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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Wear orange to observe gun violence awareness today

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Hadiya Pendleton
It's often stated on my other blog how often I seek to avoid discussing crime even though it's all around us no matter how much we avoid talking about it. Not all "minority" communities have major issues with crime, but we must deal with those communities that does have those issues.

What happened to Hadiya Pendleton in 2013 was unfortunate. She had been shot in a case of mistaken identity and she wasn't even the intended target. A lot of national attention was on our city for her untimely death.

Today would've been her 18th birthday and today is also gun violence awareness day. To observe many celebrities and politicians have pledged to wear orange today. So thanks to this Tribune article we know more about the meaning of orange and this day:
The orange theme is inspired by Hadiya's friends, who chose to commemorate her life with a color that hunters wear to keep themselves and others safe from harm.

The group was formed a couple of months after Hadiya's death and has been targeting the structural problems that they believe lead to violence, including failing school systems, institutional racism and food deserts, according to Nza-Ari Khepra, former president of Project Orange Tree.
If you have something orange in your wardrobe, put it on today please!

Monday, June 1, 2015

CPS CEO resigns...

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WOW! She already was on leave of absence now she's leaving outright!
In a letter dated last week, Byrd-Bennett said she planned to step down Monday. She did not give any reasons for her decision.

Byrd-Bennett has been on paid leave since mid-April, when school officials released wide-ranging subpoenas from the federal investigation. Her paid leave was scheduled to end next week and she had not been expected to return to her post.

Resignation letter from CPS chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett Resignation letter from CPS chief Barbara Byrd-Bennett The investigation centers on a $20.5 million no-bid contract at CPS related to an elite nonprofit education group that has long been at the center of city school reform efforts. Federal corruption investigators have also sought records related to some of Byrd-Bennett's top deputies.
I wonder how much louder calls for an elected school board would get.

Monday, May 25, 2015

May 9th ward community meeting

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You may have received these notices if you've signed up for Ald. Beale's e-mail list.
  • 9th Ward Alderman Anthony A. Beale and City Department Representatives present a 9th Ward Community Meeting Tuesday, May 26, 2015
    6:30 - 7:30 p.m.

    Pullman Presbyterian Church
    550 East 103rd Street
    Chicago, Illinois 60628
Flyer below

Thursday, May 14, 2015

"Star Trek"

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I've been a fan since the 6th grade. I liked the future and the tech and at one point in time even wanted to make it reality. It even inspired me to consider making the military my career path although that didn't happen.

To be sure I wanted to be a Starfleet captain "boldy going where no one has gone before". Although the next best thing was to become a captain in the US Navy commanding a navy vessel. Or aspiring to be a space shuttle commander in NASA!

Anyway I've been a fan for a long time having even seen the last Star Trek movie in cinemas almost two years ago. Even have two posters here at home from that movie Star Trek Into Darkness.

Nothing however will beat the first 6 Trek movies that got this sci-fi film franchise started. My all time favorite at one point became Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home....yes the one with the whales. Thankfully on the big screen we saw the entire original cast of Star Trek engage in even grander adventures.

Recently I found this list online of trivia regarding those original 6 Trek movies. This is one piece of trivia that I could laugh about.
31. Hello computer?!? The Apple Mac wasn't supposed to be in the factory, and the original Commodore Amiga model was originally supposed to be in its place. Commodore Business Machines refused to send a sample machine for filming and simply told the film crew that they had to buy one. Apple just sent a machine and a member of staff to help out.

Commodore also stated it didn't want to be associated with Star Trek. Facepalm...
Now we wonder what a Commodire Amiga is? In fact what is a Commodore? Here's the scene in question Scotty was attempting to speak through a mouse and yet typed very fast on the keyboard. He seemed to have started off with two fingers! [VIDEO]
Now I can hardly wait for the soon to come 50th anniversary Star Trek movie. Yep between 1966 to 2016 Star Trek has been in the public memory for 50 years!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

#Chiraq and the film production tax credit

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https://instagram.com/p/2EccEZwNus/?taken-by=rage_englewood
Via RAGE ig
I'm very ecstatic that Englewood will have its time in the limelight thanks the famed director Spike Lee. Although knowing the basic premise of that film - which is regarding inner city gang violence - it's probably not always in the best light. We do hope that this sheds light on a problem that occurs in many neighborhoods in the city.

Since news broke about the opposition to Lee's "joint" expected to be titled Chiraq, we've learned there are many who aren't happy with that title. One of those people who isn't happy is Mayor Rahm Emanuel another person who isn't happy is 4th ward Alderman Will Burns who is seeking to keep Lee's production from receiving a tax credit.

To be sure this isn't recent news exactly and it appears to have been reported in the local press in recent months. It was something worth posting, however, it was also important not to overwhelm this blog with posts about movie coming to this part of town. Still I saw that Rich Miller talked about this news on Thursday with the following comment:
I’m not sure what I think of this. I don’t like government interference in the arts, but when you take the money, I suppose you sometimes have to pay the piper, or however that saying goes
One way to look at it is that yeah Ald. Burns wants to say don't make a movie that puts Chicago in a bad light. Especially if the belief that this term "Chiraq" could be legitimized by this movie.

Personally Lee should make the movie he wants to make which hopefully will bring gang violence in Chicago to light. It seems people want to smack Lee around because he's from New York and he's doing a movie about Chicago. What does it matter perhaps we need an "outsider" to take a look at what's wrong here.

Also not that I totally understand the idea behind tax credits, but we all know Lee can raise funds for his productions. Just look at what he did for those people who helped finance his more well known "joint" Malcolm X. If Ald. Burns is successful in holding back that tax credit, it would be expected that Lee won't be hurting for long.

BTW, Resident Association of Greater Englewood (RAGE) President Ay-Sha Butler wrote her 2¢ on Lee's Chiraq. The film will affect her community so therefore it's important to see how an Englewood resident views this coming production.

Crossposted sixthward.us!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Reason: Ban Private Schools in the Name of the Collective Good?

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Consider me something of a supporter of public education especially when it works well. These days we're seeing further options for those parents who want more for their children educationally. In Chicago - of course - there are charter schools of course and there is a debate over school vouchers.

Here's hoping no one here in Chicago will take this debate this far.
Back in 1922, the Ku Klux Klan and other anti-Catholic groups spearheaded an Oregon initiative that resulted in the prohibition of all private schooling within that state. Known as the Compulsory Education Act, this law required all children between the ages of eight and 16 to attend "a public school for the period of time a public school shall be held during the current year." The Society of Sisters, a corporate entity organized in 1880 to provide for the care and education of orphans, challenged this prohibition in federal court, arguing that it violated the Due Process Clause of the 14th Amendment, which forbids the states from depriving "any person [including corporate persons] of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law."

Unfortunately for both yesterday's Ku Klux Klan and today's progressive British political philosophers, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously in favor of the Society of Sisters and struck down the private school ban. According to the majority opinion of Justice James McReynolds, "the child is not the mere creature of the state." 
Via Newsalert!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Crain's: Emanuel facing decisions on Board of Ed

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I'm sure we're going to hear more calls for an elected school board once again:
Mayor Rahm Emanuel will have a chance to reshape the Chicago Board of Education in June, when four of the seven members' terms expire.

Emanuel revamped the board in 2011, appointing a fresh slate of new members. Five of those members are still there, having survived the uproar over the decision in 2012 to close 49 schools and one high school program. Last month, some parent groups demanded Emanuel again install an entirely new board, contending that such a step is needed to restore public confidence in the wake of a federal investigation into a no-bid contract the board approved in 2013.

Ald. Patrick O'Connor, 40th, Emanuel's floor leader in the Chicago City Council, says some changes are likely.

“In terms of the city government, we are looking at a little bit of reshuffling in terms of some departments. Not wholesale changes, but kind of a mini-transition,” O'Connor said. “I don't see why the board would be immune from that.”

But William Sampson, an expert in education policy, predicts that dissatisfaction among parents about the board will force Emanuel to make extensive changes.

“He's going to use this investigation to clean house and then pat himself on the back,” said Sampson, chairman of the Public Policy Studies Department at DePaul University. “In a sense it may be a godsend for him because it gives him the political cover to do it.”

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Educational family vacation still an unexcused absence

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If only I could do for my kids what this father did for his in running the Boston Marathon and noting Boston's importance in American history. Alas, his school district didn't appreciate that and apparently according to state law in Pennsylvania those absenses were considered unexcused.

I understand his frustration although I don't yet have children and therefore no need to take anyone out of school. Who knows if CPS could be flexible probably not since well most public school bureaucrats are known for making similar decisions. We only know about this one because this father made it public.

Which reminds me of many stories I've heard over the years where parents go up against the public school bureaucracy. Government agencies in general may have some stringent processes and when it comes to what a parent believes is best for their children even more stringent. Unfortunately in this case, this father ran into this stringent process with no flexibility.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Chicago Tonight: Spike Lee Film #Chiraq Triggers Black-On-Black Violence Debate

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[VIDEO] Little did I know when I posted excerpts of Mary Mitchell's column Monday morning @ The Sixth Ward. that Chicago Tonight took on this subject on this past Thursday's program. BTW, if you're unable to watch the embedded video on this blog please click the "VIDEO" link within the brackets above.

Here's the description of the program you see above:
A new Spike Lee film about black-on-black violence that is still in early production has already stirred up controversy just with its title: Chiraq. Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he doesn't like it because it stigmatizes communities and gives the whole city a bad name. We talk with a local filmmaker with an anti-violence message, as well as experts on black-on-black violence to get their take on the controversy.

Joining us are Anthony Sturdivant, a man from the west side of Chicago who is trying to combat the gun violence in his community with a series of short films on YouTube called "Think Before You Shoot", Waldo Johnson, Associate Professor at the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago, and Eddie Bocanegra, a former gang member who’s committed to preventing violence and Co-Executive Director of YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago’s Youth Safety and Violence Prevention programs.
A lot of focus is on the term "chiraq" what was it's origins and the responses to this title. For example, how many veterans of the Iraq War would challenge the "chiraq" designation.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

I haven't wrote too much about runoff here

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So let's remedy that here. Over at sixthward.us you can click this link for any posts tagged for 2015. The mayoral runoff saw Mayor Emanuel win over his challenger Chuy Garcia. we also have new Alderman as a result of not only open seats from February through last Tuesday but a few victories over incumbent Aldermen as well.