America on a New Route of Rude?:: Rude, Crude, and Inhumane!?

Hello Chicago and hello America!

What is going on with our attitudes? Sure it is admitted that no human being is perfect in any way – be it behaviorally, physically, morally or spiritually. But we sure need to at least try to improve our behaviors towards others and in the presence of others.

Now my view of behavior and the science of it is that our reactions towards others begin with how we view ourselves and our environment and how environmental factors of all kinds have affected us.

My goodness, what a spit of rude behavior I have seen and experienced lately! We tend to misjudge and sadly prejudge others before we know the facts or the circumstances of situations we see or hear about. The so – called “news” does not help our tendencies to be so fast and thus to act before we think – such as been a shortcoming of our “progressive” technological world. But it is still rude to do many things and to act before thinking. Acting means any kind outward manifestation of thought here – speaking, shouting, gesturing, traveling, etc.

Just some of the examples I have seen of how rude Americans can be include:

Reprimanding someone when the reprimander did not know the rest of the situation (happened in a grocery store and the nasty reprimanding person was way out of line and did not know the rest of the circumstances);
Interrupting someone when they are serving another customer;
Cutting another driver off on Interstate 88;
Wearing caps at the dining table (I have seen at least three guys – I will not call them gentlemen – do this in the past week);

Now there are situations I have not experience but have heard of that indicate just how rude and crude Americans are becoming, such as:

Abuse of others for any reason;
Teasing and making ethnic or other manner of jokes (some people do not consider funny what others consider as funny or “just having fun”);
Smoking within the entrance of a store or apartment complex where non-smokers have to walk;
Mistreatment of animals;
Stepping on the feet of others and not saying excuse me or I am sorry;
Pushing others into a subway car and shoving other passengers out of their way (arrogance, prideful and shameful behavior that has no consideration for the others on board);
Littering (even when a garbage can is within a few feet);
Not cleaning up after pets;
Stealing money from one’s company;
Interrupting in a senate or parliamentary procedure situation, and so many more!

I admit no one is immune to some eruptions of unusual or bad behavior but I am attempting to improve, and pledge so to do. If we all do that, pledge to improve our behavior towards others by a small percentage or by giving a few more seconds’ thought to a situation before we impose any kind of action on another person or on the situation, we will be better people and have a nicer nation.

Divi Logan. Chicago. 2015.

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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.

Wabash Renewal Project? Clean Up Your Spaces First!

It seems that the more we hear about tax increases and paying for the management errors that have resulted in our pension crisis (or is it pension emergency?) here in Illinois, the less enthusiastic we become, the more we tune out any more talk of taxes and politics, and the less happy we become with our officials, from the mayor to the city council to everyone above and below and in between.

Now we have word of this special district around State Street, and the talk of raising taxes and of funding to work on Wabash Avenue and the areas between State Street and Michigan Avenue. Now hold on a moment, folks! Before you waste even one more minute talking about it or one more cent “working on” a plan or “looking into it” or “investigating it”, there are certainly aspects of that area we affectionately call “the Loop” that we can take care of right now.

As my late grandmother would tell you nonsense talkers and big talkers, “DO SOMETHING!” She was not one to take the nonsense stuff politicians and planners throw out these days to woo the taxpayers and to lull the citizens into doing what they want. No way. She would have tackled what can be easily done at the moment the need is seen to take care of a very important facet of revitalizing any area or doing any kind of project of that nature.

Clean up the area first. That’s right, use elbow grease and planning and gather the resources and CLEAN UP THE SPACE FIRST.

Think of a true class act – think Palmer House Hotel. This is a beautiful, classic building inside and out, with a sense of welcome and of luxury and of grace that I think epitomizes what Wabash Avenue should be. Sturdy elegance and gracious service are what make businesses of any kind special and inviting. A bland interior need not be what is all that the business shows, as is seen by the interior of the Palmer House. A plain brick and glass and neutral stone face might conceal a richness of color and pattern and creativity in artwork and displays prepared to welcome customers and visitors, families and colleagues.

The Palmer House Hilton Hotel - Chicago, IL - Mezzanine The Palmer House Hotel

So here is what is needed: Get the pigeons away from the buildings and the “L”, get the trash off the streets, the trash cans cleaned and sanitized, and the sidewalks power blasted. Get the windows washed, the alleys washed, the buildings washed and given a good dusting inside and out. Break out the shovels, the rakes, the bags, and tackle the parks; break out the tool kits and tool belts and work on the doors and windows. Give the store displays a totally fresh look, an appealing look that will invite shoppers to come in… but first go back to step one and get the resources together.

It is very simple, though tackling the bird problem might be somewhat risky and complex, it needs to be done. The health department must get involved, especially in the area that is bordered by State Street, Adams, Jackson, and Wabash. In that area are some of the filthiest L tracks, sidewalks, signs, and stairs. There is a stink in the air in that section that is probably caused by the accumulation of bird waste and trash, and in an area where there are so many restaurants and thousands of people walking it every day, that is a recipe for health problems and the driving away of business. I mean, it is not very pleasant looking around there.

So, for that project there is step one: get the resources together. The needs are easy to figure out: gloves, masks, shovels, hoses, trash bags and trash cans, power washers, boots, sturdy clothing, head protection, bug spray, pest control. Everyone must organize, from first responders to be around in case someone gets into serious trouble, to small business owners giving solid input as to what they want to see and what is best for their customers and capital plans; from volunteers willing to give hours to making their city look better and smell better and be more inviting to people giving supplies to make the project successful.

 Picture taken from a search on GOOGLE images, showing businesses alongside the Loop “L”.

No one person will be able to take on the remodeling, renovation and reworking of the Wabash Avenue Loop area alone. It will take the veritable mission control team to make it happen: people to supervise, people to take over when others are on breaks, people to bring in supplies and people to haul trash away. It will take everyone looking out each for the others to ensure safety and security. The project is huge, but taken step by step, beginning with a good solid cleanup session as detailed above, a lot of problems will be seen and some will be solved. Issues regarding structures will then be noted and repairs or other steps can be taken, such as historical preservation or demolition or repurposing.

It is hoped businesses would open their doors to those working on the project, for restroom use, or for dining in the food courts or just for a place to sit and have a simple lunch if the weather turns wet or stormy. Were I a business owner, that might be on my menu too – wanting to help out the workers who are giving time and energy to make the Loop look better and be welcoming to visitors and to my customers. I might have a place set aside with a sign saying, “Welcome Loop Work Volunteers! Sit here, rest and have something to eat!” Pitch in and do your part, and don’t worry about the money. It will come when things look and feel better.

Get cleaning first, and then take the next steps.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2014.

RESOURCES

1. http://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/illinois/palmer-house-a-hilton-hotel-CHIPHHH/index.html?WT.srch=1

METRA:: Does METRA Need a Measure of Mission Control?

METRA and MISSION CONTROL

Article inspired by the airing of an interview on News Radio 780 WBBM, conducted between Political Reporter Craig Dellimore and METRA Chairman Martin Oberman, presented this past Sunday.

METRA, an organization of regional rail resources spreading throughout the Chicago -land area and touching thousands of lives each day, has seen its share of controversies.

But it like any business that has sincere interests in its customers/patrons/riders, the conditions that seeded the ground for corruption can be removed and the ground re -seeded and restored to ensure proper performance.

First of all, we have plenty of resources to understand what METRA is and what its purposes and missions are. Thus we can look at the other part of this article’s title- “mission control”.

And it’s not just for NASA these days!

Let us remember our space history, what inspired NASA and the moon missions to take off, a simple set of words spoken by President Kennedy in a speech to Congress.

The words that set in motion the principles of the concept we know as mission control are these:

First, I believe that this nation should commit itself to achieving the goal, before this decade is out, of landing a man on the moon and returning him safely to the earth. No single space project in this period will be more impressive to mankind, or more important for the long-range exploration of space; and none will be so difficult or expensive to accomplish. We propose to accelerate the development of the appropriate lunar space craft. We propose to develop alternate liquid and solid fuel boosters, much larger than any now being developed, until certain which is superior. We propose additional funds for other engine development and for unmanned explorations–explorations which are particularly important for one purpose which this nation will never overlook: the survival of the man who first makes this daring flight. But in a very real sense, it will not be one man going to the moon–if we make this judgment affirmatively, it will be an entire nation. For all of us must work to put him there.

The essence of mission control is this: that each person is so well -trained and efficient that their concerns for the safety of their colleagues and their customers is foremost in their minds and in everything they do, every single day. We must remember that NASA has had its share of political encounters and interference, and of successes and failures and sadness. As we as a nation lost astronauts, the people of NASA, who were the closest to those people next to their families, mourned an even deeper eulogy: in the times of Apollo 1, of the tragedy of the Challenger explosion and of the loss of Columbia, we all felt those events right to the core of our thoughts, prayers and values. We wondered if the space program was worthy of funding, yet on we went with it. We now have the challenges of dealing with how to supply and maintain the International Space Station, but we are not giving up. We are working on it.

Yes, we are working on it- actively, honestly, and every day. We are working on it.

METRA in its transformation must continue the role of providing safe and efficient transportation and facilities for the tens of thousands of people who use its rolling stock and stations every week. In the face of skepticism and resistance and the lagging specters of corruption METRA must stand and face what has happened square -on, let their ridership know that they are working to improve conditions, and continue to do so. We must of course see the efforts and see the progress so we will know that our money is being efficiently spent.

For the powers of METRA are ones of control, huge amounts of control. The members of the METRA board control huge amounts of power and resources and have the lives of all those patrons in their hands. It is control all right… goodness it is a serious duty to discharge with faith and honor.

In those hands they have the safety of children and parents, of those who need to have their guidance animals close at hand, and of the people who maintain the rolling stock and the tracks and staff the stations. Every day they must consider how to handle millions of dollars and to do so in ways that will satisfy their ridership and those who watch over their performance. And they must perform, no matter if they are elected or appointed: they must perform because it is the proper thing to do.

It is all back to square one: the safety of their riders and the backbone workers who keep the organization running on a daily basis. METRA’s directors are no doubt aware that every day there are men and women out there working on the cars, the rails, and in the repair houses trying their best to work to keep us safe. No doubt those are very difficult jobs. If you start to read about the statistics of the locomotives and the rail cars and understand their power and weight and size, you realize that much effort is required to maintain even one train’s worth of cars and a locomotive. That’s millions of tons moving at 55 or more miles per hour over rails that amaze with their strength and resilience, rails that had to be constructed to precise measurements by people who have the same concerns as should the members of the METRA board. They have the safety of the riders and workers in mind.

Now if those resources were properly used, I do not think we as regular riders would object to the monies that would be needed to buy new rail cars. OK, so $3 million is not a figure people throw around every day for spending on transit, and each rail car would cost that much. But consider the headaches and maintenance costs that go into dealing with the old cars and it is plain there is great need for new cars. This rider would be happy with new cars; no more doors getting stuck and the like.

More quiet cars of course would be welcome; people need quiet and calm and peace when they are getting off work in the noisy city, and we need to have more courtesy around others. Excessive use of mobile devices can be unwelcome, considering we are around them every day for hours on end and they are not always used in places of work and shopping. This patron certainly would welcome entire trains of quiet cars!

There are other issues that affect METRA’s workings, such as the daily doings of Union Pacific and BNSF railroad companies, and the ancient deals made with them that keep commuters hoping that there are no further or no serious delays in their comings and goings. The METRA board must do what it is able to keep commuters happy and safe while talks and deals with the railroads carry on.

Meanwhile, the miracles of mission control must be “up and at them” in everyone’s conscience. They must be repeated every day like a company creed or a mantra that inspires us to consider others and treat people better.

METRA’s board must get with it and be really “on the level” if they are to keep us happy with the “bi -level”.

RESOURCES

1. https://metrarail.com/metra/en/home/about_metra/leadership.html. 16 April 2014.

2. http://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/xzw1gaeeTES6khED14P1Iw.aspx. From the Address Before a Joint Session of Congress on 25 May 1961. 16 April 2014.

3. http://www.nipponsharyousa.com/products/pages/zusametra-pc1994.htm. Weight and other statistics of METRA passenger cars. 16 April 2014.

Congress and the TSA: Unsafe at Any Meeting

CONGRESS GO HOME; TSA WAKE UP AND QUIT PLAYING POLITICS!

079 Capitol Hill United States Congress 1993

079 Capitol Hill United States Congress 1993 (Photo credit: David Holt London)

All right, good citizens, are YOU as tired and sick of this uncooperative, argumentative, asinine, juvenile, idiotic, nasty, party -divided, racist Congress as I am? Are you tired of hearing about the cuts and the belt -tightening YOU AND I have to do but not, it seems, the Congress and our three branches of “government”? Are you worn out with traveling and hearing about delays at the gate, delays at the security lines, long lines, pushy officials, and delays when in line to take off?

I mean, one hour and twenty minutes sitting on a runway was reported by a lady who heard that over the plane’s PA – yes, that they would be sitting and waiting to take off, for over an HOUR, and that same amount of time is a flight from Chicago to Nashville. She could have been way in the air and on her way if it were not for this silly, dumb, threatening sequestering gibberish our Congress (and I say that with a sour face) is doing to our nation. Who wants to sit around on a runway or an expressway waiting for the obstacles to clear?

This Congress (said with a frown this time) is getting nothing but negative reviews, and should you be surprised considering that they are NOT doing the job we sent them there for? Some idiot is letting the TSA have its way, and why I cannot figure except that they are supporting makers of baseball bats, golf clubs, and knives, which articles are the things the TSA wants to allow back on flights. Well I’m adding my voice to the uproar along with the pilots, the flight attendants, and passengers who want nothing to do with lifting that ban.

How cockamamie and unthinking and stupid can they be? Are they thinking of no one but themselves, or not thinking at all? The latter option seems to be what is going on in those once -hallowed halls in Washington. Not thinking. How inconsiderate of these people we have put our trust in, elected, spent time and money supporting, and written to and called asking them not to do this.

Perhaps the flights attendants and pilots should go on strike. Maybe we passengers should find other ways of travel; granted they won’t be as convenient as flying, but that might teach these people a lesson. Maybe the bus services would perk up and improve their travel ways, and really spiff up to accommodate the seasoned flyer. Maybe the limousine services would take on those people who want a break and want to see the country from the road, and make out really good routes and have conveniences aboard that would satisfy that finicky flyer just as nicely as first -class service is supposed to do. Maybe AMTRAK would be a fine option for people fed up with talks of air traffic controller cuts?

But in all this you must feel for the remaining air traffic controllers. Just remember that in any business situation, when staff is cut, the duties of many fall on the backs of the few who are left to take on all those responsibilities of the company, no matter what the tasks are – bookkeeping, cleaning, paperwork, selling clothes, being cashier, taking calls, sweeping, shipping and receiving, guiding in a hundred flights an hour, securing the gates, anything at all. The stress of an already hard job is falling on those in the towers who are left without furlough days and who must endure the thought that they can do nothing against the iron hand of Congress.

John Pistole, Head Of Transportation and Secur...

John Pistole, Head Of Transportation and Security Administration (Photo credit: Talk Radio News Service)

But they CAN do something! They can go on strike too. I know there are those dedicated to their jobs, and they all should be and no doubt they are because they know how very essential their services are. Congress might not give a hoot, but then the lazy, fat -cat senators are not in those towers every day, with the responsibility for thousands of people in vehicles going 500 miles an hour or more, at various altitudes, in varying weather conditions, in ever -changing security conditions. Congress cannot appreciate the word those controllers are doing every day to keep us safe at all parts of the air travel experience.

I enjoy flying and have done so since the Vietnam War was going on. Back then there was none of this removing the shoes, the excess standing in lines and such. Yes there was security but it was not so complicated. The events of 9/11 changed all of that, and added nothing but hassle, taxes, and fees to our flights. We could walk out to the plane, walk on the hardtop to climb the steps, we could understand everything that was going on. Now stuff is so “secretive”, so hush -hush, and so corporate that we can blame Congress.

Stupid, silly, dumb senators… and we have trusted you with our money, our lives, and our interests.

But be that as it may, be it that those men and women are taking up a lot of energy and time keeping themselves in the halls of the Capitol, we will carry on. We will board our 747’s, our 737’s, our 727’s, our Gulf Streams, our MD-80‘s, and our small private planes that dot the tiny airfields across our great nation. We will carry on the spirit of the adventure and the love of flight; we will see the air shows without the Blue Angels and the United States Air Force Thunderbirds, and we will see them without the appearance of the B-52. We will fly, you senators and you officials; WE WILL FLY! I roll my eyes at your ignorance, you senators, right along with the thousands of passengers hearing about the sequestering.

Many of us have endured delays of hours at airports due to bad weather and other factors, so we know how to deal with delays. We can take along something to read, a book of crosswords and a pack of pencils, electronic games, a journal, and our snacks. We can nap, we can bring a camera to take photographs, and we can watch movies on our computers. We will carry on at O’Hare, at Midway, at LAX and at BNA; we will carry on at Logan, we will wait patiently in Pensacola, in Seattle, in Detroit and in New York. We will continue to fly and get to our meetings and our jobs and our families and friends.

We will do our jobs and our tasks.

Meanwhile this to Congress and the other lazy people in our three branches of government: if you cannot do your jobs, clock out and GO HOME. We mean that, get out of your offices, stop taking the privileges and perks, pack up and go back to your constituents and your home states, where you would probably do more good than you are now just sitting about in your luxury offices in your fine clothes and with staff at your beck and call, wasting light and heat and water. Just pack up and go home, turn off the Capitol and come back when you feel like you are capable of doing the work we sent you to do.

Divi Logan, Chicago, ©2013.

Chicago Public School Officials Behaviorally Challenged: Who’s Acting Uneducated Now?

CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOL OFFICIALS ACTING HIGHLY UNEDUCATED

Listening to Karen Lewis talk, you would think she wants some things to remain the same far as this business (overdone) with this chatter about “neighborhood” schools. She wants the present Mayor out of office, but what would she tell a new candidate about how the schools should be run and what ought to be done?

If I were going to run for Mayor and President Lewis came to me talking as she did today on the News Radio WBBM interview, I would turn her out of my office and tell her to come back when she’s not clouded by letting the demographers have power over her mind and the minds of those she works with. I’d say that when she is ready to really give an educated response and burst the bubbles of this talk of race and gender and gang lines, she can come back and settle down and use some Parliamentary Procedure manners and talk with me.

Listen folks, do not play the race game and the Census bit with me – I won’t buy it. I am tired of hearing people sound as though their world ends when their streets end or when the “people who look like them” are no longer visible. Pretty unsecure and prejudiced thinking, in my view, and we do not need such talk any further.

Demographic and racial gerrymandering talk does no good for anyone at all. Such talk only gives the government Census people more power to separate and categorize us and to make it sound like such talk is good for us and will give competitiveness, federal dollars, boost this or that and make  funds available for people who want to buy in to their “diversity” babble.

English: Seal of the United States Census Bure...

English: Seal of the United States Census Bureau. The blazon is defined here as: On a shield an open book beneath which is a lamp of knowledge emitting rays above in base two crossed quills. Around the whole a wreath of single leaves, surrounded by an outer band bearing between two stars the words “U.S. Department of Commerce” in the upper portion and “Bureau of the Census” in the lower portion, the lettering concentric with an inner beaded rim and an outer dentilated rim. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Get on the horn, people! YOU ARE DIVERSE; everyone is “diverse”, because we are all different.  I don’t look like you and you don’t look like me and we don’t like the same kinds of food, but that does not make me inferior or superior to you. Come on, get grown up, folks. If you are in a fire are you going to watch for the firefighters coming up the aerial ladder and if he or she does not look like you are you going to be stupid enough to tell them, “I’ll want here until someone who looks like me comes up the ladder?” How silly is that?

So she thinks kids are not going to be welcome in a new school or in a new environment? That is a poor commentary on how good people can really be and how warm and open folks can be if given a chance. Such talk as she is spouting out is only adding fuel to the fire and keeping the wounds of racism, gangs, drugs, “turf”, neighborhoods, and “special” education going.

Perhaps the goals of our education system are wrong in the first place. For one thing, we are ALL in need of some sort of “special education”, considering that from observations I make that everyone is behaviorally challenged. We are not civil, we are not decent, we spit, we shout, we use phones at the dinner table, and we talk in church. People cut folks off when driving, people text when driving, act up in flight, push and shove, do not acknowledge when someone gives a resume in or have a job interview; people expose their underwear and exhibit other breaches of behavioral niceties.

Special education is for everyone, though some people need more attention than others due to physical or mental disorders that cannot be attended to in a regular school environment. Kids with severe deficiencies do need more attention during the day than those who can do normal activities such as feeding and dressing themselves, so they should be assessed and placed in a suitable environment.

But every school should be as good in quality as the very best schools in the Chicago area or schools around the nation, and if they are not then we need to take a close look at the real reasons why they are not. Who is playing the politics card, who is fomenting the racial and gender and gang issues and for what reason? Are they getting money and support from groups who are affiliated with demographers, demographic institutes or the Census Bureau?

I find that it is interesting that the Census Bureau has on its coat of arms an open book, the sign of someone getting an education and expanding their horizons, and the lamp of learning and the quills, with which people used to write with dipping in ink. And usually a wreath of leaves indicated the sign of a heroic accomplishment. The only thing the Census people are doing is dividing this nation along all kinds of lines and in all manner of categories, and I find nothing good, decent, heroic or honorable about that in the slightest. The way they are pushing their demographic divisiveness they ought to have a closed book and an extinguished lamp. Racial gerrymandering and prejudice have no place in this country and our government is making both legal, permissive, and acceptable.

What is really going on with those stubborn people? Do you want to have that kind of thinking plaguing you any longer?

If you need a further reason to burst your demographic social economic racist gender-biased bubbles and come out and break down the barriers, then look at the people in London who are by the tens of thousands participating today running in the London Marathon. Only a week after the events in Boston which drew us and the City of Boston together to assist the injured and traumatized, the London Marathon is drawing people supporting those in Boston and the sport of running and the spirit of good sportsmanship. THEY ARE NOT AFRAID TO COME OUT, to come from other countries and get in that race and run and feel proud and happy! They are happy to be out there and showing the team spirit!

How come you folks in Chicago cannot do the same?

Here is the pin… burst the bubbles and take a breath. Surely the air will be fresh and not at all stuffy. You’re making it stuffy now so break the barriers, grow up, stop talking and start acting, but in everyone’s interest and not for your political or PR ambitions. Quit acting up and start behaving like good citizens should.

Thank you.

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2013.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2013.

Chicago’s Demographic Distraction

education

education (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

EDUCATION SITUATION: THERE ARE NO LIMITS TO LEARNING

This is the story of a woman who had a fine education and opportunities to learn outside the formal setting of the classroom with its desks, maps, teachers and basic programming.

Her journey in the world of formal education began before “first grade”, when she attended kindergarten on a college campus in Nashville. As she recalls, a lasting memory from that era is being fascinated by a huge magnifying lens set in a wooden housing. But of course there came the time for her to leave that setting and move up in the wonderful world of making a mental map. Soon her parents moved to another part of the city and it was that momentous move that started the changes that, in retrospect, were profound.

When time came to start the graded system, there were schools in the area just fine for being in a “diverse” environment. The arts were offered, as were courses in spelling, the Language Arts, geography, Civics, history, mathematics and foreign languages. “Shop”, home economics, and drama were parts of the curriculum, as was physical education, which rounded out a complete system of learning for body and mind.

During physical education (or P.E. as it was known informally) there were team sports as well as individual instruction in strength training. Teachers would assemble the students for rounds of stretching and jumping jacks, warming them up before participation in the team sports. Every chance for learning the importance of teamwork was given to those classes, and everything was offered from track to basketball.

It was fortunate that her parents were not limiting when it came to the idea of just staying in “the neighborhood” and not branching out. Had that been the case she most likely would not be as happy and eager for learning as she is today. The people she knew were not cookie-cutter types or always the same with regards to “race”, “color”, religion, social-economic backgrounds or the careers their parents held. She was fortunate to get to know every kind of person there is to know, from rich to poor, from brilliant to mentally or developmentally challenged, and from hale and healthy to terminally sick. Some of them were students and others were teachers, and every person encountered presented the maturing citizen with opportunities to, as her grandmother’s mantra puts it, “Learn something”.

Thus she attended five fine schools, four public institutions and one private school for a year, finishing the graded system at a public high school. She moved on to attend a small college which later gained university status. The setting was historic, peaceful, in a residential area and not far from downtown Nashville. After graduating she went on to work in various career fields and is happy in her current position.

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There were fortunately opportunities to expand the gaining of knowledge outside the formal campus. The growing woman now had the chance to travel abroad and experience many of the cultures she had only read about before during hours on campus or in the home library.

Comfortable Seating, Learning Resource Centre,...

Comfortable Seating, Learning Resource Centre, Edge Hill University (Photo credit: jisc_infonet)

Yes, that’s right, an in-home library, stocked with books and a typewriter (and later a computer), with quiet places to read and write, and no noisy televisions or the presence of social media or a telephone. There was an aquarium with Angel fish; there was classical artwork on the walls, a globe to enhance the learning process, the National Geographic subscription, and the encyclopedias and the atlases and the Harvard Classics. There was Shakespeare, there was Beethoven, there was Bach, and for playing on the stereo system in there were cassette tapes detailing the lives of famous people from Isaac Newton to Mao Zedong.

It was in that room with its view of the back yard and quiet gardens that the young woman spent hours looking at books about exotic locations such as Easter Island, India, Japan and Machu Picchu. It was there where books and magazines filled her hands and presented articles about human development, about astronomy, about proper behavior and about architecture and gardening. In that room also, when the urge came to nap, she could close the door and lie back on the couch to take a few minutes for quiet contemplation, undisturbed by media noises or by other people until the time came for a meal, to go out, or to just wake up and resume reading or studying.

When there was the chance to travel, on the radar were England, Switzerland, Italy, France, China, Japan, and Hong Kong, as well as many locations in the United States. Going to these places brought learning to life and life to learning, as she sampled foods, took photos, wrote in journals, sketched the surroundings, and came to appreciate other cultures and their places in the reel of human history. There were the places from which we get some of the aspects of our legal system, our vocabulary, our foods, and our architectural styles and our furnishing styles, and many of our fashions. From these places come fabrics, flowers, antiquities and automobiles and musical instruments. During the hours of flight there was time to settle back and contemplate these places just visited. Such considerations cannot always be put into ordinary words, but as she recalls, these visits were profound, deep, inspiring, and door-opening.

Many say that the South is backwards when education is the issue, that the schools are not good and that standards are poor. That was not so in the era when this fortunate lifelong learner grew up. Thank goodness for teachers who made sure homework was done, who asked questions, who called on students and in some instances requested they stand up to give their answers. Thank goodness for professors who were reachable and fair, who listened when there were problems and offered solutions that challenged the students to expand their horizons.

And thank goodness for parents who were smart enough to realize that a good, complete education takes in every aspect of what the very term “education” means and what the very term “learn” is about. The word “education” comes from roots meaning “draw out, lead out or march out”, and “learn” comes from roots meaning bed, footpath, track, or furrow.

When you learn you make a sort of map, and when you get a real education you prepare for that day when you can march out onto that stage in the cap and gown and with your diploma walk off the stage in the presence of your relatives and peers. There will be a sense of accomplishment and achievement and the knowledge that YOU CAN do something good, something valid, something worthy and excellent.

Hopefully that woman will never stop learning; hopefully every day will bring the chance to meet someone new and experience something fresh and relevant.

Get the drift, Karen Lewis? Get the drift, Mayor Emanuel? Do you think you are acting like educated people, or like people who want others to learn and expand their horizons and think outside the neighborhood box? In the end you are not hurting anyone but the young among us. You might be limited in your thinking, but why do you want them to be?

English: Map (rough) Machu Picchu, own work co...

English: Map (rough) Machu Picchu, own work composed from various mapreferences (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Divi Logan, Chicago, 2013.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RESOURCES

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

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