The Mayor and Mr. Claypool: Chicago Citizens Suffer Under an Arrogant City Regime

THE MAYOR AND MR. CLAYPOOL: OUT OF TOUCH WITH CHICAGO’S CITIZEN MILLIONS

In the news what do we have? Here is just a brief list:

Citizens on a hunger strike for the support of the school they want in their neighborhood;
Among the worst (gun) violence in the nation;
Schools in disrepair;
Teachers upset and on strike and threatening strikes;
Pension funds a mess;
Roads and bridges in disrepair;
Homeless families and veterans;
Special needs people who are seeing cuts in funds for services……………………..

And what are our officials talking about? Here is just a sampling:

Property tax increases;
Garbage fees (we already pay for utility and garbage fees at many apartment complexes);
School property tax increases;
Congestion tax for people who drive in from the suburbs;
Taxes on sugary drinks such as sodas and fruit punches;
Cutting public school personnel and jeopardizing teachers and students;
Selling expensive parking lots and earning millions of $$ from those sales in downtown;
Closing schools and establishing charter schools that do not use union personnel;

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What are our officials NOT talking about? Cutting their own perks and salaries and timing themselves on a time clock like many citizens do, and being accountable to the people who elect them instead of to the mayor who hand-picks many of those ‘trusted’ officials. These narcissistic people are so worried, so paranoid and obsessive-compulsive about giving up or sharing their power that they will do just about anything… but that is going to ruin not only their reputations but our city as well.

Who is going to want to have a business or a home in the city limits? Who will want to drive in and be sacked with a ‘congestion tax’? And by the way, some Chicago apartment managers charge for garbage collection and sewer services and a resident told me that doing so is illegal because the city already pays those companies so we are being charged twice for garbage collection. They head everything under the name of “utility fees”.

We certainly need people in our city department offices who are not accountable to the mayor, who are not hand-picked by the mayor, who have to answer to their employees and not their boss the mayor, and who must answer to a citizen’s board made up of people from all the neighborhoods and who have a bone to pick with the mayor and his arrogant ivory-tower inner circle.

No doubt they have their hands in every department and every office. I suspect that if you turned upside down and shook the boards of METRA, the RTA, Chicago Parks, the CTA, and the Streets & Sanitation, you would find some mayoral crony in the official circle. The Chicago City Council and the Chicago Public Schools already have that deep trouble, and they will push taxes through in a hurry without any consideration of the millions who will suffer.

We are in the grips of a high-money mayor who has his head in the clouds of big money and corporate favoritism and Washington politics. Yet he was booed out of a public meeting recently and there are many people who hope that happens at every public meeting he has until the problems we have are resolved completely to citizens’ satisfaction.

Those few tyrannizing over the many? Uh, folks, we need to get on the officials and in a hurry. We need to ask them what is going on, we need to ask to whom they are answering. If they say, “I answer to the mayor” then those who work for them have choices – they can strike, they can reply, “Oh, then if you cannot help me then why am I working for you?” They can leave the city and go elsewhere, to jobs where they will be appreciated and leave the officials hanging and wondering and having to search their own consciences and finally cooperate with their constituents.

Just look around – there are already people leaving for other cities and suburbs. There are plenty of ‘for sale’ and ‘for lease’ signs in downtown, and there are plenty of homeless and beggars and families suffering on our streets. There are vacant lots full of trash and there are abandoned buildings that attract drugs and crime and vermin. What is the mayor and his inner circle going to do – drive out so many people that only the rich will be left and those who are left will be ‘taxed to the max’ and then want to leave? What will Chicago be left with – no residents, no small businesses, and no workforce.

Get the officials to answer to you or band together and find ways to fire them for not doing their jobs. After all, if the average citizen did not do their job they would be severely reprimanded or fired or demoted, so considering that we let those officials keep their jobs and their money and perks and cushy seats, we should stay on top of them like our employers sandwich us in and hold them accountable for every little thing – yes, every pothole, every power outage, every flooded home, every rat and mouse in the alleys, every tax increase, every investigation that shows government waste, every closed school, every murder using a gun, every homeless veteran, and everything else we know can be corrected. We just have to do this ourselves.

If the officials are too prim and lazy to get out there then grass-roots efforts are the answer. We need to show them how it is done and organize cleanup days and go through this city from south to north and from east to west till we like the way it looks. Then we can work on deciding where our taxes should be spent and how they should be spent and who should control that money. We need to send the officials home for a few weeks, rather like a time-out for a fussy child, until they can cooperate and politely ask to come out of the corner and then assure us, their bosses, those who elected them (and what is the mayor but an elected official so where does he come off being so arrogant and stuck-up), that they can and will behave properly and do their jobs correctly and for the benefit of those who put them in office.

Meanwhile we have the:

Citizens on a hunger strike for the support of the school they want in their neighborhood and who are now going to rally for an elected school board;
Among the worst (gun) violence in the nation;
Schools in disrepair;
Teachers upset and on strike and threatening strikes;
Pension funds a mess;
Roads and bridges in disrepair;
Homeless families and veterans;
Special needs people who are seeing cuts in funds for services
Kids dying on our streets due to drugs and guns and gangs……………………….

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2015.

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.

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.

School and Students:: How to Be and Remain a Good Student

Are you a good student? Do you want to be a good or a better student? Here is an article about how to accomplish that goal… or some good pointers at least.

1. The Phrase “dress for success” Really Does Have Meaning… and here is how it does.

What influences the manner in which you dress, in which you get ready for each day in choosing what to wear? Naturally the seasons of the year have bearing on what you wear; if it is warm you might wear shorts, lighter -colored socks and pants, and light -material and lighter -colored shirts and blouses. If the conditions are cold, you go for thicker socks, heavier pants, and coats, mittens, and thick hats and earmuffs.

What else has to do with what you wear? One factor is what you have that is clean and pressed. If you need to do laundry then do it; if the codes of your school require that your clothes are properly pressed and your shoes polished then do that or have someone teach you how to iron and how to keep your shoes clean and neat. Clothing also must be appropriate for the situations you are going into. Many schools have dress codes and uniforms, and it is suggested that no fuss is made when you encounter those rules. Rules are made for a reason and should be followed. If you are not sure of something, please ask a trusted teacher or other authority figure and listen to them carefully.

If your school does not have a dress code and what to wear is under your discretion, play it safe. If you put something on and you have ANY doubts at all about how you look in it or whether or not the clothes will cause trouble or attract undesirable attention or makes you look funny, then take it off and save it for the weekend or the beach or vacation. Refuse to follow trends if they do not make you feel comfortable; after all you are the one who for hours a day will wear that shirt, those pants or shorts, those shoes and socks and belts and jewels. Opt for simple clothes without a lot of graphics or loud colors that will definitely attract attention and distract you from your studies or will distract others from their studies.

Remember that there are other people around; the school is not just you alone.

2. Be Respectful and Punctual as Possible

Respect is not only a manner of behavior, it is essentially a duty of every citizen one towards the other. To “respect” simply means to look at again. You can certainly respect yourself in a healthy way and thus you are able to respect others as easily as you breathe and walk and eat. In any public setting, respect of others is just essential and vital to remember, simple as that. How do you respect others, or how can you learn the ways to do that?

One way is to wait your turn to speak, especially if those who are talking are older than you. It is just proper to respect your elders, including teachers, professors, and all school personnel, no matter what position they hold. They are your elders and experienced in what they do, and can provide you with direction and knowledge, so listen carefully to what they say.

Never shout down a hallway or on a street corner or in a quiet room or library or other places where people are reading and studying. Shouting and screaming in public is a vulgar habit and is not necessary. If you cannot reach someone right away, you can call them or text them or send electronic mail any time. If you contact someone electronically, remember to use the rules of proper electronic etiquette. There are plenty of resources that teach those habits.

Endeavor to be as on time as possible. Get up earlier for the bus if you have to, so you have time to dress, have breakfast and not rush through it, gather your supplies and head off to school. Do not keep the bus driver waiting, and do not keep the class waiting. Being on time is a life skill that you will always have and need to work on, no matter if you are going to school, going on a vacation, going out to dinner, or meeting someone. Punctuality is a good quality.

3. When You Have a Problem, Ask Questions.

Every once in a while we run into situations we do not understand, something about which we need clarification. At that point we need help… we need to ask questions. We need to gain understanding and problem solving.  This is where teachers and other trusted people enter the picture. These are folks who have the experience you need to get to the root of the problem and find out the answers. If there is a problem with the mathematics homework, ask your parents, or get onto a homework hotline, or ask your professor. Do not be afraid to ask for help; that is what these people are there to help with, solving problems. Be patient and learn the steps that will help in the future when you encounter other odd situations. Problem -solving is a life skill as well; you will need to learn to do this as you go through school, no matter what subjects you study. You will problem -solve in the workplace as well, so learn that skill and polish it every chance you have. Helping others to solve problems or get through concerns is a fine way to polish your own skills and such leadership is desirable. When you teach others you should get a good feeling and want to do more teaching.

4. Branch Out: Grow Out of Your Neighborhood and Into the Global Setting

Many people think that sticking to being in “the neighborhood” is a good thing. It is to a point, that point being that once you have seen everything, know everyone, know the habits and sights and sounds, you are probably ready to go to other places and see new things.

Branching out is a good thing and a vital element of growing up. Being social is just a part of what we do; it is why we are a “society”. You have to have the courage to say, “There are others out there who are different, and I want to get to know them. Sure others say to stick with people who look like me or talk like I do… but no one does that.”

Which is why you must take the lead and talk to others at your school. Is there someone who does not make friends easily? Talk with them. Is there someone who seems alone? Talk with them. Invite them to your lunch table or to sit outside on the school grounds and have a bag lunch out there and just talk about things. You will feel good, someone else will feel better, and both of you might become fast friends for life. Everyone is unique and individual and special, and because of that we must respect everyone.

You are the one who must take the first step away from the streets you find familiar, to reach towards that part of town you have not explored before but have heard about. Go there and look around, ask about what interests you and learn from the people in that area.

And when you have the chance, travel. When I had the chance for international travel I took the opportunity. Because I had the courage, the world was as an open book, but instead of looking at someone else’s photos, the pictures became living and colorful and alive and vibrant. In China there were people doing Tai Chi in the morning. In Japan there were people exercising and walking about and doing business. In Europe people went about their daily lives, playing and working and maintaining the home life. Some were there to take care of the tourists, and thanks to them my times in these areas was made pleasant and comfortable. Travel is essential in the growth process, even if it is just to another part of your city, and favorably if to another part of America and the world.

5. Growing Up, Have Fun!

No matter what you do, be your real self, learn what that means, and have fun exploring what that means. When you are sitting at the desk at home, burning the studying oil after dinner or late into the night to get that term paper ready, you are preparing for a lifetime of work and fun. You are the one who will grow out, make the changes, and learn to help others while helping yourself as well.

Enjoy your life!

Downtown Chicago

Photos taken with a Leica V -LUX -4 “bridge” style camera.

Communication is the Answer

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

 

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.

 

 

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.

PRO SPORTS PARTING WAYS WITH ORDINARY PEOPLE?

PRO SPORTS SETS BAD EXAMPLE FOR NON-ATHLETES AND THE VULNERABLE

The problems facing New York Yankees superstar Alex Rodriguez (AKA A-Rod) are only the tip of the iceberg. And that tip is poisoned with human growth hormones and other “performance enhancing drugs” or PEDs. Pity the person who has to resort to such means in order to boost their playing abilities and thus their salary and their notoriety. Unfortunately the attention A-Rod has received has not been the best or positive.

Other professional athletes have resorted to the use of PEDs, but one must ask why such means are necessary. Is standard physical exertion and practice not good enough to meet the needs and requirements of the teams on which these folks want to go? Why would a better diet, or another sort of workout program, be more useful? Why the need for these hazardous drugs and the methods of introducing them into the body?

It might be safe to say that many athletes at all levels could do with a better diet, less stress and more practice and perhaps a change in how they exercise. No doubt the issues revolve around pride and arrogance, greed and the shows- ancient as they are- of might and right.

Might and right… the strong having to show off, puff up, be “celebrities”, and show others the best and yet the worst that people can do and think. The best that can come out of being athletic is, ideally, a healthy lifestyle, free of drugs, balanced with proper exercise and a diet fit for the activities we do. People talk about “healthy living” all the time- eating less junk or processed foods, getting regular and wholesome sleep, getting regular and suitable exercise, and being careful when we do exercise so that we do not encounter burnout or injury.

There is that ancient and marvelous vision of the male and female athletic figure, going way back to early figures of human sculpture, with muscles toned and strong, with that ability to run marathons, lift weights, wrestle, tangle with fierce animals, and engage in gladiatorial events to determine who wins and loses surrounded by weapons and shields and dirt kicking up every which way. There is that ideal of the human being, burnished and buffed and bulging like the weightlifters at the Olympic Games, the long jumpers and the high jumpers, the shot putters, the javelin hurlers and the curlers, in their uniforms and colors with numbers and names. This is the ideal carried on into the present day, and we can see the results of performance instantly now versus centuries ago when events were held locally or when it took weeks to travel and hold events in other towns and countries.

Now we have the, uh, privilege of seeing hundreds of hours of professional and other levels of sports every day, every year. We are bombarded with such options across our mass media screens and devices and can see anything we want- football (Canadian, American, and Australian Rules), baseball, hockey, gymnastics, swimming, curling, the Olympics, horse racing, soccer, sailing, tennis, automobile racing (NASCAR, IRL, Formula One), motorcycle racing, monster truck events, demolition derbies, rugby, and others. We see people with whom we identify, struggling on those fields with others competing against them for that coveted trophy, the cash award, the glory of basking in the light of the cameras and that chance to say, “I WON!” It is the athletic version of the turf war- someone wants to take over that ground, claim it with any means necessary, and dance around in the camera lights gleaning every iota of attention that they can.

The corporate people just live it up and love every moment of it… unless their superstar goes wrong in doing drugs or abusing a spouse or getting hurt midway through the big contract with that celeb. Then what happens to the millions upon millions of dollars invested in that major marketing explosion to tout a new pair of shoes, the “official athletic gear” for that team, and the naming rights to stadiums and arenas? If that superstar player steps even that much out of line, it hits the news and the whole venture suffers. The product is not bought, the stock might go down in value, the player of course suffers both the injuries to the body and to their reputation with fans and with the front office, and the fans… well they are the ones hurt most.

We now can know about such mistakes as those made by A-Rod almost as soon as the legalese hits the mass media fan and the outlets get hold of “aha, another star has done something wrong and we can jump all over him/her”. Do YOU want YOUR kids having people like him as an example? I don’t want to have him even mentioned around me and I hope my niece and nephew do not go the way of him or others like him in order to gain some measly sense of attention and performance. I hope that if or when they have families that they keep their kids well clear of such bad examples.

Now we have the choice of whether or not to buy that season ticket, the hundred dollar seat, and the dozens of dollars in concessions. We must think about why we are watching professional sports when those players are getting contracts worth more than we will ever see in ten lifetimes unless we are fortunate enough to rake in ten million dollars a year. We must choose- do we support these people with their anger management issues, their salaries so big they can buy those big houses and cars and do those expensive drugs that get them in trouble?

I know where I am going with my attention to pro sports, that’s for sure. Far as this author is concerned, that’s enough for me. There are better things I can do with my money and time and resources, instead of giving another day or hour or second of attention to these people and teams and what surrounds them. I started feeling frustrated years ago with the continual talk from the sports business about salaries and poor performance issues, but now the fence has been crossed. There are other ways I can spend weekends. I plan in 2014 to frequent other venues of entertainment and culture, and put my money into charitable and benevolent causes where I know the results and can see what happens and not have (or reduce the chance of) a high-horse, puffed-chested celebrity getting in the way and taking money or attention that should be devoted to the point of the cause, such as giving to food banks, hospitals, medical research, and community service. I am going to put down the remote and pick up the cleanup gear and get out there and help someone else away from the spotlight.

What do you think? Is this the end of pro sports for you and your family too?

Divi Logan, Chicago. 2014.

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

North and South: Does the Civil War (!) Exist in Chicago-area Education System?

education

education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

PARENTS WHOSE KIDS ARE SLATED TO GO TO OTHER SCHOOLS GO TO THE “NORTH SIDE” TO MAKE A POINT. WHAT HAPPENED?

This morning on News Radio 780 WBBM in Chicago came the story of parents from the “south side” Englewood neighborhood and the Kenwood School, one of the schools on the chopping block for closing in the coming academic year, who united to board a bus and travel to a “north side” school, Pritzker, to make a point about enrollment and the disparity between schools in the city of Chicago and the CPS system.

The Pritzker school in question is located at 2009 W. Schiller St in ZIP code 60622. According to the overview of school page (see resources link at the end of this article), the school is known as a “regional gifted center” and serves grades K to 8.

Answer the question of qualification: Are your children qualified to be in a certain type of school? Well if it is in the CPS system, any student who has gone through the basics of the enrollment process should be qualified to enter any school they wish to enter.

Actually I side with the parents in going against putting their kids in one of the new “welcoming” schools and going to the north side school to make a point and get their kids in the place they believe will provide the quality education they desire for their child. With the corruption going on in the CPS system, the hot issues and topics and concerns behind the school closings and the talk of the “charter” schools and the funding going for UNO and the chitter chatter about “neighborhoods” and the negatives around that kind of talk, those parents had the right to go see another school and see about enrollment.

So is there a waiting list at Pritzker or is that a demographics -related ploy to drive the Englewood parents away and keep those children out of the Pritzker school?

Why all schools in Chicago are not equally provided for is anyone’s guess but surely racism and where the schools are located play a major role. But getting a quality, good education is the right of EVERY CITIZEN of this nation. No matter where the school is, no matter the demographics of your family or community, you have the right to enter your child wherever you please. There should be no boundaries for where a child should be able to go to school, and I think that any school that “bounds out” kids from other areas is not playing a straight game or throwing a fair ball. If you can get your child to the school where you want them enrolled, the school should accept the child, qualifications being met and any needed tests being passed and all judged and recorded fairly and properly and in due course.

Are gangs and the drug cartels your problem? Citizens, parents, elders, families, take your streets back now! TAKE YOUR STREETS BACK! Fight for what is yours, for what you work hard to keep clean and safe and free from harm and good for your kids! Fight back against the pimps, the pushers, the Sinaloa cartel, the addicts, the gang -bangers, the troublemakers who do not an honest day’s work but instead are around to make trouble, to cause harm, to be homegrown terrorists and engage in terrorism, to ruin your community and to make you afraid (or think they are making you scared). But YOU ARE NOT MADE AFRAID save by the reasoning of wanting to keep your kids in your own area and not wanting to branch out and grow. That is what the gangs want, for you to be scared, to cower and to hide and to not grow and prosper and be happy and content.

DO NOT GIVE THEM THE SATISFACTION! Tell them right up front, you won’t get any satisfaction here! Use clubs, broomsticks, mace, bricks and stones, whatever you have to, and drive those people away from your children, your homes, your streets, your schools and workplaces, your transit lines and your parks! DRIVE THEM OUT, hit and hurt them, do not give in and do not give up. If the politicians and the police cannot do it, YOU CAN! YOU ARE GOVERNMENT and YOU CAN MAKE IT WORK! Then send Washington and Chicago City Hall the bill for your “community cleanup” efforts.

Send them the bill for the yardwork you do, send them the bill for park maintenance you do with your own rakes, shovels, gloves, bags, trash cans, bleach or other cleaning supplies you gather in to clear your areas of graffiti, of any signs of gangs or drugs or prostitution. Send them the bill for the work you do on your houses and your streets.

PERSEVERE, parents and teachers! Your families, your children, your schools and communities, your future… our nation’s future.

RESOURCES

1. http://cps.edu/Schools/Pages/school.aspx?id=610229

2. http://www.pritzkerschool.org/

NRA is Not Right All the Time: Gun Control Must Take Hold

NRA: Not Right At All: Sandy Hook and Gun Control

Now it is obvious that the arguments of the NRA (National Rifle Association) regarding the Second Amendment and gun control and all the rest of the concerns revolving (excuse the word choice there) around “gun violence” are not complete nor are they accurate. Below is the Second Amendment.

Amendment II

A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.

First of all, banning certain types of weapons DOES NOT take away anything of the privileges we have in the Second Amendment, which gives us the right to bear arms. “Arms” can mean anything that is used to commit violence against someone using deadly force, strength meant to kill surely and not necessarily cleanly. It is DEADLY FORCE that is meant when someone takes a gun out and fires that weapon at a person with premeditated intent – they MEAN to KILL that person at whom the gun is pointed. It is ready for discharging and if the situation is upset enough the weapon will be used, and someone WILL DIE.

Sandy Hook, Connecticut

Sandy Hook, Connecticut (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The banning of certain weapons is not going to infringe on the Second Amendment, not at all. All the people of Sandy Hook want, and all that many Americans want, is to see the BANNING of certain types of guns and armaments accessories and an increase in background checks and details of said checks. The views of Chicago Police Department Superintendent McCarthy are correct in his five points, discussed some months ago in one of my previous blog entries. Now the police of communities across America cannot do all the work, the SWAT teams and the FBI cannot do all the work.

People must step up and write their representatives to the point of stuffing their mailboxes with letters insisting on these bans of assault rifles, high capacity magazines, and also of the increase in background checks for gun shows and all types of sales that are made anywhere, when guns are sold or transferred in ownership, and especially to keep track of where a gun might end up when it is stolen. There are GPS methods to track down stolen cars… there should perhaps be a way to insert GPS into guns to track them when the chip is activated. Privacy issues will come up no doubt but for now the issue is what to do about the “military style” guns that are being made and put on our streets every day.

On our streets we DO NOT NEED these assault weapons (though any type of weapon is really an “assault” weapon seeing that any sort of violence against another person is assault). We do not need in our communities the presence of the AR-15, the M-16, the Uzi, anything at all that is meant to take out many people as happened at Sandy Hook, as happened in Aurora, Colorado, and as happens every day in America as citizens allow gangs and corrupt people to take control of streets and communities for their drugs and their disgusting presence.

You can certainly have a firearm in your home or business for protection, and in most states you can carry a gun under the concealed carry law. But you certainly do not need one of those machine guns for daily protection unless you are in a war zone. There are some parts of America that might be called “war zones” because those communities have endured neglect and are run -down enough for gangs and drugs to take hold. Good people will leave and the bad elements will take over and the citizens who are stuck there will be in deep trouble. Points aside, you can have firearms and you can certainly uphold the Second Amendment. You do not have to listen to the NRA when deciding on gun control, plainly and simply.

The children and teachers who died at Sandy Hook will not be forgotten as long as parents are around, as long as caring citizens are here, as long as first responders have to pay visits to those types of scenes and make their reports. The record is there and the people of Connecticut have stepped up to tell America and Congress they are going to get tough for the gun control issue.

Those members of Congress and those other representatives who get good grades from the NRA need to remember the children who are struggling to get good grades in school every day in areas plagued by violence and racial gerrymandering and government neglect. Those senators who are going to filibuster and not vote on issues to regulate the gun industry and ban the assault weapons are going to have to answer their constituents if something happens in their state on the order of Sandy Hook or Aurora or Virginia Tech’s university campus massacre.

Those members of Congress will have to go before America and say that because they get an A rating from the NRA that they cannot support deeper gun control legislation that might save lives, that might keep our cities safer, that might take these guns out of the hands of gang bangers and criminals and violent people. They will have to answer the next time something like that happens if there is a next time.

The Second Amendment must be carefully considered away from what the NRA says will happen if we get tougher gun control. Such controls will not take away our right to have guns if we want them. We can certainly go out and get a gun, take courses on how to properly use a gun, and register it properly and learn to clean and care for it. We can teach the kids about gun safety if we have them around the house, so that nothing happens in the way of the unfortunate incidents that have popped up on the news lately, with younger kids shooting friends or siblings or family members.

Our esteemed wimpy idiotic foolish members of Congress need to get a backbone and act and pass tougher gun control laws immediately, no arguing, no filibustering, no posturing and no party politics. PLEASE people PLEASE do not do this to the good people of this country just because you are getting money and favoritism and perks from the NRA. They have their freedom of speech, they have their say, and you can listen to them with a grain of salt and then go on and pass the tougher laws. They have been heard and most people are tired of hearing them and their calling like telemarketers bugging people in Connecticut and with their daily comments on putting armed officers or teachers in schools.

WE DON’T NEED THAT, NRA! So QUIT SHOOTING OFF YOUR MOUTHS!

In memory of the children and teachers killed at Sandy Hook, Connecticut; in memory of the people killed at Virginia Tech; in memory of the people killed in Chicago especially the youth; in memory of the victims at Littleton, Colorado; in memory of the victims of the Aurora, Colorado, theater massacre; in memory of the people killed and wounded at the gathering of Gabby Giffords in Arizona… the hearts of the good people of America are with you every day.

http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/second_amendment

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2013.