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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Wagoner "ousted" by the Obama administration

I want to tackle a number of subjects beyond this story as well. First let's tackle the "ouster" of the CEO of General Motors:
The Obama administration asked Rick Wagoner, the chairman and CEO of General Motors, to step down and he agreed, a White House official said.

On Monday, President Barack Obama is to unveil his plans for the auto industry, including a response to a request for additional funds by GM and Chrysler. The plan is based on recommendations from the Presidential Task Force on the Auto Industry, headed by the Treasury Department.

The White House confirmed Wagoner was leaving at the government's behest after The Associated Press reported his immediate departure, without giving a reason.
WOW! You know I'm not particularly upset about that, but those opposed to this move are probably seeing their blood pressures rise a little. Probably for good reason as government moves to increase it's role in private businesses.

Frankly I'm less upset about the goverment ousting Wagoner. On the contrary I'm more upset about these bailouts. Especially of those companies that should fail because they engaged in "bad" business. Besides I'm of the opinion that Wagoner was running GM into the ground anyway. I remember when he and other auto industry CEOs (from Chrysler and Ford as well) were having their hands out for a bailout.

They were hammered very well because instead of choosing alternate means of traveling they chose to use their corporate jets. I do believe it was Wagonner who said he wasn't willing to give up his CEO salary. With tose two strikes against him it's kinda hard for me to feel terribly sorry for the man.

I justify it this way. A businessman should know that when he (or she) ever approaches government for any help for their business they're dealing with a government or politicians who may very well use such a proposition to advance their own power or agenda. Almost reminds me of our former ousted governor's attempt to extort the Chicago Tribune to make some changes on the editorial board in exchange for the state taking over a major corporate asset.

In that regards I don't sympathize with Wagonner at all. I know a lot of this is 20/20 hindsight, but one can conclude that he may not have been the best man to insure the future of an important player in an important industry. It was on his watch that this player was forced to ask for help from the Government.

Still let me just reiterate that I don't believe government should interfere in the role of private business in the form of government loans to bailout failing businesses within important industries. BTW this is how Obama has justified this:
A failure of leadership from Washington and Detroit is to blame for the crisis facing American automakers, President Obama said today when he announced that neither GM nor Chrysler had shown they could remain viable without government help.

The White House is giving both companies more time to restructure before the administration agrees to commit more taxpayer money to helping them. "We cannot and must not and we will not let our auto industry simply vanish," Obama said, calling the industry a source of deep pride.
...

The president said a structured bankruptcy process that would use the bankruptcy code "in a quick and surgical way" could be necessary to help both companies improve their balance sheets. The government will back the warranties of any new cars purchased from the companies during any restructuring.
Obama has repeatedly declared his commitment to the U.S. auto industry, but has said it must be one that can build the clean energy cars of the future and better compete with foreign carmakers -- something that will require extensive restructuring and modernization, hard choices and painful concessions from workers and bondholders, as well as new vision and new direction. Still, he acknowledged that vast numbers of American workers rely on the auto industry and talked about the pain already being faced by people in big car-producing states like Michigan, where more than one in 10 are unemployed.
Speaking directly to the men and women of the industry, Obama reprised some of the populist rhetoric he adopted to help woo working class voters during the campaign. He said he understood many had been going through tough times for a long time and that while there could be more tough times ahead, he would fight for them.
Another thing I want to talk about. How do you think Obama is doing so far? It seems there are those of us who might be veering away from President Obama so far.

Yesterday I was eating in the cafeteria and a man knowing that I major in political science asked me to grade him. I just gave him a C. A good C or a bad C he asked and well I wasn't prepared to go there exactly. I told him a neutral C. I gave him a C for what happened with GM mainly and probably some other factors. Right now I think his administration has come off to a rocky start.

What do you think out there? Is it a little early to grade Obama? What kind of job do you think Obama is doing? Are you going to wait out these next four years to see if any of the changes Obama has made will have an impact on these times?

Monday, March 30, 2009

A culture of underachievement in Britain

This story almost sounds familiar:
Clever children are saving themselves from being branded swots at school by dumbing down and deliberately falling behind, a study has shown.

Schoolchildren regarded as boffins may be attacked and shunned by their peers, according to Becky Francis, professor of education at Roehampton University, who carried out a study of academically gifted 12- and 13-year-olds in nine state secondary schools.

The study, to be published in the Sociological Review next year, shows how difficult it is for children, particularly boys, to be clever and popular. Boys risk being assaulted in some schools for being high-achievers. To conform and escape alienation, clever boys told researchers they may "try to fall behind" or "dumb down".
...
Clever girls, meanwhile, can be seen as less attractive and less popular in some schools than girls who manage average grades.
I remember when I was in 8th grade we were expected to write an essay (well they were compositions to us in those days) about an article about young black children forced to dumb down because making excellent grades in school was seen as acting white. Almost as if young black children believed to act ignorant in class is a black value. That would be very unfortunate.

Where does this come from? Does it come from the parents? Do the parents look down on intelligence or academic achievements? Is it that parents look at other things beyond academics?

Well whatever the case we can see in this article that I found via Instapundit that well this type of activity is everywhere. There are certainly some questions to be asked of this phenomena.

And for those of you out there who are subjected to this, please don't be discouraged. Whether you know it or not what you do right now can pay off in the future. Is it more important for you to be popular or socially acceptable today? Or is it more important to be a hard worker today? All you have to do is make the call!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

A sports ritual


The national rugby football team of New Zealand, the All-Blacks, perform the Haka war dance. Remember once upon a time before British settlement of NZ, the islands that make up that nation were dominated by the Maori, a native polynesian people. Of course these days the majority there are likely to have been descended from the British Isles than Maori.

Well anyway enough of the historical and sociological lesson.

You know I wonder what happened to being able to watch these exotic sports on cable TV. On the old Sport Channel was my first taste of Australian Rules Football, Rugby Football, and even Gaelic Football. I wonder why ESPN or even Comcast Sports don't even air these sports anymore.

On ESPN an example of an exotic sport is either a strongman competition or watching a lumberjack quickly cut up a log with his chainsaw. I wonder why we don't see these foreign sports on these networks anymore. Surely they can't continue to show or discuss typical American sports on the networks all day.

You can also watch the video here!

Friday, March 27, 2009

Recent comment on the Karl Marx post

I just accepted this comment today on a post on Karl Marx that I had written almost a year ago:
"Capitalism is hard because there are bound to be 'winners' or 'losers' in capitalism unfortunately."

This is not justice, this is why I struggle against capitalism.
OK, but what do you propose we change capitalism with exactly. Are you proposing that we go to Communism? It should be noted that it's been tried around the world with varying degrees of success or failure looking at the state.

I've also said in that post that I don't believe that Capitalism is the best or most ideal system, but I have a much greater faith in that system or philosophy than I did Communism or Socialism. An individual should be able to make the most out of Capitalism. Under Communism or Socialism it might be great to have a safety net, but you're still largely at the mercy of someone else.

Honestly I would like to see what would be brought about as soon as the struggle against capitalism is concluded!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Multimedia message

I got my mobile picture posting capability back! More to come here!!!

Originally posted at "The Beta" on August 23, 2008.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Should we have universal pre-k?

A couple or so weeks ago John Stossel took over an entire hour of 20/20 to talk about issues where government intervention in the markets, traffic congestion, medicinal marihuana, illegal immigration, and even a segment on whether or not opportunity is to be had here in the states.

This video is about universal pre-k and arguments against it or arguments for it.

I remember Hillary Clinton, our secretary of state, cut a commercial in her presidential campaign with many policy goals including universal pre-k. I suppose it could be safe to say that before one jumps on something for "free" we should investigate the benefits of such a program. You will hear in this clip that kids who did pre-school are more aggressive than those who don't.

Sometimes a lot of these arguments are more emotional than anything else. Reason enter into it, but the idea might be to scare you in a course of action. I mean think about it don't you want the best for your children? Do you want your children to get the headstart they need for regular school?

A lot parents might hear this and think that perhaps pre-school is beneficial. Even if it's paid for by their own tax dollars. One will run into parents who will say that their children are worth a few dollars. Then the next issue becomes for getting one more program for the kids what might the return be?

Perhaps before we ask for these programs that might cost taxpayer money, we should ask these questions?

Waiting to pull off

On board a red line train at 95th Street.

Originally posted at "The Eye" on June 13, 2007.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

At the Prairie View rest stop on I-57

Probably the only sign Gov. Blagojevich doesn't have his name on!

Heh this picture was taken when I was on my way back hom from Texas to see my bro get admitted to the bar. Also this was taken before the then governor was impeached and removed. Little did I or a lot of people realize what the future held. Posted on "The Eye" on May 23, 2007.

Oh no! He's a guest host?

I just saw this headline this morning on CBS2Chicago:
Former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich has a new gig -- as a Chicago radio host.

WLS-AM program director Bob Shomper says Blagojevich will be on the air from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. Wednesday, taking calls from listeners, telling stories and talking with guests.

Shomper says it's a one-time deal in the slot normally filled by the "Don Wade & Roma Morning Show." The regular hosts are off this week.

In January, WLS offered Blagojevich his own weekend radio show if he agreed to resign as governor. Blagojevich didn't take the station up on that offer, and he was later ousted from office by Illinois lawmakers.
Heh! I didn't have time to post this before I had to dart off to class this morning and I see that Rich Miller makes a simple statemen on his blog today, "WLS loses its mind". LOL!

Well this is certain to bring some ratings and hopefully a new career given the fact that he isn't likely to return to politics anytime soon. Although I hate to see what kind of calls he'll get, but he'll love this as this could get him some more attention. Almost as if he craves it and has no shame in how he got it!

That last paragraph in the excerpt. Well that had to be noted, but he was too stubborn to just give up the job he seemed to want to give up in the first place for a much more better paying gig. He ultimate was "fired" from that gig in Springfield. :P

Monday, March 23, 2009

Eddie Murphy on SNL


Eddie Murphy was a star on the Lorne Michaels-less SNL that aired in the early 1980s. Do any of you remember Mr. Robinson's Neighborhood? A sketch that was sort of a "ghetto" take on Mr. Roger's neighborhood. Murphy was Robinson and those sketches were hilarious.

This was pretty good though. Not sure if I could expect to see this on SNL today now that Lorne Michaels has returned to his baby that he started way back in the mid 1970s.

Almost a parody of the murder of John Lennon, attempted assasination of Ronald Reagan and the muder of Lee Harvey Oswald rolled up in one. A celebrity (Buckwheat played by Eddie Murphy) murdered as he was about to go into his limousine. Then they find they talk about the murderer John David Stutts whose name almost matched up to Mark David Chapman who murdered John Lennon. The shooter who was about to be arraigned gets murdered ala Lee Harvey Oswald who was murdered by Jack Ruby.

And the faux TV coverage with I believe Joe Piscipo masquerading as Ted Koppel. It almost has the idea that the media is sensationalizing the murder of Buckwheat. Even sponsored by a faux insurance company with the tagline, "Because you can die tomorrow". The moment of silence, the shooting of Stutts, and even the death of Stutts were sponsored by this company. It was funny!

What do you think about this sketch? It seems like an appropriate lead in to the show although there was no indication of that in this clip.

First photo taken on my cameraphone!

Picture was taken in Crestwood, Illinois back in March 2007. If I take pictures on a cell phone these days it's the second cell phone I have since the first one gave me problems and it was replaced. I originally posted this pic on "The Eye" back on May 21, 2007.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Kettlecorn

Probably since I was home for Christmas break I've often partaken in popping some of this flavor popcorn. It's really good and has really sweetened my popcorn pallet. Of course it's done without having to either buy some Cracker Jacks or going to Garrett's.

I would have to buy the variety that can be popped in a microwave, unfortunately, I have to contend with the idea that microwaveable popcorn is laced with an artificial sweetener, sucralose. I'm a little concerned about that, but kettlecorn is still so good! The reason sucralose is used in most microwaveable kettlecorn is because real sugar has a tendency to scorch in the microwave. Most of us doesn't like to burn our popcorn in the microwave anyway!

In any case I've been wanting to find some alternatives to using the microwave popcorn. I don't always hear good things about artificial sweetener as far as health goes. I want to go back to when we would make popcorn either over a stove or using a popper. Then I have to figure out how to flavor this corn with the sugar and salt that makes for some good kettlecorn. Yeah I've been in a sort of DIY (do it yourself) mode for quite a while.

Today, when I left the school bookstore I bought a bag of kettlecorn from the Popcorn, Indiana brand. I had some and it almost reminded me of eating cracker jacks. The popcorn was very sweet and I would dare say that it's even sweeter than what I have been eating. It was also saltier, which I think kettlecorn is supposed to be, both a balance of sweet and salty.

Now I want to know where I can buy this when I'm home in Chicago or if they're at all available in much larger bags! Still I want to make my own kettlecorn and see what I can do. It might be more satisfying that way.

Sculpture outside library

In front of Woodruff Library. Nice African type sculpture outside of the academic library serving the Atlanta University Center which is home to such historic HBCUs as Morehouse College, Spelman College, Morris Brown College, and Clark-Atlanta Unviersity. There's a lot of history inside too.

Originally posted at "The Eye" on March 13, 2007.

Friday, March 20, 2009

King of the Hill cancelled?


The video above is a plea to keep the series on the air. The music is of the series theme and I really like this rendition. It doesn't sound like the theme of a show that aired in the early 21st century.

Me and a friend of mine were talking about this show in relation to another old animated series, Doug. I made the comparison only because I felt that the animation was similar in some respects. That is both seem quite cartoonish in their artistry, but then hey they are cartoons.

I've watched this show since day one when it aired on FOX back in January 1997. It has often been my favorite and while in general I loved the stories, my favorite character has been Boomhauer. He seems to have been a man's man and he speaks so fast and incoherently you never understand what he says although his friends know what he says and responds to him accordingly.

The world of Hank Hill seems to be a very neurotic one. Hank is very uptight, however, he seems to run into some unusual people and at worst these people take advantage of him. However Hank seems to be an upright guy who doesn't take much non-sense for long. He does like to threaten to kick someone's *ss literally.

He has an eccentric WW2 veteran father, Cotton, who died a season or two ago. He liked to talk trash about, Tilly, his ex-wife & Hank's mother and that was true until Hank Hill told his father off about it. He brought his son constant embarrassment, but Hank's own son was interesting.

Hank's son was overweight and not very athletically inclined as Hank hoped. Bobby Hill wanted to be a prop comic and engaged in antics that would generally embarrass his more uptight father. Actually it really didn't take much to embarrass Hank Hill, if Bobby wanted to have a pet other than a dog Hank would veto that.

Let's not forget about his wife Peggy. That woman was very neurotic. She's overly competitive as she definitely will take small accomplishments and turn them into big accomplishments. She also doesn't know how to teach Spanish and has often misunderstood what Spanish speakers say in addition to not speaking the language very well. I did mention that she teaches, but she's largely a substitute teacher. Also she has a very big ego.

Let's not forget the crazy friends that Hank has. I already mentioned Boomhauer. There's also Dale who always seems paranoid about the idea of the government coming after him and there's Bill who early on was despondent over his wife divorcing him, but beyond that he seems to have his own issues. Still I like Bill as a character.

The show has aired over a decade and it's finally getting cancelled. In recent years I hated the fact that the show tends to get pre-empted for football. Another issue was that I never was able to catch the show before the Simpson's. Once upon a time the show aired after the Simpson's but that was probably before Family Guy and American Dad arrived on the scene.

I'll miss that crazy show and its universe. Thankfully there's always reruns, DVDs, or even Hulu. Well any online video service that airs TV programming. I hope creator Mike Judge does a movie like he did for Beavis and Butthead, another creation of his.

King of the Hill wikipedia

King of the Hill on FOX

Bulletin board on Campus

Right now you are seeing more and more SGA campaign flyers on these boards just about around campus. You saw the first set on It's My Mind near the cafeteria. The elections are the first week in April.

Originally posted at "The Eye" on March 20, 2007

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Why are the State Police defying judges’ expungement orders?

That's what Mary Mitchell is saying in her column today:
An investigation by the Chicago Reporter, a monthly investigative publication on race and poverty, found that the state agency has refused to enforce about 1,800 of 21,000 expungement and sealing orders mandated by state judges.
...
Earlier this week, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan demanded the State Police immediately conduct an audit to determine the exact number of orders at issue, to comply with court orders and to devise a strategy to reach those people impacted by this issue. "They are not following the law. I am curious about their reasons," Madigan said during an interview. "We've sent off a letter to the director trying to find out what is going on."

Four years ago, Illinois lawmakers who represent districts with large African-American and Latino populations were celebrating legislation that was designed to make it easier for ex-offenders to re-integrate into society.

It was a hard-fought victory.

Expungements and the sealing of criminal records of people with low-level felony or misdemeanor arrests or convictions were viewed as critical to urban communities where unemployment figures were double-digits long before the country sank into a steep recession.
If you're up on a Saturday morning at about 10:30 AM watch some cable access programming. You might see what's going on, especially if there programs may have either a lawyer or a politician as a guest.

That was when I figured out that for a lot of blacks this is a huge issue. Usually the callers are guys who may ask questions about a conviction that they had in their youths. This conviction is holding them back in their lives and perhaps this conviction can be expunged from their records.

Here's what else was found in the investigation:
• • Statewide, about 1,800 of the 21,000 sealing and expungement orders issued after the amendment, between 2006 and 2008, went unenforced.

• • An additional 900 or so orders went unenforced before theamendment, starting in 1991, when some ex-offender advocates believe the practice began.

• • Statewide, 5 percent of the 412 court orders issued in 2008 went unenforced.

• • Paul P. Biebel Jr., presiding judge of the Circuit Court of Cook County Criminal Division, got overruled about 13 percent of the
time in 2007.
Our ousted ex-governor figured into this article. Larry Trent, the current director of the State Police was appointed by him in 2003. According to Mitchell, Trent may have himself picked up some bad habits. Another thought from Mitchell:
Because African Americans account for about 61 percent of Illinois parolees, it is the group most impacted by the arrogance of this state agency. So, it is quite ironic that it was black community leaders who publicly supported Blagojevich during the corruption scandal that jettisoned him from office.

The failure of the Illinois State Police to expunge and seal criminal records when ordered to do so by a judge also has likely resulted in people who honestly thought they had complied with the law losing their jobs after a background check.

Also, since applying for an expungement costs $60 -- a fee that many applicants are hard-pressed to come by -- the state agency has effectively scammed these applicants when it refused to obey the judge's orders to seal or expunge the records.
Now that we have Gov. Quinn in office and an environment that seeks to break from the past, I hope that we can see some change on this issue. Yeah I know the best way to avoid this is to not commit a crime, however, for those who have paid their debt to society, they should be able to expunge a crime from their record that was only a past offense. Especially if it was a minor one.

And we need for the state police to follow the orders of judges!

Cross posted at Mechanics, but I really need to get a handle on the formatting.

The bell

I watched this video produced from PBS a few years ago called Morehouse Men. It's a documentary about Morehouse College and we look into the lives of some of the students at Morehouse. One of the scenes you see will take place here at this bell. A guy says that a Morehouse graduate got his degree got his job and left. However, a Morehouse Man will answer this bell whenever it rings.

I was able to check this video out of the library many years ago. If you want to look for it now do so, it's a great video.

Originally posted at "The Eye" on April 9, 2007

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Cubs Sale Not Likely Before Mid-May

This sale keeps getting pushed further and further back. I almost wonder why is this deal taking so long. I thought that Sam Zell wanted to sell this club!
The Cubs are likely to remain under the ownership of Tribune Co. through the early part of the season. Cubs chairman Crane Kenney said Wednesday it "will be a challenge" to complete the sale of the team by opening day on April 6 and that talks between the Ricketts family and the Tribune are ongoing.

"There's a negotiation that's occurring, and like every negotiation, there's an issue or two that probably wasn't spotted early that needed to be resolved," he said. "None of them are in any way fatal to the transaction. It's standard stuff, I would say. And the credit markets are challenging, and this is a transaction that will have some amount of debt on it."

A top baseball official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the sport doesn't make announcements prior to balloting, said a vote by owners to approve the deal isn't likely to take place until mid-May at the earliest.
If only I had the cash to purchase a Major League Baseball club. I hope that the hurdles that any aspiring owner wouldn't be a problem if it was me. Of course that's easier said because I'm not even in that situation at this time.

And remember the Cubs has been owned by Sam Zell for how long two years just about? Ever since he bought the Tribune Company. The Tribune Co. owns both the Chicago Tribune and other newspapers around the nation, WGN-AM and TV, and several other TV stations around the nation. To name a few other assets that I know about.

Lunchtime!!!

Waiting for fried chicken in the cafeteria.

Originally posted March 14, 2007 at "The Eye".

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Stay in school kids!!!!

I try not to knock our janitorial staff but this can really be a good motivation to tell kids to stay in school or you'll make the errors these guys made in making a sign when they clean the bathrooms. The sign reads...
This bathroom is tempory close
Remember kids,"Keep your butt in school!!!"

One of my favorite shots still. Unfortunately if you click that link you'll find that the video is no longer available. That was a very funny video.

Pic was originally posted at "The Eye" on April 26, 2007.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Apple not coming to Block 37: lawsuit

If you're not familiar with what Block 37 is well here goes.

Since about the late 80s this blog largely remained unbuilt until perhaps 4 or 5 years ago. During the winters it contained an ice-rink and during the summer an arts apprenticeship program.

Once upon a time it was home to some very significant architecture. In the late 80s those buildings came down with hopes that something new will come along unfortunately it took close to 20 years before development actually came. I'm sure many of us are wondering if it would've been more worth it to save those buildings that were already there.

Then I see this story about an Apple store scuttered. I thought that lot is still bring in some drama, even though the project is nearing its completion. Even better WBBM-TV has moved into their new digs as well on Black 37.
Apple Inc. has pulled the plug on plans for a store at Block 37, prompting another retailer to go to court to get out of its lease in the new mall, according to a lawsuit.

Yoga-wear retailer Lululemon Athletica Inc. alleges that Apple isn't going to open a store at Block 37 in a lawsuit filed in federal court last week that seeks to cancel Lululemon's lease, alleging the firm was misled about Apple's plans.

Lululemon claims its deal for a small, first-level store along State had a “co-tenancy” requirement that it would be located next to Apple in the project that’s being developed by Chicago-based Joseph Freed & Associates LLC.

The lawsuit, filed March 12, claims that an executive with Vancouver, Canada-based Lululemon was told by a “representative” of the developer in January that Apple wouldn’t open a store at Block 37 and had never signed a lease.

“Defendant (a Freed venture called 108 N. State Retail LLC) represented to Lululemon that Apple would be opening for business at the shopping center, that Apple would be located immediately next to Lululemon, and that Apple had executed a lease,” the lawsuit says. “When defendant made these representations, defendant knew they were false and made them with the intent to deceive and defraud and induce Lululemon to execute the lease.”

The retailer seeks to have its lease terminated, and alleges one count of “fraudulent inducement” and claims that Freed violated the Illinois Consumer Fraud Act.
Interesting! I hope this is worth a lawsuit!

The first multimedia message


So this is going to be a first.

I got me a new phone over the weekend and this means that I'm going to start posting pictures here from my camera phone. Neat huh? Hopefully they'll be of interest and if not well this is just new content isn't it. I'm going to have fun and I hope you enjoy.

BTW, this picture is on Fair Street. The tower is on a dorm, Graves Hall on the campus of Morehouse College. It's a Freshman dorm with a lot of history and nicely designed too.

Originally posted at "The Eye" on  March 12, 2007. I had to edit this a little and even form some paragraphs. still this actually was the very first cameraphone picture I ever posted on a blog.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I think I'll do better next time...

I was attempting to get the bicycle sculpture. Instead I got more of the trolley than the bicycle.
Originally posted May 17, 2007 at "The Eye"!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

The American Federation of Labor's shameful record on race

Reason addresses an issue that may not have often been addressed enough. You still hear about unions unwilling to allow black workers into their ranks.
In a speech delivered last month at the Justice Department, Attorney General Eric Holder described America as "a nation of cowards" when it came to the subject of race. "If we're going to ever make progress," he explained, "we're going to have to have the guts, we have to have the determination, to be honest with each other."

Last week in Miami, Vice President Joe Biden squandered a perfect opportunity to follow Holder's advice. Speaking before the annual convention of the AFL-CIO, Biden repeatedly flattered the powerful labor organization, yet made no mention of the American Federation of Labor's notoriously racist past. For more than half a century, AFL unions routinely banned African Americans from membership, segregated the few blacks they did admit into inferior Jim Crow locals, and lobbied state and federal officials for discriminatory legal privileges. When the federal government began passing pro-union legislation during the 1930s, it was racist outfits like the AFL that reaped the benefits.

During the early decades of the 20th century, black economic success typically occurred in spite of organized labor—not because of it. As African Americans migrated from the rural South to the industrial North, they frequently secured jobs by working for lower wages than unionized whites or by serving as strikebreakers—"scabs"—when discriminatory white unions walked the picket line. Blacks gained a foothold in Chicago's massive meatpacking industry in 1894, for example, when unionized butchers joined the striking American Railway Union, a whites-only outfit led by future Socialist presidential candidate Eugene V. Debs.
...
New Deal labor laws had a similar impact. The National Industrial Recovery Act and its accompanying National Recovery Administration (NRA), in effect from 1933 until the Supreme Court unanimously struck them down in 1935, established the practice of mandatory collective bargaining, whereby a union selected by a majority of employees became the exclusive representative of all employees. Since African Americans were barred from most unions, the law drastically limited their economic options.
Many road blocks to the future success of black Americans. If it wasn't the larger society it was organized labor. It took good businessmen to hire these workers, but meddling politicians.

Anyway read the whole article.

Via Instapundit!

Killing people is rude.

I was walking along the Magnificient Mile and I saw this image on the sidewalk outside of a jewelry store.

Originally posted at The Eye on May 21, 2007.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Proposal to divert patients from the emergency room

Now this sounds like a plan to me. Why should the emergency room be burdened with those individuals who aren't in emergency condition? There ought to be a separate department to treat such patients instead of them having to register and wait awhile for an ER doctor.
University of Chicago President Robert Zimmer stepped into the fray Friday over a controversial proposal to redirect patients from the university hospital's emergency room, announcing steps to come up with "a better plan."

In an internal memo obtained by the Tribune, Zimmer said that a committee led by Dr. Everett Vokes, the newly appointed chair of the department of medicine, would "review, refine and modify" proposals initiated by the medical center's chief executive and dean of the medical school, Dr. Jim Madara.

"Fuller engagement of the faculty of the Department of Medicine should lead to a better plan and implementation," Zimmer wrote to faculty, residents and fellows.

Zimmer's memo comes as an intense debate has raged inside and outside the university after its announcement last month that it would eliminate beds in the ER and redirect some patients to other facilities in the face of spiraling costs and long waits for emergency treatment.
...
Questions also were raised by faculty – in particular the more than 400 doctors in the department of medicine, the school's largest group of physicians.

Inherent in much of the criticism were fears that the hospital was pulling back from its commitment to the surrounding area, which includes some of the poorest neighborhoods in the country. The Hyde Park hospital is the state's largest private provider for patients covered by Medicaid, a government-funded insurance program for the poor.

Zimmer's memo explicitly addressed those concerns: "We benefit from being part of these communities, and we have a corresponding obligation to contribute to their well-being."

Hospital officials have said that their emergency room was overrun with patients who didn't have true emergencies, costing the hospital tens of millions of dollars a year.

To help lower those costs, the medical center launched a program in 2005 to educate patients on the best use of the emergency room. Led at the time by Michelle Obama, the program grew into what is now called the Urban Health Initiative, run by one of President Barack Obama's closest friends, Dr. Eric Whitaker.

Last month, the hospital announced plans to expand the initiative by evaluating patients before care is provided and redirecting cases deemed non-urgent to other facilities. Almost immediately, the plan drew the ire of doctors and advocates inside and outside the hospital who were concerned that these patients might not get appropriate care.

For more than two years, Urban Health Initiative has been referring some patients to about two dozen health centers throughout the South Side or to Mercy Hospital and Medical Center, where the U. of C. moved certain psychiatric patients and some patients in need of general care such as treatment for acute heart failure.
What say you? Should there be a reform over who gets to be treated at an emergency room?

95th Street

End of the Dan Ryan CTA Red Line. Not a lot to see but this is about how it looks.

Originally posted on March 16, 2007 at "The Eye".

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I should've posted this earlier

I took this pic inside the Thompson Center on January 8th. When I took this pic, I wondered if our now ousted governor had actually reported to work. Something that was often reported since the day of his arrest.

Lake Michigan

I was some where on the south end on Lincoln Park near the beaches, a little closer to the Drake Hotel. The waters looked very choppy on this day. I decided to capture that.

Originally posted at "The Eye" on June 6, 2007.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

How is the game played?

Do you remember the Illinois Leader?

In year one of this blog I would often link to that formerly active online publication. By 2006, that site no longer existed, but during that time we could read about people who were active Republicans or conservatives in Illinois. These individuals are either on the grassroots end or they were literally on the front lines. That is running for office somewhere in the state.

I'm sure Chicago Heights Mayor Anthony DeLuca had a story for that late publication. A Republican elected mayor in the south suburbs. An area that is increasingly turning more and more Democrat. It was probably true at the beginning of DeLuca's tenure and probably more true in 2009.

However I'm sure the news that he's accepting an appointment by Democrats in that area to represent them in the General Assembly would be a disappointment. From the Southtown:
Congratulations are in order for Anthony Deluca, mayor of Chicago Heights, and recently appointed successor to state Rep. George Scully, who gave up the seat to become a Cook County judge. The 80th legislative district he now represents encompasses Chicago Heights, South Chicago Heights, Steger, Crete and small parts of Rich and Thornton townships.

Deluca will be my state representative. He is a nice fellow. And with what would be considered movie star good looks, he will certainly cut a fine figure on the floor of the General Assembly - to the dismay of some Democratic Party officials outside of Bloom Township. I suspect there may be a few inside of Bloom who would fall into this category as well.

The 80th is an overwhelmingly Democratic district and by all rights the seat should have gone to a longtime card-carrying Democrat. Anyone who has followed local politics for the past six years knows Deluca, a one-time Republican, has tissue-thin Democratic credentials.

However, I consider myself an independent Democrat, and want to sincerely congratulate Deluca and wish him well. If he is supportive of U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.'s effort to build an airport in the Southland, he will be performing a major public service for the region he is charged with serving.
Well, how is the game supposed to be played?

One could play ideological game and get absolutely nothing in the process or you can make friends across the aisle. Of course depending on who's more powerful and and why they aren't willing to shake you hand for the greater good (whatever that's supposed to be) is another question. DeLuca was a Republican, but was smart enough to make Democratic friends to move up the ladder.

You know looking at this post from The Bench that rails against Illinois' GOP establishment, it could be a very shrewd move. Perhaps it's not what a very loyal partisan should do, however, if the party you're apart of can't seem to function as the state Republican party has been as of late, then the next best thing is to join the party that is functioning and winning.

Here's the more racial or heady part of this piece:
I think a clinical assessment of Chicago Heights would be instructive. A similar analysis of Chicago and the state of Illinois would be equally revealing. What is it that binds Michael and Lisa Madigan, Richard and Bill Daley, Dick Durbin and Pat Quinn, other than their Democratic Party affiliation?


That link has largely gone unnoticed by people in the African-American political establishment, who should understand the American political system and how it works. I think Deluca and his supporters, to their credit, have figured it out. That is why Deluca, a pedigreed Republican and only recent Democratic convert, was able to get appointed state representative in a district so overwhelmingly Democratic.

The issue for me, in this instance, is not whether one is a Republican or a Democrat, but how ethnic groups, which have experienced success in the organization of their families, neighborhoods, communities and cities, are able to work together, and distribute the vast majority of their resources.

Think of these ideas or elements as containers. What is it that enables someone or some group to fill up all of these containers in ways that serve and protect their interests?

The answer is found in strategies based on culture and values or a coherent sense of identity, history, spirituality and connection, which enables people to align themselves in ways that make change and a positive future possible.
Interesting analysis. A combination of political science and sociology. Cross-check different backgrounds with the larger political structure.

Is this why Mayor DeLuca was able to become a state legislator, but leaving his elected party for another. I'm not criticizing him at all, however, it's just interesting how this comes about.

In the Beverly neighborhood

On Western Avenue near 103rd Street.

Originally posted on "The Eye" June 11, 2007.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Comment I just rejected!

Comments are now moderated because one random commenter chose to get comment happy. What doesn't get published is up to my discretion. Of course moderating policy is subject to change. Thanks!

You complain about freedom of speech and civil rights. But yet you do the same thing.. You truly are a piece of shit
The top part of this is a message you would see when you seek to post a comment. The other statement is the stupidity I just saw to be moderated.

Ironically this was posted in a photographic post depicting a scene at the intersection of 111th & Michigan. That wasn't designed to be a post complaining about freedom of speech and civil rights. It was just a picture of a Chicago neighborhood.

That comment was made out of sheer stupidity! I don't often enough write about issues of civil rights or free speech. Indeed I don't know what this has to do with a photograph.

In this regard this individual broke one rule. There aren't many comments on this blog anyway, even then I would hope that the comments are in general in line with what is posted. In that regards you have free speech so long as you stay on topic. That's the main rule this individual, and they know who they are, broke.

If this person wants free speech then instead of posting his own non-sensical anonymous off-topic comments, they might want to consider starting their own blog. That's much better than complaining about one blog's moderating policy. Besides that's a waste of time anyway.

111th & Michigan

In the Roseland neighborhood.

Originally posted at "The Eye" on June 12, 2007

Monday, March 09, 2009

What to do about education?

Last night I posted a blog at The Sixth Ward about a parent wanting school choice for her children. This morning I also posted an op/ed about the number of Chicago Public School students who fell victim to gun violence. This raises some thoughts.

First off I'm not yet a parent, but when I do I would like very much to have the ability to determine where my child should go to school. I hope that the choice I make will be safe and beneficial for my child. The better start that they get earlier in their lives, hopefully will pay off when they start college. Although I'd be alright if they were otherwise very productive citizens who themselves have their eyes on how well their own children do in school.

That being said let's talk about students getting shot.

That's a problem that occurs anywhere there are crime ridden neighborhoods. Young people preyed on by those who are headed towards the criminal life. Or indeed kids shooting each other over something that made them mad about something. Who knows what the reason is.

The op/ed I found wants to see additional support for those children who are prone to violence. Additional counselors or social workers to help them thru their struggles in dangerous neighborhoods or their home lives are terribly dysfunctional. There is someone these young people can reach out to before they can disrupt the class and school thru various antics.

I do believe what happens out of school is important. What happens at home or in the neighborhood is important. Besides my theory is that if a teacher or administrator is forced to curse a student out. Certainly for such a person to engage in that behavior is out of line, however, I have also figured that these young people (or my generation since high school was the first time I saw this) can't be reached without a few choice vulgar words.

Honestly I hate to think this way, but some of these children have probably had parents or adults whom did nothing but curse at them. Cursing is rightfully vocabulary that are nothing more than big spoken exclamation points! When they're uttered the ideal reaction is probably shock. You know something is wrong here.

In my generation when a teacher uses such words, my peers laughed.Sometimes even I laughed, even though I knew something was wrong with that picture. One day I said that my music teacher cursing wasn't funny, but was blown off by a fellow student of mine who later became our class president. It really wasn't funny, but it was easy to join in with the crowd who thought it hilarious.

My theory is that some of our young people can't be reached with "polite suggestion" as I call it. That is talking to them calmly, firmly, and respectfully. As opposed to talking like they're in the streets and make another person afraid of their lives. It's unfortunate, but how do you communicate with these students when an authority figure doesn't have the ability to reach their young charges.

That being said there are a lot of issues involved in running a school system. In addition to keeping command of a classroom, we now have to worry about what the students are doing outside of the classroom. Now we have to find ways to keep them safe.

What can we do about this?

Thursday, March 05, 2009

An NROTC torpedo

Near the building of the Morehouse College Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps building on the campus of Morehouse College.

I originally took this pic on March 27, 2007 on my mobile phone.

Charlie Rose: Evan Williams talks about Twitter


Evan Williams used to be a part of Blogger now has a new project we know as Twitter. Enjoy and if you haven't already follow me on Twitter.

Video courtesy of Slate.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

HotlineTV: SEN Hot Five!

Sen. Roland Burris leads the way thru to the open seat in Minnesota, where incumbent Norm Coleman seeks to remain in the Senate against his challenger Al Franken. I just thougth this video would be interesting but one thought came to mind.

Wouldn't the Minnesota Senate race and their haggles over who won the votes be a good reason to just repeal the 17th Amendment and start all over? Think about it.

SEN Hot Five! Burris, Kudlow, Toomey, Bunning and Minnesota

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

My ex-governor's got a book deal

I suppose it was bound to happen. He has to make a living somehow. While he was still governor there was speculation about his financial situation. Paying lawyer bills can be an expensive proposition when you just seem to have a problem getting out of trouble with the law.

Seriously though how can a man who's been under investigation continue engaging in criminal activities without knowing that at some point something will go down. Surely every thug on the streets knows when to cool off. Not this guy who even boasted to the law that they can listen in all they want. They sure did and they took action. Some might even allege that he probably didn't believe he'll get caught.

Now he can tell all in a book coming to a bookstore near you. Of course what to believe is entirely up to you, epsecially if the general consensus is that everything he continues to say is suspect. His deal is reportedly in the six-figures range but it can be relatively paltry. I wonder if the former Governor would take any deal he can get his hands on.

Let's not forget his handiwork for the last six years is still with Illinois. The big news for the last part of February was his Senate appointee Roland Burris. He's got some questions to answer about what happened and to maintain his position he's invoked the use of the race card. Black elected officials are lining up behind him although they may not put all of their weight behind him just yet.

Another aspect of this story is we don't know the financial shape of Illinois. The ex-governor's budget during his tenure has often been described as smoke and mirrors. He liked to spend big, but refused to hike taxes and user fees. What he might point to as his legacy (free public transportation for seniors and expanded healthcare for the uninsured) he got thru tricky hardball tactics such as circumventing the General Assembly or using the amendatory veto.

Anyway I'm sure most of us have already deduced what'll be in his book. He'll proclaim once again to the world that he's done nothing wrong and they wanted be rid of him because he was trying to get things done for people and keep them from seeing tax increases. Unfortunately that's oversimplifying the issue and denying the issue that got him impeached and removed from office.

BTW, have you noticed that I refuse to say his name. If I say corrupt ex-governor or ex-governor you should know what I mean. I don't want to talk about him, but yet today is one of those days or anytime Roland Burris comes up. Instead here's the next best thing refuse to say any part of his name. Besides I'm not entirely famous enough or legit enough as a blogger that I just have to identify him at all.

Still I understand that despite the cloud that hangs over him now that he's not going away quietly anytime soon. It's time to move on and it'll be time to decide who should be the next Governor of Illinois. And looking at the recent occupants of that office it's shouldn't be hard for others to make a break from the mistakes of the two more immediate Governors.

Oh and I can at least still talk about George Ryan. :P

Monday, March 02, 2009

On senatorial appointments

I saw CPAC speeches on C-Span Saturday night. I saw Rush Limbaugh making his rousing speech to conference goers. I also saw Newt Gingrich call out our Attorney General on issues of race. Finally I saw Ron Paul give his speech to his fellow conservatives.

Ron Paul gave a rousing speech on an areas he often speaks about. He's considered an isolationist due to his foreign affairs stances. He talks often about the economy and reading up on him and hearing speak about economic issues I found out that he's a scholar on Austrian economics. Know one thing about Ron Paul, he's what they call a "constitutionalist".

His remarks to CPAC included references to wanting to repeal the 16th and 17th amendments. Ron Paul wants no income tax (hey I think that's great) and he wants no more direct election of Senators (eh?). You know George Will wrote a column about that last month.
The Wisconsin Democrat, who is steeped in his state's progressive tradition, says, as would-be amenders of the Constitution often do, that he is reluctant to tamper with the document but tamper he must because the threat to the public weal is immense: Some governors have recently behaved badly in appointing people to fill U.S. Senate vacancies. Feingold's solution, of which John McCain is a co-sponsor, is to amend the 17th Amendment. It would be better to repeal it.

The Framers established election of senators by state legislators, under which system the nation got the Great Triumvirate (Henry Clay, Daniel Webster and John Calhoun) and thrived. In 1913, progressives, believing that more, and more direct, democracy is always wonderful, got the 17th Amendment ratified. It stipulates popular election of senators, under which system Wisconsin has elected, among others, Joe McCarthy, as well as Feingold.
...

Feingold says that mandating election of replacement senators is necessary to make the Senate as "responsive to the people as possible." Well. The House, directly elected and with two-year terms, was designed for responsiveness. The Senate, indirectly elected and with six-year terms, was to be more deliberative than responsive.

Furthermore, grounding the Senate in state legislatures served the structure of federalism. Giving the states an important role in determining the composition of the federal government gave the states power to resist what has happened since 1913 -- the progressive (in two senses) reduction of the states to administrative extensions of the federal government.

Severing senators from state legislatures, which could monitor and even instruct them, made them more susceptible to influence by nationally organized interest groups based in Washington. Many of those groups, who preferred one-stop shopping in Washington to currying favors in all the state capitals, campaigned for the 17th Amendment. So did urban political machines, which were then organizing an uninformed electorate swollen by immigrants. Alliances between such interests and senators led to a lengthening of the senators' tenures.
This morning I see this article from the Politico. There are no good alternatives to appointments. If Sen. Russ Feingold wants to force states to do special elections for Senate vacancies well his idea is not the best one.
The death or resignation of a senator would lead to a state effectively losing representation for a prolonged period, likely five or six months, before the special election is held. In 1995-96, the Oregon seat long held by Republican Bob Packwood remained vacant for nearly five months after his resignation. This possibility is dangerous in the extreme case of a terrorist attack on Congress. The Continuity of Government Commission (which I am associated with) worried that the House would be effectively crippled for months after a mass attack because members are chosen only by election. The Senate could regenerate itself quickly, as governors would make appointments to fill vacancies within days of the attack.
...
Special elections under the Feingold amendment would arguably be less democratic than the current system, in which most states’ appointed senators face voters in the next general election. States would have incentives to fill the vacancy quickly to regain its representation in the Senate. In the House, where there are no appointments, some states forego party primaries in special elections and allow party committees to select the nominee.

Without appointments, states would be in a tough position. If they allow for a full election process with primaries, they lengthen the duration of the Senate vacancy and the time the state is without representation. On the other hand, doing away with primaries takes the people out of the choice for party nominees.

Consider also who might run in special elections. Candidates who could immediately jump into a race only a few months away would likely be wealthy, well-known or politically connected. There would not be much room for an outsider candidate, like Barack Obama, to break through in a rushed election.

And turnout in these elections themselves could be less than ideal. Typically, under today’s system, when a vacancy is filled, the special election is held on the next November election in an even year. The special election coincides with the presidential or midterm elections, which see high turnout. There tends to be significantly lower turnout in special elections for the House, Senate runoffs and other elections not coinciding with midterm or presidential contests.
OK, so count me in as a supporter of any attempt to repeal the 17th amendment. Having a special election isn't the answer, especially to a one in a million shot that a Governor who attempt to sell a Senate seat to the highest bidder. Unfortunately how the 17th amendment came to be was the result of a corrupt politician in Illinois:
Long before Ryan and Blagojevich, there was former Illinois Sen. Billy Lorimer, the “blond boss” of Chicago, who was caught paying off legislators in exchange for their support of his Senate bid.
That was probably a case as it turns out back then of if it's not broke don't fix it. Perhaps we don't need to fix the 17th Amendment, but perhaps that amendment shouldn't have been enacted anyway. Something to chew on.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Roland Burris front

It seems that the news on the Burris front has been largely quiet on Friday. Things may have finally quieted down on whether or not he perjured himself in front of Illinois' House impeachment committee. In addition to as a result of amending his affidavits whether or not he should resign his Senate seat.

Personally while I agreed with any attempts to keep Burris out of the Senate early last month, I'd say since they backed down eventually I'd say we should let him go on and serve in the US Senate for the next year. I'm not sure that he would run for re-election next year especially since he accepted an appointment for our corrupt ex-Governor. Of course that's not to say that there aren't forces that want him to run next year.

I told you that I was amused that a post I found on a local blog found it's way as a major item over at the CapFax on Thursday. That post was heavily edited perhaps not long after it was shown there and there are two posts that I know of that have derived their posts from that heavily racialized post on that local blog, Chatham/Avalon Park Community Council.

I want to point out two of those posts this afternoon. First Archpundit springboards off of the comments made at the CapFax and discusses the blog in question. This statement caught my eye:
The stupid part of this is the notion that the only African American official who could win in 2010 is Burris.  Illinois has one of the best statewide records on electing African Americans.  He’s not the best nor the brightest right now.  I have some sense that those who could make a good run at the US Senate aren’t on Cobb’s shortlist however because they don’t pay fealty to the politics of those like Bobby Rush who while quite African American, is a corporate whore on many policies including telecommunications.
Yeah, that is the first thing I'm concerned about. It seems there are those who thinks Burris can survive this stigma that he is the Senator from Blagojevich. The fact that he was willing to accept this appointment is probably going to prove itself a problem and it doesn't matter who might want to line up in support of him.

Another blogger who took note of these comments bored now at Political Tracks:
That Roland Burris' public face is someone who is best known for her opposition of the president, someone eager to sow controversy, shows a lack of political judgment that will neither serve him -- or Illinois -- well. Delmarie Cobb may be eager to throw Barack Obama under the bus, but I haven't found a black voter who is willing to do so. By accepting this appointment from such a fatally flawed figure had already put Burris' political skills and judgment in doubt. Surrounding himself with people who clearly oppose this president only cements it. Roland Burris is too naive to be our senator.

Roland Burris needs to decide if he is standing with our new president or fighting against him. Delmarie Cobb's email suggests to me that she is using Burris as a means for tearing down Barack Obama. We have no indication that Burris is willing to stand with the president or his agenda, but we do have indicators that he and his campaign are eager to sacrifice Barack Obama for their own benefit. It seems to me that those very "black elected officials" who "stayed quiet and got on board" for Barack Obama are now basking in his limelight. Roland Burris faces an uphill battle to divide them from the president but it appears Delmarie Cobb is eager for the challenge. I'd say 'good luck with that,' but I don't really wish her luck. I -- and many others -- worked too hard to get Obama elected president to sacrifice him for Roland Burris. I'd much rather have a good man in the White House. I strongly suspect I'm not alone in that sentiment...
I forgot to mention, the blog post in question was a republished e-mails from a constituent of Freddrenna Lyle, 6th Ward Alderman. The Alderman herself seems to have sent that e-mail that Ms. Delmarie Cobb had sent to the Alderman. The e-mail that was copy-and-pasted on the CapFax was by Ms. Cobb herself.

It was noted by both bored now and Archpundit that she was the subject of some disparaging remarks from former state Senate President Emil Jones because she just simply wasn't on board for Obama and continued to support Hillary Clinton last year. In fact check out this post made about that story over at The Bench from last year.

I still find it unfortunate how racialized this story has become. The expectation is that we should support this appointment because Burris represented the only chance for blacks to have a black US Senator. The problem here and well it doesn't need to bear repeating this that the black candidate for US Senate accepted an appointment from a very fatally flawed figure as our former corrupt Governor  was.

It seems Burris is suffering the same treatment that he probably should have dished to the former Governor when he the Senate appointment was offered. He should have shunned it, even if this was to have been his last hurrah! He didn't  and he accepted the appointment and now he suffered the consequences of not getting a even a remote acknowledgement from the President at the state of the union address in addition to having to walk alone to the House chamber that night without nary a work from his Senate colleagues. Although he does support DC voting rights.

Let me just state, I'm not under the idea that Burris should resign. I'm not sure that he should until it's proven that he did anything wrong. I'm not sure that he did and perjury is said to be difficult to prove. The only thing that was suspicious is the fact that he had to even amend his affidavits. It's also bad that he accepted a hot-potato appointment but the damage is less criminal than it was political.

One more quote worth adding today:
U.S. Sen. Roland Burris said he tried to raise funds for former Gov. Rod Blagojevich but was not successful, therefore innocent. If I unsuccessfully robbed a bank, am I innocent?
If it's true that this had anything to do with his appointment then I would say that it wouldn't make him innocent. Especially if the intent was to buy a Senate seat. Still it has to be proven and I look forward to the findings. It's a mess!

BTW read this weekend's Burris Headlines posts over at The Sixth Ward.
March 1, 2009
February 28, 2009