Saturday, January 31, 2009

Morehouse strikes again!

Heh, Friday afternoon I went to my religion class and heard rumblings from fellow classmates that a new instructor was assigned to the course. Mind you the semester is still in its earliest weeks and we've already had several sessions with our earlier instructor.

This reminded me of a time before I transferred to Morehouse. I was in my first year at the City Colleges when it seemed the instructor for our Social Science course just wouldn't show up. We signed in for one class session but didn't attend and then we had a class session with a substitute.

We finally got our assigned instructor probably the second week of class. He handed out syllabi and everything. He outlined everything he expected from us in the course, but the next class period we got a new instructor and he would take over for the rest of the course.

Unlike yesterday in religion, there was no explanation for that change at that time. Although perhaps thinking about what happened when we attempted to go to class and find that our instructor wasn't in to conduct his class, perhaps administration was tired of him and sent him on him way. If I recall correctly that was the last time that happened until yesterday.

To put some things into perspective, I found this article via The Maroon Tiger. Morehouse is chafing somewhat under this sputtering econony.  Enough so that the college's President wants to hold an emergency townhall meeting to hopefully explain how Morehouse is doing under this economy.

This not a big deal to me. The new professor seems OK and I look forward to his lectures. The previous instructor well no offense I'm sure he's a good man, but I had concerned about him. Many of my fellow classmates seemed to talk about him like he's a bit funny. They say he will hold a grudge and take it out on your grades. I was a little concerned about that.

That's not to say I'm not happy about this change. It was very sudden with little or no notice. And indeed wouldn't it be more prudent to make any assigned teaching changes before the semester instead of after it begins?

In any case our new instructor came to class and gave us more of a breakdown. He says he's not happy about it himself. Our new professor is a full-time faculty member while our old instructor was a part-time adjunct. Because Morehouse is having their financial issues the college decided that they wanted to have full-time faculty carry more courses and cut back those courses taught by adjuncts. He also said 500 fewer students have returned this semester.

You know that number seems small but the college at best has at least four thousand students attending school at this illustrious institution. At least 500 fewer students returning for the spring term is certainly significant. It won't hurt a school that has over ten thousand students!

In any case that was the reason for the change it was a financial measure. And the new professor knows his stuff and no knocks against the old one. I think he did a good job so far I might miss him because with this new one, I would have to do a 5 to 8 page essay. With the other professor the least I can do is work on chapter outlines and interview religious leaders in addition to taking exams.

They also mentioned that full-tike faculty had raises, perhaps cost of living raises, that weren't supposed to go into effect until this month. The new professor joked that this raise isn't going to help the employees much right now.

Anyway after discussing briefly what happened, why it happend, and how he felt about the problem we eased right into a discussion about religion. We have no syllabus from the new professor, but he outlined some of his expectations. He said no questions related to religion are off limits and the questions flowed and the discussed flowed from there.

Still it would be nice if a teaching change wasn't necessary almost two or so weeks into a term. I very much hope that Morehouse can right it's financial house soon.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Second guessing Rod

I was watching CNN when the vote to impeach was affirmed via an electronic vote. When it came down unanimous the talking heads on that network started to second guess whether or not he should've really put up a defense in the state Senate.

There have been two schools of thought on this.

For one I thought it was dumb for him to boycott his own impeachment trial and engage on a media tour. He did say last month he was going to fight this until he takes his last breath and also insists that he's done nothing wrong. So why didn't he just put up a bit more of a defense and place himself under oath on a witness stand or at the very least presented some evidence that he's done nothing wrong.

Now some will say he probably made the right decision by going on his media tour. He could garner sympathy and public support. If he couldn't get it from his former allies in the state Senate or in his own state then he could take his own show on the road. There are others who might say he could poison his own jury and that might either get him acquitted or maybe a hung jury. Of course they also say that when the Blagojevich case finally hits trial, his media tour to New York will be a memory.

Well it's safe to say his visit to the state Senate yesterday was too little too late. Perhaps that was the trouble with his entire Governorship, he wouldn't talk to his own legislature or at least wouldn't spend enough time in Springfield to drum up support for those issues he talked up in front of them yesterday (health care, education, prescription drugs, etc.). I think his relationship with the General Assembly did him in as much as anything he could have possibly said on those wiretaps. Of course if it wasn't for those wiretaps would he ever have been removed yesterday?

Bye Rod!


I'm sure this has been discussed a lot somewhere since Blagojevich was re-elected back in November 2006. I have been pondering this issue since Blagojevich was arrested last month.

Let's consider the parallels between ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich and ex-Governor Eliot Spitzer of New York. You know the guy who led the charge against prostitution, but his downfall was caused by him getting it on with prostitutes.

Both seemed to have been very temperamental. Blago and Spitzer held grudges and it carried on when it came to budgets and legislation. Let's not forget this whole "f*cking steamroller" comment by Spitzer to a Republican leader in NY's state legislature. The funny part was Republicans only held a majority in one house of their legislature.

In the case of Blagojevich, Democrats controlled both house of the legislature. As time when on Blagojevich couldn't even get along with his own party. It should have told you something when he kicked his own father-in-law to the curb, the man who helped him get to the dance in the first place. Also note that Blago almost fell into fisticuffs with a member of the Democratic caucus over a budget proposal back in 2007.

Spitzer as noted didn't get along well with his legislature, but one has to remember that he was only Governor for shortly over a whole year. He didn't have time to develop a relationship with the legislature although what he did have was horrible. On the other hand Blago had six years to develop a better relationship with the General Assembly and it doesn't look like he'll get one.

This week I've seen articles where Blagojevich's mental state was questioned. In fact one could accuse him of having narcissistic personality disorder. I wonder if they have anything on Spitzer's state of mind.

You know at least Blagojevich had an ally in the State Senate. And they warred with the State House, all members of the same party and it was almost as if they had something to prove. Emil Jones wanted to prove he was a big shot with Blagojevich, unfortunately it was all to the detriment of the state.

Still the important issue here is temperament. One can't run around sanctimonious and unwilling to compromise on key issues especially if you're not the only one who can make decisions on issues of policy. One can't be upset that people won't get on board on issues of policy.

Of course I can say one thing about Spitzer. Mr. Spitzer was quickly able to give it up when he was caught. There was really no such luck with Rod Blagojevich.

Impeachment special

Yesterday we saw the end of a Governorship. I really didn't think it would happen in this fashion and as quickly as it had. It just goes to show, how bad the political establishment wanted Blagojevich gone!

I followed as much of yesterday's proceedings as I could. Barring the fact that I had to be in class today. I missed most of the opening argument of the state House prosecutor and I saw most of the Governor's closing statement.

It was a rant and it reeked of just another campaign speech by the Governor. To me it seemed like he wanted to continue campaigning. Of course that may be part of the problem. Instead of solving the important problems of the state he seeks to look for the next major accomplishments that will look good on campaign literature.

Unfortunately for the Governor his last ditch effort was later met with a 59-0 vote that was in favor of his removal from office and barring him from ever running for office again in Illinois. Wow! What a way to go out!

As a matter of fact the next post today will take a look at his temperament. I make a comparison between him and another former Governor, Eliot Spitzer! Besides a good question that should come out of it is that what if he had a less combative approach with the state legislature.

In any case, Illinois is now under Pat Quinn today. I wish him the best of luck because he has to face serious problems that the previous Governor failed to solve. Hence this graphic I created. He worked fast to remove Blagojevich's images and name off the state of Illinois website. He may have wortk to do to remove Blago's name off of state signs.

Thursday, January 29, 2009 Aims New Ad at African-Americans

I found this on January 20th, the day of Obama's inauguration. They just discussed this on the O'Reilly Factor with the idea that this was a brilliant ad. I also understand that this also aired on BET on the day of Obama's inauguration.

Anyway, I don't know how anyone who reads this blog feels about the issue of abortion, however, this is great towards the man group whom this blog is largely aimed at, Blacks. So I show this ad here, and I hope someone out there has an opinion.

This morning, a national grassroots group dedicated to educate and inspire Catholic voters, will take its pro-life message directly to an audience that has been ravaged by abortion policies in the United States. has created a new television commercial supporting life and has purchased advertising time on BET, Black Entertainment Television, to air it. BET has dedicated much of its program content to covering the inauguration of President-elect Barack Obama. Industry analysis expects African-Americans to watch BET's coverage disproportionately to other news channels today.

Rather than extol the ad and the way it makes the subject relevant to the African-American community, you can see the ad below or visit for the HD version.

I'm thinking about posting this at the 6th Ward. This is already a touchy issue. I'm sure there are many black who are opposed to abortion, but I would like to see the prevailing opinion on this.

The 6th is definitely targeted towards a black audience, even if that audience is largely a neigborhood or city audience. This blog well it might be more Chicago-centric although I would like to seek out a much broader audience than that.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Charles Rangel and the Harlem Tax Revolt of ’09's Evan Coyne Maloney takes a brief trip to Rangel's district (Harlem) to interview some of his constituents to see if there is a tax revolt brewing up that way.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Now, embattled banks are taking it in the service fees

I remember a few years back when there was still a First Chicago Bank when it was big news that they were considering a charge for the use of tellers. Now I know those aren't the only fees that bank customers are concerned about, however, we see evidence of where these various fees are getting banking consumers.

So some financial institutions are seeing dwindling levels of what's known in the industry as "non-interest income," which includes ATM, overdraft and other customer service fees.

An example: Amcore Financial Inc. last week reported that non-interest income was $16.9 million, off 7 percent from the fourth quarter of 2007 and down 16 percent from the third quarter of 2008.

One chief reason: "Service charges have declined as customers started to curtail spending during the quarter," Judith Sutfin, chief financial officer of the Rockford-based bank, said in a conference call.

Specifically, Amcore's revenue related to ATM fees and overdraft charges were down.

Fifth Third saw its deposit service charges fall in the fourth quarter, citing a falloff on lower transaction volumes and debit card usage.

"The economy is very weak, not just in credit, but where consumer spending is important, such as deposit service charges," Fifth Third Chief Executive Kevin Kabat said last week.
This is certainly the time for belt tightening. Also I'm sure man companies recognize that they may have to cater even more to the concerns of consumers. Perhaps that means some fees have to be either cut or eliminated altogether.

Of course for that to happen it has to be feasible. Then again I don't work at these banks only they know if it's feasible to cut fees or eliminate fees.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

A NYC baker sells "Drunken Head Negro" cookies to honor Pres. Obama

I originally found this story here. In this story from New York's FOX station the baker here is unapologetic about his creation. He seems oblivious to the firestorm that comes his way. Later the baker realizes that he may have made these cookies in bad taste and ultimately apologizes for his misdeed.

I had to see the video for the follow up. There were people talking about boycotts and blowing up the man's phone. There was one call that you will hear in the follow-up story. Someone calls in to say that this bakery is going to burn. You know the cookies may be offensive, but I don't think one man's offensive creative is worth comitting arson!

Anyway check it out!

Governor loses one of his high powered attorneys

I have yet to see the press conference. In fact my laptop could be as goofy as Gov. Blagojevich's press conference on Friday, highlighting reasons why he thinks he's being singled out by Illinois' General Assembly. The legislative body that Barack Obama, himself was part of before he found himself as President of the United States.

It was also in the news Friday that Ed Genson, we saw him a lot when the state House convened a Special Investigative Committee to determine if there is enough cause for impeachment, is leaving the Governor's legal team. He even asked the panel if they would speak up for the Governor. No one spoke up for Blagojevich.

Anyway it appears that Genson has found himself fed up...
Gov. Rod Blagojevich's chief defense attorney announced Friday that he is bailing out of the fraud and bribery case against the governor, strongly hinting that his embattled client refused to listen to his advice.

"I never require a client to do what I say, but I do require them to at least listen," Edward M. Genson said. "I intend to withdraw as counsel in this case."
You know I was reading the Capitol Fax and here's one of the comments I ran across on that blog on Thursday...
I bet this happened: Genson finally told Blago in no uncertain terms that he had NO chance of winning a lawsuit and he wasn’t going to go along with any more of this nonsense. Blago did not want to hear that, so he’s thrown Genson under the proverbial bus; Adam, meanwhile, is still playing along with the gov’s delusions.
You should know Genson was somehow able to get R. Kelly off on charges of statuatory rape.

In any event if you read up on state politics in the past few years one of the many things that has come up is that no one can control this governor. I can only speculate that the Governor enjoys sycophants. People should only say what he wants to hear, even if what he wants to hear may be more detrimental to him than the more prudent advice.

Well that's only speculative, but perhaps, the Governor didn't like the advice offered by Ed Genson. When he realized that his collegues weren't on the same page as far as how to proceed with his upcoming impeachment trial.

This only underscores one main prediction, the Governor isn't going to be Governor in February! He's making it too easy on himself and he could hold as many self-serving press conferences he wants.

You know I posted the Blago "shame" pic on Twitter, then on Illinoize, and now I see it on the Capitol Fax, Bill Baar's West Side (in the sidebar), even the Windy Citizen where you can vote it up or down. Where else will I find it? You can always get the original here.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Yasmin's story

Yasmin Acree turned 16 back in October, however, she's still missing. In fact the Austin Weekly News says that it's been over a year since she disappeared from her Austin home. Where is she and what happened to her?
A year ago today, Rose Starnes was frantically wondering what happened to her 15-year-old daughter, Yasmin Acree, who disappeared from their Austin home the week earlier.

Last Thursday was the one-year anniversary of Yasmin's disappearance. The family believes she was kidnapped from their home, but Chicago Police can't say for sure. Yasmin turned 16 Oct. 25. Starnes believes Yasmin is still alive, perhaps being held against her will. Family and friends by habit talk about her in the present tense. The family would have thrown a party for Yasmin on her birthday, Starnes said, either at the Congress Parkway home or out at a restaurant. Yasmin loves to eat, her mother said.

Last Thursday, the family had a press conference at the 25th District Police Station at 5555 W. Grand to mark the year she's been gone. They were joined by law enforcement officials, clergy and community leaders. Yasmin's cousin, the Rev. Ira Acree of Greater St. John Bible Church, led the proceedings. They announced a $3,000 reward offered for any information leading to her whereabouts. Yasmin, the group pointed out, is among the nearly 1 million children who go missing each year.

"It's hard but we get along," said Starnes on a Sunday morning in the family's living room. "This one year has been hard because we're nowhere close then where we were in the beginning. We don't know any more then when she came up missing."
The story has been getting some national attention however:
In October, her story appeared on the Maury Povich Show that featured missing children and on America's Most Wanted in December. Producers from the Povich show filmed at the family's home. Yasmin's room, which is in the basement, hasn't changed that much, except for a new bed spread. About a dozen stuffed animals are on the bed. Yasmin's gym shoes are resting on a stool. Her salutatorian plague and trophy for winning an essay contest while at May Elementary School where she was an academic scholar sits on the window sill. Yasmin talked about becoming a fashion designer or a model, and sometimes talked about college.
Some more details:
It was Tuesday evening, Jan 15, 2008 when Yasmin was last seen. She went to school that day at Austin Polytech Academy on the Austin High School campus, 231 N. Pine, then to the Austin YMCA, 501 N. Central, after school where she was part of a mentoring program. Her teachers at May school, where Yasmin graduated in 2007, recruited her for the program. Yasmin spent time with her mentor that Tuesday before heading home that evening. Family members saw her. They said she washed clothes in the basement before going to bed. She was gone the next day and hasn't been seen since.
One question that came up here and will come up in cases of other missing black people is whether or not this case is being covered by the media. Indeed the families of missing loved ones might ask if their loved one is being ignored in favor of more privileged or caucasian missing people.

Either way I'm sure the word is spread about Yasmin so let's spread it some more! Let's hope that she can be found alive and safe!

Previous post: Missing teen's family presses Chicago cops

Friday, January 23, 2009

Obama and Black Pride

From a man, who's commentaries haven't been seen on this blog in a while, The Southern Avenger. What is Obama's effects on Black America.

Looks like we know who will own the Cubs

Heh at the article headline, "Cubs sale magic number: 1" from the Tribune:
The Chicago Cubs and their storied legacy of losing are set to change hands, with the billionaire Ricketts family emerging as the favored bidder to buy the team from Tribune Co. for a landmark price of $900 million.

The family, which has Chicago connections but made its fortune building a discount stock brokerage in Omaha, confirmed Thursday night that it has been selected by Tribune Co. to begin exclusive negotiations to buy the team, Wrigley Field and a 25 percent stake in Comcast SportsNet, a regional cable network.

Sources put the value of the bid at about $900 million. That works out to $9 million for each season since the team's last World Series title in 1908.

"My family and I are Cubs fans," Tom Ricketts, the family's point person in the Cubs purchase, said. "We share the goal of Cubs fans everywhere to win a World Series and build the consistent championship tradition that the fans deserve."

Tribune Co.'s selection of the Ricketts' bid culminates a nearly two-year auction process that was complicated by the global financial crisis and, more recently, the media company's bankruptcy filing. But the deal isn't sealed yet.

The family will have to hammer out a final agreement with Tribune Co. and secure financing amid the worst credit markets since the Depression. Once a contract is inked, the deal must be approved by 23 of Major League Baseball's 30 owners. Cubs officials have said they hope to have the new owners in place by the start of the season in April.
Let me just diverge from the main idea here.

I look forward to seeing what the probably new owners would do for the Cubs. The Tribune Company hasn't entirely been bad owners because they were able to get the Cubs into post-season play. Even under their ownership the Cubs were closer to the World Series than they had been since maybe 1945.

Let's not neglect that the Cubs made their first appearance in post-season play in 1984. Of course in those days if you one a divison title you were only one-step away from the World Series. By 2003, if you win a division title you only take two-steps towards the World Series. With the Tribune Company we've had some exciting years, especially in this decade.

BTW, I want to talk about the Wrigley's. I really wonder what happened. The Wrigley family owned the Chicago Cubs before the Tribune bought them in the 1980s. I don't know when the family bought the Cubs but the Wrigley's weren't about to get much out of the Cubs. Maybe some World Series appearances up until 1945, but not much beyond that. I should note the Wrigleys owned the chewing gum brand.

You know I don't really talk about sports here. On the other hand the most compelling story about sports to me is the business side. Why do some teams do well and other don't? What makes one team more marketable than another? Why are some teams hotter properties whether or not they win or lose?

I follow this more intently than what happens on the court, field or ice. If I was a sports owner my goal would not only be to win, but also to make as much money as I can. Of course some owners may have the money is no object approach while others might penny pinch and they're probably the ones who'll less likely become winners.

Also related is this column by the Tribune's Rick Morrisey: "Now's not time for new Cubs owners to start thinking outside the suggestion box".

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Cubs favoring one bidder for team: source

Well an update from the post I wrote last night about the Cubs from Reuters:
Bidding for the Chicago Cubs baseball team is being narrowed down, with one of the three remaining proposals a favored bid, a source familiar with the situation said on Thursday.

It was unclear which of the three bidders has been selected. However, the source said groups led by Tom Ricketts, chief executive of Chicago investment bank Incapital LLC and the son of the founder of TD Ameritrade Holding Corp.; and Marc Utay, a managing partner with New York-based private equity firm Clarion Capital Partners LLC, have moved ahead of Chicago real estate executive Hersh Klaff.

Tribune Co, which owns the Cubs, has wrestled with the differences in the bids submitted by Ricketts and Utay, whose group includes Leo Hindery, who heads a private equity firm and previously ran YES Network, the TV channel of the New York Yankees baseball team, three sources familiar with the process said. Ricketts' bid includes more cash up front, while Utay's offers a higher overall value.

One source said Ricketts appeared to be the favored bidder, but that could not be confirmed.
Bring it on. Let's end this whole era where the Cubs have been for sale for how long now? Two or so years? I want to see the brand new start so let's bring it on!

More fun with Obama posters - respect edition

The website is still there and just a little hat-tip of respect for the man who took the oath on Tuesday to become President of the United States.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Chicago Cubs Economy

If it's not hockey I take a great interest in it's baseball assuming that I can sit at home to watch almost three hours of balls, strikes, double plays, and other assorted events in baseball. I also am intently following the sale of the Chicago Cubs. I understand that the sale might be announced this week.

However, let's see what Forbes has to say about the Cubs:
The Tribune Company is to announce the buyer of the Chicago Cubs baseball team this week. The short list is Chicago businessman Tom Ricketts, Chicago real estate investor Hersch Klaff and New York private-equity investor Marc Utay, according to a reporter at the Chicago Tribune, who must have, um, pretty good sources. Hope (or is it a goat) springs eternal for Cubs fans, now 100 years since a championship.

The only reason I bring this up is that Mark Cuban, famous hedger of Yahoo! shares after selling his company, owner of the Dallas Mavericks basketball team, frequent finee by NBA commissioner David Stern (another $25,000 last week!) explained a couple of weeks ago on his terrific site, why he wasn't a finalist for the Cubs. Inadvertently, or maybe blatantly, he gives the greatest explanation of today's asset values and what has gone wrong with the U.S. economy.

"I never thought it conceivable that it would be hard to spend a billion dollars on a sports team. In this case it was. Add me to the list of people who never want to participate in this type of sales process again. I tried every trick I knew to try to get them to commit to me. ... You name the trial close, I went for it. But I couldn't close them."
So Cuban isn't going to own the Chicago Cubs? :(

Well not surprised because this has been rumored for a while now. Yeah there is a credit crunch that is hampering the sale of the Cubs in addition to Sam Zell's willingness to maximize his own profits. That drive of course is said to cause him to have more of an ownership stake than he would like. Especially since there is a credit crunch.

Here's more:
So, and here's where I differ with Mark, if you pay $1 billion, my guess is that it's more of a trophy than a business. I doubt it made all that much economic sense as a multiple of cash flow and profits. The greater fool theory is invoked. Like that stretch house--make the payments and hope it's worth more in five years and someone else will pay you more.

Cuban goes on: "Then the credit crisis hit and hit hard."

Oops. My guess is no bank would be willing to lend against existing cash flows, and it would be hard to increase cash flows.

"All of the sudden, what seemed like a sane business decision, didn't seem so sane any longer." The sanity being the banks taking most of the risk? "In particular, the financial participations I had been discussing with my bankers were for shorter-term loans. Just refinance at the end of the term ... except it no longer seemed like a safe bet that I could refinance in a few years ... for better or worse, the banks were getting worried about staying in business and the idea of matching the asset to the term wasn't something they were ready to do ..." Meaning the Cubs were going to be around for another 100 years, so how about at least a 10 or 20-year term on the loan.

So, fair to say, the Cubs are no longer worth $1 billion. Same team, same cash flows, more or less. Yeah, advertising will be down, but not by that much. It's just that without financing, the same identical underlying asset is worth much less!
It hit me that there is still an opportunity for Cuban to own the Cubs. I don't think it's outlined in the piece, however, one way to own a baseball team is to latch onto an ownership group looking for partners. If Cuban is lucky he might be able to outright but the team from his fellow partners. Of course that could take some time.

Onto the last paragraph of this piece...
Something will get the Cubs, er, the economy back towards the World Series--an opposite field hitter, speed on the bases, long relief, who knows. Will it take a stimulus package/New York Yankees $209 million payroll? I doubt it. The trick is to get as quickly as possible to rational pricing. What is something worth with normalized profits and cash flow? That's what forms market bottoms and gets bankers lending again. If someone overpays for the Cubs now, Mark Cuban may have another chance at them.
I still hope Cuban can get the Cubs. The odds against involve the resistance of Major League Baseball. I see Cuban as a proven winner, even if he wasn't able to bring an NBA title to Dallas. He can build a winner, and probably bring more crowds to Wrigley Field.

Well we'll see. I eagerly await a change in team ownership with hopes that perhaps the Cubs will make it to a World Series!

Via Instapundit

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A nice little graphic

A nice little graphic that I found today. New York Times highlighting their coverage of the Obama inauguration.

The Obama team in their campaign has certainly some uncoventional campaign art. I don't think political art will ever be the same again. It should be something that's imitated by a number of political creative teams.

Saw the Oath and inauguration speech

A lot of good notes and it kept my attention. I was supposed to be at least 15 minutes and it hit a lot of good American values. He talks up the many things that make our nation great. Especially mentioning the important issues of war, heath care, education and energy.

When Itzack Pearlman was playing his musical number at about Noon EST, Wolf Blitzer on CNN announced that at Noon Barack Obama became the President of the United States. It was sometime after 5 mins past when it was time to administer the Oath to Barack Obama. Had no idea that it was official after Noon on Inauguration day with or without the Oath of office.

I also enjoyed the rendition of My Country Tis of Thee by Aretha Franklin just before Vice-President Joe Biden took his oath. This day was certainly a festive occasion with America inaugurating the first African-American President. Or I prefer the term black!

I was in Douglass Hall on the Morehouse campus to watch the inauguration. I was largely in my dorm to see the lead-up to that moment. I was largely watching the live feed from C-Span and ABC News on my roommates HD-TV. The cafeteria was decorated in patriotic regalia with stars, bunting, and even Uncle Sam's Patriotic Hat.

Douglass Hall was packed there were reporters there. A camera from a local TV station and when I left there was a reporter there ready to make a report with his microphone. There was another man with his notepad from Dow Jones. I saw his identification and there were Morehouse staff who were there with their consumer point-and-shoot cameras and camcorders. Also there were people there recording the proceedings on their smartphones.

When Obama was introduced there was applause but some on the staff made us stand for him anyway. We may not have been there but they said we should still give him his respect and that we shouldn't take this moment for granted. America's first black President.

It was pandemonium on Election Night today was more sedate. Yeah people were happy about Obama for whatever their reasons are, but it was a bit more dignified at Douglass. Indeed I heard on TV the Obama chants, but not as much as there were for Obama during his campaign speeches.

When the oath was administered, the President seemed to flub his lines a little. Perhaps he was a little nervous. I think I would be too even if I really wanted to be President. Execute the office of President faithfully, he said at one point.

In any event this day is over. The anticipation is over. People get to see this moment in person whether they're excited about a Black President or they really believe in President Obama.

I almost forgot that was a great prayer by Rick Warren today! A lot allusion to the difficult road of Black Americans. Mention of Obama's roots as the son of an African immigrant and to the past of segregation and racism and slavery.

Oh one more tidbit. The TVs in Douglass was set to three different channels. I was watching a TV set for MSNBC, C-Span, and CNN. While I was watching the TV set to MSNBC, I was actually listening to audio from CNN. It was easier to just listen and see the lips move in slow sync to the audio. LOL!

Why is this Obama's moment?

When I went to bed last night I pondered this.

Why couldn't it have been Shirley Chisolm, Jesse Jackson, Alan Keyes, Al Sharpton, or even Carol Moseley Braun?

To be sure Shirley Chisolm isn't the first Black person to run for President. Whoever that first person was is probably a bit more obscure. We'd have to actually look to find that answer to that trivia question.

But yeah what made Obama different than those other individuals? Could his election have happened four years ago, eight, 12, 16, 20, 40, 60 years ago?

One main reason this couldn't have happened so many years ago is because perhaps America wouldn't be very willing to election a person who isn't a WASP as President. Of course not all of our Presidents are WASPs as we've had Presidents of Dutch or German descent in addition to an Irish Catholic.

To be sure John F. Kennedy followed the historic candidacy of Al Smith who himself was a Catholic who ran for President back in 1928. The question could go for President Kennedy as well, could he have been elected back in 1928 instead of 1960?

I can accept that America wasn't ready for a Catholic or a Black President. I can accept that people had their prejudicial views of those groups and others as well.

I can also accept that the stars was lined up in Obama's favor. An opposing candidate who largely faltered, Obama's charisma that enable people to have confidence in him. Even if he may not have had any experience as far as running any government or organization. He had something that drew people to him.

Either way I can only theorize as to why he's getting his moment in history while all the other individuals mentioned herein aren't. I should add those other individuals well, they've had qualities that I do admire and some of them, well, don't have qualities that wouldn't give me confidence in their governance.

All the same, I look forward to seeing these next four years. Uncertainty didn't allow me to cast a ballot for President Obama. Hopefully the Obama presidency will be a memorable one not for its historical significance, but for what he does during this period of time!

Obama inauguration special

By the time I post this, Obama shall have made his oath and inauguration speeches to become the 44th President of the United States.

That being said a lot of hoopla has been made of his significance. It seems there are those who can't talk about Obama without talking about Dr. Martin Luther King. Those who wanted to see this day have made their plans since the President first got elected.

I wrote on Election Eve that I was sick of waiting and the anticipation. The campaign season lasted too long and let's just bring it on and see who can pull it out. Honesty I had an idea who would win, but uncertainly over the actual winner. Obama wouldn't have been a surprise, but the surprise was how overwhelmingly he was elected. People on Election Night were VERY excited, especially on the campuses of the Atlanta University Center.

That being said the excitment has translated to today. I wish I knew how many is actually in Washington to watch this historic moment. On NBC News last night an elderly man who was said to have spent his life picking cotton was overwhelmed with emotion to see a Black President. Often my thoughts wonder if such people are making too much of this moment.

Let me just say when I was in the 8th Grade, I made a pronouncement that I wanted to be President. Sadly I was surrounded by some very cynical 7th Graders who mentioned at every turn and made me feel like a goof for saying it. They might be cynical now still, but surely they never thought they'd see today make its appearance.

Perhaps this is how a lot of people view this. Their children can dream of the Presidency just as I once had. To be sure I do believe the dream was always there, but no one had thought that today would have been possible. It could have been possible 20 or so years from now, but 2008?

For me, unlike the elderly black man I saw on NBC News last night or many others I have ran across since his election race still has nothing to do with this for me. Obama is at the right place at the right time. Expounding on what that means will be the subject of another post.

What I will say is that, Obama, won this election. He probably wanted it more and had many things going for him more so than, John McCain, his closest competitor. We won't know the racial effects until Obama has left the Presidency, but we know right now that people are highlighting the transformational aspects of his election. Those might be more immediate. Of course the question is will we see the second New Deal?

We'll see!

BTW, the pic you see is Obama's Presidential portrait! Save it to your hard drive and print it off when you get a chance.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dr. King's free-market legacy

How appropriate to talk about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's economic legacy courtesy of Investor Business Daily:

While honoring Martin Luther King, we should recognize that his contribution to free-market prosperity is an important part of his legacy. Through his work to expand freedom, he expanded our market economy's ability to create wealth for all Americans.

Market prices communicate information on what people desire most as consumers, and on how they can, as producers, develop and use their talents to best serve consumers. These market prices, and the incentives they provide, are distorted when some are denied opportunities to get a good education, take jobs for which they are qualified, and shop where they choose. Our market economy, with the opportunities and prosperity it provides, depends on freedom.
Read the whole thing.

It seemed Dr. King had more faith in the free market system than it seems those who followed him later on had. Perhaps even they were on the same page. Not that I know everything about Dr. King's positions on economic issues. Although it should be noted many people believed use Marxist or Communist in the same sentence with Dr. King.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Four year anniversary

In posting my thoughts about Roland Burris this morning I forgot that today was the day to commemorate the start of this blog! 

I'm going to actually start this off right. I didn't do one last year and if you were waiting for such a post it came much later like in the summer. At that point it basically didn't matter and no one commented.

The New Year's post probably is more of an anniversary post discussing how this blog has changed over the years. It probably will continue to evolve as time goes forward. What fresh ideas can come to this blog in this latest anniversary.

Well one possible idea is that I may post original videos here. Gives me an excuse to be creative and learn some editing or other video tricks. I've already found myself in the realm of sharing my photographs, why not video as well. One of my favorite pasttimes is to view video blogs. I should become more about of the world myself. Of course what may be offered may not be exciting itself.

Another thing I try to do is talk less about Chicago and Illinois. See that's how this blog got seriously noticed otherwise it would've been nothing more than a hobby so to speak. Well it still is since there is no income being drawn for this and this site is largely advertising free. I do use Google Ads over at The Sixth Ward which covers issues at the neighborhood, city, county and state levels.

In any event my goal is to basically treat this blog like it was in it's first year. I don't have to post frequently, but I hope that those who do drop by will drop by and read my offerings. Return visitors would be nice of course and links are also great. That won't be a driving force for this blog however. Hopefully when people read the blog they can bring something with them.

Either way keep reading the posts may become frequent or semi-frequent. They may come at least 3-times a day or on once daily. Lately I make one post daily. Let's see what year four will bring. For those who have been around since either day one or later than that, thanks for dropping by.

The very first post once again!

Roland Burris on foreign affairs

He finally made it last week. I was covering it heavily on The Sixth Ward as not only he was a part of the whole Blagojevich scandal, but he just so happen to be a resident of that city council district.

You know, I want to know what Burris would say with regards to foreign affairs. That is one of many subjects of which Burris would discuss on the floor of that prestigious body. I had a glimpse of it not too long after his last contest for Governor of Illinois.

It was in late 2003 and the topic of discussion was the Iraq war. This was on the radio show Beyond the Beltway and I watched the TV version at that time. He made some comments that I thought showed his ignorance of that whole situation in Iraq. Particularly the allegations that were made against Saddam Hussein which is one of the many reasons why we invaded Iraq and toppled Hussein's regime.

Burris referred specifically to Saddams willful gassing of Iraq's Kurdish population. He reasoned that Saddam wen't after the Kurds because they were not his people. He said that clearly on the radio and radio host Bruce DuMont said, "And that makes it OK."

It seemed to me like a justification for what Hussein did at the time. He obviously didn't recognize that it was something of a genocidal event. That statement was certainly very tactless at the time and it seemed to suggest that perhaps people who were largely at odds with a particular regime should be exterminated.

You know I wish I had that program at my fingertips so that you can hear him for yourself. I probably didn't articulate that in the best way. Still it was one of the most perplexing statements that was ever heard by my two ears. Hopefully as a new Senator he might have polished up a little bit on foreign affairs or at least knows when not to open his mouth.

Photo via The Political Realm!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hey I remember this show!

Not entirely sure how I came across this show, Get a Life during it's first run back in the early 1990s. I watched the show quite frequently. For my young eyes it was watchable, that's not to say I understood it.

The video you're looking at is the final act of an episode that bothered me. I despised the effects where Chris Elliot's character, Chris Peterson, is about to meet an unfortunate demise. He was targeted by a huge oversized, automated newspaper delivery vehicle. The vehicle decided to go after Chris when in a race between man and machine the man, Chris himself won!

I learned last night that this is one of many fates that would befall Chris Peterson during the two seasons this show was on the air. I decided to find as many of these episodes as I could. I'm not counting those episodes where Chris dies of old age, but certainly those eps where there's no way Chris should be able to come back for another episode. Almost like how Kenny is killed at the end of most early South Park episodes only to come back in the next one. When he does die it's almost as if it doesn't bother anyone that there's a dead body in the house. If I had watched that back then I wouldn't have even understood!

This show reminds me of the old FOX network that I grew up with. The quality that they have now wasn't what they were known for back then. Would a program like Get a Life even make it on that network today? What about Married with Children, The Tracey Ullman Show, or even In Living Color? Of course The Simpsons were an Ullman spinoff and they're still on the network to this day! Could they have made it on FOX now as a new series?

I get the feeling a lot of the shows that were on FOX back in the early days probably wouldn't even get placed on the schedule today. Ullman probably, In Living Color, even The Simpsons. There are surely others that are worth mentioning that probably wouldn't even make it on the air.

Then again how did Get a Life even make it? Chris Elliot and his crew must have fought for it or FOX was desperate for content. I've seen several episodes of this show and I really think it's horrible. It was very surreal especially with the many fates that befall Chris Peterson including death. Almost cartoonish and it just doesn't appeal to me much.

Perhaps it's a good thing that FOX's standards had no where else to go but up and it shows now! :)

Friday, January 16, 2009

Circuit City and liquidators to sell off merchandise in remaining 567 US stores

Wow, their issues are really that serious where they're going out of business. I know that they were closing stores left and right just to remain operating, but according to the Tribune, it's not helping. Not it's time for liquidation.

You know when Circuit  City was at Evergreen Plaza (or The Plaza for those of you who don't understand what I'm saying) I liked to browse there when I visited. I don't remember when they closed down it might have been within maybe the last four or five years. The 95 West CTA bus would literally stop at the door I would enter to go into the store. Needless to say my last visit to the mall on West 95th Street have been limited since that store is no longer in operation.

There were other options but often they were less traveled. There was one at Ford City and there was one in River Oaks. Surely there were others, but those were the ones that I was more familiar with. In fact my firewire cable and card that I use to upload video from my MiniDV camcorder I bought at Ford City.

You know I'm sururpised that there was never a downtown location for Circuit City. Of course there is a downtown location for Best Buy now on Roosevelt Road at least a blog away from the Dan Ryan Expressway. A long walk away from State Street especially if your primary mode of transportation is the CTA L. And Best Buy is said to be looking for another location on the Magnificient Mile. Makes one wonder what took Best Buy so long to open a location in Downtown Chicago.

In any case in reading this story credit is an issue right now. Credit is probably one reason why we see a deep economic downturn right now (or perhaps recession is the term to use now). The Cubs sale is held up primarily due to credit concerns. Financial institutions are loathe to offer loans to anyone at the moment. Perhaps an after effect of this who sub-prime issue allowing people to take up mortgages they can't afford.

In any case the current economy appears to have claimed another victim.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

African American unemployment outpaces others

Martin Jefferson worked 11 years as a bank teller and thought he had finally found the perfect career–until he was laid off October 12.

Jefferson, 36, now depends on unemployment benefits to help him support his wife and two children. His bank position was among the more than 50,000 jobs lost last year in Illinois, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security.

But Jefferson is not alone when it comes to being Black and unemployed. In December, 11.9 percent of Blacks, nationally, were employed, which also was the rate for Black men.

Among whites, 6.6 percent were unemployed, nationally, in December. For white men it was 6.5 percent.
And in 2007, Black unemployment peaked at 10.7 percent while whites were 4.4 percent and Hispanics 5.6 percent

One human resources professional says that education is a key reason why so many Blacks –especially men–are unemployed.

“Unfortunately, a lot of Blacks did not have the opportunity to further their education after high school so they lack the necessary knowledge needed to obtain white-collar jobs, such as office work jobs, which typically pays more,” said Sherese Johnson, a Chicagobased human resources management consultant. “And with our Black men, we must remember that a lot of them have criminal records so that also hinders them when searching for employment.”
Go to school young men and do well! I doubt that you'll regret it later. Choose wisely or better yet if college isn't for you at lease choose something where you'll have to go to school and get some form of training.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


You know over the weekend I wrote about Blagojevich's feud with his father-in-law. I said that I couldn't stand Blagojevich for that, but I don't personally know the man and most likely never will. It probably wasn't correct for me to say that about him. Most of the things I view as negatives about him comes from primarily the news.

If I got anything from those charges that was announced by US Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald it's that Blagojevich has proven himself to be not only greedy but very vindictive. All you have to do is see what he did in holding up some money for a children's hospital when an adminstrator didn't cough up a campaign donation or his attempt to hold up any state help for Tribune Company because he didn't like what their editorial board was writing about him. Sounds like a guy who plain doesn't take criticism or disagreement very well.

Check out this piece from Eric Zorn and here's another instance of vindictiveness from Gov. Blagojevich:
In his nine-page memorandum to the Illinois House committee that heard impeachment charges against Gov. Rod Blagojevich, former Blagojevich senior adviser Bob Arya wrote the following:

I think one of the most disturbing things I witnessed in (the area of commutations and pardons) was the day I brought a letter written to Rod to then chief-of staff John. Harris. The letter was from Sen. John. O. Jones seeking to have the record of a constituent expunged so she could advance her nursing career. Like most waiting for help from the governor’s office, this individual made a mistake as a youngster, but could not advance her career because of changes in the reporting of crimes (background checks), etc. She had changed her life, went to school and never had another brush with the law. I handed the letter to John Harris who began reading it when Rod walked into the office. He took the letter from John and looked it over. After realizing it was written by a lawmaker who did not see eye to eye with the governor on some administration priorities, Rod took the letter and said, “[bleep] him!” then cast the letter aside toward the garbage can. That was it. Her life would remain on hold and not even receive a fair consideration simply because Rod had an issue with the Senator. I think you need to understand that this is rule when it comes to how Rod does business. Not the exception. If you were in favor or good standing with him, you will get what you want (perhaps funding for half a bridge). If you were on his bad side or the wrong side of the vote, you will not (the other half of funding for the same bridge).
Read the rest of Zorn's post.

This should offend a lot of people. He was willing to cast aside doing the right thing because the man requesting it didn't see eye-to-eye with the Governor. This man just plain didn't have a very agreeable temperament for that job and he wonders why he's about to be removed from office.

Oh and this is coming from a former adminstration aide. I can only imagine that it has to be a nightmare from which he eventually left. At least there are those in the administration who had some semblance of a conscious while there are others who mindlessly went a long.

See there has often been speculation that his own staff couldn't reason or control the Governor. Someone should have said this isn't right of course the next step would have been termination from their duties with the administration. Especially if that's the Governor's M.O. His antics are hurting a lot of people.

Let me just say that it's not so much that I can't stand the man, I just don't like the way he's doing his job. If I blogged about him frequently and most of the posts convey that. There is certainly a need for a new direction in Illinois.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Conan O'Brien heading to The Tonight Show

I've always dreamed of going to New York City and going to a TV taping. I was a big David Letterman fan although may tastes have changed over the years where I don't even watch his Late Show anymore. These days I consider myself a big Conan O'Brien fan and I look forward to following him from Late Night to Tonight!

I must admit though I'm not so sure of his replacement Jimmy Fallon. I remember him on SNL, but nothing about him strikes me as impressive. He had a movie with Queen Latifah, Taxi and I do believe that bombed at the box office a few years ago. Then again I wasn't sure about Late Night when Conan O'Brien took over for David Letterman. Of course I was much younger back then perhaps a little young to be watching such programming.

Now O'Brien is going to the Tonight Show and I don't think the show will be in worse hands. I already know of O'Brien's work so I'm sure we'll see some of the same bits with new bits as he moves from Manhattan to Burbank. In addition I still dream of watching a TV taping, but this time it'll have to be another trip to Los Angeles. I can still go to New York and watch Letterman for the time being at least, but I better be quick.

Anyway I do remember on my last vacation to LA, we were at Universal Studios theme park and there was some microphones up for Jay Leno's Tonight Show. This was back in 2005 and I do believe the mics were set up for a segment of "Jay Walking" where Leno, our gracious host, stopped everyday people and asked them random questions. Often it seems the most clueless answer gets put onto TV.

Well if you want to know where this is coming from check out this blog post by Phil Rosenthal of the Tribune. I missed his column where he talked to Conan during his visit to Chicago. This post we get to see a lot of thoughts by O'Brien as he discusses the TV business and where he would like to take The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien. It's very interesting!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

One good reason I can't stand Blagojevich...

His ongoing feud with his own father-in-law, Ald. Dick Mell. The man who helped him get elected only to kick him to the curb when he discovered that he was Governor. A lot of this might have been his new position going to his head almost as if he needed no one else in the world.

I just found this Sun-Times story via Ridge99. It's over a month old and whatever statement he was going to make the press I believe he and his children were interviewed on WMAQ-TV. The article seems to suggest that Patti, Mell's daughter, is fiercely loyal to her husband. If no one else is in his corner, she is. I'm not going to say there's anything wrong with that, but someone should have been able to tell him that something is amiss here, especially his wife. Unfortunately that doesn't appear to be the case.

Here's an excerpt:
It's not clear what Mell could say to explain away his daughter's behavior. She is heard on federal wiretaps participating in backroom calls with her husband on how to leverage his political position into a high-paying job for her, according to the federal complaint filed against Blagojevich.
llinois' divided first family tried to bury the hatchet in December, 2006 after the death of Mell's wife. But it wasn't long before Blagojevich and Mell were at each other's throats once again.

“Right after Margie passed away, they had meetings. They had dinner. There was an absolute commitment to put past differences aside for the good of the family,” said a source familiar with the feud.

“Then, Patti kind of broke the truce. Rod kept having problems and moments with [Mell] and she just went with her husband. After that, Dick didn't get to see the grandchildren. He was very upset. The grandchildren were very important to him.”

The source added, “I don't think he cares a bit about what happens to Rod. But, he cares a lot about his daughter and grandchildren. This is not a time for feeling vindicated. He just feels horribly sad.”
I kind of understand a little bit. Too bad that the children are dragged into this. Of course that's not to say that they're picking a side one way or another because I don't know. I do know that Blagojevich's inability to stay loyal to his father-in-law or at least play it straight with him is probably one facet of his current undoing as the Governor is now facing impeachment and removal from office as well as a criminal trial.

I could add also that it probably could have helped the Governor if not only he had a better relationship with his father-in-law, but also the state General Assembly. It was brought up that he generally wasn't around when the legislature was in session. When he called them into special session, he wasn't around and never set an agenda. He wasn't very accessible and he probably wonders why he finds himself feuding generally with the state House of Reps and House Speaker Michael Madigan.

On Friday, two people chose not to vote for impeachment. I voted no and the other voted present. In fact one justified his vote by saying that he went with his gut instinct and said he had no personal knowledge of the charges against the governor. He also said that it wasn't his job to impeach him. Probably safe to say that he didn't want to jump on the bandwagon. It should also be noted that he was a lame duck as he didn't run for re-election.

Just like another south side Democrat, who voted present although in her case she lost a bid for re-election. In any case she also didn't want to jump on the bandwagon (which is somewhat understandable actually). She also felt that this impeachment process was more personal than anything else. She might be right about that, however, that may not have negated the charges against him by the state House and even the US attorney.

Going back to Blagojevich's in-laws. Or even his wife, what engenders that type of loyalty. You won't only find that with his wife, but surely you'll find that loyalty in other places. When the impeachment moves toward the Senate we'll see how loyal the state Senate will be. All the same what does this say about the Governor, if he doesn't have the ability to follow thru on his promises, have an inability to do good by his loyal supporters, or if he often displays a counterproductive combative streak?

Anyone have any answers?

Here's some raw video I found via the AP YouTube account. It was a couple of days after his arrest. He heads to work that day in the James R. Thompson Center and his kids also go out this exit preceding him. It's got to be very awful for them right now.

How about this very good post from Clout City...
At the risk of sounding like Freud, none of this would have happened had Governor Blagojevich not lost sight of who he was or where he came from or, most importantly, whom he owed for his success. His relentless desire to shake down folks doing business with the state, his hunger to build the mightiest of political machines, his obsession to be the man, the kingmaker, the top pol in Illinois--it all stems from the fact that he would be nothing if not for alderman Richard Mell, and he knows it.
They called it. Just like I called it. Perhaps it's always been known, but no one seemed to have come out and said that Blagojevich was essentially ungrateful to those who helped him get to where he is....was. Stricken and placed in the past tense because of the situation he has found himself in and the possibility that he'll be removed.

Finally, an old post from early last year. I blogged about an article in Chicago Magazine. It basically touches upon the issue of the Governor's relationship with his father-in-law. Look no further than the first page!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

More on the indictment of the Mayor of Baltimore...

FOX News:
From Best Buy to Saks Fifth Avenue, from Old Navy to Giorgio Armani, prosecutors allege Mayor Sheila Dixon went shopping in a big way with other people's money.

Dixon was indicted Friday on 12 counts, including perjury and theft, mostly for activity that occurred while she was City Council president. And most of the charges against her suggest an affinity for both high-end and big-box retail.

At one point in December 2005, the indictment says, Dixon brazenly called an unnamed developer and hit him up for $500 worth of Best Buy gift cards, which she said would be donated to needy families.

Instead, five days later -- and a week before Christmas -- the future mayor allegedly strolled into a Best Buy in downtown Baltimore and spent 19 of the 20 gift cards, walking out with a digital camcorder and a PlayStation 2 controller, among other goods.

Similar scenarios played out several times, always around Christmas, always with gift cards that, at least in name, were supposed to be handed out to the poor, the indictment says.

"The allegation is that she stole from little children at Christmastime," said David Gray, a law professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. "The indictment is alleging that she was a Grinch of the worst kind."
Does this mean that there is open season on all types of politicians who take their liberties? Mayor Dixon might have done this deed at exactly the wrong time!

Of course she isn't slowing down right now. Article from the Washington Post:
It was easy to find the symbolism in Mayor Sheila Dixon's first public event since being indicted on theft and perjury charges.

With the song "Eye of the Tiger" blasting through speakers, the embattled mayor donned red boxing gloves Saturday and climbed into a ring to perform cardio-kickboxing with a dozen others to promote physical fitness.

But the event didn't go as planned. The boxing ring couldn't handle the workout and soon collapsed beneath them. No one was hurt; Dixon, unfazed, climbed out and continued her workout on the gym floor.

It was vintage Dixon, showing once again that she's not easily rattled. Her demeanor remains unchanged, despite allegations that she took gift cards intended for needy families and lied about gifts from her developer ex-boyfriend.

I think we have another fighting politician. Perhaps as much of a fighter as Blagojevich. Although perhaps the levity of his crimes are much greater than Mayor Dixon's alleged crimes.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Baltimore mayor indicted on theft, perjury charges

While Illinois took one more step to its nightmare administration by impeaching Gov. Blagojevich it looks like Baltimore, Maryland has to contend with an indicted Mayor. How unfortunate I've understood that Baltimore is a struggling city just like Detroit. What is wrong?
Mayor Sheila Dixon was indicted Friday on charges that she accepted illegal gifts during her time as mayor and City Council president, including travel, fur coats and gift cards that she allegedly used for a holiday shopping spree.

A grand jury indicted Dixon on 12 counts, including four counts of perjury and two counts of theft over $500. She was also charged with theft under $500, fraudulent misappropriation by a fiduciary and misconduct in office.

The State Prosecutor's Office, which has been investigating corruption at City Hall for nearly three years, said Dixon received holiday gift cards for four years from several people. Prosecutors said the gift cards were to be distributed to needy families but were instead used by Dixon to buy herself electronics, clothes and other merchandise and also handed out to members of her staff.

"I am being unfairly accused," Dixon said in a statement. "Time will prove that I have done nothing wrong, and I am confident that I will be found innocent of these charges."

Dixon said she would not step down. "I will not let these charges deter me from keeping Baltimore on the path that we have set or from carrying forward the significant progress we have made thus far," she said.
I should also note, I don't know how Birmingham, Alabama is doing these days, but their mayor, Larry Langford was also indicted late last year. Well I'm not trying to say that black politicians are susceptible to corruption, but it's very easy for me to look at them differently when they get caught up in scandal. Perhaps the standards are different even though we should be wary of all politicians, even if there are those who are above reproach.
It reminds me, what's up with Detroit. I know that Kwame Kilpatrick went ahead and gave up his office after he himself was embroiled in scandal. I would like to think we can do better in voting in credible and honest people especially in those struggling cities.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Democrats and the Black vote

An interesting column I found today. Using as a back drop the attempts to keep Burris from getting his seat in the US Senate and relating to that blacks unabashed support for the Democratic Party:
I’m not sure when the national Democratic Party decided that it would try to divest themselves of the Black vote. It became clear that was an objective during the Democratic presidential race, when Democrats seemed to be stacking the deck against Barack Obama. It was Democrats who sharpened their knives on Obama long before John McCain and Sarah Palin took aim at him. In fact, some of the most telling political jabs that McCain and Palin landed were simply recitations of some of the jabs Democrats threw at him.

But now come Sen. Harry Reid and the rest of the Democratic U.S. senators. They have penned a letter vowing not to seat Roland Burris as U.S. Senator from Illinois because he was chosen by that national embarrassment, Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

Reid wanted to take the high road and say he liked Burris, but he and his fellow Democratic senators were so disgusted with Blagojevich, that they could not see themselves seating any appointee chosen by Blagojevich.
We had the very unflattering portrait of 50 non-Black, non-Republican U.S. senators, opposing the inclusion of a Black senator, chosen legally by the sitting governor of Illinois, who has not been impeached, not been convicted and not been stripped of any of his duties. It was Democrats standing in the door of the U.S. Senate Tuesday, refusing to seat a duly-appointed member, not because that appointee was unfit for the job (they acknowledge that Burris is quite qualified), but because they are embarrassed by Blagojevich.

But Reid's moral indignation was merely an excess of the most prolific by-product of the U.S. Senate: hot air. As the Chicago Sun-Times reported last week, Reid called the governor up to suggest a few candidates for the appointment. Reid allegedly suggested to Blagojevich that he steer clear of appointing any of the strong Black candidates (Jesse Jackson Jr., Danny Davis or Emil Jones) because they would have trouble getting votes statewide.

Reid opposes Burris, even though Burris has proven that he can get votes statewide (three terms as comptroller and one term as attorney general).

While Rep. Bobby Rush unabashedly plays the race card, arguing that an all-white U.S. Senate should not oppose the seating of a Black man, especially in replacing Obama, Reid deals the race card from the bottom of the deck. At least Rush is up front saying he wants to make sure a Black gets the seat and says the Senate should be embarrassed in this multi-cultural society to convene with no Black members.
It put some things into perspective, a lil bit. Still not very thrilled with this situation.

Via Bill Baar at Illinoize.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Race rears it's ugly head!

It looks like Burris might get his Senate seat and will effectively get one more notch onto his tomb. His tomb is already to go for him and his wife and already highlights the many achievements of his lifetime. Affixed on it is the seal of the State of Illinois.

Looking at his tomb some could conclude that this man has one of the biggest egos that can be found in anyone. Some might even point to the fact that his children are both named for him. Son and daughter as evidence of his big ego.

That's not why his appointment to the US Senate is troubling. It's more troubling that he was appointed by Rod Blagojevich, because the Governor was already arrested for selling the Senate seat that he's attempting to appoint Burris. What makes this issue worse is that the issue of race is being thrown in there.

At Burris press conference, Bobby Rush came in to discuss his support of Roland Burris' appointment to the Senate. Yesterday Jesse Jackson Jr. made a statement in support of Burri's appointment. Rush and Jackson themselves members of the US House or Representatives want to note that it's very important to have a black person in the US Senate. Keeping Burris out in spite of this cloud would be tantamount to a George Wallace keeping black students out of a state university in Alabama.

That would be unfortunate! I would dare say shortsighted that they would choose an appointment by a corrupt Governor to sound the alarm about a lack of minority (or black) representation in an august body as the US Senate. While I can agree there should be more blacks in the Senate, my answer would be to say I don't want it this way. Not a controversial appointment with the liberal use of this race card in order to have my way. It's almost like seeking crumbs at the table as opposed to earning a huge chunk of the pie.

I read a column by the Sun-Times' Mark Brown that suggested that Burris' attempts to get himself seated in the US Senate in spite of this cloud over who appointed him might make it difficult for another black to be elected to the US Senate. Indeed if Burris chose to run in 2010, and current indications are that he would because Brown says Burris' ego is that huge, that it would be very difficult for another black to make a run for the Senate in the next decade. This makes this whole struggle even more shortsighted. Almost like the old guard attempting to get one last hurrah.

Anyway today Blagojevich will get his senate appointment. He will get his publicity and he can turn around and say that he got a black man appointed to the Senate after a brief fight. Of course he'll neglect the fact that's he's very unpopular and the ethical cloud hanging over his own head. While he did say that Burris shouldn't be affected by the charges against the Governor, it's possible that the charges against the Governor will have nothing to do why the Governor made this appointment anyway.

All I can further say is that the door was left open. Instead of addressing the issue of this cloud, they left it hanging. And the Governor sort of broke his promise (well if I recall correctly his lawyer declared that he won't make an appointment although another lawyer said he didn't know if the Governor would make an appointment) and we're in a unfortunate situation now!

BTW, I still remember an appearance he made on Bruce Dumont's Beyond the Beltway radio show where he basically justified Saddam Hussein's gassing of the Kurds by declaring that the Kurds were NOT his people. DuMont seemed to have had some disgust to that statement mouthing, "And that makes it OK." In other words, I don't have much faith in Burris' ability to debate issues regarding foreign affairs.

Cartoon via State Journal Register
The Burris Circus and the Politics of Race - ABCNews
Burris Gains The Support Of Feinstein, Some Black Caucus Members - AllHeadlineNews
Blagojevich race card lands softly in Senate fight - AP
Daley: Burris has 'cloud over him' - Clout St.
Capitol Fax round up on Burris' admittance to the US Senate

The Reality Of War, Ctd.

This image shocks me. At first I thought it was a dismembered head, but it turns out this pretty young girl was merely buried in some rubble. Unfortunately she's a casualty of the new war in the Middle East between the Palestinians and the Israelis. Will that war ever come to a peaceful conclusion?

You can read more details at The Daily Dish!

Monday, January 05, 2009

A lesson from black immigrants

An interesting article talking about the backgrounds of the President-elect, the federal Attorney General-designate Eric Holder, and former General Colin Powell.
While each of them have very different backgrounds and compelling stories that brought them to this point in history, it is worth exploring what their immigrant heritage and outstanding accomplishments mean for African-Americans who descended from slaves.

Whether from Mozambique or Mexico, Iran or Italy, those who choose to cast their lot on a move to America do so in hopes of providing a better life for themselves and their families. Yet what’s seen as the Land of Opportunity for some is viewed as a perpetual nightmare by others.

In the African-American community, we often give too much power to fear and hate mongers and not enough credit those who rally to defeat them. We overrate prejudicial institutions and their racist defenders and undervalue the strength that lies within us to overcome life’s obstacles.

Our mothers, fathers and grandparents are reluctant to give us firsthand accounts of their experiences in the Jim Crow South. That’s because the focus tends to be on the indignities they suffered rather than the fortitude they showed in prevailing over government-sanctioned discrimination.

I remember asking my late grandmother which of her ancestors was held in slavery or whether she knew how her family got to America. Her answer was always the same: “None of my people was slaves or from Africa. My people come here from Tennessee.” Even as a fourth-grader, I realized this could not be true.

It turns out that her maternal grandfather, Jack Woodard, was held in slavery in Tennessee until he was 15 and the Civil War ended. My great-great grandfather could not read or write, and yet he managed to relocate his family to Fannin County, Texas, where he purchased a 16-acre farm. He achieved much more than his background or circumstances would have dictated.

That is the same type of story of hard work and success you hear every day from immigrant families – but is all but forgotten in the annals of African-American history.
So are black folks more willing to fall for this idea that it's better to collapse or complain about the racist barriers in America instead of finding ways to break them down? Or better yet finding ways to rise above these barriers by excelling in our personal lives? Or perhaps this is a result of seeking table scraps instead of seeking out more than simple scraps?

By scraps I mean handouts. Are blacks wedded to simple handouts whether these are in the forms of welfare or affirmitive action? What do you think?

Via MyUrbanReport!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

More thoughts on the election of Barack Obama president

I wrote this perhaps a week or so after his election. I sort of wrote it at the time when Obama hero worship was at its height. It's died down by now a little and the moment of his inauguration is upon us. I look forward to it, but these were my thoughts as I sought to address those who may have opposed Obama and those who supported Obama all the way!

I post this with the idea that I hope that I can get everyone thinking.

Election night was historic. Yeah we elected a black President, although that doesn't matter to me, only because I expect a President to an excellent job beyond these labels we might place upon them. I don't intend to hamstring the President-elect as being the first black President, I just want him to be MY President or OUR President.

Also I would like to see how Obama did as far as the youth vote went. It was said that McCain did well amongst senior citizens, but that's not important. The youth certainly helped to put the President-elect over the top in this campaign. For those of you who worked in the Obama campaign, I will say that your hard work paid off. Excellent job and you should be proud of yourselves.

Personally Obama wasn't my candidate. I really didn't have one. I was concerned about Obama and by the time election day came around I still wasn't sold. That only means Obama has four years to earn my vote. I'll give him a chance as MY president, but I have the right to be critical.

Also I don't expect the world from Obama so I won't ask for too much. Change sounds great, but I'm concerned about what this change consists of.

I saw video of Obama talking to Joe the Plumber. In my opinion what Obama indicated as his tax plan isn't exactly something most of us have never heard. It's something that have been talked about with differing tax thresholds over the years. It still reeks of a form of not only class warfare, but it just plain sounds too good to be true.

I want to note that change comes from so many different activities it doesn't start with electing Obama because I don't know what type of change he'll bring. The only change I see is that the President-elect is not a white man. To me that's more symbolic than anything else, so what other change is he going to bring when he finally moves into the White House.

Don't get me wrong I want to see change. Change comes from everywhere and not just from Barack Obama. Change can come from us, and not just by voting in a man for whom we might have great expectations of him.

It comes from getting involved and I intend to be more involved in the political process in the future. For some of you the nation didn't go the direction you want it to, but change can involve you as well. Get out there and don't just vote convince others to vote and if you're really good with the gift of persuasion get them to vote your way. Let me tell you that is going to be my goal, to get more involved. I sincerely hope for many of you this will be the start.

I'm going to watch what happens in the future Obama administration. I wish him not only congratulations, but also the best of luck. At this moment in time he is dealing with some deep problems both economically or militarily. I sincerely hope that he will be able to weather them even if there is no indication from what I've seen that he will.

These next four years are going to be very interesting, aren't they?

Ron Paul on the state of the Republican Party: very, very BAD shape

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Take Me Out To The ...Hockey Game?

I recorded at least parts of the pre-game and maybe the whole first period of today's Winter Classic at Wrigley Field between the NHL's Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings. Both teams were wearing throwback jerseys to mark this occassion which is that these two "Original Six" teams were playing an outdoor hockey game. Billed by many of the commentators at the game as bringing hockey back to its roots as once upon a time hockey was played on frozen ponds.

I've been watching hockey casually for years and I have to admit that this was the most illuminating game I have seen in a few years. I really got a kick out of the hard organ playing at Wrigley Field. Whoever played that organ, they played it like it was a hockey game. Perhaps there's not much difference between an organ as played at an NHL game vs. that played at a MLB game but the organ playing today seemed different. I really enjoyed the rendition of the National Anthem today.

However, the focus of this post about to be published close to midnite is the NHL twist to Take Me Out to the Ballgame as sung on screen by Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, and Ryne Sandberg. I was sad that I couldn't find a tape fast enough to record this as the tape I did use ran out and I don't have another blank tape around the house. Anyway I got a kick out of this today probably the highlight of today's game which the Blackhawks lost.

BTW, I should learn how to take TV footage and bypass recording video on a media and instead storing footage as a file on a PC. That way I won't have to rely on a VHS machine to record memorable moments on TV. The VHS era is dead anyway, unfortunately. Gotta get with it!