of Crimefiles who says:
I applaud the idea of a place where they kids can focus on their education without fear. Unfortunately what this really says is Chicago has surrendered to the fact that they can’t control violence in their schools.

That tells me that other kids will continue to be targets for juvenile criminals Chicago refuses to deal with. I can imagine the Gay school will also attract a number of straight students pretending to be gay just to escape extortion and sexual predators in problem schools.
If students are being harrased for any reason. There are fights in a school or anyother disrespect of other students at a school then solve that problem instead of creating another school effectively segregating a group of students. Shouldn't the Chicago Public School build a safe educational environment for all students?

Read this for some background and I've opined on this new Pride High School here on this blog as well.

10 (More) Reasons You're Not Rich

Something of interest that I found on Yahoo! today. Worth sharing and I want to get myself into this mindset:

You care what your car looks like: A car is a means of transportation to get from one place to another, but many people don't view it that way. Instead, they consider it a reflection of themselves and spend money every two years or so to impress others instead of driving the car for its entire useful life and investing the money saved.

You feel entitlement: If you believe you deserve to live a certain lifestyle, have certain things and spend a certain amount before you have earned to live that way, you will have to borrow money. That large chunk of debt will keep you from building wealth.

You lack diversification: There is a reason one of the oldest pieces of financial advice is to not keep all your eggs in a single basket. Having a diversified investment portfolio makes it much less likely that wealth will suddenly disappear.

You started too late: The magic of compound interest works best over long periods of time. If you find you're always saying there will be time to save and invest in a couple more years, you'll wake up one day to find retirement is just around the corner and there is still nothing in your retirement account.

You don't do what you enjoy: While your job doesn't necessarily need to be your dream job, you need to enjoy it. If you choose a job you don't like just for the money, you'll likely spend all that extra cash trying to relieve the stress of doing work you hate.

You don't like to learn: You may have assumed that once you graduated from college, there was no need to study or learn. That attitude might be enough to get you your first job or keep you employed, but it will never make you rich. A willingness to learn to improve your career and finances are essential if you want to eventually become wealthy.

You buy things you don't use: Take a look around your house, in the closets, basement, attic and garage and see if there are a lot of things you haven't used in the past year. If there are, chances are that all those things you purchased were wasted money that could have been used to increase your net worth.

You don't understand value: You buy things for any number of reasons besides the value that the purchase brings to you. This is not limited to those who feel the need to buy the most expensive items, but can also apply to those who always purchase the cheapest goods. Rarely are either the best value, and it's only when you learn to purchase good value that you have money left over to invest for your future.

Your house is too big: When you buy a house that is bigger than you can afford or need, you end up spending extra money on longer debt payments, increased taxes, higher upkeep and more things to fill it. Some people will try to argue that the increased value of the house makes it a good investment, but the truth is that unless you are willing to downgrade your living standards, which most people are not, it will never be a liquid asset or money that you can ever use and enjoy.

You fail to take advantage of opportunities: There has probably been more than one occasion where you heard about someone who has made it big and thought to yourself, "I could have thought of that." There are plenty of opportunities if you have the will and determination to keep your eyes open.
Might there be anything here someone would like to add to this list? Does this make any sense to you?

Friday, October 10, 2008

Political Science students meet with Provost

Well in a meeting with a fellow student we only drew maybe 5 or 6 students. Meeting with the school provost on Wednesday there were about maybe 20-25 students. It wasn't enough I thought because surely there would be more of us with issues regarding whether or not they'll graduate on-time. Indeed there had to have been more concern about what was going on with the department.

The main issue that was covered in this meeting was staffing.

Well there was a rehash over what happened to those professors who left. A clarification if you will about each individual professor's exit. It was better information that was had earlier. Some was no surprise at all.

In the case of one professor Dr. Davis, the Provost said that he believed that Davis had just decided it was time to go. In the Maroon Tiger he said that he had some issues, but according to the Provost, the professor was always discontented about something. It was just who he was, perhaps it was really nothing more to what happened to Dr. Davis other than he was old and he was ready to get on with the next thing. So he did.

He mentioned the Political Theory professor, Dr. Vaughn who apparently decided it was best for her career to move on since she was denied tenure. It was unfortunate since many liked her as a professor and according to many they believed she cared about her students. Something that many might complain is far and few with the college's faculty. It was with her that this whole crisis began to unravel.

Then there was this other professor Dr. Taqi. Well, ummm, the Provost said he had to be careful with that one. The basic rumor was officially confirmed that Taqi who is mostly a professor of International Studies couldn't prove he had the degrees he said he had. He went to a foreign university and well I understand that he had issues in getting his credentials in order. Well whatever happened he's no longer a professor at the college. The Poli. Sci. chair even said that Taqi didn't want to leave. I suppose Taqi had no choice in this matter.

Oh I should add, perhaps I mentioned this in an earlier post. The Provost met with us instead of the College President. It was said at first because of scheduling however it didn't sit well with those of us who were getting an agenda together because the President said he'll talk to the Political Science majors. For whatever reason the Provost was asked to talk to the students and it was good that he came and answered the questions to the best of his ability.

There were a lot of other issues to come out like finding new professors to fill these vacancies and what that should entail. Whether or not in filling these vacancies were their issues with resources especially in attracting professors to Morehouse and what that entailed. Indeed we talked about lax recordkeeping as far as grades by one departed professor. Especially important for juniors and seniors were whether or not they'll get the classes they need to graduate.

I like the selling points they use to attract people to teach at Morehouse. They want professors who are relatively young. Those who are largely in this to get paid are not going to teach at Morehouse. The selling point is that a prospective professor with contribute to the community and dare I say the world in teaching at an HBCU that is also all-male. Morehouse is the school of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. who made great contributions to the world. The point here is that there is more to teaching at Morehouse than getting paid perhaps there are other things that are and probably should be more satisfying than a paycheck.

They mentioned that at a school like say Harvard or Yale with their general size. Professors are generally expected to do research to support their teaching. They might have to publish more than they would have to at Morehouse. You still have to publish academic research as a Morehouse professor but the workload probably won't be as much as at larger institutions. Thus as a professor you have more time to teach if that's what you want to do.

In talking about attracting talent and especially acquiring resources to attract talent the Provost mentioned that there should be another Capital Campaign. The last one that ended maybe a year or two ago was not where it should be according to the Provost. He wishes the school become financially independent and not have to rely on benefactors. He said that what worked in the 1950s & 60s just doesn't work anymore. In addition to attracting new talent he hopes that the school might be able to support those students who are struggling to pay for matriculation at Morehouse.

Some students had questions regarding courses they have to take over at Spelman College. Morehouse is on the three-credit system while Spelman is on the four credit system. If you are trying to pack it in at 18 hours as it common here and then you register for a course at Spelman you will go over by one credit hour. That's over load territory beyond 18 credit hours. The Provost indicated that he might see if they can work something out where that money that would otherwise pay for that extra hour could be credited towards next semester's tuition and fees.

It should be mentioned that there were two candidates who interviewed for the political theory professorship. Both had declined for whatever reasons they may have had. Whether that is for financial reasons or even concern about relocation. In one instance the Provost mentioned that it sounded like a miscommunication. On who's part is another question but they would have negotiated with this professor except that at some point the candidate just cut off negotiations and decided not to teach at Morehouse. Although for theory courses there will be an instructor next semester. There are none currently taught this semester because of the staffing shortage.

It was mentioned that Political Science is the 2nd largest major at Morehouse. We only have 6 professors on staff. Another student noted that since he's been at Morehouse there have been an average of 8 professors. He noted that other departments had more professors in their department than students majoring in that particular field.

To that the Provost said that some professor hadn't retired yet and some of this was need. If it was a science course you need instructors for the labs. In some instances once upon a time a certain field was hot but then eventually reality caught up and said department wasn't getting the enrollment it once had. Those professors left over hadn't retired yet. So thus they're still under contract to teach.

Another point is that Morehouse has a reputation. Sometimes reality can catch up to that reputation, however, it takes time for that reputation to go down. Indeed reputations are hard to build up and just as hard to pull down. Perhaps staffing shortages at Morehouse and other structural problems might prove to be a problem but the reputation isn't likely to suffer. He also noted that this is what drove many students to come to Morehouse, the reputation.

Anyway there are a lot things covered here. Hopefully the news won't be more explanation it will be progress. Perhaps by the end of the year there will be more good news for students. I hope so.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Race riot sculpture to be unveiled Saturday

Springfield, Illinois is doing more to remember the 1908 Race Riots. This story from the State Journal Register:
A miniature monument commemorating the 100th anniversary of the 1908 Springfield Race Riot will be unveiled at 4 p.m. Saturday during the Illinois NAACP’s 72nd annual state convention at the President Abraham Lincoln Hotel & Conference Center.

The monument is a replica of a larger sculpture created by Peoria artist Preston Jackson that should be installed in February at Union Square Park, according to Ken Page, president of the Springfield branch of the NAACP.

It will depict two ends of a burnt-out home, representing one of dozens destroyed by mobs that attacked black businesses and homes during two days of rioting that killed seven people.

The rioting led to formation of the NAACP.

The miniature will be displayed instead of the larger monument because changes made to it have postponed its installation at the park, Page said.

“The original (monument) will be bronze, and the miniature will be the exact replica of it,” he said. “It will not depict violence in the sense people will relate to (the riots). It’s a monument, and it’s dedicated to that event, but it doesn’t necessarily depict that event.”
If you want to know more about these race riots the Illinois Channel aired a program about the race riots. You can check it out here. Other programs were aired recently but I just have to check to see if they've been archived.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

More about this "pledge line"

Regarding the video that I had posted on Saturday with some young men or I suppose boys in a black fraternity like pledge-line that was seen on YouTube over the weekend. Here's some more info that was brought to my attention:
A middle school teacher in Missouri was suspended Monday for putting a video on YouTube of his students chanting lines from Barack Obama speeches and wearing military fatigues. The video, called "Obama Youth -- Junior Fraternity Regiment," was posted by a YouTube user named "keepitwildtv" on Oct. 2. The school learned the video was on the Internet and took action against the teacher Monday morning.
This teachers probably should have kept it on his own time yeah. Perhaps even avoided using students at his own school as well.

Monday, October 06, 2008

What Hamilton has wrought

I mentioned my friend from Missouri. He has a knowledge of American history not many people will have. He doesn't have a degree in History unfortunately, but if you've got a passion for history perhaps you don't need no stinkin' degree!

His research interest has been the Civil War and he can break down why the northern and southern regions of the nation came to blows by the 1860s. He sympathizes more with the South and it's not because of slavery. He knows the position the south was in during the years before the shots were fired on Fort Sumter.

In anycase he can also break down the early days of the American republic. He doesn't like Abraham Lincoln, but I wonder if he despises Alexander Hamilton more. When it was time to write a new US Constitution (this nation having been under the Articles of Confederation previously) he wanted a sort of lifetime king. Or a President elected for life let's just say one not much different than the British monarchy that America had just left. My old friend said that the other delegates at that 1787-89 Con-Con told him to STFU n00b and he never returned to deliberate.

That being said that didn't mark the end of his prominence as in a new administration under a new regime as underscored by the brand spanking new US Constitution he had his ideas as to how this nation should conduct itself as far as its financial system goes.

For this we look at an article from LewRockwell:
The great debate between Hamilton and Jefferson over the purpose of government, which animates American politics to this day, was very much about economic policy. Hamilton was a compulsive statist who wanted to bring the corrupt British mercantilist system – the very system the American Revolution was fought to escape from – to America. He fought fiercely for his program of corporate welfare, protectionist tariffs, public debt, pervasive taxation, and a central bank run by politicians and their appointees out of the nation’s capital.

Jefferson and his followers opposed him every step of the way because they understood that Hamilton’s agenda was totally destructive of liberty. And unlike Hamilton, they took Adam Smith’s warnings against economic interventionism seriously.

Hamilton complained to George Washington that "we need a government of more energy" and expressed disgust over "an excessive concern for liberty in public men" like Jefferson. Hamilton "had perhaps the highest respect for government of any important American political thinker who ever lived," wrote Hamilton biographer Clinton Rossiter.

Hamilton and his political compatriots, the Federalists, understood that a mercantilist empire is a very bad thing if you are on the paying end, as the colonists were. But if you are on the receiving end, that’s altogether different. It’s good to be the king, as Mel Brooks would say.

Hamilton was neither the inventor of capitalism in America nor "the prophet of the capitalist revolution in America," as biographer Ron Chernow ludicrously asserts. He was the instigator of "crony capitalism," or government primarily for the benefit of the well-connected business class. Far from advocating capitalism, Hamilton was "befogged in the mists of mercantilism" according to the great late nineteenth century sociologist William Graham Sumner. 
Does this mean that the idea to bailout big business was largely Hamilton's idea. Like we're doing right now for Wall-Street after they made their bad loans and invested in these portfolios that turned out to be bad news. Another thing you might hear about especially if you listen to Congressman Ron Paul is debt. Hamilton believed in debt:
In a lengthy "report" to Congress on the topic of the public debt Hamilton said that "a national debt, if it is not excessive, will be to us a public blessing." He would spend the rest of his life politicking for excessive government spending – and debt. The reason Hamilton gave for favoring a large public debt was not to finance any particular project, or to stabilize financial markets, but to combine the interests of the affluent people of the country – particularly business people – to the government. As the owners of government bonds, he reasoned, they would forever support his agenda of higher taxes and bigger government. (He condemned Jefferson’s first inaugural address and its minimal government message as "the symptom of a pygmy mind.") No wonder one historian entitled his book on Hamilton "American Machiavelli."

Wall Street financiers naturally took an immediate liking to Hamilton’s idea, and became the financial cornerstone of the Federalist Party (and later, the Whigs and Republicans). When Hamilton engineered the nationalization of the states’ debt as treasury secretary – something that was totally unnecessary since many states like Virginia had nearly paid off their war debts – the plan was to cash out much of the old debt at face value. This immediately became public knowledge in New York City, but the news spread ever so slowly to the rest of the country. Consequently, Hamilton’s friends and supporters from New York City and New England went on a mad scramble down the eastern seaboard, purchasing bonds from hapless war veterans (who had been paid in bonds) for as little as two percent of par value. Huge fortunes were made by these slick New York speculators. Robert Morris pocketed a nifty $18 million. John Quincy Adams wrote to his father that the wealthiest Federalist lawyer in Massachusetts made a huge fortune with this caper. Hamilton participated in this parade of plunder himself, but claimed that the profits he made were for his brother-in-law.

The link between Wall Street and the federal government was cemented into place later on, when investment banks took on the responsibility of marketing the government’s bonds, which of course they still do to this day. Thus, Wall Street investment bankers became inveterate lobbyists for any and all tax increases (on the rest of the population, anyway) to assure that their own principal and interest would be paid, and that they could promise their clients – the purchasers of government bonds – that the bonds were a good investment. They were corrupt from the very beginning. 

When Hamilton and George Washington led some 15,000 conscripts into Pennsylvania to enforce the hated whiskey tax, the purpose was not only to collect the tax and reassure bondholders, but also to send a message to any future tax resisters. The volunteer officers who led the conscripts were mostly "from the ranks of the creditor aristocracy in the seaboard cities," wrote Claude Bowers in Jefferson and Hamilton. (The rebellion succeeded, nevertheless. George Washington pardoned all of the tax protesters despite Hamilton’s hysterical opposition and his desire to hang all of them.)
And also he helped to start this idea of central banking in this country over a century before America had the Federal Reserve Bank:
Hamilton is also considered to be the founding father of central banking since America’s first central bank, the Bank of the United States (BUS), existed primarily due to his efforts as Treasury Secretary. As William Graham Sumner wrote in his biography of Hamilton, however, "[A] national bank . . . was not essential to the work of the Federal Government." The real purpose of Hamilton’s bank, Sumner believed, was "the interweaving of the interests of wealthy men with those of their government." And interweave it did, providing cheap credit to business supporters of the Federalist Party, attempting to engineer boom-and-bust cycles to influence elections (called "political business cycles" in today’s parlance) and even financing the political campaigns of BUS supporters. 

The BUS was a disaster for the general public, however; excessive money creating by the BUS printing press caused 72 percent inflation in its first five years, from 1791 to 1796. It became so unpopular that its twenty-year charter was not renewed, but then the War of 1812 gave it a new life, and it was resurrected in 1817. It immediately caused the Panic of 1819, and did what all central banks have always done: generated boom-and-bust cycles for the next twenty years. The bursting of the housing bubble in our time is the latest example of this hoary tradition.


To be sure I'm not totally up on my economics, but is it not safe to say if debt isn't good for us everyday folks then why is it good for government. At the end of the day, Government debt isn't good for those of us who's taxes are going towards this debt. Ideally this should be common sense.

What do you think out there?

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Check out this "pledge line"


Almost evokes images of some of the crossings I've seen since I've been to school in the AUC. I almost thought they were Omegas because of the gold boots they were wearing.

I wonder what's up with having a "pledge" line of boys between the ages of 12 to 17 to announce their praises of Obama. Would this be appropriate to indoctrinate these young people in such a way? Should they credit Obama for their big dreams?

Think about it, I thought about entrepreneurship way before Obama. Yeah I'm much older now, but surely these young men had someone to talk about these things with them. Entrepreneur, doctor, lawyer, engineer, automotive technician, doesn't matter.

I've seen this vid a lot this morning. Check out this video's YouTube page this vid caused some drama because this was at a school. It's not exactly clear to me if it's a public school or a charter school. All the same this is scene as a form of propaganda using impressionable young people.

Check out Instapundit, Newsalert, and Atlas Shrugs. They're looking at this as a form of propaganda. To be sure it is propaganda. Heh, Newsalert actually titled his post appropriately using the term fraterning in its title although it still emphasizes the paramilitary aspect of this display. One of the links on Instapundit to Confederate Yankee breaks it down further mentioning the performance known as "stepping".

Anyway does anyone have any thoughts? Do you think this is heaping praise or worship on a politician who many see as con-men?

Swept into next century

DAMN!!! I heard about this last night. Felt this disappointment even more as well. Well this has been brewing for the last two games. And there's always next year I suppose but it could have been this year!

Sun-Times:
It’s got to be the curses.

Not goats and black cats.

Just curses. Four-letter curses. Four-letter baseball.

That’s what this 100-year anniversary postseason looked like for the Cubs — from all those walks in Game 1, to all those errors in Game 2, to all those zeroes Saturday night in Game 3, until it was too late in a 3-1 elimination loss at Dodger Stadium.

They won’t admit that the drought or the so-called curse or anything else extraneous got in their heads or in their way of playing the game.

‘‘I don’t think it has anything to do with the 100-year thing,’’ manager Lou Piniella said after the game. ‘‘I think it has to do with the fact that this team in postseason doesn’t generate enough offense to win games.’’ But there’s no denying that these World Series-favored Cubs didn’t even get down to actually competing head-on in talent-vs.-talent baseball until sometime after the first inning Saturday night.

And by then it was too late.

The butterfly walks and anxious errors in the first two games put them in a hole they had little chance to escape. By the time it struck midnight back home, their magic season was a three-and-out pumpkin.

"We just didn't hit, you have to score runs," Piniella said. "We had opportunities and you have to take advantage of them. This is six games I've managed now in the postseason and we have scored just 12 runs. That doesn't get it done." Alfonso Soriano was one of the culprits in the offensive drought.

"We have the best team in the league, and we struggle in the playoffs," Soriano said. "We did not play good, like a team. That's the reason we didn't win."
I'm sure there are plenty of Cubs fans who are a little upset right now that the Cubs didn't play well and they take an early exit from the playoffs this year. Unfortunately we have next year to fall back on!

So how about those White Sox? Well they'll play today at the Cell with a 2-0 deficit against Tampa Bay in their ALDS.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Got camcorders on my mind

I bought a new camcorder well actually that was last Christmas sometime. The other camcorder I had, well I don't know if it was defective or not. The last year or two that I had it I couldn't get it to operate. Not even to attempt to digitize some tapes. That just means for the foreseeable future I won't buy a JVC camcorder.

Anyway I bought a basic Sony Camcorder not much different that the one you see in the first picture for this post. It's a MiniDV camcorder and for now it's not likely that I'll get the new rage at the moment which is a hard-drive camcorder. For my part though, I'm considering it.

Especially if it's for the right price and it's in High Definition (HD). Most of the camcorders I have seen that are HD cost over $1000. My only problem is with a hard-drive camcorder.

Should I trust shooting my video and then saving it to some internal media, especially to a hard-drive, and then risking that it could become deleted or lost in some way. That's why I prefer tapes and I could of course save my footage to DVD tapes and perhaps when I have that ability I would. Of course I heard once that attempting to upload and edit video from DVDs is difficult.

Right now I don't trust hard-drives camcorders. I prefer to save video footage not on the camcorder itself like I would on a digital camcorder but save it on some outside media such as tapes. Although it's great to see that there are other options like memory cards, I'm still not sold on the idea of storing video on an internal camera hard-drive.

What do you guys think? Can you provide a critique of Mini-DV or hard-drive camcorders? Do any of you have anything to add on DVD camcorders? And are HD camcorders worth their suggested retail-prices?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Democracy or Republic?

For a good while my friend from the sovereign state of Missouri can have some philosophical discussions. We might talk about society, race relations, economics, foreign affairs, or even systems of government. We especially talked a lot about the differences of a Republic or a Democracy.

He told me a definition of a Republic and he told me that the idea was written up in the Virgina and Kentucky Declarations. In those documents Republics were said to be a form of government where majority rules, however, there are minority rights protection. This was the idea of our Constitution to provide for a Republican form of government and allow for the protect of minorities.

I don't necesarily mean racial, ethnic, women, homosexuals or anybody like that. Perhaps it could be as simple as those groups or individuals who are largely at odds with where the mainstream is, especially politically. Such individuals have to be represented as well.

In saying this I know that it's very idealized. American hasn't always lived up to it's great purported promise, but then with all things that Americans are endowed or entitled to especially our inalienable natural rights we have to fight for them. Especially if it seems that a government that is supposed to guarantee its people their natural rights seems to have this great ability to deny them.

All the same we have one idea of what a Republic should be. Then what about Democracy? Is Democracy truly ideal where majority wills a direction for a governor or a society?

In the south, once upon a time, it was willed to keep blacks segregated. It was also willed that blacks get punished for crimes against whites while similar crimes portrayed by whites against blacks were treated with slaps on the wrists. The point I want to make is that it can become a slippery slope.

I saw this page today courtesy of the website for Illinois Democrats for which I'm not sure it's the official site for the Illinois Democratic Party. There was this link to a page for Conservative Democrats. Then another page that sought to explain the differences between a Republic and a Democracy. I thought that they over simplified it. It almost sounded like they were throwing the whole classism card.

Does a Republic entail leading people? Does a Democracy entail serving the people? Could a Republic serve the people and could a Democracy lead the people? Would there be much of a difference?

When we elect people to represent us we do expect them to lead. At the same time as voters we do have expectations. What they are might vary from time to time but sometimes a leader shouldn't just go by public opinion alone.

A leader wouldn't serve the population if he/she just fell in with popular opinion. Especially if it could have disastrous results. At the same time a leader should follow public opinion especially if he/she isn't serving the public's best interest by pursuing a policy against the public's best interest.

It's certainly a fine line between leading vs. serving the people. Perhaps it's correct to say there is an art to this and that if you went to that Republic or Democracy page I would hope some of us recognize that it's not that simple.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Tribute to WGN-TV's Merri Dee

I remember the days when WGN had a community calendar announcing the various events around the city during commercial breaks. I heard the old lady was retiring and WGN gives her a send-off. There were quite a few things I didn't know.

Her life wasn't all glamorous. Experienced things that I hope I never do. Especially being shot by an assailant who later claimed that she's the reason he can't find a job. Of course, there is one thing to say for that. Don't commit the crime!

Anyway I think you'll enjoy this vid.

Tuskegee Airman eager to share story

A little history lesson for those of us reading this blog who wasn't able to live this history from today's Sun-Times:
The colonel asked Lt. Quentin Smith to agree he would not enter the officers' club or swimming pool after 5 p.m.

The recreational facilities at the Army Air Force's Freeman Field in Indiana were for white officers only. Smith is black.

And what if Smith refused?

"Are you familiar with the 64th Article of War?" he was asked.

The offense? Ddisobedience of an order. The penalty? Death.

It was World War II, and Smith was one of the "Tuskegee Airmen," the nation's first black military pilots. They came from all over the country to train in the "military experiment, which was headquartered in Tuskegee, Ala.

Smith, a resident of Gary, Ind., and fellow former Tuskegee pilots Robert Martin and Shelby Westbrook are planning to share their experiences breaking the color barrier -- and the discrimination they endured -- Thursday evening at Pritzker Military Library, 610 N. Fairbanks Court.

"The policy of the military when we came in was blacks can't lead, blacks can't fight, and they most certainly cannot fly combat planes," Smith said. "That meant that 99 percent of all blacks were either digging ditches, working in the kitchens, or in home and supply."

Smith, Martin and Westbrook will be interviewed by broadcast journalist John Callaway. Entry is free to the event, which will be broadcast live online.
The part I placed in bold. Are you kidding me? Most of the people I have met knew how to fight. We've been fighting in this nation's wars since the American Revolution and the US military of the 1940s say we couldn't fight?

Is it that black just didn't have the privilege to play soldiers? Especially given the minor fact that some early gun control legislation was designed to keep blacks from owning weapons. It's probably somewhat safe to say that they didn't want any Negroes to dare defend themselves from either a lynching or harrasment!

Sorry for the rant. I wasn't around back then, but I do know that the Tuskegee Airmen broke true barriers. Progress was slow and I would say still slow, but at least the military isn't segregated anymore. At least blacks will have the same opportunities as any body else who joins the military.

Now to figure out where to watch this event online since I'm so out of town I won't be able to make this one.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

This I remember

Happened back in 1994. An 11-year-old child already involved with gangs was murdered very young by a couple of pitiful young men. Actually these young men were brothers aged 14 & 16 respectively.

I call them pitiful because I recall their pictures. They didn't look happy or at least had any great direction in their life. The pitiful part came from my mother, that's what she called them. It's unfortunate really.

Now back then I didn't know as much about this little boy as I do now. He was born to a crack addict mother and I have to ask once again where's daddy. Did his dad care whether he existed? Would his dad have know where he was? All the same he was abused sent to his grandmother, whose home got incredibly crowded with as many as 19 children living at home with her on some occassions.

He was 8 when he started stealing cars and breaking into houses. At 11 years old he was either too young for juvenile detention, but too dangerous to be left with kids his own age. He became a bully towards the residents and the children of the Roseland neighborhood extorting money from them. He had already racked up 23 felonies and 5 misdemeanors running errands for street gangs.

The day that made him a name know in Chicago was the day he shot a 15-year-old because he declared that he wasn't in a gang. This shooting was said to have left this young man paralyzed. Then he had the misfortune at shooting at some rival gang members. Unfortunate he hit an innocent 14-year-old girl who in a few weeks (this was August 1994) was about to start her first year of high school.

Police were looking for this boy. The Black Disciples were shuttling him around to keep him away from the police. There was still some fear that he would eventually talk to the police. He was executed under a viaduct.

From that Wiki article I found, I went on thru to this Time article. This kid didn't have a chance. His mother was messed up, and I read thru to see that his father had his issues and eventually found himself in jail. And dear old grandmother well Sandifer called her mama and his actual mother by her first name. Unfortunately social workers didn't have much faith in "Mama" either. Grandmother had her own issues.

One could conclude that this kid was doomed. Could he have gotten some help before he committed the crime of murder or attempted murder? Is it possible that he could have lead a normal life despite his background?

I don't know, but I would like to think that at 11 years old he had some time to turn some things around in his life.

If this brief blurb didn't tell you enough you can watch this vid as well