Thursday, September 27, 2012

Tribune: CTA, Pace will share new fare card, beginning next summer

As a regular CTA rider, I should be upset that they're already about to get rid of the Chicago Card already. Though there shouldn't be many complaints on that end from because all I never had to pay for them myself! Although it's probably way past time for RTA agencies (CTA, Metra, & Pace) to start getting on the same page as far as fare media:
Starting next summer CTA and Pace riders will have the option to pay fares with credit and debit cards as well as a new smart card system called Ventra, transit officials announced Thursday.

New Ventra tickets will be used for single-ride and 1-day passes. Customers will be able to load their Ventra cards with various amounts, as well as using them for 30-day and 7-day passes. The value on the cards can be replenished, similar to current CTA smart cards.

CTA and Pace riders will also have the option to use personal debit and credit cards equipped with a microchip.

The process is intended to be more convenient and speed up boarding, particularly on buses.

Passengers will tap their contactless payment card against the fare reader. It's similar to the CTA Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus smart cards that have been in use for years.

In 2014, all CTA and Pace fare media, including the Chicago Card and Chicago Card Plus, will be replaced with Ventra.

Customers will eventually be able to use mobile phones to pay transit fares.
Like I said, it's a long time in coming. If I wanted to travel on Metra in addition to CTA & Pace there shouldn't be much difference in my ability to pay. Especially if I have a farecard from a sister agency. They'll work those details out I'm sure!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Bought another Otter Box case

Yesterday I went to Best Buy to check out Otter Box cases. I already owned a commuter case and I decided I want to buy another one.

If you look at the picture above the case on the right was the one I already had. The plastic somehow got warped even after I rarely used it. Probably stepped on it or maybe I brought it with me and never used it and got warped by all the stuff I carry around with me. Whatever the case may be I decided that it was time for another even if at Best Buy they charge $5 for a case than would be charged at the Otter Box website.

The case on the left was the one purchase. I'm pretty sure it had to have been a return and would be very surprised Otter Box shipped this product to a store. Also it had two screen protectors with it as well although I already have my own screen protector so that's not an issue. In any case when this one caught my eye it was worth buying.

Hopefully the white silicone would rarely be used even though I had two events to attend that very night so white on black would be the case of choice. Otherwise it would be black on black especially since a good black piece of plastic is now in my possession.

You know, with the old black piece of plastic it would be cool to play with. Just to possibly experiment with say painting it in the coloring of my choice and possibly drawing a design onto it. It might just be cool to play with some ideas!

Schimdt: Kennedy vs. Nixon: The very first presidential debate

[VIDEO] John Schmidt who writes about Chicago history at Chicago Public Radio writes about a moment in Chicago history where TV studios here in the city hosted the very first Presidential debate in 1960. There story about this debate was that Kennedy won the debate if you had watched on TV whereas if you had only listened on the radio Nixon won the debate. BTW, the studios where this debate took place has since been torn down.

The video embedded above is from the YouTube channel of the JFK Library. All 60 mins of this video shared with the world online of this historic debate. Oh yeah in 1960 Kennedy won the election, Nixon would become President in 1969. Essentially we're seeing two Presidents in this video!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Vodkapundit: Working for the Man

So over at Vodkapundit, Stephen Green makes an analogy between the President as a collectivist and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as a capitalist. Apparently working for Romney nets you more bank than working for Obama. Interesting!

Via Instapundit!

Monday, September 24, 2012

CBS NEWS: False advertising in the presidential race

[VIDEO] Found this video via Marathon Pundit. Basically the point here is that last night's edition of 60 Minutes omitted this admission by the President that he approved ads that contained mistakes. Before this one and a half minute video cuts off correspondent Steve Kroft asks: "Aren't American entitled to the truth? Or a better version of it?". It doesn't seem like the President answered the question.

I saw this episode of 60 Minutes when I should've been watching the Patriots take on the Ravens on NBC. I would like to share that with you in the near future. Just in case you missed last night's edition.

VIDEO: Romney tries to put "47%" gaffe to bed with focus on jobs

[VIDEO] You know, I never understood the fallout from the 47% comment from Mitt Romney. In this Reuters video, we see the context of those remarks. Perhaps this is not the point of the heat, but we should be upset that he thinks 47% of Americans don't pay any income tax and has an entitlement mentality. Though it seems to me that number is quite high and perhaps not that many Americans aren't paying any income tax.

Of course there is one context that I think is the focus perhaps many believe Romney won't represent those 47% as he would everyone else. The former Massachusettes Governor does get hammered for being a successful businessman and having lots of money. So everyone else who he "would" represent could be the high income earner.

I also recognize that the soundbites used either by Romney or the President are only designed to fire up the bases of either candidate for Prez. That's part of the political game especially since my gut tells me this will be a close election.

Oh yes, Romney is right to attack Obama on the economy and jobs. That is the overriding issue of this election as much as the unrest over there in the Middle East. The question for me in this election is, who's right on the economy?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Electronic Village: GOP Gone Wild: Racist Texan Lynches 'Invisible' Obama Chair

I got to say, while I'm sure many people who watched Clint Eastwood's remarks at last month's GOP convention and they either enjoyed or hated them this response is quite dumb. Hanging a chair from a tree just strikes me as dumb, what is the point. Although reading Electronic Villager, it could also be turned into a racist symbol.

The speech Eastwood gave last month, the empty chair representated President Obama. I never really analyzed what his speech meant I let the talking heads on TV do that for me. Like I stated already they either loved it or hated it.

To me however, if the empty chair represented the President then it means he has been absent as the nation has attempted to pull itself back after a serious economic collapse. A collapse that ultimately ushered Obama into the White House back in 2008. Well absent may not be the correct word, but certainly it could be a matter of he hasn't lead as President.

Either way because Eastwood is a significant figure and whether or not his remarks made any sense as people have also said about that convention speech they definitely have touched a nerve on the American electorate this year. And yes we can include the moron who decided it made sense to tie a chair up to a tree branch.

Friday, September 21, 2012


In the past especially over at my other blog - The Sixth Ward - I've discussed this issue. On the north side an Alderman wanted to block the construction of a franchise over what he believed was discriminatory and/or hateful activities against gay marriage. This turned into an issue of not only tolerance, but also an issue of free speech or the free exercise of religion.

The reports over the past week seemed to reflect the belief that Chick-fil-A ultimately capitulated. At the same time Chick-fil-A attempts to explain their stance in a statement (hat-tip Illinois Review). They indicate that 1st Ward Alderman Joe didn't exactly score a victory on Chick-fil-A.

In finding this out I wonder how the Chicago GOP who jumped on this issue last summer will respond to Chick-fil-A's statement? We saw how they responded to the capitulation.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

#ImagineMorehouse: Video coverage of forum

[VIDEO] Having subscribed to the Morehouse Nation FB page I became aware of not only photos, also this video recording embed above on the day of the on campus forum that had been advertised here. There is just over an hour worth of footage to watch. Eventually when I've watched the vid, my thoughts will be shared.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Chicagoist: Columbia College Student PWNS Fox & Friends Host

I need to see this but I don't have time, but when I read the write-up at Chicagoist it just seemed so worthwhile to check out! The awesomeness will be known to me later!

Monday, September 17, 2012

The strike continues...

The pic above I posted to The Sixth Ward blog's FB page on Friday. These are CTU members striking outside of my old high school Harlan Community Academy (GO FALCONS!).

In any case check out this round-up from Rich Miller of the Capitol Fax.

While you're at it, John Ruberry - the Marathon Pundit - is actually rooting for Mayor Rahm Emanuel on this one. Why this matters is because Ruberry and Emanuel are at odds politically. Of course this is mostly about fighting the public employee unions.

BTW, the Mayor is filing an injunction to get the teachers back to work. Will he succeed?

Saturday, September 15, 2012

#ImagineMorehouse: An on-campus forum

Well if I had still been a student at Morehouse I probably could make this event on campus. Of course there are others who have responded to this drive for the college to be a "Thought Leader". I will have to support this in spirit, even if Imar Hutchins wrote a comment in one of my Morehouse posts encouraging me to attend. If you're on FB, then you can certainly RSVP if you would like to attend.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Hill Buzz: Those closest to Obama know there is no second term coming

You know some of what was said in this article (hat-tip Newsalert) is believable, others I could take with a grain of salt. What I can believe doesn't make the President look good. What I take with a grain of salt, could just as easily be thrown in the trash.

I can include any reference to the President being gay as an example of something to be taken with a grain of salt. I would put on top of that any reference to him being a Muslim. This article makes a number of references to that aspect of the President's personal history. I have heard the gay rumors about him, but only from fringe sources on the right wing.

All the same, I'm sticking with what I could believe:
This group of influential black Chicagoans calls themselves, informally, “The Think Squad” and has been a big help with stories and activities in the past. If you consider the Jesse Jacksons, Al Sharptons, and other “Justice Brothers” types on one side of the spectrum…the Think Squad is the polar opposite.  These are good people who openly talk about how terrible the Democrat community has been for black people for the last four or five decades and how Obama and his acolytes have made a great many things worse for blacks since he took office.  The Think Squad is not happy about the amnesty efforts for criminal Hispanics who broke American laws but are now able to push blacks out of work because of Obama’s intention to allow these people to become job-seekers in this dreadful economy.  As one person at the table noted by waiving her hand at the scene out the window, “What the Hell has gotten any better since he became President.  Where’s all that hope and change?  All I see is crime and trash”.

“Listen bud, there’s no second term nothing and they know as much,” a Think Squader told me between bites of his bodacious sandwich. “All this is for show.  Axelrod has already moved on but no one knows what to do and they’re kind of just limping around without a plan hoping those Romney people mess up or the media drags them across the finish line.  But ain’t nobody in that top tier who thinks he’s going to win. It’s just not happening because they can’t fool people a second time”.

I know there are many of you who — for whatever reason — still sit in front of your televisions with your eyes pried wide open taking in all the lies the corrupt media tells you.  Why you do this is beyond me.  I also don’t understand why you still pay for newspaper subscriptions or think that the polls Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow recite to you are in any way accurate.  I can find no gentle way to stay this but if you believe what the tee-vee tells you, then you’re foolish.  After four long years of watching the corrupt media relentlessly lie to drag Obama over the finish line if you have not picked up on the fact that everyone on television is working hard under the Democrats’ banner then there is truly something wrong with you.  You are a lost cause.
The Think Squad confirmed what I’ve been hearing through friends whose families know Marion Robinson, the current “First Grandmother” and Michelle’s mother: the Obamas and those close to them are preparing to decamp to Honolulu, Hawaii and live out his post-presidency in the post suburb of Kailua.  This is Hawaii’s Beverly Hills.  The Think Squad had a great time mocking the hula and pretending to sip mai-tais and pina-coladas as they regaled me with all the things Marion’s been “bragging-on” about the house she expects to live in come January when the Obamas depart the White House and Marion comes with them.  They’ll still have servants, Secret Service guards, a chef, and almost all of the amenities they enjoy now.  But it will be a permanent vacation mode instead of the short bursts of paradise these people experienced on their many jaunts to Hawaii over the last four years before their usual return to Washington.  But now, they won’t ever have to go back to DC and Marion is especially gleeful that they won’t be coming back to Chicago ever, either.
The table burst out into loud laughter when I asked if anyone believed there was even a remote chance that the Obama Presidential Library and Museum could be coming to Chicago and every last member of the Think Squad said “that thing’s going on the beach somewhere in Hawaii where it belongs”.  There is no delusion that Chicago would get any sort of perk or pay-back for sending the Obamas to Washington.  ”What do they care about Chicago for when they got everything they needed out of this place and there’s nothing more they need?”.  The consensus was that Obama has a long established pattern of taking what he needs, then moving on to someplace new to acquire new resources there, and then moving on to whatever he thinks can help him advance again.
Yeah, this doesn't make him look good. I wish I knew where this sandwich shop is, just to listen to "The Think Squad". To be able to know what they know, although I will just as soon stay out of the personal business. In politics the personal isn't exactly separate from the professional it seems.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Teacher's strike day four

Clark/Adams - teacher's strike day one
Two items of interest with regards to the Chicago Teacher's Union strike that began on Monday.

Yesterday at the CapFax, Rich Miller takes aim at the issues of compensation. Taking a close look at the numbers that have been thrown about with regards to raises and salaries.

Today he further breaks down the local implications of the teacher's strike. Do parents support the teachers and will they continue to do so? Also he takes on the talking heads on cable news.

#ImagineMorehouse: Imagining a new Morehouse

Sorry about the redundancy in the title above. I wanted to include the hashtag so that this post could have a much larger audience. The essay that the above title refers to one written on the site Morehouse Nation (formerly known as Morehouse Old School).

I've been following the activism over the summer that not only included a letter to the Morehouse College Board of Trustees and a collective statement that has been signed by Morehouse alumni, current students, faculty, and supporters. I'd really be curious as to what the primary author of the Morehouse Nation website Imar L. Hutchins sees that he's making such a push for some changes at Morehouse. He does outline some of what he sees in the original letter to the board of trustees.

In any case, again these are my thoughts on this subject that were written earlier this summer. Perhaps I will add more in the near future. As always feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Here comes the iPhone 5

[VIDEO] When I bought the iPhone 4S this spring, my first concern was whether or not I should be concerned about the new iPhone coming out in the near future. Ultimately, I decided that it wasn't necessary to chase the latest thing it was OK if something new came out later this year.

Today the iPhone 5 was unveiled by Apple. It is billed as slimmer, taller, and faster than the 4S. The video above is from AP and the excerpt below is from Reuters:
The phone, which will run on higher speed LTE networks, is made entirely out of glass and aluminum. It will have a larger, 4-inch screen, showing five rows of icons, with a "retina" display.

The iPhone 5 comes with Apple's newest “A6” processor, which executives claimed runs twice as fast as the previous generation. It will have three microphones and a better 8 megapixel camera that can take pictures on higher resolutions.

"It's an absolute jewel. It's the most beautiful product we've ever made," said Apple Chief Executive Tim Cook told the crowd at the Yerba Buena Centre in San Francisco.

Apple has also improved the device's battery life and updated both of its cameras, giving its front camera 720p HD video. The company also announced a smaller dock connector and a new cable charger named Lightning that is 80 percent smaller than its predecessor.

Siri got a makeover as well, and can now tell users the scores of sports games and post status updates to Facebook.Apple will begin taking orders for the iPhone 5 on Friday, costing $199 for the cheapest 16 gigabyte version to $399 at the top end. Shipments begin on Sept. 21, and the smartphone will be sold in 100 countries by the end of the year.
This time around at least, I won't have to stand in line early in the morning trying to get the latest iPhone. That'll only happen in the next couple of years!

Took this shot of a teacher's strike march near Clark/Jackson

UPDATE 4:12 PM Newsalert linked to this post and also shares this Chicago Mag article from Feb. 2012 about TIFs.

I wonder if the above display at the head of a parade yesterday during day two of the Chicago Teacher's Union (CTU) strike in downtown Chicago detracts from the last two issues that Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the CTU are at loggerheads on. Should they really have signs taking on the 1%?

At large rallies such as these, there are bound to be those who have various agendas. Different messages certainly different from what these rallies are really all about. Instead of thinking about our young people who need to be in class, we have signs at these events talking about the 1%.

BTW, if you're not sure what are TIFs they are Tax Increment Financing districts which have long been a controversial issue in Chicago. As a matter of fact one issue with TIFs is that they take money away from the schools for the purposes of redeveloping impoverished neighborhoods. And protest TIFs when talking about our students who needs extra resources especially if they are of a low income background is more than appropriate.

But, why the reference to the 1%? While I'm very sure this isn't part of the overall message, this could've lost me. I want very much to support the sincere efforts of Chicago's teachers to educate our young people in difficult circumstances whether from their life out of school or even in the classrooms. My hope is that they stay focus on that very important issue as they continue to negotiate with CPS.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

11 years

Today is the 11th anniversary of the worst foreign attack in this nation's history. On this day in 2001 terrorist pilots used commercial airliners as missiles to attack the Pentagon in Washington, DC and the World Trade Center towers in NYC. Another airliner crashed in rural Pennsylvania after passengers took a stand to prevent their flight from attacking another target.

On moments like this as usual I avoid any coverage on TV, especially if they play any footage of the planes crashing into the World Trade Center or the collapse of both towers. It was still a dreadful day that had been played on TV over and over on that day. It's something I prefer not to have etched in my mind, but understand that it's etched in the minds of so many others.

Today I remember all victims whether they perished in the events of that day or the people that they've left behind especially friends and family. They're as much victims as anyone else.

May we continue to fight the evil, that plan and execute attacks such as this!

This tag - September 11th - will take you to other Sept. 11th posts.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Electronic Village: Black Unemployment Drops to 14.1% in August 2012

Electronic Village: Black Unemployment Drops to 14.1% in August 2012

Also mentioned here is that the overall national unemployment rate dropped to 8.1%. If you read Instapundit you'll see that this decrease still isn't good enough since it "Still makes 43 months above 8 percent, though . . . ."

What's of interest here is the Black unemployment rate. In January 2012 it was as low as 13.6% and then it somehow increased to 14.1% by last month. I wonder what accounts for the increase in the intervening months?

Thursday, September 06, 2012

It's Obama vs. Romney, the conventions are over!

I watched as many of the events of the Republican and Democratic conventions as I could these last two weeks. We see most of the differences between the two partys in how they conduct their conventions and usually they set the tone for the coming campaign which is about to start in earnest.

We know the Republicans are going to talk most about jobs, then again I don't really recall much of their convention about what they represent. Jobs and the economy are good topics for this campaign because it will rest on whom the American people can trust to turn the economy around.

At the same time I feel like I got a better sense of what the Democrats represent. The Dems have always sought to show how inclusive they are. We see that we their vignette on the women who serve in the US Senate. They certainly talk about the inclusiveness of Blacks, hispanics, or even gays.

The only sore spot it seemed with the Democrats was when they voted to include God and Jerusalem in their platform. In some footage, I saw some Dems some in that shot had some Arab-American Democrat signs and there was a man who obviously showed his displeasure over adding this language to the platform. When they did a voice vote, it almost seemed equally passionate what the delegates wanted to vote for this plank.

BTW, I should answer those who think there is no different between either of the parties. It's OK to be cynical about the political system, especially since it seems nothing is getting done these days in any hall of power. This is certainly a cynical time in American history and the coming Presidential election has appeared to me a close election as I'm not so sure voters are happy with the current President and unsure about the GOP nominee Mitt Romney.

Only time will tell if either candidate will appear able to win this election. At the end of the Republican convention last week I saw that some of the delegates weren't solidly behind Romney. Perhaps the President has more rank & file Democrats behind him than Romney as rank & file Republicans. Again there's at least two months before the general election. Let's see who will get the edge in November!

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

VIDEO: Batman - Schumacher vs Nolan

[VIDEO] I just watched Batman Begins again this weekend. So in keeping with that theme we see a mash-up of scenes from Batman & Robin (1997) directed by Joel Schumacher and scenes from the first two films of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy (Batman Begins & The Dark Knight). Some of the comments for this video says this is an unfair fight as no scenes from Batman Forever has been included. It was also directed by Schumacher and some will contend was a superior movie to Batman & Robin.

Watching the juxtaposition of Batman & Robin and the first two Nolan directed Batman films makes the Schumacher film look awful in more ways than one!

You know one day, I should just pop in the first three Batman films in the old VCR. Yes I do mean Batman, Batman Returns, & Batman Forever. They weren't too bad and yes what this means is that I'm not interested in ever buying Batman & Robin!

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Ward Room: Illinois Among Least Republican States

Very interesting:
It turns out that Illinois, the state that produced the first two Republican presidents, is now one of the least Republican in the union. In only six states do fewer voters identify as Republicans. Illinois is the least Republican state that is not on the East or the West coast, and the second-largest in the Top 10, after California. Thanks to the influence of Chicago, it votes like a coastal, cosmopolitan state despite its interior location. This explains why the Republican Party has had zero influence in state politics in the last 10 years, has won only two Senate elections in the last 34 years, and couldn’t even beat an unelected Democratic governor with an 28 percent approval rating. The Democrats have become the natural governing party in Illinois. The Republicans can only make a case for themselves when the Democrats really screw up.
A few states are noted as least Republican, most of the northeastern states such as Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and even Massachussettes (the state of the current GOP nominee for President). Then there's California who elected future President Ronald Reagan as their Governor for two terms. Still the question is what's the deal with those states that are solidly "blue" if you will?

It's easy for me to answer this question for Illinois. Scandals in the Illinois Republican Party probably helped to hurt the party for the past decade. Remember the scene after the 1994 elections that saw national Republicans taking over the US Congress, in Illinois briefly Republicans took control of the General Assembly. In 1997, they lose control of the state House of Representatives and in 2003 they lost control of the state Senate. Also from 1977 to 2003, 25 years of Republican governors.

Now it may not entirely be the reason why the state's been struggling but I'm pretty sure it didn't help. George Ryan's administration had been plagued by allegations of corruption when he was our Secretary of State. The scandal was referred to as "license for bribes", in any event if Ryan - a longtime pol in this state - wanted a second term it wasn't going to happen. Even if he took the courageous stance - even as a Republican - to put a moratorium on death sentences and commute all death row sentences near the end of his term.

Currently Ryan is still serving a prison sentence for his corruption conviction. It's safe to say time passed him by as what may have been appropriate back in the old school days when Ryan started in politics were worth a federal inquiry that got him indicted and convicted.

BTW, I would still like to figure out what happened in 2010. I suppose no campaign could rest on the laurels of the Rod Blagojevich scandal even then a year when Republicans gained ground in a lot of states around the nation. So Democrats in Illinois had been tainted by a scandal plagued governor from their own party and still maintained a hold on power in this state.

It is what it is.