Thursday, February 28, 2013

I let the whole month of February go by

I didn't seem to pay a lot of attention to Black History Month this year. Not sure why exactly, but hey it seems there's been a lot going on this month.

Let me just stress first and foremost that history is made everyday by anyone who does something of great significance. Or we make history by living in significant times although all time is significant.

We could talk about the accomplishments of many Blacks in this nation or the world. We could talk about activits, explorers, inventors, engineers, architects, entrepreneurs, artists, writers, performers and I could go on and on. While it's important to talk about those who have made the history books we should encourage the future just as well.

Someone out there who isn't the history books yet will be there in the future. Indeed we should focus on the young people as well as they go through school. It's in our best interest to insure that they will succeed in the future and indeed some of them may also find themselves in the history books. May their accomplishments be both positive and very significant.

And of course may we continue to make history ourselves!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

American Presidents: Life Portraits - George Washington

[VIDEO] It's cool that C-Span is showing some portions of their American Presidents: Life Portraits specials on YouTube. Those specials aired starting in 1999 and concluded in 2000. Their last special featured the current President at the time Bill Clinton.

 The last specials on the more recent Presidents such as Lyndon Johnson for example didn't have prologues like what you see above for the 1st President George Washington. Other than these prologues the programs contained at least 3 or more hours of viewer calls, vignettes, and discussions with not only historians but also with the descendents of these Presidents as well.

It helped spark my interest in studying the Presidency. It wasn't always considered a post that we often call "Leader of the Free World". This office had to evolve like anything else here in the United States. The men who have held office helped it evolve.

I look forward to seeing more of this in the future. In fact C-Span uploaded a prologue for John Adams onto YouTube recently. Of course if you want to find the full programs as their aired over a decade a go just visit C-Span's video archive or check C-Span's schedule see if they'll air on TV in the future.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

VIDEO: Is America becoming Europe?

[VIDEO] This video I found interesting. Consider this today's food for thought. A comparison between Europe and the United States. There are big government leftists who see the socialist models of European nations as the inspiration for what they hope to bring to this nation. The video points to the things that makes this nation different and sets us a part from the Europeans.

So we may ask if America is losing what made this nation great in the first place?

This makes me want to read Democracy in America by Alexis Du Tocqueville. That seminal book is duly noted in this video and while I do have that physical book in my library I've yet to take the take to read. It's time that I do so.

This video is today's food for thought.

Hat-tip The Other McCain! That post was written by a blogger named Smitty who answered this question in the blog title with this response, "Yes".

Monday, February 25, 2013

Ward Room: What $750,000 Can Buy

$750,000 is the amount of money former Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. took from his campaign funds. A crime that he recently pleaded guilty for with his wife former Alderman Sandi Jackson who also pleaded guilty for filing a false income tax return in federal court last week.

This Ward Room posting by Ed McClelland discusses what Jackson could've done with all that money for his constituents. Starting off mentioning free breakfasts struck a nerve because Jackson had robocalls in the past advertising free turkeys at an event he hosted. With the cash he was spending on personal items he probably could have spent them on food for the neediest constituents.

Still I have to admit what a sad end to a potential dynasty. And all it all started when he got caught up in the scandal involving Rod Blagojevich. Last year I attended a fundraiser held in Hyde Park - President Obama's neighborhood - by Sandi Jackson ward organization although no funds came from me for her it was nice to be at a venue for a fancy restaurant.

In any event there was a lot of press there. Mrs. Jackson was being interviewed by a local news anchor and there were news vans outside of this particular establishment. You would've thought she would've been in office for years to come and as it turns out she didn't have long before her career as Alderman was over. Not only that, the feds would have their eye on her as well.

Very sad.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Paul McKinley stands out in the race for 2nd Congressional District

[VIDEO] BTW, I shared a link to this video to a friend but when he saw the Breitbart bug on it he automatically called this a crap source. Even though there is no hard news here just a man ranting and raving about the Democratic machine that he's running against.

I saw Paul McKinley on Chicago Tonight - a program on our local PBS affiliate - on Wednesday night. I was most impressed with his performance. The others who were on stage with him with Carol Marin were Lenny McCallister and Beverly Reid. They didn't strike me as outspoken as this guy and you know what for me McKinley went ahead of the pack.

I forgot to note that McKinley, McCallister, and Reid are Republicans and they're running for the 2nd Congressional Seat of Illinois. They're of course running an uphill battle against the eventual winner of the Democratic primary. It's very likely that the Democratic nominee for this seat will be the ultimate winner of this election.

OK, now it's time to reflect. We heard from McKinley, McCallister and another Republican aspirant Eric Wallace in another video produced by RebelPundit not long ago. The allegation here is that the Republican candidates were largely being ignored by the mainstream press in the Chicago area.

It's great to see a field of Black Republicans take to the campaign trail to succeed Jesse Jackson Jr. who has recently pled guilty to federal charges and his wife Sandi who used to be a Chicago Alderman also pled guilty to federal charges. The question I would have for all the Republican candidates are whether or not they will continue to be out here when the election is over. It seems to me they step forward and when the election is over we never heard them again.

McKinley strikes me as a passionate man and who knows it's possible that if he ekes out a win he may well be a different person. Still, could a message from a man like him resonate at least in the 2nd Congressional District?

Also I found a FB page for him. Now I wonder if he's part of the "Broke Party". I did a post about them last year just before the Presidential election. It seems he would fit in with that group.

Friday, February 22, 2013

If I had a humor blog, I've decided on background music...

[VIDEO] The theme to Curb Your Enthusiasm. I don't have HBO anymore is that show still on?

This music gives everything a hilarious feel to it! BTW, good thing I don't have a humor blog because I've learned over the years that well humor is not my forte. Although we do have our moments even if humor isn't what we're good at! lol

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Chicago corruption 1894 edition

Imagine this, Chicago Alderman on the take accepting their bribes by picking up their loot in a city hall bathroom. And the only reason we now know that no Alderman had since accepted a bribe in a public bathroom because an innocent bystander found a bribe and gave it to an Alderman who carelessly left it in the bathroom. Somehow it became an expose in a long gone Chicago newspaper

According to John Schmidt, this expose was published back on February 19, 1894!

Ward Room: Poll states Illinois is more anti-gun than rest of the nation

This is interesting:
Illinoisans are much more supportive of gun control than the rest of America, according to a poll out Tuesday from the Paul Simon Public Policy Institute at Southern Illinois University.

Here in the Land of Lincoln, 59 percent of respondents think controlling gun ownership is more important than the right to own guns -- 10 points higher than the nation as a whole, according a recent Pew Research survey.

And 72 percent of Illinoisans think gun laws should be more strict, compared to 58 percent nationwide. Fifty-eight percent favor banning high capacity ammunition clips, while 62 percent want to ban assault weapons, and 92 percent want background checks at gun shows -- three cornerstones of President Obama’s gun control plan. However, only 33 percent would like to see a ban on handguns.
Granted Illinois is a state where most of the population is located near a major city, Chicago. Of course it's stated that this state is mostly urban. That's besides the point it makes me wonder if this poll measured only a certain segment of the population in this state. Perhaps out of Chicago or those who may be more favorable to gun control.

Who knows, I wish I was more of a statistician than I am now. In order to conduct this poll what questions where asked. There's a way to manipulate the results to produce what's desired.

Anyway, another question to ask. If the results of this poll are correct, then what's different about Illinois than the rest of the country? If Illinois is more reasonable on gun control or gun rights surely there are other states that feel as strongly about gun control as this state does.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

The Onion: Frustrated Inner-City Students Running Out Of Ideas To Motivate Teachers

[VIDEO] WOW! This is quite hilarious and it would be something there was a reverse story about not how teachers aren't able to reach their students, but how the students aren't able to reach the teachers. Although I'm sure the outlet wasn't The Onion there would certainly be a much different angle to it. In this case hilarity ensues!

Then again perhaps this satire makes a good point, are teachers really interested in educating? I apologize to those of you who are in the profession, but this may be a question that is asked by many parents around the nation! Also does the system expect their own teachers to fail?

BTW, this is comedy and Dunne High School doesn't actually exist in the Chicago Public School. Then again who's to say this isn't a suburban school? :P

Monday, February 18, 2013

Tribune: Cubs may say goodbye to WGN-TV after 2014 season

[VIDEO] Well, while sports broadcasting on TV may change I may miss the days I can catch a Cubs game on WGN if that is to ever pass. Things change but this shouldn't and besides once upon a time plenty of our local teams have had trouble finding a local outlet.

The Cubs in my memory have always been on WGN. It wasn't until fairly recently that you couldn't watch a Black Hawks home game on TV in Chicago. At that you couldn't even watch a game on WGN and now you can. The White Sox used to be on WFLD-TV or FOX 32 Chicago and now you can watch them on WGN and ditto for the Chicago Bulls!

Where will the Cubs go?
Cubs games have been broadcast on WGN-TV since 1948, a relationship that has been beneficial to both under three sets of ownership.

The hiring of Harry Caray and the move to become a superstation status spread the gospel of Cubs baseball nationally during the 1980s, helping turn the lovable losers into a lucrative franchise.

For years the Cubs were the only game on TV across the country in the daytime, making them a nationally beloved entity through thick and thin. That in turn helped increase the franchise's value from $20.5 million in 1981 when Tribune Co. bought it to $845 million when the Ricketts family purchased the team, the ballpark and 25 percent of Comcast SportsNet in 2009.

But Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts is always looking to increase the team's revenue sources, and now it appears likely the team will wave goodbye to their longtime TV home when its contract ends after the 2014 season.

Ricketts declined to address their plans on Sunday, except to say a discussion on rights fees will begin in 2013.

"Obviously local media rights have been increasing in value," he said. "Hopefully at some point we will be able to get more value for our media rights. It's just something that's playing out over time."
I suppose time will tell on this deal, yes? The video above is a Chicago Cubs broadcast intro from 1988 from WGN.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

A Martian Dream: Here's What the Red Planet Would Look Like With Earth-Like Oceans and Life - The Atlantic

A Martian Dream: Here's What the Red Planet Would Look Like With Earth-Like Oceans and Life - The Atlantic

The pic above is how our fourth planet would look like if it was earth like. With some landforms in the northern hemisphere it looks like they would've had a large continent similar to this fabled continent on Earth known as Pangaea. Well not so fabled as well there is a theory or perhaps it's proven that at one point all of Earth's continents were one massive landmass. Continental drift created the continents as we know them today!

In any case I can't wrap my head around Martian geography as well I know very little about it. I know about Utopia Planitia as this is the area where the Enterprise of Star Trek: The Next Generation was constructed. However I can't even begin to point to it on a map!

Well this show what Mars can look like with terraforming. And perhaps this could spur more interest in sending people to the Red Planet. Time can only tell.

Via Instapundit!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The minimum wage debate...

Apparently raising the minimum-wage has become a policy goal for not only Illinois Governor Pat Quinn but also President Obama in their respective annual legislative speeches i.e. State of the State/Union. I'm sure raising it close $10/hr in Illinois and for Obama raising the federal mimimum wage to $9/hr would help out a lot of people who are working minimum wage jobs.

At the same time, there are some unintended consequences. For example not everyone has particularly generous employers who might give you the same amount of hours from week to week or whatever. Hours could get slashed because now the politicians have pushed up the price floor for labor.

The way I see it looking at the graphic I recently found on FB, the minimum wage is only a start especially for those who are just entering the workforce. The graphic is correct in many ways and basically one way of saying a minimum wage position shouldn't carry you all your live. You should be expected to learn new skills, get an education, or otherwise make some sort of contribution to your jobs. If your employer doesn't value that at all and can't help but look at their own bottom line it's time to move on.

Besides, I recognize that this is a tough economy and there aren't many jobs to be had out there. No way of mincing bones about that. Right now it's about taking what you can get and while you got the job you have continue searching for the job that will enable you to pay your bills and get you to the level you wish to be. That's what my motivation is and at the same time I recognize that not all of us will stay at the minimum wage forever.

I just hope the politicians who propose minimum wage increases realize what they're doing. It's well meaning enough sure, but what will the effects be not only on those who are currently working such jobs but the ones who are looking as well. Hopefully the politicos are looking at both sides and not just pushing this through without thinking.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mark Kirk is the man for this...

It seemed the President was slow to realize what Kirk - a Republican - was doing at the State of the Union address last night. I do realize that he had been out of action for most of last year due to the results of a stroke. Sen. Kirk in 2010 had been elected to Obama's old Senate seat.

Via Capitol Fax.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Chicago’s deadly gun control lessons

Over the weekend was the funeral for Hadiya Pendleton who had been murdered almost a week after attending President Obama's inauguration. Today I share with you a column that mentions her and the other incidents of gun violence that has claimed lives here in Chicago:
Fifteen-year-old Hadiya Pendleton was an honor student, volleyball player and majorette who one week earlier was performing with her high school band at President Obama’s inauguration ceremony. On Saturday, first lady Michelle Obama flew to Chicago to visit Hadiya — paying respects at her funeral.

The King College Prep student was one of 42 homicide victims in Chicago during the month of January. Pendleton’s story is an all-too-common tale in the Windy City. You wouldn’t know it, though, due to the media and political efforts to control the conversation — using this deadly epidemic for the national cause of gun control instead of actually making life safer back in Chicago.

Last year, more than 500 individuals were murdered in Chicago. The public perception is that the violence is always gang related — criminal killing criminal. Gun control advocates use this point of view to combat critics who claim that Chicago, which has the toughest gun laws in the country, is an example that gun control doesn’t work. What Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel don’t want to discuss is that gang related or not, innocent children are being buried in their own backyard.

Fifty-six children — under the age of 18 — met violent ends last year in Chicago, while 133 individuals — nearly one-third of all the murdered victims — never saw their 21st birthdays. Still, the city and the state don’t want to talk about the nightmare that Chicago’s African-American and Hispanic neighborhoods have become. Nobody is asking how the disastrous economy of Illinois is contributing to violence on the streets of Chicago.

I suggest you read the whole thing!

Capitol Fax: “Our” divided Illinois

Rich Miller shares with us his column with regards to the various regional differences within the state whether we talk about currently or back during the 19th Century before Abraham Lincoln freed the slaves. It's very interesting how we see how at times the divides had been bridged in the past and how it's difficult to get policy goals achieved now. Partisanship isn't even an issue as both major parties (GOP and Democrats) have different factions located within the different regions of this state that even if the Democrats have a supermajority in the state legislature it's only a supermajority "in party name only". I suppose whatever your partisan preference whatever part of the state you're from you can find a home there somewhere.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

RebelPundit: CBS, ABC Black Out GOP Primary Debate to Replace Jesse Jackson, Jr.

[VIDEO] The report from RebelPundit shows how the Chicago-area mainstream press seems to believe that the Democrats who running in the special election to succeed Congressman Jesse Jackson Jr. will ultimately become the new Representative for the 2nd Congressional District of Illinois. There are several Republicans running but unfortunately they're hardly getting any coverage in face RebelPundit shows instances where the media reinforces their beliefs that a Republican couldn't possible win this solidly blue district that stretches from the South Side of Chicago into the South Suburbs all the way to Kankakee County.

Now, if you want my perspective it's hard for me to say how well Republicans will do. It would shock me that they actually could win this district but this is without a doubt a very unusual election especially since the last two congressmen went down in flames due to legal troubles. The question here is whether or not the residents of the 2nd Congressional District are ready for a change away from being a solidly Democratic constituency.

Another thing to consider, since it was redistricted after the 2010 census there are some areas that may vote contrary to the rest of the district. There's a reason so many of the Republicans who were election that year are no longer serving in Congress after the 2012 election. The map produced by a Democratic state legislature sought to dilute what helped get the man tea party Republicans elected here in this state. Some of those voters are in the 2nd District. Who knows those voters could make a huge different in the Special Election this spring.

Anyway, the point here is that the Republicans aren't getting enough coverage. Even at events where both Democrats and Republicans were present they still barely got any coverage. A case could be made here that the mainstream media of Chicago are solidly in the tank for the Democrats and aren't willing to give any coverage to Republicans whether they're solid challengers or not!

BTW, if I may offer you an update to what happened to Jesse Jr. He had recently signed a plea deal yesterday that could include some jail time. He had resigned from his Congressional seat not long after his re-election in November. Also his wife Sandi last month resigned from her city council seat and the feds also have their eyes on her! It makes you really wonder doesn't it?

And while the Republicans of Chicago are at it perhaps in two years they can find a Republican who could run in Sandi Jackson's old ward and perhaps have an interesting election there. It's time for some Republicans to gain a seat again on the Chicago City Council.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Tribune: Quinn minimum wage hike could be tough sell

Via NBC Chicago
Raising the minimum wage is certainly a well-meaning policy goal and taking this text from today's state of the state address this is where it comes from:
Our businesses are only as good as the employees who drive their success.

Nobody in Illinois should work 40 hours a week and live in poverty. That’s a principle as old as the Bible.

That’s why, over the next 4 years, we must raise the minimum wage to at least $10 an hour.

Senator Kimberly Lightford, you are doing the right thing with your mission to raise the minimum wage.

And as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, it’s always the right time to do the right thing.
It sounds great, but this is still a tough economy. You raise minimum wage to $10/hour then what happened next? Employers could elect to cut hours so instead of minimum wage workers doing at least 40hrs it could get cut down to 30 or less. Perhaps the work week for such workers could be reduced from 5 days to 4 days. What I'm getting at is unintended consequences.

At least the question is put up in front of Gov. Quinn right now. Besides is this about boosting the prospects of low-wage workers or boosting Pat Quinn's abysmal approval ratings as we head into 2014 a gubernatorial election year:
But beyond the finances, Quinn may hope a populist pocketbook issue can boost his own low approval ratings as he prepares to fight potentially big-name Democratic challengers like Attorney General Lisa Madigan and Bill Daley, the former white House chief of staff and a high-profile heir to the Daley family legacy.

Quinn called for a minimum-wage hike during the 2010 governor’s race, while Republican challenger Sen. Bill Brady opposed it.

Following Quinn’s speech on Wednesday, Brady said he wanted to review Quinn’s plan when there details are rolled out.

Hinsdale Republican Sen. Kirk Dillard, who like Brady is eyeing Quinn’s job, said he does not support the minimum wage hike. “We need to create better jobs, not minimum wage jobs, for those who are trying to raise a family,” Dillard said.

The chief sponsor of the minimum wage increase is Sen. Kimberly Lightford, the Maywood Democrat on Cullerton’s leadership team. She has sought to negotiate with foes and backers of the legislation for eight months. She said she wants to roll out a bill in the next few weeks.
Well, time will tell if this will prove to be beneficial or not. Time will only tell if this will help Pat Quinn if he seeks another term as Governor of Illinois. Will this help the prospect of this state being able to attract more jobs?

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

New Geography: Detroit future city

Today we're taking another virtual trip to the great American city of Detroit. Aaron Renn who writes for The Urbanophile wrote this column for New Geography about plans to redevelop Motown. Some of these plans we should know about already because it has gained attention in the past:
Recently the Detroit Works Project released their long awaited strategic plan for the city. This is the one led by Toni Griffin that produced a lot of public controversy because of suggestions it would result in the planned shrinkage or decommissioning (or even forced residential relocations) in sparsely populated neighborhoods.

Called “Detroit Future City,” this plan doesn’t shy away from facing the tough realities that face Detroit, but its recommendations are somewhat muted with regards to shrinkage. Nevertheless, the message is clear: in a broke, declining city, neighborhood triage is a must.

The full document is 184 pages. I perused it, but wasn’t able to review at the level of detail I normally like to. Partially this is because it was published in a hyper-annoying “cinemascope” type format that makes it almost impossible to read on screen without magnification and lots of horizontal scrolling. This aspect of the plan’s publication was an immediate knock against it in my view. However, it will share a few observations I gleaned.
Basically they're planning for a city around 600-800,000 people. Also what many should have heard about what to do about largely vacant neighborhoods. Of course in all this, the goal I'm sure is to find a way to reinvent Detroit.

Monday, February 04, 2013

VIDEO: Remains of English King Richard III found under parking lot

[VIDEO] A decade ago, I checked out of the library a movie version of William Shakespeare's Richard III. This film released in 1995 basically transported the period of King Richard III's reign into the 20th century and turned England into a 1930s fascist state. It's one of my favorite film adaptation of any of Shakespeare's plays.

Today, it seems that scientists may have found the maligned English King's remains in a parking lot. What an interesting fate and the question I have is how did they know remains were there?

Anyway, we now know what happened to the remains of one of the Kings of England. It's quite fascinating really. Just for kicks a line from the Shakespeare play: "A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!". In the case of that line it was used in the 1995 film when he was attempting to start a Jeep. LOL!

Friday, February 01, 2013

Capitol Fax: Brady asking for advice and support as he lays groundwork

So we know who may run next year for Governor, state Sen. Bill Brady. Be sure to read the disclaimer at the top of this post over at CapFax. Things change in three years time and the comments are interesting as well.

Republicans seem to be very hapless in this state. For whatever reason conservatism doesn't win, just look at Brady and the many Republican candidates who lost last year seeking re-election to Congress for instance.

Now I'm not saying conservatism isn't worth running on in this state. It does seems as if conservatism turns off a lot of people and perhaps it's the social issues that do the trick. Beyond that, clueless here!

2010 was a good year for a Republican pickup of the IL governorship and it didn't happen. 2014 remains to be seen as who's year it is in this state, but it will prove interesting. If Brady isn't the Republican who can win the governorship next year, then what Republican can step forward to win?