Thursday, January 31, 2013

VIDEO: "Battle of Narendra III" - Yesterday's Enterprise

[VIDEO] Recently I ran into the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Yesterday's Enterprise" where the current crew of a starship Enterprise encounters another starship named Enterprise. In this case the older ship went through a temporal anomaly and effectively changed the past in doing so.

The video above shows the battle that Enterprise endured before they enter this anomaly and then encountering the future Enterprise and then sent back into the past to continue their battle. What is shown here was made by a fan who did their own computer animation.

Record number of recent college grads defaulting on loans according to new report

WOW! This is unbelievable, if only recent graduates had a crystal ball. And at that today's college students hopefully things will be better for them when they graduate. And those who are about to start college, well let's hope they can start putting a plan in place.
As if the pressure of graduating from a top-tier college isn’t enough to find success in today’s weak economy, more recent college graduates than ever are defaulting on their loans after graduation.

A new report by FICO Labs, a unit of Fair Isaac Corp., found that the student loan delinquency rate has risen to 15 percent over the past three years - a 22 percent increase from its previous high in 2005-2007. Fair Issac Corp. publishes consumer credit scores and helps banks decide if an individual is qualified for a loan and what level interest rate they may be qualified for.

Discussing the report, FICO Labs Head Andrew Jennings commented that,“This situation is simply unsustainable and we’re already suffering the consequences. When wage growth is slow and jobs are not as plentiful as they once were, it is impossible for people to continue taking out ever-larger student loans without greatly increasing the risk of default. There is no way around that harsh reality.”

Part of the problem is that college students today are applying for larger loans than ever before. In 2011, the average student left college with nearly $27,000 in debt, an increase of $10,000 over the past eight years.

“As more people default on their student loans, their credit ratings will drop, making it harder for them to access new credit and help grow the economy,” Jennings continued. “Even people who stay current on their student loans are dealing with very large debts, which reduces the money they have available to spend elsewhere.”
Via Instapundit!

This has got to be a sad commentary...

Was just forwarded this article Wednesday night:
Guns: A 15-year-old girl who performed at the president's inauguration is gunned down by gangs less than a mile from Barack Obama's home. What does Chicago's mayor do? He blames banks who lend gun makers money.
Another attack on guns (in this case attempting to force banks from doing business with firearm manufacturers) and these inanimate objects are not to blame for what happened to this little girl. It's the knuckleheads who possess them. When will some of politicians recieve that message? Guns are only as dangerous as the people who use them so why think banning them from everybody is a solution.

BTW, what happened to that little girl was sad. She went to the inauguration last week and then the next week she's gone. Something has to be done about this violence and we already know banning guns isn't the answer. We need one for her sake!

Monday, January 28, 2013

Capitol Fax: Why Pat Brady is walking the plank

This has been an interesting story since it broke recently. Many Republicans in this state have an issue with the Chairman of the Illinois GOP making a statement in favor of gay marriage. Then there's one wrinkle in this story, there was some protest and still the chairman one Pat Brady still elected to consult with other prominent members of the party.

What is going on here?

Rich Miller explains and it makes sense. Opposing gay marriage in this state is a losing proposition when so many favor it. Many would vote for it so that they could move on to more crucial or less-divisive issues. Besides while I know that both sides of this issue are very passionate, truth is if you read CapFax there are other more important issues worth tackling.

The state's financial picture isn't good. In fact Illinois' bond rating sunk to worst in the nation. Also, a debate is starting over whether or not the state's minimum wage should be tied to inflation. Yet with these issues not helping the state, we're worried about what's essentially a social issue.

It seems like a distraction from the real issues we're facing here. While I'm not happy perhaps there is a time to move forward and get Illinois back on track again.

Friday, January 25, 2013

VIDEO: Whites Only Laundry

[VIDEO] This video is humor. Hopefully everyone knows not to take this very seriously as it was made by a sketch comedy group. It hit on the right chords.

Basically the guy we see owns a laundromat and he seems unable to correct himself with his silly mistakes. He names his establishment "Whites Only" then forced to change his name due to outcry it becomes "No Colored" and then after even more outcry it becomes "Uncle Tom's". It went from bad to much, much worse.

Even worse check out the third part of the video, the "Uncle Tom" portion. Who would come up with an idea of a seperate entrance with a seperate but equal landromat in the back of the establishment. If this happened in real-life this would prove this aspiring businessman clueless to America's racial history.

Now if I may offer another opinion, perhaps this commercial states the at times absurdity of America's racial insensitivity. There are moments where sometimes the outcry is correct and then there are moments when throwing the race card is inappropriate.

Perhaps with the first commerical there really shouldn't be an outcry. Besides the man's plan is to have a laundromat that only washes white clothing. Sounds like a good deal right, but all it would take is someone to read into it!

Either way this video is hilarious and shocking. Perhaps more than being funny it's making an important point. What do you think?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A murder of an Alderman, 50 years ago...

[VIDEO] 50 years ago today a Chicago Alderman was murdered. 50 years later still we still don't know who did the deed or even motive. Ald. Benjamin Lewis was the 1st Black Alderman elected in the west side's 24th Ward and appeared to live well beyond his means. Ah, perhaps he got some money from the mob to afford his vacations and suits! As stated already we still don't know who did it, but there were suspects over the years for this murder.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

THE HILL: Panetta to lift ban on women in combat

Not certain how I would feel about this, although if a woman could match the standards of most men in combat then there should be no problem. Besides, say we now will allow women to serve in frontline infantry units. They had better be able to hold their own in the event of hand-to-hand combat. All fighting isn't necesarily with rifles.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is ending the military’s ban on women serving in combat.

The move could open up more than 230,000 jobs that had been previously closed to women by overturning a 1994 ban on female servicemembers in small combat units.

A senior defense official confirmed that Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey would officially announce the policy change on Thursday.

Panetta’s decision gives the military services until 2016 to request special exceptions for positions they think should remain closed to women, according to the Associated Press, which first reported the move.

The services will now develop plans to implement the policy change, which was recommend by the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the service chiefs will report back to Panetta — or potentially his successor — in May.
To be sure in light of the wars we've been fighting since 2002 in both Afghanistan and Iraq, more and more women are serving on our front lines even in combat roles. Many have been casualties and suffering the same war injuries men are. I suppose when it comes to the role of women in our armed services this is the next logical conclusion. 
Both men and women in our armed services our doing wonderful jobs and bless them for volunteering to serve in the military!

Hat-tip Instapundit!

Monday, January 21, 2013

C-SPAN: President Barack Obama 2013 Inauguration and Address

[VIDEO] We saw the private ceremony yesterday, today we see courtesy of C-Span the inaugural ceremony from earlier today. It's close to 22 minutes.

Hmmm, I'm wondering why I didn't do this for President Bush in 2005 although I realize something, YouTube didn't exist back then!


[VIDEO] Yesterday, the President took his official oath of office. This morning, the President will take the oath again in a public ceremony. I just heard the expected audience is down a bit from what it was four years ago. The historical significance may have no impact this time around although the ones who supported him this year and four years ago will likely be a significant audience.

Still this "private" oath causes another point of this posting. I thought incoming Presidents were able to take an oath on a later date if inauguration day was on a Sunday. I recognize that the oath and inauguration day is in the US Constitution, but there were some exceptions to this rule made.

My mother heard faster than I did about the "private" ceremony that occurred yesterday and all I knew was that he's going to have his inaugural on Sunday. Now it's time to find out what's the exact rule on this.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A friend suggested I make some shirts

This is what I come up with. My style is to keep it simple and I'm not sure if anything else will be added to it. Time will only tell and besides for now they will be limited edition shirts and intended for a particular occasion. Now to find out how to get these few shirts made!

BTW, if you want to know why burgundy, red-violet, or maroon look no further than Morehouse College as it's one of the school colors. Still this is not the final design to be used.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

FDR-Reagan intersection, almost

Me outside of the White House in the 1980s
I reached on odd epiphany watching a History Channel series that aired recently about the Presidents of the United States. It seems the 20th Century found US politics on two opposite ends and we can thank two dynamic Presidents for that.

When things were looking quite dour in the Great Depression this nation turned to Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It was noted in this program that when it was time for him to take his oath of office the sun literally started to shine. It was probably a needed moment because things weren't looking good for the nation and FDR as President was able to give Americans confidence in their nation.

Now the late 1970s earlier 80s were a different story. I forgot to note that FDR followed a one-term president (Herbert Hoover) and so did Ronald Reagan. Reagan followed Jimmy Carter and mostly faced a different situation than FDR had.

Well the economy wasn't doing to well during that period and America's standing in the world was mostly weak. Reagan like FDR did what they could to bring back the American spirit in a time where national confidence had certainly been shaken. By the end of Reagan's presidency the nation had rebounded.

As far as politics goes FDR you could say was to the left and Reagan was to the right. We may know FDR for the New Deal and his work during the 2nd World War. We largely know Reagan for "Reaganomics" and "Star Wars" basically his policies that many contend helped to end the Cold War.

When I saw the series the last few days this finally hit me. When they showed the edition that talked about FDR it was yesterday and then I saw today's edition. That when this conclusion finally hit me!

You may not be a big fan of both but you have to admit during their time in the public eye they had something that attracted people to them. The question we have to ask today is whether or not someone will emerge who will share those qualities. Time can only tell, yes?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

OH NO! :o

Remind me when I have children or even grandchildren to either keep pictures like this to myself or not put myself in this position at all! A picture like this if shared online can certainly cause some headaches even if it was totally innocent. WOW!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Breitbart: ABC Chicago Ignores GOP Candidates from IL-02 Race Coverage

The free-for-all that is the special election for Jesse Jackson Jr's former Congressional Seat has a wrinkle. Our local ABC affiliate seems to not only be unable to count how many Democrats are in the race, it seems they don't seem to count the Republicans at all. I suppose it's to be expected since in an overwhelmingly Democratic district Republicans aren't likely to go very far. At the same time it could narrow who the voters will pay attention to in this election. Or at least narrow to the so-called frontrunners!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

What about these payroll taxes?

When I started typing this, I had been watching the FOX Business network and they're talking about one aspect of the "fiscal cliff" compromise. Here's a piece from MSNBC:
Politicians in Washington made much hubbub last week about a bipartisan deal to soften or postpone some $600 billion in scheduled tax hikes and government spending cuts. President Barack Obama said the deal would shield 98 percent of Americans from a middle-class tax hike.

Nevertheless, for most workers, rich and poor alike, taxes went up on Dec. 31 as a temporary payroll tax cut expired. That cut – a 2 percentage point reduction in a levy that funds Social Security – was put in place two years ago to help the economy, which was still smarting from the 2007-09 recession.

About 160 million workers pay this tax, and the increase will cost the average worker about $700 a year, according to the Tax Policy Center, a Washington think tank.

“It stinks,” said Beverly Renfroe, an accountant for a realty firm in Jackson, Mississippi. “I definitely noticed a decrease.” The pain will trickle through the economy over the next few weeks. Already, the new rate of 6.2 percent has trimmed paychecks for about half of the 200,000 employees whose paychecks are processed by Advantage Payroll Services, a payroll firm based in Auburn, Maine.
Oh dear, it seems to get worse:
Some Americans will also pay higher income taxes this year. Congress and Obama let income tax rates rise for households making more than $450,000 a year, a partial repeal of tax cuts put in place under President George W. Bush. The wealthy will also pay a new tax to help fund a health insurance reform passed in 2010.

These will have a smaller impact on the wider economy because they affect fewer people. But taken together, this year’s tax hikes could subtract a full percentage point from growth, Feroli said.

Most economists see economic growth of roughly 2 percent this year, a lackluster pace held back by the government’s austerity measures that is likely to do little to reduce unemployment.

Failure to postpone government spending cuts due to begin around March would slow growth more, further frustrating the economic recovery.
And worst still!
The blow to the economy from the tax hikes will hurt the most during the first half of the year as people adapt to their smaller paychecks.

Consumer spending, which drives more than two thirds of the economy, will likely grow at a mere 1 percent annual rate in the first quarter, and 1.5 percent in the second, said Sven Jari Stehn, an economist at Goldman Sachs in New York.
 It's all about the economy and alas we're continuing to struggle out there. Hopefully when the current fiscal cliff compromise is reconsidered in the next couple of months or so Washington may consider to find ways to alleviate this new pressure. Hopefully someone out there will say wait a minute here, this isn't helping us?

Well one can only hope, yes?

BTW, Washington Post is even more stark: "The bad news: The expiration of the payroll tax cut this January will basically wipe away all of last year’s gains." 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Marathon Pundit: More good news on the endangered Chicago Reagan apartment

832 E. 57th St. on Jan 6th by John Ruberry

Marathon Pundit: More good news on the endangered Chicago Reagan apartment:

Well it looks like while demolition is going on at the site of Ronald Reagan's Hyde Park apartment building, the building itself remains in tact for now with a 90-day hold. The Alderman who represents that area where the University of Chicago hospital seeks to expand is more serious about a plaque to mark President Reagan's Hyde Park residence.

BTW, Ruberry at Marathon Pundit offers those concerned an e-mail address to this alderman to let them know to keep Reagan's old Chicago apartment in tact! Feel free to let her know what you think about demolishing this building.


Thursday, January 10, 2013

Facing rebellion, state GOP chair rejects calls to resign over gay marriage support

Well, while the Illinois Republican Party continues to fall behind in an increasingly Democratic state it appears there is a conflict amongst those ranks. This is old news really, the chairman of the state GOP came out in favor of gay marriage which seems to be gaining more and more support even if the legislation hasn't come up for a vote yet.
The state GOP isn't known as being particularly conservative - which makes it odd to me that RINO is often thrown about here - however it's interesting that we do have a segment of the party that wishes for the party to go in a more right wing direction. And going in a more right wing direction means talking about social issues. In this case well the party chairman went against his party on the issue of gay marriage.

The head of Illinois’ beleaguered Republican Party is staring down a revolt from some state party bosses after he bucked the official GOP line last week and urged state lawmakers to approve same-sex marriage.

State GOP Chairman Pat Brady faces growing calls for his resignation, at a time when some Illinois Republicans are rethinking the party’s image and stance on social issues, following a dismal showing in November’s elections.

Conservative groups and activists pounced on Brady shortly after he released a statement last week offering his “full support” of a bill before the General Assembly that would legalize same-sex marriage.

But now the public demands for his ouster are coming from party leaders themselves.

“Pat Brady is a total disgrace,” said Bobbie Peterson, a Republican state central committeewoman from Beecher, Ill.

“He’s a pretty face for TV. He can speak well. Period,” Peterson said. “But what’s coming out of his mouth is not what the Illinois Republican party is about.”

It’s unclear whether the party bosses opposing Brady have enough votes to oust him. But even those who stop short of asking for his resignation plan to take him to the woodshed for neglecting to notify party bosses before he publicly contradicted the party’s platform plank on gay marriage.
 Here's an often stated refrain by Chairman Brady: “We need to change the brand or the image of the party of this group of angry, old white guys,” Brady said. “And that’s what we look like right now.”

That has been said often since the Republicans got trounced in last year's presidential election. Demographics could be the issue of the Republicans in the future. Perhaps Illinois can be the state where Republicans can learn some lessons and gain inroads into new constituencies. Well one can only hope.

Just for kicks watch this interview Brady did last year after the 2012 general elections with local cable access host Jeff Berkowitz.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Should I photoshop more?

I need to play with photoshop some more. A few years ago, I made this image using some instruction I found online. Another piece of handiwork of mine you can see at my other blog The Sixth Ward where you will see the masthead that I made with minimal effort.

Why am I talking about this now? Primarily because I recently revamped my "must reads" section in my sidebar and I see how so many of the blogs that I have added to it have their own "icons". Is it time for this place to get an icon.

Frederick Douglass
The image you see to the left is one candidate, but I almost feel like it's necessary to be more creative than what you already see. Also you shall notice that many have their headshot for an icon. In my case, that's not likely to happen. Of course, I could always utilize good old Frederick Douglass for the honor!

Also over the years I've entertained possibly making a masthead for this blog. Not sure what I haven't so far, but just like for The Sixth Ward the masthead here would also be done with minimal effort. Besides in some respects photoshopping will be done in as close to a minimalist style as possible.

In any case perhaps in the near future, my artistic skills will allow me to come up with something that will prove to be appealing to any future reader to my humble blog!

Identifying the middle-class problematic?

[VIDEO] Found via Instapundit, this video of newly minted US Senator Elizabeth Warren from Massachusettes. She appeared to be having a tough time defining what middle-class is. It almost turned into an argument with the reporter she was talking with and unfortunately for her the cameras were rolling.

In last year's election she had some controversy as to her American Indian ancestry. It was under dispute and in spite of that controversy she was able to take the seat of Republican Scott Brown who had in turn won Ted Kennedy's old Senate seat.

The conservative website National Review made this comment: "If you want to play class warfare, as Warren does, you also need to have the courage to talk about who’s in what class, and how your policies will help or harm them."


Sunday, January 06, 2013

Looks like the NHL will be back in 2013!

[VIDEO] At least the NHL won't appear to make a colossal mistake of cancelling the whole season as they did back in 2004-05. And again NHL is the only North American professional sports league to have had to cancel an entire season due to labor issues.

What you see above is a press conference provided by the AP. Now an AP write-up:

The NHL and the players' association reached a tentative agreement early Sunday to end a nearly four-month-old lockout that threatened to wipe out what was left of an already abbreviated season.

A marathon negotiating session that lasted more than 16 hours, stretching from Saturday afternoon until just before dawn Sunday, produced a 10-year deal.

"We've got to dot a lot of Is and cross a lot of Ts," Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "There's still a lot of work to be done."

The collective bargaining agreement still must be ratified by a majority of the league's 30 owners and the union's membership of approximately 740 players.

Under the negotiated CBA, free-agent contracts will have a maximum length of seven years, but clubs can go to eight years to re-sign their own players. Each side can opt out of the deal after eight years.

The pension plan was "the centerpiece of the deal for the players," said Winnipeg Jets defenseman Ron Hainsey, who took part in negotiations throughout the process.

The actual language of the pension plan still has to be written, but Hainsey said there is nothing substantial that still needs to be fixed.

The players' share of hockey-related income, that reached a record $3.3 billion last season, will drop from 57 percent to a 50-50 split. The salary cap for the upcoming season will be $70.2 million and will then drop to $64.3 million in the 2013-14 season. All clubs will have to have a minimum payroll of $44 million.

After the sides stayed mostly apart for two days, following late-night talks that turned sour, federal mediator Scot Beckenbaugh worked virtually around the clock to get everyone back to the bargaining table.
Time to get ready for some Black Hawks action. Besides, some team can unexpectedly win the Stanley Cup as the New York Rangers did in 1994 after a lockout that cost the NHL half a season.

A drive along 63rd - from Englewood to Woodlawn

Originally posted to The Sixth Ward on January 4, 2012 

[VIDEO] The vid above is from one of my long time YouTube favorites, artistmac. He takes a drive along 63rd Street  from Morgan Street all the way to Stony Island an sure to note how the individual neighborhoods once grew along that corridor.  63rd & Halsted was once a bustling commercial district in Englewood and then the area around 63rd & Cottage Grove was also a bustling commercial area in Woodlawn. Both areas are now mostly vacant lots although some redevelopment has occured in those areas.

In fact on East 63rd just past the Cottage Grove terminal of the CTA Green Line some single family homes have been built. Artistmac didn't want to get into the politics on the video of how the Green Line abruptly ended at Cottage Grove when it used to terminate as far east as Stony Island. Sometimes I wonder if cutting the L beyond its current terminus was a huge blunder!

On West 63rd, Kennedy-King College was built within the former 63rd/Halsted business district and is still waiting for even more development. While it seems more likely Woodlawn could be redeveloped given the fact that the University of Chicago is slowly but surely expanding south beyond the Midway Plaisance, time can only tell for Englewood.

Artistmac does provide one omnimous conclusion: "Unless those middle-class residents can be enticed to come back to Woodlawn, Bronzeville and Englewood, I doubt those neighborhoods, or any of Chicago's declining neighborhoods, can be brought back to life."

Friday, January 04, 2013

AP: Al-Jazeera hopes Current move will widen access

[VIDEO] Interesting, Al Gore's Current TV has been bought by the Middle Eastern channel Al-Jazeera where it will just become their American outlet. Essentially Current TV will be no more!

Also former FOX News personality Glenn Beck had also been interested in buying the channel. So perhaps the former Vice President sold this channel to keep Beck's hands off his baby!

Thursday, January 03, 2013

VIDEO: Influential Political Scientist Robert Dahl

[VIDEO] Hey I know this guy, thanks Morehouse College Professor of Political Science, Tobe Johnson. Many people has gone through is class "Grammar of Politics" and have had to familiarize themselves with the works of Robert Dahl!

This approximately 37 min video shows him at some poitn admitting that he's a "Norman Thomas socialist". What ever that means. lol

Via Newsalert!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Fiscal cliff

Found some articles that at least contain details about fiscal cliff legislation that passed last night.
The next question is where do we go from here? It was interesting how most Republicans in the US House voted against the fiscal cliff legislation and most Democrats voted in favor. The Republicans are considered fractured as a result since well there were quite a few Republican votes in favor.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Since we were talking about Abraham Lincoln...

Especially since Steven Spielberg's Lincoln is currently in cinemas across the nation, we remember the Emancipation Proclamation. 150 years ago it was an executive order issued by President Lincoln that proclaimed that slaves that were held in the territory controlled by the Confederate States of America were freed. Now granted Confederate held territory not under the control of the Union this order didn't have any effect. It was on Confederate territory that were held by Union forces during the Civil War where this order took effect.

I'm only noting that because there are those out there who continue to argue that President Lincoln never freed any slaves. Surely there are others out there who are better able to argue that position that I'm able to at the moment.

In looking for materials on this subject I found this Forbes posting that asked one question, "150 Years After The Emancipation Proclamation, Are We Free?" It isn't so much an article that talks about equality amongst various "minority" groups in America as much as it is a philosophical argument about the freedom of the individual and its relationship with government. It notes the positives of the Proclamation even if while a segment of America's population were no longer enslaved they still had to fight for their freedom years after that fact.

Also you can read an article about the Proclamation courtesy of the Nation Archives.

New Year's resolutions

I have two to start. Hopefully a better job in the future to be able to do some things I need to do. Some of the things I need to do includes buying me a vehicle and buying me a building in addition to insuring that I can comfortably pay off my student loans. Also my goal is to continue saving money and may even step up my game with a new job.

Hopefully in the New Year many of you will realize some of your resolutions in 2013 as well.