Thursday, January 31, 2008

W.Va. May Offer Gun Training in Schools

I found this article over at Newsalert. Maybe this isn't so radical in West Virginia, but if this happened in Illinois or California or even New York and places like that we'd probably would hear the end of the hollering. There are people out there who don't want anyone, save the police, to get their hands on a firearm....
A significant drop in the number of hunters in West Virginia has left a hole in the state's budget, and one lawmaker thinks he has a solution: Allow children to receive hunter training in school.

Children as young as 10 years old are already eligible for hunting licenses in the state, but training courses are typically offered outside of school. Proponents of the plan hope embedding training during school hours boosts interest.

Seventh- through ninth-graders could opt for instruction in topics ranging from survival skills to gun safety, but the weapons would have dummy ammunition or be disabled. Sen. Billy Wayne Bailey, who introduced the bill this month, doesn't envision students firing real guns during class time.

"It's a way to take this kind of education in the classroom and make it more convenient for young people," said Bailey, a Wyoming County Democrat.

In the face of national concern about school violence, the presence of even disabled guns in school could seem incongruous, but some gun control advocates say careful supervision can ease concerns.

The primary concern of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is children with unauthorized access to guns, spokesman Brian Malte said, and the organization has no problem with supervised training programs.

"We let TV babysit our children," Bailey said. "This is a way to teach them there's a real consequence every time you pull a trigger."
Let's be honest does the appearance of a gun foster school violence. I don't think it does as much as I don't think that there isn't reason for a student to bring a gun to school (well aside from instructional purposes, if you will, as in this case). Perhaps I'd rather a student learns how to use a firearm from a qualified instructor (especially for hunting if not self-defense) than to have someone unqualified teach them. Consider it a form of teaching responsibility.

Hey we never hear about these in city politics.

GOP Committeeman races. They do exist! They even exist in a ward such as the 6th, my goodness.

And The Bench points me to this article. Well he's railed about his GOP committeeman in his ward, the 49th. All you have to do is read The Bench or The Broken Heart to see how things are looking up there. Reading their blogs, it's not great.

Anyway the Democratic committeeman races aren't the only partisan races going on in Chicago with Ald. Sandi Jackson taking on Commissioner Bill Beavers in the 7th or Ald. Bernard Stone taking on State Senator Ira Silverstein in the 50th. So here's GOP Committeeman races in two north side Chicago wards from the Chicago News Star. First is the 50th Ward...

Running for his sixth term as the 50th Ward Republican Committeeman is Kenneth H. Hollander, a 40-year resident of West Ridge, which has approximately 350 registered Republicans. Challenging Hollander are first-time candidates Lonnie Ledford, 40, and Kenneth Pacholski, 50.

Hollander has run twice unsuccessfully for Illinois State Representative. He says that his 30 years of experience in business and the last 20 years spent in law enforcement have given him valuable consensus-building skills in Democrat-controlled Chicago and Cook County.

"This ability to deal and negotiate with others is critical, politically speaking at this time," Hollander responded by e-mail, due to a case of laryngitis. "At one time, when Republicans held many of the state and county elected offices, it was much easier for me to help residents of the ward with their respective concerns and problems. Building a wall between myself as the Republican committeeman and all of the Democrats, as my opponents would expound, is ridiculous and futile as everyone loses."

Hollander mentions appointing fair and impartial election judges, attracting new members of the 50th Ward's Republican Party, encouraging quality Republican candidates, and being the party's local voice in civic and business organizations as some of his ongoing accomplishments as the 50th Ward Republican Committeeman.

"(The office of) committeeman is a volunteer position. Doing a good job is our only reward," Hollander said.

Challengers Ledford and Pacholski both say they are pro-life, pro-Second Amendment and pro-lower taxes. Neither has seen or met Hollander.

"I want a higher accountability with our elected officials," said Ledford, who said he would like to eventually become the city's first Republican mayor since Big Bill Thompson left office in 1931. "I want to be able to network with people in each of the precincts within the ward. I would develop a leadership chain of command."

Ledford said that Hollander has "fallen short" as the 50th Ward's top Republican.

"I respect Mr. Hollander, but it may be just a matter of new ideas, new motivation and a new energy that I can provide as the 50th Ward Republican Committeeman," Ledford said.

Pacholski said that while gathering signatures for his petitions to put his name on the ballot, the biggest concern of 50th Ward residents seems to be about the proliferation of "skunks."

"I want to accomplish the little things," Pacholski said. "We're not going to change foreign policy, but we can try to do something about the skunks. I just want to try to get more Republican values (in the ward) and push as far as I can. We haven't seen much activity and I want to try to get more Republican activity."
LOL at the skunks when I saw that I thought that he was talking about politicians who have been there too long. Nope there is literally a problem with skunks up there and this is no metaphor. Man Chicago seems to get some strange wild animals I've seen a possum once or twice. Anway here's the 49th...
In the 49th Ward Republican Committeeman race, incumbent Robert Shearer, who did not return phone calls requesting an interview, is being challenged by another first-time candidate, Kevin Fullam. Fullam, 33, said he's not in step with the mainstream Republican Party but considers himself a "classical conservative" and more of a Libertarian. He supports Ron Paul in the Republican presidential primary.

"There's around 250 registered Republicans in Rogers Park," Fullam said. "A goal right now is to identify where Republicans in the ward stand on various issues, locally and nationally."

Fullam was recruited to run for ward committeeman by the Heartland Institute, a Chicago-based public policy organization that promotes free-market solutions to economic and social issues.

"We talked about how the current committeeman (Shearer) doesn't do much," Fullam said. "There is lots of opposition right now for Democrats. In the event when strong Republican candidates do run, it's a good thing to have a strong organization statewide."
This is worth keeping an eye one though this may or may not mean the resurgence or death of the Republican Party in Chicago. Indeed I kind of like the idea of a classical liberal Republican. You know that's a philosophical territory I'm looking forward to entering in the near future. Or I should say I'd like to explore what that means.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Crito and Phaedo

I'll have to read the first two chapters, Euthypro and Apology later. I've finally finished reading Crito and Phaedo. Sometimes I allow distractions and my wandering eye to take my attention away from reading. One reason why I'm don't often read a book, but when the subject interests me I can read away.

Reading Crito was interesting. Socrates was sentenced to death and if you don't know Greek history Socrates death sentence was to drink some hemlock. I'll have to get back to you on his crimes although from what I heard at lecture his only crime was going against the grain of Athenian society. Well like I said more details on that later.

Anyway he was in jail and he had a visitor Crito, who wanted to help him escape. Socrates didn't seem to want to hear it, because he know what he was getting into as an Athenian citizen. He knew that if he was convicted the punishment that would be brought. He also provided a statement that reeked of patriotism. In ancient Greece, that world was dominated by city-states. We hear the most surely about Athens and Sparta.

Anyway he wouldn't hear of it because he respected the laws and customs of his beloved Athens. Leaving Athens would show his lack of regard for the laws of Athens and could damage his reputation. Justice for Socrates was to stay in Athens instead of going into exile because of his love for Athenian society.

Crito's form of justice meant that he must help his friend leave Athens and do what it takes to get him out. Especially spending money and bribing the prison guards. Not using his money would mean that he values money more than his friendship with Socrates.

This brings up another point I took down in class on Thursday. There are several definitions of justice going on here. The first idea is about helping your friends and harming your enemies and the idea Socrates espouses, a social contract of sorts. That to be just you have to respect that laws of the place where you reside. Socrates was indicating that he chose to live in Athens, that he respects Athens, and I would dare say he loves Athens enough to take his punishment. To go into exile would ruin his reputation.

Phaedo I'll have to read again. In that chapter Socrates takes his punishment, death by drinking hemlock. The part I remember vividly was him discussing the sensations he'd feeling. He's cold in his lower limbs and declares that he's been dead when the cold reaches his heart. It was pretty deep.

I'll get back to the first two chapters of these dialogues later. I'm already halfway thru my current ready "Justice" from Plato's Republic.

Are you kidding???

Wait one second! How are NY Feminists going to be upset about Sen. Ted Kennedy's endorsement of his senate colleague Obama? It's amazing who they seem to be upset about and who they let slide (I mention this because of reports of Kennedy's womanizing). They know who to be mad at and who not to be mad at and Kennedy surely is not someone to be mad at.

But they're mad at him now. Almost like how some women are upset at Oprah endorsing and campaigning for Obama instead of Hillary. I've heard reports on that too. Can't we just support who we want to support regardless of whether or not such and such is black or female? Why must certain groups vote lockstep with whom everyone thinks they should vote for? It's doesn't make sense. From today's Tribune...
The New York chapter of The National Organization for Women accused Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of betraying women with his endorsement of Barack Obama, prompting the organization's national office to come to the Massachusetts senator's defense.

"Women have just experienced the ultimate betrayal," NOW's New York State chapter said in a scorching rebuke. "Senator Kennedy's endorsement of Hillary Clinton's opponent in the Democratic presidential primary campaign has really hit women hard."

On Monday, Kennedy, D-Mass., his son Patrick and his niece Caroline Kennedy announced their support for Obama. Edward Kennedy said the country needs a leader who can bring people together and create change.

But the move angered the state chapter of NOW, which called Kennedy's decision the "greatest betrayal."

"We are repaid with his abandonment!" the statement said. "He's picked the new guy over us. He's joined the list of progressive white men who can't or won't handle the prospect of a woman president who is Hillary Clinton."

The group said it was our obligation to "elect, unabashedly, a president that is the first woman after centuries of men who 'know what's best for us.'"

Shortly after the local chapter reacted to Kennedy's endorsement, the national office of NOW in Washington, D.C., which has endorsed Clinton, released its own statement.

"The National Organization for Women has enormous respect and admiration for Senator Edward Kennedy," NOW President Kim Gandy wrote. "For decades Senator Kennedy has been a friend of NOW, and a leader and fighter for women's civil and reproductive rights, and his record shows that."

Gandy said her group respects Kennedy's decision to back Obama.

"We continue to encourage women everywhere to express their opinions and exercise their right to vote," she said.
The election is getting more interesting. I look forward to the primaries on February 5th. This is the first action I'm going to take in such a pivotal election.

This story is sort of messed up!!!

You should have heard about this one. In a carjacking a mother was shot and her baby boy was shot and killed by the carjacker. Here's an update from the Sun-Times...
Gary police questioned a father Tuesday about the shooting death of his 13-month-old son.

Josiah Shaw and his mother, Kwana Shaw, of Schererville, were both shot Monday night in Gary, police said.

Josiah died after being shot twice -- in the face and groin. His mother was in critical condition from a single gunshot wound that destroyed her lung.

The boy's father, Terry Bethel, 34, also known as Terry Noel, was arrested just before midnight Monday on a warrant for unrelated traffic violations.

Police said on Tuesday that the Portage man also "is a person of interest" in the shootings.

Police believe the child's father may have left his job at ArcelorMittal's Burns Harbor plant Monday night to meet Kwana Shaw at a friend's house in the Lancaster Homes complex, 21st and Virginia.

The father of six, part-owner of a car repair shop at Central Avenue and Martin Luther King Drive, was taken into custody without incident, police said. He was being held at Porter County Jail in Valparaiso, police said.

Detectives worked throughout Monday collecting evidence in the shooting.

No weapon has been recovered, but police said they believe a handgun was used.
It would really be messed up if daddy was involved in the murder of his child. You might hear about stories like this especially if daddy refused to pay child support, he might find a way to get at his ex and his child as well. Then again I hope there are more updates about this story. We'll find out about the cold-blooded thing that caused this.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Should we be surprised???

The Clinton campaign stunts we've seen so far, I'm not sure I'd blame Obama. From The Swamp...
So President Bush has delivered his last State of the Union. And what everyone in the House press gallery is talking about isn't the speech. Rather, it's the snub.

Sen. Barack Obama refused to make himself available to greet Sen. Hillary Clinton before the speech.

When members of the Senate entered the chamber, Obama came in before Clinton. He went out of his way to greet as many House members as possible and walked halfway across the chamber to greet members of the Supreme Court, the president's cabinet, the military joint chiefs.

That made what happened next even more striking. Obama returned to stand by his seat next to Sen. Edward Kennedy who endorsed Obama today in a widely watched event that reverberated across the political world.

As Clinton approached, Kennedy made sure to make eye contact and indicated he wanted to shake her hand. Clinton leaned towards Kennedy over a row of seats and Kennedy leaned in towards her. They shook hands.

Obama stood icily staring at Clinton during this, then turned his back and stepped a few feet away. Kennedy may've wanted to make peace with Clinton but Obama clearly wanted no part of that.

As president, Obama has said he would meet with the U.S.'s enemies without precondition. But making nice with Clinton apparently is another mattter after the increasingly angry fight the two have waged, with charges and countercharges, for the Democratic presidential nomination.

The sense in the press gallery was that Obama didn't cover himself in glory. Someone even used the word "childish." (Not this writer.) Judging by how much conversation there was about this brush off in the press gallery, Americans will be hearing a lot more about this tomorrow and in coming days.

The fact that much of the discussion in the press gallery after Bush's was about the snub is probably an indication of how we journalists and perhaps the nation are already moving past Bush, how the presidential campaign is increasingly crowding out anything Bush has to say .

Not that you could move past him completely. It was, after all, his night to a considerable extent.

When the president entered the packed chamber, once he got through the gauntlet of well wishers and ascended to the podium, he was cheered lustily by Republicans for what seemed like many minutes while he received polite applause from the Democrats. As the noise washed over him, he looked like a man who was really enjoying himself.

As White House aides had indicated in recent days, the speech contained no major new initiatives since the president has just a year left in the White House and he's dealing with a Democratic Congress that's not exactly friendly.

Still, if there was no major news or memorable soundbite, this SOTU was interesting because it was the last featuring this president and because at least two potential successors were sitting there on the Democratic side glowering at him much of the night.

Oh, there were moments when Clinton and Obama stood and politely applauded the president, like when he spoke about the nation owing a debt of gratitude to the military serving so bravely in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But there were many moments when the two leading Democratic presidential candidates sat on their hands, like the rest of their Democratic.colleagues.

Here's my favorite part...
There was one moment when Bush seemed to take a shot at his predecessor and Sen. Clinton's husband, former President Bill Clinton, who's on the receiving end of a lot of criticism lately. The former president has said repeatedly that he believes the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 unfairly benefit the superwealthy, like himself.

"Others have said they would personally be happy to pay higher taxes. I welcome their enthusiasm, and I am pleased to report that the IRS accepts both checks and money orders," Bush said.

Clinton gave Bush the kind of look Obama had given her a few minutes earlier.
LOL!!! You know I can recall hearing that Clinton brags about paying more in taxes because he makes more money now. Of course the suspect part for most is, that I hear this on talk radio. Still I would wonder that if you can pay the higher taxes easily then you might not have a problem with it.

I've always liked President Bush this was a ZING if I ever read one from him. It makes me want to see this State of the Union. I would like to see the reaction from Sen. Clinton about what the President said about her husband. But let's get back to the story here.

So Obama's relationship with his colleague has soured. You know I'm sure most of us think that Democrats all get along or Republicans well things happen, especially if you're dealing with different personalities. Hillary wants to be President bad enough that she might seriously damage a relationship with her fellow Senator. And Barack well, his beef might be what was said on the campaign trail and in the debates leading up to South Carolina.

One more tidbit but this is from the AP...
On his way out of the chamber, Bush shook hands with Obama. The president and Clinton did not shake hands.

To The Class of 2008

A great post from a recent Morehouse alumni. While most of what you see here may not apply to you (it's really Morehouse specific), the wisdom is there. Something to ponder!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Guess who I missed at Spelman College

I don't know whether to say it was good that I was ignorant of this event that I saw a flyer for today over at Clark Atlanta University and I missed it or say it was bad that I missed it. Only thing I can say was that I did miss this event. To her credit at least Chelsea is probably the most low-key member of the Clinton family.

Bond for Tony Rezko revoked

Have you noticed I have yet to touch this story with even a mile long pole? This man has his tentacles everywhere even to the point that even Hillary Clinton can't really use Rezko against Obama. Hey let's talk about that.

I haven't really kept up with this case. In fact Marathon Pundit has done a better job of this than I have. The main connect between Sen. Obama and Rezko was the deal that was brokered between them on a piece of property where the Obama family lives in Hyde Park/Kenwood.

I should also note that Rezko is a fundraiser, which is probably why you see him taking a pic with the Clinton's during their era in the White House. Still this Rezko business now that Rezko's bond has been revoked is the one thing that is likely to hurt the Senator chances for the Democratic nomination. Let's see what happens with this story.

Oh I should mention another Illinois pol has his hands dirty with Tony Rezko. I'm referring to our governor. He was mentioned in a piece by Chicago magazine that I blogged about recently.

Best thing I ever read today

All this talk about providing health care coverage whether it's in the form of universal health care coverage provided by the government or whatever this idea appeals to me. Mike Psak, a truck driver with an MBA from DePaul University running for the Republican nomination for US Senate, gave us his idea of health care reform...
Although many truck drivers are independent proprietors, he said he has not heard many complaints about the health care system. He says employers should stop providing health insurance, and government involvement should be limited.

"We are not going to see reductions in the cost of health care until we re-establish the patient as the customer,'' he said.
Imagine that we as patients are the customer. Health insurance providers or perhaps more accurately employers who offer health insurance are nothing more than middle men. Watching John Stossel's program on health care the only thing insurance companies are good for are forcing doctors to shuffle the necessary paper work.

BTW, the article from the Southtown Star today is basically one about the Republican candidates for US Senate against Sen. Richard Durbin. Psak has the right idea unfortunately they'll (Republicans) be the jobbers and will lose to Durbin this year. Sorry!

Sunday, January 27, 2008

A video from the Brookins for State's Attorney campaign website

The first time I checked out Ald. Howard Brookins' campaign website in a while. Up until recently there wasn't much going on there.

At about 1 minute into this video the rudest thing happened. He attempted to talk to a couple who were at a vending machine as he approaches them with literature. They get their goods and then they walk away from him without a word. Brookins stands there looking at the camera, confused, befuddled, or whatever adjective you can come up with.

I was going to post this with the idea that maybe Brookins didn't do a good thing here. Well let me just say this, I know some people don't care for politicians but there's just no reason for behavior such as this. It doesn't help if you were caught on camera doing that. Yeah I could go into race on this one, but that's just too convenient. Besides I don't know what went thru their heads when they did what they did.

Obama wins South Carolina

And accounts are that he wins big! I think a lot of people really love his victory speech. I'll post it here. What are some of the blogs I follow in the bloggosphere saying about Obama's victory in SC.

I take back everything I said about South Carolina from AMillionMonkeys
Instapundit with links to other stories about South Carolina with more coverage here, here, and here.
South Carolina Democratic Primary Results from The Political Realm
The Politricks of Dreaming from

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Mr. Un-Popularity

I was reading Chicago magazine's story about the governor. It was quite thorough and to be honesty it could be to do one thing I never thought I would, feel sorry for him. To be sure it's all of his doing and you can't feel very sorry for a guy who refuses to learn from his mistakes.

That's what we got to do sometimes right learn from our mistakes. There are plenty that are mentioned here for example he refuses to stop campaigning and doesn't seem to have an interest in the policy aspect of the job. It is said he governs by press release and offers (or promises) big programs that sadly doesn't have any way of gaining support.

Take his GRT or his health care program last year. It was grand but there was no support and it went down with a thud! And another problem that reared it's ugly head. It was mentioned in this article...
The problem may come in part because Blagojevich grew up on Chicago politics. "He wants to govern like Daley," says Miller, explaining that Blagojevich wants a legislature that is a rubber stamp, as the city council has been for much of the Daley era. "But you can't automatically govern like Daley." Miller says it took Daley years to build relationships with council members and establish his iron-tight grip on the chamber.

From the moment he took office, Blagojevich tried to exert more executive authority over state government, much to the chagrin of House Speaker Madigan, who has held the position since 1983 (except for a brief two-year period in the mid-1990s when Republicans captured his chamber).
Heh, good luck. Surely it took patience in years for not only Chicago's current mayor, but also his dad to be able to exert the influence they were able to as mayor. You can't come into it thinking that you got it. Perhaps this is partially endemic of the main problem that I figured out already. Back to the article...
Blagojevich's critics complain that he would rather appeal to voters over the heads of legislators and promote himself than do the legislative dealing to pass real policies. It's as if he's in a continual campaign mode, they say—holding news conferences on slow news days to announce grandiose ideas that are quixotically appealing but have little chance of ever becoming law. Kent Redfield, a political studies professor at the University of Illinois at Springfield, says Blagojevich never made a smooth transition from being a no-namer among 435 legislators in Congress to being the leader. "Governing is a process that survives on compromise," Redfield says, adding that Blagojevich "has gone out of his way to thumb his nose at that."
Yeah to be undistinguished in your legislative career is a big leap. It also doesn't help that you've never held a leadership position in a legislative body. His election victories were handed to him on a platter and he turned his back on the man who gave it to him. Oh wait there's another problem right there...
Many political observers say the contentious budget battle in 2003 came as the tipping point. After the legislature had painstakingly negotiated and passed a budget agreement, Blagojevich turned around and vetoed millions of dollars from the state operating budget, including funding for a project he promised to lawmakers. Jacobs recalls how, earlier that year, Blagojevich had visited a school in his district and presented an oversize check for $13 million for school construction. The governor later vetoed funding for the project. "At some point, you gotta be straight with people," Jacobs says.

"In Springfield, the budget is like a holy agreement, and it's entirely based on trust," Miller explains. "So when Rod decided he was going to break that agreement, it had a cataclysmic impact. The whole town has never been the same since."

Distrust of Blagojevich became so deep after that episode that lawmakers publicly branded him a "liar" and likened him to a "used-car salesman." And in an unprecedented move, they demanded that Blagojevich put any promises on paper in so-called memorandums of understanding.
A lack of credibility, an inability to keep his promises. Well he's certainly guilty of that in probably more ways than one to the point that well lawmakers don't trust him down there. It's quite unfortunate really and again it almost seems like he's learned nothing.

Let's get back to he's had his victories handed to him on a silver platter. Yup that story is going to be in this article about how his father-in-law Ald. Richard Mell helped his son-in-law from the statehouse to Congress to even the Governor's mansion only for Blagojevich to turn his back on him. Kind of ungrateful isn't it? If he hadn't had Mell's support then who knows perhaps we could have really seen what kind of leader Blagojevich really is. Instead we get a brat in what amounts to be a big time position unable to get things done!

My mother and others don't like the fact that he doesn't work in Springfield especially while the General Assembly is in session. I could always say that he doesn't seem to like working in the state capital, let alone work! ZING! Doesn't it seem that way though?

Anyway I can contend that most of these things came easy for him. Going to Congress and who knows perhaps Blagojevich thought being governor was nothing, piece of cake. Then it turns out he's out of his depth and took on more than he can chew.

You know I tend to think the signs were there. He may have been alright in the beginning, well at the start of his political career. Then he does the one thing people can do at times, start trippin'! In his case it's a power trip. He has more responsibilities than in Congress but more ways to flex his muscle. If you don't have a good head on your shoulders how can you not trip!

Still the signs were there since he became governor in 2003 that he wasn't proving to be a good one. For what happened in '07 I can blame a lot of people but his re-election gave us the monster we saw. The gridlock we saw last year and even I suppose the prospect of gridlock for this year.

You know I don't know whether or not we should bust out the popcorn for entertainment or we should be about ready to lead a march to Springfield and express our consternation.

History Repeats Itself

Well it's about a black-owned McDonald's restuarant near 65th and Stony Island. These owners of this Micky D's also pays homage to a man who came before them. He used to be a barber and a CTA clerk and made a leap into entrepreneurship. Even credited the man who made Micky D's into a household name, Ray Kroc who was willing to offer franchise opportunities to blacks.

This article is from Citizen Newspapers and I figured that I'd better get it while it's hot before I won't be able to get anything beyond the first three paragraphs...

The thought of Blacks owning McDonald’s franchises was inconceivable 13 years after the burger chain first opened in 1955.

But the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. changed that. King’s death imbued something in McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc. He believed that Blacks were key to sustaining their communities, including operating their own McDonald’s franchises.

That ideal was not lost 40 years later during the grand re-opening celebration of the first Black-owned McDonald’s Monday. Hundreds of dignitaries including Don Thompson, McDonald’s first Black president, paid tribute to a south side barber named Herman Petty, who in 1968 shepherded the first Black McDonald’s on 65th and Stony Island into being.

Also attending the event was Ernie Adair, president of National Black McDonald’s Operators Association (NBMOA), Chicago Board of Education President Rufus Williams, Rev. Arthur M. Brazier and Aldermen Leslie Hairston (5) and Tony Preckwinkle (4).

Petty did more than just open a restaurant, he "opened up the door for so many other people to be able to have entrepreneurial careers with McDonald’s," said Thompson, who started his own McDonald’s career at the 65th and Stony store in the 1990s.

"It is very fitting that we stand here on this day... to be able to recognize someone who opened up the doors and opened opportunities for so many," he said, adding that today there are 1,250 Black-owned McDonald’s nationwide.

Yolanda Travis, current owner of the 65th and Stony Island McDonald’s, echoed that sentiment. Travis was excited to have the grand reopening on the King Holiday, because he was a man who preached economic development.

"And here I am a young girl from the West Side of Chicago and now I’m with a multi-million dollar company," said Travis, a McDonald’s franchisee for five years, who now owns four city restaurants. "I’m loving this."

While others referenced the historic significance of the restaurant’s grand reopening, Petty said making history was the furthest from his mind. He was hoping he didn’t fail.

"I was so scared and shook up, all I wanted to do is try to make it happen," he recalled, adding that owning a McDonald’s was a rare concept for Blacks during that time.

"Blacks, who had money and who had graduated from college, weren’t excited about McDonald’s or any other hamburger places. It wasn’t popular then," he explained.

The Hairston household shared that sentiment, recalled Ald. Hairston whose father, Lester Hairston was also a founding NBMOA member.

"I remember when my father came home and told my mother he invested in some hamburgers and ... she was really mad," Hairston reminisced. "But it turned out all right. Who would have known McDonald’s would be a conglomerate that it is today."

But Hairston lauded Petty for fulfilling King’s dream "to take advantage of all the opportunities America has to offer."

However, Petty said all the credit goes to Kroc.

"We have to give it all to Ray Kroc," he said, noting that the restaurant chain’s founder was a forward thinker who eight months after King’s death "thought about changing the way corporate America operated in urban areas."

Kroc, Petty noted, diversified his company at all levels in an era where integration was slow to catch on. Petty added that Kroc opened his company for all minorities including Blacks and women. And Petty seized that opportunity.

"When they were making that decision, I just happened to walk through the door — to be there at the right place and at the right time, and I became number one," Petty said.

But owning a McDonald’s franchise was not in Petty’s plans. Petty, who owned a barbershop and worked as a clerk for Chicago Transit Authority, always looked for other business opportunities. He often attended franchise shows at the Conrad Hilton where he met McDonald’s representatives who were recruited franchisees.

"That is how I got interested," he said. "These people gave me a card. I investigated it and never looked back."
It's a very good article. I guess I'll have to hand it to Ray Krock to make a decision to invest in inner city communities. Not only that but to be ahead of the curve in offering blacks and women opportunites not only to own franchises but also have leadership positions in corporate America.

You know not that I would have dreams of opening my own Micky D's but if I was a black owner of a Micky D's franchise and I had all the money in the world it would be black themed. On Clark and Ontario there's a Rock & Roll McDonald's perhaps someone should come up with an Motown, R&B, Soul, Jazz, or Blues themed Micky D's and then they should name that restaurant Micky D's instead of McDonald's. Hmmm, well I think it could be a good idea.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Banks asked to cut fees for reparations

I'm sure someone could craft a better article title than this. I was about ready to assume this was an article about reparations for the decendants of slaves. It wasn't about that though, it was about the survivors of the Jewish Holocaust. Why did I even qualify it with Jewish even though when some talk about the Holocaust most people know exactly what I'm talking about?

Believe me I'm not trying to make light of it. This brief article is interesting and I must say seeing this article in the Sun-Times I wonder how long it would take for people to start asking for this in the form of reparations. And yeah I'm largely talking about black-activists seeking reparations although I'm sure there are other groups out there who feel like they should get some reparations.

It may only be a $10 fee, but for Holocaust survivors, many of whom are on fixed incomes, that's $10 too much, state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias said Tuesday.

Giannoulias asked all Illinois banks to voluntarily waive international wire transfer fees on reparations paid to Holocaust survivors by the German government. At a news conference with the American Jewish Committee and the consul general of Germany, Giannoulias urged nearly 700 banks that do business with the state to waive the fees -- as much as 10 percent of each payment -- as a gesture of support.

"Waiving these fees will have a small impact on banks' bottom line, but speak volumes about their commitment to the well-being of Illinois residents," he said.

It's not known how many of Illinois' 5,000 Holocaust survivors qualify for reparations. The average payment is $350 a month, and the wire fee is $10 to $40, according to American Jewish Committee-Chicago President Allan Reich.
The last part of this article indicates that other national banks such as Chicago's own JP Morgan Chase waive the fee for international wire transfers and that our state treasurer is only following the lead of other states that mandate it.

Heh, it's possible that this is the absolute first time I have ever brought up reparations. It would have been easier to do in the first year of this blog. Perhaps I might have more posts on the reparations movement I'm somewhat familiar with later!

I'd like to try something different and something to ponder...

I'd like to talk about some of the readings I must do from a course I have in political philosophy. Perhaps I can interest people in this type of stuff and hopefully you can do some reading on your own. I would to do this every weekend and starting this weekend I will do Plato's Trial and Death of Socrates.

I have to do some catching up on the reading itself but what I've read so far looks pretty good. The lecture confirmed what I have concluded about that particular reading. I'll discuss more later on.

Oh I've got a question. This came up in class. Being a liberal. Someone asked a question along the lines of liberals are for big government. The professor had to clarify that.

A liberal sees a positive role for government.

I guess then that it should be agreed then, this doesn't necessarily mean BIG government. Then the question is what is a positive role for government?

You know I have an idea there is such a thing, for example, as negative rights. That is government has the right to protect you from the abuses of government such as a right to free speech, free exercise of religion, right to petition the government, or (and yes this could be argued) the right to bear arms to not be abridged by government.

Then positive rights might be rights to education or health care. Thusly positive rights are those that are provided to you as a citizen.

Unfortunately people argue about these things all the time. People argue about whether American citizens have the right to bear arms, especially if it was only for their own personal defense. Even if the only people doing the shooting out in these streets are knuckleheads!

Also people argue about the "rights" to health care or education. The argument might not necessarily be over whether or not you have these rights. The argument could be over who should provide these things. Is it government's job to provide these things? Is it better that private individuals or associations (I mean companies or charities for example) provide them? Should it be a combination of both options, you know like a public-private partnership? Or should one or the other provide it exclusively?

Well I know there are a lot of things to chew on here, but if you have an interest in taking this on, tell me what you think. And I'm going to present Plato to you over the weekend!

PBS film documenting Shriver/Dr. King connection

Watch this vid on CBS2 about a documentary that apparently already aired in Chicago earlier this week. Anyway here's an excerpt from the CBS2 write-up...
A seldom told chapter in Dr. King's battle for civil rights unfolded in Chicago. That chapter will play before a national audience on PBS in a documentary examining the life of Sargeant Shriver Monday evening. CBS 2's Vince Gerasole reports on the events that many believe rescued King from a possible lynching.

In the fall of 1960, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was arrested on trumped up traffic charges and sentenced to four months hard labor in Georgia.

"They came to the cell and they shined the light in his face and he didn't know where he was going," said the late Coretta Scott King in one of her last interviews, recalling her husband's frightening ordeal.

"They handcuffed him and put chains around his legs and put a big dog with him and put him in the back of the car," she said. "For all they knew, they were taking him out someplace to lynch him."

Shriver felt his party should reach out to King.

In a documentary premiering on PBS Monday night, Chicago filmmaker Bruce Orenstein chronicles how a phone call to Mrs. King from Democratic presidential candidate John Kennedy became front page news in the black press and eventually helped lead to King's release.

"The reaction within the black community across the country overwhelmingly moves the vote toward Kennedy," said Orenstein.

The politically risky call that could have alienated white southern voters was instigated just after Chicago's historic televised debates by Sargeant Shriver, Kennedy's brother-in-law and civil rights adviser.

"Shriver is rushing to reach Kennedy to get him to make this call and it's taking place here in Chicago," Orenstein said.

It's only one chapter in the life of Shriver that's chronicled in the film "American Idealist."
I hope someone who reads this blog can perhaps let me know how this documentary went. If I can't run into it on TV, I can surely purchase it from PBS.

Sargent Shriver Documentary -From Poverty to Opportunity Campaign

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Romantic text messages between Detroit mayor, aide contradict court testimony

Oh no!!! Please don't let this be true about Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. Well it might affect him politically I hope, but it might still hurt him with someone.

I ran into a guy at school who was up on the political scene in Detroit. Said that the mayor liked to play politics that to me might mean, he plays games instead of actually getting stuff done. If nothing else Detroit doesn't need games they need results or something like that. Kilpatrick's a relatively young guy in fact I don't think he's 40 yet.

Anyway here's the story...

Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick exchanged romantic text messages with a top aide, contradicting their denials in court that they had romantic ties, a newspaper reported.

Wayne County prosecutor's spokeswoman Maria Miller declined to comment on the legal implications of the report, posted Tuesday on the Detroit Free Press' Web site. A conviction of lying under oath can bring up to 15 years' imprisonment.

Kilpatrick and [Christine] Beatty testified last summer in a police whistle-blower lawsuit and denied any sexual or romantic ties in 2002 and 2003. But the Free Press said it examined about 14,000 text messages on Beatty's city-issued pager and found many examples of such ties.

Kilpatrick is married, and Beatty was married at the time.

''I'm madly in love with you,'' Kilpatrick wrote on Oct. 3, 2002.

''I hope you feel that way for a long time,'' Beatty replied. ''In case you haven't noticed, I am madly in love with you, too!''

On Oct. 16, 2002, Kilpatrick wrote Beatty: ''I've been dreaming all day about having you all to myself for 3 days. Relaxing, laughing, talking, sleeping and making love.''

Kilpatrick issued a statement Wednesday night saying the messages ''reflect a very difficult period in my personal life.''

''It is profoundly embarrassing to have these extremely private messages now displayed in such a public manner,'' he said. ''My wife and I worked our way through these intensely personal issues years ago. I would now ask that the public and the media respect the privacy of my wife and children and of Christine Beatty and her children at this deeply painful moment for our families.''
This almost looks Clintonesque, but at least der schlick didn't have the luxury of text messaging back then. Now we have Blackberries and such products like that and I suppose public administrators such as Mayor Kilpatrick and his chief of staff are going to use them. Sometimes for different reasons than they were supposed to be used. This is a mess!

Louisiana woman accumulates 55,000 pennies

If I ever had that much patience I could practically be a very rich man I hope. That's just mean that I'd have to wait a long time to accumulate with interest, assuming that I put this in an interest bearing banking account, that this would give me a lot of change to be sure. There are a lot of people who there who can learn something from this woman. From the Sun-Times...
It took Vicki Armstrong almost 19 years to save $550, which isn't much of an accomplishment -- except that she did it one penny at a time.

Armstrong was planning to take her 55,000 pennies to the bank this week. She said saving them helped her reinforce frugal spending habits.

''It helped me be a little bit more conservative in my lifestyle,'' said Armstrong, who is planning to retire at the end of the year from Christus Schumpert Highland Hospital, where she works as a maternity technician.

Armstrong has been storing pennies in vases, bowls and the occasional shoebox. In 1993, The (Shreveport, La.) Times reported she had squirreled away 14,000 pennies. Armstrong resisted the temptation to cash them in and kept saving.

Her co-workers and friends have chipped in over the years. ''They all hand over pennies generously,'' she said.

Public Affairs: Rep Julie Hamos

State Rep. Julie Hamos was responsible for House Bill 565 that allowed for a sales tax increase of a quarter of a percent in the City of Chicago and the collar counties that would be used to fund public transportation in the region. Indeed this is the bill that the governor tacked on his free rides for senior citizens at the last minute. This bill is law now though and most of you in Chicago have no worries about how the system is going to work as a result of slashed services and fare increases.

Let's go backwards in time here. I just saw this watching some Illinois Channel on their streaming video feed (it's on the home page). Julie Hamos was on Public Affairs with Jeff Berkowitz on September 6, 2007. The two doomsday dates before January 20th hadn't come to pass yet. And the budget has just recently passed and I do believe the General Assembly was debate some of the governor's line item vetoes.

It's basically a good policy discussion, but I want to focus on the last part of the program. Berkowitz brought up the idea of auctioning off a garage and having a private company providing transit services. I don't particularly have a problem with this idea and who's to say that we won't find ourselves going in that direction in the future.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Congressional hopeful offers new name for King Day

I found this story yesterday amongst some other statewide Congressional campaign stories from the Capitol Fax blog. It's goofy in the worst type of way and I would think it would cause him more trouble than its worth. If I was to consider voting Republican he would have lost my vote quickly.

How is calling Dr. King Day less inclusive than American Martyr's Day? I don't see a point in changing the name of the holiday, perhaps he's going after those individuals who are still upset that Dr. King's birthday had become a national holiday. From the Daily Herald.

If elected, congressional candidate Kenneth Arnold says he'd seek to have Martin Luther King Jr. Day renamed to make it more inclusive.

Arnold, a candidate in the 8th Congressional District Republican primary, said he would push to create "American Martyrs Day." He said King would appreciate the renaming, which was part of a "white paper solution" released Saturday.

"I am thinking in full measure of what Martin Luther King was: inclusiveness," Arnold said Monday. "We should be a society of inclusion, not exclusion."

Some minority leaders disagree, saying everyone can celebrate King's message of love, nonviolence and hope with his name attached to the day.

Mario Lambert, second vice president of the NAACP's DuPage County chapter, said King's name should stand alone on that day. Lambert said it's important to have King specifically recognized for representing the struggles of black Americans, while recognizing other groups that were oppressed.

"African-Americans are still distinguished in that there still is a hard road ahead before things are perfectly balanced," he said.

King's birthday was first observed as a national holiday in 1986.

Under Arnold's idea, the new holiday would remain on the third Monday of January and would celebrate notable American civilians -- regardless of race, creed or color -- who suffered hardship or death to promote higher ideals.

In addition to King, Robert F. Kennedy, Rosa Parks and Sitting Bull would be worthy of recognition on the holiday, Arnold said. He envisions Congress debating the issue, then assigning responsibility to the president for inducting a new member for the holiday annually by proclamation.
Arnold's Republican opponent Steve Greenberg called this proposal silly and says that if it comes for a vote in Congress he would block it (yeah I hope so). This idea is goofy and I hope he or nobody else touches it. Oh and Dr. King Day is not a holiday for black folks only if that's his insinuation!

Re-Elect Jacob Schulz for Student Rep.

I don't know what goes on at Jake CP's high school but he's lucky that he's able to take advantage of some inexpensive media equipment (such as a camcorder), broadband internet, and of course YouTube to be able to download this "commercial". The current computer culture certainly allows those who are able to be very creative especially if they have budding political careers and start running for election at their respective schools. Yes, I will include those of you running for SGA positions at your particular school of higher learning. Yes I'm especially looking at the Men of Morehouse and the Ladies at Spelman College, I've gotten familiar with how most of you do when you run for leadership positions.

Let's back up here. In all my times in public school the only time there was some excitement was when I was in 7th grade and there was a rally of sorts or political convention for those students running for student council leadership positions at my elementary school. I remember vividly guys doing flips to entertain the crowd and I remember after we were dismissed some girl handing out candy to get us to vote for her or someone she was helping out. She wouldn't give me a piece, probably because I was ugly or something (lol) so I'm sure I didn't vote for her if I could help it.

After that students generally weren't allowed to vote for student council officers. They kind of closed votes to only members of the student council instead of allowing the students to show their leadership and campaigning skills. And kept voting within a very small group. If the rest of the student population could vote at all they could vote for classroom representatives. This trend continued when I went to high school there were no open elections for student council officers. We voted for division representatives again and they would vote for student council officers. I couldn't even begin to tell you who were our student reps to the local school councils (I'm assuming that's what Jacob is running for) were selected. I couldn't even tell you who they were.

Just an observation of sorts. It means nothing unless of course if good student leadership existed at my high school especially if it was an open selection. I would also hope that they were visible as well. I'm glad it wasn't me, my high school wouldn't have been ready for me. Students, faculty, or even administration. Yeah that's mostly ego talking and who knows what would have happened if I had that interest.

BTW, Jacob got the attention of state political columnist and blogger Rich Miller during the 2006 elections for a video that well isn't available anymore but my earlier post on him is here. Oh and Miller gave the vid posted here on the blog some play this morning as well.

Another point from Stewart's 12/26/07 column

This pertains to demographics. I thought it was interesting...
In 1790, according to census figures, black residents of this country, most of whom were slaves, were 19.3 percent of the population, numbering 757,000. In 2000 blacks were 12.3 percent of the population, numbering 34.6 million. In 210 years the black population grew 45-fold, or by four million each 25-year generation. In 1950 blacks were 9.9 percent of the population (15.1 million), which increased to 10.5 percent in 1960, to 11.1 percent in 1970, to 11.8 percent in 1980 and to 12.1 percent (29.9 million) in 1990.

The black population more than doubled between 1950 and 2000, but the country's white population increased from 135 million to 211.5 million during that period. Despite a higher birth rate among blacks than whites, the white population, fueled by immigration, grew 70-fold in the last 210 years, from 3.1 million in 1790 to 211.5 million in 2000. Whites now outnumber blacks by 6-1. In 1950 whites outnumbered blacks by 9-1, and in 1790 it was 4.2-1.

Then there's the exploding Hispanic population, which numbers 35.5 million, up from 22.3 million in 1990. Many older, conservative Hispanics, largely Democrats, will be disinclined to support a black candidate for president.

The American population of 281 million (up from 248 million in 1990) is roughly 72 percent white, 12 percent black, 13 percent Hispanic and 3 percent Asian.

Turnout in the 2004 presidential contest was 122,285,000, up from 104,283,000 in 2000. It was 101,016,000 in 1992. Of those voters, less than 10 percent were black.

But the path to the presidential nomination involves far fewer voters, and black voters comprise a disproportionate share of Democrats -- which boosts Obama's prospects for winning the nomination.
You know I was in another part of town one weekend many years ago and I kept running into people who came from Russia or at least the old Soviet Union. I remarked that the funny thing would be that it won't be the Latinos who are growing as a group but the Russians. I wonder if it's overhype that by 2050 Latinos would be the majority in this country. I know things could change by that time but if that trend holds it may not be true within the next 40 or so years.

It was interesting that he kept the population of blacks vs. whites in perspective. Back when we weren't no more than 13 states, that was over 200 years ago, there were nothing but whites and slaves. So we comprised almost 20% of the population, these days we're 12 or 13%. While some seem to make a big deal that black-on-black crime has caused some depopulation in the last 20 or so years it's argued in this column that by the 2000 census the black population has increased. We'll see what it looks like in 2010 although by 2000 we are now the 2nd most numerous minority group followed by the Latinos.

Either way a lot to chew on here and something to consider.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Bill Clinton Falls Asleep During Martin Luther King Speech

Heh, I should be fair to the former President. Perhaps he was tired and didn't get a good night's sleep. Hey he's been busy you know helping his wife become the first female President of the United States. Otherwise this isn't very good form for the so-called "first black president".

I can also be fair and say that Martin Luther King III, the man doing the speaking in this video isn't a very exciting speaker. He definitely doesn't have that rich deep voice his father had. I saw him speaking one time on C-Span. I was largely unimpressed, sorry MLK III.

Consider this a post that's designed to make you laugh!

Police blame 'no snitching' for unsolved murders

From the Sun-Times. It almost brings back a vague recollection of this story...

Chicago Police detectives solved 36 percent of murders committed in Chicago last year -- about the same percentage cleared in 2006.

Of 443 murders committed across the city, 162 -- or 36.6 percent -- were cleared. In 2006, 36.2 were solved.

In addition, detectives working cases from previous years cleared 102 cases, bringing the total number of Chicago murders solved to 264, according to department statistics.

The police cleared 42 percent of murders in 2005 and 47 percent the year before.

The decline comes as the number of homicides is dropping. However, detectives say there are other pressures coming to bear.

Maria Maher, chief of detectives, said many murders here involve gangs and narcotics, a culture not known to be forthcoming with details. "A lot of people will not cooperate with the police because it is not the thing to do," she said.

While detectives say a "criminal's code of honor" has long been around, the "no snitching" culture has become more prominent in recent years, celebrated in rap songs and on T-shirts.

One law enforcement source even had a man escorted out of the Cook County Courthouse at 26th Street over the summer because his T-shirt had a picture of a tombstone along with the words "RIP snitches" and a list of random names.

"They are trying to make it cool to not to talk to the police," said Brian Sexton, supervisor of the Cook County State's Attorney Gang Prosecution Unit. "There is this general distrust of police. Now they are taking it one step further and making it not cool to cooperate."
The police aren't as tough on witnesses as they used to be it seems. If they were determined to prosecute something they'll find away to convince you. A policy is in place that requires police to say that while they would like for a witness to cooperate, they are also free to leave. Then again witnesses were always allowed to leave anyway before this policy was put into place.

A consequence of a decadent culture, I suppose. The concern could be here that otherwise decent law-abiding people might be force by something other than a threat to self to not take information to the police. Whatever it may be and I think that's unfortunate. Let's not mince bones here, talking to the police is risky anyway.

Channel 2 takes a drive along King Drive in Chicago

Give it a read and take a look at the accompanying vid...
"I was proud," Jones said. "I still can remember feeling proud once they did it because it was something to connect with him," she said.

Jones says the change from the historically prestigious South Park Way to King Drive passed without a fight. But other Chicagoans around at the time and involved in the civil rights movement remember it differently.

"I remember that it was a big fight here in Chicago, because most people didn't want to change the name," said Rikki Jones, a civil rights activist.

Jones says there were many reasons for the opposition prior to its June 1968 passage. Since then, the 14+ mile drive has seen many changes. But there's no questioning its history, much of it tied to Chicago's black community and the civil rights movement. The church at 41st and King Drive is part of that; it's one of many places where Dr. King spoke.

"We consider this particular place sacred, because of his legacy and his memory and the fact that his feet were actually in this place," said Georgette Greenlee-Finney of the Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church.

It continues to change, now, with new developments blocks away from more blighted areas, but activists like Rikki Jones sees nothing but a positive future ahead.

"We have great young leaders, that will make this look better," she said.

Monday, January 21, 2008

I have a dream....

Yet another MLK post and you'll see that other post that I posed about a Russ Stewart Column again sometime tomorrow! I found this over at the Hotline on Call blog today.

This caused me to look back at one of my previous posts because I remembered something I heard on a program highlighting the election of Mayor Harold Washington the first black mayor of Chicago. Let me pull out a paragraph I wrote...
I heard this program a while back and I'm so glad that I can hear this once again. And an addition that they talk about the presidential candidacy of US Senator Barack Obama. A famous black lawyer and judge, Eugene Pincham, mentioned that Dr. Martin Luther King was not a well liked man when he was alive but when he was murdered and couldn't lead anyone anymore, he got a holiday. Then Pincham says that Mayor Washington on the other hand is not going to get those same accolades because Washington is likely to inspire people from beyond the grave.
So hopefully you read that paragraph and this begs the question. What does this mean? What does he mean when he says that Dr. King was murdered and he couldn't lead anymore while Mayor Washington could still lead people from beyond the grave?

Another Dr. King post

Yeah it was going to get more flooded that I'd like so here's another. Let's start with a cartoon shall we!

If you want some context to this read up on it here. The hat-tip for this cartoon goes to The Political Realm in a post that contains other great cartoons.

Here's a Pajamas Media piece from Michael Weiss: Identity Politics: Not What Dr. King Was About...

Clinton may be forgiven as the wife of America’s “first black president” in thinking that she was anything other than obscene to invoke African bondage to describe the follies of the current administration. (Perhaps she took a note from the songbook of Harry Belafonte, who once referred to Condoleeza Rice as a “house slave.”)

But leaving aside the fact that members of her campaign have used both subtle and unsubtle bigotry to defame her main Democratic rival, Clinton herself sounds like a holy fool whenever she talks about civil rights on the stump. Earlier in the month Obama – answering her charge that he was trafficking in “false hope” – tried to brush up against the optimistic grandeur of Martin Luther King. Her response? To imply that she was crafted more in the mold of Lyndon Johnson, who converted that grandeur into hard legislative currency.

The younger Hillary might have paused before identifying with the architect of the Vietnam War, an event still cited by her as central to her political awakening. Thus does the politics of “identity” make a mockery of everything else you may have once believed in.

Clinton also apparently found that being a woman is not without its easily manipulated charms. The New York Times has been no help in disabusing her of this notion. When it isn’t publishing a cringe-inducing editorial by Gloria Steinem, who claims that “[g]ender is probably the most restricting force in American life, whether the question is who must be in the kitchen or who could be in the White House” — it is quoting Geraldine Ferraro accusing Obama of underhandedly stealing black votes away from Clinton in an article focused on “race and gender.”

“As soon anybody from the Clinton campaign opens their mouth in a way that could make it seem as if they were talking about race, it will be distorted. The spin will be put on it that they are talking about race. The Obama campaign is appealing to their base and their base is the African-American community. What they are trying to do is move voters from Clinton by distorting things. What have they got to lose?”

Is it a coincidence that the newspaper of record asked the only woman vice presidential candidate to comment on how a black presidential candidate is exploiting race to damage the first woman presidential candidate? What new and inventive ways will we come up with next to shuffle the stacked deck of race and gender “cards”?

Finally a video provided by the Illinois Review of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It is entitled appropriately, "I've been to the Mountaintop".

Dr. King holiday

A charge, to remember the past and have a wonderful future.

Well I get a day off going to school at his alma mater and all that, but in Chicago, Illinois someone's got the day off. This is is a federal holiday after all. You can look at the holiday closings here.

Oh and please watch this holiday themed treat from My Urban Report.

ADDITION: here's another Dr. King related story but it's about a statue in the state capital, Springfield. The state Secretary of State doesn't like the statue of Dr. King...

Twenty years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. found a home inside the Illinois Statehouse. But not for long.

Even as the state unveiled a then-new statue of King in the Capitol rotunda back in 1988, plans were afoot to move it to a less conspicuous location. After a year inside, the statue was moved to an out-of-the-way spot near the Illinois State Museum and State Archives.

Not until 1993 did the statue finally move to Second Street and Capitol Avenue, a place now dubbed “Freedom Corner.”

Fifteen years later, one of the most powerful politicians in the state says he doesn’t like the statue and wants to replace it with a different version of King.

Illinois Secretary of State Jesse White says he knew Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and the King statue at Second Street and Capitol Avenue isn’t the King he met in college.

“I knew him, and I knew him well,” said White. “This fellow looks like a sharecropper, with his coat slung over his shoulder. I’d never seen him like that.”

Other black leaders in Springfield say the statue is fine, although some said they’re open to other ideas.

Michael Pittman, a developer and publisher of the Capital City Courier, said the statue can be interpreted in different ways.

“I look at it and think, the guy’s tired, but he’s still going on,” Pittman said. “It works for me.”

Sunday, January 20, 2008

R.L. Dukes Oldsmobile

Not that long ago, maybe a couple or so months ago, I showed an old commercial of radio station WVON-AM. This will be about another black-owned business that I remember for sure, R.L. Dukes Oldmobile. If you look at some old Black Enterprise or Ebony/Jet magazines this was a big time business back in the day. Now you'd be hardpressed to know of any black-owned auto dealerships in Chicago. I'm sure someone out there can clue me in.

I remember this place barely. My dad test drove a Oldsmobile Toronado and he either drove it to the house and took it home for the night or he drove to the house and then turned around and brought it right back without making a purchase (heh it's much better than that). It wasn't too long after that when RL Dukes was out of business the building largely abandoned and eventually Northern Trust Bank built a branch on that site. The location according to the commercial was 78th and the Dan Ryan.

This commercial aired according to FuzzyMemories on June 29th, 1986. This commercial seemed like it would have worked better in the 1970s than it would have in the 1980s. A little too old school for me to want to go there, but then I don't have to worry about that now!

They were located on 74th & Halsted and by the late 1970s moved to the location indicated in this vid. They went from roughly Englewood to the Chatham neighborhood.

I should also note that my dad would've been very disappointed to know and he's been dead for 10 years that Oldsmobiles are no longer being made today. For the first few years of my life the only car I had ever really known was a 1981 Ninety-Eight and I was saddened to know that he traded that car in for a Chevy Corsica. Well that's it for the history lesson.

It's been two years already

That Pilgrim Baptist Church went up in flames. It was exactly on January 6, 2006. The church was a major landmark, it was said to be the home of gospel music.

Because it was a landmark the governor wanted to help by committing state funds to rebuilding the church. Also remember he was running for re-election that year. The mayor was a chairman of the fundraising effort. Though I can't say that I've heard much about the progress.

I rode by that place on a few occasions since that fire. The church was located at 3301 S. Indiana Ave. Of course all I saw even as recently as the summer was the outer walls with nothing inside as of yet.

Oh I should note that when that fire raged I blogged about it in the immediate aftermath.

BTW, I'm only talking about this because Lee Bey over at The Urban Observer talks about Pilgrim Baptist with a few of his pictures back on January 10th.

Addition: It looks there is some movement as to what will happen with this building link to thru Lee Bey.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Are you a proud black voter?

I found this first over at this blog, The Field Negro prominently displayed near the top of his blog. I think I'll place one here in honor of the presidential election. It's only temporary! Might upset the aesthetics a little bit, but meh.

If you blog or have a website and you vote please display this on your electronic abode as well. I mean why not!

Leaky plumbing keeps governor from mansion

Hmmm, perhaps the QCTimes is offering the governor an excuse for staying on that North Side instead of staying in Springfield when the General Assembly is in session. I hope that they can repair the damage in the governor's mansion...
Since taking office in 2003, Gov. Rod Blagojevich has been criticized for not living in the Executive Mansion in Springfield.

State records, however, show the governor had a pretty good reason for not staying overnight in the 153-year-old home late last year.

According to documents filed with the Illinois Auditor

General, there was a water leak in the governor’s private quarters on the upper floors of the mansion in November.

The leak damaged the ceiling of the mansion ballroom and threatened a walnut-paneled library next to the ballroom. Because of the leak and the resulting repairs, mansion director David Bourland shut off the water in the governor’s private apartment.

“If the leak is not fixed and water damages the library walnut walls, the cost to repair will be much higher,” Bourland noted in his request for the repairs.

Blagojevich, who lives in a bungalow on Chicago’s north side, occasionally stays at the mansion when he’s in Springfield. But, he usually takes a state airplane home to Chicago each night. His frequent use of the state plane has drawn cat-calls from lawmakers, who say it is a waste of taxpayer cash.

In a memo, Bourland noted that he closed the ballroom for safety reasons after the leak was discovered.

David Blanchette, spokesman for the Illinois Capital Development Board, which oversees repairs and construction of state facilities, said the plumbing failure was due to the advanced age of the building.
BTW, on the Capitol Fax blog a commentor mentioned that the governor was quoted as saying this in relation to being in Springfield for the votes in the General Assembly on his amendatory veto on transit legislation...
“No hockey games. I’m going to be there on Thursday. No Hannah Montana concerts.”
This was reported on WBBM radio and if there is anything more about I'm sure we'll hear about it. In fact I'll go there and see if I can find a write-up. Oh this does involve two controversies from his administration.

The first was about him going to a Blackhawks game while his transit bailout bill went down in flames in the General Assembly. The other was about garnering some free tickets to Hannah Montana. Not knowing about this mainly because I either don't watch the Disney Channel or I don't have any kids, yet, I wouldn't know who that was anyway. So there ya go!

Newsalert has more about the Governor campaigning at a black church

They linked to an article posted by the Sun-Times on Monday. They way he panders to a particular group is almost pathetic. The AV which sought to really garner the support of senior citizen and while I'm sure he got a few in his camp there by some accounts doesn't seem to be a lot of support for that among seniors.

I talked about this before recently. If it's his GRT for health care and public schools or his AV for senior citizen's free ride on public transit he finds his way to a black church or he finds some black religious leaders. Take a look at his inflection...

Gov. Blagojevich sounded as if he grew up in Memphis, instead of the Northwest Side, while campaigning Sunday at a black mega-church for his plan to give free transit rides to senior citizens.

In between rhyming, dropping his g's and sprinkling in a few "ain'ts," the governor zinged Mayor Daley. The mayor has questioned Blagojevich's last-minute demand for free rides for seniors in the mass-transit funding bill.

"It's hard to be a senior citizen in Chicago these days," Blagojevich said at the House of Hope, 752 E. 114th St. "Man, it's tough. Costs are going up. The price of everything is goin' up. Mayor Daley just raised your property taxes." The crowd murmured agreement.

Blagojevich said Daley should stop raining on his proposal.

"Mayor Daley just yesterday expressed some concern that maybe the legislators won't get back down to Springfield to bail out the CTA and give seniors free rides on buses. Well, Mayor Daley shouldn't be so pessimistic. Maybe he needs to come to the House of Hope and have a little bitta hope," the governor said at the 10,000-seat stadium and house of worship built by the Rev. James Meeks, a South Side state senator and pastor of Salem Baptist Church.

"How many of you agree with me that it's the right thing to do to give your grandmother a free ride on a bus?" Blagojevich asked to rousing cheers.

He even paraphrased the late U.S. Sen. Robert Kennedy, saying: "Some men see things as they are and ask why, but I dream things that never were and say why not?"

He urged churchgoers to contact lawmakers and push for his plan, which would establish free rides from transit agencies statewide for those 65 and older.

How pathetic! They got on Hillary Clinton for this, way before there was a single primary election. He was probably trained well that or it was instinctual since it's probably not too difficult to think you can copy the style of a country preacher. It probably resonated with people too.

The fact is that it's still pandering in the worst way. I would dare say it's insulting in some respects. Even more insulting is that he had a captive audience at a black church and I wonder how receptive his speech was there. All I got to see was a few clips on CBS2 when I could have watched the broadcast of Salem Baptist Church live on Channel 62 WJYS.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Former County Board President John Stroger dies!

The Capitol Fax linked to the story from a CBS 2 article this morning. His son currently sits in his County Board President's seat I would say is having difficulty filling Mr. Stroger's big shoes but let me just leave that aside for the moment.

My mother told me a story once about going to a local cleaners Tailo-rite not too long before that fateful primary in 2006. He was elected the Democratic nominee for county board president just about a week after he had his stroke. He would later resign his position at the county and his nomination and almost a month later then 8th Ward Alderman Todd Stroger was selected in his place for the Democratic nomination.

Anyway back to Tailo-rite. My mother was being waited on but the clerk on duty there saw another man dropped everything and got their order and this man was on his way. This man was in fact John Stroger's driver and he was there to pick up Stroger's dry cleaning. This was certainly before his stroke.

You know I want to share some other posts about him and his legacy sans the 2006 election and aftermath of course. Some could be seen as negative and other probably more positive. May the old man rest in piece he may have been a Daley supporter but at least he was an equal. I mean that in a sort of he was a political boss type of way.

John Stroger's endorsement record in black and white
8th Ward Democratic Organization

Russ Stewart on Obama for President

This was one of the columns I missed from last month the day after Christmas. A nice forecase of primary elections for Obama until we get to the general. In which case Obama is forecast to lose to a Republican. Do you want to know why?

But he will not be elected. Three factors dictate a presidential outcome: comfort, competence and stature. A presidential race with an incumbent is a referendum. Without an incumbent, it's a choice, and if Obama is the Democratic candidate, voters -- especially nonliberal whites and conservative Hispanics -- will ask themselves: Am I comfortable with Obama in the White House? Do I want a black president? Does Obama have the seasoning, gravitas and experience to be the commander in chief?

Kerry lost by just 2,912,497 votes in 2004, carrying 19 states with 252 electoral votes. For a Democrat to win in 2008, all he or she need do is win all the 2004 Kerry states plus 18 more electoral votes -- such as in Ohio (20), Colorado (9), New Mexico (5), Nevada (5) or Arizona (10). Clinton or Edwards would do that. Obama would not.

In Tennessee in 2006, Democrats ran U.S. Representative Harold Ford Jr., who is black, for senator. He ran as a moderate, not a militant, but he lost by 49,935 votes, getting 48 percent of the votes cast, to an unimpressive Republican, Bob Corker. Ford got 156,501 fewer votes than Kerry, who lost the state with 43 percent of the vote. A substantial number of white voters simply will not vote for a black candidate.

Nationwide, for Republicans in 2008, it will be Tennessee all over. If the Democrats nominate Obama, a Republican will beat him.
Did you see that? He compared what could happen to Obama to what did happen to Harold Ford in Tennessee. Some wiser people did say that, there are white voters out there who just won't vote a black man for president. We may need a few more years for that.

I just have to bring this up. Here's a commercial that aired in Tennessee that was a hit against Harold Ford, who was then a Congressman representing the City of Memphis, Tennessee.

A very dirty ad playing Harold Ford like a liberal Democrat, something I don't believe him to be and unfortunately presenting him as if he liked the white ladies. I just have to show this piece of aftermath...

Desperate I suppose but do I know where he's coming from, yes. I expect that Barack will respond to this differently should the Republicans choose this same course of action. It's not just because I see Obama as a nice guy, but because he should have learned from Harold Ford. It's that simple to me.

A good example is how he's handling this bickering between him and his senate colleague Hillary Clinton over a race flap. Whether we're talking about Bill Clinton's fairy tale comments that some saw as racial or BET founder Bob Johnson making his comments about Obama. Something that Mr. Johnson apologized for.

Personally I like Obama in some respects. He's intelligent and well spoken and charismatic. The reasons I may not support him is that he's green and his political resume is small. Out there I read that he's only had one bill passed in the US Senate and in his many years in the Illinois State Senate he's also only passed one bill. He doesn't have a lot to speak for nor have I heard him speak much about it. It would be nice if he had.

So his political career seems at this point mediocre. Except that he has an exceptional ride towards the top. If Illinois didn't fall in love with him the rest of the country did. Even I suppose young liberal activists who I believe Obama appeals to the most. Especially if you believe in the generational divide between Obama and Hillary.

Still looking at the Republican side or the Democrat side a tough choice is to be had right now. There is no Republican front runner and the Democrats are slugging it out nicely though we might be closer to see who'll emerge on that side. 2008 may very well be a very important election!

I ran into an old friend recently

Well I can find old friends on the internet thru the various social networking websites out there. People commonly use Facebook or MySpace to name a couple but I use another tool and thru there I won't be just as able to contact them. What I'm referring to is the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC).

I don't know when the first time I started doing this was. I know that one day I was at a computer lab when I went to college in Chicago and this girl sitting next to me was amused at the faces she recognized off the IDOC website. I looked to see what she was giggling about because quite frankly it was distracting, but she took umbrage at that and said something.

Eventually I decided to have a look myself. What happened to some of the people I went to school with? Especially those who I eventually figured out were on their way to running into some trouble with the law.

Some of these people I figured would be in jail by now weren't in jail yet or perhaps they had just been released by the time I started looking for them. Some left for a while and came right back to jail. That was the case with a couple of guys I found recently. Sometimes it seems easier to get in trouble than to find ways to stay out of jail.

Now when I was able to figure out some of these people were headed to jail or for serious trouble or would otherwise go psycho on me for any unexpected reason I just decided to put myself at a distance from them. I didn't need the trouble nor the complications. Thankfully though I didn't really hang out with anyone after school whether they were decent people or otherwise. So that helped me for sure.

I did find one friend who I've known since elementary school. He had issues and today I've concluded that he had to have been abused as a child. He was a thief and let me qualify that statement. He stole a sandwich from the teacher's lounge once and my former second grade teacher had caught him. Another time he stole some snack cakes from my former third grade teacher when he was a guest in our after-school program. Those were the times I know about.

He often didn't eat at lunch saying that he would eat it before he came to school. What probably really happened was that his folks didn't fix him lunch and he wasn't exactly crying for help. He would beg often and behind his back I would often talk about him or make fun of him for this tendency. There was certainly a reason if he did eat lunch before class, he was hungry by lunch time, especially before my grammar school had a lunch program of sorts.

When we did have a school lunch program most of the time he rarely paid. Then again he didn't seem to be well-to-do or even close to that so he should have had free lunch. Maybe his folks must not have cared much about him enough to even bother filling out the necessary forms so that he could get free lunch! What could be more likely was that he had the form and never bothered to give it to his people at home.

Oh and another thing I found out about him was his temper. If you "assaulted" him in any way he wouldn't let it go and he would get his "lick" back. In other words it didn't matter if you were playing his only solution was to fight you. Apologies weren't going to get it for you he was going to get you. Who knows if I kept fooling around it would have been worse than a beating eventually.

Oh I remember one time he said he was stabbed in the leg. I don't recall what story he told but I sort of recall that he was hanging with his older brother when it happend and probably late at night when he should have been at home. He also had the tendency to sleep in class most of the time and it was a wonder that he even kept moving up with us back then. Either way within the first couple of months in sixth grade, I never saw him again he left the school. To where is anybody's guess!

Then I found him just a few days ago. He had the same features I remember though he does have braids or cornrows now, something I honestly associate with criminals. His crime doesn't seem terribly violent, it's over narcotics. I honestly thought he would have been in jails years ago when I started browsing IDOC.

Whatever happened in his homelife and I can never know for sure, it sure didn't help him in the real world. It took over and now he's actually in jail for real. I'm sure the cry for help was there, but what could anyone at our school have done to get him on the right track before he found himself in jail eventually.

Oh I want to conclude on another anecdote. Another classmate was on American's Most Wanted (AMV) but that wasn't the worst part. AMV wasn't even looking for her, she just so happened to be in a target of a major manhunt in Chicago and they ran a check on her and found that there was a warrant for her arrest in another Illinois county outside of the Chicago area. I heard her name and the camera was on her and it was her in handcuffs being placed into a squad car. It's really messed up!

Well that enough talking about people I used to know who are now in jail. I don't mean to start off on a drag of sorts. Just a cautionary tale of people you knew once who unfortuately might find their way into the criminal justice system. In the naivete of my youth I couldn't even imagine that, but then what do I know.