Archive for Chicago Politics

Meet the Next Hadiya Pendleton

First, let’s remember the first Hadiya Pendleton (on whom, I confess, I have a little bit of a crush, if a posthumous one)

Can you blame me?

Now, meet her successor, Gakira Barnes:

The gap between Gakirah Barnes’s front teeth when she smiled, whether she was celebrating on the basketball court or messing around with friends, made her look even younger than the 17 years she spent in south Chicago before being shot to death last weekend.

“At least I don’t have to constantly worry about what’s going to happen to her out on the street no more,” said her mother, Shontell Brown, who wept as she inspected the cemetery plot where Gakirah will be buried on Monday. Her father, who was gunned down on her first Easter Sunday, lies nearby. Her twin brother, who saw his best friend murdered in 2011, will be at the funeral.

Though mourned as a victim by her family and her girlfriend, Gakirah – one of five Chicagoans killed and 36 wounded over the city’s warmest and bloodiest weekend of the year so far – was, according to police and neighbourhood sources, also part of the problem: a hip-hop-fuelled gang war that is raging even as Mayor Rahm Emanuel boasts that crime is at a record low.

Sweet girl that she was, Gakirah was not quite so sweet as my girl, Hadiya:


Nicknamed K I, Gakirah is said to have run with the STL-EBT crew, a young branch of the notorious Gangster Disciples, who have bedevilled the south side since the 1960s. As allies of Lil Jay, a local up-and-coming rapper, they clashed with boys from the nearby Parkway Gardens projects who are loyal to the rival Black Disciples, and to Jay’s more established nemesis, Keith “Chief Keef” Cozart, who is signed to Interscope Records, the home of superstars Dr Dre and Eminem.

Oh, okay. That explains everything.

Some at Parkway Gardens, which is nicknamed “O Block” in Perry’s memory, blame Gakirah for his death. “That’s false information,” said her mother. “Rip K I Da Shooter,” Lil Jay wrote under a picture of Gakirah pointing her hand like a gun that he posted to Instagram, after she was killed. The battle continued in the comments below. “This summer gone get real,” warned one user. As social media buzzed with accusations, Keno Glass, an aspiring rapper and cousin of Coleman, was shot dead in a drive-by at 2:40am on Tuesday. He was just 16.

What would people do to me if they learned I ran around with the Scarlatti gang? Dom probably had his enemies, same as everyone.

One Sonata in G Major and I’d be a dead man.


Illinois + Medicaid = $$$$$

If I knew being dead paid so well, I might have topped myself years ago:

The Illinois Medicaid program paid an estimated $12 million for medical services for people listed as deceased in other state records, according to an internal state government memo.

Auditors identified overpayments for services to roughly 2,900 people after the date of their deaths.

The memo states that more than $7 million has been recovered and the rest is expected to be recouped by year’s end.

How do they do that? By digging up the bodies and selling their organs? Melting down their fillings? My arithmetic shows that the average stiff raked in $4,138. Unless they were buried in Versace, I don’t see how you can “recoup” that much money from dead people.

“It’s disappointing and somewhat enraging for taxpayers, but it’s not surprising,” Righter said. “I wish this administration would spend more time trying to solve the problems rather than trying to convince taxpayers that they’ve already solved them.”

That’s an Illinois State Senator talking about the Democrat Governor. But, boy, he could be talking about the federal administration, couldn’t he? Run by a former Illinois State Senator, I note. Who learned well.


Out: Do it for the Children—In: RACIST!

If a equals b, and b equals c, what do we know about the value of a compared to the value of c?

As Eric Holder would say, you don’t want to go there, buddy:

In late March, the Chicago Board of Education announced an ambitious plan to implement its “turnaround” model for three low-performing elementary schools in poor, predominantly black neighborhoods.

The turnaround process involves the sacking of every teacher and staffer at each of the schools, according to an email from the Chicago Teachers Union obtained by The Daily Caller.

Naturally, the union bosses aren’t happy that the nation’s third-largest school district is employing such sweeping measures to improve some of its worst schools.

The email from the teachers union also suggested that the effort to improve the schools is an effort spearheaded by Chicago Public Schools CEO Barbara Byrd-Bennett to damage black children and black families.

“This is an attack on Black schools that continues the assault carried out by” Byrd-Bennett “last year, when she closed 50 schools (claiming they were the last closings for at least five years).”

Byrd-Bennett is black.

No way!


What is the insidious plan this Aunt Jemimah has in mind for black children?

One of the three schools facing turnaround plans is Ronald E. McNair Elementary School, which has been on academic probation for the past 14 years. Another school is Dvorak Technology Academy, which has been on academic probation for the past 7 years. The third school is Walter Q. Gresham Elementary School, which has been on academic probation for the past 6 years.

If the Board of Education approves the plan at its board meeting on April 23, the three schools will be managed by the Academy for Urban School Learning (AUSL), a nonprofit organization which already manages 29 public schools in Chicago where over 17,000 students are enrolled.

The turnaround process involves bringing in teachers and staffers who have been specifically trained to work in low-performing schools.

And we can’t have that.

Woody Guthrie once wrote the refrain, “You can’t scare me, I’m stickin’ to the union.” If it read today “stickin’ it to the union”, it would be relevant. The union sure has been sticking it to kids—black kids—for decades.


Change and Hope

All due respect to our Obamabot friends, but that’s the better order.

For only after you change can you begin to hope:

The choir sang hallelujah as the congregation of 15,000 clapped and sang along. Reverend James Meeks ratcheted up the intensity of his speech. “Man looks at the outside,” he shouted rearing his head back. “But God looks at your heart! Are you with me here?”

Judging by the response, Meeks had the faithful at Salem Baptist Church hanging on his every word.“One hundred percent with Reverend Meeks,” said parishioner Eugene Harris outside the mega-church on Chicago’s fiercely Democratic South Side.

Meeks is careful not to preach politics from the pulpit. That doesn’t mean he does not have a political side. This former state senator is active as a leader in Chicago’s African-American community and also has considerable political clout.

This gubernatorial election he is not throwing that clout behind the Democrat, incumbent Governor Pat Quinn. Instead, Meeks is lining up behind Bruce Rauner, the wealthy Republican businessman from Chicago’s predominantly-white North Shore.

“The Democratic party just assume always that 97 percent of the African-American vote will go to the Democratic party. If that assumption is true, they never have to work for our vote,” Meeks said.

Look at the other places where elections are decided by similar margins. North Korea, Crimea, Saddam’s Iraq, Cambridge…do any of those strike you as free?

If the definition of insanity truly is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, then too many black Americans are indeed bat-[bleep] crazy.

God bless Reverend Meeks:

“Our schools are still broken and getting worse. We’re last in employment or business. Our neighborhoods are deplorable,” says Meeks. “And we still get the same promises from the Democratic party, but we don’t get any deliverable. I think it’s time we should look at another candidate.”

“I would hope that I would get a chance to influence a lot of African-Americans to look at how we, as a voting bloc, [are] being taken for granted,” Meeks says.

Change lies within you. Now you can hope.


What is “Social Justice”?

I’ve come to be very suspicious of the phrase, given those who are so fond of using it, but what does it mean?


Social justice is the ability people have to realize their potential in the society where they live.

Realize their potential—you mean like charter schools, where the pupil, not the teacher, and certainly not the teachers union, is paramount?

Ha-ha, very funny:

Chicago Teachers Union president Karen Lewis wants schools to teach social justice, not “consumerism,” she said in a video.

“You want to talk about organizing? You want to talk about social justice?” the Chicago union leader asked. “People always talk about how that there’s no political and values in math, that you can teach math without a place for social justice.”

“Johnny has five pencils and if he spent two cents for the red pencils and eight cents for the green pencils, and he has 47 cents, how many pencils can he buy? We’ve all seen that, right?” Lewis said. ”That’s a very political statement, because it’s all about consumerism — it’s about buying stuff, right?”

Instead, Lewis prefers the approach of one progressive teacher who uses union-approved rhetoric in math problems, instead of the damaging consumerism of two cent pencils.

“Bob Peterson tells them about Jose working in a factory making piecemeal clothes. He uses the same numbers and gets the same answer,” Lewis explained. “Math is political, too.”

Told you it was funny. Apparently being a teacher is political, as well:

Lewis is best known for leading a strike within the ailing Chicago Public Schools system. Lewis’ strike caught national attention, winning 17.6 percent pay increases for Chicago teachers, who then earned on average $71,000-$76,000 per year.

Lewis is currently focusing on fighting potential pension cuts to city teachers. Illinois is facing at least $100 billion in unfunded pension liabilities for public workers.

Don’t give up a penny, Karen. Green pencils don’t grow on trees.

I thought liberals celebrated “consumerism”. That’s what Pelosi and Obama tell us when they celebrate welfare and unemployment benefits. “Folks” have the money to buy pencils, “piecemeal clothing” (thongs?), Big Macs, whatever, thereby employing stationers, seamstresses, and fry cooks—at least until a hike in the minimum wage forces employers to cut back.

As a conservative, I not only approve of but celebrate the opportunity for people to “realize their potential”. But what that has to do with this fat hackette’s (sorry, not really, for the ad hominem attack) nonsense escapes me. The very reason Jose is working in a sweatshop is that he was failed by the Chicago schools. They didn’t teach him English or good communication skills, didn’t teach him that red pencils are just as good as green, and cheaper, didn’t teach him that capitalism is the best system for people to “realize their potential”—but you have to have something to offer, a trade, skill, talent, whatever to sell in the marketplace. Those who do indeed do “realize their potential” and found businesses and whole industries. Those who don’t tend to work at the lower end of those businesses and industries, until Democrat policies ruin the economy, and they get laid off.

In this sense, “social justice” would seem to mean a vicious cycle of liberal nonsense. Which is what I thought.

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Thank You, Detroit

Seriously, thank you.

You scared Chicago straight:

Gov. Pat Quinn launched Illinois’ epic attempt to bail itself out of a $100 billion public employee pension debt Thursday, signing into law an ambitious financial, legal and political effort to restore the state’s tumbling credit ratings and unstable economy.

Despite the historic nature of the law, which takes effect June 1, the Democratic governor signed the measure behind closed doors, joined by top lawmakers. The quietness of the event symbolized the controversial nature of a package that has split longtime political allegiances and quickly become fodder for the 2014 campaign season.

The private bill signing stood in sharp contrast to the public pep rally that master of ceremonies Quinn held when he put his signature on Illinois’ gay marriage law little more than two weeks earlier, a move that reaffirmed support among progressives.

The We Are One coalition of unions, headed by the state AFL-CIO, called the new law “attempted pension theft and it’s illegal.”

“Leading politicians and their followers chose to violate their oaths of office, trample on the Illinois Constitution, and willfully ignore the plain letter of the law,” the coalition said in a statement. “Once overturned, its purported savings will evaporate and the state’s finances and pension systems will be left in worse shape.”

At issue is a clause in the 1970 state constitution which defines public pensions as an “enforceable contract” with benefits that cannot be diminished or impaired. But supporters of the measure, including House Speaker Michael Madigan, have maintained the law will be upheld by the Illinois Supreme Court.

Bring it on, Jimmy Hoffa.

Hey, the pinkie-ringed union thugs may be proved right. But so what? What’s an “enforceable contract” when there’s no money? The goons knew as well as the politicians that such pension deals weren’t worth the paper they were written on. It was all about the announcement, not the actual collection.


Eating Detroit

It tastes like chicken. Unless that’s racist.

Maybe chicory:

A private company is snapping up 150 acres on the Motor City’s East End — property where more than 1,000 homes once formed a gritty neighborhood — and turning it into what is being billed as the world’s largest urban farm. Hantz Woodlands plans to start by planting trees, but hopes to raise crops and even livestock in the future, right in the midst of the once-proud city.

So, Detroit hasn’t merely gone to the dogs; it’s gone to the cows.

Not everyone is a fan of turning such a huge swath of Detroit into a farm. The proposal was met with criticism from local residents and even area agricultural groups. It squeaked by the City Council by a razor-thin margin of 5-4.

“I think there’s concern in this transaction,” said Nevin Cohen, a professor of Environmental Studies at New York’s New School who has been monitoring the plan. “The city [Detroit] needs to figure out its blight problem without hurting the members of the community.”

“Replicating a community farm is not as important as addressing issues of race and class concerns — which underlie Detroit’s problems,” he said.

Come on, hasn’t Detroit’s obsession with race and class underlaid Detroit’s problems? Why not give broccoli rabe and chard a try?

Fine, if you don’t want to eat Detroit, maybe you can eat on Detroit—what’s left of it:


A new store opening today in the Motor City is putting materials salvaged from Detroit’s abandoned homes to good use by repurposing it for made-to-order furniture. Called “Workshop,” the store will be open through the holidays selling benches, tables, and other home goods in a pop-up location in the city’s Fisher Building. Most items will be made to customer specifications, but the showroom currently houses seven items–four benches and three tables–all made from the wood of an abandoned home located on the far West Side of the city.

Deconstruction is a relatively recent urban planning trend in which a structure is carefully and systematically dismantled with the intent of saving the most useable materials for future use.

“We are turning the page here in Detroit,” Jeremy Haines, who currently heads Reclaim Detroit told “There is a flipside to the blight. There’s a stockpile of materials.”

“It’s an opportunity to do something positive. We are helping to bring industry back to the city,” he added.

In the wake of the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, Detroit is rebranding itself as the DIY, or do-it-yourself, City, with projects such as urban farms, small businesses selling locally made products, and residents pitching in to handle municipal upkeep. Reclaim Detroit and Workshop are firmly entrenched in this new ethos among the locals, who are committed to bringing Detroit back from the brink.

Detroit is not at the brink: bankrupt, decrepit, derelict, it’s so far past the brink it might as well keep going and hope to reach it from the other side.

First farmland, then furniture, now fine art:

A coalition of the largest creditors in Detroit’s bankruptcy is taking the first legal step toward pressuring the city to sell art at the Detroit Institute of Arts.

Three bond insurers, the city’s largest employee union and several European banks filed a motion in federal court this afternoon asking Judge Steven Rhodes to appoint a committee to oversee an independent evaluation of the market value of the multibillion-dollar city-owned collection at the DIA.

The motion formally takes the fight over the fate of the DIA into court for the first time. The filing suggests major creditors are unlikely to agree to any restructuring plan if they believe Detroit emergency manager Kevyn Orr is offering a low-ball figure for the value of the art. The move increases the chances that Rhodes will be forced to decide whether the art can legally be sold.

An executive at New York-based bond insurer Financial Guaranty Insurance Co., which led the drafting of the filing, told the Free Press in an exclusive interview that the city must sell art to satisfy creditors.

“We recognize that this is a very sensitive issue,” said Derek Donnelly, managing director of FGIC. “Whatever process we undertake here, we would hope would create a win-win situation — that ultimately there will be a viable DIA that will survive this process and possibly even thrive. But at the same time there needs to be a construct that addresses the fact that the DIA, or art, is not an essential asset and especially not one that is essential to the delivery of services in the city.”

No money, no Monet.

I don’t think we fully realize the phenomenon of reprimativization taking place in Detroit. It’s like Chernobyl, without the roentgens.

But Illinois appreciates:

Top Illinois legislators said today they’ve reached agreement on a plan to deal with the state’s worst-in-the-nation unfunded public pension liability and expect to vote on it next week.

Details of the measure were unclear today and its prospects of passing remained uncertain. But both Democratic and Republican leaders said they agreed on a proposal, the first such sign of progress in more than two years of discussions spurred by a continued downgrading of the state’s credit rating.

The debate has centered on how to reduce costs while balancing the legal protections to public employee retiree benefits laid out in the state constitution. The public employee unions have repeatedly threatened to challenge in court any pension proposal that lacked their support, and they were quick to criticize today’s announcement.

Officials for public employee and teachers’ unions, while unfamiliar with the details, said in a statement that they believed the proposal was “an unfair, unconstitutional scheme that undermines retirement security” since it was based on previous proposals that they had fought.

“It’s no compromise at all with those who earned and paid for their retirement benefits,” said the “We Are One” coalition, an umbrella organization for the state AFL-CIO, the Illinois Education Association, the Illinois Federation of Teachers, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the Service Employees International Union and the Illinois Nurses Association.

Squawk if you must, pinkie-ringed union thugs, but unless you want to see Wrigley Field converted into a patch of corn, in a reverse Filed of Dreams, you’ll need to be a little more flexible.

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Justice 4 Trayvon Update

This makes the third beating of a Caucasian senior citizen—allegedly—by an African American in just a few months. Since we covered the tragic death of Trayvon Martin—who could have been Trayvon Hussein Obama, after all—we feel compelled to pursue this thread:

A 28-year-old Chicago woman is accused of dragging an 82-year-old man from his car and beating him after a collision.

Sophia Body faces attempted murder and aggravated battery of a senior citizen charges after the Thursday night attack.

Body admitted to officers she beat the elderly man, who hasn’t been named, because he gently hit her car after he pulled over to help her.

‘Yeah, I pulled his a** out of the car and beat the f**k out of him,’ she told officers, according to a police report cited by the Chicago Tribune.

Police arrived on the scene after witnesses reported seeing the roadside beating.
The octogenarian was bleeding from his head and had several lacerations on his back, officials said.

He told officers he pulled over after two women flagged him down. He dinged the woman’s car by mistake.

He said he was then dragged out of the vehicle and hit by both women several times, including with a screwdriver, police said.

This beating, unlike the others, was not fatal; and the alleged perp, unlike the others, was not male.

But she can take care of herself—at least against an 82-year-old man, and with assistance.

PS: For he record, the other two beating deaths were Lawrence E. ‘Shine’ Thornton and Delbert Benton—both WWII veterans, ironically.


Hey, Chicago! How ‘Bout Some Gun Control?!

It’s been, what, two weeks since you really, really, really banned guns (after really, really banning them, and really banning them before that).

Let’s go, get the er… lead out!

A man from Arkansas was fatally shot early Wednesday after he and a friend stopped to ask for directions at an unknown location in Chicago, police said.

Robert Franklin, 55, and the friend, both residents of Blytheville, Ark., had come to Chicago to visit relatives on the South Side when they apparently became lost, according to police sources.

The two flagged down a man they saw on a street and let him in the car when he offered to direct them to where they were headed, sources said.

At some point, the man pulled out a gun and announced a robbery as Franklin sat in the passenger seat and his friend drove, the sources said. One of the victims handed over $400 in cash to the robber, the sources said.

The robber then opened fire, striking Franklin twice in the back and twice on the right side of his body, the sources said.

The friend told police he drove Franklin to Stroger Hospital on the Near West Side at about 3:45 a.m., and Franklin was pronounced dead at 4:06 a.m., according to a spokesman for the Cook County medical examiner’s office.


Chicago’s violent crime has been the focus on national attention, particularly last year when the city led the nation in homicides with more than 500.

Police note that the vast majority of slayings and other violent crime in the city are related to street gangs.

In most cases, police say, the gunmen typically know their victims or they are bystanders caught in gang crossfire.

In one such case that was reported around the world, police say two gang members mistook teenager Hadiya Pendleton and her friends as members of a rival gang and opened fire, killing the 15-year-old honor student not far from President Barack Obama’s home on the city’s South Side.

But apparently random crimes are not unheard of in the city. A current criminal trial receiving extensive coverage focuses on a brutal baseball attack on two women who apparently were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time.

If they outlaw baseball equipment, only outlaws will have baseball equipment.


What Part of “Illegal” Don’t They Get?

We seem to pay more attention to Chicago these days than does the president, whose hometown it is—but that’s understandable.

It proves our agenda and disproves his:

As President Obama was poised to attend Sunday’s memorial for the 12 people killed at Washington’s Navy Yard, firefighters in his hometown were using a hose to wash the blood from a basketball court where 13 people were shot on Thursday night, including a 3-year-old boy.

“It’s a miracle there was no fatality,” Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy told a Friday morning press conference.

McCarthy reported that at least one gunman armed with an assault rifle had fired into the court at Cornell Square Park.

“A military-grade weapon on the streets of Chicago is simply unacceptable,” he said.

Where gun-rights activists invoke the Second Amendment against any effort for meaningful gun control, McCarthy invoked the truly inalienable right of people simply to be out in the park, living their lives.

“Illegal guns, illegal guns, illegal guns drive violence,” he declared.

Boy, is that nonsensical! If the guns are already illegal, what does it matter what gun-rights activists think? They’ve already been overruled; there already is meaningful gun control…legislation. Gun-rights activists didn’t shoot anybody; you could even say the illegal guns didn’t shoot anybody (the NRA would say so); violent, law-breaking gang-bangers did. With “illegal” guns.

That much is fact. The question then becomes what to do about it, what to do about outlaws shooting people with outlawed guns. Making the guns even more outlawed would seem to be a waste of time, and even more absurd than I can make it sound.


Second City First in Gun Laws, First in Gun Deaths

How did President Obama refer to these incidents? “Yet another mass shooting”:

A Chicago grandmother pleads for a respite as television cameras roll: “Y’all out here killing these innocent people, kids, parents, grandparents, mothers, fathers: It’s got to stop. You need to stop.”

Semehca Nunn’s grandson, Deonta Howard, was in a hospital after being shot in the head Thursday night. In all, 13 people were. None of the victims suffered life-threatening injuries, but that fact offered little relief.

Once again, Chicago is in the spotlight over gun violence; a reminder that it is the city with the highest number of homicides in the country.

Sound like a certain city needs to pass another gun law or four. They may have the most, but they don’t have enough.

Why all the gang banging?

Why Mexico’s Sinaloa Cartel Loves Selling Drugs in Chicago

Chicago is key to a business moving tons of drugs for billions of dollars. Here’s how the whole operation works.

But didn’t President Obama say barely four months ago…

“Some Americans only see the Mexico depicted in sensational headlines.

Billions of drug dollars, 1600 shootings, 13 wounded last night alone—President Obama, wrong again.


Back 2 Skool

Number 2 pencils? Protractor? Pee-Chees?

Kevlar vest?

Thousands of Chicago Public Schools students will head to new schools Monday, the first day of what Mayor Rahm Emanuel has called “a new beginning” for the nation’s third-largest district.

As they go, many will be accompanied by some unfamiliar faces: A crop of newly hired workers in yellow reflective vests, Chicago firefighters and even the security guards from local public libraries, all of them expected to stand guard to ensure kids get to and from school safely.

The effort known as Safe Passage — which stations workers and others along designated routes to help students who must cross gang boundaries — is perhaps the most visible sign of how much is at stake for students in a district that has long struggled academically and financially, as well as for a mayor who has vowed since taking office that he would turn things around.

“Safe Passage is about more than just building a route to school,” Emanuel told about 1,000 people during a training session last week. “It is about building a route to college, career and beyond, so that once our kids get to school, they get the world-class education they deserve.”

This is a good thing, no doubt. It’s just a little late, as the late Hadiya Pendleton would attest to if she were around to attest to anything.

I leave it to you to ponder the meaning of a city with the strictest gun laws in the nation (or near enough) having to post guards along those routes to school that cross “gang boundaries”.


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