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.

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Census Regulations Can End Good Relationships… or Prevent Them From Being Good

I. INTRODUCTION

When you are around someone for many years, you think that after a certain amount of time you know about all there is to know. You have been friends, and like friends do you have probably argued, parted ways and made up, eaten out and visited together for movies and gone on vacations and such.

But then something deep -seated reared its ugly head- prejudice. And just like that, old ways intruded, the old ways promoted by our government, using our tax dollars, and funding the Census Bureau.

Representation is good, but not if someone is hurt or injured or further singled out because of the present laws and codes of the Census. It really is only for the purpose of counting the population, and no more. Anything else is an impediment to progress and achievement of a truly united United States.

If you have lost a friend thanks to prejudice and bias, thank the government. If you have lost business or been falsely accused because of those “protected status” labels, thank the government. If you have had it “up to here” with someone else labeling you and singling you out, thank the government.

I cannot begin to imagine how many potentially good relationships or even long – standing friendships and other unions have been damaged or completely broken and dissolved because of the biases and prejudices this nation has come to deem as acceptable.

II. WHERE YOU WORK SHOULD BE FREE OF BIAS AND PREJUDICE

Americans sometimes take for granted the privilege of having a job, and will put up with goodness knows what in order to keep it and grow in it.

Still, our government wants to make it complicated for people to begin and own a business. One look at the regulations dealing with the Census and the Small Business Association and those dealing with surveys of business owners shows that even though the owner might not think about his or her employees in terms of anything but a dedicated team, the surveys have something else in mind. The enumeration questions are hard deal with at times, especially when you as an owner pay no attention to race, color, gender, ethnicity, nativity, or other factors, when thinking about your staff. But the government wants to ruin that progressive thinking by sending you surveys that make you consider your staff in just those terms. Now you have to remark on who is what and what they do and such like items that in a way divide your staff in your mind.

But you can choose not to fill out the questions – you can say that such biases compromise other principles, or your ethics or morals or religion. You can take a stand against legalized prejudice.

The regulations of the Census Bureau have led to racial profiling and so much “legalese” that whenever we are out in busses, businesses, trains and when we fill out applications, we see the tangled web of the Census Bureau. Everywhere we turn we are buffeted by those signs posted and those disclaimers written, that the business or transit system will do its best to provide good service and not base the quality of service provided on “race, color, gender, national origin, religion or disability…”

But isn’t that what is happening in a subtle way? There is the wish not to discriminate, but the labeling words are right there in plain sight. We don’t want to treat you poorly because you look and act and dress differently from those who made those census act schedules that direct that the questions be answered and submitted with those categories in mind. You have to think of yourself in those terms because someone wants power over you or to regulate or categorize you for their own selfish and arrogant ends.

And then what happens? When you walk down a street, what does the approaching person do – pull their purse closer? What does the paranoid shopper do when you approach to look at something? Do they appear to guard their purchases or their bags? Thank the government and the Census Bureau. You could be just minding your own business or trying to see something on a shelf, as I was doing at a local liquor store yesterday. There was a man and a woman with a cart that had bags in it, and I came to look at something on a shelf. The guy could have moved the cart out of the way or asked if he could move it, but he moved very quickly as though to block me and guard the bags, like I was going to take them. I said nothing but went back around another series of shelves as I realized I had passed the item I sought.

It is a pity that we have allowed the terminology of separation to ruin our lives and our potential so awfully. So much has been wasted on the categorizing, the attempts at clearing out the collective conscience, the departmentalizing of the human being and the ruin of the human spirit. So much waste.

III. ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR PREJUDICES… AND CONQUER THEM

Most of us have grown up in a world riddled with prejudices, some of the effects of which we can see and some that are subtle in presentation and appearance. We see on the news, on the media spin that gives us more information than we need and that we sometimes want, the conflagrations arising around race and gender and certain preferences that cause some among us to be judged as having “alternative lifestyles”. Well, everyone to some degree has alternative lifestyles to someone else; we do make choices, every day, alternates… every day.

But when we use those biases and census schedule factors as excuses to not help someone or to perform a degrading or derogatory action and call it right or acceptable “because it’s on the census form and the government dictates that you are… this or that”, then there is a problem. Indifference and avoidance and denial take the place of compassion and love and grace, and someone might just die because those who stand around and who could help “do not look like that person”. “That person isn’t from my community so I don’t want to help them.” That is bigotry, and there is nothing good about it.

What does need look like, then? What does pain look like, then?

Many people take the stand for a post – racial America, and it is high time. The only race we need to think about is that which circles the athletic track.

When you can look at someone with civility and with compassion and with the caring thought of “sure, this is another person, and I am a person… cool deal.”, that is progress. When you can welcome everyone into your school or business or church or club with civility and understanding, that is progress. It is more than just being tolerant because “the government says so”; it is real and genuine peace of mind, no problem, no analyzing, no details needed. You are a human being, the person in your store or on that bus or in that airport or in your restaurant is a human being.

Civility – pass it on; don’t pass on it.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2015.

Rahm Lights Up Chicago? Be Sure to Clean Up Thoroughly First!

Inspired by a news story heard this morning on Chicago’s CBS affiliate radio station, News Radio 780 WBBM, I present:

CLEAN UP YOUR MESS!

1. To Beautify a Space, First Make a Plan

When someone designs anything –  a garden, a car, a cityscape, a grand hotel or an office building or a home, the process begins with a plan. People sit down and draw a plan that goes from the mind, the workings of the brain, onto paper and also on a computer. A lot goes into making progress: the way the group works together, weather, availability of funds and of the location suited to the project… so many variables.

The important factor is that the planners work together in a civilized atmosphere with all that is needed to make the plan come to life. Whatever is needed: coffee, tea, a new office, travel to other destinations, booking a hotel or a limo to get to where the plans will take shape, a quiet place to sit and draw it up… everyone must agree to what will make the plan a success.

2. To Beautify a City, Talk to Everyone Who Has a Say in How it will Look (or should look)

** And that means EVERYONE, EVERYBODY who is a member of that city and community! **

Start by doing at the very least what will make communities better: THINK UNITY! One reason we are so fragmented is that we are thinking along demographic lines, not person to person and civil lines. We are thinking in ways that box us in (race, income, ethnicity, religious creed) instead of thinking on common ground and thinking towards what will make progress. We will make progress only when we clean up ourselves in all those ways that make humans special: in mental, spiritual, and physical ways.

We need to clean up areas of gang violence. Why, even the very idea, the term “gang violence” is ridiculous. The gangs were not here first and people are sick and tired of hearing about them on the news every day. The more the press gives attention to the gangs and those actions related to them, the more they will do those things that get them press time and air time and talk in the reports. NO MORE GANGS! Folks, get brave and get those gangs out of the area, right now. Stop your need for drugs and guns; YOU DON’T NEED THAT STUFF and you don’t need anyone to help you solve problems, at least not that way.

You can solve your own problems without drugs, illegal guns, and membership of and the presence of gangs. How stupid can we get, tolerating gangs. REALLY. Gangs are nothing and nobodies and mean nothing to us except for the trouble they cause. Well, run those punks off your street corners, clean them out of your area and get involved.

When we get our streets and land cleaned up, we can turn to beautification.

But we must make sure the gangs are out of the picture, the abandoned buildings are either renovated or torn down, the lots are cleaned and free of pests, trash, rats, squatters, etc., and the streets are safe for people to work on, play on, and go to school and work on.

The job does not do itself; we have to use elbow grease, folks. We have to run the gangs out with shouts, voices, prayers, music so loud they can’t transact and will leave the area, stones if necessary, sticks and pelting those punks with bottles and rotten tomatoes until they get the message. GO AWAY AND DON’T COME BACK. These are OUR streets, understand!?

Assess, once the area is safe, what your area looks like. What are the main problems and who will help you solve them? Who will help you break through the red tape and get the funds and the materials necessary to get the community looking better? Are the problems viaducts that flood, then sit on the departments of water and streets and sanitation until they get off their behinds and act to solve the problems.

Is the problem a lot full of trash and debris? Well then, get in there with a group and clean it up. Get the tools of the cleanup trade: tarps, rakes, shovels, sturdy gauntlet gloves, bug spray, insect repellent, trash bags, trash cans, dumpsters to haul the stuff away, and people who will be available to have food and drink ready to serve to volunteers who, literally, work for food in such cases.

3. Beautification Begins With a Thorough Cleanup Campaign

* For a city Chicago’s size, is a month enough? *

For the mayor’s plan to work, Chicago needs a thorough cleanup. There is enough bird poop in the Loop to build a wall, so no matter what we feel towards wildlife, the pigeons must go. After all, pigeons are introduced pests from Europe. The proper name for these birds is the European Rock Dove. They were brought to America and have prospered due to a lack of natural enemies, so they must go. Accumulated droppings can lead to disease, and it looks really gross and smells even worse (like waste will do after a while), and animal waste attracts some of the worst pests of all, the disease -bearing rats we are trying to rid out of our city.

The L stations, the entire L structure, and buildings along that area of the Loop must be power -washed and cleaned down, right to the sidewalks, and then anti -pest programs must be instituted. Putting up anything that will get rid of the pigeons is necessary… either that or bring in a natural solution, the amazing Peregrine Falcon and the super Cooper’s Hawk.

These birds are bird -eaters, and will go after anything when they are hungry, and there is a plentiful supply of pigeons. We could then return these birds to a natural setting or watch them breed and enjoy the balance they will bring to controlling the pest population.

We must also assess the pollution in our city in order to find the right ways to clean up such problems as petroleum coke, or petcoke, which is documented as causing caustic pollution to an area of Chicago near a plant that harbors piles of this black sooty stuff that gets on people’s homes and into their yards and into their lungs. Chemicals pollute our water, trash litters our beaches and litter clogs our streets and alleys. Corporations need to be held seriously accountable for their practices, for no matter whether they say that their studies show they are acting within the law, doing so does not mean that what they produce and how they manufacture is good or right or best or decent. Those who produce and harbor the petcoke say they are acting within the law and are doing nothing wrong, but in using such language they are completely ignoring the residents of that area who suffer from the black dust that floats into their neighborhood.

Also, excess light is a form of pollution. It is now shown that light pollution harms the circadian rhythm and causes stress to the human body and mind. We need our dark spaces and our real night spaces so we can rest, have quiet and transition from work to rest. In those areas where the mayor wants these light displays, people do live, and the mayor wants to attract more tourists to those areas. People need their space… residents need their space away from tourists’ eyes, and people do live downtown.

Do you wonder why our city has that odd dirty -bronze rusty -golden color at night? Light pollution, plain and simple. We are thrown into thinking we have to act and work all day and all year no matter what, because of this overblown presence of artificial light. We need to turn it off, not turn it on, and we need more efficient lighting, using mirrors, reflectors, solar power, whatever it takes to conserve energy and make our use of it more efficient. Besides, as the news story related, Paris, the famous “City of Lights” is trying to cut down on its golden reputation and reduce use of light. This is more energy efficient. Why Chicago wants to use excess light, even more light on buildings and bridges and historic structures, is not logical. We need less light , not more light.

There are times and places for tourists and times and places for residents. Residents’ needs and wishes come first, plain and simple.

Trash along a Chicago street.

So, Your Honor, before you get some high-minded plan to light up the city, be sure that what you want to highlight is what you want the world to see. Be absolutely sure that you want the world to see trash on the riverfront, homeless veterans roaming the lakefront and the riverfront and the Loop digging in trash cans and sleeping on corners. Be sure you want the world to see places where gangs shoot up innocent people and teenagers roam in flash mobs terrorizing law -abiding tourists and citizens shopping and dining along Michigan Avenue and towards the Loop. Be completely sure you want the world to see the petcoke, the trash on the bridges, the dirty buildings, the oil on the lake, the glass fragments and other debris on the beaches, the bird poop in the Loop and the trash along the highways. Do you want the world to see and hear about the gangs, the drugs, the labor disputes and the airport noise?

We could spend months getting the trash picked up from the roadsides and still only begin to make a dent in the pollution that plagues Chicago.

Let’s get up and get to it, folks. The roads and bridges are not going to clean up on their own.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

RESOURCES

1. Wikimedia Commons, searched through GOOGLE images.

2. http://waronfilth.com/tag/broken-glass.

Race Relations? Are We Making Progress… or Making Problems?

Race relations is a very complicated issue… and we have made it even more so by allowing our government to put into our culture and our more vulnerable trains of thought and action and working the idea of demographics being so important. Well, perhaps “demographics” are important but only if the methods lead to actual, real, and tangible actions being done for those who are really in need of certain things being funded or built or done for a community.

But what is “good” and who is doing the “good”? Truly it should not even matter, but these days when Americans are so rude and crude in their manners that they are coming out and DEMANDING things, and DEMANDING this or that, and thinking that they are the only important factor because of their skin color or their ethnicity that they can push others out of the way and get in the front of the line, we need to be more on our guard than ever.

Race relations will not make progress until we lessen the role of the Census Bureau and wake up to the fact that it does not matter what you look like, “where you are from”, what your ethnic background is, or what you do for a living. People need to realize that the government is not really doing the average citizen any good at all.

Witness the recent talk of school segregation. Who really is at fault? Everyone or no one or the government or school officials? Is it the false idea of the “neighborhood” school that prevents  people from growing up and out and expanding their trains of thought and branching out? Is it the fear among these “neighborhood” people that if “someone does not look like me that they will have a bad influence on my family”? What kind of silly thinking is THAT?

Who cares about what the person looks like that is teaching your kids or treating your for a disease or selling you that house? And anyway, NO ONE looks like anyone else, so get that into your unique heads right now! NO ONE looks like anyone else, and we all think about things in different ways and see things in unique and variable ways. Someone can say there are “identical” siblings, but that’s not the real issue here. People vary in their coloring, in their hairstyles and hair coloring, in eye color, in a thousand different physical variables that push the idea of “looking like” another person completely out the window with the rest of the demographic garbage.

Think about this, a thought inspired by something I heard on the radio this morning, to wit that there are not enough “African – American” doctors in the “underserved” areas of Chicago, and no doubt other major cities. And then someone thinks the resources are not there to train and get these doctors -to -be, those “black” and “brown” children mentioned in the report on News Radio 780 WBBM in Chicago, out to those areas where the need appears greatest. Bologna.

Have you ever heard of a medical school, Mr. WBBM Reporter? Yes, there is actually something called a MEDICAL SCHOOL, folks. Just in case you in those communities are not aware, there have been doctors of every “race” and background for decades in America. Anyone, yes anyone, can go to a medical school, get the proper training, get incentive, and get to the business and the study of becoming a physician. Then they can choose where they want to go, and the choice is based on those variables such as where they will feel comfortable or needed or what kind of money they will make.

Well if the money is all that matters the doctor will not be a good doctor to the point of seeing the patients as people instead of as payments. If the doctor wants to get out there and serve the populace that is the target of the policies that have cause that population to be inadequately served and thus in need of care and comfort, then they will do so. An episode of the popular television show EMERGENCY! had a physician who put his private practice way out in an area of desert and scrub and no one around for miles, at least not another doctor who could provide his skills. The small office had a nurse, a couple of nice clean patient rooms, and a surgical suite.

Now in early parts of the episode there is a bad accident that the main EMERGENCY! characters come upon as they return from a vacation. They must get help for the victims since they cannot practice their paramedic skills in another state, so they eventually get help and race the mother and boy to that small clinic in that small town area. The nurse is the only person on staff there and so they must wait for the doctor, who eventually arrives and sees that there is need for his services. The paramedics are expecting to see an old man, the proverbial lovable old country doctor but instead a younger man with a thick mustache and in very casual clothes, comes in and assesses the scene. After the victims are treated the paramedics and the doctor talk about why he has put his practice in that part of the state. He says something to the effect of, “Well I just wanted to practice where I am most needed. That’s why I stayed here.” Marvelous. EMERGENCY! as a 1970’s television show had a cast that was wonderful in its professional presentation and diverse nature, and this one episode is only one demonstration of what happens when need and service and consideration outweigh “government” policies and separatist attitudes and action takes over and someone has the courage to establish that practice where they really are most needed.

Now think about this: when it comes to “race”, what someone looks like on the outside, what would you do if your house caught fire and you were trapped on a higher floor with no way out? The only “race” you should then be concerned about is the dash of the fire department to your home to save your life. Would it really matter to you who was first up that 100 foot Pierce Aerial in that basket to rescue you from the burning bedroom? I think not. If you looked out that window at the firefighter who came up in his or her heavy gear to get you out, what would you see – someone with a face that “does not look like yours”, or someone who is there to save your life, with arms at the ready to carry you down and get you some help? If you took one look at that firefighter and back at the flames coming through the bedroom door, I suspect you would reach out and let the firefighter carry you down that latter, with his or her words of reassurance as you go down to the ground, safely away from the flames and smoke.

There is next the issue of this stuff about “neighborhood” schools, especially in Chicago. A neighborhood is made up of people who can be of the same background or can be made up of a lot of different kinds of people. So what does it matter what the teachers or the officials “look like”? Goodness gracious, what digression… what aggression… what stupid trains of thought! “I won’t let you teach my kids because you don’t look like them!” Come on, folks. If the teacher is qualified, if the school system is providing qualified personnel and proper facilities, then there is nothing to worry about. People are letting words and concepts such as “charter” and “selective” and “magnet” and “private” and “public” get in the way of seeing that the students are provided a good and proper and higher education. We are being taken away from the real issue: EDUCATION.

My teachers were very diverse when I was growing up and attending public schools in Nashville. I didn’t care a bit what these ladies and gentlemen looked like: I respected them each and every one, I sat and listened in class, and I was respectful of the principals and other school officials and bus drivers. Had I thought, “I’m not taking math from him because he’s not from my neighborhood” or “I won’t listen to her because she has a different skin color from me” would have gone against the very principles of what education is meant to do and what its purpose is. Education is meant to challenge us to grow and expand our horizons, to get us to put different skill sets together and continue to learn and work with others, to make out the map of our lives and careers and our plans for the future. If we do not draw out the talents we have or that others have; if we do not march out and away from the ideas and thoughts that impede progress in the sense of us working together with others for success; if we do not lead others out of the mental captivity our government officials have chained many of us with, then our education system has failed.

We have failed, we have then wasted money and energy and resources, and we have not done our best.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

 

 

Ice Cream Parties and the ISAT: What is Our Education System Really Feeding the Kids?

NEWS STORY ON WBBM NEWSRADIO 780 PROMPTS THIS RESPONSE

After a week of hearing about the controversy surrounding the giving of the soon-to-be outdated ISAT, or Illinois Standard Achievement Test in this case (ISAT is an acronym for other tests and names- see Resources list at the end of this article), I am inspired to write this article.

First of all, according to parents and teachers this test is going to be done away with and so is obsolete. It is also wasteful, taking up classroom instructional time, and not to mention the amount of testing material which would be needed. Standardized testing has long been under fire for being discriminatory, wasteful, outdated and just a way to categorize and organize by a mere set of numbers (test scores).

What else are these statistics used for but to find a way into the clutches of the Census Bureau in some way or other regarding education funding, gerrymandering, and goodness knows what other unhealthy ways the government has found to divide and sort us out and bring on inferiority or superiority complexes.

And now what is evidence of this? Well, on the news report to night came word that some kids who took the test (or “opted in”) were treated to an ice cream party in their classroom while the students who “opted out” were made to sit and do work while the others enjoyed the party.

Well I would say to that, “How crass and materialistic can they get?” What message is that sending the students? I can think of a few, one being that “if you don’t do what the authority figures want to force you to do, you won’t get in on the sweets and the party. You have to sit aside and watch the others have fun!”

Well, so be it, take your lousy and rotten party. I’d rather sit far away from you as possible and do something productive that will further my education, away from the useless test and the ones who want the attention and the sweets. Let them have them. “Let them eat cake!”

Another message the students might get: “Food and attention mean more than getting a good education.” If I just give in and do what they want I can get a free meal or dig in to the ice cream and cake and oh… it must be good for me to have because that’s what the reward is!”

It’s not good for you, my young friend. It is sugar, sweet, playing for your attention. It will give you a sugar whiz and bang so tall you’ll climb the walls filled with excess energy and inattention. That sugar jump will quickly disappear and then you will feel tired and worn out and jittery. So your little friends who eat the huge amounts of ice cream and cake and maybe a few cups of those artificially sweetened fruit cocktail drinks with which the grocery stores are loaded, and which contain only about five or ten percent real juice, will soon get a big let down.

Meanwhile you who were made to do the quiet work, eating probably a healthier selection of a sandwich, vegetable sticks, milk, an apple, some nuts if you can safely have them for the energy they provide, peanut butter maybe, some fiber bars or other selection of fiber and vitamins, sitting there silently doing your reading, writing an essay, or practicing your mathematics or spelling, will have an overall better day. You have the productive use of time, the better and more balanced diet, the quiet time that is necessary for study and concentration, and no pressure about looking for some silly test score.

I side with the teachers who boycotted giving the test or having any part of it. They know that the best use of classroom time is truly more than some set of standardized test scores. Teaching to the test is not a true measure of academic achievement, so the entire testing system needs to be questioned and reformed. These tests are indeed tied to school funding- so where your tax dollars go and how important your neighborhood is to some ivory -tower government official who has no idea about your school or the students and is too far removed in the halls of Washington to give a flip about what your opinion is about some state -mandated test procedure.

Boycott all these tests, brave teachers and parents and students! Opt out of the stupidity and the uselessness and the waste of money and time and other resources that the government pushes in your face and braces with intimidation!

Intimidation? That’s grounds enough for a strike if ever one came up! Stop the importance of the tests until the system is completely burned away and reformed. The test serves no purpose, does not affect anything but census gibberish and school funding and is not relevant to the reception of a good education.

But as you will see by reading the article and the commentary so far given at the end of the news article in the resource list at the end of this article, the issue is up and down, with every side and every kind of person chiming in on the issue. What a situation…

Our students are treated as pawns in the hands of those who want them to turn to this or that side… what do they want then but to believe that these young citizens can be taken in by the appearance of the passing ice cream and cake? There will be time enough for parties and leisure, young learners, when you have earned the enjoyment. Now the time to take the leisure will not come by shirking your job or just “getting by” with your lessons and by breaking the rules that are there for your safety and health.

You must make the effort, take the time, be patient in your enjoyment of learning, gain wisdom and observe and most importantly listen.

In the meanwhile, good bye and good riddance, ISAT!

RESOURCES

1. ISAT Acronyms. http://www.acronymattic.com/ISAT.html. 4 March 2014

2. On the ISAT Controversy. http://www.suntimes.com/news/25979696-418/teachers-who-boycotted-isat-allowed-to-remain-in-classrooms.html. 4 March 2014

Chicago Citizens and Concerned Citizens of the USA: Take on the Petcoke People!

PETCOKE POISONS POLLUTE PRECIOUS POPULATIONS and POTENTIAL RESOURCES

What is the term surfacing in the local news this week? What is this word blending in with other stories about hazardous chemicals and materials polluting our nation’s air and water, and why is this going on? It is petcoke. PETCOKE… PET COKE. We aren’t talking a dog trying to take a sip out of your glass of carbonated cola here. We are talking a hazard to the environment and the people of Chicago.

So, folks, in this corner, weighing in with 4-methylcyclohexene, with bisphenol -A, with the chemical Subway uses in their bread, called Azodiacarbonamide, and with the wonderful world of the PAH (polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons – see definition below) we have a five-story pile of petcoke!

PAH’s are: Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), also known as poly -aromatic hydrocarbons or polynuclear aromatic hydrocarbons, are fused aromatic rings and do not contain heteroatoms or carry substituents.[1] Naphthalene is the simplest example of a PAH. PAHs occur in oil, coal, and tar deposits, and are produced as byproducts of fuel burning (whether fossil fuel or biomass).

The old road – you can see it. PROFIT for the CORPORATIONS, plain and simple, with no regard for the rest of the people of the areas where the industries are placed.

Chicago now has to take on the pet -coke industry. Now, what is “petcoke”? Well now, we can get this part of the story from one of the industry websites, one of the companies involved in what is happening in Chicago. According to Koch KCBX Terminals Company, petcoke is:

“Petroleum coke, or petcoke, is one of many valuable products made during the oil refining process. Similar in appearance to coal, petcoke is used to generate electricity and has a wide range of other industrial applications. Petcoke is used all over the world.” Other information about petcoke can be found by clicking other sections of the website. (See Resources at the end of this article.)

Now do you want this stuff in YOUR back yard? What part of Chicago is this in? It’s DUST, people! It’s black DUST, folks! This stuff is carbon and sulfur. What does such stuff do to areas such as the Calumet River?

Read about the origins of the name and the importance of the Calumet River. The article in Wikipedia opened my eyes! Here is an excerpt from the article, regarding pollutants found around the Calumet waterway system:

Nonpoint sources

  • “Contaminated sediment: The Grand Calumet River and Indiana Harbor and Canal contain 5 to 10 million cubic yards (3.9 to 7.7 million m³) of contaminated sediment up to 20 feet (6 m) deep. Contaminants include toxic compounds (e.g., PAHs, PCBs and heavy metals) and conventional pollutants (e.g., phosphorus, nitrogen, iron, magnesium, volatile solids, oil and grease).
  • Industrial waste site runoff: Stormwater runoff and leachate from 11 of 38 waste disposal and storage sites in the AoC, located within 0.2 miles (300 m) of the river, are degrading the water quality. Contaminants include oil, heavy metals, arsenic, PCBs, PAHs and lead.
  • Superfund sites: There are 52 sites in the AoC listed in the federal Comprehensive Environmental Response Compensation and Liability Act (CERCLA) System, more commonly known as Superfund. Five of these sites are on the National Priorities List.
  • Hazardous waste sites under RCRA: There are 423 hazardous waste sites in the AoC regulated under the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), such as landfills or surface impoundment, where hazardous waste is disposed. Twenty-two of these sites are treatment, storage and disposal facilities.
  • Underground storage tanks (USTs): There are more than 460 underground storage tanks in the AoC. More than 150 leaking tank reports have been filed for the Lake County section of the AoC since mid-1987.
  • Atmospheric deposition: Atmospheric deposition of toxic substances from fossil fuel burning, waste incineration and evaporation enter the AoC through direct contact with water, surface water runoff and leaching of accumulated materials deposited on land. Toxins from this source include dioxins, PCBs, insecticides and heavy metals.
  • Urban runoff: Rain water passing over paved urban areas washes grease, oil and toxic organics such as PCBs and PAHs into the surface waters.
  • Contaminated groundwater: Groundwater contaminated with organic compounds, heavy metals and petroleum products contaminates surface waters. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that at least 16.8 million US gallons (64,000 m³) of oil float on top of groundwater beneath the AoC.

Point sources of contaminants

  • Industrial and Municipal Wastewater Discharges: Three steel manufacturers contribute 90 percent of industrial point source discharges to river. One chemical manufacturer also discharges into the river. Permitted discharges include arsenic, cadmium, cyanide, copper, chromium, lead and mercury. Three municipal treatment works (Gary, Hammond and East Chicago Sanitary Districts) discharge treated domestic and industrial wastewater.
  • Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs): Fifteen CSOs contribute untreated municipal waste, including conventional and toxic pollutants, to the river. Annually, CSO outfalls discharge an estimated 11 billion US gallons (42,000,000 m³) of raw wastewater into the harbor and river. Approximately 57% of the annual CSO volume is discharged within eight miles (13 km) of Lake Michigan, resulting in nearshore fecal coliform contamination.”

Think this is why the issue is being stuffed by the companies while the Mayor is trying to help out the people? What is the real business here? Monkey business. Three powerful people in Chicago Government – Alderman Ed Burke, Alderman John Pope, and Mayor Emanuel want to ban the storage of petcoke and expansion of this industry in Chicago, and the people are plainly against the poisons of petcoke further inundating their air and water.

What are the demographics of the area? According to a community post, the area is: Looking just at Southeast Chicago, roughly bounded by 67th Street on the north, Western Avenue on the northwest, the City of Chicago boundary on the south and southeast, and Lake Michigan/State Line on the east, the proportions are quite different, 14% White, 80% Black, and 6% Hispanic. Seems to me that the big business folks are doing the same thing to this community that the Catholic Church did to the area of Chicago’s south side known as Bronzeville, when they blatantly went ahead with demolishing the historic structure of St. James’ Cathedral. Despite offers from people to contribute funds, there is no doubt that the area being predominantly “black” was the real reason the church was not saved. The corporations are showing no regard for the people of the Calumet River and southeast side area of Chicago, none at all.

And the problem is not just in Chicago… it is in many areas of the Midwest. Citizens of Detroit are not very happy right now.

But do the chemical corporations that have been plaguing us with their roundabout regulations and big talk of how “safe” their products are, against which Rachel Carson and others like her wrote in an effort to awaken them to the dangers of what those products are doing to the environment, give a care about the people they hurt or sicken?

Not the time to say, “Have a Koch and a smile.” Rather I would suspect the people of the southeast side will smile once Koch and all signs of petcoke are forever removed from polluting their views and the water of the Calumet River.

RESOURCES

1. http://aboutpetcoke.com/?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=CPC&utm_campaign=whatis&gclid=CNb-_fvoybwCFYpaMgoduUYAFA

2. http://aboutpetcoke.com/what-is-petcoke/

3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/02/12/chicago-petcoke-crackdown_n_4775693.html

4. http://www.midwestenergynews.com/2014/01/14/in-chicago-neighbors-say-petcoke-rules-full-of-loopholes/

5. http://www.lincolnnet.net/reports/calumet/community.html

6. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polycyclic_aromatic_hydrocarbon. Wikipedia contributors. “Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 28 Jan. 2014. Web. 13 Feb. 2014.

7. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Calumet_River  Wikipedia contributors. “Calumet River.” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 4 Dec. 2013. Web. 13 Feb. 2014.

8. http://metrotimes.com/news/news-hits/taking-a-stand-1.1510951

9. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/company-appeals-pet-coke-storage-ban-on-detroit-river-1.2521340

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.

Congress Negative: Problems Facing Our United States (or is it?)

Congress’s Approval Rating Negatively Secured!

Waste, bickering, filibustering, arguing, scandals and excessive spending are just about all we seem to get from our so –illustrious and so –compensated and so-spoiled national legislative body that now our approval (or disapproval) rating of that august gathering of elected officials has reached an all- time low. Yes, Monsieur and Madame Congress -person we do not like you and if we could we would recall and replace every single one of you because of waste and malfeasance and laziness and acting like spoiled brats when you don’t get your way.

One issue plagues many people, and that is so much talk of “national security” especially in the wake of the WIKIPEDIA leaks by a member of our military and the Edward Snowden/ NSA (National Security Administration) cases. As far as many are concerned there is too much of this security stuff going on, and 9/11 is no excuse for waste, excess, attempts at justification, and so much snooping on and hindrances on law -abiding citizens who do no wrong and who have no ambitions to do anything amiss.

What are these organizations that plague us every day and make us listen to such notices as you hear on commuter train lines, those notices about seeing something and saying something, about suspicious people and activities, and about “making us all more secure”? Do we really need them all and how much is all this costing us?

The NSA and some group called the CSS (and we aren’t talking Cascading Style Sheets)

Well, let’s get on with this necessary dirty work of exposure of the deep spooky reaching hands of our government, starting with the organization most in the news today, the NSA, or National Security Administration. According to their webpage their core missions are to protect U.S. national security systems and to produce foreign signals intelligence information. WHAT? Here it is straight from their link:

“The National Security Agency/Central Security Service (NSA/CSS) leads the U.S. Government in cryptology that encompasses both Signals Intelligence (SIGINT) and Information Assurance (IA) products and services, and enables Computer Network Operations (CNO) in order to gain a decision advantage for the Nation and our allies under all circumstances.”

The arm of the NSA is known as the CSS, and here is its statement from its NSA page link:

Central Security Service (CSS)
“The Central Security Service (CSS) provides timely and accurate cryptologic support, knowledge, and assistance to the military cryptologic community.

It promotes full partnership between the NSA and the cryptologic elements of the Armed Forces, and teams with senior military and civilian leaders to address and act on critical military-related issues in support of national and tactical intelligence objectives. CSS coordinates and develops policy and guidance on the Signals Intelligence and Information Assurance missions of NSA/CSS to ensure military integration.

The CSS was established by presidential directive in 1972 to promote full partnership between NSA and the Service Cryptologic Components of the U.S. Armed Forces. This new command created a more unified cryptologic effort by combining NSA and CSS. The Director of NSA is dual-hatted as the Chief of CSS.”

Put the mission and values together and you get:

Our Vision

Global Cryptologic Dominance through Responsive Presence and Network Advantage.

Our Values

We will protect national security interests by adhering to the highest standards of behavior.

Dominance and advantage – is that all they want? Why do we need so much of this arrogance and ambition?

The CIA or Central Intelligence Agency

Wasteful spenders take two: tackling the CIA’s mission. What is the Central Intelligence Agency and what are they about? They are an independent U.S. government agency responsible for providing national security intelligence to senior U.S. policymakers.

SENIOR U.S. policymakers around here are about as useful as bricks in a junkyard: they just sit there, take up space, and waste resources because someone has to guard them, clean their area, and secure their space. Policymakers, indeed… and the worst thing we can call them is “law makers” because they tend more to get in scandals and break laws, but they sure know how to impose them on American citizens and not lift a finger to help us out without going through a lot of red tape, huffing and puffing and condescending.

Well now, the CIA… what is its mission? Straight from the horse’s mouth it is:

Vision

One Agency. One Community. An Agency unmatched in its core capabilities, functioning as one team, fully integrated into the Intelligence Community.

Mission

We are the nation’s first line of defense. We accomplish what others cannot accomplish and go where others cannot go. We carry out our mission by:

  • Collecting information that reveals the plans, intentions and capabilities of our adversaries and provides the basis for decision and action.
  • Producing timely analysis that provides insight, warning and opportunity to the President and decision -makers charged with protecting and advancing America’s interests.
  • Conducting covert action at the direction of the President to preempt threats or achieve US policy objectives.

The FBI or Federal Bureau of Investigation

Talk about having to make hide and hair of what our government throws at us every day, now we need to take apart the corporate lingo of the FBI, or Federal Bureau of Investigation. Another “bureau”…swell. Just what are they around for anyhow?

Here is something from their “About US” link:

(The FBI is) “an intel – driven national security and law enforcement agency, providing leadership and making a difference for more than a century.

Our mission is to help protect you, your children, your communities, and your businesses from the most dangerous threats facing our nation—from international and domestic terrorists to spies on U.S. soil…from cyber villains to corrupt government officials…from mobsters to violent street gangs…from child predators to serial killers. Along the way, we help defend and uphold our nation’s economy, physical and electronic infrastructure, and democracy.”

Supposedly this organization has so many “intelligent” people working and they cannot even spell out “intel –driven”?

Let’s match up their mission and priorities and see how this information we are gleaning is coming together. Here it is from the FBI’s link:

“Our Mission

As an intelligence-driven and a threat-focused national security organization with both intelligence and law enforcement responsibilities, the mission of the FBI is to protect and defend the United States against terrorist and foreign intelligence threats, to uphold and enforce the criminal laws of the United States, and to provide leadership and criminal justice services to federal, state, municipal, and international agencies and partners.

Our Priorities

The FBI focuses on threats that challenge the foundations of American society or involve dangers too large or complex for any local or state authority to handle alone. In executing the following priorities, the FBI—as both a national security and law enforcement organization—will produce and use intelligence to protect the nation from threats and to bring to justice those who violate the law.

  1. Protect the United States from terrorist attack
  2. Protect the United States against foreign intelligence operations and espionage
  3. Protect the United States against cyber-based attacks and high-technology crimes
  4. Combat public corruption at all levels
  5. Protect civil rights
  6. Combat transnational/national criminal organizations and enterprises
  7. Combat major white-collar crime
  8. Combat significant violent crime
  9. Support federal, state, local and international partners
  10. Upgrade technology to successfully perform the FBI’s mission”

It seems that this mucky gibberish is their way of saying, “Gosh, we’re paranoid and we want you to be, too. And we want you to waste time and money supporting our paranoia veiled under the language of “patriotism” and ‘protecting national security’.”

One thing is sure: until we pare down the Census Bureau (to be discussed) we will not make progress on “civil rights” or “race relations” How ridiculous does that sound? And it is your government that is making all this lack of progress and all the trouble and stress possible. Just remember, there are people terrorizing this country every day from the inside; child abusers and molesters and pornographic suppliers, sex offenders, spouse abusers, serial killers, abusive teachers, bullies in the schools, parents who don’t pay child support, racial profilers, stalkers, and drug runners and pimps and gang –bangers. Who needs talk of all this “overseas” gibberish when we have enough problems to solve RIGHT HERE in our own borders?

The DHS or Department of “Homeland Security”

“The Department of Homeland Security has a vital mission: to secure the nation from the many threats we face. This requires the dedication of more than 240,000 employees in jobs that range from aviation and border security to emergency response, from cyber -security analyst to chemical facility inspector. Our duties are wide-ranging, but our goal is clear – keeping America safe.”

Talk about government linking and lingo and deep layering: enough will be known by looking at the following very involved and very complex and detailed links to the DHS and its policies: http://www.dhs.gov/dhs-rulemaking and http://www.dhs.gov/mission.

Oh boy already… how much more of this can we take?

Had enough? Well don’t go yet- there is more!

The TSA or Transportation Security Administration

Do we need this extra layering of the TSA AND “Homeland Security?” Honestly I’ve felt safe in air travel since the 1970’s, when the Vietnam War was still going on and the United States was involved around the world. 9/11/2001 was a sad day for everyone and it served a need for an increase in security but not, in the view of many, for the creation of an entirely new organization, when there has been some kind of security over our nation’s airports and cargo transport zones for decades now.

Travel now is slower (and they think it is expedited) for passengers than ever before. We now have to remove our shoes, have bags inspected down to their zippers, remove our belts, be pelted with rays and signals, and be identified until we think we can say our social security numbers backwards while standing on our heads in the security screener. When was there a time when bags were not screened, or a time when there was not ample security in the airports? Think the CIA or FBI or the National Guard could handle that without this extra layer of the TSA wasting our time and money?

Here is what the TSA overview says they are doing for you (and how much more will we want done with this “for you” attempt?):

“Protecting Transportation

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) was created in the wake of 9/11 to strengthen the security of the nation’s transportation systems while ensuring the freedom of movement for people and commerce. Within a year, TSA assumed responsibility for security at the nation’s airports and deployed a federal workforce to screen all commercial airline passengers and baggage.

TSA now vets 100 percent of all passengers into, out of, and within the United States through TSA’s Secure Flight program. We use the latest technology to stay ahead of evolving threats, and continuing our efforts to screen 100 percent of cargo, regardless of where or how it is moving.

I will clarify the word “vets” since the writers of the web page were not kind enough to elaborate despite their cumulative intelligence. What is the meaning of “vets”?

When you “vet” something you:

a : subject to usually expert appraisal or correction <vet a manuscript>

b : evaluate for possible approval or acceptance <vet the candidates for a position>

So the TSA and every “security layer” we have in this country knows more about you when you get on that flight than you do about yourself… now is that something to be concerned about… or isn’t it? Below is more about the TSA.

*           *           *           *           *           *

Improving Security Through Layered, Risk Based Approach

TSA employs a layered, risk-based approach to secure U.S. transportation systems, working closely with stakeholders in aviation, rail, transit, highway, and pipeline sectors, as well as the partners in the law enforcement and intelligence community. The agency continuously sets the standard for excellence in transportation security through its people, processes, technologies and use of intelligence to drive operations.

We use layers of security to ensure the security of the traveling public and the Nation’s transportation system. Because of their visibility to the public, we are most associated with the airport checkpoints that our Transportation Security Officers operate.

These checkpoints, however, constitute only one security layer of the many in place to protect aviation. More security measures both visible and invisible to the public include:

  • Intelligence gathering and analysis
  • Checking passenger manifests against watch lists
  • Random canine team searches at airports
  • Federal air marshals
  • Federal flight deck officers” (Italics mine for emphasis).

*          *          *          *          *          *          *

So far what is the common ground of these “Security” organizations? Let’s review.

Purpose/Mission NSA/CSS CIA FBI DHS/TSA
Cryptology
Gathering   Signals
Computer   Spying/Networking
Dominance   of Intelligence Gathering or Providing Intelligence
Covert   Actions or Military Support
Securing   Infrastructure

Couldn’t we make do with just one that can take care of everything? Why not- the resources are spread out now and we have enough trouble understanding why all the waste, the specialty symbols and uniforms and scanning devices and the excess and the problems, including inappropriate or poor behavior by security staffers. Seems that just one “Central Intelligence and Security Association” would be more than enough, combining resources, paring down, recycling paper and plastics and “going green” and saving enough money to reduce the deficits and reduce citizens’ anger at the scandalous intrusions of government waste.

And anyhow, are you tired of this talk of “improved security” and “national security” and secrets and other wasteful chatter that hints of the “Cold War” and having to keep information from others and holding up the veil of “national interest” and this idea that the US has to be dominant and controlling in every part of the world? Considering that our nation is still in its infancy, does it make sense that we should dictate to nations a lot older and more civilized than ours? We need to do more listening and studying than dictating and patrolling and militarizing, and perhaps then we would be cured of arrogance, waste, pride, envy, greed and all those other bad behaviors we do not want to “own up” to displaying every day. Our government needs that dose of humble pie, and perhaps a few dozen humble pies before the facts are clear: WE DO NOT APPROVE OF THE (LACK OF) JOB YOU ARE DOING, SO GET WITH IT!

We have to every day at our work, so why aren’t you people in Washington doing the same?

*          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

Our National Guard should be just THAT, OURS!

No more foreign involvement for our National Guards –people! Saying they are protecting our interests when they are 10,000 miles away from the United States is like saying you are watching your cake bake in your own kitchen oven while traveling in another state. It is an attempt at telling you that your tax dollars are being properly spent in guarding our “national interests” when the people on whom those dollars are spent are nowhere near guarding OUR nation but are watching over the rebuilding of and defending of other nations such as Iraq, Afghanistan, and other places where it is plain that those people do not like the presence of Americans in the first place and are doing all they can to let us know that.

Our National Guards ought to be HERE, within OUR borders, protecting people until rough neighborhoods are restored to order, helping out in natural disasters, and providing defense against so-called homegrown terrorism. You don’t have to go halfway around the world to find terrorists and troublemakers; they are right here within our borders.

*          *          *          *          *          *          *

I say to Congress, if you cannot do good work, GO HOME and quit wasting money running the Capitol. EARN your salaries for goodness’ sakes and stop the whining, the bickering, the arguing and the filibustering and the racism and the demographic junk that is ruining our nation. You certainly do not have our approval now, so just get out of Washington. Eventually we will vote you out anyway so why continue to waste resources? Just get out and give everybody some peace and quiet so we don’t have to hear about what you are (not) doing every day.

RESOURCES

  1. http://www.nsa.gov/. 25 July 2013
  2. http://www.nsa.gov/about/central_security_service/index.shtml
  3. https://www.cia.gov/index.html
  4. https://www.cia.gov/about-cia/cia-vision-mission-values. Posted: Apr 04, 2007 03:54 PM. Last Updated: Jan 10, 2013 08:19 AM
  5. http://www.fbi.gov/about-us
  6. http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/quick-facts
  7. http://www.dhs.gov/about-dhs
  8. http://www.dhs.gov/dhs-rulemaking
  9. http://www.dhs.gov/transportation-security-overview
  10. “Vet”. Merriam-Webster.com. 2013. http://www.merriam-webster.com (27 July 2013).
  11. “Help”. Merriam-Webster.com. 2013. http://www.merriam-webster.com/help/citing.htm (27 July 2013).

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2013.

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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UNO Group to Receive State Funding AGAIN?:: NO WAY!

UNO CHARTER SCHOOL ORGANIZATION TO RECEIVE FUNDING FROM THE STATE OF ILLINOIS????????????????????????????

Now, talk about corruption, but…. WHOSE HAND IS FEEDING THE PEOPLE IN SPRINGFIELD, FROM THE UNO CHARTER SCHOOL COALITION?

Funding was cut off from UNO, being an Hispanic – sounding -based acronym for United Neighborhood Organization, because of shady dealings and pouring out lots of money for the building of charter schools at a time when the hot issues in Cook County and Chicago are about school closings in the Chicago Public Schools (CPS) system. People are suspicious because they hear about the closing of the public schools and the building of these so -called “charter” schools.

It does not matter what the school is called; if the quality of the education and the teachers and the overall appearance and atmosphere of the school is not up to the highest standards, then what is the point? What is the need of all the specialization and the bickering and the nepotism and the diversity/ethnicity angles?

Family ties strike again in the Chicago area as millions of dollars are wasted and spent lavishly and crookedly to boost just this one section of our population!

This new funding push of $100 million could have been used to keep some of the public schools open or boost the material resources available to more students in the CPS system than in just this one part of the city for the UNO group.

I don’t blame parents in the CPS system for wondering now what is happening with this early enrollment deal, with people going ahead and putting on a school’s roll students whose parents have not given permission for that to happen. Perhaps these parents wised up and sent their children elsewhere, to better schools in other parts of the city, away from the stigma of going to schools in the south and west of the city.

They can talk all they want regarding the closing of some and the opening of other schools, but if these areas are still plagued by gangs, drugs, cartels like Sinaloa, turf wars, unsafe roads and the like, then who cares what the schools are like. The improvements need to happen on the community level, the proverbial “grass roots” level we hear of when issues become so complicated that we must return to the basics in order to understand what happened, what is going on, how to solve the problems, and how to ensure that, hopefully, the problems will not happen any more.

Here is a quote from the following resource that sheds light on the UNO situation:

UNO CEO Juan Rangel, a key supporter of Mayor Rahm Emanuel, said the funding suspension could affect completion of the UNO Soccer Academy High School, but he hoped the issues would be resolved in time to open the school as planned in the fall.

“We are working collaboratively with the state of Illinois to address the concerns they have, and we’re hopeful we will get past that shortly,” Rangel said. “We can do a better job. Part of that requires that we make structural changes within the organization.”

Those changes will include new procedures “to ensure that we are doing things with complete transparency” and an expanded UNO board of directors that will take a more active role in running the organization, Rangel said.

A source inside the organization said the board is being reconstituted because some believe Rangel had gained too much control over the current board, which is when the problems started to flourish. A new board, which will be announced early next week and includes members not affiliated with UNO, would diminish Rangel’s influence over contract decisions, the source said.

Group co-founder Ald. Daniel Solis also indicated that changes are coming but declined to criticize Rangel, who has become the organization’s public face. “I personally believe Juan still has a role to play within UNO, and I think the board will recognize that,” said Solis, 25th.

RESOURCES

1. http://www.suntimes.com/news/watchdogs/20027789-452/where-uno-charter-schools-money-comes-from.html

2. http://www.unocharterschools.org/

3. http://www.suntimes.com/news/metro/19711841-418/state-cuts-off-money-to-embattled-uno-charter-schools-over-insider-deals.html

Divi Logan, Chicago, ©2013