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Sunday, May 31, 2009

Abortion doctor murdered!

You know personally I'm against abortion. If one gets an abortion it shouldn't be taken lightly or in my opinion done with the slightest whim. I'd say if you're going to do it you better have a very good excuse to do it and I would hope you wouldn't do it because you hate your ex-boyfriend or because you just don't want a child especially since you can prevent the pregnancy in the first place. Although I understand when it happens because you didn't think about the precautions.

What's unfortunate is the idea that someone shoots an abortion doctor because they are against abortion. Killing an abortion Doctor may not help the cause of eventually striking down Roe v. Wade or making abortion illegal in this nation. Surely this is going to galvanize those folks who consider themselves pro-choice and this incident with Dr. Tiller could be used to demonize those who are pro-life.

Let's get to the story:

A search is ongoing for the suspect in this morning's fatal shooting of George Tiller, the Wichita doctor who became a national lightning rod in the debate over abortion.

Tiller, 67, was shot just after 10 a.m. in the lobby of Reformation Lutheran Church at 7601 E. 13th, where he was a member of the congregation. Witnesses, a city official and a police source confirmed Tiller was the victim.

Police said they are looking for white male who was driving a 1990s powder blue Ford Taurus with Kansas license plate 225 BAB. The vehicle is registered to an owner in Merriam, which is in the Kansas City area.
Wichita police Capt. Brent Allred said that several law enforcement agencies -- including the FBI and the KBI -- have been called in to help with the case.

"This is going to be a larger search than probably maybe just Wichita that we're looking for this individual," Allred said. "So we've got the resources coming in to help us with this investigation."

Allred said that no one else was injured in the shooting. He would not say how many shots were fired. He said it's unclear whether the shooter exchanged any words with the victim.
I'm very sorry this happened and I would hope no one else who have the "gumption" the idea that they should be willing to engage in this activity themselves. Instead of shooting let's not lose sight of the goal a debate over abortion and whether or not it should be a right. Indeed the debate should be over whether or not aborting an embryo or fetus would be considered murder. Let's not engage in the murder of abortion doctors because of what they do especially at the expense of losing this debate.

Friday, May 29, 2009

West Side pastor reacts to indictment of Carothers on federal corruption charges

Another reaction from Rev. Ira Acree on the indictment of Issac Carothers and then perhaps it's time for me to move on to other stories. I think I should really tackle either the Roland Burris story or North Korea. Hmmm I have to decide.
Austin Pastor Ira Acree says Ald. Isaac "Ike" Carothers (29th Ward), indicted this afternoon on federal corruption charges, has done good work for the community and cautions against a rush to judgment.
...
Acree, pastor of Greater St. John Church, 1256 N. Waller, was out of town but spoke to the Austin Weekly News by phone. Acree said he learned of the indictment this morning.

"I'm saddened by the news and my prayers are with his family," he said of Carothers.

"We certainly wish the best for him and we don't want there to be a rush to judgment," Acree said.

Acree, a member of the LEADER's Network of West Side clergy, added that he'll contact Carothers on Friday, saying that he was going to "let him breathe" today.

"I've not talked with him recently but he's always accessible," he said.

Acree maintained that Carothers has worked hard for the community insisting, "that should stand for something." Acree also credited Carothers for listening to his and other community leaders' complaints about police misconduct.

"Instead of being totally dismissive of us, he held Jody Weis's feet to the floor and I appreciate that," he said, referring to the police superintendent.
Last night before I went to bed I posted a reaction from someone who didn't support the Alderman and now a reaction from someone who may very well support the alderman. If he doesn't he isn't jumping on the he's guilty bandwagon as of yet.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Is Ald. Isaac Carothers following his father's footsteps?

Yeah I posted this in an earlier post today, but the Sun-Times offers a little more than two paragraphs on both father and son on the wrong side of the law as Aldermen:

In the history of City Council corruption that has seen 30 aldermen convicted since 1972, there has never been a son who has followed his father to prison.

Ald. Isaac Carothers (29th) could be the first.

Now, Ike Carothers stands accused of accepting $40,000 in home improvements, meals and sports tickets from a West Side developer in exchange for zoning changes that netted the developer millions.

"It's sad. I'm stunned. It would surprise me even if his father hadn't [gone] to prison," said Ald. Emma Mitts (37th), an Ike Carothers protege who used her mentor's muscle to bring Chicago's first and only Wal-Mart to her West Side ward.

A longtime Carothers ally, who asked to remain anonymous, said he's "heard the rumors" about the Carothers investigation for months, but "didn't believe it because he had the example of his dad."

"I always thought him to be much smarter than that. But, maybe he didn't make the leap from the past to the present," the source said.
The article continunes to discuss his general background before he became an Alderman in 1999. Even a role in political intimidation on the West Side (29th Ward is on Chicago's west side). This was over 20 years ago and at that time "Ike" was pointed out by a federal judge as a ring leader in a campaign that was led by his father William who was himself in prison.

As promised here's a link to a CBS2 story about how his neighbors are reacting to this story. You've got a few who can't believe it and of course a few who don't like him. I'll just highlight the one guy who stood out from in this piece:
Daryl Walker says it doesn't surprise him.

"It should have happened a long time ago. I was in his office about six months ago. He never does anything for the community as far as the black people," Walker said.

Walker added Carothers looks after some of his powerful neighbors at the expense of the rest of the neighborhood. He says this is especially noticeable in the dead of winter when the former streets and sanitation man's block is always quickly cleared of snow.

"This block looks like the summertime in the winter. You go a block south or a block north it looks like Alaska," Walker said.
The part where he says he doesn't do anything as far as the black people. I think I understand the sentiment where either he doesn't like the Alderman or he feels Carothers hasn't been doing a very dutiful job for his constituents. I just found this first statement to be incoherent (well that may not be the right word for that) although I can understand he's in front of a TV camera and perhaps you may not always say the right thing especially if you have no idea whether or not it'll be shown on TV. Although to be sure they wanted both negative and positive points of view so he probably knew it would be on TV.

Ald. Carothers, real estate developer charged in corruption case

More on the indictment courtesy of the AP:
A Chicago alderman was indicted Thursday on federal fraud and bribery charges for allegedly receiving $40,000 in home improvements from a developer in return for supporting a zoning change.

Alderman Isaac "Ike" Carothers allegedly supported the rezoning of a 50-acre former rail yard and industrial site on Chicago's West Side sought by developer Calvin Boender, the 11-count indictment said. Boender also was charged in the alleged scheme, which prosecutors said included giving Carothers meals and tickets to sporting events.

Boender made about $3 million when 25 acres was sold for $6 million after the property, the largest undeveloped tract in the city, was rezoned, prosecutors said. It now includes a 14-screen movie theater, a union training center and 187 single- and multi-family homes.

"Using public office to obtain personal financial benefits violates the public trust and we will continue to vigilantly investigate and prosecute both corrupt public officials and businessmen who see to profit by corruption them," U.S. District Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald said.

According to the indictment, in the summer of 2004, Boender paid for improvements to Carothers' home, including painting, new windows and central air conditioning. Then in September of that year, Boender sought a zoning amendment to develop the land for residential and commercial use.

Carothers allegedly introduced ordinances to rezone the property, and voted in favor of them in 2007. He also allegedly filed a false statement to the city, failing to disclose the gifts from Boender, prosecutors said.

Carothers and Boender, both 54, will be arraigned at a later date, officials said.
Another proud moment in Chicago!

Someone just had to add this piece of history to this news:
The father of Ike Carothers was also an alderman and Democratic committeeman on the West Side. In 1983, Bill Carothers was convicted of extortion. He tried to block a $14 million hospital expansion project unless and until he got $15,000 worth of improvements for his office.

It would be hard to think of another case of father and son elected officials facing similar charges 26 years apart.
On CBS 2 there was a story where reporters talked to 29th Ward residents. As soon as I can find that I'll be sure to post it! Messed up!

29th Ward Alderman Carothers indicted!!!

Hmmm, did he learn anything from either Ousted governor or Arenda Troutman.

I just saw the press conference this goes back quite a while. Seven years I thought Patrick Fitzgerald (our US Attorney who arrested Ousted governor when he was still Governor, in addition, to prosecuting Troutman, Tony Rezko, former Gov. George Ryan, and a special prosecutor in the case of Valerie Plame during the former Bush administration) said in investigating Ald. Carothers.

Well it just shows that we have a long way to go if Chicago and Illinois is to ever be cleaned up. I'm going to avoid saying for now that it'll never happen. Although if the culture gets cleaned up enough where "theft of honest services" is shunned instead of celebrated then we've gone a long way. I'm going to venture to say that there are always going to be those public servants who would take bribes for one reason or another.

Read more over at the Capitol Fax.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Blackhawks are out!

Very tough loss tonight but at least they kept it close. It didn't run away like it did at the UC on Sunday. I'm sad about the loss, but optimistic as I hope that the Blackhawks can do better next year. I figured that they wouldn't get past Detroit but hoped in this game they could stay alive and it wasn't meant to be. Well my first preview was the Hawks playing Detroit at Wrigley Field on New Years Day. I figured we'd have games like that one with them. Well next year we'll do it all over again.

For now, I focus on Major League Baseball and the Cubs. Yeah the Sox can get some love from me as well. They haven't been doing very well (well neither team has so far). I'm going to need someone to get it together (yeah you Cubs) so that maybe Chicago can still bring a world title home this year. I can hardly wait!

Next year more Blackhawks action! Bring it on!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

An interesting discussion of my past high school

An old classmate and myself was discussing our former high school a few days ago. We focused mainly on our former principal who according to him was fired not long after we graduated from there. He let it be known that he didn't care for her pointing to certain qualities that she has as a high school principal that may have been detrimental to the school.

To be sure I had no strong feelings for or against her since I really didn't know her. What I did know came from mostly outside sources such as the teachers. I can say for certain that two of my teachers have criticized her right in front of us. My algebra teacher came back to our class after stepping outside for a moment howling mad about something she said to him (something critical I thought) and my French teacher on another day letting us know that she knew nothing about teaching. I would say there may be some truth to that since I saw in old yearbooks that she was once a counselor at the school where she had become principal.

While my friend tried to have a positive view of that period of time, I started with my rather negative view point about my time in high school. I felt it was dreadful because of the general behavior of students who had no problem cursing teachers and faculty out and the teachers firing back at the students. A lot of this activity is unacceptable but at the time since I was living it, that could be considered normal behavior. Until at least, one gets out of that environment.

My classmate didn't necessarily blame her for everything, but just didn't have the qualities necessary to turn around the school. He says that the school could have used some programs that probably could have attracted those students who were about something. He cited that there should have been a wrestling team there or at least additional classes other than typical academic fair. In fact one of my extracurricular activities held a meeting in a room that was once home to drafting classes. Across the hallway was the woodshop where young men could literally learn to use their hands. When I attended high school courses in home economics was considered obsolete.

What was hoped to be accomplished was that those who were attracted to bad wouldn't be attracted to school where there was so much to do as far as class and other activities. Of course it all depended upon what was available and who was interested in what. Also what could be done about those who were interested in nothing but trouble.

My time at that place and my time in college has caused me to develop some very cynical ideas on the issues of education, especially public education. As a result perhaps I'm harder on my old high school now than I should have been years ago. On the Sixth Ward blog I would often post crime reports courtesy of EveryBlock that is reported from the address of that school. Thanks to that blog I know that efforts are being made to raise the bar for the school from where it was when I was there.

Still I have my idea as to where I wished the school was in my time and where I hope it will be one day. I call it the "Whitney Young" standard. When I was in high school Whitney Young was the top high school in the city, even if it was merely a magnet school. Well my only contention is that if you want to raise the bar for all students in a public school system then one should look no further than the top schools in the city. Perhaps emulate what has worked there and bring it to those schools who aren't performing very well.

Well that's my idea. What are yours?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Tough loss!

What a very antagonistic game between the Hawks and Red Wings this afternoon. I watched it on NBC today and saw the Hawks get real aggressive at times during this game as the deficit moved to five goals by the end of the game. Getting these dumb and bad penalties in this game is probably what cost them the most today. Even with two goaltender changes during the game. The play by play said that the Hawks team wasn't mature like the Red Wings so they don't know how to face adversity hence some of the bad and dumb penalities during this game.

Very tough loss 6 to 1 and Detroit is up 3 games to 1 in the Western Conference Championship series.

Chicago Blackhawks draw more women, African-Americans

Just so that you know, I was a fan since before this poll was taken. Let me put it this way, I've been watching the Chicago Blackhawks since I was 8 and it was before I had any idea what hockey was. Imagine that!
Nothing brings sports fans of all generations and races together like winning, and this Blackhawks season has been one of uniting power and universal appeal.

The United Center indeed.

Along those lines, Scarborough Sports Marketing research provided to the Tribune indicated an 11 percent growth since 2007 in the number of adults in Chicago who had either watched, listened to or attended Blackhawks games in the last year -- from 9 percent to 20 percent.

It comes as little surprise that the percentage of males in that group increased from 13 to 27 percent. Similarly, among white-collar men and women identifying themselves as Blackhawks fans the numbers rose from 12 percent in 2007 to 24 percent this year.

More interestingly, and perhaps surprising to some who consider hockey as a traditional a sport appreciated by white males, the numbers of women and African-Americans who fit the criteria of Blackhawks fans more than doubled.

In 2007, only 6 percent of women in Chicago considered themselves Hawks fans compared with 13 percent this year, according to the survey. In the same span, the number of African-Americans in the city identifying themselves as Blackhawks fans increased even more, from 6 percent in '07 to 14 percent in 2009.

"People I know in [the African-American community] are saying not only let's take a closer look at the Blackhawks but let's take a closer look at the game of hockey, and a lot of that is due to their success," said Garrard McClendon, an African-American talk-show host for CLTV.

Knowingly or not, Bears coach Lovie Smith represented that trend when he sat in the United Center to watch Game 6 of the Blackhawks-Canucks series. It was not only the first Hawks game Smith had gone to since coming to town in 2004, but the first NHL game he ever attended. Other high-profile ambassadors such as Bears players Lance Briggs and Chris Williams taking part in the Blackhawks' shoot-the-puck promotion served a similar purpose.

Though difficult to quantify, McClendon took a stab at summing up the changing dynamic on his blog.

"Oh yes, I'm on the bandwagon now," McClendon wrote. "It's time for a brother to get a red, black and white jersey with a native American on the front of it. Here come the Hawks, the mighty Blackhawks."
My response to that very last paragraph, UGH! I think the Hawks fight song could use an update although I can listen to the original recording, but McClendon just ruined it for me.

BTW, there is a "brother" on the team, #33 Dustin Byfuglien. There's also former team captain and head coach Dirk Graham who is said to have some Black descent. I explicitly remember Tony McKegney joining the Blackhawks in the early 90s.

If the Hawks want to expand their fan base then perhaps they can find a way to teach young black children or teens in the hood how to not only skate, but play hockey. It couldn't hurt.

BTW, the next game is today at 2PM at the United Center. The series has Detroit leading 2 games to one. The Hawks won game three on Friday! I'm glad I can see it on TV but not so happy that it's not on in prime time.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

You miss me?

Well perhaps there aren't too many opportunities now that I have The Sixth Ward where I also regularly post. In recent years it's not often that I miss more than two or more days and post. It was common in much earlier days, not so much now.

Well I'm not exceedingly busy although I'm still basking in the glow of being a college graduate finally. I'll just chalk it up to plum laziness that there hasn't been much activity on this blog. Perhaps I should just say that I'm taking a break, but don't think this blog has all the sudden just went dormant.

Hopefully things will get back to normal in the near future. Stay tuned please. :)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ugliness on King biopic amongst Dr. King's children.

Courtesy of Jack & Jill Politics. Very unfortunate but I hope that MLK III and Berniece King can eventually reconcile on this pic to be produced by Steven Spielberg. To be honest I still want Spike Lee to direct, but I only want to see a great film and it wouldn't matter who directed it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Spielberg taking MLK’s life to big screen

Heh, I can't believe this won't be a Spike Lee Joint, but then it's really about time that we see a film treatment of Dr. King's life:
The life of Martin Luther King Jr. will be the subject of a movie to be co-produced by director Steven Spielberg.

DreamWorks has acquired the life rights of the civil rights leader from the King family estate. Spielberg, who directed “The Color Purple” and “E.T.” among others, will produce the film with Suzanne de Passe and Madison Jones.

The DreamWorks project has been authorized by the King estate, which is granting the producers permission to use King’s copyrighted and closely guarded intellectual property.

This includes his “I Have A Dream” speech, delivered during the 1963 March on Washington.

“The King Estate is committed to working very closely with DreamWorks, Suzanne de Passe and Madison Jones to create the first major motion picture on the life of my father,” said Dexter King, chairman and CEO of the King Estate, in a statement released by DreamWorks.

The value of the deal to the King estate and cost of the project to take it to the big screen was not disclosed.
Well perhaps one reason was money, but I really look forward to this treatment guaranteed!

Monday, May 18, 2009

First post as a Morehouse Man

Posting has been sporadic since I left Chicago Friday night for graduation weekend at Morehouse. I just retured this morning has some Soul Queen for dinner and have just attempted to deprogram from the ride to and from Atlanta and from the festivities. I still haven't gotten some of the sights and sounds from my mind. It will subside, but I'm glad it's over.

I got my degree, but I hope to be back one day. A pipe dream, perhaps I can teach as I never imagined seeing black people in academic regalia. It's something that should cause many to want to work hard and eventually get to those heights of Ph.D's. If not they'll prolly be content with going to a elite and prestigious instituion.

BTW, my graduation was noted by John Ruberry who noted that President Obama was at Notre Dame the same day of my graduation. Obama was having something of a tough time at South Bend, Indiana as there were many who took issue with his stances on abortion.

But then what John Ruberry doesn't know that Morehouse was in the running to get President Obama to speak at our commencement.It didn't happen of course and we were briefed on the fact that since Obama is President the Secret Service will take great pains to protect him going so far as to account for every person who attends graduation. Perhaps even make the atmosphere less intimate as it felt during the whole ceremony.

Instead we had as our speakers Dr. Henry Louis Gates and actress Cicely Tyson. In fact at the baccalaureate service the afternoon before I was just across the aisle from her. Tyson got back into the role of Miss Jane Pittman in her message to the 2009 graduates of Morehouse College starting with the line "people need someone to lead them".

BTW, I really like Dr. Gates' academic headgear. It almost looks like some pimp gear except not as flashy although it could be possible that pimp hats may have been based of that hat. I'm working on the assumption that academic regalia originated during the Renaissance era.

Anyway the experience has been nothing less than inspiring especially for those who didn't make academic honors. Now to the charge of "your house at your service". Can't wait!

PS, I wish I had thought to alert you that my commencement was broadcast live on the internet. You would have seen and heard my full name for the first time as it's never actually been broadcast on this blog.

ALSO, if President Obama had been able to speak at Morehouse (in fact Morehouse seen on ABC and BBC on election night) it would have only meant an uptick in donations. Well according to those faculty who were close to this matter and probably have observed what Presidential commencement speeches have caused to many universities around the nation. Dr. Robert Franklin, President of Morehouse also noted that he was the first president of Morehouse to say that the President of the United States looks like you.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mayor wager against Detroit


As you know the Blackhawks have moved up a round and is facing the Red Wings for the opportunity to play in the Stanley Cup finals. I said this wager business usually with Chicago made food products is lame, but I look forward to knowing Chicago won't have to give up these treats.

Watch the vid here.

My baccalaureate service was today

It's a religious ceremony that immediately precedes my actual commencement on Sunday. This is a ceremony that is described as religious in nature with symbols of Jesus all about with either a picture of his body on a cross or (something I learned in my very last semester at Morehouse) his initials in Greek. An interesting highlight was a chant by a Bhuddist. It was somewhat confusing and different and it seemed to go on forever. It wasn't like it took too long but it seemed like he was repeating himself once too often until he slowed down indicating that he was finishing, finally.

Our speaker was a pastor from Los Angeles, CA billed as a minister to the stars. Well Los Angeles is largely home to the entertainment industry, it's bound to happen and even those stars needs some spiritual guidance.

Well typically I don't often like to listen to preachers. There are various reasons for this, perhaps I just hear the preaching style so often that I'm not always impressed. Of course that doesn't mean he didn't have a good message.

Morehouse Men will make up only part of 18% of black people with degrees. This may include anyone who goes to an HBCU especially since Spelman and Clark Atlanta are in the same area. If you really break up the numbers then also of concern are those who don't graduate within 4 to 6 years. Especially tracked if you're an alumni of the Chicago Public Schools.

His point may well have been that we're a rare breed even now, especially the fact that we as black people, well nevermind being black males since we're hard to find on our nation's college campuses, are truly a rare breed. Unfortunate but surely there are many reasons for this such as little or no support from friends or family, going to bad schools that fail to prepare them for that step, or it's even financial. That is worth some academic study as well.

Our baccalaureate speaker, himself a grad from the AUC as an alumna from ITC, mentioned the plight of Africa talked up President Obama as setting the standard for leadership and humanitarianism. He sees our role as "African-Americans" to become to our "ancestral homeland" what the Jewish people are to Israel. No one disagrees with that as Africa isn't often protrayed as being in good shape. However perhaps we can do things to be sure that African nations can become participants in the 21st Century world with a free people who are able to cast a ballot without fear of retribution or perhaps even not as a slave to the former colonizers. They probably are to some extent.

Anyway it was a very nice service that I had today. Would I have gotten this on any other university? I feel like I wouldn't have, but the end is near. Finally.

You know I started this blog as a student and now where can this blog go now that I'm no longer a student here. Well I'm now a graduate, a Morehouse Man with all the prestige and priviledge thereof. It was a very long time coming, but I'm glad I'm there.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tale of two Morehouse students holds bizarre twist of fate

I've just got to post this. If this doesn't bother you then something has got to be wrong with you!
Joshua Brandon Norris is expected to graduate soon and become a Morehouse Man, with all its prestige. At 22, he’s had a good run during his time at Morehouse College. He drove a Hummer, co-owned a fashion store at Perimeter Mall and owns a stylish $450,000 townhouse.

He also shot another student.

Across the country, Frank Rashad Johnson, the victim, attends Sacramento City College and lives with his mother, trying to save money. He, too, wanted to be a Morehouse Man.

“My great-uncle was a classmate of Martin Luther King’s,” Johnson said. “It has a long history of exemplary students and good men. It was my dream school.”

But all that fell apart when he was shot three times outside a school-related Halloween party near Atlantic Station in 2007. Police reports say Norris was kicked out of a nightclub, had words with Johnson after bumping into him outside, then shot the fellow Morehouse student during a struggle in the street.

Completing a Morehouse degree is vital to Norris. Fulton County Judge Marvin Arrington ordered him to do so after he pleaded no contest to a charge of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. The deal calls for six years of probation and comes with first-offender status — meaning Norris’ record will be wiped clean if he stays out of trouble.
Incredibly lenient for what I would consider attempted murder or manslaughter. Here's more:
Johnson complains his voice remained silent during the hearing. Actually, not only was his voice absent, but a version opposite of what police reports said happened that night was presented. In the hearing, Thompson said Johnson was kicked out of the nightclub before a fight started outside. And the defense attorney picked up from there, telling the judge Johnson and his friends surrounded his client’s Hummer and threatened him.

But several police reports in the court file say it was Norris who was kicked out of the party, one that Johnson never entered. And the reports say Norris returned to his vehicle after arguing with Johnson, then drove back, slammed on his brakes and got out with a gun.

Johnson said prosecutors repeatedly told him they were up against a “prestigious” attorney. “I think they were intimidated by him,” he said. “It infuriates me I was never able to give anyone my sense of outrage or my story.”

Norris’ lawyer, Brian Steel, seen as one of Atlanta’s best defense attorneys, said he investigated the case, spoke with witnesses who supported his client’s story and was ready to go to trial. “I was not impressed with the facts from the state side,” he said. “The issue here is what is justice and what is truth.”

According to police reports, witnesses said the events of Oct. 31, 2007, unfolded this way:

Norris and his girlfriend were escorted out of a Halloween party at LITKitchen. Norris bumped into Johnson, who was waiting outside. The two exchanged words and Norris walked to his Hummer, drove back and screeched to a halt — a point nearly every witness mentioned.

Witnesses said Norris jumped out and pushed the gun at Johnson’s face. Johnson struggled with Norris as he fired at least six shots. Three bullets hit Johnson in the leg. Norris fled.
If you read this don't you just have the idea that this dude is bad news?
Eight months passed, and then last summer, Fulton prosecutors moved to revoke Norris’ bond after learning he was accused of smashing a glass in his ex-girlfriend’s face at a Nashville bar. She received severe cuts in her forehead requiring eight inches of stitches, police reports said.

The victim’s aunt, Kelly Carr, told police “when she went to the ER her niece told her Brandon had done this to me.” The aunt also said, “the victim is scared of the suspect because he is out on bond for attempted homicide” and Norris’ stepfather, Daniel Turner, a Nashville cop, “pulled her from the room and said his son, wanted to see/speak with [the victim].”

An officer reported this to internal affairs, which investigated and cleared Turner. The victim was “completely uncooperative,” Nashville police reported.

During Norris’ bond revocation hearing in Fulton last August, the woman testified she was cut when a fight broke out in the Nashville bar while she walked toward Norris’ table. He was cut in the hand in the same fight, according to testimony. Prosecutors later dropped the matter.

In another case in Fulton court files, Clark Atlanta University students Britteny Turman and Grace Dixon say Norris pulled a gun on them during a traffic dispute near Morehouse in November 2005. The women, in recent interviews, said Norris screamed profanities and followed them in their car for several blocks.

“He was laughing like it was funny when [he waved his gun and] we both ducked,” Turman said.

“I don’t understand why he didn’t get kicked out of Morehouse,” Dixon said. “He shouldn’t have been there to do this to somebody else.”
Ms. Dixon is right. This story is very upsetting in more ways than one. He's been engaging in criminal behavior but somehow he's been able to get away with it.

You know another Morehouse man I know. I have nothing but respect for him, even he had to admit that he had to take off his ring after he saw this story. He said that Morehouse had thrown its morals to the wind and embraced a horrible form of elitism.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Hawks win!

I saw the Blackhawks clinch a spot in the Stanley Cup Conference Finals last night. They were hot in the third period scoring three consecutive goals.

You know I don't ever recall the increased use of empty nets as I've seen in this current Stanley Cup playoffs. I wonder if this is new and when I saw Vancouver pull their goaltender in an earlier game with only a one goal deficit I figured that was a mistake.

The empty net strategy basically is to pull the goaltender and get a sixth player on the ice. You have extra attackers if you really want to cut a lead with your opponents and you need a goal.

You probably saw my tweets because I was excited to see Rocky Wirtz the owner of the Blackhawks. He took over the team after the death of Bill Wirtz in 2007. He oversaw the turn around of a team in a very short period of time. The Hawks have their home games broadcast on local TV again and now the team actually has the will to win!

You know when I follow my hometown teams, I start with a pessimism unless I have no reason to doubt how far they will go. Example the Bulls during their championship runs of the 1990s. After they won their first title it was easy to believe they would go forward at least until Michael Jordan's initial retirement from the NBA.

Well I won't get ahead of myself, but now that the Hawks has advance so far in so little time especially since this is their first playoff appearance since 2002 I can think that the sky is the limit. Of course that'll depend on if the Hawks can get past Detroit of Anaheim in the next round and as of this moment that it yet to be determined. We'll see!

Hey you noticed that I haven't said a bad thing about Bill Wirtz. :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Saw Star Trek

I'll just be brief and say that I enjoyed it. They played fast and loose with Star Trek continuity and it was even acknowledged in the film. I took pictures at the theater, posted on my Twitter, of the trailers and the end credits. The movie was fun and some surprises as well. Go see it!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Ousted Governor still butt of jokes

It's not just him but our embattled US Senator Roland Burris. I had no idea Illinois' politicians have so much fun in Springfield and would be so willing to open up digs against their fellow politicians. Of course the main focus was on our former governor and our embattled junior US Senator.

State Journal Register:
Illinois politicians took aim at some easy comedic targets Wednesday night: themselves.

Capitol Capers, the once-in-two-years musical comedy put on by the Conference of Women Legislators, poked fun at former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and U.S. Sen. Roland Burris, among others.

More than 500 people gathered at the Springfield Hilton to see lawmakers, both past and present, sing political song parodies and make jokes at the expense of other politicians.

The audience included Gov. Pat Quinn, Comptroller Dan Hynes, Senate President John Cullterton and Senate Minority Leader Christine Radogno.

But the real star of the night was Gov. Rod Blagojevich, around whom most of the skits revolved. Whether it was Rep. Dave Winters running onto stage in a jogging suit and fake pompadour or Rep. Art Turner posing as Sen. Roland Burris, Blagojevich took a beating.

“If not for that Senate seat, I’d be governor today, I should have listened to my wife, and listed it on eBay,” sang Winters, a Shirland Republican, as a backup chorus fluffed his wig.

Rep. Jim Sacia, a former auctioneer, called bids for the vacant U.S. Senate seat that Blagojevich allegedly tried to sell after the election of President Barack Obama.

“I was talking to the governor (Blagojevich), and I said I could sell a $500 horse for $5,000,” said Sacia, a Pecatonica Republican. “So the governor says to me, ‘You think you could sell a Senate seat?’

“I said, ‘Governor, that’d be bleeping golden,’” Sacia said.

The seat ultimately was “sold” for $1 million to Rep. Susana Mendoza, D-Chicago.
There's even a link to the lyrics of parodies. My favorite has got to involve Roland Burris and his often referred to campaign refrain "Roland, Roland, Roland". It's based upon the lyrics of Rawhide an old TV series that once starred Clint Eastwood. I think I know where I need to post those lyrics

While it's certainly great to know Illinois legislators are having fun at each other's expense, they still have some serious issues to face. The most critical of them is hammering out a budget and getting the state back on good fiscal health.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Barack Obama & the DC School Voucher Program

From ReasonTV:
"Barack Obama & the DC School Voucher Program: The president says he wants to do 'what's best for kids.' So why won't he save a proven program that helps low-income students?"

Mercedes Campbell is one of the 1,700 students in the Washington, D.C. Opportunity Scholarship Program, a school-voucher program authorized by Congress in 2004. The program gives students up to $7,500 to attend whatever school their parents choose. For kids like Mercedes, who now attends Georgetown Visitation Prep, the DC voucher program is a way out of one of the worst school districts in the country.

"It's different, now that I go to Visitation," says Mercedes. "I approach things differently. It's like a whole new world, basically."

The program is wildly popular with parents and children—there are four applicants for every available slot—and a recent Department of Education study found that participants do significantly better than their public school peers. Indeed, after three years in private schools, students who entered the program at its inception were 19 months ahead in reading of applicants unlucky enough to still be trapped in D.C.'s public schools.

Yet working with congressional Democrats and despite his pledge to put politics and ideology aside in education, the Obama administration has effectively killed the program through a backdoor legislative move. "[Education] Secretary [Arne] Duncan will use only one test in what ideas to support with your precious tax dollars," says the president. "It's not whether it's liberal or conservative, but whether it works."

That sort of doublespeak has left many Obama supporters not just puzzled but outraged. Certainly, Mercedes is. "Out of everything else they can shut down or everything else they can advocate for, they want to take this one thing away?" Adds her mother, Ingrid, "We voted for you, we walked, we went to the parade, we stood freezing. Why?...Can you get this tape over to Obama and have him answer our questions? Why, sir, why?"
So, while Ms. Campbell says that the haggle over vouchers in DC was over politics, I may consider this only part of the problem. I think there are forces that don't want to see changes to the system at least as long as these changes doesn't benefit them. They'll come up with every excuse possible to argue against school vouchers or school choice and those kids be damned who are stuck in the worst of the public schools.

My philosophy is that the public schools are worth the investment many want the taxpayers to put in then there has to be positive results. Hopefully there will be no baloney on how that progress is measured. Test scores many not be the only answer, but there has to be an answer for certain.

You can also check out this video here.

Hat-tip Newsalert!

Monday, May 04, 2009

What does it mean to look like a Governor?

It's that time again where we look at who might run for Governor of Illinois. Over at the Chicago GOP blog (via CapFax) there is a post analyzing the potential race as it is currently composed amongst Republicans. There is one confirmed to go and the others well they don't know yet, but eventually we will. One has already dropped out!

We have a young upstart whom most of the people in this state has never of, but likes to tell the story of his dad who ran as a Democrat against the George Ryan machine in Kankakee. There's a State Senator who had already ran for Governor four years ago. There's a conservative activist considering a run haven't started an exploratory committee. There's a prosecutor who has already had two losing statewide runs for either Attorney General or Lt. Governor.

In this analysis by Tom Swiss, I had to question something. A few times in referring to the candidates he liked to say these gentlemen looked like a Governor. I posed a question on the CapFax in the very post that linked to Chicago GOP and got a hilarious answer:
Levois: “….look like a governor”. Not sure either, but a good start is look at Blago, and then consider anything but…
Hilarious not sure it answers my question. Hilarious none the less.

Anyway what does it mean to look like a Governor?

I thought of exactly this when I read that, must a Governor look like a white male? I'm very sure that wasn't Swiss' intent, but it was the first idea that came to mind. You know how much I attempt to avoid the race question here, I don't throw a race card around a lot here. That honestly what came to mind when I saw that.

There might be other things that might have a person look like a governor whether they may be black, female, hispanic or whatever other races there may be in the Great State of Illinois. Next year we'll have a black male and a white female potentially run for Governor on the Democratic side.

As we go forward we should define that and the comment had a point. If being a Governor resembles our ousted governor in poth policy and appearance whoever aspires to that office hopefully would be wise to do the exact opposite!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Star Trek is coming soon on May 8th!

Been a while since I browsed at flickr

Since I no longer have a Pro account there I really don't look anymore.

To be sure I only enjoyed it because it was free with my DSL package. When I got DSL at home in 2007 it was bundled with services from Yahoo. Flickr is a Yahoo service and with my DSL thru AT&T I could get most of the services provided by Yahoo.

Before I switched my Flickr account from a simple Yahoo account to AT&T account I utilized Yahoo Photos which eventually was phased out. Just as it was annouced recently that GeoCities is going to be phazed out eventually. Heh I see a trend GeoCities and AOL Hometown are going by the wayside these days.

Anyway I posted a pic that I found on Flickr today at The Sixth Ward and there are going to be more. It almost makes me want to post more pictures and then get a Pro account although now I have to pay for it. I indicated already that I was basically going to refuse to pay for something I originally got for free with the only benefits being that I can have all of my photosets and all of my pics available for viewing.

Anyway I would like to browse more and step up my photography game. I look forward to the day that I can get me a real camera, because all I have at this point is a simple point & shoot camera. It does the job. but using an SLR camera would be the dream at this point. If I'm good then hpefully my pictures would pay for a Flickr account.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

It's almost time

That time is near. There is a whole lot going on right now that I'm anticipating and one of them is the new Star Trek movie coming out next week. I've seen clips, trailers, TV spots, toys (merchandising), and even had a glimpse of the film sound track. I'm more excited about it than ever. I may not even wait until I get home to see it.

BTW, I was unsure how to take the redesign of the original starship Enterprise. Now I like it and I suppose I had to see how it would be rendered as a model. I'm OK with it now. Check out this page from the Star Trek movie website called The Enterprise Project showing different takes on the model of the Enterprise.

You know, I've talked to other Trekkies that took issue with the recasting of the original cast. Perhaps there were concern that liberties would be taken with the original characters now that different actors are playing those very familiar roles. Some may not like the new production team imparting their vision of the Star Trek universe.

As far as actors go, I took an open mind. The original players were getting old and two of them have since passed away. If I could see familiar characters again with new faces, there's no problem in my book. What's wrong with a fresh take on new characters although they should remain familiar. Don't turn my hero, Captain Kirk into an evil character who has delusions of grandeur or indeed have him act like he's in the alternate universe depicted in "Mirror, Mirror" an episode of the original series.

Perhaps the Enterprise need an update from the 1960s to look different for audiences in 2009. The technology of the original series certainly can use an update as while it may well have influenced current technology our tech has certainly even advanced further than the supposed technology of the 23rd Century (that is considered the canonical time period of the original Star Trek series). While some aspects of Star Trek technology will be similar there are some minor changes, perhaps there must be otherwise it may not be believeable.

Beyond the fact that there are some differences between the 1960s Star Trek and the new film from which it is based, it's enough for me to be absolutely curious and willing to see the new film come out next week! I can hardly wait.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Back to education

Today I'm watching an episode of the cable access program Public Affairs with guest IL State Sen. Heather Steans. Almost 22 minutes into this program posted on YouTube on April 23rd host Jeff Berkowitz and Steans discuss the issue of school vouchers, school choice and inserting competition into the education picture.

Sen. Steans doesn't seem very eager to go that route and she had to carefully consider her response to that question.
Steans: You know I think there is though a real danger when you attempt to set up a system outside of the public school system. I'm a big fan of the public school system and competition would end that.

Berkowitz: What's the danger? Why is that a danger?

Steans: So I prefer the charter school model for that reason.

Berkowitz: Isn't it your concern with the kids in the public schools rather than public schools per se?

Steans: Because there are always going to be kids whose families are not always going to be advocating for them in the same way and getting them into a voucher school or into a charter school. And we've gotta make sure that we're raising the bar for all of our public, for all of our kids in public school system. And I think that um there's ways of doing that, that we have not fully been exploiting.
So she's thinking of those kids who may have parents without a clue and the public schools are best serving those students. It almost sounds like low standards, IMO.

I have no doubt you'll save some of these students, but what does one do with those who are essentially incourigible. The ones who will continue to present discipline problems with no respect for authority. I would imagine many of these types come from parents without a clue. In this regards, it might be more than just no clue with regards to their children's education.

There is an issue, it might not be about paying the teachers or even building schools, but providing a service that delivers. Education is a service, if any institution fails to provide the best service then why should they continue to get support. Perhaps Steans is wrong there ought to be alternatives to the public schools, the question is what should they be.