Friday, November 30, 2007

Newspaper located in Chicago losing subscribers, due to poorly written articles allege some readers, said sources at America loves news, a nonproft.

Some idiots drove around the U of C last week and ended up shooting a Doctoral recipient who had planned on returning to help his native Senegal.

Prosecutors charged the second suspect in the homicide case. Today's lead in the Tribune read:
The second teenager charged in a string of violent robberies around the University of Chicago campus last week admitted in a videotaped confession to police to taking part in the crime spree, prosecutors alleged in court records made public Thursday. the story and to the horribly-written lead... Is this even English? The lead of the story is supposed to draw the reader in, to make the reader want to read the rest of the story, not contradict everything that used to be beautiful about the English language.

How about this instead?
A second teenager confessed his involvement in a series of violent robberies on the University of Chicago campus last week, said prosecutors in publicly-released court records.

There. You get the gist of the story in a streamlined format with all the legally required info left in. Get to the mundane details later.

Another big thing in the Chicagoland news is a former Bolingbrooke police sergeant who is a suspect in the disappearance of his wife. Media coverage has included a personal view by People magazine and a heart-to-heart with Matt Lauer.

Monday, November 19, 2007

President Chuck Norris

I have to say, Mike Huckabee's new ad is brilliant. That the red-state everyman Chuck Norris names Huckabee to be the best at protecting conservative values, the border, and 2nd amendment rights is savvy, given Huckabee's propensity to portray himself as the man's man, working class, ordinary guy. Plus, even liberals can appreciate the "Chuck Norris Tackled Rabid Wolves for Excercise" jokes.

Of course, I don't agree with much of Huckabee's platform. The talk of Islamofacism, Straight Marriage Amendment, and "consumer-based" health care is oversimplified. Increasing military budgets and army deployments, US v Them mentality, is not going to change hearts and minds in disagreements with the Islamic world. Regaining diplomatic credo abroad means closing Guantanamo Bay and stopping torture. Creationism is not a solid theory for our existence. And government oughta stay out of the bedroom where those involved can legally consent.

The next ad should feature Chuck Norris fighting hand-to-hand with the evolutionary monkey, both flinging poo at each other.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Pentagon Meddling in Native Politics OR Here we go Again.

U.S. pentagon officials are considering beefing up funding and recruitment for "tribal" paramilitary forces in Pakistan to fight against Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters, reports the New York Times.
If adopted, the proposal would join elements of a shift in strategy that would also be likely to expand the presence of American military trainers in Pakistan, directly finance a separate tribal paramilitary force that until now has proved largely ineffective and pay militias that agree to fight Al Qaeda and foreign extremists, officials said. The United States now has only about 50 troops in Pakistan, a Pentagon spokesman said, a force that could grow by dozens under the new approach.

The new proposal is modeled in part on a similar effort by American forces in Anbar Province in Iraq that has been hailed as a great success in fighting foreign insurgents there. But it raises the question of whether such partnerships can be forged without a significant American military presence on the ground in Pakistan. And it is unclear whether enough support can be found among the tribes.

Isn't this how Al Qaeda came to prominence in the first place?

Some nuts at the Pentagon thought they could fund Afghan groups to fight the USSR in 1979, and didn't consider the lasting effects of meddling in a culture that they didn't understand. And a pro-west puppet leader fell from control as a more angry elements came to power.

Deja vu?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Charitable Cops Care about Chicago

Chicago police officers clashed with former pro-basketball players on the court this morning, getting slain in the process. Well, sort of...

The nine officers and group of pros were playing at Fosco Park for "Give Something Back," a food drive to feed needy families this Thanksgiving. About 100 people showed up, each bringing three non-perishable foodstuffs for admission. Proceeds were donated to Antioch Missionary Baptist Church.

"This is our fifth time hosting this benefit," said Chicago police officer Eddie Chapman, who organized the event. "It's about helping out the community."

Former NBA players, and Chicago natives, Rickey Green Mitchel J.J. Anderson, Mickey Johnson, and Tim Hardaway were some of those featured on the pro-team. Also on the team was Chicago Public Schools CEO Arne Duncan, who played pro-basketball in Australia.

The show was entertaining, with many of the pros having a blast slamming the backboards, and confusing the cops with behind-the-back passes and fake-outs. Around half-time, the scored was around 50-23, pros. But toward the end, I think the cops got a break. The pros let them have a few free passes to down some lay-ups.

It ended not being too brutal for the cops, but a table full of food was the real goal. Everyone seemed to be having a good time.

Here's some shots:

The Chicago Police Department All-Stars

The Former Professionals chanting "1, 2, 3, Charity!"

Officer Eddie Chapman puts up a free-throw.

The results...

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Pakistan, the War on Terror, and the ever crumbling existentialist nightmare

French philosopher, journalist, and writer, Albert Camus somewhat distinguished himself from existentialists of his time, particularly Sartre, by leaning towards a sense of meaning of global events. Humanity had a choice to act.

His interpretation of the myth of Sisyphus, that Sisyphus's eternal pushing of the stone up the mountain despite being set back by gravity and the will of God, explained that the worth of Sisyphus efforts are that he tried at all.

To try is to be relevant

Having assisted the French resistance in World War II and agonized over the schism between France and Algeria in the 1950s, this perspective perhaps kept Camus going.

But here and now, the utter absurdity of the U.S. War on Terror in light of events in Pakistan, bears little meaning that I can find.

Musharraf has clamped down on all opposition to retain control of the country, Islamists and democratic activists being dispersed.

Opposition leader, former PM Benazir Bhutto's ability to rally democratic reforms has been truncated as she is watched after enduring house arrest.

Pakistani Chief Justice Chaudry has had his power revoked in the fear that the judiciary was considering action against the continued "presidency" of Musharraf.

And almost all U.S. media outlets, including "president" Bush, have reasserted that Musharraf is our big buddy in combating terrorism. But still, White House spokesmodel Dana Perino has chided the anti-democratic movements in Musharraf.

She's said things along the lines of, "The Bush Administration would never advocate clamping down on dissent in the name of combating terror, spreading democracy."

Hmmm. Ari Fleischer, had warned in the aftermath of 9-11 that people had to "watch what they say," when,,,dissenting. The CIA has used more-than-questionable "interrogation tactics" against "enemy combatants." The Administration waged war with a nation that had nothing to do with the attacks. And peaceful war protesters have been detained, ad nauseum... All in the name of freedom, security, and democracy.

...But let's get back to Pakistan...

Musharraf, our "greatest ally in the War on Terror," is only feeding fuel to the terrorism fire by cracking down on people who don't want him in power. Democracy usually means popular support and not cracking down on opposition.

Popular support of Bhutto and Chaudry only show the public desire to challenge Musharraf. But the movement is being given more evidence that popular dissent is being trumped by a despot desperately holding on to power.

Does anyone still think that terrorism can be dissipated through bombs and clampdowns? Seems antithetical, don't you think? Absurd?

Even the Chicago Tribune seems to agree with the fact that Musharraf may not be the best spokesperson for democracy and modernity.

What is the meaning of all this ado? Is action, that stands opposite reason or circumstance, worthwhile?

Camus must be perplexed...

Monday, November 5, 2007

I "heart" Irony

I really think post cards are usually the most useless piece of mail besides "Free AOL" disks or Geiko car insurance offers.

Some jerk wants you to know that they had a lovely time on a beach as you froze your ass off working at a soul-sucking job in Neenah, Wis.

Then you get cards that basically make fun of themselves, and the whole idea of there being this far-off relaxing utopia. Particularly if they are postcards from Wisconsin, Indiana, Minnesota, or Detroit.

Awhile back, this card from a good friend made my day:

I had sent him one from Indiana saying that my girlfriend and I had driven through the state and eaten things.

Get me affordable housing!

It's been awhile...

Here's a little piece I wrote for on Humboldt protests regarding lack of affordable housing.

"Yuppie, yuppie, why you lie? Why you try and gentrify?!" was one of the more interesting chants I left out. As well as "Boricua si! Yuppie No!"

Given the fact that foreclosures in the area for residents of color is on the quick rise, as noted by a corresponding Tribune article, I can understand the anger.

Matthew Rodriguez told me that the community wanted to simply be a part of any new development than be pushed to the wayside.

In redevelopment of a neighborhood, shouldn't the existing civic and social networks be maintained?