Monday, August 31, 2009

Judge sets Cubs sale on fast track for Trib

Now this deal needs to hurry up and close right now!
The judge presiding over Tribune Co.'s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case has approved an expedited process for court action surrounding the company's sale of the Chicago Cubs baseball team.

The family of billionaire Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade, has agreed to buy a 95 percent stake in the team and its Wrigley Field home for $845 million.

Judge Kevin Carey on Monday approved a process that calls for any objections to the sale to be filed by Sept. 17, followed by a Sept. 24 hearing on court approval of the deal.

Hearing today on Chicago Cubs sale

And this sale still is getting dragged out!!!
The judge presiding over Tribune Co.'s Chapter 11 bankruptcy case is set to hear from attorneys regarding the company's sale of the Chicago Cubs baseball team.

Judge Kevin Carey scheduled a hearing Monday on a motion by Tribune attorneys outlining a two-step process the company hopes will culminate in the sale of the Cubs to the family of billionaire Joe Ricketts, founder of TD Ameritrade.

The Ricketts family has agreed to buy a 95 percent stake in the team and its Wrigley Field home for $845 million, but the deal must be approved by the bankruptcy court, as well as Major League Baseball.
Buying a sport franchise apparently isn't as simple as having the money!

Is this why the Cubs aren't doing so great right now?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Kennedys

Yesterday was probably the first time I actually paid attention to the remembrances of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy. He died Wednesday morning at 77 of a brain tumor.

Yesterday was his funeral and burial. He was to be buried with his brothers Bobby and JFK at Arlington National Cemetery. The funeral service in Boston was quite nice with his two sons talking about their dad in the best of terms even his namesake son who not only sounds like him but looks like him got very emotional. Teddy's other son, Patrick, resembles JFK in some respects, but needs to get in shape more lol.

In any case I see how big this family is. Joe Kennedy, Sr. the man who basically started this family had 9 children, but Bobby (we may know him as RFK or Robert) had 11 children. And whether they have the Kennedy name or not there is more where that comes from. Even better on the way to the church it appears they arrived on chartered buses.

If this was a large black family with the prestige of the Kennedys and this was Chicago, I would bet money that we'd be talking about Omega Charters. ;)

Anyway for many the ceremonies for Ted Kennedy has only helped to solidify support for the Kennedy family. You may disagree with their politics, but you may well admire the close knit aspect of this huge family. If nothing else that should be celebrated.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

At the library on Friday

I was at the library on Friday and saw this display over the atrium on the lobby looking down into the basement. The display was several Styrofoam cups attached to cotton strings. I got the idea that this display was interactive for children to play with toy telephones.

I remember this was done when I was in elementary school. It was sort of a science experiment to explain the basic science of telephones. Of course this was before the cell phone took over these days. Back then most of the country had to depend on landbase phones.

Anyway I never understood the experiment. It tells me that either I just wasn't paying attention or that interested in that experiment or that assignment. It may also tell me that my teachers weren't that effective in explaining the science of attaching stings to styrofoam cups and being able to communicate thru them.

Because of this display I'm now asking the question again. Although at least today I have Google that may help me understand. LOL

Friday, August 28, 2009

Time Magazine Camps Out in Detroit

Today we are going back to Detroit. Well I'm not physically going back there, but Time magazine bought a home there and wants to start their own news bureau:
The buzz along the fancy part of Parker Avenue this summer was about the buyer of the handsome stucco house that had been vacant for more than two years.

Word on the street was the buyer was a literate and powerful New Yorker with global connections and staggering wealth. Sure enough, the buyer's current address, according to real estate records, turned out to be 1271 Avenue of the Americas, a Manhattan skyscraper.

Parker Avenue, meet your new neighbor: Time Inc., the legendary media colossus.

In a highly unusual decision for a news organization, Time has purchased a 95-year-old house in Detroit's historic West Village neighborhood, next to Indian Village. The home will serve as a base of operations for months -- and perhaps a couple of years -- as Time's various publications cast a unique spotlight on Detroit and chronicle its increasingly desperate struggle to reinvent itself.
I shall look forward to following what Time reports on Detroit, Michigan. I hope that what they present is nothing more than good news about that fair city. Even if it is struggling right now with political leadership or even it's own stalled economy.

Via The Urbanophile!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Till's casket headed to Smithsonian in 2015

This casket was part of the whole Burr Oak tragedy when greed took over and they resold plots that were bought and paid for. It was supposed to be used for a memorial or exhibit on Emmitt Till, but instead it was rusting and home to some possums before the criminal ring at Burr Oak was shut down this summer.
Authorities say there are plans to exhibit the casket that held the body of lynching victim Emmett Till at the Smithsonian Institution's planned National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington when it opens in 2015.

The glass-topped casket held the 14-year-old Chicagoan's mutilated body for 50 years after his 1955 slaying in Mississippi.

Till's body was exhumed from Burr Oak Cemetery in Alsip in 2005 when the FBI tried to find possible accomplices in the killing.

Till was reburied in a new casket, and the original was found rusting in a shed at Burr Oak recently during investigation of an alleged grave-reselling scandal. Museum officials and members of Till's family were expected to announce the casket's donation just before a memorial ceremony Friday.
When this story came out and I heard Till was buried here I was ready to think that even he didn't escape this criminal activity. Thankfully he did, but his original casket hadn't. It was just cast aside as if these cemetary workers didn't care if it was an historical relic.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

L.A. schools site packed for vote on allowing outside groups to run some schools

A story about privatization of public schools in Los Angeles, California:
The scene today outside the downtown headquarters of the Los Angeles Unified School District is a bit chaotic, with hundreds of competing activists and traffic jams. At issue is today's vote on a plan that would allow outside groups to take control of 50 new campuses scheduled to open over the next four years. The proposal has been expanded to include more than 200 existing schools that have persistently failed to meet state and federal improvement targets. These schools could be shut down and converted to charter schools or turned over to outside groups.

The strategy sessions for today’s theater began before dawn. By 5 a.m., about 50 supporters of the proposal, wearing light-blue T-shirts emblazoned with “My Child, My Choice,” began lining up to be the first into the auditorium, where the school board is scheduled to deliberate over the measure at 2 p.m.

Right behind this contingent came a larger one, distinctive for its red T-shirts. The group is spearheaded by  United Teachers Los Angeles, the district's teachers union, which is leading opposition to the proposal,  authored by school board member Yolie Flores Aguilar.

An amendment supported by the union could give veto power over any school reform to parents, teachers and other bargaining units. This amendment was brought forward by newly elected Westside board member Steve Zimmer, who said his intention was for reforms to be inclusive and ultimately more effective.
The main theme or point in this article is that there is attempts by the teacher's unions to protect as many jobs as possible. Not only teachers positions but non-teaching as well.

Via Newsalert!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Springfield to require training after nooses found

City officials in Springfield say plans are in the works to require city workers to take diversity and sensitivity training after two nooses were found hanging at city facilities.

The nooses were found earlier this summer hanging at the city's water and electricity department. One of the nooses was found at the work station of a black employee.

Nooses are often considered symbols of racial oppression, invoking images of racist lynchings.

Springfield Mayor Tim Davlin says he didn't think sensitivity training would be necessary in the year 2010, but he's learned more needs to be done.

Authorities are investigating if criminal charges will be filed against the three white employees who allegedly tied and hung the nooses.
You know I thought of these sensitivity training as lame, but really it's not funny or even appropriate to direct nooses towards your fellow black employees. It's very unfortunate that we got people who thinks this is OK. And at that this is over 100 years after some serious race riots there.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cubs deal is done!

Well that last post is meaningless now!
Tribune Co. made it official Friday, announcing an $800 million deal to sell the Chicago Cubs, Wrigley Field and a 25% stake in Comcast SportsNet to the Ricketts family.

Tribune will retain a 5% stake in the assets, as expected, which means the overall transaction is valued at about $845 million, Tribune said.

“Our family is thrilled to have reached an agreement to acquire a controlling interest in the Chicago Cubs, one of the most storied franchises in sports," Joe Ricketts, family patriarch and founder of T.D. Ameritrade, said in a statement. "The Cubs have the greatest fans in the world, and we count our family among them. We look forward to closing the transaction so that we can begin leading the Cubs to a World Series title.”
Was it really that hard?

Tribune Co. in final inning on Cubs deal

OK come on guys do it before Tribune Co. gets snatched away from Mr. Sam Zell!
Tribune Co. is expected to seal its deal to sell the Chicago Cubs to the family of bond salesman Tom Ricketts by early next week, according to a person close to the transaction.

The two sides have been working to formalize terms of a limited partnership between the Ricketts family and Tribune, which is retaining a 5% stake in the franchise to avoid a huge tax hit from the sale.

That agreement likely will be inked by Monday, the source said, preventing Tribune from pursuing deals with other bidding groups. Major League Baseball and a Bankruptcy Court have to sign off on it before the sale goes through.
This is the longest sale of a sports team I have seen. Has anyone seen anything longer? Heh, I've been paying more attention to the business aspect of this deal than what's been going on in the Central Division of the National League.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

V-LOG: Detroit Riverwalk

Video I took along the Detroit Riverwalk last month. Across the Detroit River is Windsor, Ontario, Canada. You can at least hear some sounds of this nice area.

BTW, if I ever show my original videos here they will be called "V-Logs". That way you will know that I made them myself. Otherwise I may or may not denote that a video is a part of this post. History is being made with this post the first Video bLog. Get it? Video Blog (V-Log). Enjoy!

If you have any issues playing this video thru vPIP let me know, also I have it here on YouTube as well.

Ex-staffer says AKA chief fired her unfairly

The AKA story continues:
Kenitra Shackelford-Johnson, 37, said she lost her job as meetings director at Alpha Kappa Alpha’s Chicago headquarters in June for refusing to sign off on President Barbara A. McKinzie’s expenditures. For that, she said, McKinzie berated her and threw papers at her.

“I had an obligation to the company,” Shackelford-Johnson said. She said she e-mailed a complaint to the state attorney general’s office June 17 and was fired within a week.

On Tuesday, the sorority denied any wrongdoing and said the employee resigned.
The Chicago way not only infect a sorority, but also causes a person to have a tantrum. What is up?

Previously: AKA president sued by fellow sorors

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Creepy episode of NCIS

I've taken to the reruns airing on USA. The show has been on the air since 2004.

Anyway our protagonist, NCIS Special Agent Jethro Gibbs, has to take down his former commanding officer as a Marine. This Colonel found his way onto the FBI's most wanted list, however, this Colonel believed he found a conspiracy as he attempted to retrieve some cash from the regime of Saddam Hussein. Another twist is the return of a dead junior officer who died in Desert Storm and it is believed by this Colonel was faked.

This show is known for its twists near the end of the episode. There was no conspiracy, it was all in this Colonel's head. The dead junior officer, a Lieutenant, never returned he passed away in Desert Storm. As this realization hits the Colonel, the Lt. was fading away right before his eye. The unfortunate part of this is that the Colonal assaulted and caused the death of a number of people and it was due to paranoid-schizophrenia.

Caitlin asked Gibbs why the Colonel was fixated on this Lieutenant and I've got an idea in my own head. This was a young officer who didn't understand why he was a casualty. Perhaps that touched the Colonel in a way that would be the focus of the mental illness he would be diagnosed with.

I wonder if this episode caused many of us to evaluate where our state of minds are?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Allegations pose first campaign test for Cheryle Jackson

Perhaps in the grand scheme of things, this senate race coming up next year isn't important. Perhaps this Senate seat for which Ms. Jackson is seeking election may not be a competitive seat, especially since I think Republicans may have a pick-up here. This Senate seat may not have much effect on the balance of power in the US Senate between Republicans and Democrats.

This senate seat however is an important one for racial history. In perhaps the last 40 years four blacks have taken their seats in the US Senate. Three have been elected with one appointed. Also three black US Senators have come from Illinois. Two have been elected and one was appointed, and we won't discuss the one who was appointed I've talked about him enough.

Today we'll talk about the new candidate for US Senate on the Democratic side, she used to be apart of Ousted governor's administration. And that was before she become President of the Chicago Urban League. Today it appears that she had a role in the bungled attempt to offer state funds to a church that was ravaged by fire a few years back.
Are the fingerprints of Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Cheryle Jackson on one of the state's biggest political fiascos under now-indicted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich?

Jackson -- the Chicago Urban League chief who was Blagojevich's deputy chief of staff for communications until late 2006 -- emphatically says no.

But a series of previously undisclosed e-mails between Blagojevich staffers call that assertion into question. The e-mails were flying as the then-governor's staff scrambled to fulfill his promise to give $1million in state aid to Pilgrim Baptist Church, a Bronzeville landmark destroyed by fire.

Blagojevich's promise, made with TV cameras rolling in January 2006 as he was seeking re-election, blew up in his face last year when the Chicago Sun-Times revealed that the money intended for the church went instead to a clout-heavy private school, the Loop Lab School, that had rented space from the church in a building next to its sanctuary at 3300 S. Indiana.
Well the mix-up over where this money was supposed to go came to a head last year. Just before Ousted governor was arrested, impeached and then removed from office. Of course Ms. Jackson denies her role in that affair, in fact she is sure to let people know that she left the Blagojevich administration the year that he was re-elected. Also she makes sure to note that Blago didn't stand for what she believed he stood for and that prompted her departure. Let's continue:
Loop Lab School -- run by a pardoned ex-felon named Chandra Gill -- was leasing space from Pilgrim Baptist Church at the time of the fire. The school used the $1 million from Blagojevich's administration to move out of Bronzeville and buy a downtown office condo that was supposed to become the school's new home.

Blagojevich's response to the news that the school got the $1 million meant for the church was to claim he was blindsided by the disclosure. He blamed everything on a bureaucratic mix-up by two former staffers and offered what he called a "win-win" solution, deciding to let the school keep the money and promising to direct another $1 million to the church.

But the church still hasn't gotten that state money. And the Loop Lab School never reopened in the office condo downtown.

The state is taking steps to try to get back the grant money from the school. Also, the auditor general found that Blagojevich's administration broke state rules on how grants are awarded.

In another e-mail written the same day the Sun-Times story broke, [Blago deputy Chief or Staff Kristin] Richards said Jackson was the one who directed, early on, that Loop Lab School get the state money instead of the church. The decision to route money to the school came after the American Civil Liberties Union questioned the legality of giving state funds to a church.
So, this is turning into a huge mess. It may not derail Cheryle Jackson's chance. John Ruberry seems to believe a worse dilemna may be Alexi Giannoulias offering loans to organized crime figures.

While there may be the opportunity to elect another black to the US Senate, with the wounds some of the candidates have on the Democratic side I can see why Mark Kirk and the Republicans may believe that this Senate seat may be another pick up. This one might be made easy in spite of Illinois' blue tint.

Pro wrestler and Olympic gold medalist Kurt Angle arrested for possessing human growth hormone

A few years back Kurt Angle left WWE (WWF) due to personal reasons. Then in a short time he was in TNA back in the game. It seemed as if he was taking a sabbatical to handle his personal problems only to get back into the business a short time later.

And then this happens!
Angle was arrested Saturday, just 1-1/2 hours after body-slamming beauty Rhaka Khan obtained a restraining order against him and he tracked her down to a suburban Pittsburgh strip mall, police said.

Compounding Angle's troubles, cops found two vials of the human growth hormone Hygetropin and syringes in his car.

They also pinned him for driving with a suspended license.

Khan, 26, whose real name is Trenesha Biggers, called cops on her cell phone after she saw Angle menacing her from the parking lot of a Robinson Town Center strip mall, where she had gone to a Starbucks to check her e-mail.

Leaving the coffee shop, she saw Angle driving around the parking lot. The hulking female grappler says she sought refuge in a supermarket and dialed 911 on her cell phone, police said.

"She saw Angle circle the parking lot three times, staring at her," a police report reveals.
This is starting to get a little creepy. Well it's beyond a little creepy. I hope Kurt gets some help because it appears that he really needs it!

Via Newsalert!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Ousted governor's Quest for Rock Bottom

Via CapFax!

Boycotting Whole Foods!

Even ABC News got into the act about ObamaCare supporters threatening to boycott Whole Foods because the CEO wrote an op/ed in favor of a free market solution to the health care issue:
"I will never shop there again," vowed Joshua, a 45-year-old blogger, who asked that his last name not be published.

Like many of his fellow health food fanatics, Joshua said he will no longer patronize the store after learning about Whole Foods Market Inc.'s CEO John Mackey's views on health care reform, which were made public this week in an op-ed piece he wrote for The Wall Street Journal.

Michael Lent, another Whole Foods enthusiast in Long Beach, Calif., told that he, too, will turn to other organic groceries for his weekly shopping list.

"I'm boycotting [Whole Foods] because all Americans need health care," said Lent, 33, who used to visit his local Whole Foods "several times a week."

"While Mackey is worried about health care and stimulus spending, he doesn't seem too worried about expensive wars and tax breaks for the wealthy and big businesses such as his own that contribute to the deficit," said Lent.
Eh??? How does he know!
Christine Taylor, a 34-year-old New Jersey shopper, vowed never to step foot in another Whole Foods again.

"I will no longer be shopping at Whole Foods," Taylor told "I think a CEO should take care that if he speaks about politics, that his beliefs reflect at least the majority of his clients."

Countless Whole Foods shoppers have taken their gripes with Mackey's op-ed to the Internet, where people on the social networking sites Twitter and Facebook are calling for a boycott of the store.

A commenter on the Whole Foods forum, identified only by his handle, "PracticePreach," wrote, "It is an absolute slap in the face to the millions of progressive-minded consumers that have made [Whole Foods] what it is today."

"You should know who butters your hearth-baked bread, John," wrote the commenter. "Last time I checked it wasn't the insurance industry conservatives who made you a millionaire a hundred times over."
Well not all is lost.
And not all Whole Foods customers were upset by Mackey's op-ed.

Many posted online that they agreed with his message and would try to shop at the chain more often.

Frank Federer wrote, expressing fatigue with the knee-jerk reaction of other shoppers.

"You can count me as one vote FOR Whole Foods' CEO," wrote Federer. "At a time when most folks are more inclined toward rancor than discussion of facts, I applaud John Mackey."
There is a lesson here, especially if anyone aspire to be a CEO of some fortune 500 company:
According to Robert Passikoff, the founder of Brand Keys, a N.Y.-based consulting firm, what a CEO says or does can often have a direct impact on consumers' pocketbooks.

"You can have a tremendous effect as a CEO, but it's a double-edge sword in that you'll have people who will support your position and feel better about your brand because of what you say," said Passikoff. "But equally so, you'll have people who think you're crazy and because they can't take it out on you, the CEO, they'll take it out on the company."

It is the risk of losing customers, said Passikoff, which more often than not leads CEOs to keep their mouths shut, at least when it comes to polarizing issues such as health care.
"It's relatively unusual for a CEO to be as outspoken as Mackey has been," said Upshaw. "Because any time you weigh in to something political, you're bound to have loyal customers who will question [your] point of view, and that can have a very negative effect."

Upshaw added that Mackey's op-ed may have done more harm than might be typical because of the unique makeup of his clientele.

"You have more activist consumers going to Whole Foods than other stores," said Upshaw. "They're not just simply expressing an opinion, they do something about it.
You know, I still think some people are being narrow minded here. Besides why is it that a privately owned company has to fall into the point of view of their own customers? Where did that logic come from?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

DailyKos no longer likes Whole Foods

His comments on health care they really don't like and they remind him who shops at his stores:
Mr. Mackey, I'm not sure if you understand who it is that shops at your organic grocery chain: a lot of progressives, vegetarians, professional and amateur athletes, and others who care so much about the environment and what they eat that they're still willing to shell out three bucks for an organic orange, even in the midst of the worst recession in sixty years. I was proud WFMI was based in my hometown of Austin, and defended it against most of the conservatives I knew growing up there, many of whom still hold your entire business in utter contempt. Some of them ridiculed me for shopping at Whole Foods, with all the "tree huggers and granola eaters and hippies" who, incidentally, made you a millionaire.

Mr. Mackey, you just shat all over your best customers. Given the years of pseudonymous postings on Yahoo finance slamming a competitor you were quietly trying to acquire at the time, double talk and unethical behavior arguably seems to be becoming a habit for you. So I will never, ever, shop at your stores again, unless you retract that op-ed, apologize for stabbing us in the back, or resign. In this day and age, it's just too easy to locate competitors. Until then, well, judging by the Whole Foods community forum, not to mention the discussion in Hopeful Skeptic's and Aptoklas' diaries, you've finally managed to universally piss off everyone. I predict the next few weeks of your life are going to suck, immensely.
Hmmm, don't disagree with us or we'll make sure you lose money! Dogma!


These commenters at TalkingPointsMemo don't like some of John Mackey's proposals on health care enough to want to stop shopping at his Whole Foods stores. Heh, I wish I knew what to say, they apparently didn't like what Mackey had to say. His proposals and his support for the free market, makes me want to shop at Whole Foods more. Hopefully he got a few more customers thanks to his op/ed.

You can go here and read yesterday's post and read what he wrote.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

The Whole Foods Alternative to ObamaCare

This Wall Street Journal column from Whole Foods CEO, John Mackey (via Newsalert) talks more about his company's solution to any health care crisis:
Health care is a service that we all need, but just like food and shelter it is best provided through voluntary and mutually beneficial market exchanges. A careful reading of both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution will not reveal any intrinsic right to health care, food or shelter. That's because there isn't any. This "right" has never existed in America

Even in countries like Canada and the U.K., there is no intrinsic right to health care. Rather, citizens in these countries are told by government bureaucrats what health-care treatments they are eligible to receive and when they can receive them. All countries with socialized medicine ration health care by forcing their citizens to wait in lines to receive scarce treatments.

Although Canada has a population smaller than California, 830,000 Canadians are currently waiting to be admitted to a hospital or to get treatment, according to a report last month in Investor's Business Daily. In England, the waiting list is 1.8 million.

At Whole Foods we allow our team members to vote on what benefits they most want the company to fund. Our Canadian and British employees express their benefit preferences very clearly—they want supplemental health-care dollars that they can control and spend themselves without permission from their governments. Why would they want such additional health-care benefit dollars if they already have an "intrinsic right to health care"? The answer is clear—no such right truly exists in either Canada or the U.K.—or in any other country.

Rather than increase government spending and control, we need to address the root causes of poor health. This begins with the realization that every American adult is responsible for his or her own health.

Unfortunately many of our health-care problems are self-inflicted: two-thirds of Americans are now overweight and one-third are obese. Most of the diseases that kill us and account for about 70% of all health-care spending—heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes and obesity—are mostly preventable through proper diet, exercise, not smoking, minimal alcohol consumption and other healthy lifestyle choices.

Recent scientific and medical evidence shows that a diet consisting of foods that are plant-based, nutrient dense and low-fat will help prevent and often reverse most degenerative diseases that kill us and are expensive to treat. We should be able to live largely disease-free lives until we are well into our 90s and even past 100 years of age.
Check out this almost two year old video posted below. A 20/20 John Stossel special on the subject of health care. This is a video I posted close to two years ago.

This video illustrates the policy used by employees of the Whole Foods grocery chain.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

UGH!!! Ousted governor wants a reality show now

These past couple of days. Well I could include the past weekend. Yesterday Roland Burris sounded as if he may run for his Senate seat, yeah the one where he was appointed by Ousted governor who had recently been arrested for placing that very Senate seat up for sale. Authorities are still attempting to find the truth of what happened when it was decided to make this appointment. Get this Sen. Burris bowed out of a re-election campaign last month!

On Friday, Ousted governor (well Rod Blagojevich), was found at an outdoor street party to play Elvis. It should be no secret that he's an Elvis Presley fan! Then you wonder can't this guy go away.

Today, it appears he can't. Now he wants a reality series. He tried that already and was enjoined from going (well he was stopped) and instead his wife participated in a reality series in the jungles of Central America. The excuse was about the money as it is now. Apparently Blagojevich feels that he can't make a living thanks to the current environment that is largely of his own doing.

Since being ousted from office in January, he seems to have become nothing more than a freak show attraction. After something like this most normal people would just recoil and go into the background, but that's not Ousted governor's style. Although what can I say sometimes it's better to keep living and get out there than to continue to feel the pressure of the law on you. Especially if you were dumb enough to break the law in the first place.

You know what I think. The way Ousted governor has been acting since his arrest and after his ouster, I wouldn't be surprised if he only unraveled before our eyes. He almost seemed oblivious to the trouble he's in, but what happens when reality finally sets in.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Today was an interesting day

Two encounters that could go under "the mentally ill/homeless in Chicago or on the CTA".

Today the first encounter was on State/Adams, where as I was approaching that intersection a homeless man was about to grab the arm of a fine young thing as she was about to cross the street. She yelled at him not to touch her. I could wonder why he attempted to grab her and my only guess could be that he's not all there. He may not know why he's doing that he just did.

The second encounter was on a red line train leaving the north side. There was this woman, she seemed like a young woman and while we were in the subway she just starting giggling. The only thing about that was well it wasn't necessarily giggling it was more noise that got the attention of most of us in the car. At times she seemed to be talking, but it was more gibberish than coherent words.

I looked back at her at several points and wondered what she was giggling about and no one was talking to her. Perhaps she had a flash back and was still giggling about it. Unfortunately for me I was on the train the entire time she was on the train and she calmed down for a period of time only to fire up again on several occasions along the red line.

There were a couple of young boys who boarded the train at 47th Street and they got off the train at 79th Street. One of them was a little unsettled by the behavior of this woman, as I said she just started giggling at random. Just when he was about to take his seat again, she flared up again and he went ahead and sat with his friend on the train until they got off.

At one point she actually was able to say a word. Whatever she said, I could only guess may be a reason why she's in the condition she was. I mean I have no way of knowing that, but I heard killed in there in the words she was saying. Either way even I was thinking about escaping from this woman, I was no where near her, but even I was like I can't take this noise. It bothers me more when this person has some issues mentally as she was displaying by her strange bursts of "laughter" and her gibberish language.

BTW, I got off at 95th. Usually I assume that when on the L you have somewhere you need to go, but at the end of the line you're not going anywhere else. If you're on the train at 95th when everyone else is getting off you remain, that's an indication that you have no where you need to be. Who knows she may encounter more people on the train who may be disturbed somewhat by her behavior.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Obama's poor lesson on race

I suppose this is another take on the issue of the Beer Summit between the President, Dr. Henry Louis Gates, and the police officer who hauled Dr. Gates to jail last month. I hear sense some disappointment on a lot of sides on this issue, especially since the comments that Obama made during a prime time presser caused Obama to want to invite this officer and Dr. Gates over to his crib, The White House, and have a beer.
Obama is smart to avoid race. He does not know much about it from the perspective of black Americans of nonmixed heritage who are condemned to living with their skin color, other features and their experiences. He certainly does not understand life under Jim Crow.

In The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, Obama wrote that "my own upbringing hardly typifies the African-American experience" and that "largely through luck and circumstance, I now occupy a position that insulates me from most of the bumps and bruises that the average black man must endure."

The president apparently has not learned anything new about race since that acknowledgement, as shown in his words and actions in the Gates affair.

Having just returned to his Harvard home after a trip to China, Gates, accompanied by his black taxi driver, had trouble with the front door of the house. A passerby saw the two men forcing entry, the police were called, and a white officer from Cambridge responded.

From there, some matters are in dispute. But it is clear that Gates yelled at the officer. The police report says Gates suggested that the officer was a racist, had profiled him and had "no idea who he was messing with." Gates went on to "play the dozens," and according to the report told the officer, "I'll speak with your mama outside." Gates denies referring to the officer's mother.

The good professor was handcuffed, arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. The charge was later dropped, and, without having all the details, Obama accused the Cambridge police department of acting "stupidly" for arresting his friend.

Perhaps the department did act stupidly, but Gates and Obama also acted stupidly. Obama's lack of personal experience with the black experience caused him to speak ill-advisedly. Gates' outsized celebrity and ego caused him to do so.

Their words and actions teach young black males, who see them as role models, exactly the wrong lessons. Surviving unscathed as an ordinary black male might be the toughest act in the United States. After all, we are permanent outsiders, perpetually viewed with suspicion or contempt.

To survive unscathed, without deep pockets and celebrity, we have to be smart. We must have a lot of common sense. We must learn to give and take at the right times. We must get the lay of the land before acting. We must learn to distinguish earnest principle from self-destructive pride. We must learn to respect legitimate authority.

Our goal is to put ourselves in control of our destiny as much as possible. The easiest way to relinquish control of our destiny is to get arrested and trapped in the judicial netherworld. The last things a young black male wants in our security-obsessed, crime-averse culture are a rap sheet and bad credit.

In some other parts of the country or even in another part of greater Boston, Gates could have gotten himself killed. He is now joking about the incident, saying, for example, that he might get arrested the next time he visits the White House.

Instead of joking, Gates, along with Obama, should be telling young black males this: Without attitude or trash talk, obey when a police officer gives you a lawful order. Officers wear name plates on their shirts. Always memorize the name and rank of the officer you are dealing with for your lawyer if you think you will need one. You do not give up your manhood when you use your brains to survive.
I'm basically late on this story since it took me some time to finally blog about this.

Let me state this because a friend of mine and myself talked a little about this issue. He agreed with Obama's comments, but my response was to say that Obama is not merely a man who is in a racial minority. Obama is now President of the United States. He doesn't just represent a racial minority he represents the whole nation that is made up of people of various backgrounds.

Let me preferace that by saying, Obama is certainly bi-racial with an African (Kenyan) father and a white mother who hailed from Kansas. Obama admitted in a 60 Minutes interview that he is of the "black community" but that he isn't defined by it. But this op/ed wasn't incorrect by saying that he may not have lived the typical "Black experience" hence his background. He certainly hasn't lived thru Jim Crow. Well for that matter neither have I. ;)

That's not to say that he hasn't had some experiences where his ethnicity haven't caused him some trouble in his youth. Especially when he was much younger up thru the time he got into politics. This trouble could have been from anywhere especially Black Americans. But the worst of our history as far as race, I'm sure that President Obama has only had a crash course into that aspect of our nation's history.

Well getting sidetracked, I feel that Obama was in no way to judge how the Cambridge PD acted in arresting Dr. Gates (BTW, Dr. Gates spoke at my graduation from Morehouse). I understand that we're talking about a personal friend here, but Obama isn't a police officer and he may not know all the facts. Obama is a lawyer and he may have responded because Gates was his friend and as a lawyer. I also could believe that Obama spoke for those blacks who have been arrested by police over their years. Many may have some grievances that may be justified or unjustified. In that case that may have been a bad move on Obama's part to go after the police officer.

In the same situation the difficult task for me as say, a Black President, would be to give everyone the benefit of the doubt and say I don't know every detail and I don't think I should express my opinion on this situation until I know more. As President I would have to express my confidence that Police Officers around the country are doing the best job possible in preserving and protecting peace in all jurisdictions. Obama may not have done this for the Cambrigde PD.

Well I said what I had to say. What do you think on this issue?

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Health care debate - Angry mobs

The Examiner:
We are witnessing something terribly ugly in America this summer. Obama is leading a campaign to shift our peaceful democratic process away from civil discussions of programs and candidates to using the power of the state to bully those who oppose the majority party's policy proposals. The threat may be as subtle as the fear of being reported by a neighborhood informant to the White House, or as overt as stick-wielding union toughs who might not approve of the way you ask your congressman a question.

During his campaign last year, the president famously told his supporters to "get in the faces" of those who disagreed with his vision for America. One of his Chicago mentors recalled in a 2007 New Republic profile that Obama, as a community organizer, was "the best student he ever had, a natural, the undisputed master of agitation" to gain political power. Sadly, now that he has it, he is turning it against those who oppose him.
On the contrary when I saw this headline at Real Clear Politics, it referred to those health care reform opponents as "hooligans". This op/ed is from the NY Times:
One of the most frustrating aspects of the health care debate is that the people who most want reform are the most apathetic about it.

According to a CNN/Opinion Research poll released on Wednesday, nearly 8 in 10 Democrats said that they favor “Barack Obama’s plan to reform health care,” compared with just 19 percent of Republicans.

Yet, according to a Gallup poll released last week, only 47 percent of Democrats said that they had a good understanding of the issues involved in the current health care debate. Fifty-eight percent of the Republicans polled said that they understood.

Furthermore, a Pew Research Center poll released on Thursday found that Democrats were the least likely to say that they were following the debate over health care reform “very closely.” Only 42 percent of Democrats said that they were, compared with 45 percent of the independents and 56 percent of the Republicans polled.

And while Democrats are sitting it out, Republicans are storming in.
I can sense that the mood right now is passionate. On both sides of this issue there are those who wants health reform and those who may oppose it for various reasons. Personally I'm concerned about the idea that government wants to take control of the health care system.

There can be some agreement that there must be reform. The main question we have to ask is, what is the best way to reform the current system. Must we go to a single-payer system or should we improve upon the system we already have?

Well here are a couple of other links, however, these are obviously biased against the Obama health care plan:

Health Care Industry Shouldn't Be Taken Without Due Process And Compensation - IBD

This op/ed makes the claim that any plan for the government to take control of the health care system is not constitution especially if taken without due process and compensation.

Meet the Mob - The Dana Show

These pics are hilarious especially with the captions that seeks to illustrate the absurdities of accusing those citizens who oppose any health care plan from Washington of being members of an angry mob.

Friday, August 07, 2009

Video from the State Journal Register:
A two-section cast bronze sculpture was unveiled in downtown Springfield Thursday to serve as a permanent reminder of the Springfield race riot, which occurred almost 101 years ago. More than 100 people gathered in Union Square Park to dedicate the sculpture, created by artist Preston Jackson, during an hour-long ceremony that included speeches, prayer and music.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Ald. Sandi Jackson considering Lt. Gov. bid

You have got to be kidding me! Over two years ago Ald. Jackson (7th Ward - South Shore/South Chicago), the wife of US Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr & daughter in law to Rev. Jesse Jackson Sr., beat Darcel Beavers. Darcel Beavers, just so happened to the be the daughter of her predecessor Alderman, Bill Beavers. Bill Beavers left the Chicago City Council for a seat on the Cook County Board in 2006.

That makes Ald. Jackson a freshman alderman who when she was inaugurated onto the city council with other freshman who would have heralded a new found independence for the city's legislative branch. Of course there are those who are still wanting of that independence, but that is neither here nor there at this point. But this is a surprise if she is ready to bail on Chicago's City Council for a statewide bid.

Here's more from Clout Street:
Barely halfway into her first term as a Chicago City Council member, the wife of U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-Ill.) is considering a campaign for statewide office.

The congressman told the Tribune today that his wife, 7th Ward Ald. Sandi Jackson, “is not going to discourage” supporters who want to collect signatures to put her on the February primary ballot for lieutenant governor.

“She hasn’t made a judgment,” said Jesse Jackson Jr., son of the civil rights leader and former presidential candidate. “I know she is very committed to the people of the 7th Ward. She has 1,500 volunteers in her organization who are primed to circulate [nominating] petitions. A number of people have asked her about [running for lieutenant governor]. She is considering it.”

Reached at the couple’s South Side home, Jesse Jackson Jr. said his wife did not wish to comment on the possibility of a statewide campaign.
An “e-newsletter” sent out today by her political organization asks in its subject line: “Sandi Jackson for Lieutenant Governor?” The e-mail does not make any further mention of the topic but does note that Sandi Jackson’s chief of staff will be filling in for the alderman at the next two “ward nights,” where constituents are asked to bring their concerns.

The field of potential Democratic lieutenant governor candidates is too numerous to list, but Jackson would bring some family name ID in Chicago, where much of the Democratic primary vote takes place.
If she goes for the Lt. Governorship of Illinois, then is she bailing out on her 7th Ward constituents. I wonder if there is a political reason for this other than she could move up to a higher office. Who might replace her on the city council should she move up?

In other items. IL Channel has a tentative list of contenders for Lt. Governor. Also after the big rollout in announcing his candidacy for state attorney general, Joe Birkett drops out of that race. This was probably expected since Lisa Madigan dropped a bombshell and chose to run for re-election to Attorney General instead of running for either Governor or US Senate.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Former House member convicted on corruption charges

William Jefferson, former Louisiana US representative was convicted on 11 of 16 counts of corruption today. Last year he lost his seat to his Republican opponent Joseph Cao. Here's more from CNN:
Jefferson, a 62-year-old Democrat, was indicted by a federal grand jury on June 4, 2007, on corruption charges, about two years after federal agents said they found $90,000 in his freezer. Authorities said the cash was part of a payment in marked bills from an FBI informant in a transaction captured on video.

Jefferson had pleaded not guilty.

The jury convicted him on four counts of bribery, three counts of racketeering, three counts of wire fraud and one count of racketeering. He was acquitted on five other counts including wire fraud and obstruction of justice.

Jefferson had faced a maximum possible sentence of 235 years in prison if convicted on all counts.
235 years in prison, shouldn't be worth it!

James Clayborne eyes Governor's race

Rich Miller wrote a syndicated column about the current state Senate Majority Leader that he posted onto his blog on Monday. Last year when then Senate Pres. Emil Jones (you may know him as Obama's political mentor when our current president was in the Illinois state Senate) announced his retirement, I outright hoped that Clayborne could become the new Senate president. One reason I would have been OK was because he was a downstater, every leadership position was taken by someone who lived in the Chicago area. The fact that he was also black should've sweetened the deal somewhat.

It didn't, hence the fact that Clayborne is the majority leader in the state senate. It was sort of a deal, a consolation prize for not being Senate President. But it seems he wants another prize, our state governorship.

Perhaps since 1994, Illinois has seen a black person (well it has often been black males) who have attempted to run for Governor. I often mentioned Roland Burris (Illinois current US Senator) who ran for Governor on three occasions between 1994 thru 2002. Then there was state Sen. James Meeks who mulled a run against Ousted governor, but decided against it because Ousted governor seemed to become serious about the issue of education funding.

Now it could be Clayborne! I did just mention that Clayborne is from downstate, but that is certainly a contrast to Burris and Meeks who reside in the city of Chicago. Sometimes I forget that there are blacks in other parts of the state, in fact I think I have relatives in East St. Louis (well that's about the area Clayborne resides) or at the very least a familial connection to that city. Still I wonder what that means if he's serious about his gubernatorial bid.

Rich Miller has this about him:
On paper, Clayborne would be a fascinating candidate, especially if he is the only African-American in the contest.

Sen. Clayborne is not the sort of Democrat that Chicago media types are accustomed to seeing. He’s a downstate attorney with a pretty solid pro-business voting record who is also regularly endorsed by organized labor.

He’s pro-gun, but he’s also pro-choice. He ran and lost for senate president last year, and the campaign exposed some rifts with his fellow black senators, partly over his strong rating from the National Rifle Association.
Well as a Chicago Black, I have no problem with his support for Gun Rights, Miller however, brings up some recent gubernatorial history:
Gun owner rights are not usually very popular with Democratic primary voters, and particularly with Chicago blacks. Pro-gun southern white Glenn Poshard was able to win the Democratic nomination in 1998, although that issue was used against him in the fall by Republican George Ryan. Just about every likely Republican nominee strongly favors the National Rifle Association’s view of things, so that issue might not hurt Clayborne as much as it did Poshard if he manages to win the primary.
We'll see, but the entry of a downstate Black in the Gubernatorial race is going to be interesting. Besides this race is about excitement with the idea being that our next governor might take this state into another direction. Perhaps a break from our most recent past with two recent governors running afoul of the law. One was arrested and sent to a federal pen, and the other arrested by federal agents then impeached and Ousted from office.

I outlined the idea of a 2010 gubernatorial candidate with a bold vision in another blog largely about Dan Profit (running as a GOP candidate for Governor). I would like to see a bold vision perhaps a man like Clayborne, who is said to have pro-business credentials, might be an answer. I hope to see what he may run on, if he does run.

You know I should just dust off my post about looking like a Governor. I should ask this question about Clayborne, does he look like a Governor. What do you think out there?

Another blog to read - Peoria Pundit: The next governor may be a guy named Clayborne

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Detroit on the "Underground Railroad"

I took various pics of the sculpture and the various dedications with maps carved around the area. The last picture is of the last stop in Detroit on the "underground railroad", Second Baptist Church. Beyond Detroit freed slaves would then go further into Canada to the unknown reality known as Freedom. The sculpture was along the Detroit Riverwalk, but Second Baptist is located at 441 Monroe Street in Detroit's Greektown neighborhood.

BTW, I got some video of the Riverwalk ready to go, the next step is to upload the vid and then post it here. Hopefully I can get the rendering right so that it will play properly thru either YouTube or

Monday, August 03, 2009

Black Caucus office tagged with racial graffiti

I saw this story over the weekend, but I wondered where to put it. I'll go ahead and put it here, but I have one question about this incident. What caused this?
Authorities in Springfield have revealed that someone recently marked an office of the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus with racial graffiti.

State Rep. Esther Golar, a Chicago Democrat, said Friday that the graffiti -- a single word in one area and a phrase in another -- were discovered as the organization's secretary left work at the office near the Statehouse last week.

Springfield Deputy Police Chief Clay Dowis, says the incident, listed as a criminal defacement and hate crime, occurred between July 22 and 24th. He says it is under investigation.
If you want to know about the Illinois' Black Caucus go here, unfortunately there is no longer an official website so Wikipedia it is.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

On Wal-Mart expansion in Chicago

You know I can't believe that I missed Thursday's CapFax question of the day, asking about whether or not Wal-Mart should be allowed to open more stores in the city. I could go further, should Wal-Mart be allowed to open a supercenter or a store in the West Chatham neighborhood.

I've basically been saying let Wal-Mart in, but I will say that as a person who may not find myself in there every chance I got. Even though there are Wal-Marts ringing the city in addition to one in the Austin neighborhood I can't say I'm a regular customer. I can say I have no problem with any employer coming in looking to set up shop and bringing in new products and services as well as jobs for the community.

I noticed at the CapFax that an image that lists all the location near 83rd & Stewart (the likely location for the West Chatham Wal-Mart). In addition to maps such as this...
Now to analyze the map and the list of stores that sell food or produce I would throw out those convenience stores or those stores that merely trade in junk food or what not instead of much healthier foods.

That being said, my focus in thinking about doing this post was to look at what stores were available along the Dan Ryan relative to the 83rd and Stewart location. I could come up with perhaps under 10 along the expressway from about 75th to 87th Street. Even better there are some stores that once existed that I would include in the tally unfortunately they're no longer in business to make an impact on the food desert. The only point to be made in listing the grocery stores along the Ryan is to say that West Chatham and the Chatham neighborhood itself aren't considered food deserts.

First off a block or two north of 75th Street is an Aldi. If you go due east on 79th perhaps 4 or 5 blocks off the Ryan there is a neighborhood grocery called the Chatham Food Market (you may have seen a vid about them here a few years back). BTW, up until last summer Chatham Foods was the only black owned grocery store in Illinois, but that changed when the owners sold to non-black owners. These days the only black-owned grocery store in Illinois is located in the Back of the Yards neighborhood on 47th. Of course on 87th there are also the aforementions Jewel and Food4Less right across the street from each other. You could go both west and east on 87th to either Stony Island or Loomis and you will find at both locations a Pet's Produce although that's really a good drive off the Ryan in either direction and outside of the Chatham/West Chatham neighborhoods.

Within that same span however there are about three that are now defunct. Three grocery stores off of the Ryan at various points. One was actually on the Ryan at 75th a Hopkins that has been gone for about a decade and has been replaced by a Walgreen's. Once upon a time that lot had both a Walgreen's and a Hopkins. On 79th, at least one block to the east there was a shopping center that contained a Walgreen's and  Dominick's, but those stores have left within the last 2 or 3 years, the shopping center vacant. On 87th & King Drive there was  Food Basket and they closed within the same time span as the Dominick's and replaced by a dollar store.

Anyway, there are attempts to debunk the issue that Chatham is a food desert, but what about the other issues worth either proving or debunking. Well I blogged about wages last week, but what about the notion that Wal-Mart can suck the life out of a local business community. That aspect of this issue has started to bother me.

I can't answer for certain that Wal-Mart would cause Jewel, Food4Less, Aldi, or Chatham Foods to close up shop when that supercenter is built. Perhaps for a good period of time business will suffer for those particular grocers and perhaps at worst suffer enough to cause those shops to close. Chatham Foods is probably the last of the entrepreneurial grocers in Chatham. It would be unfortunate if they had to close up shop in Chatham because of Wal-Mart, assuming they made no attempt to adjust in an environment that now included a Wal-Mart across the expressway. But in saying that I understand when Ald. Freddrenna Lyle (6th Ward) opposes her neighboring Ald. Howard Brookins (21st Ward) in his attempt to bring a Wal-Mart to his ward.

At the same time, it's hard for me to argue against jobs. It's definitely difficult for me to argue against possibly gaining more revenue from the future business a Wal-Mart can rake in. It's also hard to argue against what Wal-Mart brought to Emma Mitts' 37th Ward because Wal-Mart came in and built a store. Of course with that in mind perhaps a Wal-Mart is better suited for say Englewood or even Woodlawn.

Unfortunately for now, for Wal-Mart supporters and those who may seek Wal-Mart jobs. The battle continues and for the moment concerned business owners can rest easy.

BTW, check out  the Wal-Mart stories at my other blog, The Sixth Ward!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Sears Tower's new name recalls ugly era of segregation

Written by long-time Chicago area political consultant Don Rose, breaks down the history of Benjamin C. Willis' stewardship of Chicago's public schools as superintendent (well today we'd call him the CEO) during the 1950s and 60s. He served during the civil rights movement and his job for the most part was to keep the school system segregated. It worked, and the public schools are still segregated today because at the end of this column the system is less than 10% white. He served from 1953 to 1966, in this column it was noted that by 1966 Dr. Martin Luther King has finally arrived in Chicago.

Rose alludes to the name change of Chicago's famed Sears Tower to what we officially call the Willis Tower, however Willis Tower was not named for Benjamin Willis. In fact the Willis is named for Willis Group Holdings an insurance broker. And I'm guessing Mr. Rose more or less had a historical flashback.
Willis was appointed superintendent of the public school system in 1953, a couple of years before Daley the First assumed the throne, just around the time Chicago's African-American population -- or "Negroes" as we said then -- began to expand, largely because of a massive in-migration from the South.

Daley and his allies in the downtown business and financial community saw this as a big problem. Neighborhoods were changing rapidly on the South and West Sides and white folks began running from the city.

Many municipal instrumentalities were utilized to slow the expansion -- chief among them the creation of massive public housing projects within the existing "boundaries" of black Chicago, which set in concrete the housing pattern that would make Chicago the world's most segregated city outside of Africa.

Schools were the next most important focus. Nothing would change a neighborhood quicker than an influx of black kids into a white school. It became Willis' job to keep the school system segregated -- and he proved to be ingenious. He embarked on a vast school construction program -- gaining the nickname "Big Ben the Builder." The new schools were built primarily in white areas, far from existing color lines -- or well within the boundaries of what came to be known as the ghetto. (Mayor Daley famously opined, however, "There are no ghettoes in Chicago.")

Willis also juggled the boundaries of neighborhood schools to hem in the block-by-block growth of the black population that was forced by the real estate industry. Back then, in order to keep your license as a Realtor, you could not sell or rent to a Negro family outside of a two-block radius of the expanding ghetto.

Willis' quick fix in some areas was to fill the black schools' grounds with portable classrooms to prevent "overflow" into white schools. As protests against segregation grew in the early 1960s, the portable classrooms became known as "Willis Wagons." Eventually, there were 625 wagons in black schoolyards.

The black schools were underserved in many ways -- fewest experienced teachers, fewest ancillary health and social services and so forth. Separate really was unequal.

A very unfortunate time in our history of white flight and an unfortunate side effect is that Chicago is still segregated to this day! I can probably only count integrated neighborhoods on my hand. On top of this I shall refer you this video on a "skin disease". I won't explain I'll let the gentleman in this video do all the talking.