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;

***************************************************************************

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.

Advertisements

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.

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.

Homeland Security? Orange Line Incident Prompts Questions About Security and Funding.

Well now it’s come to this: think about what we are doing regarding “homeland security”.

We want to talk up this business about securing our borders and our nation from outside threats such as from Yemen, Iraq and other terrorist nations and organizations… but when it comes to the thought of protecting against threats that happen right here within our own states, we seem to have a major problem supplying personnel and equipment to do that.

The incident yesterday along the CTA Orange Line prompts me, a regular rider, to question what is going on.  For those who read this article and who are not familiar with it, let me enlighten you: the Orange Line is part of the Chicago Transit Authority’s system of elevated trains that goes through the famous Loop district. On this train patrons can ride all the way to Midway Airport; from the Roosevelt Stop the trip is about thirty minutes. You can get straight on it from the Red Line by accessing a tunnel and escalators to go up to the Orange Line stop.

Yesterday the peace of patrons on the Orange Line was shattered when armed assailants burst into the cars, announced a robbery and took things from riders. Apparently they got on at the Halsted stop and got off at the Roosevelt stop and took off. Now with the number of people at the Roosevelt stop and the amount of activity there it is hard to believe that someone did not yell out that there was a problem and that the personnel downstairs could not catch up with those people or call for backup and clear the area.

So where is all this “security” we are supposed to see since 9/11/01? Where are the vested officers, the dogs, the extra cruisers and personnel? WHERE ARE THEY? Every so often in the Red Line I see a dog with an officer, and the occasional extra officers in the gate area, but this should not be “occasionally”.

And if there is any denial that we have terrorists right here in our nation, that incident should push the denial right out of the minds of the law personnel and clear the rust out of our brains and the dust from our eyes and make us question even more, “WHERE ARE THOSE EXTRA SECURITY PERSONNEL?”

Also what happened to the idea of acting so quickly on the sentence we hear every time now that we are on a Chicago train: “If you see something, say something!” Perhaps the riders between those Orange Line stops were so in shock that they could not react quickly enough to inform 9-1-1 or the conductor that something was wrong. Perhaps also, there being more than one assailant, the means of contacting help were denied to the riders until the robbers jumped off the train.

What happens now that the security video has been released?

People sure are brazen these days, but desperation can breed such unusual behavior, such risky behavior as that which happened in broad daylight along that CTA train. It is a mean -spirited and desperate person indeed that brandishes a firearm among a crowd of peaceful travelers and shakes their minds up and demands their belongings. Just terrible…

… but what are we as ordinary citizens going to do about it? Carry more weapons? Have officers in every train car? Have cameras on every seat? Perform more citizens’ patrols? We sure are beyond just talking about the problems and the issues about “gun violence”. We are tired of hearing about it every day, seeing the evidence and the remains of it, and dealing with it. We don’t want to “deal with it”. We want it to end, be over, enough already.

What are we to do?

Divi Logan. Chicago, 2014.

The Workplace and Society: Loyalty, Denial, and Suffering.

Awareness.

At some point during each day and during life we possess and manifest this faculty… awareness. It is being “aware” of something, someone, or some aspect of where a person is and the circumstances of a situation.

We are bombarded with a lot of information and material stuff during each day; some of this is useful for us and some of it is not. We can to a degree screen out or tune out that which is not useful and attend to what is useful, but this takes energy and saps that which we need to focus on what is useful or worthwhile or necessary.

It is possible then to have too much information. You can consider this mental clutter.

It is as bad as having a cluttered house or a workplace. If a living space is filled with junk, stuff you do not use or which is being hoarded, such accumulation is a distraction from healthy living. Sooner or later clutter could attract dust and allergens, vermin, odors and then, if it really gets bad, visits from the fire department and the health department. At that point the situation is out of the hands or the jurisdiction of the owners or residents; it is being given strict attention by authorities who will give orders to the folks to clean up, to straighten things out, and to put the area in safe order before thirty days runs out.

Clutter as we have seen can cause dust and allergens to gather. In a workplace, dust is unsightly and gives the impression that the workplace is not being cared for, the merchandise does not move and is not useful or is outdated, and that employees do not care about appearance of the business. Dust might cause problems for customers who have severe allergies to what gathers in it, and then the business might lose customers. One bad comment can cause a lot of problems.

The circle of being in business involves those who work at the business and those who run it (manage, own). Satisfaction is relative; look at the way of conducting business as “do not assume things are good until they are”. Sure, good is a relative term, so think of the business environment in other ways than the ideas of good or bad, high or low, or broad terms such as these.

Consider the safety of those who work there and who are customers. Look at the workplace environment: what meets the eye or the senses when you walk in there? Are your senses met by neatness or by clutter, by clean and fresh shelves and air or by stagnant air and dusty shelves and dirty floors and cluttered displays? Is there room to maneuver safely, especially if you have a disability or other special needs? Is there room to do your work, allowing plenty of space for customer transactions or showing merchandise? Can the customer easily see the items available for sale or rental? Are the displays relevant to the mission of the business and the needs of the customers?

Safety – so valuable an asset that it must be considered at all turns of the work day – must be thought of in every way, from cleanliness to space to work in. Is it likely a person is going to trip over something, or get hair or a limb caught in something like a display or a stand? Are aisles free of clutter that narrows the space in which people can walk and look around and see what the business offers? Is suffering caused when people are frustrated that they cannot feasibly reach something or see something: in the case of the worker who due to clutter has a hard time reaching something a customer wants to see and thus has to take extra time to get to the item and makes the customer wait too long? What if there is too much to work with, to the point that the employee has to shuffle through a shelf display to get to the requested item?

A boss who does not communicate cannot expect the employees to communicate with them. Suffering cannot be known until it is talked about or until someone is made aware of it, is cognizant of the fact that conditions of “suffering” exist. Someone has to think that something is wrong or know something is, and tell someone that it is so that the situation can be addressed and solved. Without that knowledge, the problems continue. Denial is in itself a form of suffering – the one in denial tries to turn off or tune out the causes of the suffering (mental or actual clutter, lack of business, lack of capital, employees who do not perform to the boss’s standards, etc.), and thus might tune out the sufferings of others, namely those who work for them.

One must be careful about crossing the line of that which I call “micro -managing”. To micro -manage is rather like being a vulture that sits on a high post waiting for someone to mess up or be perceived as doing something wrong and then swooping in and correcting the person before the full situation is known. The supposed offender is vulnerable to attack before the situation is completely and fairly assessed and this can be a real morale -buster. Micro -managing is nit -picking and it is not a good idea. It is casting the stones before removing the board from one’s own eyes, it is arrogant and assumptive and foolish and dictatorial. Such an attitude can lose a business not only customers but employees as well, and without customers, what business? Without employees, what business?

Such tactics can also lead to a loss of good manners; those who micro -manage might perceive their employees as not going fast enough, or talking on the phone in the proper way or in the right order. The employee might be doing just the right things but is the boss aware of it or just hearing what they want to hear? Rude behavior is not acceptable; anyone with a modicum of knowledge of manners should know how to talk on the phone and how to interact civilly with others, not to interrupt, not to shout, not to push ahead in line or speak when others are talking.

We can break the cycle of suffering but we must be aware that it is going on and know what we can do about it.

What will you do about alleviating suffering?

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.

 

 

Wheels Carry Us to Invention, Inspiration, and… Progress?

Mankind invented the wheel. What have we done with that innovation?

We have come up with the horse and carriage, a transition to the motorized vehicle and which are still used in many parts of the country today. Though they have the horse which needs to be fed and cared for there is the need of the carriage with its two large wheels. We came up with the stagecoach… still needs horses, though, and at least four. More expensive care and feeding there, and for the tourist carriages that roll through some American cities there is the extra need for safety procedures that ensure the care of horse and riders.

Chicago is a city that runs twenty -four hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, all the time but not always on time. Yet we as a city -race do run, and we can run ourselves ragged.

We as citizens of America’s third -largest city are surrounded by wheels. There are four of them on our cars; there are hundreds of them on the trains we take every day, and there are hundreds of them on the busses that come to collect us and take us to our destinations.

On television we also see the wheel. There is the wheel of fortune on the show of the same name. There is a wheel on the popular game show and one of the longest running television shows, the Price is Right, and there are wheels of prizes on Let’s Make a Deal. If there is not a wheel there is the “roll” of the dice in the hopes of winning something really nice. Among the prizes offered are, what else, cars and motorcycles.

We can easily forget in the limelight of potentially winning one of those spectacular prizes the elements of safety that come with owning them. If you drive you must realize that there are rules of safety designed to keep you and other drivers and pedestrians safe. There are rules and laws of decency that every driver needs to know and to follow. Never use a device that takes your hands off the steering wheel. You are in a moving automobile, a vehicle weighing at least three thousands pounds and much more the larger and heavier it is. Vehicles can travel the length of a football field in less than ten seconds at 55 miles an hour.

Left untamed, the wheel can take us right into nothing but trouble. Four of them moving at that speed can cause great catastrophes and harm and injury and destruction.

The wheel is a sign and symbol of taking risk, of making a journey, of traveling and of arriving.

Somewhere.

We get in our cars or on the bus or train with the intention of getting someplace and doing something. We “fight traffic”, we get into “traffic jams”, and we experience “train delays” and construction delays every day. Now delays can be caused by any number of reasons- the ever -present construction, weather situations, trucks stuck under viaducts, or flooded viaducts. And under us those wheels made of rubber and metal, decorated by hubcaps and inflated by air pressure, those wheels supporting the tons of metal, rubber, and… people who use them every day.

And under those wheels, the roads that need the very constant maintenance that causes those jams and delays and ties -up and other situations we encounter. Roads and tracks need to be in good order to support the thousands of vehicles traveling on them every day, and if they are not we can and do see the consequences.

Airplanes also have wheels. Isn’t it amazing when you look at those tiny tires under the millions of tons of jetliner and wonder how they support it? Some jets weigh close to half a million tons, so it seems a stat on the aptly -called jumbo jets came through once. Planes take off at over a hundred miles an hour and touch down on those incredible tires, and I to this day am inspired to watch when a jet comes into the terminal jet -way, gazing at those circles of rubber and metal. Remarkable.

We are a nation of travelers, no matter what we are doing. We watch shows that inspire us to travel; we get out of the house and go places to do things. We feel the need and have the right to freedom of movement and to move anywhere we want.

But some people misuse those resources others pay taxes on and work on and get to work and school and play and worship on. Some people use their vehicles to commit drive -by murders, use them to dispense drugs, use them to run the drugs to other states, use them to commit road rage, vehicular homicide, and hit and run incidents that take the lives of others and can leave others maimed for life. Some people consider that they can just throw waste on the roads, where other have to see and smell it every day. They throw it out lazily and without any consideration that someone else will have to clean it up, and when there are trash bags and receptacles they can put the waste into. You who litter and who just toss junk onto the roads should know better than that! Such habits show a total lack of consideration for the lives of others; throw the junk onto a road and you could cause an accident. You might think that little piece of trash is nothing but if someone runs over it or hits it a tragedy could happen, and you would be at fault for causing death and destruction.

You would be at fault for causing loss of life, of someone who might turn out to be a loved one or a friend or even someone you work with. Do you think of that?

But there are better ways to consider the roads we use and everything that goes with using those roads. Of course we can think of those roads but we do have other ways to travel, and those ways existed before the wheel.

We have feet and we can make trails and paths- we were doing so long before we had to invent the convertible. We were running and hunting and getting around because we had to, because we needed to get place to place and follow the animals and the spring rains and the trade routes.

We can use our feet to go some places so long as the walk is not super long… that is unless we are on a relay race that takes us across states and countries to raise funds for some worthy cause as happened this week to help the people affected by events in Boston last year. Thousands of people will this coming week run in the Boston Marathon, only a year after two horrid men set off bombs in that beautiful city, killing and maiming and doing great harm to many people.

And how will the racers and spectators get to Boston? Well, if they live close enough some might walk to see the Marathon. But my wager is that most of them will travel on or in a vehicle with wheels. Some will fly in and take busses and cars; some will drive sedans and coupes, and some will ride their bicycles or motorcycles as far as they can get them to the race limits. They will take the tens of thousands of miles of roads that cross the United States, roads they hope are safe and maintained and travel -ready, will share those roads with thousands of other drivers and passengers in millions of vehicles of every size and description.

Trucks, huge semi tractor -trailers, moving vans, fire engines, ambulances, cars of every size and shape and vintage; the sport utility vehicles, busses and campers used for recreation during nice weather, and the motorcycles, vans, and limousines will make their way to Boston. With them are the police officers and the security teams that will monitor the routes and the airports leading in and out of that fair city.

There will be risks getting in and out of Boston as there are any other city or any place we go every day. Those who turn the chance into a grand circumstance will see an event that will be so very special to the participants and spectators, not only because the racers have trained and prepared for that big day but because of those thousands that will join them live and on television and by computer to watch them in that effort to show the world that those nasty terrorists have NOT WON that day and WILL NOT WIN at any time and any place on United States land.

We love to travel. Let’s all stay safe doing so.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

Chicago Public Spaces and Parks a Disgrace: What are the Consequences When we Do Whatever We Want?

We Have Freedoms and Privileges… But What Happens When we Abuse Them?

redwingbird

Last year it hit me, so to speak, and I have spent months wondering what to do about this situation…

Maybe get out my own broom, mop, dustpan, trash can, trash bags, gloves and boots and get to the parks and clean them up myself?

That is what I gladly would have done had I those resources and the time to improve a particular section of Grant Park. I wanted to take a nice walk along Michigan Avenue in sunny weather, to clear my head, get away from work for a while, and ground to the natural world to get some good Earth energy. What met my eyes and other senses was enough to make me want to get back to the hard sidewalk (not much cleaner) and go back to where I work.

 Grant Park Scene

In that one stretch of what would have been nice green space and good space were cigarette butts enough to take over the grass, evidence of pet and human waste, trash and enough detritus to make it seem that area of the park had not been cleaned in weeks.

That is what I have encountered in parks and beaches all over Chicago- litter and trash blowing about or embedded in the ground, glass shards, food waste, pet waste, cigarette material including butts and containers … and all in sight of trash cans someone could easily walk or ride a few steps over to deposit the waste.

View Towards Downtown Chicago from Lincoln Park Bridge near the Zoo.

View Towards Downtown Chicago from Lincoln Park Bridge near the Zoo.

Do we dare think ourselves in America civilized and progressive? Hah, I think not. We are about as crude, lazy, disgusting and indecent as people can get. I think people whom we dismiss as “Neanderthals” were more civilized than we are… we ought to be ashamed of how we are treating our public spaces and how little attention we are paying to the others who want to use them and enjoy them, who want as I did to get away from the office and have a good lunch or a nice walk in the parks that line the “Magnificent Mile. We want a place to step into the fresh grass, see the fine trees and flowers, and get in touch with the energies of the universe that can revitalize and inspire us, that wonderful world of nature.

But this is awfully hard to do when the park walks are cracked and jutting and uneven and littered. It is hard to do when there is human waste in evidence, which is not only unsightly but can be dangerous. Suppose someone touches it, or steps in it, which in the former case could lead to disease and in the latter is tracked into cars, busses, trains, your place of work, the restaurants, the schools, the museums, maybe your condo or apartment. Kids and pets are curious about lots of things and they could easily touch it, lick it, or put their noses into it. Wastes endanger people and pets, so when you leave wastes around you are creating a public nuisance. By your disordered and crude thinking you are endangering others. How pitiful and how disgusting and how uncivilized. EEWWW.

Come on, folks, think right: you have rights, privileges and freedoms, but do not abuse them. Think of others for a change and get some discipline in your lives. If you are going to be around others (the public) then you have to respect the rights, privileges and freedoms of everyone around you. If you start to get that sly, foxy look and frame of mind as you walk the streets chewing on that burger or banana and you think, “Oh, I’ll just dump the paper here, no one will notice,” (what cave did you crawl out of?) you bet someone will notice, the person who has to clean up after you or steps in that stuff and gets it on their new shoes. Take the few steps to the nearest trash can and dump the refuse in there and then quietly go your way.

You pay taxes to keep the parks clean and others pay taxes too, for the purpose of having spaces to enjoy. Respecting others is simply a matter and part of being a good citizen, something you should have learned from an early stage of life. You don’t just throw down your garbage and expect that others will clean up after you because “it is their job”. Cleaning up is a matter of safety for yourself and others.  It is disgusting to litter and “do your think” in a public setting, so just don’t do that. And do not eat or drink on public transit. Ever seen a train car or a bus littered with sunflower seeds, banana peels, chip bags, disposable cups and candy bar wrappers and gum stuck to places others touch? YECCH.

As for the personnel of the Park District, I bring to your attention Bughouse Square, which one year before the Chicago Marathon was littered with cigarette refuse, other trash, dog waste and leaf litter, a disgrace for people visiting to see and have to deal with. In fact I went back to my apartment and took out a broom and went to the park to try and clean up a little bit of it. It got so disgusting after a while I shook off the broom and went to do other things, wondering why it looked like that part of the Gold Coast had not been touched in a long time.

ChiNash2013 093

Wood Duck in Stunning Plumage.

Lincoln Park is also just as bad: cracked and crumbling walking paths that jut bodies and bikes and are uneven and dangerous, litter everywhere, cigarette crud that is toxic and unsightly, trash blowing about, remains of picnics, food waste. It is not even a thought to want to step on the grassy areas in that (should be) beautiful park because of the junk that is in those spaces. Areas north towards the 2800 and 3000’s areas of Chicago also have parks that are in terrible shape. These parks are close to homes, schools, hospitals, hotels and restaurants and museums.

Where is the money for the parks and public spaces going? I think any concerned citizen should get down to finding out.

In the meanwhile, we concerned citizens might just have to use our own brooms, gloves, tarps, mops, trash cans and trash bags and clean the parks up ourselves, using the wonderful concept of the neighborhood cleanup day to do just that the moment we have weather good enough to do that in. We should consider the parks as we would our own yards and keep them clean. We can see them from our living spaces after all, and most city dwellers do not have a real yard, so we have the parks and beaches we all should be able to enjoy and love.

What we love and enjoy we ordinarily want to take care of, right? When you get something precious as a gift you want to have it for a long time and take good care of it. The parks are a precious natural resources set aside for everyone, that’s right EVERYONE, to enjoy, to go to and commune with nature, to romp around with family and friends, to take a quiet walk or a bike ride, to walk the dog or to stroll the baby. Naturally if you walk the dog it is up to YOU to clean up after the pet totally and thoroughly and leave no trace of where you have been. Dispose of the waste in a trash can, tightly wrapped to prevent odors escaping. Change the baby before going out. If you eat, dispose of your trash in the proper receptacle, and that is not including park benches, the ground, or any surface. Trash goes in trash cans.

Black-crowned Night Herons from part of a Colony in Lincoln Park.

Black-crowned Night Herons from part of a Colony in Lincoln Park.

Take care of what you have, including your dignity and your fellow citizens.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

RESOURCES

1. Wikipedia contributors. “Grant Park (Chicago).” Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 30 Dec. 2013. Web. 29 Jan. 2014.

Photographs taken with a LEICA V-LUX-4 bridge camera.

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.

+          +             +          +                +           +

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.