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Sunday, January 31, 2010

Gizmos and the City

An article from City-Journal on people and their cell phones. I enjoy the convenience, but there are times when I wish people would put those contraptions away!
I’m all for the electronic revolution, a real marvel of advanced capitalism. But one has to admit that all the gizmos have degraded common politeness.

For starters, it’s gotten harder and harder on the streets to tell who’s crazy and who’s not. I first noticed this change a couple of years ago when I saw a suit-and-tie coming toward me talking loudly to nobody. I first thought he was nuts, but that’s because I couldn’t see the tiny microphone on the wire from the cell phone in his pocket to his ear. Today, all kinds of people on the streets of Washington, D.C., where I now live, walk around empty-handed, talking to people who physically aren’t there. No topic seems too personal to share with everybody within 50 yards: lovers’ break-up, a divorce settlement, financial ruin, a misbehaving child. No profanity is beyond the pale: after all, it’s a private conversation.

More bizarre, if less obnoxious, are people wired to their MP3s. Recently on the Metro a skinny guy about 50, with a balding pate encased in a white stocking and wearing wrap-around shades, was bobbing on his seat and making weird gesticulations with his hands: so in thrall was he to the tune blasting his eardrums to shreds. Harmless enough, I thought; but, still, one couldn’t be sure that he wasn’t about to go off his rocker.

Positively disturbing was the sight of a young couple, holding hands as if on a date, talking on separate cell phones, each to someone else (or maybe it was a conference call). Cell phone multi-tasking has now become multi-relating. I wondered if these two turn off their cells when they turn off the lights. In restaurants, it’s awful to see a diner stare at the ceiling while the person across the table blabs to or “texts” someone miles away.

Politeness seems a lost art in the age of gizmos. At a recent wedding I attended, as the bride walked down the aisle, a cell phone rang out the William Tell overture. For some reason, when using cell phones, people can’t talk within a civil decibel range. Writhing to the music on the subway isn’t the height of decorum, either. And if watching out for others on the road is politeness as well as self-preservation, then drivers talking on their cells are the rudest people on the planet.
People can you show the world that you can live with your cell phones? PLEASE!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Chicago grandfather plaintiff in Supreme Court case against city gun ban

Otis McDonald photographed outside of his Morgan Park home on Jan. 13, 2009, by Tribune photographer Scott Strazzante

To be entirely honest I do believe I should at least have a gun at home for my own self-defense. Thankfully I've never had the occasion to really need one. I'm elated to see that most of the Republican candidates for governor (sans Jim Ryan) believes that there should be concealed carry in this state. With reasonable restrictions I support that do because there are some people in the streets who would do harm to people.

Either way I'm going to have to hand it to this elderly gentleman who is fighting for his right to have a gun for his protection!
From behind the wheel of his hulking GMC Suburban, 76-year-old Otis McDonald leads a crime-themed tour of his Morgan Park neighborhood. He points to the yellow brick bungalow he says is a haven for drug dealers. Down the street is the alley where five years ago he saw a teenager pull out a gun and take aim at a passing car. Around the corner, he gestures to the weed-bitten roadside where three thugs once threatened his life.

"I know every day that I come out in the streets, the youngsters will shoot me as quick as they will a policeman," says McDonald, a trim man with a neat mustache and closely cropped gray hair. "They'll shoot a policeman as quick as they will any of their young gangbangers."

To defend himself, McDonald says, he needs a handgun. So, in April of 2008, the retired maintenance engineer agreed to serve as the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging Chicago's 28-year-old handgun ban. Soon after, he walked into the Chicago Police Department and, as his attorneys had directed, applied for a .22-caliber Beretta pistol, setting the lawsuit into motion. When that case is argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on March 2, McDonald will become the public face of one of the most important Second Amendment cases in the nation's history.

Amid the clamor of the gun-rights debate, McDonald presents a strongly sympathetic figure: an elderly man who wants a gun to protect himself from the hoodlums preying upon his neighborhood. But the story of McDonald and his lawsuit is more complicated than its broad outlines might suggest. McDonald and three co-plaintiffs were carefully recruited by gun-rights groups attempting to shift the public perception of the Second Amendment as a white, rural Republican issue. McDonald, a Democrat and longtime hunter, jokes that he was chosen as lead plaintiff because he is African-American.

And no matter what the court — and the public — might make of his story or his case, legal experts say McDonald is poised to become an enduring symbol.

"Regardless of how this case goes, Mr. McDonald's name is set in legal history, at the same level as Roe v. Wade and Plessy v. Ferguson," said Nicholas Johnson, a law professor at Fordham University. "Schoolkids are going to recognize that in this case, something dramatic happened."
"Don't they know people get shot in the ghetto?"

That was a common statement I would make when someone offers their opposition to guns. Such people may live in relatively safe communities and others may reside in violent communities as described in that excerpt.

I've never really thought about that statement, except to say that with or without gun control there is still gun violence in a crime ridden community. Over the years however my conclusion on this issue has been influenced by a point I have heard very often over time.

The point is that criminals have no intention of following the law. If they use a gun to rob people they're not suddenly going to stop using that gun all because possession of a gun is illegal. In addition to that keeping honest people away from guns may well make them only sitting targets for such criminals.

That consequence of gun control makes it troubling. It does sound like a good idea when you think about it, but it also assumes people will remain on the up and up and it doesn't always happen that way.

Not only that those who believe gun control is the answer to say inner-city violence is that all people can't be trusted with guns. Thus people will use the gun just because they have it whether to intimidate, to threaten or whenever they feel threatened, or  because of the thrill of it. Of course people like that well they will commit a crime soon enough and due-process will take their weapons away from them!

BTW, Alan Gura who successfully argued against the gun-ban in Washington, DC will be a part of the case against the Chicago gun-ban:
By early 2008, Alan Gura, the Virginia-based attorney who successfully argued the Heller case, had spread the word that he was looking for litigants in Chicago. Financed by the Second Amendment Foundation, a gun-rights group based in Bellevue, Wash., Gura interviewed about a dozen Chicagoans, first by phone and e-mail, and then in person.

His goal was to find a diverse group of individuals willing to represent the cause.

"You want good people who can tell the story well and in a way that the public can connect with," Gura said.

He eventually settled on four people: Adam Orlov, a white, 40-year-old libertarian who lives in Old Town and is a partner in an equity options trading firm; David Lawson, a white, 44-year-old software engineer who lives in Irving Park and keeps a collection of old guns outside the city; Lawson's wife, Colleen, a multiracial 51-year-old hypnotherapist who became interested in Second Amendment issues after an attempted burglary at the couple's home in 2006; and McDonald.
You know I would like to suggest that you read this article and see why Mr. McDonald was chosen by Gura as the lead plaintiff in this case! The story is very interesting and compelling although this is one aspect of any gun-rights case that one should consider:
Gun ownership is most common among middle-age, middle-class, white men who live in suburban or rural areas, according to a 2008 survey by the University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center.

But gun-rights advocates want to frame the issue more broadly. In preparation for the Heller case, attorneys interviewed two to three dozen people, looking for diversity in terms of race, sex, age and income.

"We wanted to be able to present the best face not just to the court but also to the media," said Robert A. Levy, a lawyer who plotted strategy in the Heller case and who is now the chairman of the libertarian Cato Institute. Plaintiffs had to have a clean criminal background and a plausible reason to want a firearm for self-defense, Levy said, adding, "We didn't want some Montana militia man as the poster boy for the Second Amendment."
Makes sense to me!

Read the whole thing!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ousted governor has no official portrait!

Found this article via today's CapFax morning shorts:
Whether saint or sinner or something in between, every man who served as governor of Illinois has a portrait in the Hall of Governors, the public hallway on the south wing of the Capitol’s second floor. Every one except one: Blagojevich, the only governor in the state’s history to leave office through impeachment.

On the eve of the anniversary of Blagojevich’s ouster, there isn’t exactly a groundswell to change things.  

There is no money in the state budget to pay for an official portrait of Blagojevich that can be displayed with the other 40 portraits of Illinois’ governors. (Those portraits include a painting of William Ewing, who served all of 15 days in 1834.)  

Nor are many people much interested in talking about the portrait.

For example, Gov. Pat Quinn had nothing to say about it because his focus “is on generating more jobs for Illinois and fixing the state’s economy,” said spokesman Bob Reed.  

Quinn’s position was a little clearer a year ago when, in his first press availability after being sworn in as governor, he was asked if Blagojevich’s picture would be added to the Hall of Governors.

“Yes,” Quinn replied.  

Rep. Ken Dunkin, D-Chicago, was one of Blagojevich’s few supporters in the Illinois House. He said he would “love to comment” about Blagojevich’s portrait on Feb. 3, the day after the primary election. Two people are running against Dunkin in the primary.  

“The Senate president isn’t the least bit concerned about hanging Blagojevich’s portrait,” said Rikeesha Phelon, spokeswoman for Senate President John Cullerton, D-Chicago, in response to a question.
Heh, Rep. Dunkin said he would love to comment after the Feb. 3rd election. Even he knows that talking about Rod Blagojevich might possibly hurt him in his re-election bid!

You know, I think he should get one. Why throw tradition to the wind thanks to one bad apple? Especially one bad apple out of many!

We've had a few governors who were corrupt and definitely ran afoul of the law. One night Dan Proft was right during his debate with his fellow GOP competitors for Governor. One step in ethics reform is to not commit felonies in the Governor's office. Surely there is a way to stop a person like Ousted governor from doing that!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Jimmy Kimmel presents: "The Late Night War"



Jimmy Kimmel parodies the documentary style of Ken Burns. Via The Tower Ticker!

BTW, I gotta bring this pic back. Perhaps only for the last time one can only hope. Some of you might be tired of it yet!


Been thinking about fares lately


Since I've started working part of my costs include transportation. I don't have to worry about gas a lot since I have no car and most of my transportation costs include taking public transit.

For the past two or so years, CTA has been quite hard-up on cash. They've had to raise fares on at least two occasions. Something I'm unhappy about because now the price to ride CTA has only risen and takes more of my money than it once used to.

Since I've been working for almost a month now, my thoughts have turned to what is the best way to save money on my trip on public transit here. With that in mind I found this article I had originally posted last year at The Sixth Ward about how CTA riders have saved money purchasing monthly passes.

To start, I have two options: a 7-day pass or a 30-day pass. Well the 30-day is a monthly pass essentially and the 7-day is essentially a weekly pass.

As a matter of fact since CTA has gone to fard-card technology in order to collect fares instead of using tokens or having customer assistants at rail stations collect fares, the passes weren't merely magnetic cards as they are now. In fact my mother used to be a regular transit rider when she worked downtown and would often hand me her used up monthly passes. Sadly I don't have any of them as I seem to not be smart enough to put them up somewhere or to keep them out of my parents way so that they won't get thrown out. :(

Anyway, the more attractive option is the one that costs more the montly pass that costs $86. As opposed to the weekly pass that costs only $23. A few years ago those passes would have only cost less at $75 and $20 respectively. That was before CTA raised fares in the last few years.

For as long as I started taking the L downtown to either get to school or to work the fare was largely flat at $1.50 for riding the L and bus with a 30¢ transfer. By 2006 the fare had risen to $1.75 on buses and $2.00 on the L with a 25¢ transfer. These days it costs $2.00 to ride a bus and $2.25 to ride the L with again a 25¢ transfer. With current fare levels in mind, I've learned that it can only add up!

At least with a pass, I wouldn't have to continually be vigilant about how much money there might be on my fare-card. Although one may want to be vigilant on whether or not they're getting their money's worth from a pass. Knowing me it wouldn't bother me if I skipped a few days or a ride on a pass that cost me a significant amount of money.

In October of last year when the CTA rumbled about raising fares thanks to their financial situation, I worked out the exact value of riding the L using a weekly pass.Thankfully there was a freeze on fare hikes put in place in exchange for any financial help from the State of Illinois.

Fares would've been hiked to $3.00/ride on the L and the price of a weekly pass would've been $30. I used those to numbers to figure how I would make out with a weekly pass under the new fare structure. The premise was that I would only be riding back and forth between my neighborhood and downtown for say 7 days straight.

So round trip on the L would be $6.00/day with no transfers at all. Essentially after five days I would have used up the cost of the pass right there. So I actually pay for more rides than the actual cost of the pass. On a $30 pass I can actually use up $42 worth of rides. Assuming that all I do is round trip on the L back and forth between home and downtown. Sounds like a good deal when I can ride a bus and rack up transfers and all that!

Well if I do choose to use a pass to ride CTA, it's possible that I won't take up time having to recharge my fare media. Hopefully I will save some money on transit by spending money in advance and not pay-per-ride. My hope is that it will all be worth it in the long run!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Obama stories

Not sure if this story gives him jazz but it's definitely an indication of where things could go in a midterm election year. NYTimes says that Obama seeks to control central strategy for the Democrats:
President Obama is reconstituting the team that helped him win the White House to counter Republican challenges in the midterm elections and recalibrate after political setbacks that have narrowed his legislative ambitions.

Mr. Obama has asked his former campaign manager, David Plouffe, to oversee House, Senate and governor’s races to stave off a hemorrhage of seats in the fall. The president ordered a review of the Democratic political operation — from the White House to party committees — after last week’s Republican victory in the Massachusetts Senate race, aides said.

In addition to Mr. Plouffe, who will primarily work from the Democratic National Committee in consultation with the White House, several top operatives from the Obama campaign will be dispatched across the country to advise major races as part of the president’s attempt to take greater control over the midterm elections, aides said.

“We are turning the corner to a much more political season,” said David Axelrod, a senior adviser, who confirmed Mr. Plouffe’s role. “We are going to evaluate what we need to do to get timely intelligence and early warnings so we don’t face situations like we did in Massachusetts.”
Obama's State of the Union is on Wednesday. His very first there are some analysts who already predict that he may not use this speech to change his course but we shall see on that!

Here's some Obama jazz dished by Nick Gillespie:
In his new book Obamanomics: How Barack Obama is Bankrupting You and Enriching His Wall Street Friends, Corporate Lobbyists, and Union Bosses, Timothy P. Carney explains that Barack Obama’s “progressive” rhetoric masks good old-fashioned crony capitalism, in which the favored few and politcally well-connected get all sorts of benefits paid for with public dollars. Whether the area is Wall Street, health care reform, union organizing, or K Street lobbying, the same pattern is everywhere: using the government’s power to distribute goodies and rig markets.
You can watch the video of this interview with Carney here!

BTW, the link to this post is via Instapundit.

Finally another video but from the White House's official YouTube page of the manufacture of a Presidential helmet!


Sunday, January 24, 2010

One inspiration for this blog


Years ago the inspiration to start this blog came from the time I largely posted at this website called Protest Warrior (PW). They had a webforum that consisted of people from different stripes debating ideology, international affairs, domestic policy, even the state of Hollywood.

Incidentally the website started from two young men Alan & Kfir who on a day in early February 2003 decided to take a sign similar to the one on the left, but actually crudely hand-drawn, and infiltrate an anti-war protest. You can see that exploit here in a series of pictures. After that they had some play on right-wing radio programs such as Rush Limbaugh.

Unfortunately the website is largely inactive. A relic of better days although the exploits and tactics live on. More important the activities of those who have engaged the "left" in those anti-war protests of yore. When they did, the world found out how peaceful these protesters actually were.

I almost believe that we need the Protest Warriors now more than ever. Although when they first started the agenda was as much about foreign affairs than domestic policy. Imagine if the same wit displayed at ant-war protests could also be used in the health-care debate for example, especially at the townhalls for the most liberal Congressmen. The Protest Warriors were without a doubt against any attempt to import European socialism here to the states. (BTW, read the manifesto!)

I've always hinted that I hold some conservative beliefs. While I may not have learned some of this from this website, it was more or less solidified by PW. I had to deal with conservatives of different stripes back then and for the most part I really miss that.

In comparison today, though I consider myself less of a conservative, I still hold some conservative beliefs. I just won't call myself a conservative anymore. My views of the world may vary, however, I prefer to call myself an independent, classical liberal or even a small L libertarian.

Anyway, this website was in part one inspiration for starting this blog back in early 2005. I hope this blog has inspired someone to take the plunge!

Coco looks back on his term as host of The Tonight Show



The montage of clips include blowing the wax figures of the Fonz and Tom Cruise out of the canon provided by the Ringling Bros circus and Conan running thru Wrigley Field. You know for some reason any clip of Conan running around whether in rural American, the Southwest desert, or even running thru a gate strikes me as CGI!

All the same, I think NBC may face some form of backlash for this. What happened during the course of the past week or two was messed up on the highest order. I really can't wait to see Conan land somewhere else. If not the only consolation is that NBC will continue to suffer declining ratings and that this may cost them money since they essentially reneged on any prior agreements with both Jay Leno or Conan O'Brien.

And for one last time!


BTW, I will have another post that will be published later today so stay tuned!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

ATL Mayor says Obama stimulus not working

Newly minted Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed says this about Obama's stimulus:
"What we said ... was that the method they used for disbursing the first stimulus dollars was wrong," said new Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, one of more than 200 mayors who met with the president and other administration officials at the White House. "That approach just did not work."

Thursday's meeting between members of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the White House comes amid signs that -- despite improvement in the nation's economy overall -- the country's cities are still suffering.

A report issued by the mayors' group this week showed the bulk of the nation's unemployed are in cities. It also predicts that most cities won't see a return to pre-recession employment levels until at least 2013. Metro Atlanta is home to about 60 percent of Georgia's unemployed, according to the report. It also shows that Atlanta is among the country's hardest-hit cities economically.
...
Reed and other mayors want Washington to change the way economic stimulus money and other federal aid are distributed.

About 80 percent of stimulus money has gone directly to state governments, they say. Instead of being used to create new jobs, the bulk of the money has been used to save existing state government jobs -- teachers, law enforcement and others -- and for shoring up sagging state budgets.

If more money would flow directly to cities, the mayors' group contends, it could be used for local improvement projects that would create more jobs.
It was noted in this article is that Reed was a big Obama supporter and responded favorably to Obama's comments on Thursday when he said that he knows America's cities needs help.

With that in mind this just hasn't been a good week for President Obama has it? Is it possible that the President can turn this around?

BTW, I first heard about this on Hannity! I may not like to listen to his radio program or the fact that he seems to be a whiner sometimes his TV program on FOX News is a worthwhile program to watch.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Why is there such a movement in favor of Conan O'Brian?


The Washington Post seeks to answer that question. I want to add that tonight will be Conan's last night as host of NBC's Tonight Show :(
Even though O'Brien's departure has looked like a done deal for days, supporters such as Feldman have continued to mobilize, online and off. On Wednesday night, hours before O'Brien finalized that $45 million buyout agreement, the number of members of the Facebook page "I'm With COCO" -- dubbed in honor of O'Brien's nickname and categorized cheekily as a religious organization -- swelled past the half-million mark. And online chatter suggests that Team Conan is organizing more rallies -- farewell parties, really -- to take place Thursday outside TV stations and on college campuses in Los Angeles, Austin, Minneapolis and other cities. Not to be left out of a social movement, the District will host its own "I'm With Coco" event Friday night at Tattoo Bar; attendees who wear an "I'm With Coco" T-shirt, a Conanesque wig or all orange -- a color that pays homage to O'Brien's flaming beacon of a hairdo -- receive free admission.

Social-networking crazes tend to come and go with the swiftness of a Twitter trending topic, but the pro-Coco campaign seems to have touched a genuine nerve, one that goes beyond mere loyalty to a man and his Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. So what, exactly, has gotten an entire O'Brien brigade fired up and ready to go?

Some say NBC's treatment of O'Brien -- coupled with the host's heartfelt "People of Earth" letter -- has tapped into latent rage toward corporate America.

"The reason this is as big as it is is that everybody can relate to this," says Feldman, a member of the Facebook groups "I'm With COCO," "Team Conan" and "Boycott The Tonight Show with Jay Leno!" "Everybody has been in a job and been put in a position and then been kicked to the curb because [the bosses] decide 'I like this guy better.' "
...
Others view the O'Brien-Leno conflict as more evidence of the marginalization of Generation X, all those children of the '60s and '70s sandwiched between the demographic behemoths that are the baby boomers and Generation Y. (O'Brien is 46, but his audience skews younger; Leno is 59.)

Jennifer James, an O'Brien supporter in Oklahoma City who writes a blog called "are you there God? it's me, generation X," says the situation -- which happens to involve an Xer (O'Brien) losing his gig to a boomer (Leno) who won't let go of it -- reminds her of stories she's heard from people in their 30s and early 40s who can't advance in their careers because their baby-boomer bosses refuse to retire.

"It's an irresistible metaphor for Gen X and the baby boomers, and the conflicts that do exist in the workplace," she says.

[Penny] Bitner [homemaker from suburban Detroit], on the other hand, thinks the late-night situation further proves that NBC and other networks underestimate the value of viewers from her age group. (Bitner is 30.)

"Gen X has been the redheaded stepchild of all the generations, but I think we've just been ignored," she says. "We were ignored in the '90s when people weren't taking us seriously. And we're being ignored now." (Redheaded, huh? Who does that remind you of?)
BTW, knowing that there are quite a few things of greater importance this week mainly the election of Scott Brown, Republican US Senator-elect from Massachusetts and what that means for the health-care debate. And the continuing saga regarding the earthquake in Haiti. I want you to know that while I followed a lot of this story about Conan since it first broke, the relief efforts of Haiti is one dollar richer thanks to a purchase at Whole Foods. ;)

The next question is to see if Conan will eventually end up at FOX. Perhaps he can create a new sketch comedy series since MAD TV is off the air now!

Obama's first term is looking a lot like Bush's second term?

James Taranto from the Wall Street Journal:
It's a reasonable surmise that by "the last eight years" Obama actually means "the Bush administration"--and if so, this is just the latest variant of the president's favorite excuse, "I inherited this mess!" But we'd like to mount a qualified defense of the statement as a bit of political analysis.

Surely the president is right on at least two important points: Voter anger predated his administration, and it helped to get him elected. That said, he has the time frame wrong. Voters were not especially angry in 2004, when they re-elected President Bush, and the majority party expanded its margins in both houses of Congress. (Only four incumbent congressmen--one senator and three representatives--were ousted that year.)

The anger of the voters--or, to be more precise, of those voters who do not have strong partisan or ideological attachments, and thus can plausibly express their anger by voting either for Obama or Scott Brown--began sometime in 2005 or 2006, which is to say in Bush's second term. And as we think about Bush's second term and Obama's first year, there are actually quite a few similarities:

Ideological overreach. Bush's proposal for partial privatization of Social Security had a lot in common with ObamaCare. It was not a response to an immediate crisis. Its passage would have realized a generations-old ambition of the president's most ideological supporters. It proposed to change a system that, in the minds of most voters, seemed to be working well. Its opponents argued persuasively (which is to say, they largely succeeded in persuading voters without an ideological ax to grind) that it was too risky.

Detachment in the face of actual crisis. Bush had Hurricane Katrina; Obama has 10% unemployment. Neither was the president's fault, but in each case the administration failed to come across as competent and concerned.

An unpopular war. For Bush it was Iraq, on which the public had soured by 2006; for Obama, Afghanistan, which showed signs of losing support last year. Both presidents took a political risk in stepping up the war effort, which was to their credit, if belated.

Overconfidence. Both Bush and Obama mistook their election victories for an unqualified mandate. Both made the mistake of assuming their congressional majorities were permanent. Both have been criticized, with some justification, for stubbornness and an inability or refusal to listen. Both ended up looking weak by virtue of having overestimated their own strength.
After so much hope and expectation in the wake of his election and inauguration, Obama really isn't looking so good right now. It's a shame too, but I won't try to justify the fact that I just couldn't vote for him last year. I had my reason, but an historic election might give way eventually to an historic rejection.

Via Instapundit!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Are there still poor people in America?

Megan Cottrell takes a conservative to task for his beliefs that America is not full of poor people. Here's her response to that!
Poor people are morbidly obese because good, nutritious food is more expensive than cheap, high calorie junk food. Eating well is a luxury.

Poor people have cell phones because they’re cheaper than land lines, and they often have the pay-as-you-go plans, which means they’re shut off every other month when they can’t afford to pay anymore.

Yes, many poor people do have big screen TVs. But one, many poor people rent their TVs and appliances from places like Rent-A-Center because they rarely have enough cash on hand to make a big purchase. Rent-A-Center doesn’t rent out little economical TVs. Who wants to rent that? Second, upward mobility is so lousy in this country for certain groups of people that many people believe they’ll never be rich, so they might as well enjoy themselves now, rather than saving for the future. It might seem silly to you, but when you live paycheck to paycheck, you have a different attitude about the future.

Pretty much anyone who is poor in America and did own their own home are now in foreclosure. Like the TVs, some have fancy cars that they “own,” (and by own, I mean make the payments on until they can’t and the bank repossesses it), but many, many more take the bus.

Are there still “dirt poor” people in America? Hell yes, there are. Talk to homeless families and undocumented immigrants, living on the street. Talk to desperate families in rural America, killing squirrels and raccoons for food. Talk to families who live in rat-infested, moldy, rotten conditions because they have nowhere else to go.

If we’ve reduced poverty over the last 50 years, isn’t that a reason to celebrate and keep moving forward – not a reason to give up? The health care crisis is real. Even with medicaid, many poor and low-income families are in dire need of medical attention and preventative care.
Uh-oh, she done shot us the whole health-care argument and about how expensive it is. Although I do have my ideas on that issue I'm not exactly qualified to answer that issue. The main idea I have is that government isn't the best equipped to provide health care services of any kind.

Also it is my belief that there aren't dirt poor people in America. In some respects many of the poor in this country live better than the poor in other nations around the world. Of course this doesn't make the problem less stark.

Besides start off on her rant Cottrell makes good points. Healthy foods may be out of reach for low-income people. They may not be able to or may not be willing to afford fresh produce. That or they may not be educated enough to know that fruits & vegetables are good for them.

Many may have the very unfortunate belief that they may never rise out of their predicaments. Therefore they may not want to save their money not even in small amounts. So they may be forced to live paycheck to paycheck and live for now instead of thinking about either their future or their family's future.

Frankly aside from any type of government assistance there has to be a way to change that. If Americans prides this nation as the land of opportunity then hopefully there is a way to get those who are poor thinking that they can rise out of poverty. I say this know it's very optimistic.

O’Brien Will Leave ‘Tonight Show,’ NBC Says

Well it doesn't look like Leno is just going to step aside to insure a smooth transition. He's going to get his original job back and who knows where we will see Conan and his crew.
NBC says it has reached a deal with ''Tonight'' host Conan O'Brien for his exit from the show, allowing Jay Leno to return to the late-night program he hosted for 17 years. The deal is worth a reported $44 million.

Network spokeswoman Allison Gollust confirmed the deal early Thursday but did not offer any other details. Earlier, The Wall Street Journal reported that O'Brien will get $32 million and that the network agreed to pay his staff $12 million in severance.
NBC is giving Conan the royal shaft here. After 7 months there will be no more Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien. It was said that the executive at NBC didn't anticipate Leno's reticence at leaving The Tonight Show and Conan being unwilling to take a later time slot to accommodate a change.

I also know Jay Leno said that he really didn't want to leave, however, he didn't want to create a situation similar to that where David Letterman went to CBS after he didn't succeed Johnny Carson. It was expected at first that Letterman would succeed Johnny, however, NBC went with Leno for Tonight.

I know Conan won't be hard up, but he's still getting shafted here!

For Humor's sake watch this video

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Obama's Decline in Popularity: What Caused It?

Obama has been having a rough year since he became President. Could it become a defeat by 2012? Last years gubernatorial elections (in Virginia & New Jersey) and the recent special Senate election for Ted Kennedy's old seat in Massachussettes may presage results not only this year (this is a midterm election year) but also in 2012.

CBS News:
Mr. Obama has suffered the steepest decline in job approval of any first year president since they started keeping such data: in most surveys, he is barely at, or under fifty per cent. His health-care plan, the signature effort of his first year in office, has grown steadily less popular and its survival, as one Congressional Democrat put it, "Hangs by a thread."

It may, in fact, be doomed on the precise one-year anniversary of his Inaugural, if Massachusetts voters send a Republican to the U.S. Senate today to fill the seat held for nearly half a century, by Edward Kennedy, the patron saint of liberal health care.

The coming year does not appear to hold out hope for better times: the jobless rate is likely to remain at or above ten percent, and the real unemployment rate -- which includes those who've given up looking and those working part-time who want full time jobs -- is at 17 percent. And historically, no president in modern times has significantly improved his approval numbers in his second year -- a gloomy atmosphere in which to move into midterm elections.
...
One of the most commonly heard refrains -- one that makes a lot of sense -- is the broad appeal that was Mr. Obama's political strength became a governing liability. As he himself once said, he was a vessel into which people poured their own political desires. He was the tribune of progressivism, the man to redeem the promise of Robert Kennedy. No, he was the post-conflict president, the candidate who promised to "turn the page" on the wearisome conflicts of the past.

Because so many people expected Mr. Obama to do so many different, conflicting things, he could not possibly hold those who voted for him together. More important, he did not come to office with a strong sense of where he was going.

To take the most obvious contrast, when President Reagan fired the striking air traffic controllers in 1981, it was of a piece with who he was: a staunch conservative, suspicious of the power of public employee labor unions, determined to strike back hard on an organizing explicitly violating federal law. Like him or not, no one could say, "wait a minute! This is not the guy we thought he was!"

When Obama put in power a number of figures who had played significant roles in the financial meltdown, and when Wall Street emerged from the disaster apparently richer than ever, Mr. Obama's supporters on the Left were dismayed. When he presided, however necessarily, over stimulus programs that will add trillions to the national debt, his less liberal backers saw it as a lurch to the Left. And while he campaigned on health care, the twists and turns of the details -- an individual mandate he'd opposed on the stump, a tax on high-cost health care plans that could the middle-class -- wound up producing far more doubt than hope.
All this talk about "swagger" or "mana" early in his term has only let to this in the same article:
Put bluntly, who's afraid of Barack Obama? Who in the political arena frets over what might happen if he or she crosses the president? After the 2008 election, much was written about Mr. Obama's massive social network -- the millions or people tied to him through Facebook, Twitter, e-mail -- ready to be mobilized on behalf of his agenda.

If there is any evidence that this army, now under the "Organizing for America" umbrella, has had any impact on any wavering Democrat, it's harder to find than those weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

Congressional Democrats can threaten to scuttle health care if their parochial concerns aren't met; Congressional Republicans can refuse any accommodation with the president; and there is no political price to be paid.

Ronald Reagan used to say of the California legislature, and then of the Congress, "if they can't see the light, maybe they'll feel the heat." But there seems to be no heat that can move a wary member of Congress to Mr. Obama's side in his key battles. (We'll have a test of this hypothesis when and if the president tries to move his environmental agenda through the Congress this year; labor and industry alike may well push back on new regulations; who, if anyone, will be pushing for Mr. Obama's ideas?)
It was great he had a devoted army of supporters, unfortunately where are they? Has the excitement of Obama's candidacy and election worn off that quickly?

Hat-tip Newsalert!

ALSO, I would like to make a quick comment on the recent election of Scott Brown as the Senator-elect for Massachusetts. There is a small post I would like to make about that. I hope to work on that soon, provided that I can find some references.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Google on MLK Day


I'll have to hand it to Google they can sure come up with an appropriate tribute at the appropriate times!

Blog anniversary

How odd! It falls exactly onto Martin Luther King day. A three day weekend and it just hits me!

I know that I was talking about doing commentaries similar to what you might have found once or twice during year. Sometimes in making plans I find a way not to execute them. I need to fix that.

All the same, officially this blog has reached year five. A reader told me this is actually year six, but I'm going to number them my way. I'm aging this blog like I would age a child. Although at some point I'm going to lose track. I'll just say blog anniversary and I won't even count the years.

Anyway happy MLK day!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The A-Team movie!



Oh my. This looks great and I look forward to seeing this film. My only criticism is seeing the new BA Baracus.

Many may want to see the new BA Baracus resembling Mr. T. In some ways the character that we know from the TV series is mostly Mr. T. I don't expect the new guy to cary Mr. T's chains or even sport the mohawk.

The new guy, Quinton Jackson, is nominally an athlete being a mixed martial artist. He may not know much about acting, but I could respect him for offering his take on the role of BA Baracus. He doesn't have to be Mr. T at all!

Other than that this movie looks great judging by the trailer. So enjoy!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Pants on the ground


I heard about this on the news recently. This I had to see and even better it's started a meme of its own. It seems like a song against the trend where young men walk around in sagging pants, but now it's less of a message against that.

All but the departing Simon Cowell enjoyed this presentation. lol

Friday, January 15, 2010

Jimmy Kimmel goes after Leno

I heard that the jokes are getting nastier. Leno and "Coco" are going after each other in their monologues. Last night it was very funny when Andy Richter seemed to suggest that he not only went on a buying spree, but also may have borrowed money from a loan shark.

Anyway, the only man missing from the jokes about this story regarding Leno returning to his original 11:35/10:35 PM central time slot was Jimmy Kimmel who made an appearance on The Jay Leno Show. You can go to the LA Times to see a clip. You can also go to E! Online to see that Rosie O'Donnel doesn't like this recent move.

I understand that Jay Leno may not have wanted to leave in 2009, but the move has been made. Perhaps NBC is at fault for letting this happen, not anticipating that Leno had no desire to leave and in the arrangement that is said to be a done deal that "Coco" would just accept it move back later. Whether you take this seriously or not, this is just a bad business move all around.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Stories about banking

Let's start with the President wanting tax banks to recover the cost of all the bailouts:
President Barack Obama said Thursday he wants to tax banks to recoup the public bailout of foundering firms at the height of the financial crisis. "We want our money back," he said.

In a brief appearance with advisers at the White House, Obama branded the latest round of bank bonuses as "obscene." But he said his goal was to prevent such excesses in the future, not to punish banks for past behavior.

It was an emphatic and populist tone for a president keenly aware of public antipathy toward Wall Street. With the sharp words, he also tried to deflect some of the growing skepticism aimed at his own economic policies as unemployment stubbornly hovers around 10 percent.
...

He renewed his call for a regulatory overhaul of the industry and scolded bankers for opposing the tighter oversight in legislation moving through Congress.
...
The president is proposing a tax of 0.15 percent on the liabilities of large financial institutions. It would apply only to those companies with assets of more than $50 billion — a group estimated at about 50.

They would have to pay up even though many did not accept any taxpayer assistance and most that did have repaid the infusions.
Hmmm, I'm not big on taxes and I would hope that this tax on banks would not be passed down to be as a depositor at a bank that accepted no TARP funds at all and was not very affected by the crisis on Wall Street before Obama became President.

Also this story about the benefits of online banking caught my eye:
Do you want to save money? Do you also want to be free of ATM machines, bank tellers and your mailed, monthly bank statement? They seem like kind of silly questions, don’t they?

A recent article from CNNMoney.com makes clear the lesson that using the Internet as your most powerful banking tool allows you to save time, have more control over your banking and ultimately save money through decreased mailings. The internet also makes for easier comparison shopping for rates and greater accuracy through better-balanced books.

“You can use the Internet to compare fees, yields and minimum deposit requirements nationwide,” CNNMoney notes. “Sites like Bankrate.com allow you to search and compare the highest yields and the lowest costs on banking, savings, loans and deposit rates nationwide.”
This is something I wouldn't mind taking advantage of, but then I would need a phone (such as a Blackberry) with a decent data plan that doesn't break my bank ;)
A Dec. 21 article from the Wall Street Journal points out that the paperless banking revolution is also no longer limited to your desktop PC or laptop. With advances in mobile phone network technology, online banking can now also be mobile banking, which adds total, personalized convenience to the savings of going paperless.
Before either making a purchase or after that purchase I can check how much money is in the bank. Or I can see about any bills that must be paid. All that's necessary is a mobile phone.

These are the days! The future is here!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Why yes, I am with Coco!!!!


Are you with Coco?

BTW, Bill O'Reilly talked about this on his FOX show last night. They showed clips of the various late night hosts talking about this situation. Jay Leno had his zingers, Conan of course had his zingers, Craig Ferguson well no zinger but a general criticism of NBC for the handling of this situation.

Letterman had some good zingers himself. Years ago he was in the running for Tonight. That job ultimately went to Leno. In his monologue one night he said that he had still been passed over for The Tonight Show and his no. 1 of his "Top Ten" was that it's so bad at NBC they even considered him. Well it's better to see the video than for me to tell you guys.

I know there are more important issues to consider right now. The state of the economy, health care, or even the war in Afghanistan. This story is more compelling, but not just because some people believe it's all contrived by agents and what not!

Still I'M WITH COCO!!!!

Volokh Conspiracy: How “Negro” Became a Taboo Word

A very interesting blog post to consider and very eager to hear any perspectives on this issue.
In response to the controversy generated by Senator Harry Reid’s reference to “Negro dialect,” Brian Palmer has an interesting article on Slate covering the history of how “Negro” became a taboo word. I was already aware that Negro gave way to “black” in the late 1960s in part due to the influence of the Black Power movement. Ironically, as Palmer recounts, Negro itself replaced the previously standard “colored” in the 1920s as a result of a concerted campaign by civil rights leaders such as W.E.B. DuBois. In the late 1980s, African-American started to become the preferred term, even though surveys show that most actual African-Americans either don’t care or continue to prefer “black.”
 
In each case, the transition from one term to another was driven by a belief that changing it would somehow reduce racism and increase the social status of black Americans. Unfortunately, I see no evidence that the various changes actually had any such beneficial effect. Indeed, each of these transitions might actually have increased white resentment towards blacks at the margin. As they happened, people who stuck to the old term out of habit would sometimes be accused of racism or racial insensitivity, and such accusations often generate a predictable backlash. Of course, it’s possible that there is data showing that the shift from “Negro” to “black” or that from “black” to “African-American” really did reduce racial prejudice after all. If so, I would be very interested to see it.

Finally, I should emphasize that there is a big difference between these efforts to replace one polite term with another (while stigmatizing the older term), and what I regard as the entirely laudable attempt to stigmatize the use of words such as “kike” or “nigger.” The latter have always been used primarily as racial or ethnic slurs, and understood as such by both speakers and listeners. Not so in the case of words like Negro and black, at least prior to the effort to replace them with new terminology.
Instead of the often prevalent African-American, I prefer to call myself Black. I have no problem with the term Negro and do not find it offensive at all. Neither does the term "colored" raise my ire. There are worse terms to call me as a person or a Black man than those terms and I will not name those terms here.

Also, looking in the comments of that post I saw this:
Based on how it was explained to me as a child, the switch in the late 60s was made in order to give “blacks” the same kind of neutral, color-based identifier already enjoyed by “whites.” Of course, the switch to “African-American” was inspired by the practice of giving various American ethnic groups their own hyphenated identifier. Logically, African-Americans SHOULDN’T feel slighted by being referred to as “blacks” because whites are still collectively referred to as “whites.”
Honestly I always thought the whole white identifier was an insult. It's very easy to indentify anyone by the color of their skin, however, whites seems to have their own divisions according to ethnic or religious lines. Anyone who comes up with the Nat'l Association for the Advancement of White People or the United Caucasian College Fund really aren't helping anyone.

Of course to be Black well that's easily identifiable. Unless we can prove our ethnicity from Africa and some have used DNA testing to verify ethnicity especially since many of us have no way of tracking our ancestry having been largely lost during slavery times. I believe there is a Black ethnicity in America, although there are people out there who come from Africa or any of the nations of the new world such as Jamaica, Cuba, Puerto Rico or other nations with significant populations of African descended people.

But while I can easily refer to whites by their skin color, I would just as soon refer to a person by either their name or their ethnic heritage. I can no more lumps whites together as a generic group, than to lump blacks together no matter their actual background into one group.

Now as for that post, as I said I prefer Black. It's a simple term that I think adequately describes African descended people here in the states that have been borne out of the era of slavery. The other historically used term for such people could be used and isn't seen as offensive by me.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Upheaval at the Tonight Show

Conan doesn't want to host Tonight following Jay Leno who is expected to host a show at 10:35 Central/11:35 Eastern.
Conan O’Brien released a statement Tuesday saying that he no longer wants to host NBC’s “Tonight Show” and intends to seek a way to end his contract with the network.

The host, who saw his brief run at host of “Tonight” cut short when NBC decided to restore his predecessor Jay Leno to the 11:35 p.m. time period occupied by “Tonight” for decades, has been growing increasingly upset in recent days about how he believes he was treated by NBC’s management.

A representative of the host said Tuesday that the issue came to a head for Mr. O’Brien on Monday and that he had “sat up all night drafting the statement.” NBC declined comment. Mr. O’Brien was scheduled to do “The Tonight Show” on Tuesday night.

In a statement Tuesday afternoon, Mr. O’Brien said “I sincerely believe that delaying the ‘Tonight Show’ into the next day to accommodate another comedy program will seriously damage what I consider to be the greatest franchise in the history of broadcasting. ‘The Tonight Show’ at 12:05 simply isn’t the ‘Tonight Show.’”
It was announced recently that Jay Leno's prime time program would be aired at 11:35 Eastern/10:35 Central. The show will continue to air at 10:00/9:00 Central but will go on hiatus during the Winter Olympics this year. Then arrive at its new timeslot after the games.

To be fair! I'm more of a Conan fan that a Leno fan. I miss Conan at Late Night and ultimately followed him to Tonight. There have been some good moments, but upsetting that he won't likely continue in his present role.

As for Leno, I can't knock his career but if he didn't want to let go last year then why did he. This almost seems like sour grapes and can only bring back memories of when him and David Letterman were vying for Tonight. Ultimately Leno succeeded Johnny Carson and Letterman left for CBS.

This time the successor wants to get his spot back. Or at least someone wants him to get his spot back. At that his current show was a good experiment while it lasted. It didn't work, well I rarely watched it myself so it didn't work for me. It almost felt like Arsenio light.

Fed posts profit of 52.1 billion dollars

You know I'm sure Fed opponents want to confiscate some of that profit:
The US Federal Reserve said Tuesday it earned a record profit in 2009 of 52.1 billion dollars, enabling a transfer to the US Treasury of 46.1 billion dollars.

The unprecedented results came as a result of the central bank's extraordinary market operations during the financial crisis to purchase bonds and invest in troubled companies, and from earnings on loans to banks and securities firms.

The results represent a sharp rise from 2008, when the Fed earned 31.7 billion dollars and returned 35.5 billion dollars to the Treasury.

The profit included some 46.1 billion dollars in earnings on securities acquired through open market operations, including US Treasury bonds, mortgage-backed securities and government agency debt.
I was talking to a friend the other day, you may dismiss him because he has no economics degree, but that doesn't matter. Especially if you read obsessively through various sources on this topic. The Federal Reserve prints our money and he would say that right now the Fed is printing too much money and that devalues the currency. What caused the Great Depression 80 or so years ago was that the Fed wouldn't print more money. This according to a friend who is into Austrian Economics.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Speaking of Ousted governor

I had to just blog about Rich Miller's Sun-Times column from last Friday.
One of the nice things about the democratic process is that politicians usually don’t do things that would cause them to lose their jobs. That attitude has its downsides, of course. If too many politicians become too overly cautious then nothing gets done — like what’s going on now in the U.S. Senate.

But here in Illinois we’ve seen some blatantly reckless stupidity that just boggles the mind. George Ryan’s crimes, Rod Blagojevich’s arrest, and now the Pat Quinn administration’s breathtakingly moronic early release program for violent prisoners.

For all his faults, I have always thought that George Ryan was a pretty darned good governor. He got things done. There was little to no gridlock on the big issues. But he stupidly believed that he could behave like politicians did 30 years ago and not suffer the consequences. He had no sense of self-preservation and he is now sitting in a federal prison cell. Ryan’s stupidity still infuriates me to this day.

Rod Blagojevich was a horrible governor. Gridlock didn’t just prevail, it thrived. Chaos became normality. I was happy when he finally got busted and ousted for his unbelievably stupid alleged schemes to shake down the president-elect over the choice of a U.S. senator and strong-arm the rest of the establishment for cash and personal favors. I was enraged, however, at the damage his arrest did to this state’s already poor reputation. Once again, we had an amazingly stupid politician who didn’t have the mental capacity to realize what he was doing to himself and to his state.
Miller has a point. He may have more of a reason to be upset than I do. I only came to this game of following Illinois politics in recent years. Miller of The Capitol Fax has largely made a living following the inside track of state politics.

George Ryan is generally considered a good governor, but he couldn't let go of the old school ways that ultimately send him to federal prison. Ousted governor, well we haven't quite figured out what went wrong there. It might be safe to say that he had no moral compass. Some might conclude that he still doesn't.

Since we're talking state politics right now, check out Rich Miller's recent syndicated column that he posted to his blog this morning. It's not about corruption or Ousted governor, but about Ousted governor's successor Pat Quinn. The issue at hand Gov. Quinn's role in the early release program from Illinois' prisons. It's a mess!

Ousted governor says he's blacker than the President

Sadly we still pay attention to this guy. I can only wish that he would be shunned for not only being impeached due to his corrupt activities as Governor of Illinois. The more attention he gets the more he says crap like this:
Ousted Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich says he's "blacker than Barack Obama" and tells Esquire magazine that he was a real person in a political arena dominated by phonies.

Blagojevich, referring to the president as "this guy," says Obama was elected based simply on hope.

"What the (expletive)? Everything he's saying's on the teleprompter," Blagojevich told the magazine for a story in its February issue, which hits newsstands Jan. 19.

"I'm blacker than Barack Obama. I shined shoes. I grew up in a five-room apartment. My father had a little laundromat in a black community not far from where we lived," Blagojevich said. "I saw it all growing up."
You know I wonder if I created this meme. When he was removed from office I started referring to this man as Ousted governor. :P

Anyway you will see in that same link that he apologized for his remarks later calling them a stupid thing to say.

I think he should get a break from the limelight. He can use it, but he's going to be on Celebrity Apprentice. What qualifies him as a celebrity and one more reason to avoid, that show!

UPDATE 12:21 PM: Ousted governor apologizes outside of his home this morning.

 

Sunday, January 10, 2010

It's so cold...


Via Red State!

Hat-tip for this goes to Quincy Pundit! They have a much more local version there.

Imagine the possibilities for this as far as Chicago goes. It would be too easy. Daley kept his hands in his pockets. The city council kept their hands in their pockets. The county kept their hands in their pockets. State politicos kept their hands in their pockets.

Man I could play with this for a while!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

No Longer Majority Black, Harlem Is in Transition

I've been hearing rumbles about this for years. Harlem may remain the capitol of black America, but other peoples may decide that this is the place for them. The future may be other people moving in and turning a neighborhood around.

From NY Times:
For nearly a century, Harlem has been synonymous with black urban America. Given its magnetic and growing appeal to younger black professionals and its historic residential enclaves and cultural institutions, the neighborhood’s reputation as the capital of black America seems unlikely to change soon.

But the neighborhood is in the midst of a profound and accelerating shift. In greater Harlem, which runs river to river, and from East 96th Street and West 106th Street to West 155th Street, blacks are no longer a majority of the population — a shift that actually occurred a decade ago, but was largely overlooked.

By 2008, their share had declined to 4 in 10 residents. Since 2000, central Harlem’s population has grown more than in any other decade since the 1940s, to 126,000 from 109,000, but its black population — about 77,000 in central Harlem and about twice that in greater Harlem — is smaller than at any time since the 1920s.

In 2008, 22 percent of the white households in Harlem had moved to their present homes within the previous year. By comparison, only 7 percent of the black households had.
...
Harlem, said Michael Henry Adams, a historian of the neighborhood and a resident, “is poised again at a point of pivotal transition.”

Harlem is hardly the only ethnic neighborhood to have metamorphosed because of inroads by housing pioneers seeking bargains and more space — Little Italy, for instance, has been largely gobbled up by immigrants expanding the boundaries of Chinatown and by creeping gentrification from SoHo. But Harlem has evolved uniquely.

Because so much of the community was devastated by demolition for urban renewal, arson and abandonment beginning in the 1960s, many newcomers have not so much dislodged existing residents as succeeded them. In the 1970s alone, the black population of central Harlem declined by more than 30 percent.

“This place was vacated,” said Howard Dodson, director of Harlem’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. “Gentrification is about displacement.”

Meanwhile, the influx of non-Hispanic whites has escalated. The 1990 census counted only 672 whites in central Harlem. By 2000, there were 2,200. The latest count, in 2008, recorded nearly 13,800.

“There’s a lot of new housing to allow people to come into the area without displacing people there,” said Joshua S. Bauchner, who moved to a Harlem town house in 2007 and is the only white member of Community Board 10 in central Harlem. “In Manhattan, there are only so many directions you can go. North to Harlem is one of the last options.”
Over at The Sixth Ward, we've covered the issue of not only gentrification, but also any attempt at integration. I can't say it's an issue in Chatham (largely located in Chicago's 6th Ward). There may be a decent sized group of non-blacks in that community and perhaps enough to attract the attention of the blogger at the CAPCC blog.

Another neighborhood that is an historically black neighborhood in Chicago was Bronzeville. Historically that community was also called either Black Metropolis or the Black Belt. All the same like Harlem that community was decimated with vacant lots, slums, housing projects, and the like. While it may take awhile for that neighborhood to truly turn, what's likely to happen there is that it may attract non-blacks there as well. It won't merely be a black neighborhood in the future. It could be more like Hyde Park which is nearby.

Via Newsalert!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

C-Span wants to offer TV coverage on Congressional health care talks

Heh! I only wonder whether or not Congress would be very receptive to opening up the process to TV cameras. Especially to a network like C-Span that is often considered a non-biased public affairs network:
The head of C-SPAN has implored Congress to open up the last leg of health care reform negotiations to the public, as top Democrats lay plans to hash out the final product among themselves.

C-SPAN CEO Brian Lamb wrote to leaders in the House and Senate Dec. 30 urging them to open "all important negotiations, including any conference committee meetings," to televised coverage on his network.

"The C-SPAN networks will commit the necessary resources to covering all of the sessions LIVE and in their entirety," he wrote.

In a Tuesday afternoon press conference on health legislation negotiations, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi appeared to object to the premise behind the request.

"There has never been a more open process for any legislation in anyone who’s served here’s experience," she said.
I'm just going to hazard a guess that this offer will not be accepted. This process is seemingly more and more partisan. All indications are that the Democrats in Congress are going to go this alone and not even consult Republicans. Of course, the problem here might be that we may not get the best deal on health care reform. I'm not sure there is one in sight. Besides one side insists on it their way, and the other side does seem to do nothing more than obstruct.

BTW, what Brian Lamb is offering Obama wanted. I wonder how long he'll keep him mouth shut on this. Although it is possible that if he calls for this well there might be some "blowback" onto him. Hat-tip Newsalert!



We were supposed to get health care reform late last year. It's 2010 and this process is still moving very slowly!

Monday, January 04, 2010

John Stossel's FOX Business special



On Dec. 17th of last year Stossel had a studio audience to discuss health care. John Mackey was his guest in this segment.

Remember his op/ed from the past summer? Well there was some upheaval as a result. There was a boycott, but it almost backfired.

Mackey says that he actually gained more sales and gained new customers. It seems that while there were those who were upset that he doesn't support more government control of health care. It also seems that there are those who agreed with his views on health care enough to shop at his stores. Or at the very least, they weren't as upset about his ideas on health care as those who were doing the boycotting.

There are more parts to this program. What you see is Part 3. There are seven parts to this video you can see them @ The Right Scoop.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

What movie theaters won't tell you

I really like this idea:
"If you're getting tired of blockbusters, you may be in luck."

Special-events programming isn't the only change digital technology may be ushering into your local cineplex. It also makes film distribution cheaper and easier, thus potentially opening up more opportunities for independent filmmakers to get their work screened. "It's like a big iPod," explains Cinedigm CEO Bud Mayo. Movies are shipped on hard drives or downloaded from a satellite, without the cost or inconvenience of transporting heavy film canisters, and the theater can cue them up with the click of a mouse. That means theater owners can set up their schedules by "trial and error," says Lauren Goffio, manager of the Pavilion Park Slope theater in Brooklyn, N.Y.

The trend toward digital could also mean a move away from blockbusters. Hollywood has been offering mass-market products while most industries are directing specialized products to smaller groups, says Rashi Glazer, professor of marketing at the University of California, Berkeley: "The one-size-fits-all approach is the past, it's not the future." And digital lowers "the barrier of entry," since distribution is no longer an expense to be reckoned with, says Corcoran.
I like this trend, but I can only imagine that this could only work in independently owned movie theaters that have some control over what films they want to show. Large film exhibition chains prolly wouldn't have that luxury, it may be in their business plans to show popular and anticipated Hollywood releases.

Even better depending on the community surrounding a particular movie theater, the films that are shown at these theaters can reflect the tastes of that particular community. If a film was shown at a movie theater patronized by mostly black patrons, then perhaps said film can show films that either feature black casts, that blacks will watch, or even feature films produced and/or directed by blacks. Just think about it.

Go read the whole thing at Smart Money. There are other ideas worth exploring as far as the movie theater business goes.

Friday, January 01, 2010

This is now the year 2010

Believe or not 2010 will mark an important milestone of my time as a blogger. On January 18, 2005, the first written post was here at It's My Mind. It will be officially five years since I started this blog. I was still a student at Morehouse at the time, five years later I'm an alum.

Since that time I have posted at other blogs most of them I've created and a few well I was invited to post there. Since 2006 I've been posting at Illinoize and since 2008 Gaper's Block.

As for the other blogs well the most work in the past two years has been at The Sixth Ward. Earlier this year I transported selected posts over to a blog John G. Shedd Public School.

There are other blogs that are indefinitely inactive for the time being. Most of you remember My Mind's Eye. There is also The Movie Cabinet. There is also my wordpress blog, Unconvential Wisdom. Personally I like using Wordpress, it's a lot of work, but I just haven't figured out what I should post there.

In any event, year five should be interesting and I think that this month I want to do something extra special. I used the phrase "from my mind" in the very early days. This blog may go back to that temporarily. Hopefully just to thrown around some ideas as had been the intention of this blog back then.

Expect there to be a formal anniversary post on January 18, but we're going to get the anniversary started today on New Year's Day.