Wednesday, February 28, 2007

One of the more interesting sites from this past election

What the Helen is down. While I could say defeat got them down, maybe not, they've served their purpose this time. It would have been nice if there was an archive but there won't be now.

Another Uptown blog had this to say about What the Helen...

46th Ward Alderman: Helen Shiller by a mere 53%, with challenger James Cappleman capturing 47% of the vote. The What the Helen folks (the site seems to be down, now) should be happy for at least creating a race in their ward. We wonder if Alderman Shiller will take the hint that she has some very unhappy residents in her ward and reach out to those folks who voted for James Cappleman, or if she’ll see her slim margin of 53% as a “mandate” to keep things the way they are.
Perhaps that was their only purpose they served it. Maybe Shiller will watch herself, perhaps she won't. But the coverage of that election up there was certainly very entertaining. Hopefully next year there could be as much entertainment or in 2010 0r 2011.

To WhatTheHelen and IrishPirate I royally salute you!!! See you guys around or perhaps not.

And check out the links to the What the Helen blog on Technorati.

More city elections...

In most of my wards of interest there were some defeats and in most there will be runoffs in 11 wards. So by April a few more aldermen will be out of office we'll see, but quite a few are sweating. Here's a list from the Tribune...
Among the incumbents who apparently will have to continue to fight through the April 17 runoff voting were: Madeline Haithcock (2nd); Dorothy Tillman (3rd); Shirley Coleman (16th); Lona Lane (18th); Howard Brookins Jr.(21st); Michael Chandler (24th); Ted Matlak (32nd); Rey Colon (35th), Vi Daley (43rd) and Bernard Stone (50th), a 33-year veteran. Also facing a likely runoff was Ald. Joe Moore (49th), who was attacked as out of touch after pushing a ban on foie gras.
Also this...
There have not been so many wards involved in the runoff election since 1991. In the last election in 2003, only one incumbent lost outright in the first-round of balloting, with three more unseated in the runoff.

Predictions doesn't always come true as Ald. Freddrenna Lyle was re-elected without a run-off last night at 52.84%. Her closest competitor was Eugene Davis at 28.83%. At third was the Tribune and Sun-Times endorsed candidate Karin Norinton-Reaves at 13.98%.

For a while it was predicted Lyle would be in a runoff. It was even said that she hasn't entrenched herself. I can look at it this way, this could be the start Perhaps she'll blow away the opposition almost all the time, though I understand that plenty of people there aren't big fans of hers. Eugene Davis did so well I imagine because he's a pereniall candidate. He ran in 2003 and he ran in 1999.

The one shocker as far as incumbents was Howard Brookins, the Alderman of the 21st ward who's facing a runoff against Leroy Jones. I don't know how that was going to look but most of these run-off elections were really caused by the unions who were pushing for this big-box ordinance. Jones is the recipient of this help.

Still though I think Brookins has been doing a good job. He's been building up retail on 87th Street. There going to be a Staples and there's a Best Buy up that way. It's not a struggling ward but I see that things are looking up there.

Daley won by a certain landslide yesterday to. No surprise there, but I will go on the limb and say this could be his last term. I know that there's nothing else he'd rather do than be mayor of Chicago, but this would be a good time to get out. Dorothy Brown could be a rising star in the future. I certainly hope so, she didn't give Daley a race, but she doesn't need to remain clerk of the circuit court for too long. No more than Dan Hynes need to remain state comptroller.

Dock Walls wasn't even close. I'm not surprised by the fact that he lost. He's been attaching himself to the last Mayor Harold Washington. This is what many also rans have attempted to do, be the next Harold Washington and seemingly try to run as the black mayor of Chicago. In a city that is changing demographically, if you believe the whitewashing of the city, you can't do that.

Still during this campaign the credibility of Walls (who ran in 2003 for City Clerk against Jim Laski but was kicked off the ballot) seemed to go straight down. Well he has claimed to be an aide in the Washington adminstration but there were people from that administration who have said they didn't like him and that he inflated his own importance then.

Well I'm looking forward to 2011. We see that the Jackson's have pull in at least one ward perhaps they'll have more pull in others. Even enough pull to run and perhaps win the next mayoral election. Time will only tell.

3 Aldermen lost

The big three too. In the wards I wanted to watch but the biggest upset I saw was Sandi Jackson (wife of Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr.) over Darcel Beavers in the 7th Ward. I didn't see that one coming, the other two I could see it, but man I thought that Beavers machine would have kept that seat.

So let's see former Alderman and current Cook County Commissioner Bill Beavers who is also the 7th Ward Democratic Committeeman was able to get Todd Stroger into the President's chair at Cook County and was able to succeed former President John Stroger (Todd's dad) as a commissioner of the 4th district of Cook and yet he was unable to keep his seat warm with his daughter. For some reason this gave me a very bright smile. And this proves one thing the Jackson had the pull and the "hog with the big nuts" is scratching his head this morning.

BTW, check out this Mark Brown column in the Sun-Times talking about that contest...

And now you have to wonder how far the Jackson family can take its dynasty. It seems unlikely it will want to stop with a congressman and an alderman and a man who ran for president.

William Beavers remains on the County Board for now, having just been elected to a four-year term, so his dynasty isn't dead yet. A few weeks back, Beavers was quoted as saying: "I'm the hog with the big nuts." Ever since then, I've been wanting to get him to translate, but when I cornered him Tuesday night, he declined.

"If I said it, whoever I said it to, they know what it meant," Beavers said with a twinkle in his eye before the bad news erased it.

That's just as well. Because now he'd have trouble backing it up.

And I got another quote for you. My mom had to tell me about this one. Ald. Darcel Beavers talking to CLTV about her election from AlderTrack...
Ms. Beavers: If a person doesn't know where the streets are, and the directions that the streets go, we'll find out what kind of new day we have.

Reporter: Do you think the people in the 7th Ward are going to be happy?

Ms. Beavers: We'll see. We'll wait and see.

Reporter: What [or when] can we expect to hear from you tomorrow?

Ms. Beavers: Tomorrow, after I lay down and get some sleep, [smiling] get my hair done, my nails done, my toes done, then I'll give you a statement.

Reporter: After the statement what's next on the agenda for you?

Ms. Beavers: I'm still the alderman until someone gets sworn in. So I still have work to do.
I'm sure the bolded part will conjure up all types of stereotypes for what it is worth. Also it was noted on The Capitol Fax Blog that the Beavers campaign got some help from Congressman Jackson's rather perennial rivals the Shaws of the South Suburbs who once upon a time were big shots in the City of Chicago and Cook County with Bill Shaw as mayor of the souther suburb of Dolton, IL...
* 9:53 pm - Sandi Jackson’s big win over Darcel Beavers was extra special for Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.’s organization today. The Shaw brothers brought troops in for Beavers. The Jackson’s and the Shaw’s are old and bitter rivals.
Well enough about the 7th ward. Remember I said I wouldn't have been surprised if Ald. Troutman (who had been charged with bribery at least a month before the election)had won this bad boy only to find out it wasn't even close. Almost like the 7th Ward, sorry about that. Well she lost as well and I could say hmm perhaps the 20th Warders saw what was up and got her out. Perhaps she had more ego than it's worth.

Finally the 42nd. Ald. Burton Nataurus is out and young Brendan Reilly is in. I know one 42nd Ward resident who's very happy...
In one of the most sudden political upsets in modern Chicago history, after 36 years on the city council, last night Burt Natarus was rejected by the voters of the 42nd Ward, the Ward synonymous with downtown Chicago (and the Ward I call home). Challenger Brendan Reilly, a man who wasn't yet born when Natarus first took office and a virtual unknown to most Ward residents, won the 42nd Ward in stunning fashion, with 55 percent of the vote.

Hands up if you're really that surprised.

Over the past few months, while Natarus continued with business-as-usual (as I lamented in a recent post), persisting in cozying himself to developers at the expense of the residents of the Ward, Reilly decided on a more resident-friendly strategy. He chose to shun developer contributions and instead and at great length (my fellow neighbors, how many postcards did you receive?) promised a Ward managed for the benefit of the people who live here rather than for the people who build here.

If Burt Natarus had once had the courage to send that message to the residents of the 42nd Ward he might still be in office here.
And let me just say Reilly is young enough that I can expect better things from him in the future. I really doubt he will stay an alderman forever, he can use this as a stepping stone. Hopefully though if he can do a good job there he will certainly go forward.

I should talk about Troutman more but there's no time. I'm going to talk about the city electons again later. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Star Trek will return

In Christmas of 2008 with producation to start in Fall of 07. It is official check out There's an actual press release on that post and we know that JJ Abrams who was involved with last summer's M:I:3 and ABC's Lost will be producing and directing the film. In addition to that though take the rumors of plot and characters with a grain of salt.

Officially we don't know who they are yet. Rumors are that we will see the troika of Captain James T. Kirk, Mr. Spock, and Dr. Leonard McCoy to be played respectively by Matt Damon, Adrian Brody, and Gary Sinise (yeah Lt. Dan is a dead ringer for DeForrest Kelly LOL). Let it be known though that the new Star Trek movie will respect Star Trek canon so the new creative team won't just throw in too much new stuff into the mix.

EDIT: In the comments of the casting rumors, Beyonce as Uhura, that made me a smile. I'd be intrigued by that.

Oh and I almost forgot...

The Illinois House meets as a committee of the whole today. Follow the session here with both audio and video feeds provided. Hopefully if you're following this that you have a broadband connection.

This is being covered by a number of sources especially The Capitol Fax Blog and the Illinois Channel blog. This is of course about deregulation of the electric industry and rolling back electric rate increases of January 1st.

I almost forgot about this in the excitement of the elections in the City of Chicago.

Check out the Chicago Reader political blog

Clout City where there are plenty of reports from the precincts around the city of Chicago as Chicagoans make their choices for mayor, city clerk, city treasurer, and aldermen of their respective wards. This is the busiest I have seen the blogs since the first time I saw it. More posts in one day on this blog than there have been in recent memory and the blog hasn't been around a long time.

I was thrilled to see reports and pictures from the precincts in the 2nd, 3rd, 5th, 16th, 20th, 25th, 32nd, 46th, 49th, & 50th wards. Thankfully you can't judge from these posts that turnout is low. Then again who knows when people finally get off work, things will get busier.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Check out Illinoize!!!

I wrote a post there about the Chicago Municipal Elections tomorrow. If you've got something to say about the election tomorrow there's one place you can say it. So by all means get on it and don't forget to vote tomorrow!!!

Rev. Al Sharpton is related to Sen. Strom Thurmond...

You know I ran across this story look at my various subscriptions to blogs. In fact I've saved these links in my Google Shared items. This was even in the Sun-Times today as well. I have it in my links. This is weird.

To be sure in slavery times it was no doubt uncommon that slaves engages in "relationships" with their owners. They can either be mutual or not I imagine. Most of us don't know what might show up in our genetic family trees. All I know is that I do have a Native American ancestor.

I would question why this could be news but I don't know this is still an interesting revelation.

Who Cares? by Second City Cop

Will coach Smith get a contract extension???

I was reading this article in Chicagoist this morning about Lovie Smith. Some guy around campus stopped me to talk some football. I am much better at looking at the business side of sports than I am about all the technicalities. I was asking myself if Lovie Smith's contract was up.

Anyone listening to this guy, I had no idea that Smith wasn't paid very well especially for the success he brought to the Bears in the last two seasons. I guess when the Bears offered him a contract they may not have anticipated this. Then again Smith was never an NFL head coach. For guiding the Bears to the Super Bowl though he probably should be offered a bonus as well as a contract extension with more money.

BTW, while you're at it read this article about the electric rates. The one thing the Illinois House is going to meet as a Committee of the Whole on Tuesday.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Committee of the whole: what does that mean?

Hopefully when you read this blog you learn something new. I'm a student so I learn something new everyday. Well then I learned what it means to convene a body as a committee of the whole.

Terry Martin, executive director of the Illinois Channel, left me a note discussing the purpose of the committee of the whole...
As far as the Committee of the Whole.. this is where the entire House [or Senate] gathers as a body.. but not as the House or Senate per se.. but as a committee. But instead of a normal committee -- which has just select members of the House serving on that body -- the Committee of the Whole is a committee hearing in which the entire House meets as a committee.

Why would they do this?

Because before a bill can come to the floor for a vote it has to be voted out of committee. In this fashion, the House can expedite the legislative process by having the bill pass out of committee.. where the entire House meets and votes on the bill. Also this is a parliamentary way of opening the process to allow all members to both voice their opinion.. and require an official vote from every member on their position on the legislation.

If a controversial piece of legislation is bottled up in committee, bc it doesn't get a passing vote.. then many members of the House [or Senate] who might have been on the spot by having to vote on that legislation, are spared from voting on it, because the Committee didn't pass it. But in the Committee of the Whole.. every member must vote on the bill.

I suspect the thinking here is.. let any member who wishes to go on the record of voting with the utilities do so. But the political pressure will be great on every member of the House, who will be forced to vote on HB 1750, to vote in favor of a roll back.

This is what I suspect is behind the call for the Committee of the Whole. It is a rather rare event. And Tuesday should be one of the more interesting days of this legislative session. In fact, I suspect the phone lines are burning bright this weekend, as the utilities and their advisories are competing to line up votes on this measure.

I hope your readers continue to follow these events, as they are critical to our future power usage and costs. The Illinois Channel will do what it can to keep citizens informed of these events as they transpire.
This is definitely an issue worth keeping track of. And surely this issue impacts Chicago residents, mostly elderly residents as it does downstate communities. But I'll be sure to follow up on this come Tuesday.

And thanks to Terry Martin for this information.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Committee of the whole: electric deregulation...

Watch this video from the Illinois Channel. Check on this description of the IL Channel hompage as it is under web-only content...
Lawmakers introduce House Bill 1750 which would return electric rates to last year's levels and require utility companies to repay the increases their residential customers have paid since January 1.
I haven't really been following this news but watching the video I see the passion of downstate Rep. John Bradley of Marion. He's passionate about how utility rates are affecting his constituents. The elderly, homeowners, and even small businesses. A lot of figures being thrown around.

As I understand correctly this issue came up during the veto session late last year sometime after the election and an agreement on utility rates couldn't be reached. With utility companies wanting to raise their rates because they claimed that they would suffer under a rate freeze, while a rate freeze would be relief towards those who can't keep up with the utility rates.

Surely but slowly though in Illinois, winter is going to turn into spring the weather will warm up. The thing is though that the weather isn't likely to get that much warmer. And while there are plenty of scare tactics on the side of rate freezes, this is an issue that requires a good discussion.

I'm torn on this myself. While I can easily support the fact that utilities should raise their rates to whatever they think is important (you know the whole market thing) if they get out of control to the point where people aren't easily able to pay something should be done. Well perhaps I'll look into this issue a little but more closely.

The Illinois House of Representatives are to be convened as a Committee of the Whole (no doubt a parliamentary procedural term) on the subject of electric deregulation on February 27th, 2006 at 1PM. I intend to follow this more closely.

Math Education: An Inconvenient Truth

I've been wanting to post this for a while since I first found this. This highlights this thing called New Math. They didn't teach me this when I was in high school and it seems very much more complicated than how it was when I was one of these young bucks going to school learning this for the first time.

I hope this isn't what they're teaching kids in the Chicago Public Schools, but I do know that if my kids are having problems with math and it's because of this I might question their teacher's methods. I don't know, I don't have any kids yet. But I do know some of you who read this blog do have kids.

Chicago Reader is looking for some citizen journalists...

This was announced over at Clout City. Check them out over there if you're interested in this. This should make this election even more interesting to look at what's going on at the precincts.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Obamarama - Memo to pundits

Rich Miller of the Capitol Fax Blog (I stole this title from him) wrote a column in the Chicago Sun-Times today about how Sen. Obama's support among blacks is shaping up.

In the brief life of this blog I noted how former Cook County Board President John Stroger has failed to endorse black candidates such as Barack Obama when he ran for the Senate in 2004. Stroger actually endorsed Dan Hynes and also he failed to endorse Harold Washington who won his campaign for Mayor of Chicago. And Miller points to a much more recent example Sen. Obama endorsed Mayor Daley over his two black challengers "Dock" Walls and Dorothy Brown.

I'll just sit back and let him make his case...

First, just because a prominent African-American leader endorses Hillary Clinton, that doesn't mean Barack Obama's campaign has suffered a mortal wound. It may seem unusual to you that some black leaders aren't supporting a black candidate, but, take it from me, this happens all the time.

Just look at Obama himself. Obama has endorsed Mayor Daley (who is white) over two black opponents. The reason is pretty clear: Daley is a surefire bet for winning his re-election and Hizzoner can help Obama raise money and eat into Clinton's support with other mayors and assorted big shots.

You want more evidence? Fine. Back in 2004, Cook County Board President John Stroger endorsed two-term Illinois Comptroller Dan Hynes (white) for the U.S. Senate instead of Obama. Obama won Stroger's own ward by a huge margin.

That's another lesson for you. An endorsement by an influential black person does not usually translate into actual Democratic African-American votes for a white candidate who's up against a viable, attractive black candidate.

Yet another example along those lines was the 1983 Chicago mayoral race when incumbent Jane Byrne (white) was endorsed by a whole host of black political leaders. African-American Congressman Harold Washington came in at the right time, with the right message and the right campaign, set fire in the precincts and won the race, carrying the black wards by a large margin. In the end, the endorsements did Byrne no good.

Next, you "experts" assume that just because viable, credible black candidates end up winning overwhelming majorities of black votes that polls currently showing Hillary Clinton leading Obama among African Americans are somehow important.

Wrong again.

In Illinois, at least, large numbers of black voters tend to take their time making up their minds. In political parlance, they ''break late.''

Ten months before the March 2004 U.S. Senate primary (about where we are now before the Iowa caucuses), Obama's own polls showed him winning just 34 percent of the black vote. About a month before the primary, African-American voters began ''breaking'' in large numbers to his candidacy. As they began focusing on the campaign, black voters saw he was viable, liked his message and a significant percentage finally realized he was African American. He ended up winning just about all their votes

Like Byrne, Hillary Clinton is almost universally known and has a strong record of backing issues important to many Democratic African-American voters. Obama is far less known. It's perfectly natural that, right now, many black voters are siding with Clinton. But, if Obama's candidacy remains viable through early next year, I'd bet that the vast majority of African-American voters will end up with him.

Very interesting I've never thought of it this way. But I guess if you look at the patterns involved among black politicians or prominent blacks, perhaps it's all about politics and picking a winner.

Cook County budget...

I just saved three links about the budget news at Cook County. I'll post a few excerpts about this story from the Sun-Times though and I'll post the links. From one story it appears the debate over the budget went right into the late night.

Isn't great to see our dedicated public officials work late to get the people business finished?

Check out the proposal that lost versus the one that was actually agreed too...

Commissioner Forrest Claypool, who led the charge for Stroger to make deeper cuts, pushed a plan that would have cut 400 more high-paying management jobs while restoring more police, prosecutors and nurses. Claypool could only get seven votes of support.
Now the proposal that won out...

Stroger's budget plans for the elimination of almost 1,700 jobs, including 1,251 through layoffs. Stroger also agreed to restore the Access to Care health program, Women's Justice Services and community service programs for the sheriff, along with 65 sheriff's police, 175 courtroom deputies and 25 probation officers, as well as some nurses and prosecutors.
Here's a little more about the votes...

Though a formal vote by the County Board had not been cast by 12:30 a.m., it appeared Stroger had locked up 10 of the 17 votes necessary, including winning the support of Republicans Peter Silvestri, Gregg Goslin and Liz Gorman, along with surprise support from Mike Quigley.
Here's a little more about this budget vote and the people it will affect...
Earlier, union members lobbying commissioners in a back room seemed to be weakening some of Stroger's support.

Some who had earlier supported Stroger's call for 17 percent cuts across the board by all county officials later backed Claypool's plan, then switched back to Stroger's side.

Though the budget cuts Stroger is proposing will mean layoffs and the end of some county programs, taxes will not be raised to balance this budget.

It was unclear just how many doctors and nurses would be cut from county hospitals, but Stroger still wants to close 13 of the county's 26 health clinics.

Thursday's budget meeting drew hundreds of county workers, concerned about layoffs. Dozens stayed late into the night, awaiting word on their jobs.

The budget process dragged on because of an effort to fill a $500 million deficit. Stroger refinanced bonds to save $150 million but still had to cut $350 million.
If I find more links to this story I'll post them into

Should this even be a state law???

As much as I think a lot of guys around here on campus could learn that washing your hands is a good thing I don't want anyone legislating this. In fact I don't think those that won't wash their hands after using the bathroom want this either. Shouldn't the Illinois House of Representatives be working on other issues of greater importance?

Check out this story...

The Illinois House passed a proposal from state Rep. Mary Flowers (D-Chicago) that would require CPS students to wash their hands with antiseptic before meals at school.

The proposal would help reduce the spread of illness and, in turn, reduce student absenteeism and improve learning, Flowers said.

"Hand-washing is crucial for public health . . . but we're not doing a good job when it comes to teaching our children that," she said.

State code already mandates that children be taught proper hand-washing techniques.

As such, CPS is balking at the plan, calling it unnecessary. "I think our principals and teachers treat that issue with the seriousness that it deserves," CPS spokesman Mike Vaughn said. "I don't think they need a piece of legislation to provide that direction."

Most CPS cafeterias already have hand-sanitizing gel and posted instructions on proper hand-washing techniques.

A handful of legislators thought Flowers' perhaps well-intentioned bill was overkill.

"It's a good idea that kids wash their hands before they eat, obviously, but I don't think that's the kind of thing we need to legislate," state Rep. Joe Dunn (R-Naperville) said. "Every good idea doesn't have to be a law. People are responsible for themselves."

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Been a while since I blogged about wrestling but...

Sad news. It was reported on that the former ECW champion as well as a former WCW and WWF superstar, Mike Awesome was found dead. According to the headline because unfortunately I can't access the article suicide is suspected.

If I can finally get to this story I'll be sure to post any excerpts I can.

Here's a link from

Another from Sports Bastards.

Still striking a nerve in the 50th ward...

Remember my Saturday items post about Bridget who was canvassing in the 50th ward and she encounters the daughter of the incumbent who is also his chief of staff. She posted a video and everything and it is just a vulgar mess. Indeed this should be embarrasing but only if you look at the comments she's been getting Stone supporters are just living looking at this post.

Also she posted this on her own blog, Bridget in the Sixth. And while she didn't get as many comments there as she did when she posted on Illinoize she got more backlinks there than at Illinoize. I mean great job yes.

But you know the story doesn't end yet....

She volunteers for a Stone opponent, Greg Brewer who is one of three other individuals running against the 34 year incumbent Ald. Bernard Stone. And well I'll let her tell YOU her story from yesterday...
Today one of Alderman Berny Stone's supporters called and told me that he was going to "firebomb" our office. When I asked him if he was threatening us, he said that he'll "do whatever it takes to keep Bernard Stone in office" and reiterated his intention to "firebomb" the office. I hung up and called the police.

The bomb squad came and checked out the place and took a police report. While it was probably just some idiot running his mouth with no intention to do much more than that, I was not about to take any chances.
Congrats to Greg Brewer he is officially a thread to be taken seriously by Ald. Stone and Stone has supporters who will do anything to help their guy win. Even engage in these aggressive tactics. Well I could attribute this to democracy in the big city, but you know this isn't even close.

Todd's trash talk

Wow I saw this headline I thought that Todd Stroger's laidback personality (probably one of those things that got him elected as Cook County Board President) is starting to wane. He's talking trash and he's directing it towards his opponents. Not only that he's calling people names. OMG that's not polite.

Well let's take a look at this story...

On the eve of his biggest day as Cook County Board president, Todd Stroger took to name-calling of elected officials he says have whined too much about having to cut their budgets.

State's Attorney Richard Devine and Sheriff Tom Dart are "prima donnas" who have complained about cuts on "just about every talk show," Stroger said Wednesday.

Stroger's comments came one day after he called Devine "the biggest pain in the ass I have ever met in public life" in an interview with the Daily Southtown editorial board.

A Dart spokeswoman said he wouldn't "engage in any name-calling" with Stroger, while Devine said Stroger's comments were "silly."

"If you're the chief executive of Cook County, you really should be focused on the great issues, the really important issues that we have right now," Devine said.

Stroger said his comments about Devine were "appropriate," then launched into complaints about Devine and Dart -- whose offices would take a huge hit under Stroger's $3 billion proposed budget.
OK for name calling ass is strong enough being called a prima donna isn't nothing. I've not reported a lot about what's going on at County government on this blog, but I've been hearing about the cuts that Todd wants to impose. He's cutting staff and services at county hospitals, the Sheriff's department, the State's Attorney's office, and even public defenders. If people came around on him since his anointment as County Board President (yes I'm talking about his appointment as the Dem nominee and his election against Tony Peraica in the general) they probably are lamenting his proposed cuts these days. Not to say I agree with him on most of these things but you'll have to admit that tough choices have to be made yes.

That's not all Stroger even lobbed words at another politician...
Stroger also took a verbal swing at Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr., who criticized some of Stroger's budget cuts, saying it's easy for Jackson to throw stones without understanding reasons for cuts.
So here's some details about what's this all about...

Stroger's rant came as hundreds of county employees -- including doctors and nurses -- began receiving letters advising them their jobs would be cut if Stroger's budget passed as is.

The County Board will meet today to begin voting on a budget that must be passed by Wednesday.

"The personality stuff is really a distraction from some pretty important issues that we have to discuss," said Devine, whose office laid off 43 prosecutors and 10 investigators last week.

Stroger wants Devine to cut $14 million from his office's budget of nearly $97 million. If the cuts stand, Devine said his office will lose 144 positions in all. The office is cutting 45 administrative employees this week.

Devine argues that the cuts will hurt law enforcement.

Finally Stroger's admitting that this criticism is taking a toll on him. I guess jockeying for his father's office isn't all that it's cracked up to be is it. Well Stroger or Toddler if you prefer can still grow into his position, he's just having a rough time on the job right now...
Stroger repeatedly said that he's upset about comments by Devine and Dart that he is taking a "budgeting for idiots" approach to cuts and "doesn't know what he's doing," adding that his wife, Jeanine, is taking it personally.
Stroger has been ridiculed by unions over his proposed cuts and criticized for padding the payroll with friends in high-paid positions while slashing frontline workers.

He was booed by Democrats at a rally for Sen. Barack Obama, and he concedes that he's bothered by some criticism.

But he said he doesn't believe the boos and criticism reflect the opinions of most of the public about the job he's doing.

He said cuts are being made across the board in county health, public safety and other functions, but are being done with purpose.

"When we look at the changes we're making, we're making them for the betterment of the Bureau of Health and for the county as a whole," he said.
Things are getting interesting at Cook County Government. Let's see what happens with this budget of his. There are definitely to be some reforms necessary.

Once again Todd Stroger's Blog!!! I don't know whether to be amused or not when reading this blog. Check out his latest post on the budget, it doesn't mention the ugliness.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Two predictions on Ald. Troutman...

Well if you look at all the predictions that can be found anywhere I have no doubt that there will be varying predictions. Like she'll lose or he wins or there will be a run-off where the incumbent loses. There is never an exact science to this, one reason why I try not to predict any race or if I do I try to keep that to myself at least until after the election.

In Ald. Troutman's case well I've stated a couple of times that I wouldn't be surprised if she wins despite her current legal troubles. We also see that she seems to not mind holding development of her ward in limbo. One could say she took a page out of the book of her colleague Ald. Dorthy Tillman her fellow south side Alderman who is also predicted for the most part to either lose or be in a runoff.

Still I have one prediction that indicates that she will lose her race, but this first prediction is from local political columnist Russ Stewart...
Arenda Troutman, age 49, has been the alderman of the South Side 20th Ward since 1991. She was indicted on bribery charges in January. "Somebody's out to get me," she was quoted as saying. She's cloaking herself in victimhood, and she has weak opposition.
20th Ward: In the black community an indictment can be a badge of honor, particularly if the indicted claims to be a victim of white racism. Or it can be an embarrassment. Troutman, who got 56 percent of the vote in 2003, faces two foes: Willie Cochran, a retired cop, and Ed Chaney, a retired dentist.

My prediction: Troutman will drop under 50 percent on Feb. 27, and she will lose the runoff.

Here's another column from Richard Carnahan of Gaper's Block. He predicts exactly the oppose with probable percentages...
20th Ward: I hope you didn't think the federal indictment on corruption charges would forestall an outright Troutman victory. Not in Chicago.

Prediction: Arenda Troutman 58%, Other 42%

I don't know if it'll be that high, but again it wouldn't surprise me if she won this one. If the evidence against her is worth anything, she won't have much time to serve and what we'll see is yet another appointed Alderman from Mayor Daley. Who knows Bishop Brazier might actually approve of this choice.

The election is next week, BTW, vote if you can and make a choice.

Ald. Troutman is still making the news

And it's starting to look more and more like she might lose her re-election bid. Early last month she was arrested on corruption charged after the FBI raided her home on a search warrant. As you know she has been busy on this blog but even more busy because of her current legal troubles. I would just want to state that I wouldn't be surprised if she wins re-election.

Anyway she lost one of her key supporters as noted in Clout City, a politics blog from the Chicago Reader...
So it was revealing to find out that Troutman lost Brazier’s support when she moved to hold up a $77 million development in Woodlawn recently. She may survive getting charged with bribery by the feds, and she may not need Brazier’s endorsement to win reelection against a couple of previously unknown candidates, but now that both have happened, I’ve got to think she’s a long shot to hold onto her seat.

I called Troutman’s office last week—several times—to set up an appointment with her. It never happened, but the one time I spoke to her personally she complained that Brazier had not only endorsed her opponent Willie Cochran but had been calling other churches in the ward to align them against her.

Brazier told me this wasn’t true. “I have not called other pastors,” he said. “It’s something I would do, but not something I have done.”

Brazier said Troutman’s decision to pull her support for the development was “outrageous” and “irresponsible” after she’d signed off on it a few weeks ago. “It’s time for her to go,” he said.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

School reform

An editorial about Chicago School Reform entitled, apropriately enough, "Why Blacks Should Oppose Fake School Reform" from the Chicago Defender. Now you may want to know what this means?

Well let's see...
Yes, here I go again, arguing it is racist to keep fooling Chicago's black parents about their children's lack of academic progress. Black youths have become the farm team for the prison system. Does anyone really care about our students, trapped in the burning building of mediocrity?

Legislators in Springfield are chomping at the bit to pass some version of the so called "tax swap" before the end of the current legislative session. Armed with a veto-proof majority in both the house and senate, Democrats want to pour more money into a failing school system without addressing the root causes of failure. The false pretexts for the bill, HB750, are that schools are under-funded and differences in per-pupil funding between school districts harm poor students.

The black community in Chicago should be up in arms over this fake reform. These legislators are using our children as propaganda material to advance other agendas. The same folks who cite black dropout rates as an excuse to increase the state tax burden have not lifted a finger to give black parents more control over their children's schooling.

Instead of redesigning the system so that tax dollars follow students to schools selected by their parents, politicians want to give more money to the same bureaucrats who have been more committed to securing lucrative contracts for teachers unions and beefing up retirement plans than improving academic performance.

So long as the black community believes more money is all it will take to fix public schools, this broken system will continue to deliver the same disastrous product. Currently 50 percent of black high school students in Illinois fail to graduate, and 94 percent of Chicago Public School students will never earn a college degree.

I'd like to see Senator Obama tackle this issue. Well this piece doesn't mention him. This issue certainly needs a champion. If anyone needs the school to work it's minorities. Every now and then you might hear how parents just throw their children into the public school as if it's a teacher's job to babysit them. Here's another important fact worth noting...
The achievement gap between black and white students persists despite rising per-pupil school spending. The Chicago Tribune conducted a study in 2004 demonstrating that funding levels do not determine student performance. For example, Lake Forest district spent $20,173 per-pupil while Will County district spent $4,829 per-pupil, yet students passed state tests at similar rates in both districts. Even a $15,000-a-year spending difference didn't make a difference in student achievement!

The myth of the poorly paid teacher is also frequently trotted out to squeeze more money from state taxpayers. However, the National Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that teachers earn an average of $34.06 an hour, 36 percent more than comparable white-collar workers. The average teacher's base salary in Illinois is seventh best in the country and 16 percent higher than the national average! Add to this generous compensation the job security of tenure and the promise of a state pension far more generous than what is offered in the private sector, and it's clear teachers are not underpaid.
I was in public schools in those years in which school was held back a week because of labor strife. While I was still in elementary school there was talk about budget deficits and that was before Mayor Daley took over the school system. We don't hear as much about that now, but with Arne Duncun as schools CEO, they're asking for more money now.

There's another point I want to pull but it doesn't come from this editorial but Evan Coyne Maloney...
That’s why you hear teachers’ unions oppose school choice on the grounds that it would hurt failing schools. But the point of public education is not to ensure the survival of schools, it’s to ensure the education of students. So what if failing schools are closed? They should close. And the only way that’ll ever happen is if less-advantaged families have an opportunity to vote with their feet and abandon the schools that are failing their children.

Now that's an idea, huh?

Remember the Black Wall Street

For this I give a hat-tip to My Urban Report. I had blogged a little about this moment in black history sometime last year. But Urban Report found a little bit more about this story in the Chicago Defender. There was more to that story that I was able to pull last year.

Almost like a similar story the town of Rosewood in Florida it seemed to start in this fashion...
It was Memorial Day - Monday, May 30 -in 1921. Dick Rowland, 19, was a shoeshiner employed at a Main Street shine parlor. He left his station and went to the elevator in the rear at another building to use the "colored" washroom upstairs.

"I shined shoes with Dick Rowland. He was an orphan and had quit school to take care of himself," said Robert Fairchild Sr., a survivor. "The Drexel Building was the only place downtown where we were allowed to use the restroom.

"Dick was a quiet kind of fella. Never in no trouble. He was just going over there to use the bathroom. That's all. He was just going to use the bathroom."

Rowland summoned the elevator and stood waiting for it to stop on the ground floor. When the elevator door opened, a 17-year-old elevator operator by the name of Sarah Page was on duty.

When she saw that Rowland was Black, she pushed the button to close the door before he could get all the way in - not uncommon treatment for whites toward Black customers.

But Rowland hurriedly dived into the elevator before the door closed on him and in the process either bumped her or stepped on her foot accidentally. She screamed. And when the doors opened, Rowland hurried from the building as Page recounted how he had raped her.

Such an accusation, false or not, in those days was enough to provoke certain whites to forego due process and lynch the "perpetrator."

The morning after the incident, Rowland was detained on Greenwood Avenue. He was booked and taken to the top floor of the Tulsa County Courthouse for his personal safety.

Many attorneys who were patrons of Rowland's shoeshine business began defending him to whites inflamed by the report. Also, it was noted that Page did not enjoy the highest reputation of virtue.

An afternoon editorial in the Tulsa Tribune was entitled: "Nab Negro for Attacking Girl in Elevator," and described the alleged incident. A second editorial was titled: "To Lynch Negro Tonight." That paper hit the streets just after 3 p.m., and news of this fictitious lynching soon spread.

These are one of those situations that I will never get a handle on. Lynching and race riots. We basically know what happened in Chicago in 1919 and perhaps other northern cities, it was most certainly economic in nature with blacks competing for jobs (perhaps I should do more research into that). But Tulsa, Oklahoma just had to be a case of mindless hate.

Here's the important part that you should know. Many of you may not have heard about it right...
So shameful was that reign of terror in Tulsa's history that the state's history books reduced it to a mere footnote in early 20th-century race relations.

"I was born and raised here, and I had never heard of the riot," said Tulsa District Attorney Bill LaFortune.

For the past 75 years, the riot had remained Tulsa's shameful, unspeakable secret. But June 1 of last year, on the slaughter's 75th anniversary, the city held its first commemorative service and erected a memorial.

I suggest you read this piece. It's unlikely something like this will ever happen again and it's a good thing to remember that things like this does happen. We should never forget.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Today is President's Day

You can check out what's available in Chicago as far as services here.

We just passed Lincoln's birthday last week. Abraham Lincoln was our 16th President. February seems to be home to a lot of President's birthdays.

President's Day is closer to George Washington's birthday. Of course Honest Abe was on February 12th. On February 9th was the man who had the shortest presidency William Henry Harrison. Finally on February 6th was Ronald Reagan.

OK that isn't a lot but I figured this was interesting given that we are talking about President's day. If any of you have this day off I hope you have a restful one. Perhaps you should read up on some history.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Mary Mitchell has the Obama beat, part 2...

Let's look at today's column. Obama takes a shot at the two South Carolina lawmakers who don't believe Senator Obama can win. Let's have a little look...

Although Obama didn't address the Jackson controversy during his speech, he took clear aim at Ford's a-black-man-can't-win attitude -- linking those remarks to historical markers in the civil rights movement.

"Someone said if Obama was president that we would lose up and down the ticket -- governor's race, state senator races, local races -- can't have a black man at the top of the ticket," he told a frenzied crowd of about 2,800 people.

"I know this . . . that when folks were saying we are going to march for our freedoms, somebody said you can't do that.

"When somebody said let's sit at the lunch counter, [somebody said] we can't do that. ... When somebody says a woman belongs in the kitchen -- and not in the work force, they said we can't do that.

"I don't believe in this can't do, won't do, won't even try style of leadership. Don't believe in that," he told a screaming crowd. "Yes, we can."
Now that's how you put them in their places. So he's responded and it'll be interesting to see him talk more about these types of controversies as he goes forward. Now I want to show how Mitchell starts this column...

When Sen. Barack Obama arrived here Friday night for a rally at the Metropolitan Convention Center -- his first trip to South Carolina as a presidential candidate -- things were in an uproar. The day before, he'd been rebuffed by state Sen. Darrell Jackson, one of the most prominent and politically influential black men in the state, in a deal that, as the late Lu Palmer used to say, "is enough to make a Negro turn black."

Jackson, also the pastor of a 10,000-member congregation, is the head of Sunrise Enterprises. The political consulting firm picked up a $10,000-a-month consulting contract with Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, apparently reneging on an earlier commitment to the Obama camp.

At the same time, another state senator, Robert Ford, was frantically backpedaling from earlier comments in which he defended his support of Clinton by arguing that Obama would drag the Democratic ticket down.

Woah, a piece of work this Jackson. This is another issue and our own powerful black lawmaker, Illinois Senate President Emil Jones attempted to address this topic a few weeks ago. The topic of blacks supporting Obama's fellow Senator Hillary Clinton. I blogged about this over at Illinoize...

Washington - Seeking to solidify African-American backing for Barack Obama’s presidential bid, Illinois Senate President Emil Jones Jr. told black Democrats meeting here last week they don’t “owe” anyone, alluding to, but not mentioning by name, Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Obama, said Jones, “is our son.”
So let's look at a little more of the story in South Carolina...

Edna R. Clifton, a senior African American who was born and raised in South Carolina, said Obama's biggest challenge in South Carolina -- where black mega-churches are plentiful and pastors are powerful -- will be educating black voters.

"It's the mentality of the people who are following these preachers," she said as she stood in an adoring throng waiting for Obama to take the stage.

"It's all about the money. Really, I think some of these pastors have been bought off."

Clifton said she likes Obama.

"I like what he is saying. He is a family man, and it's time for change," she said.

About half of the state's voters are African American, and with Obama's crossover appeal, he stands a realistic chance of winning in this early primary state.
Well so is it that they're being bought? It shouldn't surprise anyone that the Clinton machine has money. All that fundraising, but will that be enough can you buy a presidential primary anywhere?

Here's more about Sen. Obama in South Carolina...
Obama attended a private breakfast meeting with several local pastors Saturday morning before speaking at Claflin University in Orangeburg -- the country's oldest historically black college.

Johnnie Mitchell, an environmentalist who lives in Orangeburg, told me Friday before even hearing Obama speak that he wasn't buying the poll that showed African Americans favor Clinton over Obama 2-1.

"I'm not even going to think negative. I'm hoping not getting the nomination is not even an option."
A wise thing to do. I don't know if this is the Senator's time, but I do know that this upcoming primary season is going to be interesting. Since he has hit the national scene this most certainly will be his first serious election. Let's see if Obama can muster this challenge.

Mary Mitchell has the Obama beat again

I remember when he first ran for the US Senate a few years ago she was certainly in the Obama camp then. She supported his candidacy and even took to task people like Bobby Rush who didn't support his candidacy. This week we look at other black Democrats around the country who seem at best pessimistic at Obama's chances of winning the nomination and the Presidency.
I'm sure there are many columns by black columnists on this subject. Especially on the issue of whether Obama is black enough and if he's even electable. So I want to refer you to Mitchell's earlier column this week about two black Democrats in South Carolina (a very important primary state almost on par with Iowa and New Hampshire). This column is entitled, "Why are black lawmakers already jumping on Clinton bandwagon?" And here's a brief excerpt...
Skepticism I understand. But when two black male legislators from the Deep South throw their hats in Hillary Clinton's ring at the start of a wide-open election, I want to slap them upside their heads.
Why are these black men so eager to drive Miss Hillary to the White House when Illinois' U.S. Sen. Barack Obama is also a front-runner?

State Senators Robert Ford and Darrell Jackson are considered key black political leaders in South Carolina because they backed John Edwards in 2004 and managed to hand Edwards 37 percent of the vote in a state where half the primary voters are black.

For those of you who don't understand why we keep harping on early primaries, it's simple. If a presidential candidate wins an early primary state -- like Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina -- deep-pocket donors keep funding their campaigns.

The losing candidates are well on their way to becoming also-rans.

So you tell me why Ford and Jackson found it necessary to tell reporters that they were driving Miss Hillary so early in the game.

"It's a slim possibility for [Obama] to get the nomination, but then everybody else is doomed," Ford told a reporter with the Associated Press on Tuesday.

"Every Democrat running on that ticket next year would lose because he's black and he's top of the ticket. We'd lose the House and the Senate and the governors and everything," he said. "I'm a gambling man. I love Obama," Ford said. "But I'm not going to kill myself."

This, from a man who claims in his bio that from 1966 to 1972, at the height of the civil rights movement, he was arrested 73 times as a staff member with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.
So Sen. Obama at the top of the ticket could hurt other Democrats. Democrats can lose the House, Senate and the Governor's mansions around the country. He hasn't even won a single primary and it's already being predicted what's going to happen. Now could this be based on Obama's skin color or is it his ideas or lack of them. It's frivolous to look at his race it really shouldn't matter no more than his middle name should.

Let's continue with "What it means to be black?"...

Forget that Obama's bid for the presidency will force some whites to deal with any preconceived notions they have about black men. It is forcing blacks to check themselves, as well.
The discomfort some blacks have with Obama has nothing to do with his resume nor his ethnicity, but with the simple fact that he is a light-skinned black man who was able to cross over into mainstream America. The Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr. couldn't do that. And the Rev. Al Sharpton certainly couldn't do it.

For me, the black experience has been growing up in poverty in a public housing project and overcoming that poverty to achieve a measure of success. For a dear friend, the black experience has been growing up in a solidly middle-class neighborhood -- after her family escaped the armed conflicts that once ravaged Nigeria. In fact, can anyone tell me what it means to be black these days?

The real problem here is that too many black leaders have lost confidence. They've given up on the hope in what they do could improve the quality of life for the people who put them in office in the first place, and it shows in our communities.

Political leaders like Robert Ford and Darrell Jackson are guarding their political turf in the same way drug dealers guard street corners. But worse, they are hatin' on a brother who dares to believe anything is possible.
She tackles a number of subjects but remember this quote that I had on this blog that I got from Timuel Black...

Saying he's not black enough, is an attempt to discredit him among blacks because that may be the base that they want.
This certainly isn't totally what this is about, but it is certainly another aspect of wanting to protecting an individual's own power and influence. So is the Senator's future prospects a thread to their Ford and Jackson's power and influence. Could the fact that Obama might become President of the United States prove to be a problem to them?

We can always look at another side of this if they see him as a threat. They might be able to better work with Obama. They could have some influence. If they choose to oppose him it may not be very good on them especially if he wins. And let's remember one thing these two men aren't on the federal level anyway.

I want to get to today's column but it seems that this post will be too long so there will be a part two just as soon as I get it completed.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Senate Gridlocked on Iraq Troop Buildup


The Senate gridlocked on the Iraq war in a sharply worded showdown on Saturday as Republicans foiled a Democratic attempt to rebuke President Bush over his deployment of 21,500 additional combat troops.

The vote was 56-34. That was six short of the 60 needed to advance the measure, which is identical to a nonbinding resolution that Democrats pushed through the House on Friday.

"The Senate, on behalf of the American people, must make it clear to the commander in chief that he no longer has a rubber stamp in Iraq," said Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., in the final moments before the vote.

Republicans blasted him and the Democratic leadership for refusing to allow a vote on an alternative that ruled out any reduction in money for troops in the field.

"A vote in support of the troops that is silent on the question of funds is an attempt to have it both ways," said Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the GOP leader. "So we are asking for an honest and open debate."
The vote marked the second time this winter that Senate Republicans have blocked action on nonbinding measures critical of the president's war policies. This time, however, there were signs of restlessness within the GOP.

Seven Republicans broke with their leadership, compared with only two on the previous test vote.

Saturday's Items...

How about a blog about Todd Stroger (Hat-tip to Bill Baar's West Side)? Or is it Todd Stroger's Blog. I think it might be serious, but then again it can be very convincing satire. One thing that might be official about it is the official links to all the branches and operations of Cook County government from mugshots of Sex Offenders, to the Court System. There is even a site that makes "Todd Stroger (?)" laugh. There are only two posts there this month or in fact for the whole existence of the blog since it started this month.

I'm watching Public Affairs again. This time Jeff Berkowitz is interviewing Ald. Bernard Stone who is running for re-election. But since we're talking about the Ald, let's talk about his daughter.

This will be the last item from Bridget on Illinoize and it has locally gotten quite a few links. See a lot of Alderman have children who they want to suceed them and they may have a lot of "clout" to make that happen. But then after seeing this video would you want this lady as your alderman. Look not everyone in politics is very nice, but they know when they should keep cool or at least stay restrained and she wasn't very restrained. This was the funniest comment I saw about Ms. Ilana Stone Feketitsch from
Note to dads, tell your girls no, once in a while.
I forgot to mention that she is his chief of staff as well!!!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Friday's Items

The Tribune now has a local political blog called Clout Street that I have just subscribed to. I found this blog looking at the story from the Tribune about the contests in both the 15th and 18th wards. The universe is only getting bigger for sure there are plenty of blogs looking at mostly local issues. And then those blogs that are run by newspapers such as the Tribune or the Chicago Reader (which is less known and also they have Clout City, clout seems to be a running theme in Chicago). BTW for your reading pleasure I would like to suggest The Swamp if what's going on in Washington, DC is in your interest.

Now the other item to be shared is from the Illinois House Republicans have unveiled a new website and a new project called 102 Ideas. With 102 Ideas they are seeking input from people in all 102 counties in Illinois. A worthwhile project which is only designed to open them up a little. And the Capitol Fax Blog wants to know what you think? And if you got any ideas 102 Ideas is one place where you can express them. So have at it.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Ouch for Obama!!!

The article was entitled, "At the time, her cousin Barack Obama was fast becoming a rising star in the Illinois State Senate."

Wow that doesn't brim with the confidence that we have in him now and this article basically is just one negative against the Senator. I found this article actually on Capitol Fax Blog and I clicked on that link in the Morning Shorts all the way to a more complete version here. The more complete story talks about declaring bankruptcy because a person is unable to pay their medical expenses. Sad huh, according to this article this was unheard of 25 years ago.

Read a little with me...
Five long years ago, Rose Shaffer's life seemed sweet. A nurse since the early 1970s, Shaffer had spent most of her 60 years working at various Chicago hospitals, rising through the caregiver ranks and raising three kids. Now in the twilight of her career, she'd been hired as director of nursing at a home health agency in the suburb of Lombard. The position made Shaffer proud – she knew her salary could pay off the mortgage on her house a little sooner. At the time, her cousin Barack Obama was fast becoming a rising star in the Illinois State Senate.

Seven months into her new job, Shaffer suffered a heart attack, and an ambulance rushed her to Advocate South Suburban Hospital. Shaffer assumed she was automatically covered – health insurance was a given at her previous nursing jobs. She thought she'd filled out the proper forms. But she hadn't.

A week later, Shaffer received a bill from Advocate for the three days she'd been hospitalized. It was for $18,000. Shortly thereafter, Advocate began sending letters to Shaffer demanding payment. Then, a summons to appear in court was tossed on her porch. Advocate was suing her.

Shaffer was terrified and didn't show at her court date. She says she even received a letter from the Cook County Sheriff's Department, threatening arrest unless she appeared. Under pressure from Advocate and now behind on her mortgage payments, Shaffer filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in December 2002, which meant her debtors would garner a reduced portion of the money she owed.

"The hospital saved my life, but now they were trying to kill me," Shaffer says.
Uh-oh. Could this be one of Sen. Obama's skeletons? Or will this be relatively minor? Anyway lets read a little more but the less complete link got more on Obama and his cuz...
It seems, all that State Senator Barack Obama got done for her was to make her a part of the Service Employees International Union's campaign against the hospitals.

Any good elected official would have intervened and gotten action, that's what caseworkers do in elected officials offices.

Especially for relatives.

Especially when the President of the Illinois State Senate considers you his political son!

She did go to Springfield to testify in favor of a bill that would end price gouging, but that bill never became law.

Shaffer was part of a lawsuit filed against Advocate by the Union, which was dismissed.

I remind readers, that Obama once appeared on the website of that Union, with a quote under his picture that said "hospitals terrorize the uninsured".

His picture and quote were removed about the time his wife got a big pay hike from a hospital.

As for what he's doing as a US Senator about price gouging, he's protecting hospitals.

When asked to sign on to legislation sponsored by seatmate Dick Durbin aimed at forcing hospitals to disclose prices, his staff said that the Senator would not, "because he was concerned about the impact on hospitals".
So Roze apparently is still paying these bills by working two jobs seven days a week for close to 60 hours. She still must make monthly $2038 in Chapter 13 payments. At least when that article was completed in 2005. So no thanks to her cuz, she was able to pay off her debts. So the Capitol Fax Link ends on this note...
It would seem that Rose finally completed her payments in 2006, apparently without help from her cousin, who could have taken a few thousand dollars from his million dollar book advance and given it to her.

But, he was probably too busy promising to make health care more affordable.

What's really sad is Rose probably believes him.
Let me say this again, OUCH!!!

Morehouse College Founder's Day

Well I have to really check on the date Morehouse uses for its birthday. Last year Spelman College celebrated 125 years. This year Morehouse Celebrates 140. We've got a long way to go to celebrate 200 and that's in another 60 years.

At events such as this you will see alumni. Particularly famous ones. It could be Founder's Day or Homecoming and you can run into alumni such as movie director Spike Lee. Or perhaps you might run into some black celebrities such as Robert Townsend (What is doing these days anyway?). There are surely more names to mention.

Today though Morehouse College had a convocation to celebrate 140 years. We had a speaker an alumni who has made waves in the academic world, Dr. Eddie S. Glaude. He made a speech about leadership. Perhaps everyone of us has the ability to be great and we can't just wait for the next big thing to come along. That is we can no longer wait for a Dr. King (another famous Morehouse Man). So that was the gist of his message.

One last thing to share. As a graduation requirement Men of Morehouse (see the difference) must attend this convocation and other events known as Crown Forum. Well there is a point to it, but I've not figured out what that's spposed to be. At the end anyone at King Chapel must link up and sing (sometimes with the Morehouse Glee Club) the college hymn. You don't have to sing it but I will share it with you.

"Dear Old Morehouse"

Dear old Morehouse, dear old Morehouse
We have pledged our lives to thee;
And we'll ever, yea forever
Give ourselves in loyalty.

True forever, true forever
To old Morehouse may we be;
So to bind each son the other
Into ties more brotherly.

Holy Spirit, Holy Spirit
Make us steadfast, honest true
To old Morehouse and her ideals
And in all things that we do

I was checking out N'Digo

Two good stories. One about Ald. Arenda Troutman well actually an editorial and another about black political families in Chicago. Let me start first with black political families in Chicago.

The only black political family I know about in this country are the Fords in Tennessee. From Harold Ford who was the Democratic nominee for US Senate there and up until January congressman of the 9th District which is basically the Memphis area. His family has also produced other political leaders on the city, county, and state level.

Well this article mentions three: the Beavers, the Steeles, the Strogers, and the Jacksons. Really I should count the Jacksons because they're husband and wife. This article specifically talks about Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and his wife Sandi. Yeah we can talk about the controversies with regards to the Strogers and the Steeles. Mainly that Todd Stroger replaced his dad on the ballot during the summer and that was met with some opposition that didn't prevent Todd from becoming County Board President and then former county board President Bobbie Steele resigned after he re-election as a commissioner to hand the post over to her son her son who now sits in her seat.

Still it's a good story to take a look at.

Now to the Troutman editorial.

If you ever get to crack open an issue of N'Digo you will often see an editorial by the owner and publisher Hermene Hartman. What she tackles is generally going to be local in nature but the scope could be business, national politics, or perhaps more cultural. This week since N'Digo is a weekly publication she tackles a local issue or a person Ald. Troutman.

Not a very good editorial for Troutman. Yeah OK she does touch upon the corruption charges that she is facing right now. Hartman notes...
...At the last City Council meeting, Alderman Troutman said that her signature had been forged on papers that gave approval to a $77 million housing (mixed income) project that has the ability to turn the community of Woodlawn around.

How could an alderman stand up in a room of law, and claim forgery? Who could have forged her signature?

Sounds like an outright lie, and hopefully voters will find this information troubling enough to replace Troutman in the upcoming election.
Then she goes on to talk about how Troutman has proven herself unable to move development in her ward. Hartman makes bullet points on project that should have gone forward but Troutman kept at a standstill...
  • St Bernard’s Hospital is located in Englewood. The population here suffers intensively from heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, respiratory disease, infant mortality, and obesity. For years St. Bernard’s has tried to build a new state-of-the-art community health clinic for Englewood citizens. Alderman Troutman refuses to meet with the principals to discuss the project. A new hospital is not in St. Bernard’s future because of the alderman. This should not be allowed to happen.

  • The Grand Ballroom at 63rd and Cottage Grove has been restored to its splendor. It is one of Chicago’s historic ballrooms that sat next to the Regal Theater. The building has been restored with painstaking efforts, and is one of the most beautiful in the city. It took guts for the developer to drop millions in a desert of a community. The same developer also bought the old Strand Hotel, which is vacant and boarded up. Now that the Ballroom has been reopened, he has spent thousands to develop the hotel for residential and commercial purposes. The alderman encouraged the developer, and now refuses support his multi-million dollar project.

  • Another site that receives no notice from the alderman sits on the southwest corner of Garfield Boulevard and King Drive. The site begs for development as it sits at the entry corridor leading into Washington Park. This gateway could be a centerpiece in the 20th Ward.
In closing Hartman says that developers in Chicago generally pass over the 20th ward because of their difficulty in dealing with Troutman. She doesn't seem to be interested in developing her ward which isn't exactly doing that well. I drive through every now and then and I would see boarded and empty buildings and vacant lots. So Hartman hopes that the people there will elect a new alderman. Right now though I'm totally not sure if she's either going to be indicted or lose her seat on the city council.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Aldermen are janitors

A nice little quote from Chicago Tonight on Channel 11. Credit for finding his actually goes to Eric Zorn of the Tribune blog "Change of Subject".

Ald. Burt Natarus (42nd) on WTTW Ch.-11's "Chicago Tonight" Tuesday: We work here in Chicago because we have 50 janitors taking care of the day-to-day complaints of people.

Moderator Elizabeth Brackett: So you're saying an alderman is in essence a janitor?

Natarus: I am. I'm a janitor. I fix the streets. I fix the curbs. I fix the sidewalks. I plant trees….

Hmmm this is a little better than Ald. Troutman's statement about politicians being hoes. I'm sure someone still sees this as unflattering still though.

Reading about the upcoming municipal elections in Chicago, Ald. Natarus may not make it through this election. We'll have to see though. You should take a look at the lone comment in that post too.

Another blog to check out..

My Urban Report had a sort of a compilation of their favorite videos that are hosting by their service. One of them was this and they highlighted this video about A.Man.I's visit to a bank where he illustrated how to start a saving account at a bank and interviewed an elderly man who had some sound advice about banking and financing. What he said was basic stuff but very important.

And I won't leave you hanging you can view the video here and if you like what you see post a comment here...

It starts off with the fact that most other communities a dollar would circulate multiple times with in a community. For blacks that dollar would circulate once. A.Man.I explains that what happens is that we get paid and we spend our money with someone else who isn't black. A great video worth sharing with you.

I hope you enjoy anything else he presents.

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

I hope you're spending this day or at least the evening with someone you care about. Family, friends, or I suppose romantic interests. Either way this is a good day for some treats.

I've got a couple of items to share with you...

Paul’s tech post - Valentine’s Day edition from The Capitol Fax Blog
Valentine's Day from Wikipedia

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

A long presidential campaign is nothing new

A post from the Chicago Reader blog Daily Harold which linked specifically to a post from the blog, Open University. All this based on a NY Times article (or abstract actually) about the current president campaign in which Senator Obama has just entered. It says that the race has gone to a "breathtakingly early start". So this is where the blogmaster at Open University, Georgetown University historian Michael Kazin comes in...
In fact, since the dawn of mass parties in the 1820s, American politics--and presidential politics, in particular--has always been aggressively entrepreneurial. And, as with most markets, the personal sales effort rarely takes a break.

During the winter of 1826-7, Martin Van Buren was already organizing furiously to avenge Andrew Jackson's unjust defeat in the previous election. William Henry Harrison began touring key states over a year before the 1836 election. After narrowly losing to Van Buren, the 64-year-old military hero was soon on the road again. He knew, after all, that his party rivals Henry Clay and Daniel Webster were doing it too.

The prize for early starts probably goes to William Jennings Bryan, who just loved to campaign. A month after his defeat in 1896, Bryan and his wife published a thick account of the campaign whose title--The First Battle--made his intentions clear. His local post office flooded with thousands of admiring letters, and Bryan took off to speak to potential delegates in dozens of states. One could tell an analogous tale about the 1956 publication of Profiles in Courage, which first helped make John Kennedy a contender for the vice-presidential nomination that year and then made him one of the most popular speakers in the nation. By the time he announced for president in 1960, he was already the favorite.

All that's really new in the 21st century are the Internet and the ever-mounting cost of running a campaign that reporters and viewers will take seriously. Bryan and the Democrats spent all of $250,000 on his 1896 race. But then he lost to a Republican who spent at least ten times more
An interesting way to look at it. Calling politics entrepreneurial. I can interpret this to mean that you can afford to be an upstart in politics. Indeed it can also mean that as to how you campaign you'd better be somewhat imaginative. Either way this is a great history lesson on early American politics.

Less money, little power

An article from the Chicago Reporter.

Check out this table. Why does Burke have over $6.5 million in his campaign fund when he doesn't even have an opponent?

Anyway I want to look at this particular angle. Why don't blacks like to contribute to political candidates? I generally hate the fact that money plays a role in political campaigns and I believe there should be caps on how much can be donated and in certain case who can donate to political candidates.

Still what does giving money to an aldermanic candidate means...

Some experts say more power means getting money from people with money, like big businesses and developers. Having little power means getting little from those companies and relying mostly on the contributions from people who work in the ward.
So why aren't black alderman and ward organizations lagging behind their counterparts in white and Latino wards?

"Money brings power, and power brings money," said 6th Ward Alderman Freddrenna Lyle, who is black. "In the business community, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Because [businesses] give so much to the white aldermen, they have the power."

Lyle said businesses might give to an alderman because they support the alderman's ideas for commercial or residential development. The contributions don't have strings attached, she explained. "It's not a quid pro quo."

But Lyle believes there is a perception among some business interests that campaign contributions can help move things through the city council. "If you have power on the council, it brings in more money from business," Lyle said. "And the South and West sides have been wastelands for business for many years."

In addition, she said black constituents traditionally give to their churches and not politicians.

Lower income and the perception that black aldermen lack power might also hinder the ability of black aldermen to raise money.

"[Black aldermen] come from [poorer] areas where big campaign giving is not traditional," said political consultant Don Rose
Here are some figures...

The Reporter analyzed more than 103,000 campaign contributions totaling $57.4 million given to Chicago aldermen and ward organizations between January 1999 and March 2006. During that time, 20 black aldermen collected $11.3 million, less than half of the $26 million collected by 24 white aldermen and just $2.5 million more than 11 Latino aldermen, according to the Reporter's analysis.
Interesting!!! You know I can always look at it this way perhaps black folks are smart not to donate to politicians. You invest in your politicians only to be disappointed. On the other hand it has often been said that blacks are basically a consumer culture. Blacks will spend money on cars, big houses, and even designer clothing. If we can donate money to a church and spend money for the luxuries surely we can donate money to a candidate we care about or to a cause.

That's not to say that anyone should get carried away with campaign contributions, however, looking at the various camapign funds of the various aldermanic candidates this year I would say you wouldn't be doing well if you're borrowing money. I could say you're not doing well if you can manage to raise anywhere over $1000. Then again trying to "buy" an election is bad too.

I leave you on this note from Don Rose...
Rose said that money usually flows to the most powerful aldermen, but having a lot of campaign money is not always a sign of power.

Monday, February 12, 2007

I just found this today and other items related to Obama.

I just found on 60 Minutes on Yahoo today. There among other items, you can watch video from last night of Sen. Obama's interview on 60 Minutes. It was a really great interview.

Oh yeah I want to address this news that I have seen around the bloggosphere. The news that Australian Prime Minister John Howard went after the Senator on his stance with regards to Iraq...

The man who wants to be the first black US president has pledged to withdraw US troops from Iraq by March 2008, a timetable Mr Howard believes is dangerous.

"I think that would just encourage those who wanted completely to destabilise and destroy Iraq, and create chaos and victory for the terrorists to hang on and hope for (an) Obama victory," Mr Howard told the Nine Network.

"If I was running al-Qaeda in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008, and pray, as many times as possible, for a victory not only for Obama, but also for the Democrats."
Let me just note that Obama has responded, but could this only add fuel to the fire. Could this make Obama even more of a world leader. He hasn't even won a primary yet (in fact the election hasn't even started) and a foreign leader is already going after Obama. As much as I can understand the Prime Minister's sentiments he needs to stay out of this one. Let the American people decide if Obama is the man of the moment.

Also how about this piece of over reaction, from a more conservative blog called Hot Air. The blogger named Ian picked apart the words of Michelle Obama she she said during her husband's 60 Minutes interview...
“I don’t lose sleep over it because the realities are that . . . as a black man . . . Barack can get shot going to the gas station,” Michelle Obama said in the interview, set to air Sunday night. “You can’t make decisions based on fear and the possibility of what might happen.”
Ian went on to be offended by saying...

Well, I’m sure glad I’m white because that means I won’t be shot while “going to the gas station.” I forgot about that unwritten rule where only black men can be shot and no one else.

A surprising answer by Ald. Shirley Coleman.

I was watching the Tribune Editorial Board video interviews of the candidates running for the 16th Ward and I really like the fact that she brought out one major word competition. She recognizes that not all students have the same attention span or the same needs and that we need schools that can address these needs. So she is actually the first politician that I've heard of who believes in this idea of competition in education.

Now if we can get people out for school vouchers.

Lincoln's birthday!!!

Today is Lincoln's Birthday. I didn't realize this was a holiday in Chicago because it's been years since I ever had that day off. It's not a federal holiday but apparently the local schools, and state and local offices are closed today.

If you want to know more about the 16th President who presided over the Civil War and helped start the process of ending slavery and reunify the county I suggest you check out where they did a profile of President Lincoln. I must say how appropriate given that his name has been evoked many times during the momentous occasion of Sen. Obama's Presidential announcment.

Check out PowerLine as well.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Peach Pundit: For black Democrats, what now?

A good post over at Peach Pundit (I call it the Georgia version of Illinoize). Blacks in Chatham County and the State of Georgia are at a crossroad with regard to their support of the Democratic Party. In Georgia, unlike in Illinois, Republicans are in control of the state legislature. I want to refer you to this post that I made two years ago called the "Disenfranchisement Canard" and I promise you'll find it interesting.

Anyway every now and then you might read articles in newspapers or even online about how blacks are starting to believe that the Democratic Party is taking black votes for granted. The flipside of this is that the black vote is written off by Republicans because Republicans don't think that blacks will vote for them anyway. According to Peach Pundit writer Adam Fogle 85 to 90 percent of blacks in Georgia have historically voted Democrat. Here's some points pulled from the Savannah Morning News article...
But [the Rev. Benny Mitchell, the politically active pastor of Connor’s Baptist Temple Church] also knows that many Republicans tend to write blacks off because they figure few of them are going to vote for them anyway. And he’s equally aware that, after appropriate lip service, Democrats often ignore them because they figure they have nowhere else to go.
The bottom line is that, under the GOP ascendancy, black-oriented measures, such as those dealing with racial profiling, find it harder to gain traction.

Every now and then I ponder this. Should blacks continue to vote almost exclusively for one party. And even if we do should black politicians be more willing to build coalitions across party lines. This is the art of politics after all, different groups coming together for various reasons.

Watching Sen. Obama on 60 Minutes

They gave a few distinctions about the "Messiah". Well the most important ones he's left of center, wants to roll back the taxcuts, was the first major candidate to oppose the war before it happened. They did talk about his background (they being Obama and Steve Kroft) about how he sees himself as far as race.

He says that he's rooted in the African-American community but he is not defined by it. They even talk about how blacks see the Senate (i.e. Is he black enough). At this moment they are riding around the far south side of Chicago. Mainly Altgeld Gardens, Roseland along Michigan and along south King Drive. This was apparently where he worked as a community orgainzer earning $13K a year after graduating from Columbia University. Anyway he says that when he played basketball with them and or visit a barbershop he said that this question doesn't normally come up.

Michelle Obama said that as a black man Obama is more likely to get shot going to a gas station than he would have as a Presidential candidate. She also said she outed him on one of his "last" vices. At this moment Kroft asks if the camera is still rolling and Sen. Obama orders the film crew to cut half-way laughing. Basically they were talking about his smoking. Yeah they talked about his past drug use.

Obama at least said that if the American people don't think he's ready (and I think ultimately that they will but who knows if he plays his game right I think he'll be strong in the primaries especially if this movement is as serious as it has buring since his election to the Senate). A good interview by Sen. Obama.

Oh yeah I should note that while people see him as a leader of a new movement Kroft stated that he is 88th in terms of seniority. And I really how this interview got started. He was showing Steve Croft around the Old State Capitol in Springfield and even showed the desk where Lincoln sat as a member of the Illinois General Assembly.

N’Trospect: A History of Blacks in Chicago

N'Digo Online (you can visit them through the links in the sidebar) has a nice section in time for Black history month. Here's a brief description...

Thousands of African-Americans took life-altering journeys to Chicago during the second and third decades of the twentieth century. Fleeing southern cities and small towns, these “Black migrants” packed their belongings in cloth sacks and boarded trains to The Promised Land. In celebration of Black History Month, N’ and the Library of Congress will show you how we lived back then.
And all they offer is a serious of pictures of black life in Chicago in the early 1940s. What caught my eye the most are the first two descriptions of black life in Chicago. I was actually confused by this statement...

The poorest Blacks lived on the North side.
Then it explained that the black belt was divided into zones based on class. The black belt the neighborhood we know as Bronzeville goes from about Cermak to perhaps as far south as 51st or Garfield. In the oldest, northern part of this neighborhood is where the poorer blacks lived. In the southern part of this neighborhood were the much more elite of blacks.

They talked about how many left the south to come up and open up their own businesses. The picture you see in this post is of a restaurant The Perfect Eat Shop located on 47th and South Park (King Dr. for those of you who don't know) owned by a Mr. Ernest Morris. BTW I got image this from the N'Digo site.

Also the last two items involved labor and education. As far as labor blacks had to picket to get better wages. Here's one quick note about that...
Some foremen in various companies discriminated by placing restrictions upon the promotion and advancement of black workers, frequently preventing them from earning higher wages.
I know that it's not mentioned in this section but there are those who claim blacks still have trouble with the unions even today. Finally they take a look at education which is always an issue and it was an issue back then. Geographic isolation and discriminatory school policies gradually lowered the quality of the public education system. Thus one example to alleviate overcrowding of public schools in the black belt...
the Ida B. Wells housing project community center was used to alleviate overcrowding in the kindergarten classes of the Chicago school system.
N'Digo is a very nice little "magapaper" as they describe themselves to read when you want to know what's going on in the black community. And this was a good piece too.