Wednesday, March 31, 2010

"Niggardly" Obama Sign Causing Controversy

Do you remember over a decade or so an uproar over an obscure word? The very obscure word you're seeing in the post title? It looks like for a limited time only it's back!
A sign outside a northern California business that accuses President Obama of being “niggardly” is causing controversy among locals, KTXL-TV reported Wednesday.

The sign, located along a freeway in Acampo, Calif. says “Obama = niggardly” and that he “hurts small biz.” Another part of the sign reads “Buck Ofama.”

One motorist told KTXL that the sign was associated with the Sunny Rose Cafe in Acampo. A telephone listing for the business on Google was disconnected, according to KTXL.

The word "niggardly," despite sounding like a racial epithet, actually means " grudgingly mean about spending or granting” according to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary and is believed to have its origin prior to that of the racial slur.

The word "niggardly" gained national attention in the U.S. back in 1999 when David Howard, an assistant to then-Washington, D.C., mayor Anthony Williams, resigned after using the word in a speech to describe the city's budget.
That last paragraph! That was the incident I was thinking about. Kneejerk reaction to a term that really doesn't have a racial connotation other than a similar prefix to the proverbial N-word. Some people ought to put their outrage to rest for a second.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Two slams against the "state-run" media

Newsalert posted a link to an old NY Times article while referring to NBC as "state-run" media. Here's an excerpt from the Times:
General Electric said Wednesday that the federal government had agreed to insure as much as $139 billion in debt for its lending subsidiary, GE Capital. This is the second time in a month that G.E. has turned to a federal program aimed at helping companies during the global credit crisis.
...
“Inclusion in this program will allow us to source our debt competitively with other participating financial institutions,” Mr. Wilkerson said.

The F.D.I.C. program covers about $139 billion of G.E.’s debt, or 125 percent of total senior unsecured debt outstanding as of Sept. 30 and maturing by June 30.

G.E. sent investors an e-mail letter about the program on Wednesday and posted the letter on its Web site. “Our participation is a positive development for our investors,” it said.

G.E.’s finance businesses are able to seek F.D.I.C. debt coverage because its GE Capital subsidiary also owns a federal savings bank and an industrial loan company, both of which already qualify.
Another link from Gateway Pundit with regards to coverage of weekend Tea Party coverage. This time they refer to CNN as "state-run" media.

You know I think I get it. What was once the MSM (mainstream media), or the "liberal" media, is today referred to as either the state-run media or Rush Limbaugh often likes the term "drive-by" media.

I think it has been ingrained in my mind that the news media is biased. At the same time there are aspects of the media I don't particularly care for. For instance I noted a while back that while watching Glenn Beck when he was on Headline News that I really didn't like the direction of that network. It was attempting to be more like FOX News instead of the dry news channel that I was more familiar with.

I do understand that things are often in flux. That is entities have to adjust in order to stay relevant or profitable, but when I watched Headline News on that day I was really disappointed.

What I will say for certain is that I believe the media is in some ways partial. Of course the networks referred to in those two blogs are networks that may perceptibly be in opposition to the Republican Party. While FOX News is often perceptibly in opposition to the Democratic Party. Of course you may view these biasesthrough your own political visions whatever they may be.

It hits me that I often watch FOX News more than any other news channel. I stopped watching CNN when they stopped producing Inside Politics. I rarely even fix my eyes on MSNBC anymore. I really liked this show hosted by then correspondent Soledad O'Brien called The Site. If I watch anything that isn't aired on FOX News it would likely be 60 Minutes!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Chicago Argus: A waste to time to bash Blago

Gregory Tejada puts some things in perspective:
THE FORMER GOVERNOR’S name took two hits in the General Assembly in the past two days, which makes me sad. Not that I care about the public persona of Milorod.

But it just seems to me that at a time when our state faces financial problems of historic proportions, problems that threaten to impact the schools and local governments that rely on their state funding to provide needed services for the public, we have geeky legislators who are more interested in taking pot shots at Blagojevich.

What a waste of time, energy and brainpower!

That is what I honestly think of the fact that some members of the Illinois House of Representatives last week not only said it wanted to do a financial audit of the “Blagojevich era,” they also want to deny Rod his official portrait at the Statehouse in Springpatch.
...
WHICH, WHEN YOU think about it, [boosting his ego] was Blagojevich’s biggest political sin. He enjoyed the public spotlight associated with being governor, and often based his actions on the premise that nobody ought to have the ability to stand up to him or be considered his equal.

Not even those people associated with his own political party. That ultimately is why Democrats were so eager to lead the fight for impeachment, and are probably more overjoyed than their Republican colleagues to see him gone.

Which is why political people are so eager to vote against the official Blagojevich portrait. Specifically, they approved a measure saying that political people in Blagojevich’s circumstances cannot have the cost of creating the portrait reimbursed with state funds.,

That means if Blagojevich wants his portrait to hang at the Capitol, he’s going to have to pay for it himself – or come up with a fundraising committee or some private donor to pay for the cost.

AS FAR AS I am concerned, the fact is that Blagojevich was elected to two terms as governor. His portrait belongs there. Any political person who voted for this measure so they could keep him out is being ridiculous. Nobody ever said that every single politician ever immortalized in oil on canvass or in marble was a noble human being.
Found this via the CapFax morning shorts. There were also links regarding Blagojevich's official gubernatorial portrait and his appearance on The Apprentice. As a matter of fact former baseball star, Darryl Strawberry, took a fall for Blago according to one of the articles after Ousted governor was proven to be a weak link on that show.

Frankly, Blagojevich was a frequent target around these parts. Although these days he doesn't get much press here. Every now and again I might have nothing but things to say about him. It's usually because he's often in the news for one reason or another. Sometimes it might be because of something he did a few years back that still affects us, such as transit.

BTW, Illinois Channel is fundraising right now. They bring up Blago in that the General Assembly appropriated money to the IL Channel, however, he instead chose to veto those funds to that network designed to provide "gavel-to-gavel coverage of Illinois state government and public affairs event across Illinois". I suppose in keeping with the points made by Tejada, Blago believe no one should have the ability to stand up to him!

I think here at least I wrote about whether or not he should get his portrait. To be fair he should. I mean there are other Governors who have their portraits hanging at the state capitol, including currently incarcerated former Governor George Ryan. Therefore why shouldn't Blagojevich.

There are others of note who have either been on trial for corruption or have actually been convicted of corruption or even incarcerated for crimes after they left politics who have their gubernatorial portraits. Otto Kerner was convicted of bribery related to his time in office as Governor. Len Small, Illinois' governor from 1921-29, was indicted while in office on embezzlement related to his time as state treasurer.

I do understand the anger towards Rod Blagojevich. His ego and his activity has just made politics in this state a dirty business right now and who knows how long it'll take to clean it up. The anger needs to be put aside for a moment and commission this portrait. Then we need to get to work on the pressing problems of this state, which is more important than whether or not Blago gets his portrait!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Some States Find Burdens in Health Law

This article only goes to show that new or expanded entitlements do not come without their own headaches. No matter how lauded this health care reform law was there will be some pain in attempting to implement this plan.
Because of the new health care law, Arizona lawmakers must now find a way to maintain insurance coverage for 350,000 children and adults that they slashed just last week to help close a $2.6 billion budget deficit.

Louisiana officials say a reduction in federal money to hospitals that treat the uninsured under the bill could be a death knell for their state-run charity hospital system.

In California, policymakers estimate they will have to come up with an additional $500 million a year to make necessary increases in payments to Medicaid providers.
...
States with the largest uninsured populations, like Texas and California, might be considered by its backers the biggest winners to emerge from the law, because so many additional residents will have access to health insurance. But because those states are being required to significantly expand their Medicaid programs, they are precisely the ones that will face the biggest financial strains, in many cases magnified by existing budget shortfalls.

“The federal government has to account for states’ inability to sustain our current programs, much less expand,” said Kim Belshé, secretary of California’s Health and Human Services Agency.

In contrast, states like Massachusetts and Wisconsin, which already have extensive health care safety nets, do not expect to spend much more money, while still taking in billions in federal grants.

In Massachusetts, for example, which already has a form of universal coverage, the federal government will wind up taking over from the state a significantly larger share of the costs of Medicaid coverage for adults without children, officials said.

“On balance, it’s definitely a gain,” said JudyAnn Bigby, secretary of the Massachusetts Office of Health and Human Services.
...
But even with more federal help, the challenge for states like Alabama, Arkansas and Texas that now offer only limited Medicaid coverage will be substantial. In these states, Medicaid has been mostly restricted to low-income families with children, pregnant women, certain people with disabilities and some elderly. The income cutoffs have also been extremely low.
...
Texas, which has some of the most restrictive Medicaid eligibility rules in the country for adults, currently covers working parents only if they do not earn more than roughly 20 percent of the federal poverty level. The program does not cover childless adults.

Anne Dunkelberg, associate director of the Center for Public Policy Priorities, a research group in Austin that strongly supported the health care law, estimated that if the legislation went into effect today, an additional one million adults would qualify for Medicaid, at a cost of $370 million a year if Texas were to pay its full 10 percent share.

In addition, Ms. Dunkelberg said, many children who are currently eligible but are not enrolled in Medicaid and the state Children’s Health Insurance Program will emerge and want to join, potentially costing the state several hundred million dollars.

Some states, like Arizona, face an immediate fiscal conundrum because of stipulations in the law that prohibit them from rolling back their existing Medicaid programs before the required expansion takes effect.

About a decade ago, voters in Arizona approved a measure to expand Medicaid to include childless adults whose incomes were at or below the federal poverty limit. As part of an effort to close a $2.6 billion budget gap next year, state officials recently decided to end that program, along with the state’s Children’s Health Insurance Program. Gov. Jan Brewer, a Republican, signed the cuts into law last week.

Now, however, the state must come up with the money to restore the programs, estimated at a billion dollars annually.
Whew! I'll bet your eyes will glaze over attempting to read this excerpt. I just hope the idea is clear. If the state's are expected to expand their Medicaid coverage it will prove to be more of a headache. Especially if the idea is to provide coverage to more uninsured people.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Is Glenn Beck hurting FOX News?

It seems there are many at FOX News who aren't very happy about the super-star status of Glenn Beck on that network:
A column in the Washington Post on Monday revealed that some Fox staffers are concerned the celebrity pundit is "becoming the face of the network."

Ailes pointed out that the information in The Post's column was leaked by Fox’s Washington bureau.

"For the first time in our 14 years, we’ve had people apparently shooting in the tent, from within the tent," he told them.

But the Fox chairman clarified that Beck’s opinions were not that of the network and were firmly within his rights as a commentator.

"We prefer people in the tent not dumping on other people in the tent," he added.
I watch Glenn Beck when I'm able at 4PM in the afternoons Chicago-time. I used to watch his program on Headline News before he really became famous. That program and the program develop on FOX News is a fundamentally different show now. Not as many interviews but more interactions with everyday people as had happened on Friday when Beck was in Florida.

These days Beck is railing against today's "progressives". His programs read as a very entertaining discussion of political philosophy. He talks of progressivism and it's roots and the philosophical bearings of America's founding fathers! Perhaps now he has a better platform to discuss these things than he would have if he became a college professor.

In a previous post I said that discussing issues such as health care in terms of dollars & cents is going to be a very dry proposition. In that Beck is even more entertaining as he would cut up eau claires to demonstrate progressive taxation on one show.

When you think about it it's hard to really assign a role to Glenn Beck. He's gone in a more activist direction and may well have reinvented the role of a commentator. It's hard for me to say he's distant from say the "Tea Party Movement" when he talks them up or is even going to their rallies. Perhaps in an odd way he's bringing talk radio to TV.

In that regards, he may improve upon what Rush Limbaugh attempted to do in the 1990s.

Found this article via Crooks & Liars!

Friday, March 26, 2010

My thoughts on health-care reform.

Thursday night I watched Stossel and I watched him convince a young child that he was going to pay for his future entitlements. The healthcare and the social security.

We know from watching John Stossel over the years from ABC & FOX that he's got some unconventional solutions to many of our common problems. It seemed appropriate that he takes aim at the recently signed into law health care reform.

Watching this program it hits me why some of the people we saw in Andrew Marcus' video are woefully ignorant of what health care reform means. I mean we heard economists discuss this issue in terms of economics and I can imagine there are people who would fall asleep at such a presentation. It can certainly be dry to talk about all the numbers in the health care reform as signed into law.

Surely, numbers have been used to justify either support or opposition. It just seems that many argue for it philosophically. Many who oppose it argue that this mandate is unconstitutional no one should be forced to have health insurance and that perhaps the federal government has overstepped their bounds on this particular law.

On the other hand, like those two ladies in the Marcus video, this law can be justified by saying that in those nations with universal healthcare the citizens are much happier. However, they came to that conclusion. Let's go further though.

In this debate which may well have raged for years before Obama and Congress got together on this issue in 2009-10 I'm sure many have argued that health care should boil down to dollars & cents. It should be provided for and at that it shouldn't take dollars & cents to gain access to it. Also to make this possible, it should be run by the government besides it's done in Canada, Britain, and France.

In the long run, I don't believe forcing people to buy insurance or otherwise a government control of our healthcare system is in our nation's best interest. Competition as far as health insurance is key and for those who don't have health insurace hopefully there will be a solution for them. Perhaps more clinics operated by private entities is an answer.

Don't look here for the answer because I can't say I have done enough research into this issue. What I will say is that if government runs everything then it won't be run very well. At that it may cost more than it's worth.

Of course I say this knowing that a person's health should not be subject to dollars and cents, but I recognize that it is a reality. At the same time I know that health care can not be treated as a free resource.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Andrew Marcus on the Streets of Chicago


You can see this video over at Andrew Breitbart's BigGovernment blog. We see the gamut of responses mostly from younger people who may well support President Obama's new health care law and an ex-patriot older Swedish man who left his homeland years ago. He didn't like the nanny state that existed in Sweden and sees that there are those in the US who are active in building such a state here. He even expresses reservations that the government may come after him because he isn't with the program. Yeesh!

Via Instapundit!

As an added bonus Andrew Marcus showed a rally in front of Evanston area Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky. That was posted over at John Ruberry's Marathon Pundit last week.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Obamacare: Another Washington scam

Now we look at the possible fallout from this newly signed into law, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. That bill was signed today.

This article is from The Union Leader:
Obama's reform will not reduce the federal deficit. Much of the bill's taxation begins in 2011, but its biggest spending doesn't start until 2014. The 10-year score appears to reduce the deficit, but only because of this sleight of hand. Once all the spending kicks in, the spending exceeds the revenue. A portion called the "doc fix" was removed from the bill and is to be passed separately. The Congressional Budget Office estimates that with the "doc fix," health care reform will add $59 billion to the deficit in the next decade. It's more if Congress doesn't reduce Medicare spending.

The Associated Press reported last week that the bill won't lower health insurance premiums, as Obama promised. It simply subsidizes them.

You might not be able to keep your current insurer or doctor, as Obama promised. The bill taxes insurance plans the government deems too generous, discouraging them. And a study reported on the New England Journal of Medicine Web site showed that 46 percent of physicians surveyed said they would be more likely to quit medicine or retire early if the bill passed.

The American people are about to discover that they were sold a fiscally responsible reform but got instead yet another underfunded entitlement program that speeds the nation's slide into insolvency.
Via Newsalert!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Looking at Wikipedia regarding the recent health care bill

EDIT 10:03 PM I got it wrong. This is the bill, Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, awaiting the President's signature tomorrow morning. That is probably about 2400 pages of reading right there. It's THIS bill that people are upset about. And rewriting America's social contract. Well the state's are addressing that by seeking a lawsuit against the federal government because it violates state sovereignty. It's in this bill that individuals are forced to buy health insurance!

According to MSNBC the President is expected to sign this legislation into law tomorrow. Watching FOX News last night there are a lot of people who aren't happy. I get the feeling that many in Congress may have risked their seats with this legislation.

The basic explanation of the provisions in this bill Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act of 2010 is left wanting however reading Wikipedia:
The Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act is divided into two titles, one addressing health care reform and the other addressing student loan reform. Title I would increase Medicaid subsidies to the states, raise the threshold for the excise tax on the "Cadillac", or high-value, insurance plans excise tax and delay implementation of the tax until 2018. Title II would modify student loans by ending government subsidies to private lenders.
Unless I read the bill which is said to be a monstrosity to read and I'm simply not willing to read it, surely there are more details that explains to me why someone like Tom Delay (the former House Majority Whip) and others are upset about the successful passage of this bill.

One thing I hear about this bill is that it WILL force those of us without insurance into buying insurance. If one fails to buy insurance they should be fined. This is effectively federalizing the Massachusetts solution which was enacted by a Republican Governor in that state.

Anyway without making you read the full text of this future law I'll have you read this section by section analysis of this bill. It'll be much easier to read. So far it doesn't look like you'll either be forced to buy health-insurance or fined for failing to buy health insurance.

But if you're convinced that this bill will either signal a rewriting of America's social contract and a heralding of full blown socialism here in the states I will invite you to point this out anywhere in that piece of legislation. Thank you!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

It pays to have good news

Well this story has been making the rounds for the past couple of weeks or so. Some of you may have gotten e-mails about it. In my case the first inkling was over at The Sixth Ward, alas I didn't post the article but the other blogger there had seen this story first.

It really is great news to see an entire high school senior class get accepted into college. Even better this is at a school full of young black teenaged males. It has been ingrained in many of our minds that this group are the most at risk.

Young black boys are either dropping out of school, having sex promiscuously, engaging in criminal activities, or are otherwise dying engaging in risky activity. The main thing to note when it comes to young black males are that they're not doing very well. Of course that is according to whatever source you may cite.

So in this context it's great to see that young men are thriving at Urban Prep Charter Academy. This school is located at the former Englewood High School which was closed in 2008 and became home of Urban Prep.

I wish these young men the best of luck in their lives. Hopefully this will prove to be an exciting development in their lives. I expect that we should hear a lot about them in the future.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pat Quinn has another choice for Lt. Governor

In the month since Scott Lee Cohen relinquished his nomination for Lt. Governor we see a bit of a scramble for his replacement. If someone was to say that Alexi Giannoulias (who is our state treasurer and is seeking to occupy President Obama's old US Senate) was to just leave because of his issues with regards to his family's bank this would be a disaster for the state Democratic party. As much as Jack Ryan's departure from the US Senate race (he ran against President Obama who was then a state senator) was for the Republican Party in 2004. In the case of state Democrats it could be double trouble!

This year we see people proposing to either eliminate the office. We also see people scramble to replace a very much wounded nominee elected by a sleepy electorate. We also see an important voting bloc, Blacks, attempt to support the runner-up for the Lt. Gov nomination in the February primary.

It looks like Pat Quinn has other ideas. He doesn't want to pick any of the runners-up in the recent primary. Instead he looks at Tammy Duckworth who withdrew from consideration or State Sen. Susan Garrett.

No matter who he would want as his running mate in November, the state party will have to make that decision. While it is supposed to be a transparent process, there just has to be some backroom negotiation going on.

BTW, since there have been rumbles that black politicos would be upset if the Democrats fail to choose state Rep. Art Turner (he just so happened to be the runner up in the February primary). It's safe to say that as the electorate was asleep in February, black politicos were as well. If they wanted one of their own in the state's #2 spot they sure could have campaigned for either one of the black candidates in the race whether Turner or state Sen. Rickey Hendon.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Booker Rising: Could 2010 Be The Year Of The Black Republican?

You can read the post and links at Booker Rising. Surely many have hoped for such a movement, but unfortunately I will not hold my breath! Something like this may have been said for years!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Chicago pastor pushes to make selling 'blunt wraps' illegal

Not sure what to say about this!
Bishop Larry Trotter spoke about it during services Sunday morning at Sweet Holy Spirit Church. He held up blunt wraps that he said he purchased at a store near the church.

Trotter said young people can use the wraps to conceal illegal drugs, like marijuana.

"We need to stop people from bringing things and making them available to our children and making them drug addicts," Trotter said.
...
Bishop Trotter is circulating a petition, and he asked his congregation to contact lawmakers and urge them to support the ban.

He is launching a 50-church campaign to gather support for the ban and says he already has the backing of several mayors and law enforcement officials.
To be honest, sometimes I have a problem with the need to ban minor items such as this. Not too long ago it was little plastic baggies that could be used to transport narcotics. Today it's these blunt wraps.

Now I could turn this into a need to legalize drugs. The thing is I'm not totally in favor of that. Yeah we may reduce the crime problem and perhaps a Walgreen's or CVS could swell weed or anything like that. But is that really an answer to something that may well become a public health issue.

Well that what this blog is here for. You can discuss this story and/or whether or not we need to legalize or decriminalize narcotics.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Deconstructionism in Detroit

Well after several days not blogging we're taking another trip to Detroit this Sunday. Well of course all we're doing is looking at what Detroit seeks to do as far as making for a better city today. One answer is to essentially shrink the city that is no longer home to a population of 2 million people as it once was around 1950.

You can read the article "Deconstruction: The Fate of America? - The Changing Landscape of America" over at New Geography. Of course Detroit is only one part of the argument of Deconstructionism.
There is no better example than the City of Detroit. Once the home of Henry Ford and the American automobile industry, Detroit has fallen on hard times. Its population has fallen from nearly 2 million residents to less than 900,000 today. With a budget deficit of $300 million per year, Detroit can no longer provide basic services to its own residents. There are 33,500 empty homes and 91,000 vacant residential lots. More than 300,000 buildings are vacant or in shambles. It is estimated that 40 square miles of Detroit lies abandoned.

Twelve years ago, British urban historian Sir Peter Hall wrote in “Cities in Civilization” that Detroit “has become an astonishing case of industrial dereliction; perhaps, before long, the first major industrial city in history to revert to farmland.” Hall may have been prescient. This week, Mayor David Bing released the “Neighborhood Revitalization Strategic Framework," a landmark document that suggests that vast sections of Detroit be razed and returned to farmland, open space and nature. The report suggests the first organized and orderly deconstruction of a major American city.

The report envisons replacing entire neighborhoods with “Naturescapes” (meadows), “Green Thoroughfares” and “Village Hubs” that require fewer city services. But, it will require hundreds of millions of federal aid to finance such a major transformation, money the federal government no longer has to give.

In an era of trillion dollar federal deficits, there are no longer easy solutions. The shift of tectonic plates caused by the Great Recession have exposed hopelessly unsustainable city and state budgets. Swollen payrolls, duplicative agencies and inefficient municipal services can no longer be afforded. The deconstruction of government services seems inevitable.

In five years, will Detroit remain a cratered landscape of vacant buildings, broken promises, and smashed dreams? Or will a smaller, safer, more efficient city evolve out of its ruins? If deconstruction is successful in Detroit, it could serve as a model for many other governments as well, from City Hall to state capitols and all the way to the most bloated disaster of all, Washington, DC.
You know I look forward to Reason taking a look at Cleveland hosted by Drew Carey (former star of The Drew Carey Show and host of The Price is Right). Carey is a Cleveland native so it may well be fitting that this production will have his imprint on it. It's certainly the story of many struggling cities in the land. The question is will stuggling major cities take the advice of a libertarian publication.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Victoria Jackson Sings About That Commie Living in the White House


Via The Bench!

To be honest, I'm not really a fan of celebrities engaging in political discourse. At times I'm a little insulted by someone like Sean Penn or Dennis Miller trying to pass themselves off as either a conservative or a progressive. The reason being that it's more of an attention getter or that they believe in their position out of ignorance.

Then again who am I to judge. People know Victoria Jackson from her work on SNL in the 1980s. She may not be that famous anymore other than for the tea party folks who she may have spoken and performed for since this movement gained steam not long after Obama became President.

Well anyway, when it comes to entertainers or any type of artists it seems political discourse is part of the game. Points have to be illustrated or even packaged in a way that's relatable. Obama has political art that was impressive enough that it's still an enduring image of his 2008 campaign.

Who knows if Victoria Jackson's little song and video will be an enduring symbol of Obama's presidency. What it does confirm is those feelings plenty of conservatives believe about Obama. Variously he's been referred to as a communist or a socialist.

Although I recall that Obama made some statements or at least policy positions that I've considered socialist. Obama wanted to tax the rich or at least those in the upper income brackets and cut taxes for the middle to lower income brackets. It reeks of class warfare and is often an old solution.

I say old solution because surely many of us have heard this. People want to tax the rich because many believe they're not paying their fair share of taxes (whatever that means). It's just another way of saying let's blame the wealthy for all the problems off the poor. It's an unfortunate scapegoat I think.

Either way it's great to see Victoria Jackson still kicking. Even if it involves some form of political activism.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

I encountered something yesterday

When I got off the train at 95th yesterday I saw a collection of police cars or other official vehicles stopped on the Dan Ryan Expressway. I decided to be nosy and an older gentleman informed me that a woman jumped from the terminal and onto the expressway and was hit by a vehicle (I heard truck from many of the people who were talking about what happened). He even directed me towards the body which was covered up by an olive green cover. I could see the bright red blood streaming from it.

I have never seen anything like this in my life and at least my train arrived late enough where no one saw the incident as it happened. I can only imagine my own personal reaction upon seeing someone in such a situation. Whether this was a mere fluke accident or a suicide.

You know that reminds me. When I attended community college my Humanities professor discussed a poem and this poem reminded him of a suicide that he witnessed once. If only I knew where that poem was today.

That immediately came to mind with this incident yesterday. One can only imagine what causes a person to want to take their own life. Hopefully if you know anyone who may have something going on in their lives, you will talk to them and be friends with them. You might be saving them from doing something as terrible as what happened at 95th, yesterday!

Saturday, March 06, 2010

UN Specialist Says Chicago Should Have 1-for-1 Replacement in Public Housing

You can read the story over at CPR.

It's entirely possible that someone here in Chicago is actually going to attempt to listen to her. They could be a politician looking for cheap political points or even housing activists. It does sound good, but I just wonder if it's financially feasible.

Either way, while I'm sure she can justify her conclusions I wouldn't celebrate her as an expert!

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Southern Avenger: Gunning down the US Constitution


A South Carolina "Conservative" (placed in quotes so that you can decide for yourself what his philosopy is) who calls himself The Southern Avenger says that if the US Supreme Court just so happens to overturn Chicago's gun ban it can only damage the Constitution and increase the power of the Federal government. FTR, I do support a repeal of the gun ban.

What do you think?

Here's a news item about where the Court is at on the case regarding Chicago's gun ban.

Cross-posted @ Mechanics!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Chicago Theatre District

This marker is embedded into the sidewalk. Because some of the metal letters are missing I'm starting to suspect that someone had gotten smart and lifted those letters. It's either that or the letters got damaged and someone forgot to replace them. Perhaps it costs too much to replace them.

I took this pic near Dearborn & Lake.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Detroit's Smaller Reality

Today, we're taking another trip to Detroit. Another look at struggling MoTown. This article I found in a comment at YoChicago talks about the impending shrinkage of Detroit. Especially in terms of population, land area, and a reduction in city services.
The mayor [Dave Bing] is looking to the diminished tally, down from 951,270 in 2000, as a benchmark in his bid to reshape Detroit's government, finances and perhaps even its geography to reflect its smaller population and tax base. That means, in part, cutting city services and laying off workers.

His approach to the census is a product of not only budget constraints but also a new, more modest view of the city's prospects. "We've got to pick those core communities, those core neighborhoods" to sustain and preserve, he said at a recent public appearance, adding: "That's something that's possible here in Detroit."

Unlike his predecessors, Mr. Bing, a Democrat first elected last year to finish the term of disgraced former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, hasn't touted big development plans or talked of a "renaissance." Instead, he is trying to prepare residents for a new reality: that Detroit—like the auto industry that propelled it for a century—will have to get smaller before it gets bigger again.
...
Soon after being elected to a full term in November, Mr. Bing began cutting back on city services such as buses and laying off hundreds of municipal workers. The mayor is now making plans to shutter or consolidate city departments and tear down 10,000 vacant buildings. And Mr. Bing is supporting efforts to shrink the capacity of the city's school system by half.

Along with the mayor, a number of academics and philanthropic groups are sketching visions of a different Detroit. One such vision has urban farms and park spaces filling the acres of barren patches where people once lived and worked. In a city of roughly 140 square miles, vacant residential and commercial property accounts for an estimated 40 square miles, an area larger than the city of Miami.

"The potential of this open space is enormous," said Dan Pitera, an architect at the University of Detroit Mercy who has done land-use studies on the city.
...
Long-term declines triggered by suburban sprawl, home-loan bias and racial strife have accelerated in recent years as home foreclosures and auto-industry cutbacks tear through even more stable, wealthy neighborhoods. Meanwhile, declining home values in Detroit's better-off suburbs have made them more accessible to the city's poorer residents, fueling the flight.

The city is counting on nonprofit partners to take the lead on the census this year, rather than funding efforts itself. But with a population that is widely dispersed and largely poor and minority—two segments traditionally disinclined to fill out government paperwork—Detroit is already difficult to count. In the last census, just 62% of Detroiters responded, compared with an average of 71% statewide.

"That's why I keep telling the city, 'you are in trouble,' " said Kurt Metzger, director of Data Driven Detroit, an organization founded by large local philanthropies that want to help the city collect accurate demographic, housing, economic and other information. "Unfortunately, they don't have the resources."
Take a look at that graphic up top. Detroit has a larger area of vacant land than three other cities. Not sure what to say about that, other than to say that it's great to see Detroit finding ways to utilize this land as urban farms.

I'm always nervous about tearing down buildings. Especially if the buildings are viable. I can certainly understand if these buildings just were not salvageable. Perhaps some neighborhoods must be razed and others preserved.

Then again I'm not exactly an urban planner so I need to know more about whatever plans are available to revitalize Detroit in terms of adhering to its potential shrinkage.

Monday, March 01, 2010

Today is Pulaski Day

Well in Illinois the first Monday is Pulaski Day in celebration of Casimir Pulaski who, during the American Revolution, was a General in the Continental Army. I wrote about this holiday back in 2007.

I've heard once that this was a hat-tip to the Polish population in Illinois. The state or indeed the city of Chicago has a significant Polish or Polish descended population. For as long as I can remember I would often get this day off during my time in the Chicago Public Schools. At that city government and sister agencies would also be closed on that day.

It just hits me that there were others who were "foreign" to the cause of the American Revolution who may not have had their own holidays.

For instance Friedrich Wilhelm von Steuben was also important in the American Revolution, but there wasn't a day off dedicated to him. And at that, I'm certain there is a significant population of Germans and German descended people in either Chicago or Illinois to make this happen. Unfortunately I've never had a day off for that gentleman.

Both of these American Revolution era army officers have provided their contributions to our nation. Pulaski is said to be the father of the American cavalry while von Steuben introduced to the fledgling American military the essentials of military drill and discipline. Although today both men are honored in different ways one has a holiday in Illinois and apparently the other appears to get a holiday.

Then again what am I griping about. Pulaski Day was a day off, but nationally there is a holiday for a prominent American who also contributed greatly to America, even if we haven't yet realized his vision of an American that looks at a person's content of character.