Thursday, October 31, 2013

Black Voices: Are Elite Colleges Worth the Price Tag?

It was about this time that I had paid a visit to some college fairs back in high school (GO FALCONS!). Hopefully current generations of high school students are doing what's suggested here at the Black Voices section of the Huffington Post. Evaluate what may be the best value to you in not only terms of money but the future. It was not the foresight that was allowed to me back in the day!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

So who loses politically with Obamacare?

Since it seems the recently concluded shutdown didn't seem to make Republicans look good I can only wonder if this assessment of the issues with "Obamacare" will actually pan out in next year's congressional elections. Time will only tell because the elections are in the next year. This Big Government piece is a good read, however, we won't know until American's are ready to vote in 2014.

Via Newsalert!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Sunday night at the movies: "The Butler"

My mother insisted on seeing The Butler and I finally saw it Sunday night with her at Chatham 14. It was a bit of a period piece that showed the protagonist played by Forrest Whitaker blossom from a young man in the segregated south to an elderly man who worked for several presidents as a domestic worker in the White House.

I can only imagine what discussions her heard during his time as a White House butler. He probably couldn't hear everything because well when it was time for him to go it was time for him to go. It was interesting how to see him get trained by another Black man to be a house servant and it lead him to serve in that capacity in the US Government.

The only gripe I have about this movie even if the context was understood was how they played up the election of Barack Obama as President. So the character Cecil Gaines have served from Eisenhower to Reagan - seven presidents - and was ecstatic when the first Black man was elected President. It almost seems like hero worship to insert that in the movie. A lot of time was dedicated to that although don't get me wrong the reason for bringing that into the film was understood especially for a Black man who lived long enough to see segregation, civil rights, and then it's after effects.

Gaines had two sons one went to Vietnam and was killed in action the other Louis was a radical. He saw America for what it was at the time and after starting college at Fisk University decided he wanted to do something about it and joined the Freedom Riders. As a result Louis had a strained relationship with his father.

Ah, but the more interesting scene of the movie with Louis was when he discussed with his girlfriend the reasons he joined the Black Panthers. He didn't like the more violent philosophy he found with them and sought another path. Finished his masters degree in political science and attempted to run for Congress.

BTW, The Butler was based on a true story even though it's largely fictionalized. The real life inspiration for this movie didn't have two sons and didn't leave the White House because Ronald Reagan simply wouldn't budge in his stance on South Africa. As a matter of fact there was an article out there that explained Reagan's rationale on sanctions to South Africa and attacked that particular part of the movie as a bias against Republicans.

Now before you go on the attack against how Gaines was no hero, I'm not sure this movie portrays him as such. He just so happen to be at the right place at the right time and while it's easy to be dismissive based upon his station in life there was a scene where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr defended him and workers like him. In this movie Cecil may not have seen eye-to-eye with his son Louis it's an interesting act of drama to show a domestic worker who begat an activist who took advantage of his American rights even in the face of violent opposition!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

ABC News: Florida Cop Buys $100 in Groceries for Woman Caught Shoplifting Food

[VIDEO] I would consider this story a feel good story. People doing right by people even though they did wrong regardless we recognize why they're forced to do what they're doing. The police officer in question is defintiely who we need serving and protecting us.
When Miami-Dade Police Officer Vicki Thomas, 55, was dispatched to look into a shoplifting case at a Publix grocery store, a store manager led her to Jessica Robles.

“She was crying. I said, ‘Okay, what did she take?’ And he pointed to a grocery cart that was full of groceries,” Thomas told “I’ve been on [the job] 23 years, and I went, wow.”

“She just filled up the grocery cart and she just walked out, which shocked me and I asked her, ‘Why?’” Thomas recalled. “She said, ‘My children were hungry.’ And that immediately impacted me.”
“My grandchildren flashed before my eyes,” Thomas said. “I knew at that time what I was going to do. I knew I was going to buy her groceries.”

Thomas and her partner took the woman to their car, completed her paperwork and then Thomas asked her to wait a few minutes.

“I grabbed my debit card, ran back into the store and bought things that would sustain her for a week or so and when I walked out she saw that I had the cart of groceries and she burst out in tears and asked if she could hug me, which is kind of unusual for the suspect to be hugging the officer,” Thomas said with a laugh. “I let her hug me.”

Thomas made it clear that she technically arrested Robles. The woman had no priors for shoplifting and since the amount of goods she tried to steal amounted to just under $300, the cut-off for a misdemeanor, it was up to Thomas’ discretion whether to arrest her or give her the misdemeanor and get a promise to appear in court. She chose the latter.

The woman didn’t have a car, so Thomas loaded the $100 worth of groceries into the police car and the officers gave her a ride home.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Breitbart: Drug Cartels 'Allowed' to Run Chicago Streets

[VIDEO] The revelation that Mexican drug cartels are driving the crime in Chicago is nothing new and Harold "Noonie" Ward who is a former gang member who I know as a perennial Aldermanic candidate and also ran for a seat on the Chicago Water Reclamation District really isn't adding much knowledge here. This revelation was made in an episode of CBS' 48 Hours entitled "The War in Chicago".

This video was produced by RebelPundit who just so happens to be one conservative or right-winger who's very willing it seems to come to the "hood" to find the real story. You can read more about this video over at Breitbart where RebelPundit also writes.

BTW, you may have seen this video on my Twitter feed last week!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Washington Post: Obama signs bill to raise debt limit, reopen government

Wow! It's over after only 16 days, will the Republican base like this cave-in. Well at least if they view this a caving in.
After shutting down the U.S. government for 16 days and driving the nation toward the brink of default, a chastened Congress voted late Wednesday to reopen federal agencies, call hundreds of thousands of civil servants back to work and raise the $16.7 trillion debt limit.

An agreement struck by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) ended a stalemate created last month, when hard-line conservatives pushed GOP leaders to use the threat of shutdown to block a landmark expansion of federally funded health coverage.

That campaign succeeded mainly in undermining popular support for the Republican Party, however. By late Wednesday, dozens of anxious GOP lawmakers were ready to give President Obama almost exactly what he requested months ago: a bill to fund the government and increase the Treasury Department’s borrowing power with no strings attached.

“We’ve been locked in a fight over here, trying to bring government down to size, trying to do our best to stop Obamacare,” House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) told a Cincinnati radio station. “We fought the good fight. We just didn’t win.”

The Senate overwhelmingly ratified the deal Wednesday evening, 81 to 18, with more than half of Senate Republicans voting yes.

A few hours later, the House followed suit, approving the measure 285 to 144. Eighty-seven Republicans joined a united Democratic caucus in approving the measure, allowing Congress to meet a critical Treasury Department deadline with one day to spare.

Obama signed the measure into law shortly after midnight,, reopening parks and monuments across the nation, restoring government services and putting furloughed federal employees back on the job, many of them in the Washington region.

“Employees should expect to return to work in the morning,” Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the White House budget director, said in a statement.
Well, it looks like they may have to do this all over again next year. Hopefully not a gov't shut down, but we'll hear about the debt-ceiling and sequester once again!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Harvard Mag: Morehouse Man, Redux

Earlier this year Morehouse College gained a new President in John S. Wilson Jr. In addition to being a Morehouse Man, he had also attended Harvard University getting his graduate degrees there hence he's interviewed by Harvard Mag. Sadly he has to state that attending an HBCU doesn't have the allure it used to since Black college students have more choices today.
“The vast majority of African-American students in higher education are choosing nonblack colleges,” Wilson says. Today, HBCUs educate only about 10 percent of that population; and of those who do enroll, he adds, 75 percent are women, “so we are in a particular crisis in educating African-American males.” 
OK another problem we've discussed here, not enough Black males are going to college these days. It might be true of a number of campuses not just HBCUs although Morehouse is an exception since it's all male. Although let's be clear there have been reports that I have seen that illustrated that a lot of college campuses are increasingly populated with women and the population of men are going down.

Before the quote Dr. Wilson also noted that Morehouse needs to build an endowment. That endowment could go to not only the campus facility because Wilson talked about "improving the campus infrastructure which, he says, 'is basically the same buildings and landscape that I left in 1979.'" Also of course the endowment could help capable & motivated low-income students attend Morehouse and hopefully stay and graduate from there.

In any case, this is still a worthwhile article and Morehouse does have it's work cut out for them.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

More videos picking on Detroit...

[VIDEO] On Sunday, CBS' 60 Minutes took a look at Detroit and the many people who are doing their part to save this city and some frustrated citizens and firefighters. We see the vacant Detroit neighborhoods, and the very vibrant downtown which is largely owned by the owner of Quicken Loans Dan Gilbert!

BTW, Curbed Detroit noted Gilbert's tweet about this story. He wasn't very happy and believed the story they should've covered was "A city’s soul that will not die was the story & they missed it". It was evidenced in this story even if it wasn't entirely positive.

Below is another video that I wanted to share with you from!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Today is Columbus day!

Today feels like a Sunday, but in fact it's Columbus Day. We may have learned that Christopher Columbus discovered America back in the late 15th Century in school. As time went on it turns out that story is a bit more complicated as Columbus may not have been the first European or perhaps even the first of the old world to discover these new lands.

All the same next month is another much more festive holiday Thanksgiving. I have a friend who refer to this holiday as Thanks-taking. We may celebrate the idea of giving thanks, even the origin of this holiday is complicated.

Both days are great for this main thing. These are days off from work for most and for school especially if you attend Chicago Public Schools. And here's hoping many of you see the origin of the holidays we currently take for granted.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

So now we have watch phones...

[VIDEO] Earlier today on TV I've been seeing the ads for this Samsung Galaxy Gear. Basically this device is bringing to life the idea of a watch that could be used as a communication device. Basically this device used in connection with a Samsung smartphone such as a Galaxy Note or Galaxy S4 is called a "smartwatch".

The ads featured similar devices from Dick Tracy, The Jetsons, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Knight Rider, or even Babylon 5. Let me digress for a moment, the "comlinks" you saw on Babylon 5 aren't true smartwatches. They do rest on your hand perhaps connected in some abstract way to the Earth Alliance uniform the characters wore, but they were still nifty devices certainly no more than the devices seen in the other properties named above.

The Gear reminds me of the sixth generation iPod Nano which could be used as a watch although an iPod is normally used as a device to listen to music or podcasts. I was very disappointed when they discontinued this model as I always thought it was nifty but I couldn't justify paying the price to get one.

Since I'm firmly an Apple customer I hope that they may bring that style of iPod back along with the accompanying wristbands for the same purpose as the Gear. It almost seemed as if they might, but after reading all the rumors about the updated iPhones or iPads it's always possible that in spite of not seeming like they will develop it here it comes. Here's hoping if they do bring that style iPod back that it can be connected to the iPhone and used in a similar way to the devices now to be sold by Samsung.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Check out the old home of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick

[VIDEO] Well another take on the sentencing on Kwame Kilpatrick the former Mayor of Detroit. Curbed Detroit shared this video of Mayor Kilpatrick's old house and aside from the fact that it had been broken into and they showed the screen door no longer had it's knobs it appeared to be a very nice home. He probably moved out not long before he became Mayor since well Detroit has a Mayoral residence.

I recall that Kilpatrick had already been to jail pleading to guilty to charges that caused him to resign from his office in 2008. More recently he has been sentenced to 28 years in prison on various charges of corruption. That's much more than our very own Rod Blagojevich we thought he got it stiff! OUCH!

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Williams: Racial trade-offs

Speaking of Libertarianism, here's a piece of interest by economist Walter E. Williams - you may hear from him from time to time on the Rush Limbaugh program where he has served as a guest host. Anyway, here's a topic I like to visit from time to time which just so happens to be public education. Williams writes:
Trade-offs apply to our economic lives, as well as our political lives. That means getting more of one thing requires giving up something else. Let’s look at some examples.

Black congressmen and black public officials in general, including Barack Obama, always side with teachers unions in their opposition to educational vouchers, tuition tax credits, charter schools and other measures that would allow black parents to take their children out of failing public schools. Most black politicians and many black professionals take the position of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, who is on record as saying, “We shouldn’t abandon the public schools.”

Taking such a political stance is understandable because black congressmen and other black elected officials are part of a coalition. As such, they are expected to vote for things that other coalition members want in order that those coalition members vote for things that black politicians want. There’s no question that these black public officials are getting something in return for their support of teachers unions and others who benefit from the educational status quo. The question not addressed by black people is whether what black politicians are getting for their support of a failed educational system is worth the sacrifice of whole generations of black youngsters, educationally handicapping them and making many virtually useless in the high-tech world of the 21st century.

Though many black politicians mouth that we should fix, not abandon, public schools, they themselves have abandoned public schools. They see their children as too precious to be sacrificed in the name of public education. While living in Chicago, Barack Obama sent his daughters to the prestigious University of Chicago Laboratory Schools. When he moved to Washington, President Obama enrolled his daughters in the prestigious Sidwell Friends School. According to a report by The Heritage Foundation, “exactly 52 percent of Congressional Black Caucus members and 38 percent of Congressional Hispanic Caucus members sent at least one child to private school.” Overall, only 6 percent of black students attend private school. 
Over at my other blog, The Sixth Ward, I had recently posted an article about three Chicago families who elected to move out of the city into the suburbs. They did so with the idea that their children would thrive in suburban public schools. One takeaway from that piece showed how a school system full of mostly low-income children can prove to be a detriment.

Let me be careful though, every low-income child has the right and potential to rise above their current station in live. In fact we should be very hopeful of that and hopefully many of them can rise to the occassion. What I can recognize is that being low-income can be in more ways than one an impediment and unfortunately for many of our youth in that situation it's not entirely their fault either.

My only wish is to find a way to make the public schools work for the families who utilize the system. They have to work and insure that our young people are educated and that they are successful in their lives whatever they choose to do. Although I don't have kids yet as a product of public education myself I'm not sure I have great faith that they will do right by my future children.

BTW, the Williams article was posted to which was one of the sites I noted in a recent article about libertarianism. Found this via a link over at Newsalert!

Sunday, October 06, 2013

VIDEO: Why More People Identify as Libertarian

[VIDEO] When I mull this question I consider how easy it is to identify oneself as a libertarian. There are some issues that are verifiably libertarian that I'm favor of such as the decriminalization of some illegal narcotics for example. Although it's still difficult for me to identify as a libertarian primarily because I still haven't figured out all that term entails.

It comes to mind that a few years ago Governor Eliot Spitzer of NY was forced to resign because as it turned out the feds discovered that he was paying an escort mega bucks before he became governor for her services. When that news came out people were talking about how prostitution should be legal and then identified themselves as libertarian. I even recall a segment where a caller called into Rush Limbaugh to note that they think this should be legal.

Of course I walked into another libertarian idea that prostitution should be legalized. Although to be sure I'm not sure what justifies this position, perhaps that prostitution is a victimless crime or something of that sort. Admittedly there is a lot to learn about this ideology on my part and the various positions that are taken.

When I first saw this video above over at Newsalert, those were my thoughts on this question. And at least there's Reason or Lew Rockwell among others who could educate me further on libertarianism and its tenets.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Shut down

For the first time since 1995 & 1996, there is a federal government shut down. Who knows how long this iteration will last but it seems to last days when it happened in '95/'96.

It seemed back then Newt Gingrich who had been Speaker of the House back then had his behind handed to him when he tried to talk to then President Bill Clinton. And also remember the next year was an election year and Clinton in my eyes went from being a weak President to one who had been re-elected!

To be sure this time around it snuck up on me like nothing. Earlier last month we were talking about going into Syria and curb their use of chemical weapons. Now it's the debate over the debt ceiling and a government shut down if the various factions of federal politicians couldn't agree. At that a part of this process was about Obamacare which is now seeing one facet implemented with the Marketplaces now enrolling.

While it seems there are those partisans who are trumpeting this I'm not going to be too upset if the House Republicans are able to successfully defund this. The rollout of this Obamacare law hasn't been the smoothest operation at all so far. While I think nothing is perfect when it comes to making some changes to health care in this country there are surely better solutions to this problem than injecting the federal government into this industry.

In the meanwhile, our Washington, DC politicians weren't able to stave off a federal government shutdown last night. It could be said they weren't able to compromise on those issues that were sticking points. I also don't expect Obamacare to be defunded, however, stranger things could happen.

Let's hope that the federal government is back on track in no time!

BTW, read yesterday's post by Rich Miller at Capitol Fax. He avoids national issues like the plague and disdains any use of national propaganda/talking points in his comments section. He goes from the Illinois angle and then to the outcome of this shutdown for Speaker John Boehner. It puts some things into perspective.