Sunday, February 28, 2010

Woes of governor, Rangel mark end of Harlem 4 era

We close out Black History Month with a political history story from Harlem, NYC.

You know I didn't mark Black History Month this time, but then it seems I don't do enough Black History stuff during the month. But there are always things worth nothing not just during February. Let's not forget that everyday we can look at Black History. Why wait until February?

Anyway this article from the AP posted at the blog Black Politics on the Web, takes a look at influential politicians that reside in that famed New York City neighborhood:
They ran the city, represented Malcolm X and were black pioneers who put Harlem on the political map. The “Gang of Four” were kingmakers who built Harlem’s political dynasty into an empire. But with high-profile body blows this week to one member and the son of another, the group’s legacy is in disarray.

It seems unlikely that Gov. David Paterson could have become the state’s first black governor without the groundwork laid by the group - and the connections that came with being the son of Basil Paterson, one of the quartet along with Rep. Charles Rangel, political power broker Percy Sutton and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins.

But with the younger Paterson ending his election bid following a scandal over an abuse complaint against his aide, Rangel facing accusations of breaking House rules, the death of Sutton in December and the aging Dinkins fading from public view, the power base that made Harlem a launching pad for the state’s black leadership seems to be dissipating.

“In a sense, their day has passed,” Baruch College politics professor Doug Muzzio said of the elite group who led Harlem’s political heyday. “It has not gone on to a second generation. … You will no longer have such geographically and personally concentrated influence within the black community.”

Sutton was a civil rights trailblazer who represented Malcolm X and a media mogul who served in the New York State Assembly and as Manhattan borough president. Dinkins became the city’s first black mayor.
And their influence may not likely be replicated anytime soon. Black leadership in our nations largest city, in population, are coming from other city neighborhoods.

Another aspect of this article is discussing who amongst the younger generation may emerge to positions of political influence. Also who says Charles Rangel, whether or not he doesn't have his ethics challenges as portrayed in this article, should be replaced by a more youthful voice in Congress. Surely one day someone else will emerge as an influence.

We shall see!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Have you been watching the winter games?

I haven't really watched consistently. My favorite winter sport for the most part is hockey but I was interesting in curling. Since hockey & curling are not the only Olympic sports and that means that finding them on TV will be tricky.

I've heard that USA hockey (filled with mostly NHL players) were winning some good games in 2010, I simply haven't been able to watch a single game of Winter Olympic hockey.

Today I was able to watch curling. The match between teams Sweden and Switzerland is the longest I've seen some very good curling. At that this is the longest amount of time I've ever watched this obscure sport.

To be sure though I was watching a skiing event during the first week or so of the winter games and was just unenthused by a commentator noting the fall of a skiier during a race could cost them half a second. It was a bit annoying and much but then I recognize that skiing doesn't really interest me all that much.

Then in curling today I saw how the game was being over analyzed by the broadcasters. It made me wish that there was a C-Span for sports. That way all sports fans have to do is watch the action instead of hearing a whole lot of lip over the action.

Besides that is my gripe about sports in this country. People do like to talk about sports. Personally my thing is the business side especially how much a player is worth or how much it takes to build a champion or indeed how much a particular sports franchise is worth (especially during the attempts to sell the Chicago Cubs).

It's just that at times, I'm often irritated at sports talk. I mostly have to watch it on TV, but for the most part I choose not to. It's also my choice not to even start listening to it on the radio. In fact I haven't listened to it, but I have to respect those who live by it.

At the very least during the Olympics I should be able to live without the over analysis during the course of the obscure sports that you would often see during the winter and summer games. Although hey, if these sports are obscure most of us do want to know what exactly is going on.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Proposal to abolish Lt. Gov. passes state House committee

Well if there is momentum behind this proposal then it may well get out of the legislature. Of course this will have to be a constitutional amendment to our state constitution. If it passes the legislature it ultimately will have to be voted on by the state. Anyway here's a report from Clout St:
House Speaker Michael Madigan today advanced legislation aimed at eliminating the lieutenant governor's office in 2015, a response to embattled Chicago pawnbroker Scott Lee Cohen's primary victory and quick resignation upon disclosure of his tawdry past.

Under Madigan's proposed constitutional amendment, a lieutenant governor elected this November would serve four years before the office went away.

The House Executive Committee voted 8-0, with three voting present, to send the measure to the full House. But it still must be approved by the Senate and voters also would have to sign off this November.
You know some comments at Mechanics when I posted over there about the future of the Lt. Governorship of Illinois suggested that my ideas made too much sense to be successful.

A lot of the chatter I see about this issue reads as if people believe this proposal is only a power play by Speaker Michael Madigan to further help his daughter Lisa Madigan (who is the state Attorney General) move up as far as gubernatorial succession. The question may well be if this proposal is all about politics.

Well I brought up the idea, but I won't be able to tell you if that's what it is. I will say that I almost wonder if this is as much of a genius move as reducing the number of representatives in the state House. Before 1982 there were three state representatives for every one senator. There are currently 59 state senators, and you multiply that by 2 and that 118 state reps. Before 1982 there would have been 177 state reps.

I've written about how these state reps were elected, by utilizing cumulative voting. Our current Gov. Pat Quinn advocated for this cut back in state reps by placing them in single member districts. He capitalized on voter anger at state politicians and just like those who advocate for an abolition of the Lt. Governorship it was mentioned that reducing state reps would save money.

This time Pat Quinn is indicating his support for the office he once held. He hasn't said much about this issue recently, but he's just as easily scrambling as the state Democratic Party to determine who might replace Scott Lee Cohen on the ballot in November.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Is public transportation a right?

This quote extrapolated from the CTA Tattler from a statement made from the Chicago Transit authority after CTA President Richard Rodriguez and President of ATU Local 241 Darrell Jefferson appeared on Tuesday's Chicago Tonight.
Meanwhile, Jefferson backed off a bit from yesterday's strike talk, saying, "It's not something we're advocating." Of course, Rodriguez then reminded him that any strike would be illegal. And it "would only serve to harm riders and interfere with the public's right to transit," the CTA said in a separate statement.
Now we're going into philosophy here. This would count as a positive right as something that the government must provide. Public transit can go right into the idea of government providing for the right to jobs, economic opportunity, housing, food, health care and perhaps some other things we may accept as necessary for people to need.

When Rodriguez refers to the public's right to public transit, he may lose me and I'm definitely a supporter of that. If we're going to need this service it has to be run better than it has been in recent years. If it's treated as a right as something that must be provided for then who's to say that in the future it may not otherwise be cut or indeed provided for in overabundance only to run into the problems that we're facing today.

Because of funding issues CTA had to cut service on the L and bus routes. However as a transit rider, I've had no problems, but that's only speaking for me.

Another problem I'm glad is being addressed in Springfield is the free rides for seniors that were placed in transit bailout legislation in 2008 by then Governor, Rod Blagojevich. It may well be one reason in part why the CTA is facing less revenue in a serious economic downturn. Of course, the reason why it hasn't been addressed until now has been the lack of political will.

Hopefully we can address these funding issues and CTA will have a better financial future when the nation finally emerges from this economic downturn.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Duckworth won't make bid for lt. governor

Clout St:
Tammy Duckworth, an assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, said today she was removing herself from consideration to be the Democratic nominee for Illinois lieutenant governor.

“I made a commitment to President Obama and our nation's veterans to serve at the Department of Veterans Affairs, and I want to fulfill my promise before returning home,” she said in a statement. “As an Illinoisan, I'm proud to continue to serve in the Illinois Army National Guard and I know that real work lies ahead as the state recovers economically.”
Quinn said he met with Duckworth when he was in Washington last weekend for National Governors Association meetings and that she called him this morning to say she was staying put.

"I think it was an agonizing decision for her," Quinn said.
Was this a smart move on her part? Would there have been any controversy by not choosing any of the other candidates from the Feb. 2nd Primary, namely the man who came in second place State Rep. Art Turner?

BTW, the state's Democratic leadership will meet March 15 to decide the new Lt. Governor nominee for November.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Todd Stroger's mentor...

Was his father according to this Sun-Times article.

John Stroger was the first Black to sit in the seat of the county board Presidency. After Bobbie Steel became acting county board President, she was succeeded by John's son Todd. Unfortunately early this month Todd Stroger was defeated in his bid to be nominated to run for a second term as county board President. It looks like for now any potential dynasty is not going to continue.
"Black History Month means a lot to me," said Stroger, whose legendary father, the grandson of former slaves, rose from humble beginnings in rural Arkansas -- growing up in a three-room shack without electricity or indoor plumbing -- to the peak of political power.

The elder Stroger put himself through college, worked for a while in the civil rights movement, then moved to Chicago and into Democratic Machine politics. He rose through the ranks, earned a law degree, and in 1970 won a Cook County Board commissioner's seat. It started a 24-year climb to his historic 1994 election as board chief.

"It was Bill Dawson begat Ralph Metcalfe, begat John Stroger, begat me," said his son, referring to his father's political mentors.

His father was drawn into politics after Dawson -- the third African American elected to Congress in the 20th century -- visited Little Rock, Ark., to urge blacks to help elect President Harry S Truman. When he moved to Chicago in 1953, he joined the 3rd Ward organization run by Metcalfe, who would later win Dawson's congressional seat.

"So we all learned from someone who was a great figure. In life, we need that mentor, somebody who will give you the skills you need to do certain things. But it's not just politics," Stroger said. "My dad taught me an awful lot. When I was young, he'd always say, 'You have to work twice as hard as everybody else, and even your friends are the people that you compete against.'

"He was a perfect mentor. He taught me perseverance. He didn't just fall out and all of a sudden he was the County Board president. He had to do a lot of things before he got there. He was really literally kind of turned away at the door when it was his chance, until he saw the opportunity and said, 'Well I'm not going to wait for them. I'm going to go through the door.' So I saw that in him, and learned from it."
I said in another posting that I think with Todd greatness might have skipped a generation. Harsh words you think?

I understand there those who believe that Todd should remain in there because the fiscal picture of county government wasn't in that bad of shape as is the city, state or even federal government. It's a significant accomplishment I suppose, but Todd may well have not been meant for politics at all.

Perhaps that sales tax hike didn't help him politically. It might have been good for the fiscal health of the county at least for a brief time. Of course when it passed you might have heard people groaning and talking about going outside of the county to do their shopping.

Perhaps he was how he got into his position. A week before the 2006 primary election John Stroger fell with a stroke. He was largely out of the public eye since that time and passed away in 2008. There was a scramble to figure out who may succeed John Stroger as the Democratic nominee for the county board presidency. Then suddenly Todd Stroger emerged as the eventually nominee and at that it was him over more experienced pols to take the job.

In 2006, Todd was only an Alderman on the city council. We rarely heard a peep out of him then. We hear more about him now since he was elected to lead one of the most populous counties in the nation! Before he was an Alderman he served as a State Representative in Springfield and hear barely a peep out of him there as well. In my mind he was only a backbencher with a record that doesn't indicate that he could handle the job of running a major county like Cook.

I don't know if I've ever said this, but I've only been a recent follow of what's going on at the County. I wish I could tell you my feel for John Stroger. All that can be said was that he was an old school politico and he may have more going for him than Todd had as a politician. Hence why I may say that for Todd greatness may well have skipped a generation.

All the same this reads more like a father's day piece than a Black History Month piece. And for that it's a plus for Todd!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

High Schools to Offer Plan to Graduate 2 Years Early

If only this had been available when I was in high school. Of course the question would have to be what next when I did. Would I go to work or would I find myself enrolled in a college program when I finished my secondary education?

Either way it's difficult to assess whether or not this may be a worthwhile change undertaken in eights states. No more filling up the seats or just move on when you're ready.
Dozens of public high schools in eight states will introduce a program next year allowing 10th graders who pass a battery of tests to get a diploma two years early and immediately enroll in community college.

Students who pass but aspire to attend a selective college may continue with college preparatory courses in their junior and senior years, organizers of the new effort said. Students who fail the 10th-grade tests, known as board exams, can try again at the end of their 11th and 12th grades. The tests would cover not only English and math but also subjects like science and history.

The new system of high school coursework with the accompanying board examinations is modeled largely on systems in high-performing nations including Denmark, England, Finland, France and Singapore.

The program is being organized by the National Center on Education and the Economy, and its goals include insuring that students have mastered a set of basic requirements and reducing the numbers of high school graduates who need remedial courses when they enroll in college. More than a million college freshmen across America must take remedial courses each year, and many drop out before getting a degree.

“That’s a central problem we’re trying to address, the enormous failure rate of these kids when they go to the open admission colleges,” said Marc S. Tucker, president of the center, a Washington-based nonprofit. “We’ve looked at schools all over the world, and if you walk into a high school in the countries that use these board exams, you’ll see kids working hard, whether they want to be a carpenter or a brain surgeon.”
Dr. Martin Luther King believe it or not didn't graduate from high school. Yet he was admitted to Morehouse College at 15 and graduated at 19. You know young people who are ready for college find themselves there all the time. Of course I'm a believer in having a bit of a childhood before making that next adult step.

ALSO, my dad was a drop-out, but he did it at a time when many could afford to do so. That was a way of moving on, drop out of school to either support yourself or your family. My mother's family well it took maybe the last two of her aunts and uncles (out of 15 living children of my mother's grandparents) to finally finish high school by the time they reached 18.

Education was valued, but not at the cost of making a living. Especially if you and your family had few dollars to work with anyway. That was the case largely with my dad and my mom, neither came from backgrounds where the family had a lot of money.

Anyway if you had the opportunity to move on from high school, especially after taking a test and getting your diploma after two years of high school?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Wings for this Man

Just saw an episode of Dogfights about the story and tactics of the Tuskegee Airmen. Those gentleman were part of an experiment that proved that Black Americans could not only be pilots, but able fighter pilots.

You know I really would like to figure how how the military establishment decided that blacks couldn't be able soldiers and should be relegated to servant positions in the military. There have been many examples where a Black have served ably in combat positions. Blacks have served in the American Revolution, Civil War, Indian Wars, Spanish-American War, and the two World Wars. At that most served in segregated units!

The Tuskegee Airmen were another front in the battle for equality amongst blacks in America. Not too long after the war the US military was desegregated. And while America isn't all the way there as far as racial equality perhaps our forebears should have our thanks for making America what it is today!

The video, Wings for This Man, above is narrated by future President Ronald Reagan. It's about the Tuskegee Airmen, but according to the information provided from Wikipedia this vid was considered propaganda. Doesn't matter it documents the efforts of these military pilots and their contributions to the 2nd World War. Even if their efforts weren't appreciated.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

The ECW brand is history

I recently found out that ECW, a WWE brand that airs on SyFy is no more. It started off interestingly enough, it was a revival of the ECW of old, unfortunately with a twist provided by WWE. It had many of the old ECW superstars mixed with WWE superstars and WWE production values.

Unfortunately I never did have instant access to it unless I had the cable package where I could watch it on TV. What I was able to watch I didn't really like it all that much. Had to get used to Sabu talking and it was just another WWE program.

Even worse it almost turned into Sunday Night Heat. It wasn't that good by any stretch. Originally the creative force behind this program was to be former ECW owner Paul Heyman, but he ran afoul of his boss who has his own vision. Eventually if it was to be an ECW revival it became a shadow of the original vision.

It all started with 2005's ECW: One Night Stand. Then there was another one the next year with the intent to revive this brand and then it fell flat as time went one.

Well to this rendition I say good riddance. But to the ECW of old I say thank you.

The old ECW changed the business. WWE had to change it's creative direction so did WCW in fact. Alas I got in on this trend much too late, but I was glad to have followed ECW until the bitter end when it went bankrupt.

One parting question, who will take ECW's lead in the future? What will be the next creative direction the wrestling business will go?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Seattle bus beating

This video is disturbing. A young lady is beaten while security guards are just telling the beater to stop. The other young lady doing the beating doesn't care one bit that others are seeing her in the act!

I haven't figured out the whole story. I think the victim here attempted to inform authorities, actual police officers, and they wouldn't act upon her concerns. Who knows why but please know that she has a pair of attorneys looking into her case.

As for the perpetrators the fact that this young girl didn't care who saw her do the beating says as much about her as it does anyone else. The security guards were plain lazy in this one, a person was in need and they refused to lift a finger to stop the attack.

I just got to say that I was that young once. That is really one hell of a time to make a decision that could affect the rest of your life. The young lady who was on tape doing the beating will have a record and it may not be likely that she'll beat the rap. She may believe she might beat the rap, but she won't. She pleaded not guilty.

Like I said to make such a decision such as this, it'll affect her for the rest of her life. What makes anyone think it's OK to beat someone within an inch of their life and take their property?

BTW, I saw a report about this on O'Reilly last night!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bill Brady on Thomas Jefferson

Well Rich Miller says that the presumptive GOP nominee for IL Governor "botched" US History taking an excerpt from this Greg Hinz piece from  the weekend. It was about a speech he gave in Chicago at the Union League Club:
Mr. Brady also strongly defended the man Illinois Republicans nominated for lieutenant governor, lumber industry official and heir Jason Plummer.

   Though just age 27, Mr. Plummer "is ready" to lead the nation's fifth largest state if need be, Mr. Brady said.

   "How old was Thomas Jefferson when he wrote the Constitution?" Mr. Brady asked. "Age isn't the only barometer of qualification."

In fact, Mr. Jefferson was 33 when the Declaration of Independence was adopted in 1776. The constitution was written more than a decade later.
Over at Illinoize a blogger attempts to defend Brady:
Pundits and Statehouse watchers like Rich Miller pounced on the mistake. Except there's only one problem, Brady wasn't wrong. He never said the U.S. Constitution, at least according to the quote in the paper.

Thomas Jefferson did write a constitution in 1776 as well as the Declaration of Independence. In fact he used his draft of a new constitution for his home state, the soon-to-be independent commonwealth of Virginia, to help write the Declaration.

The reporters should have known better because Brady couldn't have meant the U.S. Constitution because the same man who knew Jefferson's age in 1776, obviously would remember that in 1787 Jefferson was our ambassador to France. Living in Paris meant he couldn't participate in the Constitutional Convention that year in Philadelphia.

You can debate whether Plummer is another Jefferson, but be careful if you're going to debate Brady on American history. 
Great to know, but I'm not sure what difference it makes. Perhaps Bill Brady did botch US History, or he just wasn't specific enough. I'll just accuse him of not being specific enough and the press is having a field day with it. It happens unfortunately.

Of course I'm only saying this not exactly because I oppose or support Bill Brady. Why I am saying this is only because I think some of this is pointless. Will it affect him in November? Will he may have a lot of work to do if the concern over his nomination in the primaries earlier this month is about his conservative ideology.

As for Thomas Jefferson I truly think he's a great man. All great men are flawed. I could even discuss that he may have talked about freeing slaves, but continued to own them. I could even discuss the fact that he engaged in the common practice of engaging in an affair with his own slaves. So yeah he's flawed but without him the USA would not be here today without its own flaws!

What say you!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Today is President's Day

I just went through my collection of books on US Presidents. Many of them were bought early in the Bush administration during 2001. It was an interest I had developed as during that time we had recently voted for and inaugurated a new President. I didn't necessarily maintain the interest especially in the wake of Obama's ascension to the Presidency last year.

If there isn't an aspect of history or politics that I don't have a healthy interest in other than state/local politics it may well be Presidential politics. The history of the Presidency is interesting in and off itself because it had evolved over the years.

I've developed this conclusion once or twice during the course of this blog. If we rank our Presidents in terms of "great" or "near-great" we largely expect them to be active. If there was an issue during their presidency, how did they meet it or otherwise were they able to meet it selectively. Granted depending upon the historian or the political scientist, there may well be a subjective conclusion attached to it.

For instance is there anyone out there who may not consider Franklin Delano Roosevelt a great President because of his handling of the "Great Depression". That is instead of successfully weathering the storm Roosevelt instead only prolonged any potential suffering during that period of time.

Or was Abraham Lincoln truly correct in engaging in open warfare against the Confederate States of America in order to say force them back into the Union. Although granted, the previous administrations of Franklin Pierce and James Buchanan had only made the sectional strife that led to the Civil War a lot worse by either their actions or inactions.

Either way whether you're a credential historian or merely an history or political buff you may have your ideas. Hopefully you have all the time in the world to debate who you think was the greatest or near-great president of all-time.

Who do you think was a good President?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Patrick Kennedy won't seek re-election

Patrick Kennedy, a Democrat from Rhode Island will be the last Kennedy (at least for now) to have served in the US Congress. One of his cousins left the US House in the last decade and his father, Ted Kennedy, recently passed away. Teddy's Senate seat is now in the hands of a Republican.
Rhode Island Democratic Rep. Patrick Kennedy will retire after eight terms in office, bringing an end to his House career just months after his father, legendary Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy, passed away.

"My father instilled in me a deep commitment to public service," Kennedy said in a video announcing his retirement. "Now having spent two decades in politics, my life has taken a new direction and I will not be a candidate for re-election this year."

Kennedy has easily held Rhode Island's 1st district since 1994 despite the occasional attempt by Republicans to knock him off.

Kennedy's time in Congress was decidedly uneven. He was rumored to be planning a Senate bid in 2000 but decided against running. He was tasked with chairing the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in that same cycle with expectations within the party that they would seize back control of the House. It didn't happen.

After his stint at the DCCC, Kennedy took on a far less high-profile role in Congress -- emerging only infrequently and not always in the best light. In the spring of 2006 Kennedy crashed his car into a police barricade near Capitol Hill; he entered rehab for addiction and depression days later. Over the summer, Kennedy admitted himself to a rehabilitation facility again.
Well here's another dubious distinction:
Patrick Kennedy's retirement means that for the first time in nearly five decades there will not be a member of the Kennedy family in Congress.
Depending on who's paying attention, there are some people out there who are very happy about that.

Of course there have been several Kennedy's who have been interested in politics. In Illinois, Chris Kennedy who runs the Merchandise Mart has flirted with taking on political office, but has failed to pull the trigger. So if you wish for another Kennedy to get into public life we may have a decent wait yet.

BTW, I saw the Ted Kennedy funeral. I think Patrick has a resemblance to his uncle, President John F. Kennedy. Of course since Patrick is in his 40s, President Kennedy would probably give this young man a run for his money in his 40s as well. lol

OK, what is your feelings about having no Kennedy's in Congress?

FOLLOW-UP: MARTA ‘yellow' line to be renamed ‘gold'

To yesterday's post. Not that there was a reason not to cave and listen to the Asian community of Atlanta, however, this change only means that they plot to find ways to reduce the cost of this change. Well it's the cost of adjusting to sensitivities!
Moving to tamp a controversy that has reached the national news, MARTA CEO Beverly Scott said Thursday afternoon that the transit agency would change the name of its “yellow” train line, which goes to Doraville, home to a large Asian-American community. The line will now be called "gold."

Scott said the details had not been settled on exactly how to make the change, but it would be phased in -- a less expensive option than implementing it all at once.

"We’re thrilled," said Helen Kim, director of advocacy and education at the Center for Pan Asian Community Services in Doraville. "I think this shows that MARTA heard our voice and they are sensitive to our concerns."

"Yellow" has historically been used as a derogatory term for Asians, such as "the yellow peril" or "the yellow hordes."

Kim said her group and others would pay close attention to the details of the transition.

Scott said she still intended to meet with Asian-American group leaders as scheduled Friday, but that there was no point in delaying the decision. She said MARTA had never intended to offend anyone with the renaming, which went into effect Oct. 1 along with other color names for the rest of the system, and that it was making the change out of “an abundance of caring for this community.”
Not trying to complain, but it is what it is. Like I said yesterday imagine if the Red Line had been named the Yellow Line instead of the line formerly known as the Skokie Swift. The Red Line runs through two predominantly Asian communities.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Mixed reaction on MARTA's ‘yellow line' rebranding

When I finally graduated from Morehouse, I discover that the MARTA system has changed once again. A few years ago the Atlanta transit system transitioned from tokens to farecards. Last year they color code their rail lines.

There's a "minor" controversy with one color-coded line according to the AJC:
MARTA's decision to brand its train line into Doraville "yellow" has stirred quiet debate among some within Atlanta's growing Asian-American community.

That's not to say any Atlantans of Asian descent think it's a particularly good idea, considering that "yellow," when used to describe skin color, carries a racist connotation. But judging by a random sampling of patrons and business owners Tuesday at Doraville's Asian Square, a groundswell of opposition to the rebranding seems unlikely to build.

"Medium upset" is how Amigo Electronics co-owner Sue Gung described the community's reaction. Her husband was medium indifferent.

"What difference does it make if it's yellow, gold or black," said Gary Gung, noting that New York and other major cities use color coding to help commuters better navigate their transit systems. "Make the issue about the economy or something else more important."

Though transit authority officials were warned by their former manager of equal opportunity and conflict resolution that some might be offended by a yellow line to Doraville, MARTA CEO Beverly Scott said his complaint was not indicative of everybody's feelings.

Scott says she has asked Asian-Americans whether they were offended by the use of "yellow line," and they told her they were not.
You know at first glance I had declared this much ado about nothing then I saw this part, and I think I understand:
[Helen Kim, advocacy director for the nonprofit Pan Asian Center] said reactions to the controversy vary based on several factors. Some Asians new to America may be unaware of the racist connotations of yellow, for example. And previous generations who've endured more racism are prone to be more sensitive to its usage.

"If my parents or grandparents knew about this, they would raise hell," said Kevin Hoang, 30. "[MARTA officials] should've thought this through more."
I like this answer:
John Nguyen, owner of Saigon Deli, took a different approach. "I don't consider myself yellow. I'm gold," he said, smiling.
Excellent answer!

To me it's just a color, but to others within that community it's disrepect. It seems that many may understand that the coloring scheme wasn't made with the intention of offending anyone, but over a simple color there are those who feel slightly offending. All it took was to name a line that just so happened to terminate near the home of the Asian community.

I never really thought of Atlanta as a "cosmopolitan" metropolis. Although it's a long way from being merely a Southern city. Just imagine what would have happened if CTA has named the Red Line the Yellow Line instead. The current Red Line runs through two predominantion Asian communities. Instead the Yellow Line goes through this north suburban area called Skokie.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Should we cut gov't spending now?

A NY Times editorial:
Americans should be anxious, for reasons including the huge deficit. But the cold economic truth is this: At a time of high unemployment and fragile growth, the last thing the government should do is to slash spending. That will only drive the economy into deeper trouble.

None of this means that the politicians — from either party — are off the hook. They will soon need to make hard decisions about how to reduce the deficit. But more posturing and sniping is not going to make the economy better or solve the deficit problem. President Obama has called on the Republicans to join a bipartisan commission to help make those tough decisions, but they have been resistant to the proposal. 
I have to question that. How does gov't spending help the economy? How does slashing gov't spending?

Here's the justification:
Here is an unpopular but undeniable fact of life: When private sector demand is weak, the federal government must serve as the spender of last resort. Otherwise, collapsing demand sets in motion a negative, self-reinforcing spiral in which lack of demand — for goods, services and new employees — leads to ever deepening economic weakness.

That is why when the banks and the economy began to crumble in 2008, President Bush responded with a $700 billion bank bailout and a $168 billion stimulus package. When Mr. Obama took office, the banks were still shaky and the economy was still plunging— as measured by real-life indicators like jobs, consumer spending, credit availability, home equity, retirement savings and business confidence. The new administration made the sound decision to continue the bailout and pushed a $787 billion stimulus through Congress, with very little Republican help.

The stimulus package slowed job losses and helped spur activity — in the third quarter of 2009, the economy grew at an annual rate of 2.2 percent, and the initial fourth-quarter reading was 5.7 percent, a rebound few thought possible a year ago.

Still, without a jobs revival to boost consumer spending and tax revenues — and with the states facing immense budget shortfalls — the economy is unlikely to do anything other than limp along, at best, once the effects of the stimulus fade this year.
I think this editorial is worth a good read, if you're interested.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Entrepreneur teaches biz skills to artists

I got this funny idea once, that artists really aren't into the business aspects of what they do. They may even eschew business as part of what they do. Funny thing is they have to be good with business in order to make money. In this Crain's article it is said that art is an entrepreneurial endeavor.

It really is! Unless you got a job teaching art or you're lucky enough to do a comic strip or compose illustrations you're largely on your own! If you want to go down like Picasso, Warhol, or anyone like that you would do best on your own!

Well that's the point here. If you're an artist you might want someone to teach you how to use your skills so that you can be successful in that world. Hopefully such artists won't be penniless for their lifetimes only to discover that when they die their art can only be discovered.

Perhaps this course can teach the next Shepard Fairey!

Monday, February 08, 2010

How the right to arms saved the non-violent civil rights protesters

Get a load of this anecdote by a past professor at Tougaloo College courtesy of The Volokh Conspiracy:
When the campus of Tougaloo College was fired on by KKK-type racial night-riders, my home was shot up and a bullet missed my infant daughter by inches. We received no help from the Justice Department and we guarded our campus — faculty and students together — on that and subsequent occasions. We let this be known. The racist attacks slackened considerably. Night-riders are cowardly people — in any time and place — and they take advantage of fear and weakness.

Later, I worked for years in the Deep South as a full-time civil rights organizer. Like a martyred friend of mine, NAACP staffer Medgar W. Evers, I, too, was on many Klan death lists and I, too, traveled armed: a .38 special Smith and Wesson revolver and a 44/40 Winchester carbine.

The knowledge that I had these weapons and was willing to use them kept enemies at bay. Years later, in a changed Mississippi, this was confirmed by a former prominent leader of the White Knights of the KKK when we had an interesting dinner together at Jackson.
I met a former 1960s era activist, he said they were crazy and they had to be. Well I think I understand the times they lived in. A gun may have helped when you know that there were people who were out to get you!

Via Instapundit!

Sunday, February 07, 2010

On the Lt. Governorship: Scott Lee Cohen edition

Well after spending almost a week after the election with the revelations against Scott Lee Cohen occurring during the years before he became the Democratic nominee for Lt. Governor, we have seen Cohen drop out of the race. It was a very interesting ride while it lasted, it seemed for a while that he had no intention of stepping down and would continue to draw out whether or not he would leave the race.

It seemed this time that the pressure brought to bear on this man actually worked. We had others who probably should have let go in the best interest of Illinois and they wouldn't. Yeah I would point to Rod Blagojevich and his Senate appointment before his removal from office Roland Burris.

I will give Cohen credit for his attempts to bear (link to Chicago Tonight video 15:38) through the pressure. He even attempted to be honest, but his PR initiative seemed to have gone flat. He expected some of the women in his life, especially, the one who he had allegedly assaulted and threatened with a knife. Unfortunately that fell flat too when she declared him unfit to be Lt. Governor.

Well the point of this post wasn't to discuss the whole story. Honestly I can't say I have no interest. Cohen was elected by the people to be the Democratic nominee, although hey he was certainly less than ideal. Besides part of the problem in this was that he was largely unknown. Yet he was able to win in essentially a low turnout election. He had some money to spend on TV ads, yet another allegation against him was his failure to pay child support.

Even worse there are charges that the state party didn't properly vette him. Yeah someone was asleep at the wheel, especially the man who really should worry, Gov. Pat Quinn. Gov. Quinn, himself a former Lt. Governor who found himself as Governor after the removal of Rod Blagojevich, had barely squeaked out a win in the recent Democratic primaries. He especially should have been concerned about who may run with him this year.

This only leads to the next purpose in talking about the Lt. Governorship of Illinois.

You know I could've sworn that on the CapFax blog a commentor said that there will be a move by the state Democrats to abolish the office of Lt. Governor. The commentor reasoned that if Cohen won this election they would really make the attempt. Someone knew something most of us didn't know!

FTR, I don't agree with such a move, however, I can certainly agree that some changes needs to be made as far as the state's No. 2 position. In Illinois the position are elected as a ticket in the general election, however, in the primaries they run separately and brought together by chance in the general election. If you think there are moments where these two individuals may conflict you are right! Even if they are supposed to be in the same party.

It was said that because of the cloud around George Ryan, his Lt. Gov. Corrinne Wood put some distance between here and Gov. Ryan. The same for Blagojevich and his Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn. Especially when stalemate and corruption became the rule of the day in a Blagojevich administration.

Anyway I have no problem with the ticket concept, but when a Governor wins a primary he (she) should be allowed to select their own choice for Lt. Gov. It can be in a similar fashion to how the President can select their Vice President on the federal level.

My only other problem with the current state of the Lt. Governorship is that it's not very significant. Prior to the ratification of the 1970 constitution, the office also was the presiding officer of the State Senate. Another similarity with the federal Vice Presidency. I would say return this position to it's former signifiance.

Hopefully in this way we can avoid a reoccurance of a Scott Lee Cohen.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Reagan's birthday!

Had he lived he'd have been 99 today, next year he would've been 100.

Early during the first year of this blog I had written about him on his birthday (just as I am today) and connected his legacy to the term of President George W. Bush. My views may have changed somewhat today on that, but there are a lot of people obviously who have great admiration and repsect for President Reagan.

BTW, when I wrote that post five years ago the President had died the previous summer. Many of us watched the events around his state funeral in Washington, DC. The affection for President Reagan was on display during that occasion.

One idea hasn't changed since that first post, the recent Bush administration was supposed to be a resurgence of sorts of the Reagan philosophy. But it does seem that the presidency of George W. Bush fell far short of that milestone. Both have fairly strong foreign policy objectives, however, one can only wonder if Reagan would have been on board with some of Bush's foreign policy execution. Would Reagan have been willing to go into Iraq for example?

Anyway, in the future we'll see someone similar to him. We may have one such person in the White House today, although there is no guarantee that he may have the high esteem of the American people behind him. But we'll see by 2012 or even later than that when historians will truly re-evaluate President Obama's legacy.

Right now, we see who has love for President Reagan!

Also read this story from the LA Times!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Todd Stroger

As of now he will be the outgoing county board President. Tuesday night he lost the Democratic nomination for aforementioned position to Ald. Toni Preckwinkle.

Knowing what I know about Cook County politics, what I know is that the Republicans basically are non-existent and the Democrat is often a virtual shoo-in. Of course a Republican last held this office how long ago, 40 years ago? And that man also became a Governor of Illinois.

All the same I wrote this piece over at Mechanics bouncing off of comments written by Rich Miller regarding Stroger:
Can I just say that if I was to ever write a novel, I would write one based on the story of the Stroger family. Both father and son.

The father will be portrayed as a great man, although I know there are many who may not have cared for him as Cook County board president. Then I write about the son with the idea that sometimes greatness can skip a generation.
Heh, I think that was harsh, but not off base. Of course not that I would take those comments back I won't! Greatness may well have skipped a generation.

Todd Stroger's home turf is the 8th Ward. In fact the offices of Stroger's 8th Ward Democratic organization is on Cottage Grove, right across the street is Chicago's 6th Ward (for more about that place read The Sixth Ward). :P

Anyway let's go forward to WLS-TV political reporter Charles Thomas on what Todd Stroger's electoral defeat means!
Stroger will remain Cook County Board President for another nine months as a "lame duck". He'll have administrative power at the county building...but when it comes to political clout, you may as well stick a fork in him. He's done.

And he should watch his back.

His cut-throat buddies at the democratic central committee need a strongman (or woman) in the 8th Ward.

Right now, they've got a weakling in charge.
Hmmm, I should mention that in Stroger's 8th Ward, he may have recieved a plurality of vote but the numbers are pathetic! The 8th is said to have a high turnout of black voters and it an important base for Mayor Daley. On top of that Daley and the Stroger family is said to be tight.

John Stroger was a machine Democrat. When Mayor Richard M. Daley ran for Mayor in 1983, instead of going with many blacks and support Harold Washington, Stroger instead went for Daley. Needless to say Washington became Mayor of Chicago, but ultimately that job would become Daley's in roughly two years after Washington's untimely death!

BTW, John Stroger was the nominee in 2006 to retain his county board President's seat. That was even after a stroke, people turned out for him. Sympathy votes if you well, very unfortunate because it became more and more clear that John Stroger may never recover. Eventually an acting County Board President was named and Todd Stroger became the new Democratic nominee. Can anyone say nepotism?

A lot of people justified the maneuvering by saying that it has always been done by whites. People justified this by referring to Mayor Daley (his father served as Mayor also until his death in 1976) or even Lisa Madigan (who serves as our state's attorney general) but the difference is that they were elected on their own. In this case the more comparable similirity may be Bill Lipinski's sudden retirement and the anointing of his son to eventually succeed him in the Congressional seat.

Now one can only wonder if allowing Todd the opportunity to take his father's place on the ballot in 2006 and eventually to be county board president was worth it!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

2010 primary kudos

Yesterday Illinois had their primaries for such positions as Governor, Senator, and locally Cook County Board President.

First let's talk about the Governor's race.

Dan Hynes I will give him a lot of credit for making the Democratic primary more of a horse race than it was already. That was a good ad and although many people may have had a problem with it, it almost certainly made this race a close race. What Mayor Harold Washington said over 20 years ago was almost as prescient about Quinn's current situation as it was then.

Dan Proft Well I won't hold my breath over what I wish would happen. I think what he had said during the course of this campaign was spot-on. Hopefully he will continue to push for a policy revolution and the creation of unconventional coalitions to make needed changes in our state. Hopefully this race for Governor won't be his only foray as a candidate.

Mark Kirk I really never liked the term RINO. I can understand that we know that there are those who will sacrifice their principals or their party's principals for whatever. It's just that such a label can be easily used frivolously especially if say a Republican may generally agree with fellow Republicans on such and such issues. Let's say someone out there may want to call Ron Paul a RINO, although his views on the issues may bring needed energy to the Republican Party in general.

Kirk Dillard Basically one could write for him almost the same statement as above for Mark Kirk. Honestly I may trust Mr. Dillard (who also cut an ad for President Obama in 2008) with the state's governorship more than I would trust either of the Democrats vying for their party's nomination for Governor or most of Dillard's fellow Republicans. I think while I may have liked Proft's aggressiveness and confrontational style in addressed the issues of Illinois, I think compromise and consensus is what Illinois needs right now. It's unclear if probable GOP nominee Bill Brady would provide that.

Toni Preckwinkle Crain's political columnist Greg Hinz was happy to know that voters didn't merely vote race. It was feared that with three black would split the vote and help elect a white Irishman into the office of Cook County Board President. Not that I follow polls but those who do will have found that the numbers just weren't going in that direction. In the primaries Preckwinkle still won the election even if she had to face not only the Circuit Court Clerk, but the incumbent County Board President who was largely politically wounded since he ever entered into the race to claim the position of his dad who was also County Board President. That being said I really would like to see Ald. Preckwinkle's vision for how SHE would like to run county government, because Todd Stroger's vision was very much lacking. Even without charges of political patronage or the attempt at desperation by claiming that without Stroger county health care may be cut!

Not a kudos but an observation. I listened to Pat Quinn's comments last night on the radio. He really danced around it and I almost thought he was conceding, he said in his comments that the time is now to support the Democratic nominee. Of course the team on the radio also noted that in a way the Governor declared victory for the people. It was a good speech, but also an indication what politicians do in situations like this. They dance! Until the race is officially determined, all we might see is dancing.

Hopefully there WILL be no more dancing!

Monday, February 01, 2010

This is what I plan to do tommorrow

This may be a crucial primary. In Illinois we will vote in our respective primaries for our choice to run for Governor in November. Of course that's not the only position up for grabs. We'll vote for the next county board president as well.

The rhetoric I hear is that there is a wish for change in the important positions in not only state government but county government as well. Not only that, there is a need for change in the federal government as well.

Well we won't vote for President until 2012, but this year we can elect Senators or Representatives to Congress. Therefore we can send the people in the US Congress a message in 2010. We can send President Obama a message that we don't like the direction of the nation.

I'm not going to say what Illinois will say. What can be said is that the situation here isn't satisfactory and a shake-up would do this state a lot of good. That I can get with, we can't keep the same people in power anymore!

Whatever you do tomorrow, VOTE! And also use that vote wisely, PLEASE! Thanks.

I will visit my polling place for the first time in years! Hopefully I can post that adventure when I do tomorrow!

I've never read "Catcher in the Rye"

People are talking about the author of that book (click the pic for more information), JD Salinger, who died recently. Unfortunately I never had great exposure to that book.

In fact I was thinking about the interview on Chicago Now radio with Chicago TV host Garrard McClendon who said that as a high school teacher he introduced his students to this book. Apparently they loved it, but my only regret is that there was no such teacher in my life who could've introduced this book to me!

Of course that's not to say I wasn't introduced to good literature. You know my history, I went to one of the worst high schools in the city and I was introduced to William Shakespeare. Romeo and Juliet, MacBeth, and Hamlet. Although MacBeth and Hamlet only solidified my admiration for the "Bard".

For me I have to think about what other literary pieces I have read and there was very few. Starting in the 7th Grade my classmates had studied the contributions of "African-American" writers. I wasn't the biggest reader around but there are some that have kept my attention over the years.

If it wasn't for the textbook we used, African-American Literature (well not sure of the actual title), I may never have known Zora Neale Hurston or August Wilson. In fact a few years ago, I recorded the TV movie based on a play we read at school, The Piano Lesson, when it aired on CBS. If I recall correctly there may have been some African authors involved as well.

Well, that is my exposure to the world of literature and the authors who make it up. What is yours?