Veterans Need the Best We Can Offer: Chicago HAVE For All Military Personnel

Chicago Needs to HAVE Veterans In Our Hearts All the Time

There are many men and women who have served our nation in uniforms of the military branches of our great United States. They have enlisted and signed the papers, put on the faces and marched through the mud. They have seen international tours of duty and they have seen service right here at home.

Speak Up, America! Watch US Work.

Remembering America’s veterans.

Home… a word that does not ring with many of those proud people, since they do not have a home to go to. Yes, there are homeless veterans… HOMELESS… the very people who have given so much, who have sacrificed and labored and been through obstacle after obstacle, to protect the homes we go to every day, do not have a home of their own to step into.

That is disgraceful.

Yes the Veteran’s Administration (VA) system is seeing its share of dishonorable behavior and wasteful disgraces, but to think that a veteran or any military member is homeless is a major stain on our nation and a pustule on our society. These are people with medical problems due to their tours of duty, and that to which they have been exposed, such as gunfire, diseases, shelling, shell shock, PTSD, and loss of limbs. They have been sick for us, been maimed for us, and been tossed aside by us.

Something has to change, and such changes cannot wait for politics or elections. Those in office, those who command and lead and order around those veterans must step up, just like those folks did in lines of rank or to police an area of their base. They wanted things to look better, they wanted freedom, they wanted health and well being, and they were willing to sign on and give their lives and legs and hands and arms for those privileges.

Do we arrogantly stand by and wait for a new mayor or new senators or a new president to be elected before we bother to look at the endurances these proud people have made for the rest of our nation and around the world? They cannot wait for the influential, the rich, the government that hired and ordered them about, to step up.

Every veteran and their families should have a home and work that is fitting to their talents and needs. Every man and woman should have a house they can call their own, a space that suits them. If the vet has lost a limb, build them a home that will accommodate their special needs. If they are sick, give them the best care a reformed VA system can provide.

HAVE is an idea I thought of while listening to excerpts of Mayor Emanuel’s inauguration speech recently, and the acronym means Home All Veterans Everywhere.

After all, we have homes; we have spaces all our own we can go to after work and play and worship and trips to the grocery and the mechanic, so why don’t these veterans have a home?

It is going to take a lot more than dropping a buck or two in the shaking cup of a homeless vet crouched at the side of a street under a light post, or holding a sign as he strains to sit up in his wheelchair; it is going to take elbow grease action, grassroots efforts, caring and tender and loving people who deeply understand that these are their fellow citizens and neighbors.

Treat them with respect. They deserve it.

America's flag flies proudly.America's flag flies proudly.

Bless our veterans, love our veterans, take care of our veterans, home our veterans.

Divi Logan. Chicago, on this Memorial Day 2015.

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Chicago Neighborhoods: Constructive, Corrosive, Communicative?

I. INTRODUCTION

Election Day in Chicago, and the candidates are out there. What are some of the topics on which they speak and on which they attempt to cater to the voters? There are the usual issues of taxes, TIFF’s, having an elected school board, transportation, the roads and bridges, and business. There is another issue that crops up in their ads: the neighborhoods.

It seems that the word “diversity” is a new concept to people of modern America, but it was not news to me when growing up in Nashville. There was not even a need to mention the word, as some kind of cajoling to get me to think of others who were different, to think of others in terms of some kind of census related terminology, or to see others for what I could get out of them for statistics, tax dollars, business funding, etc.

II. NASHVILLE NO – BOUNDARIES

The area of town I grew up in was about as low – crime as a part of a major city can be. There was no need to even think of anything dangerous happening. Police patrols were regular and it was good to see them, but they were just doing their jobs, that I knew. I just watched and went on with activities. Everyone kept their homes maintained and their yards neat, their lawns mowed, their mailboxes painted, and their noise levels down. There were no shootings, none of the “if it bleeds it leads” junk on the news networks that plagues us these days, and no talk of drugs around the area that would cause us to be on the watch for dealers/ pushers, and certainly no mention of gangs such as make parts of Chicago notable in the national scene for violence.

Not at all; our part of town was quiet, comfortable, and about as “diverse” as can be. I went to school with children who, thank goodness, did not all look like me or speak as I did, or dress as I did. They were interesting and different and my classmates and my teachers, pure and simple. We were there to learn, to play together, to interact on projects and to come and to go every week. We had no need for uniforms; we were there to do what students do – no metal detectors or security guards or metal bars needed, thank you. They might have been around but I had no need to take such heavy notice of them. I felt safe and that is what mattered to me and my parents.

The same applied to the churches I attended: it was a church, and everyone was welcome. Everyone sang, participated in Sunday School, baptisms, christenings, parties, etc. We came and went, one and all worshippers of the same God. The message was the same and we understood it.

People were people in my eyes and for my folks, who worked around the doctors and nurses and staffs of at least three major local hospitals as their careers progressed. They saw every patient, everyone who needed help, no matter who they were. I was fortunate to interact with the brilliant people who were friends of my parents, who came to our home and to whose homes we went. Compared to how people think today, my folks were ahead of the time in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and thank goodness I was not subjected to the terrible talk of what separates whom from whom and what this means to “the government statisticians” and the Census Bureau.

I traveled after high school for international vacations and the world broadened. Because I had not been so mentally restricted early in life, I had an open mind to these exotic cultures and languages, foods and attire and jewelry and histories that greeted me like the pages of an open book coming to life. I was not worried about it at all, the influence of these diverse and amazing cultures on my mind and spirit. Gone were thoughts of being separated by some imaginary line that ended at a certain street or city limit or ethnic boundary. Travel and the benefits that came with doing that made my world a better place. It was grand – the world became my neighborhood

It was marvelous.

Then I moved to Chicago…

III. CHICAGO: SIDES, DISTRICTS, and… NEIGHBORHOODS

Those candidates we will consider in this election today have spoken to and berated each other on their work with and in and their experiences with and funding of Chicago neighborhoods. They talk about how safe or unsafe “their neighborhoods” are; they talk about the closings of schools, the disrepair of roads, the lack of or the concentration of development for residences and businesses. They talk about diversity… not about unity.

We need a mayor who will break down those barriers and remove the roadblocks to progress, a friendly and open –  minded mayor and the aldermen who will work with him. As Shakespeare might put it, we need someone who will “dispel these inconveniences”, which is part of a speech from the play Henry V, when, towards the end, King Henry and Princess Katharine are listening to the Duke of Burgundy speak on restoring peace.

Our mayoral candidates might have a lot of money and influence and power when the cameras are around for campaign photo opps, but they seem to forget something, that Chicago is and always has been a diverse city, and always will be.

From its inception to right now, Chicago is made up of people who interact every day with others who do not look or talk or speak as they do, people who need help and who give help and who are glad to help in their lines of work, every day. These are the retailers, the first responders, the doctors and nurses and administrators, the airport ticket agents, the airline crews, the television studio camera operators, the bus drivers, and the furniture salespeople.

Diversity is nothing new, and we just need to leave off this census -oriented thinking and make progress. Interaction is easier when we just simply treat everyone with respect and courtesy. Represent yourself as a person, a special human being, an American citizen, plain and simple; represent yourself as someone who is one of those people out there to help and to work with everyone. Close down the prejudices, and bless yourself with the qualities of peace.

We just need to do that.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2015.

Chicago Neighborhoods Run -down and Neglected? Who is Really Responsible?

The demolition of St. James’ Church and the sorry response to it prompt this brief article.

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I have no doubt that the installation of the “L” behind the church was but one step in the beginning of the end of St. James and its historic parish. How very sad.

We still bow down before you men clothed in rich materials and blazing colors, carrying objects of precious gold and gems and burning expensive resins for the people in Holy Name’s congregation, and spending millions maintaining that high -end manor I call the “Cardinal’s Nest” on the border of the Gold Coast and Lincoln park? We still bow down and call you such titles as “eminence” and “holiness”… what a waste of words and energy we expend upon beefing up your bloated egos.

  

Some house, eh? What a palace! It is a palace fit for a “prince of the church”, such as our beloved cardinals are, and for entertaining the head of the swarm, the Pope. My, such a grand edifice… and what could be done if this was sold and the money donated to assist people in communities such as Bronzeville and other areas where need is so great, need for the basics of survival. Need… while above the outstretched hands of those in need piles the massive structure of this mansion with its grand rooms, manicured grounds, extensive costs for heat and light and water… oh, the infestation of it all!

No doubt this one article does not shed complete light on where the responsibilities fall when deterioration of a community or part of a city as vibrant and charitable as Chicago is seen and felt and heard and is not answered, but there is blame here on an organization that had the power to save a church and save the faith and hearts of a community, and they did not do it. Pharisees – they made rules and laws and expected them to be followed to the letter but did they lift a finger when the loyal followers called out for the saving of the very building in which those laws and rituals were spoken and conducted throughout generations?

They did not. They, the officials of the high -and -mighty Roman Catholic Church saw the letters, saw the articles and the news and heard the outcry. And did nothing.

So the cardinal wants to build a new church. So what. New. Smaller. Won’t even be large enough to hold the historic bells. Pitiful. Condescending…

I do not want to be part of an organization that diminishes and so blatantly and rudely and cruelly dismisses the requests and needs of loyal and ancient parishioners. I have not been to a church service except once, since I heard the demolition of the grand and historic building was finalized and that the holes had been put in the roof. The running in of the “L”, the running down of a community, the running down of a group of people in need of keeping that church and the stability of that congregation, began the running -out of that parish and the running -out of the loyalty of other Chicago -area parishioners.

What a sorry sight- both in the space where the church once stood and in the festering gerrymandered prejudicial halls of the Archdiocese and the Vatican. Heartless, disgusting people… rude and cruel, sorry folks you in those halls are. Rot with the rest of the hypocrites, turn away from those who need you, fake and heartless, hard -headed…

I hope you do not get a decent night’s sleep after seeing the harm your thoughtlessness has done to that community and the sting such actions have brought to others in the Chicago area. Look now and listen and you will hear the rumbling of the “L” as it rails past the ruins…

… the ruins of the very heart of a parish…

…watered by the tears of generations of parishioners. Not statistics.

Parishioners.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

RESOURCES

http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/21364528-418/saying-goodbye-to-my-st-james-home.html#.U1B9PctOWM8

http://chicagoist.com/2013/07/15/south_side_church_being_nibbled_awa.php#photo-1

http://friendsofstjamesonwabash.com/

Follow another profound blog on environmental quality and other deep thoughts: There is Only One Air. My Lungs and I is a poem from that selection.

A Conversation Leads to Deep Thought… But Will it Lead to Action?

LET THE CHILDREN COME HOME: A POEM

O let us weep and let us mourn
For the student killed for his cell phone;
O pity the youth who cannot step
Onto their home porch for a breath of air.

Let us cry for the kids who play
In plain sight of pimps and gang-bangers
Who want that “turf” for their own selfish ends
Who care not for the kids that just want to play?

Then let us rise against these demons
Who terrorize, yes terrorize, our communities
And break those “ties” in communities that want no part of those foolish ones…
So that they feel no warm welcome.

Strike against the trouble, be not afraid!
These are cowards and they have no sway
Over you or anyone else who pays their fair share and way
So that the kids can come out… and play.

Original poem by Divi Logan, author and writer, TEXTTiles Business Web, Chicago, 2014.

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SOCIAL MEDIA: HELPFUL OR HARMFUL?

When people are robbed and killed and lose their lives over some lousy little replaceable thing such as a cell phone, we know we are in very deep and heavy trouble as a society, as a nation.

When do the “social media” become very unsociable? Just ask the families of anyone killed for a cell phone or other portable electronic device. They will tell you that they are devastated that someone would shoot their loved one for that little inanimate object. And worse, in recent incidents in Illinois, despite that the victim gives up the item the assailants still shoot them. And the young men and women die… for that little thing they held onto like it was the end of the world, like they could not live without it, as though they were glued to it and could not be away from it even for one second. And someone is mean-spirited enough to injure them even though they hand over the device. What a pity.

The cell phone is meant to be a means of convenient communication for people in a world environment that has become full of static, too busy and way too cluttered. We would think that having information stored in these little devices keeps things neat and reduces clutter and paper, but in the sense of this article, “clutter” means that which we store in our brains or minds, the excess information we think we need to have upstairs, where things are, what files they are in, why we need to “stay on top” of issues and situations every second… mental schmutz. Phones are only means of communication and storage of information and nothing else. And companies now aware of the potency of the cell phone as attracting the wrong kind of attention, people being killed or robbed for them, can now shut down the device and render it useless so that the assailants cannot use the information on the phone. So what’s the use of robbing someone over some lousy phone?

This, like many crimes of opportunity, are done by people who are really nothing but armed and vulnerable cowards- it is that they are bitter towards society, bitter towards those who have what they want, eager to cause harm or get revenge for “something” that is eating them. They are armed which is another problem, they are angry, they might be under the influence of drugs or alcohol and as such are very dangerous to be around. They could be participating in gang initiations, in which case all of the above might be involved (drugs, guns, alcohol, anger, bitterness, the need to belong, the notion of the secret society, bitterness, isolation). Crime is a huge problem, but it happens in so many ways. That we do things to others is bad enough… but when a “crime” is done against our own self, that is worse.

CRIMES AGAINST SELF

Crimes against the self mean going against that which we truly believe and want to do. When we know our essence, the “real self” people say we should be, and we do not help it or practice it or expound its principles, that is when we are not true to ourselves. It is then that we go outside of our self, turning to others in the way that people insecure and uncertain turn to certain organizations for answers (churches, school groups, clubs, gangs). The suffering self feels a need to belong outside of self since they cannot seem to glean the meaning of what their essence is saying or what to work with. They deem their true self “too deep” to understand and so seek escape into a world that will only give compromise and not genuine, sincere answers to working with the true self. The sufferer often turns to escaping into food, drugs, alcohol, abuse of others, and get into real trouble. Then the crimes against self become hazardous to health- there can be obesity, abuse of drugs or of people, alcoholism, entry into occult and initiative societies, psychiatric difficulties. Then the sufferer can get into any number of bad habits or perform any number of terrible actions, ranging from road rage to murder, from terrorism to suicide. That they are being so mean to themselves is one thing; when they turn against others or harm life is when the criminal mind and intent becomes criminal action worthy of intervention by law enforcement, detoxing programs, the corrections system, first responders and people who will then have charge of making decisions for that person who has seen fit to take their misunderstandings out on society.

WHAT IS YOUR TRUE SELF? WHAT DO YOU WITH IT?

If you are as I am, your true self is of a person of peace, joy, contentment, happiness, humility, and active goodwill. You have aspects of what in the facets of the chakras are known as elements of the Crown Chakra, the highest level of human energy and where the best instincts find their most perfect bloom and frequency and practice. You are learning to work with others in the light of those elements, as essential to life as breathing and the heartbeat. You might see yourself as an individual nation-state or galaxy interacting with other nation-states or galaxies out there, tens of thousands of them in the form of human beings. Each of these people is a being unique, special, wonderful and marvelously made, with potential, chances, opportunities, gifts, talents, and a personality unlike any other. Just as nations are different, and galaxies are different- and there are millions of the latter- we are different but we do not have to let those differences get in the way.

We let the differences get in the way when we go in for that “diversity” talk the government spits out so that someone can get a fast buck and get some kind of recognition they think they deserve or can demand over the rights or privileges of others. We let diversity get in the way of unity, and that is not a good thing. We are blocked from seeing others as they are, human beings that deserve respect and that’s the right of it. Because we hear this junk about “diversity” and “people of this or that” persuasion, we are brought under the idea of pre-judging others (prejudice) and profiling others, and that puts a wedge between us and the other person. Communication is not pure and true at that point- it is clouded, it is corrupted because we decided to listen to what some arrogant, foolish, sick person who deems themselves an expert in behavior or in some social group and go with what they said because “it sounded good and it was on TV or it was on some social media site”.  That is what people who are in positions of power and influence want the vulnerable and the young to believe because they have the money and resources to put their ideas and views on the mass media. Those that are young and vulnerable and looking for an “out” or an escape from understanding their real self turn to these other people for answers… and then it is back to what was talked of above: the means of escape can turn into real trouble for the person running away from their true self.

What are you- peaceful with your real self… trying to escape the true self… afraid to understand the true self…

Seek, listen, go deep, get out of the old social rut and rat race of the modern mind. What will you (no, not the westernized, drill and forced, taught and punished and conditioned and abused self) find? What will YOU find?

Divi Logan for TEXTTiles, Chicago, 2014.

Chicago: Prejudice at Work (and Worship) Rears its Ugly Head

… and the Cardinal, our Archbishop Cardinal George, is at the lead of that head!

The destruction of St. James’ Church at Wabash and 29th is underway, eh?

So, not even Your Holiness Pope Francis wanted to intervene to spare this grand historic structure, hm?

And all this going on when only a few years ago Holy Name Cathedral (the “Cardinal’s Church) had a major fire, a three -alarm inferno that could have destroyed that building and perhaps even others had the embers spread! Over $12 MILLION $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ was spent on that project on the famed Gold Coast, in the North side of the city. That church looks better than it ever did. It looks as St. James’ should have looked after the fire. So why did not the archdiocese put the money into restoring that historic and magnificent building?

Precious Holy Name Cathedral with its grand spire, great windows and splendid bells continues to stand. That fire was covered from nearly its beginning to its end. And after the fire, with more than two feet of water in the sanctuary and more than that in the lower levels, THAT BULIDING was a safe place to be? I think not! Coverage of the repairs to it went on, and that structure was soon dedicated and a service held to honor the first responders.

In fact, soon after the Holy Name fire, as parishioners attended masses in the auditorium or the smaller room in the school (I think it was called the club room), the Cardinal remarked to the effect that the Chicago Fire Department could easily have let Holy Name burn down and basically be gutted. They easily could have said it was too dangerous to go in there or commit to getting personnel to attack that fire. But did they? Not at all. Three alarms worth of companies came in and worked with might and water and in freezing conditions to smother that fire. Tower 21 was attacking the roof with hundreds of gallons of water; Truck 19’s crew watched and fought, and other companies gave their all to save the “Cardinal’s Church”.  What I wonder would the cost have been had the damage been greater? What if the spire had collapsed or the floor caved in? What if the windows had been broken or the organ warped?

I am ashamed to be called Catholic now! So where are all the rich Catholics with their millions now, who probably came to the help of Holy Name and its historic structures and congregations to rebuild and restore it? Where are these benevolent Christian people?

Did you go into the woodwork when you realized that St. James’ Church is in a depressed area, is in need of restoration and reconstruction, and in Bronzeville? You shamefully tucked tail and ran away from people when they needed you. SHAME ON YOU! And shame on the archdiocese for just shoving these people out of the way and going ahead with the plan YOU wanted to do, that YOU wanted to shove in their faces and that YOU wanted to dump on their dignity and grace and appeals and peaceful pleas.

Makes me never want to give a red cent to another worship service donation ever again or go into a Catholic church ever again.

Prejudice at work here, prejudice and bigotry and racism have shown their true colors, and they are red and white and the tarnished gold of the treasuries of the Catholic Church. Prejudice lives under the miter of the Cardinal and the church officials who just basically ignored the people of that area and kept on the plan they wanted all along.

PITIFUL PEOPLE! PITIFUL CARDINAL, PRIESTS, and MILLIONAIRE CATHOLICS who turned away from the people of Bronzeville.

It is a shame that even the intervention of the historical preservationists could not stop the demolition from beginning.

How would you like it, MISTER CARDINAL GORGE, if someone locked you out of your precious nest in the Gold Coast, that gigantic mansion with its fine piece of land, that costs tens of thousands to maintain, and said you could not come back in? The padlocked doors of St. James send the same message to the people of Bronzeville, that someone has locked them out of their worship home and cares not a whit that an essential part of their community is going to be gone.

I wish the firefighters who responded to the Holy Name fire could help rebuild St. James’ Church alongside the parishioners of Bronzeville and stand with them. I bet they would be willing to throw their strength behind preserving such a wonderful and significant structure, since they know what hard work is needed to save a building like that. Their comrades saved the church so many years ago, and the people who responded to Holy Name carried on the traditions the CFD is known for maintaining. I wish the personnel of Engine 42 and Truck 3, of Engine 98 and Squad 1 and Tower 21, of Tower Ladder 10, Aerial Tower 1, Engine 1 and the ambulance crews could rejoice instead of watching the work of those who came before them go to waste as St. James’ is torn down.

The honey -colored stones will be gone, the windows will no longer gleam with color and light, the steeple will not pierce the skies of Bronzeville on Sunday mornings, the grand doors will no longer be there to open and welcome parishioners, and the magnificent bells will not ring. They will not ring there.

But they will continue to ring at Holy Name Cathedral.

stjamfront Good bye St. James……………….

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2013.

RESOURCES

http://friendsofstjamesonwabash.com/

http://intelligentempiricism.wordpress.com/2013/04/21/315/

http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=6640405

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/02/04/holy-name-cathedral-fire_n_163882.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bZ5V8hNZ-tY

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DEA:: Get Rid of Sinaloa Once and For All!

OK, CHICAGO! OK, USA! HAD ENOUGH OF DRUGS AND GANGS AND SMUGGLING AND DRUG LORDS? Had enough of their presence on your streets and in your news every single doggone day?

Drug Enforcement Administration special agents

Drug Enforcement Administration special agents (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT AMERICA! AND DO IT NOW!

Repeat after this phrase, repeat it long and hard and loud: I DO NOT NEED DRUGS! YOU DO NOT NEED DRUGS! AMERICA DOES NOT NEED DRUGS!

So the DEA knows about the Sinaloa cartel and the people involved and what they are doing in cities such as Chicago, eh? They KNOW about it, they have counted or estimated the number of gangs and members and rival gangs involved in the heroin and other substances smuggling and running rings! WELL GO AFTER THEM FOR CHRIST’S SAKE! YOU KNOW, WELL TAKE THEM OUT!

What is the delay that you cannot go in and flush them with all the resources we have at hand, SWAT, the National Guard, the Army, the Marines, everybody! Go in there with the drones and bomb robots and dogs! Harass and worry and torture and flush these criminals and no -goods STRAIGHT AWAY! No more kid gloves here, folks. Now is not the time for being gentle. These people are up to no good and care only about themselves.

The gang members do nothing but hurt and harass and terrorize everyone they are around. They are about as uncaring and crude and rude and inhuman as anyone can get. They will shoot to kill and will shoot anywhere and everywhere if they sense trouble on their turf.

THEIR TURF? Whose city is this anyway? It is not theirs if that is what they are using it for.

Just in this past few hours, in less than ONE DAY, there are three dead and nearly a dozen wounded in “weekend gun violence” in Chicago area. Chicago is making national news headlines because of the gangs, drugs, and the killing of innocent people. We are talking BABIES here, folks; we are talking KIDS, folks, we are talking about OUR FUTURE!

Is that what you want to wake up and hear and see every morning, gunshots and shells and police presence in your community, the presence and evidence of drugs and pushers and users and gangs smuggling that crap, that trash, that deadly demonic junk into your streets every day? Is that what you want, the possibility that your child, your parents, your elderly neighbor, your dog, your relatives and schoolmates, could be gunned down just because they happen to be in the wrong place when some gang nut decides to open fire on someone they think is a rival?

IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT? Ask the question, ask it loud and long and hard! IS THAT WHAT YOU WANT? IS THAT WHAT WE WANT? Get your family together and proclaim it loud and long and strong! WE DO NOT WANT THAT!

Say it in church- NO MORE SINALOA! GANGS GO AWAY! WE DO NOT WANT YOU and WE WILL BE RID OF YOU! Say it in the synagogues, say it in the mosques, say it in the towers and turrets and proclaim it from the rooftops. Say it on campus, say it in the car, call the radio stations and speak it loud and hard! NO GANGS, NO DRUGS, NO GUNS HERE!

Take back your streets and your communities! Tell Sinaloa they are not welcome, and run the gangs out of the area for good.

If this is what we get from Mexico then I want nothing to do with that nation until this problem is solved.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sinaloa_Cartel

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2013.

Logo of the DEA Aviation Division / Office of ...

Logo of the DEA Aviation Division / Office of Aviation Operations (Drug Enforcement Administration) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Holy Name and St. James: Churches of a Cardinal’s Feather

HOLY NAME AND ST. JAMES: CHURCHES OF A CARDINAL’S FEATHER

English: Steeple of St. James Catholic Church ...

English: Steeple of St. James Catholic Church in Chicago, USA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

See them both for yourself and you will get more of the picture than is being put on the news. The parishioners of St. James’ Church have a legitimate beef against the Archdiocese of Chicago and have every right to be heard in their efforts to keep this wonderful church open and the area around it thriving.

I had to go see what the real issues were behind just the talk of demolition, of the transit lines being here and there, of the area around the church and of the demographics (a nasty word at times and in this case the real problem, I think) to gauge the situation. The photos I have of this day speak to more than we have so far heard.

There are hidden gems to this beautiful structure, and the area around the church has its ups and downs just as any area of a major city does, especially when there has been neglect and racism and gerrymandering and politics getting in the way.

Now let us compare the areas around Holy Name Cathedral (the “Cardinal’s Church” as a friend of mine put it today) and around the magnificent structure of St. James’ Church at 29th and Wabash. I noticed a problem right away when I went into the area for the photographs. After a few minutes it hit me: this area should be just as thriving and prosperous as the area of the Gold Coast where Holy Name Cathedral is, just as beautiful, as clean, as preserved, as lovely, as safe, just as glorious, as televised and as touted and as visited by tourists and native Chicagoans alike. What is going on behind the scenes then, that has the diocese wanting to demolish St. James’ and be in such a rush to further destroy that area of the city?

Seems to me that demographics is playing a role, but to use that as a lame, corporate and vague and arrogant and authoritarian excuse to further the demolition … now that is about as false as any lie anyone has ever told- and to hear such a thing from the Church, the oh –so- holy high and mighty Catholic Church with its corrupt Curia and all –male official roster, and its priests and its prejudiced laws and rules is only to say, “Hey Cardinal, what’s wrong with this picture? What is going on, man? Why are you not owning up to admitting to playing the race card and wanting to see this area, Bronzeville, suffer as you talk of taking away this church?”

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Playing the demographics card is worldliness and falsehood and pride, and can lead to real trouble. Get over this demographics, racial gerrymandering and race card –playing, folks! Everyone lives everywhere, so do not come to the news people and say some area is “predominantly” this or that; every “race” lives in every place. Incomes and lifestyles are changing and with those changes people are looking for alternatives to living and working and moving to parts of the city that suit their need and their means. I don’t give a flip where “blacks” and “whites” and “Asians” and “Hispanics” live- that kind of talk does not fly with me and it should not fly with anyone who considers that they are educated. To speak in such a flippant and ignorant manner is an insult to everyone, Monsieur and Madam Politician.

Answer the people of St. James’ Parish about THAT one if you can, Your Eminence and Your Holiness; what is the problem  with that area that you cannot give them the same rushed consideration you gave to the rebuilding and preservation of Holy Name Cathedral? From what I gather it would cost no more to rebuild and preserve St. James’ than it did Holy Name.

And please do not use the “transit system is so close to it” lame excuse any more, please. The Red Line runs under Holy Name and you can hear and feel it when it does. Busses and cabs and planes roar by and over that church all the time, so mass transit is alive and well in the Gold Coast and around the school, rectory and cathedral. So what if the train lines run behind St. James’s? Just soundproof and shore it up somehow –certainly there are people who can do that and the money would come out of the woodwork if the project goes forward for the salvation of St. James’. Ask anyone who lives around the historic Gold Coast and I’ll bet those homeowners have found companies who can soundproof those older buildings so they are suitable for families and businesses and shore them up against the rumbling of subways, busses, trucks, jets, and the everyday traffic between Chicago Avenue and North Avenue.

The area around St. James’ Church has residents, businesses, and schools; it has bus routes and roads (that granted do need some fixing up and some cleaning up, but make the diocese alive and relevant and Streets and Sanitation would have to come out and do the jobs), so it is far from deserted and down-trodden. So there are some bare spots and trash that could be cleaned up, but then in a city this large there are bare spots and trash all over the place; vacant lots and dilapidated buildings and such exist even in the Gold Coast. On the bus ride back into the Loop and into the Gold Coast and through Lincoln Park the changes became apparent.

North of where it seems the diocese might end its borders (but then again if people can get to Holy Name from other nations they can get to St. James’ from anywhere as well), things turned more active and seemed cleaner and better maintained overall. People were milling about and folks were walking dogs and sporting their jogging togs as they exercised, and walking with their young children. People were shopping, going in and out of businesses of every caliber and every item from food to clothing, apartment finding to beauty supplies. Though the day is overall gray and damp, the spirits of the people north of 29th and Wabash certainly had a livelier flair than what I saw in the area around St. James’ Church. West of State Street there came a few people around the housing complex, and some walking about, and there were trains and busses passing regularly. But east, there came a couple of people and a few cars.

A couple of cars pulled up in front of the church as I took photos, but I waited till they left to continue taking pictures so I could get the buildings without too much modern interference. And there is more to that church complex than just the cathedral itself.

There is a hidden gem, a large stone structure that must at one time have been a very grand home indeed.

Take away the church and most likely the diocese would have to remove this gorgeous building as well which is in perfect condition from what I can tell gauged on this view. The architecture is magnificent and it should be preserved and used as a music school or some kind of learning center for the diocese.

People have been commenting left and right about the real issues and it is time the media stepped in to tell the whole and the true story about this demolition versus preservation beeswax. To do anything but preserve it and restore it would be an insult to the parish, to the diocese, to lovers of landmarks and history everywhere, and to everyone who has a history connected to St. James’ Church.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2013.

Save St. James’ Church: Isn’t it Only Fair?

ST. JAMES NEEDS TO BE SAVED: IS IT FAIR TO CLOSE ONE AND NOT ANOTHER?

In February of 2009, around 5:30 in the morning, on a very frigid start to what would be a terribly cold day there was a 3-11 fire at Holy Name Cathedral. I watched from a window at first and phoned my folks to tell them the church was burning down, and then I decided to skip breakfast and go to take photos of the events unfolding.

It was difficult to stand there at the opposite corner and walk up and down getting as close as was safe, watching the fact that I might lose what I have come to consider my home church since moving here. Still I bore up, got those photos, warmed up with a bus ride and then returned to take more pictures, all of which I have today.
The fact that our church was saved is a testament to the courage and skill of the Chicago Fire Department. Those brave personnel attacked that fire from every angle, going in, putting water through the roof and such. I do not doubt that many of them were afraid the church would be lost as well, but it was saved. Francis Cardinal George said at Mass that the CFD could easily have let the church burn due to the dangerous conditions but they did not and thank God for that.

There must have been about a foot or more of water throughout the sanctuary and in the lower levels surely there was more than that. The windows were saved but that old roof was a mess and there was severe water damage inside. Amazing at how much of it was saved.

English: Holy Name Cathedral, Chicago taken by...

English: Holy Name Cathedral, Chicago taken by Gerald C. Farinas on Monday, March 26, 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the months that followed scaffolding went up inside and out, the ceiling with its tens of thousands of pieces was repaired, the Cardinal’s hats were saved and still hang in place, the windows are in place and there was a new floor and ceiling put in. The pews were repaired and the organ was saved and everything looks better now than ever.

The point is that this beautiful historic church was SAVED from the wrecking ball and was repaired lovingly and carefully. The cost was in the millions of dollars, at least $12 million as I recall the costs being bandied about in the talk.

Why then cannot the wonderful historic church of St. James at Wabash and 29th be saved and given the same consideration? Now I hate to think that racism and this stupidity of the interference of demographics could be the underlying problem, but if it is so, if the problem goes beyond talk of landmarks and transportation and other more important factors, then the whole issue needs to be taken a look at from afresh.

According to one article, the demographics are mentioned, and that is a problem when talking about a church which plainly needs to be preserved. So what who lives in the area? Black and whites live in the Gold Coast where Holy Name is, and more was put into that repair than in what it might take to bring St. James’ back to life and bring a congregation and visitors into the sanctuary.

Another article said that many pieces of the church have been saved for future installation, and if people are putting that much effort into trying to preserve the church, the officials need to seriously consider what the people want, what the congregation wants and what the city and the people of that area need.

Surely there are fine and brilliant minds in our American collegeiate system that could put their prowess in engineering, in science, in technology, in arts and restoration and preservation together to save this church? Surely there are people who will endow those repairs and do all they can to raise the needed funds to bring the church to fully functional status just as Holy Name has? There are people who would gladly donate time and energy into raising funds, in research, in drawing up plans to bring St. James back.

What about the landmarks and the opinions of the diocese? Well they had no problem getting support and resources for Holy Name’s preservation, and they have moved on to other renovation projects, again at a cost in the millions od dollars!

Perhaps restoring the church would bring the area back and bring in businesses and decent people who want to keep the area beautiful, alive, and going strong, to restore the community and the dignity of the citizens.

It would be distressing if the church was razed. Pay attention, Cardinal George, pay attention archdiocese officials… pay attention all citizens. St. James’ Church should be saved and preserved. Take out the modern stuff or rework it if you must; the church was there and solvent and wonderful long before the train and the ugly roads and this demographic prattle entered and corrupted the mix and the sacred nature of the church and its purpose.

Be fair, everyone, and be civil too. Learn to have teamwork and tear down the barriers.

RESOURCES

1. Historically significant 132-year-old church in Chicago faces wrecking ball. http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-12-23/news/ct-met-historic-church-demolition-20121223_1_new-church-archdiocese-plans-demolition. 25 March 2013.

2. St. James infirmity: Distressed century-old Catholic Church heads toward demolition. http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2012-10/st-james-infirmity-distressed-century-old-catholic-church-heads-toward. 25 March 2013.

Chicagoland:: Chicago Land: Gangs, Guns, Drugs and Schools; What Are We Missing?

GANG TURF OR CHICAGO LAND? WHAT DO WE LIVE IN AND ON?

According to the news media in Chicago, it is gang turf that sees these violent incidents. But IS IT REALLY? A closer look at how the mass media and media blitz and spin campaigns affect us and our moods, our society, and our lives is in order. And there is more to it as well.

Wrapped up in the Chicago local scene issues revolving around public schools (the so -called neighborhood schools) is this wording in the news reports that students would have to cross “gang territory” to go to other schools if some schools close. GANG territory? Come on now, folks.

All the news people are doing is sensationalizing and making light of the real problem of lack of community service and involvement on all levels of society and within every ethnic and racial group and organization within a certain area that sees the worst violence.

We can learn a great lesson from reading the excellent book Silent Spring, by Rachel Carson. The book details the effects on our environment caused by highly toxic chemicals such as DDT, dieldrin, and other chemicals and sprays used to control insects and diseases. Instead of having the effect of eradication in many cases, the insects became resistant to many of the chemicals and people started to develop diseases such as the cancers that now plague our nation. The natural world has its own checks and balances in which humans have interfered to our blight and detriment and ruin. Carson’s book details all aspects of that issue and concern, from the big talk of the chemical producers to the straight talk of researchers and doctors about the nature and results of the use of these chemicals.

As we can learn from reading Silent Spring, there are ways to solve problems but we need to do more than rush headling into whatever the media says and reason that just because it is “on TV” or “on the radio” or “on the Web” that it must be right, proper, perfect, good and best. WRONG. All it is… mass produced and played and re -played until we are tired of hearing what the corporate news networks have to say. We act or we do not. We listen or we do not; we press mute or we do not. It is the will to or the will not to that is the foundation of any behavior, and the media people could easily make changes to their styles of writing and reporting if they so desired.

Well, if the “media corporate people” do not want to make the changes, the rest of us must make the changes so the journalists will TAKE NOTICE and REPORT on the changes we are making and not on what they want us to see, do, hear, or act on. We know what our problems or issues or concerns or challenges are. We see them in our communities every day without some hotshot anchor reporter coming on at a set time every day and spinning the tired threads of “news” and “breaking stories” from their viewpoints.

So some news station talks about the “gang turf” thing in regards to the schools; well, what else is there to do but be rid of the gangs and the reasons why there is “gang turf” in the first place! Same applied in Silent Spring; get rid of the cancer -causing chemicals instead of trying to keep on finding cures for the cancers. Unless we are rid of what or who causes the problems we will keep having the problems! How to be rid of the gangs or the drugs or whatever is causing the attraction to a certain area and catching people in these incidents that claim lives in Chicago every weekend now, is what we need to focus on. The police cannot do it alone, so we need more help. If order needs to be restored then SWAT and the National Guard ought to be called in to patrol these areas and watch out so that the good citizens can go about their business and not be worried off the sidewalks and playgrounds by some nasty gang banger or idiot out for revenge who gets a case of mistaken identity.

Gangs are like a cancer on the face of society; and all that is related to the gangs is the same. We do not need them or want them and must do all in our power to act now, same as for the “gun control” issue. ACT NOW, as Giffords said to Congress. America is counting on you to act now and not waste time. Lives are being lost every day to people who are angry, who are out for revenge, who are greedy and arrogant and bent on having their way with certain areas to get their drug and gun businesses going and keep people terrorized.

That is how some people think they get and keep power. These people are nothing but cowards… dangerous cowards though because somehow they get the guns and the drugs and the open ranges to sell them, use them, and get them from the cartels that pump these guns and drugs into American towns and cities and homes and schools.

What is the problem or what are the problems, then?

It was someone else’s land before it became “gang turf”. It was and is CHICAGO LAND, it is the land of good citizens and law -abiding citizens, that’s whose land it is. It is the land of children, workers, bus drivers for the CTA and PACE, the land of first responders who put their lives on the line every shift. It is the land of the free and home of the brave, of families with young kids in school, families trying to make it in tough times, people working hard to keep a home and a yard and live decently and in peace. It is not gang land, and never will be. The media makes it “gang turf” but the citizens of Chicago can reverse that trend.

We must then be what the slogan says: free and brave, so we can keep this the land of the free and the home of the brave, and have life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, 2013.

Guns in the Media: My Round’s For Superintendent McCarthy

IN (SELF) DEFENSE OF CHICAGO POLICE SUPERINTENDENT McCARTHY’S “FIVE POINTS”

Gun control has taken a different turn here in Chicago with our CPD superintendent coming out with the following points regarding how to promote more gun control. Now each is perfectly good, but it is the way Mr. McCarthy put his views into words that needs a little clearing up.

Gun reasonability and gun accountability are the words I believe he used in the article aired on News Radio WBBM in Chicago. Now on the surface these sound right, but let us consider some basic grammar and writing pointers. Guns are inanimate objects meant for one purpose, being to inflict quick and serious, violent harm and injury upon a person, animal, or other object, and one shot is all that is needed. The old saying is “guns do not kill people; people kill people”. A gun cannot be accountable or reasonable. It should be stated that only the person in possession of that firearm is both ACCOUNTABLE and REASONABLE. The gun has no mind of its own, and only the person with the gun has the mind and the will of how to use that gun.

As stated in an online article from the Chicago Tribune:

“McCarthy also outlined five steps that he said would cut down on gun violence and prevent felons and gang members from acquiring guns: banning assault weapons; banning high-capacity magazines; requiring background checks for anyone who buys a gun; mandatory reporting of the sale, transfer, loss or theft of a gun; and mandatory minimum prison sentences for people convicted of illegally possessing a gun.”

The first two steps he speaks to, the banning of assault weapons and high -capacity magazines, suit me just fine. Though I might need a firearm for home defense I certainly have no need for something high -powered, high -round, with magazines of dozens of rounds and the power to mow down dozens of people in a few seconds. Military -style weapons belong in the hands of only those IN the military, active duty people with honorable records, as the type of veteran Wal -Mart wants to hire in a few months. Only in rare instances should anybody even need something as power driven as a machine gun or assault -style weapon, and then only in a war zone. Somewhere around the world where our troops are engaged we might need them, but certainly not on our streets or in our communities or for hunting or recreation.

Want to take your stresses out? Don’t need to take them out that way. Best try a vacation, a meditation sesssion at a temple or church or a spa day, or some exercise, or even getting out your cooking supplies and making a fresh, wholesome meal, or even going out, anything to get your mind away from taking your mind out for a rolling jaunt with an assault rifle. Using guns is a coward’s way out of situations, and using a machine gun only makes things worse. Children could be in harm’s way, innocent people could be in harm’s way, families could be in harm’s way. Why would you want such chaos and trouble to rain down on someone else? Suppose it was YOUR kid or parents or grandparents in the line of fire- would you want that? One thing is sure, around Chicago if you go after someone with the intent to murder, you might just draw the ire of someone down on you and your household or school. Guns used improperly bring nothing but trouble.

The lessons of West Webster, New York and Newtown, Connecticut, should teach us that much: the same weapon was used in both incidents, and innocent people were targeted. In Webster firefighters on a response to a residential blaze were gunned down and two died, and others were seriously injured. And we all know what happened in little Newtown, with the massacre of children and adults at the elementary school. Our firefighters and police officers put their lives on the line every single day they are on the job, and they are here to protect and serve and educate us; the children are the future of this nation and world. These are some of the most humble and innocent and loving people we have in our country, people we can learn so much from.

Point three of McCarthy’s Five take in these points: requiring background checks for anyone who buys a gun; mandatory reporting of the sale, transfer, loss or theft of a gun. It is so common sense that everyone who wants the privilege and honor of having any kind of firearm should be checked out with as detailed a background check as is possible. Check for anything unusual, signs of severe menal illness, suicide tendencies or talk of wanting to harm or kill another person for any reason at all, felonies, jail time, arrests, records of abuse of people or animals, anything that might raise a caution flag in the eyes of a doctor or of a law enforcement official.

Reporting the sale, transfer, loss or theft of a firearm is also essential, in order to keep track of these dangerous implements floating around in our society. Other things should be reported from a theft, such as jewelry, cars, and the like, so all the more vital that firearm theft, transfer, or sale or loss is immediately reported. It is up to the owners of guns to make as detailed records as possible, including photographs from many angles, serial numbers, and any unusual details about the weapon, such as wear patterns, decorations, engravings, etc. We must be able to know where weapons are or what they might be used for; if there has been an armed robbery in an area or guns have been stolen from a home or business, the moment it is known that these weapons are out of sight of their owners or not under proper lock and key, law enforcement and the community need to be informed in order to watch for the weapons or for suspicious activity in the area.

The next point is imposing a minimum prison sentences for people convicted of illegally possessing a gun. I think that anyone who goes so boldly into breaking the law and intending murderous or harmful purposes needs to be taught a lesson and be made fit to be in society again. They need to be put to labor appropriate for their strength and health and mental state in order to learn patience, something useful to get them back into society, and supervision- they need to know in every way possible that they will be watched, that breaking the law is not a good idea, and that they will now have a record that will possibly taint their re -entry into the workplace. They need to feel that booking process, the jail suit, hear the doors closing, see the bars and the heavy doors on the cells, and the misery that accompanies a stay in a prison.

Perhaps if prison is made heinous enough to be in right at the outset many people would most likely want to do everything they could to stay out of such a place. Prison is not a place any sane person, anyone who knows the awful conditions that can be there, the feelings surely of loneliness, of hearing odd noises and getting odd smells, no privacy, unusual food, a cold bed and a cold small window, and odd company. Just ask any preacher who has done prison ministry; I think they could tell you it is one of the worst places someone could find that they have ended up.

The points Mr. McCarthy puts forward make sense, and I will support him in any way possible.

Divi Logan, Nashville and Chicago, 2013.

RESOURCES

1. Chicago’s Top Cop again calls for more gun laws. Article found at http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-01-12/news/chi-chicagos-top-cop-again-calls-for-more-gun-laws-20130112_1_gun-laws-gun-violence-debate-over-gun-control. Accessed 15 January 2013.