Monday, January 31, 2011

Since we're supposed to have a serious snow storm the next two days...

Let's check out how Chicago did snow removal back in 1907 according to Unknown Chicago. Streetcars did the plowing and manual laborers shoveled what the streetcars couldn't plow. Backbreaking work I can only imagine, especially if you had to do this around the city.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

This time let's talk about tablet devices

I have a lot to learn about tablet devices such as the Dell Streak 7 above. I had a look at that device on display at a local Best Buy the other night. Talked to a representative about that. This isn't meant to be used as a phone, but can be used for Skype for example. It can also be used for texting, photography, video teleconferencing, mobile web surfing, and even social networking.

Still I'm unclear largely as to what a table does. But one of my questions to the representative was if this was like one of those old-style PDAs that used to be on sale years ago. In recent years the PDA started to give rise to the smartphone. Who knows with tablets, the smartphone might start to decline in everyday use.

BTW, tablet devices would include the iPad by Apple. If I knew that an iPad could be had for a reasonable price it might be worth getting one of those for me. Something that could be put in a bag and pulled out when necessary to surf the internet or even to read an e-book.

All the same, I have to determine for what reason to utilize a tablet device. Also should I possibly change my phone service from a smartphone to a regular cell phone. That will also mean just using a phone for the purposes of making phone calls mainly and maintaining a dataplan for only a tablet device.

There's more I have to research about these devices hitting the market.

Is Qaddafi Next?

Is Qaddafi Next? - The Daily Beast

I'm only posting this because I have one other tech post for the weekend.

Unfortunately I haven't paid a whole lot of attention to the unrest in both Egypt and Tunisia. In Tunisia at least the President has left the country after some unrest there. Hosni Mubarak, the longtime President of Egypt, at least is still holding his own. He however was forced to shake up his regime within the past week thanks to Egyptian unrest.

Now this post from The Daily Beast that I found via Instapundit takes aim at potential unrest in Libya which could threaten longtime head of state (well actually according to Wikipedia, "Brotherly Leader and Guide of the Revolution") Muammar al-Gaddafi or if you prefer using the article's version of his name Muammar Qaddafi.
And with Libya's immediate neighbors convulsed by public protests over the brutality and kleptocracy of their ruling familes, a newly leaked cable from the U.S. Embassy in Libya suggests that strongman Muammar Qaddafi has created a decadent, money-hungry family dynasty that could find itself the target of the next Arab revolution in the streets.

The latest batch of American diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks includes a secret message to Washington last February from U.S. Ambassador Gene A. Cretz, who wrote that Qaddafi's family—notably, two of his especially wayward sons—had "provided enough dirt for a Libyan soap opera" and could endanger the country's stability.

The dirt, he said, included a series of alcohol-fueled New Year's Eve parties sponsored by one Qaddafi son in St. Barts—Beyoncé reportedly earned more than $1 million to perform at the party to welcome in 2010—and domestic-abuse charges against another Qaddafi son in London; he was accused of beating his wife in a London hotel suite, reportedly sending her to the hospital with a broken nose.
 To be sure, I'm not upset about longtime incumbents around the world losing their power. Although until writing this post I was uncertain about how long the President of Tunisia had served before he fled that nation this month.

What can be said? It looks like the people of Libya will do the one thing many in this nation hoped to do. Referring to those people who still hold grudges against al-Gaddafi/Qaddafi here in the states.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

No, this is the Sony bloggie camera I'd like to get...

Strike that post from last weekend. I had intended to write about my preference for opitical zoom and that other bloggie camera model had digital zoom instead. Digital zoom isn't good because that type merely crops digitally the area that is to be shot. And that can only result in further pixelation and the video image will not have clarity.

Thus I have settled on model: MHS-CM5/V. This has optical zoom up to 5X and 40 X digital zoom. By contrast my Sony MiniDV camcorder has 40X optical with a 2000 Digital zoom. Also like with the Sanyo Xacti I can also treat this camera as if it's a digital camera as well.

Well still this option isn't perfect. I want a camera that could be used somewhat inconspicuously and this camera may not foot this bill. One can't just look in a viewfinder to make a shot and one must flip open the viewscreen to make a shot. The bad thing is with the other tiny digital camcorders out there doesn't have the type of zoom I would really like.

You know it's possible for me to take on the following scenarios. To start buy this camcorder because I went to a Sony Style store in Skokie, IL this week to see if they sold this camera. As it happens it's only display and could be had for $150. Also this week my travels took me to a TigerDirect store on Elston and saw that this same camera costs $180. Wow more bang for my buck at Sony, interesting.

So let's say I did buy it? I would still want a Flip, Kodak Mini, or a Kodak Playsport that could be used for my purposes inconspicuosly. It would be worth it if either of those cameras could be had for a reasonable price.

Still got some thinking on this and some budgeting. Then again since I'm hardpressed to find this bloggie it might be time to make a purchase before this model won't be found in stores any longer.

Friday, January 28, 2011

READ THIS EDITORIAL: Jeff Engelhardt advocates forgiveness, not death penalty

One of the issues that have been debated and passed out of the Illinois General Assembly is the abolition of the death penalty. I found this editorial over at the Capitol Fax today. Rich Miller reports that our Democratic Gov. Quinn is taking his time on whether to veto or approve this legislation. There are some who don't like that and there are those like Rich who support what Quinn is doing in mulling this legislation's fate. Miller further states that the Governor was himself a supporter of the death penalty.

I'm not going to take a position on whether or not this death penalty should be abolished. I just want you to read the editorial. This issue is personal to Engelhardt:
On April 17, 2009, three members of my family were murdered.

My father, grandmother and 18-year-old sister were all stabbed to death in their own home. My mother was in critical condition and my older sister was left with her baby girl and the horrifying sights of what happened to her family.

I was feeling helpless, six hours away at Southern Illinois University.

It didn't take long for the assistant state's attorney to tell me they wanted to pursue the death penalty for the man accused of committing the terrible crime.

As the citizens of Illinois await the governor's decision on the death penalty, it has given me another opportunity to contemplate what I would want done in my situation.
Go read the whole thing!

AFRICAN VOICES: Football team owner determined to rebuild Congo

A profile of Moise Katumbi courtesy of CNN:
Since he was elected governor of Katanga province in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2007, Moise Katumbi has been intent on change.

From fixing roads to repairing factories and schools, Katumbi has been leading a rebuilding program that he hopes will transform the mineral-rich province.

Those efforts have helped Katumbi earn what seems to be genuine affection from the people. It isn't uncommon for him to be met by cheering crowds wherever he goes in Katanga.

His popularity is also boosted by his ownership of TP Mazembe, the remarkably successful football team that comes from the area and which made history last year when it became the first African team to reach the FIFA Club World Cup final.

"I can't live without my soccer team," says Katumbi. If he had to choose between the governorship and being chairman of the team, "I think I'll go to my team," he says.

A self-made businessman, Katumbi worked his way up from selling fish as a teenager from the back of his brother's truck to becoming one of the DRC's most successful entrepreneurs.
It's great to know that, there are leaders in Africa who are about making positive change. One day he could lead the nation or inspire someone to to what he has done for one province in the DRC.

It appears I'm not the only one tracking these signs...

Well other than me or John Ruberry @ Marathon Pundit. There's Tom Mannis @ Chicago News Bench who was in the Loop outside of the Harold Washington Library took a picture of this American Recovery Act sign yesterday. It's right in the median on State Street. He says that there appeared to be no work done at this location

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Capitol Fax: Outdated and wrong numbers, but what else is new?

Click this link to read that post.

Ever since the individual and corporate income tax hike was passed by the General Assembly and signed by Governor Quinn earlier this month, Rich Miller has been educating people on the rhetoric. One post he had written said that while yeah income taxes went up this year in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin actually had much higher taxes. Indeed some counties in Indiana I believe he said even have their own income taxes on business.

Just yesterday Miller took aim at New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and his attempts to draw some of Illinois' business to New Jersey. Of course that wasn't the only time as Miller has written that Christie hasn't really cut down into his state's deficit as he advertises. Of course in the link at the top of this post he did also take another shot at Christie.

Also in that top link he talks about whether or not states should be able to declare bankruptcy. Not needed since US States have sovereign immunity from being sued in court.

An old article about Comedy Central

Recently Comedy Central launched a TV version of the Onion Sports Network. Done by the same people, but now instead of watching them online either at The Onion website or on YouTube they're on your TV set Tuesday nights @ 10:30/9:30 Central Time.

Also The Onion news network airs on the IFC channel but since I don't currently receive that networtk, it's out of sight! :P

Anyway the Onion sports program got me to thinking about old programming from close to 20 years ago on the network that became Comedy Central. Yeah you got it, that network wasn't always home to Chappelle's Show, Reno 911, or even South Park it's long time mainstay.

The new Onion show reminded me of Sports Monster that last aired over two decades ago. Alas I couldn't find anything other than this Wikipedia article and I'm pretty sure that a video clip from this long forgotten show is difficult to find out there.

Then I rediscovered this show Night After Night with Allan Havey. I found several clips of this show on YouTube last night. When searching for old programs on YouTube, my search is focused almost exclusively on finding an intro and hopefully some other footage from a particular program. Thus I have found this:
Things must change over time, but I really don't recall the last time Comedy Central featured a comedian in a stand-up routine. And that doesn't mean an HBO special but footage filmed at a comedy club recently.

Also I wish they could show more reruns from classic comedians. They used to show episodes of either Jack Benny or Ernie Kovacs. It seems it's easier to experiment when you start off as a fledgling network.

Also recent I discovered that BET recently re-entered the realm of late night talk shows with The Mo'Nique Show. It's been my experience that when BET attempts a late night talk program, there's a tendency to try to repeat the success of The Arsenio Hall Show.

All that is said because it might be time for Comedy Central to try a Night After Night redux. If only they were quick enough to get Conan O'Brien when he was looking for another TV job. Hopefully someone at Comedy Central is reading this.

OH YEAH, I forgot to note this Time magazine article about Comedy Central from December 11, 1995. Perhaps a little less or at least two years before South Park premeired for the very first time on that network. It's worth a read about that old network.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

American Recovery Act sign on the South Side

I'm pretty sure Marathon Pundit is still tracking these Recovery Act signs around the nation if not only in the Chicago area. This sign was on a trailer near 95th & Michigan on Tuesday morning and I believe the work there involved the utilities. Didn't exactly get all the information for what was being done here.

Unknown Chicago: Super Bears

While the Chicago Bears lost their bid to go to the Super Bowl this year, we can always reminisce about their only Super Bowl victory 25 years ago today. The NFC Title game got good in the 2nd half, but ultimately the Bears came up short against teir arch-rival Green Bay Packers. Read more about what happened on this day over at Unknown Chicago!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

State Rep. Franks: Take away new lawmakers’ pensions

You know this makes a lot of sense to me. At the very least change the terms of those new comers to the civil service so that they can't benefit as generously from public pensions as so many have had in the past or even currently:
Rep. Jack Franks, a Marengo Democrat, wants to take the chances for state pensions away from all future lawmakers.

Franks has filed legislation that would keep all members of the Illinois General Assembly taking office in 2013 and after out of the state pension system in an effort to save money.

Franks acknowledges doing so wouldn’t make a huge difference to the state’s huge budget problems, but he said it’s important to cut where possible.

“I can’t think of anywhere else a person can work part-time and receive a pension, let alone a pension as lucrative as those received by Illinois lawmakers,” Franks said in a statement.
In 2008 where many people were focused on electing our then US Senator to the Presidency, Illinois also had the option to vote for a state constitutional convention. There were many who opposed it because they feared the impact it could have on state pensions. Of course pensions are an issue now that many of the states are suffering through financial deficits.

And it's perfectly reasonable for Rep. Franks to exclude those who have already earned their benefits. Just focus on those who will join the civil service in the future and change the terms of their pensions. I won't say they shouldn't earn one, but that the system can't stay as is now.

Rahmbo’s Latino Problem

My friend in New York takes aim at Chicago's Mayoral race of course it's in keeping with his niche issue of immigration. He wrote this before the former White House Chief of Staff was kicked off the ballot by our state appellate court:
In the end, I doubt that the anti-Emanuel forces among Hispanic activists in the city of Chicago can prevent him from assuming office in a Democratic primary that is increasingly looking like a coronation. As the article points out, Emanuel is already lapping his closest Latino opponent among Latino voters who’ve declared a preference, and I doubt that anything said or done between now and the election will change that. Rahm has too much name recognition, too much money, and too many influential backers among the Daley and Obama machines for his campaign to be derailed at this point in time.
Now we have to see if Emanuel is able to win his appeal and get back on the ballot for Mayor of Chicago.

Hehehe, I keep forgetting that he wants it known that he writes for a website not a blog. :P

Monday, January 24, 2011

Once Upon a Time in Chicago Politics

From Hyde Park Progress. This blog talks about the comings and goings out of Hyde Park. Hyde Park as you know is the home neighborhood of our President (really he lives in Kenwood, but it's not much different in either location or character from Hyde Park so there's no big difference at all). Anyway this is a story about the race for Alderman in the 5th Ward which not only contains Hyde Park, but Woodlawn, Jackson Park Highlands and South Shore.

Anyway take this as a cautionary tale about the roadblocks if you seek to challenge an incumbent Alderman. Especially if a supporter owns significant real estate and that supporter offers some space to the challenger's campaign free of charge. This causes the incumbent to threaten to send in the city building inspectors for causing intimidation. Needless to say the incumbent one this round.

I suggest you read the entire tale. Although I will add this:
Her own campaign office was mere blocks away on 71st Street (and incidentally located in "Suite 2B" of the same address as her ward office, perhaps unnecessarily raising eyebrows about her compliance with section 9-25.1 of the Illinois Election Code, which forbids using ward resources for campaign purposes, but I digress).
The Cook County GOP made some noise about this a few years ago, actually!

Age doesn’t stop 39-year-old from playing on college basketball team

From the Sun-Times. A Desert Storm veteran doesn't let age stop him from getting on the roster for a local college basketball team. I say good for him and hopefully his team are deemed winners when the season is over.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Update on the Carlina White story

From the New York Daily News. They at least found the woman who snatched her from a hospital 23 years ago. Carline White was raised as Nejdra Nance by the family of Ann Pettway. Pettway has turned herself in to the FBI.

VIDEO: Ben Stein Picks Obama as 2012 GOP Candidate

In continue to watch clips (such as the one I posted at Shedd School Blog) from this morning's edition of CBS Sunday Morning. The headline alone had me saying WTF? Stein recognizes that Obama is moving towards the right. You can click here to watch this vid.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

I think I want a Sony Bloggie Camera

Pictured is a model the Sony MHS-PM5 bloggie HD Video Camera which I have seen in the stores over the Christmas Holidays. That is the one I really would like to get. At the Sony Website a different model of the bloggie camera is shown and I really don't want that model.

Last year, I was looking at a small camcorder such as the Flip, but ultimately I just decided the Flip wasn't a good fit. Mainly because I didn't want to just have to move the footage off of the storage on the camera itself. The Flip camera from what I have seen offers no means to save any footage onto a separate memory card.

If I only had at the very least 2 hrs recording time on a Flip, I could also have some more recording time if I used a separate memory card. At that surely, there are memory cards of different sizes which would offer me variable recording time. Perhaps similar to what I could get on a MiniDV tape.

That is what I have in mind. Also I do like the design of the Sanyo Xacti cameras but some of the models I like are overpriced. Even worse those model cameras are not readily available as so far I have only found them at Radio Shack stores.

Friday, January 21, 2011

In honor of the Chicago Bears....

View more news videos at:

In their drive to make it to the Super Bowl this year here is a video that shows us the history of their homestand, Soldier Field. I also hear it's mistakenly referred to by some locals as Soldier's Field. Courtesy of NBC Chicago via Curbed.

The Bears will take on their arch-rival Green Bay Packers for the NFC Title on Sunday, January 23 at 3:30 PM at Soldier Field. Also it's the first time in 69 years that the Bears and Packers will meet in a playoff. I'm so watching!

You can watch a video about that here! :P

Thursday, January 20, 2011

More than 20 years later, missing baby found

More than 20 years later, missing baby found

Interesting story, but what I would like to know about this is how and why. Who took her away from that hospital so many years ago? I hope there is more to be found out about this story.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bloggers quitting what they call a demanding task with few rewards

This Crain's story started off with Jim Harbison who blogged about art and design and found that the people he showcased got all the rewards and he got very little so he quit.
There are about 31 million blogs in the United States, a number expected to swell to 34 million by the end of this year. But Mr. Harbison is part of a small but growing trend of blog quitters. Last year, the number of blogging teens and adults ages 18 to 33 declined, in the first reported drop in blogging, according to Pew Research Center data.

Some have simply switched to another blog-like medium, say, Twitter or Facebook. Others have faced unpleasant facts about blogging. It's cheap to do but usually doesn't pay. Having a platform may be fun at first, but building a following takes much more work than simply typing and posting.

And millions of them go virtually unnoticed, despite the occasional breakout sensation like the humorous “Stuff White People Like” and the Julia Child-inspired “The Julie/Julia Project.”

When “people see these, they say, ‘I can do that—it will be easy,' “ says Raanan Bar-Cohen, vice-president of media services at San Francisco-based WordPress, which hosts 16.5 million blogs. “If you're looking for fame and fortune, blogging has as good a chance as any medium,” he adds.

But new bloggers misunderstand what the venture is really all about. “The best bloggers are good at highlighting, snipping and curating,” Mr. Bar-Cohen says. All that draws “the feedback that is as or more important than the actual posts.”
You know as long as there is information out there to share, there is no reason for me to quit. I have no family yet and I have the time to blog. I also would use Twitter to supplement my posting and people have been know to Retweet my posts. Also while do have a Facebook account I prefer to keep that for more private purposes for right now than anything else. As you see I do have some FB widgets that show which posts are being shared or liked by FB users.

All the same, while I wish this blog could get more traffic or even comments it's not that big of a deal to me. It has taken off at moments and even better I have been seen on much bigger blogs than this one. Still this blogging thing is still considered a hobby and if the hobby can be more useful then there's my satisfaction right there.

Monday, January 17, 2011

UPDATED: Was watching FOX News just now...

UPDATE 11:01 PM - Just found the video of Harry Johnson on FOX News on this MLK Holiday.

The former General President of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Harry Johnson was talking about building a memorial to Dr. King at the National Mall in Washington, DC. I've been getting e-mails about this memorial in the past and I do believe it's been under construction for a few years anyway. I first heard about it at a Morehouse Crown Forum I do believe.

So let me post the website and I sincerely hope that those of you who read this blog will donate to finishing this project.

As soon I as I see the video of Mr. Johnson, it will be posted here.

Today is MLK Day observed

I found this quote online so, today I share it here:
"Cowardice asks the question: is it safe? Expediency asks the question: is it political? Vanity asks the question: is it popular? But conscience asks the question: is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor political, nor popular – but one must take it simply because it is right."—Martin Luther King, Jr.
I ought to find out where this quote came from. I haven't had the chance to read all of Dr. King's books nor his speeches.

All that crying last month and he's still coming to Chicago

Remember when such Black luminaries in this town such as Congressman Danny Davis, former Sen. Carol Moseley Braun (CMB) and even Jesse Jackson Sr. were all upset about the former "1st Black President" was coming to town to stump for Rahm Emanuel? Well President Clinton is coming anyway according to Greg Hinz:
Despite protests from some African-American leaders, former President Bill Clinton apparently is going ahead with a trip here to push Rahm Emanuel's campaign for mayor.

   The ex-president will appear at a rally for Mr. Emanuel on Tuesday at the Chicago Cultural Center, according to Mr. Emanuel's campaign. He also will appear at a nearby fundraiser that hotel scion and investor J. B. Pritzker is hosting.

   News of the event leaked out several weeks ago, drawing protests from then-candidate Danny Davis and others who said that Mr. Clinton — sometimes known as America's first black president — ought not to be getting involved in Chicago.
What some of this was about is fear that Clinton, who may well still have a following among Blacks in the nation, would take something away from the "consensus" Black mayoral candidate. Davis is out of the race so the only major name in the race is CMB. While there is a long way between now and next month's election day, it can basically be said that CMB may not be a huge factor in this municipal election.

That clears the way for Clinton to come to town and stump for a former member of his administration.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chicago hospital to no longer accept ambulance runs

Looks like the ER situation at the University of Chicago Hospital on Cottage Grove could get much worse. Story from CPR on Provident Hospital suspending most emergency medical service starting well yesterday actually. So I'm actually late to this story.

You can read the story about UChicago ER here!

Yesterday I went to a funeral

It was for my former 3rd Grade teacher who after I graduated from the 8th Grade eventually became principal of my old elementary school.

I had started going back to my old elementary school starting in October, and I had no idea she was still there. These are for LSC meetings as I just wanted see these bodies in action in my capacity for The Sixth Ward.

The meeting was supposed to start at 4 PM but it was 4:32 when it was convened. A little before that the principal comes in and welcomes me as if, I was just a simple visitor. Now that she's passed away, now I really get a kick out of this.

She remembered me. Didn't really have to say anything to jump-start her memory much. My name came out without an assist from me. She intuitively picked up that I was one of her former students. And we had a nice chat told her I graduated from college a year before that. We talked about Bennett-Shedd and what's happened since I left. She really got a kick out of telling the LSC a little about me. Near the end of that meeting she took down my name and number to call me about returning in a volunteer capacity.

Let me see, I hadn't visited the "sacred halls of Bennett" since 1997 when I was in high school. In fact it was maybe not long after that when I saw her at a local shopping mall so it was over a decade since I last saw her. So in approximate 10 years which is long enough to forget about someone although for many it doesn't take that long. And it came back like who knows what.

My only disappointment was that I didn't take advantage of her years and years of experience in the trenches of Chicago's public schools. It would've been nice to pick her brain on issues that I've had in mind such as why young black men aren't excited about going to school. Even why they aren't going to college. Didn't realize my second Bennett-Shedd LSC meeting was going to be the last with her.

A lot of people are going to miss Principal Barbara Ellis.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Eugene Robinson On The Right-Wing's "Negrophobia"

Robinson and Rachel Maddow using race against the right. And the right never adequately is able to refute this neither. Via RCP!

Friday, January 14, 2011

Unknown Chicago: The Blizzard of 1979 (1-14-1979)

Traffic snarl from Unknown Chicago

Believe it or not in one of my albums there are plenty of pictures of my parents cleaning snow from this blizzard. Thanks to the Unknown Chicago blog I know more about this blizzard. Politically this snowstorm meant the different between incumbent Mayor Michael Bilandic and the eventual Mayor Jane Byrne. There is a comparison between two snowstorms approximately 12 years apart the 1967 & then 1979. I found this quote telling:
Okay--so in 1979, the city had three days to clean up.  And by Tuesday, everything was back to normal.

No, it wasn't.  As soon as the snow started coming down, Mayor Michael Bilandic was all over TV, talking about the heroic job his administration was doing in this weather emergency.  But the public could see he was wrong.  The snow was not getting cleared.

The City That Works wasn't working.  Mike Royko, the newspaper columnist, put the blame squarely on the mayor.  According to Royko, city crews didn't know how to deal with the snow because their skills were too specialized--specialized in cranking out votes at election time.  That was the real job of Chicago payrollers.

Bilandic was running for re-election.  He was being challenged in the Democrat primary by Jane Byrne.  Now Byrne began hammering Bilandic about snow removal.  In one of her commercials, she was filmed with snowflakes falling around her.

Byrne's message connected with the voters.  Six weeks after the blizzard, she beat Bilandic in the primary, then went on to win the general election.
In 1979 Chicago's Democratic Machine didn't serve the city very well. Royko earned his pay back then, that line in bold was priceless. Needless to say though the Machine couldn't save Bilandic back in 1979 as he didn't serve his own full term as mayor.

Mayor Daley blames easy gun access for Arizona shooting

It's not enough to blame political rhetoric, although to the outgoing Mayor's credit, he's not blaming the rhetoric. He is however blaming the easy access to guns, but nutcases such as this Arizona shooter. Daley does believe in gun control and that is where he's coming from. He's also right it's difficult to screen people for mental illness when such a person applies to buy a gun. I just don't agree that the answer to that is keeping everyone away from guns.

Food by state...

Illinois represented by a deep dish pizza.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Meanwhile about that 66% tax hike in Illinois

It looks like Quinn will sign this into law. There was concern that lame duck Springfield Republican legislators would vote this bad boy in, but according to this piece it was strickly partisan. Here's the two cents of Rick Moran, based on the fact that Quinn congratulated Springfield legislators for voting in favor of this tax increase:
And this is cause for congratulations and celebration? In the cloud cuckoo land of Democratic politics in Illinois, you betcha.

And don't let anyone tell you that this is for "deficit reduction." In order to get the support of black lawmakers, Quinn promised to spend a billion dollars over the next 4 years on schools. No doubt other uses will be found for all that cash besides solving the state's massive fiscal crisis.

What's needed in Illinois is an intervention. Some addiction expert should sit down with these clowns and gently point out that in the midst of a crisis where the state can't pay its bills and some merchants have waited a year for the state to make good on its purchases, you don't go and spend a billion dollars even on a worthy cause like "the children." By this time next year, it will be back to business as usual in Springfield - except the taxpayers will be poorer and businesses will be scarcer.
We could've used that intervention last year and it didn't happen. :(

Also noted was:
They also increased business taxes 46% in a state where the tax base has been disappearing for a decade.
Will this state ever turn around as far as not only corruption, but business environment as well.

Check out this video, Rich Miller of CapFax made a nice retort before Gov. Quinn hit the elevator:

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Stossel: Media Hysteria

I just saw his segment on the O'Reilly Factor tonight. This is his piece:
O’Reilly says, “new laws that provide greater safety for public officials should be considered.  We simply cannot have chaos at this level.”

But we don’t have “chaos.” America is safer than ever.  Crime is down.  Political assassinations are rare.  They were once much more common.  Presidents Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy were murdered.  So were Senators James Hinds, Huey Long, Robert Kennedy and Rep. Ryan Leo. The shooting of Congresswoman Giffords was the first such incident in more than thirty years.  There is little that can be done to stop a crazy person from committing a crazy act.

Bill is right to complain about the hysteria from the left.  Jane Fonda said “Palin holds responsibility.”

Michael Daly of NY Daily News said,  “Gabrielle Giffords' blood is on Sarah Palin's hands.”   This is nonsense.

But Bill is wrong to say that congress needs more security. Our imperial political class already spends too much on security.  I was once on a CNBC talk show with Treasury Secretary John Snow.  The Secretary was accompanied to the NYC studio by four secret service men who officiously ordered us about, demanding we leave each room that the Secretary entered.  This self-importance is  nonsense too.  Few people in NY even knew who John Snow was.  I bet more people want to kill me.
I want to say that this case out of Tucson, AZ has nothing to do with political discourse and everything to do with a nutcase that was very intent in engaging in a violent act!

VIDEO: NY's Dumbest; NYC sanitation workers destroy a Ford Expediton

Here's hoping some YouTube videographer can record a Chicago city workers crew destroying a person automobile when they could've completely avoided doing just like this hapless crew of NYC workers. Gotta love how New Yorkers were yelling at this crew when it was in progress. DAMN!!!


Sunday, January 09, 2011

A billionaire takes an interest in California...

Now if only Illinois could have a billionaire to take an interest in fixing the issues we have in our state. This is mostly an interview, but I found these two questions and responses interesting:
Why do you think California went Democratic in the November election?

In my mind, the country is sort of fighting yesterday's war, saying, "We protest, we're not happy with the government." California is already fighting the next war, which is not just protest but reforms. We've created this bipartisan Think Long Committee to address short-term [and] long-term issues, issues that have to do with money and entitlements but also to do with the shape of government and how it functions. Now, some of these will require a popular vote, and some of these may not be embraced by Sacramento. One reason I think California is in trouble is [that] you can go directly to the voters. A lot of things that were voted on in the last 20 years have helped create these structural issues. [But] why not [use] the initiative process to help the reform process? That can be done in California. It cannot be done in a lot of other places.

It's so easy to get something on the ballot and into the constitution here, which is why we have more than 500 constitutional amendments. Are you saying the solution is inherent in what's contributed to the problem?

Why not? [In California] the concept of democracy -- it's sort of been hijacked by special interests, by short-term politics. To vote every two years on something that is highly promoted is not democracy. It's an illusion and a delusion. I think it's lying, in essence, to the public [to say], "Well, we live in a democracy because you can go to the polls every two years." The constitution has been changed so many times and by a lot of special-interest groups so that the system no longer serves the general public, and you have perversities that have become very evident in times of crisis, which is now. Let's trust [those we elect] to do things.

Are we capable of making short-term sacrifices for the sake of long-term gains, like giving up a little power -- fewer ballot measures, perhaps -- to make the whole state more powerful in the long run?

You make a very good point, which is a difficult point. Today you have a mind-set in the West, very self-indulgent, very short-term oriented, very used to immediate everything. Even though people know what the long term is, they may not be willing to go with the long term. In America, I think, people have spoiled themselves, building big houses, driving big gas-guzzling cars, not caring about energy costs and the effects of using up energy. All of these things are becoming question marks. Everybody in the West will have to make a decision. Will they be willing to sacrifice certain things if they want their children and grandchildren to have a life?

One of the strengths of the East -- there's Confucius: The culture is more willing to work together, and the idea of doing something for future generations is much deeper in the culture, the idea of shared responsibility. In the West [that] is harder, and in America is hardest. America, as opposed to other places, doesn't trust or believe, in essence, in government.
This is an article worth reading for certain!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Chicago Public Radio on a BBC documentary on Chicago corruption...

The Chicago Public Radio series, The Best Game in Town presents to us a BBC radio documentary about Chicago politics. I also found the documentary over at the BBC itself.

Interviewed are: Brian Doherty is the outgoing Alderman for the 41st Ward, and the only Republican on Chicago's city council; Dick Mell, Alderman of the 35th Ward and father-in-law to Ousted governor (Rod Blagojevich); James Laski former Chicago City Clerk who went to prison for political corruption; and finally there's Dick Simpson who was a former Alderman but currently a political science professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). The most interesting quotes are from Doherty who talks about attempted bribes given to him, Mell who talks about how his constituents are concerned about their garbage bins because they didn't follow the instructions of the precinct captains, and Laski who talks a little about what got him in trouble.

Noted are moments in Chicago history. They first mention the rise of Mayor Anton Cermak who was murdered in an incident that was often said to be an attempted assassination of then President-elect Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The Chicago Democratic Machine as we know it today is credited to Mayor Cermak. If you don't believe this radio program look no further than this biography of Mayor Richard J. Daley entitled: American Pharaoh: Mayor Richard J. Daley - His Battle for Chicago and the Nation.

Also there was mention of Harold Washington. A point was made in this piece (not certain by who so I should prolly listen again :P) that machine politics didn't serve Blacks very well. In fact Black Chicagoans were treated as nothing more than ballot fodder. Although one question should be asked, how does the modern version of the machine treat minorities (Blacks or Latinos) today!

Either way I hope you enjoy. Please offer your thoughts on this presentation in the comments here.

ALSO check out this BBC article from last year about Chicago...err Illinois politics.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Who knew?: Social security numbers

From Yahoo News:
Introduced in 1936, Social Security numbers have become increasingly vital. But the nine-digit numbers are surprisingly easy to steal. Now the government is taking steps to change how they're assigned.
Unsettling! Even worse this video gives a basic rundown of how this system was setup. Even worse social security numbers weren't even meant to be an identifier. I just wonder when that happened.

I here there is a tax deal down their in Springfield...

As mentioned by the Capitol Fax via a Sun-Times article:
Gov. Quinn struck a deal with the Legislature’s ruling Democrats Thursday to raise the state income tax by 75 percent and boost the tax on cigarettes by $1 a pack — while a push to abolish the death penalty scored a historic legislative victory.

The cornerstone of a dramatic day, the revenue agreement reached by Quinn, House Speaker Michael Madigan (D-Chicago) and Senate President John Cullerton (D-Chicago) would impose a temporary increase in the state tax on workers’ paychecks from 3 percent to 5 ¼-percent.

The money from that, the cigarette tax hike and a corresponding increase in the corporate income tax from 4.8 percent to 8.4 percent would erase the state’s expected $15 billion deficit.

It also would generate a $700 million-plus windfall for schools and fund annual $325 rebate checks to property owners beginning in 2011, two key concessions fought for by leading black lawmakers, including Rep. William Davis (D-Homewood).
The deal, which was first disclosed Thursday by the Chicago Sun-Times, would limit future growth of state government during the next three years by imposing a moratorium on new programs and a 1-percent cap on new spending in each of those years, Cullerton said.
We can count this as a success for Pat Quinn. In November 2010 he barely eked out a victory in his re-election bid against Republican state Sen. Bill Brady. One could say the state was more worried about Brady's right-wing tendencies than Gov. Quinn's advocacy of an income tax hike.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

"Fear the Boom and Bust" a Hayek vs. Keynes Rap Anthem

This video make the academic discipline of economics a lot more cooler. Although many will still see it as a bland subject.

Another Black Greek organization reaches 100 years

So 2011 is the Kappas centennial year. Alphi Phi Alpha & Alpha Kappa Alpha have already celebrated their centennial year in 2006 and 2008 respectively. A-Phi-A was founded at Cornell University and AKA was founded at Howard University.

On this day in 1911 (according to Wikipedia), KAΨ was founded at Indiana University, Bloomington. You can see more about prominent members of this fraternity here, but off the top of my head I knew that famed attorney Johnnie Cochrane was a member of this fraternity.

You can check out this video that I found over at Electronic Village who also gets a hat-tip for noting this anniversary.

EDIT: Forgot to mention another fraternity, Omega Psi Phi, will also celebrate 100 years in 2011 as well.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Race and redistricting

You might have seen this during the course of the holidays on C-Span. It's presented here in its entirety as it's a little over an hour and a half. Talks about redistricting in terms of race in either congressional or state legislative districts around the nation.

You will see two Illinois legislators asking questions state Sen. Kwame Raoul who replaced Barack Obama when he became a US Senator and state Rep. Ken Dunkin.


Click for a larger resolution
This was how a visitor from Milwaukee visited the blog post on the lost value of the White House this morning. I don't know about you, but it was worth a groan to me.

Monday, January 03, 2011

White House has lost quarter of it's value

Myself, aged 6, outside of the White House
LA Times:
The White House is not just an American icon. It also could be called a symbol of the American housing market, because, like many of the country's houses, it's not worth what it was once.

Over the last three years the president's home and home office has lost nearly a quarter of its value. In the last month alone the value dropped almost $4 million. Does any of that sound familiar?

The 132-room mansion — 16 bedrooms and 35 bathrooms on 18 acres in the heart of the nation's capital —was worth $331.5 million at the top of the housing boom, according to Zillow, the online real estate marketplace. But the latest "Zestimate" puts the price tag at a mere $253.1 million. That's a 23.6% decline in value.
You know I never associated, monetary value to the White House. Especially since it is the residence of the President of the United States and it's not likely to be sold off anytime soon.

Via Curbed Chicago.

Black politics in Chicago, 2011

Greg Hinz at Crains believes that Black leadership in the fair city of Chicago is missing the point of Harold Washington's own success as Mayor of Chicago:

The "it's our turn" rhetoric echoes Mr. Vrdolyak's appeal to voters in 1983 to back an unknown Republican over Mr. Washington "before it's too late." The moral high ground now has been lost -- even if some black leaders now say that, of course, the next mayor will serve all of Chicago, not just African-Americans. Given recent events, many voters will be skeptical.

   The pity is, it didn't have to be this way.

   Mr. Obama didn't get to be our senator or president by running as the black candidate, but by running as the best candidate -- who happened to be an African-American. Neither did Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle, who easily won a Democratic primary race filled with other blacks, and just one white, because she was the best candidate of any race.

   Chicago, black voters and white voters alike, has grown beyond enmity. We've shown that another way is possible.

   Now, some are trying to pull us back to the bad old days, the days when desperate politicians used race as a weapon, regardless of the damage it did and could do to Chicago -- blacks, white, Latinos and Asians alike.

   It's ironic, because although Mr. Washington had extraordinary support from black voters, he became mayor because he brought liberal lakefront whites and Latinos into his coalition, too.

  Harold Washington was a smart man, a good mayor who was just hitting his stride when he died. Too bad too many people out there have forgotten his message that "unity" means everybody.
And the best the black community could do this year is Carol Moseley Braun. The last big named Black person in the mayoral race and she's not without her own issues. Just read this profile of her at the Mayoral Tutorial blog. This is what jumped out at me:

The thing about Carol Moseley Braun is that her past is like a BIG RED WARNING SIGN that says: DO NOT TRUST MY JUDGMENT! The reason why the media doesn’t talk about the “leading African-American contender’s” past could be because if they did that she would quickly no longer be the “leading African-American contender” and that would completely screw up a storyline. How bad is her judgment? As the Recorder of Deeds she excused herself from her own ethics rules. As a candidate for United States Senate she could have been both indicted and disbarred for her role in her mother’s Medicaid case because she appears to have laundered money… only a merciful media guy not writing a story probably stopped all of that from happening. BEFORE that there was Kgosie Matthews, her fiancé, sexually harassing her female junior staff members and after they wrote a letter to her asking her to help them by stopping him, she brings in a lawyer who then quickly covered it up. There’s still a report that was written she’s never released. She went to visit a dictator and she apparently treated her campaign funds like a personal bank account.

The question is… has her judgment gotten any better? Let’s see she gets picked as a finalist in a process to identify the “consensus” African-American candidate and just by hiring Victor Reyes and Mike Noonan, two men known beating the unruly general public into submission for some political machine or the other, she gets demoted to also-ran status. This is cataclysmically bad judgment because it is actually causing progressives and large numbers of active African-American voters to move away from her. So it looks like the “leading African-American contender” is going to have a hard time getting liberals and politically active African-Americans to remain in her base… wouldn’t that make her something other than the leading contender? I’m just asking.
From Charles Thomas this is a very unfortunate paragraph:
As recently as two days before Christmas, there were three (3) major black candidates running for Mayor of Chicago.  With the trio threatening to divide their natural base of support, there was muffled laughter in the other candidate camps at the political disorganization and disunity in the African-American community.
As unbelievable as it is, there may be a path to victory for former Sen. Moseley Braun:
It leaves Braun as the major African-American candidate running for mayor in a city where black voters routinely make up 40-45% of Chicago's election turnout.

  She also is the highest-profile female candidate running for mayor.

  Braun's emergence as the "consensus" African-American candidate would seem to virtually assure a first or second place finish on February 22nd.   And if she is able to consolidate her base in the black wards, it is not unfathomable that she could reach out to enough voters citywide to win a 50-percent-plus-one victory in the first round.
BTW, did you know our former White House chief of staff and mayoral frontrunner instead of campaigning here in the city, he chose to take a holiday in Thailand?

It's really hard to get worked up for this race, I mean really!

US cinema attendance 5% down on 2009

You know this article (via Newsalert) didn't even include Avatar, even if it did premiere in late 2009 as opposed to early 2010.
The number of north Americans who went to the cinema in 2010 was around 5% down on the 2009 total, figures show.

Box office analysts at forecast 1.35 billion tickets will be sold by the end of the year, down on the 1.42 billion sold in 2009.

It is the biggest year-on-year drop since 2005, making 2010 the second-lowest attended year of the decade.

Yet box office revenues remained about the same at $10.6bn (£6.9bn), due to increased ticket prices.
The article offers this prediction for next year:
It is thought attendance figures in the US and Canada will rise next year, when sequels to hit comedy The Hangover and Pirates of the Caribbean are released.
Any other good movies to hit movie screens this year?

Sunday, January 02, 2011

115th & Michigan back in 1934...

And at this intersection the only building that remains is the one with the drugs sign on the northeast corner. That building is still there. I never thought I would see such an old picture from the Roseland neighborhood courtesy of Unknown Chicago. That other nice building on the southeast corner, well that building was torn down, the property is currently vacant.

As a bonus check out my post about Englewood at The Sixth Ward. Also using historical photographs from Unknown Chicago.

About time for that CTA Train Tracker...

I rarely take a bus in this city unless I need to get to point B like SOON! Even then I would rather have a train tracker than a bus tracker to gauge how long I would have to wait for a train. While bus tracker is useful, I think this new train tracker will be useful when it's finally unveiled during the course of this new year. BTW this is really old news as CTA announced this before we found ourselves in the year 2011.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Carol Moseley Braun consensus Black Mayoral candidate in Chicago???

Oh yeah the first official post of 2011 :P

Why is that, because she is the only other well-known Black candidate in the race for mayor next month. The other high profile black in this race was west-side Congressman Danny Davis, but last night he dropped out of the race. This is after some feeling that he wasn't very serious in the first place.

What is this consensus candidate thing about? Insuring that a Black could waltz into the Mayor's office at City Hall's 5th Floor. It was important back in the 1983 election to insure the election of a Black as Mayor of Chicago. Besides there were a lot of people who had a vested interest in keeping a Black out of the Mayor's office. Harold Washington had to contend with two whites in that election incumbent Mayor Jane Byrne and wait the current Mayor himself.

When Washington came out of the Mayoral primary back then a lot of ethnic white Democrats shifted parties to keep Washington out. Washington won although he needed a lot of help out of the jump. Yeah a Republican wasn't likely to be elected Mayor in Chicago back then, and it helped that amongst other groups that supported him he had a Black base behind him.

Fast forward to the current situation, close to 30 years later. There isn't racial strife in our city. Yeah some of our neighborhoods aren't in the best shape and some of those neighborhoods are black and outside of the trendiest areas of our city. Still there isn't a big sense that race is a cause for a lot of this.

At that, today's Harold Washington doesn't exist. Washington was a likeable guy it seems and if people got past the color of his skin who knows he could've had the whole city in his hand had he not passed away in 1987.

All the same Carol Moseley Braun isn't going to be today's Harold Washington. Not even close. Danny Davis wasn't going to cut the mustard in the role. Not even James Meeks, who I believe could be that guy may have fallen short this time around.

Who can be that black person who could attract so many people in this city to their campaign and be taken serious?

Happy New Year everyone

2011 is here! May this be a good year for us!