Monday, April 26, 2010

Peace Making: 2 Chicago state reps: Bring in the National Guard

Chicago's out of control. Note this comment: "One half of this city views this as a part of daily life," Fritchey said. "Another part of the city doesn't care because it doesn't affect them."

A different sort of divid than standing on the side of love? Where are UU Peace Makers in this catastrophe?
Two state representatives called on Gov. Pat Quinn Sunday to deploy the Illinois National Guard to safeguard Chicago's streets.

Chicago Democrats John Fritchey and LaShawn Ford said they want Quinn, Mayor Richard Daley and Chicago Police Supt. Jody Weis to allow guardsmen to patrol streets and help quell violence. Weis said he did not support the idea because the military and police operate under different rules.

"Is this a drastic call to action? Of course it is," Fritchey said. "Is it warranted when we are losing residents to gun violence at such an alarming rate? Without question. We are not talking about rolling tanks down the street or having armed guards on each corner."

What he envisions, Fritchey said, is a "heightened presence on the streets," particularly on the roughly 9 percent of city blocks where most of the city's violent crimes occur.

Weis previously identified those "hot spots" and said he plans to create a 100-person team made up of selected and volunteer police personnel to respond to crime there. If guardsmen were to assist police, they could comprise or contribute to that force, Fritchey said.

So far this year, 113 people have been killed across Chicago, the same number of U.S. troops killed in Iraq and Afghanistan combined in the same period, Fritchey said.

"As we speak, National Guard members are working side-by-side with our troops to fight a war halfway around the world," Fritchey said. "The unfortunate reality is that we have another war that is just as deadly taking place right in our backyard." While the National Guard has been deployed in other states to prevent violence related to specific events and protests, the Chicago legislators said they are unaware of guardsmen being deployed to assist with general urban unrest.

Weis countered that the only scenario in which the National Guard would be helpful is in the situation of a tornado, earthquake or flood. If the military were brought in to help with city violence, they wouldn't answer to police command -- creating a "major disconnect" in mission and strategy.

Alluding to the 1970 Kent State University incident where the National Guard was called in and protestors and students were shot, Weis said having guardsmen handle crime could be "disastrous." But he said if the Daley suggested it, he would consider the option.

"I'm open to anything that reduces violence. But I have concerns when you mix law enforcement and the military," Weis said.

But Fritchey and Ford said prompt action is needed because summer is right around the corner and with the warm weather comes an increase in violence.

Fritchey and Ford serve two different constituencies, representing the North Side and the West Side respectively. "One half of this city views this as a part of daily life," Fritchey said. "Another part of the city doesn't care because it doesn't affect them." Yet the lawmakers said they are coming together because gun violence should be a priority to all Chicagoans.

"No help is too much help" Ford said. "This is not just about the murders. It's about the crime. It's about people being stabbed, robbed and in the hospital on life support."

Fritchey said he spoke to representatives from Quinn's office about deploying guardsmen and they "seemed open to the idea." The lawmakers had yet to speak to Weis or the mayor's office.

"I don't anticipate the governor implementing it over the objection of the mayor," Fritchey said.

"I hope this doesn't become a territorial issue. I hope this doesn't become an ego issue. This isn't about public relations or politics. This is about reclaiming our communities."

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hayder Al-Khoei's tribute to his Father

via Eye Raki.

A tribute to his Father Abdul Majid al-Khoei
Shortly after my father announced he would be leaving us to go to Iraq I used to have constant arguments with him. Over lunch, over dinner, and every time he used to come back from work, I used to always bring up the subject of war and the destruction it will inevitably cause. Not once did my father lose his temper with me even after I would say things like "but don't you care that many thousands are going to die in this war?".

He was a 41 year-old who had lost his brothers and many friends to the tyranny of Saddam and realised the only way of getting rid of the monster was through the US-led invasion. I was a 15 year-old who knew nothing. Even when he was explaining to us the brutal torture and execution methods the Ba'athists would use against political dissenters there would be something in the back of my head telling me 'but he's just saying that because he's in exile'. It wasn't that I thought he wasn't telling the truth, per se, but maybe he hadn't seen what he was telling us and simply heard it from other people.

Over lunch one day I told him I would be attending the anti-War march to protest against Britain's role in the invasion of my homeland. It had always been a sensitive topic for him and I knew he had been meeting the Prime Minister and other government officials making the case for war and so I decided to make sure he was in a good mood. Over lunch he would always serve us the food and be the last to eat so I waited until it was my turn and as soon as I handed over the plate to him I just said it.

I half expected him to drop my plate and shout at me for the embarrassment it would cause him if someone found out a leading member of the Iraqi opposition who was pushing the case for war had a son who was marching through the streets of London protesting against his own father. But he didn't shout at me and he didn't even raise his voice. He looked straight at me bewildered and then said in a very cold voice "you can go if you want, but you don't even know the meaning of Saddam Hussein". After a brief history on Saddam he lost his appetite and the rest of us ate in complete silence and it was only after he was killed I truly understood what his words meant. It was only after the mass graves were being discovered on a daily basis that I truly believed the extent of the terror that was Saddam Hussein. It was only after I saw with my own eyes the videos and pictures of torture and execution that I realised this war was a just war. It was only after my father died that I believed him.

A Blagojevich, Obama, Rezko refresher course courtesy RBO

RBO writes,

USA v. Rod Blagojevich, No. 08 CR 888. BlagoGate - RezkObama Redux

The Chicago Tribune provides a hint of what delicious entertainment the impending trial of impeached Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich -- and fired Celebrity Apprentice contestant -- may bring. The writer speculates on who may be subpoenaed to testify and what revelations lucky jurors and the public may hear. For example, he/she writes:

    Thursday's defense filing disclosed something the White House never has. A labor official, evidently from the Service Employees International Union, has told the FBI that on Nov. 3, 2008, the day before Obama was elected president, the candidate was on the phone, offering his opinion on the suitability of his friend Valerie Jarrett to fill his Senate seat. That contact isn't illegal or even inappropriate. It does, though, look tacky — and it also exposes Obama calling the controversial SEIU when he wanted to get a message relayed to Blagojevich.

    But the disclosure of that Obama outreach serves the purposes of Blagojevich's lawyers: See? Even the president-to-be was working an angle to influence the choice of a new senator — and Obama can testify that the governor didn't ask anything in return. Similarly, showing jurors a deposition in which Obama contradicts what Rezko has told the FBI on other potentially embarrassing topics could discredit any Rezko testimony that he and Blagojevich were scheming to run the state as a criminal racket. Again, advantage Blagojevich.

And this:

    Rod Blagojevich was booted from his former position as Illinois Governor for alleged abuse of power. For his case, Blagojevich is seeking to have President Barack Obama to testify in his defense in the trial. The former Governor has subpoenaed the President in order to clear up certain differences between things that the president has said, and things that were said by other witnesses in the case.

And this:

    U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., says defense attorneys have subpoenaed him to testify at the corruption trial of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich.

    WBBM-AM, Chicago, reported Durbin told reporters he had spoken to Blagojevich once about the Senate seat left vacant with Barack Obama's election as president. Durbin, the Senate majority whip, said the call lasted 10 to 15 minutes and he suggested 10 to 20 people to consider for the vacancy.

Looks like it's time for a refresher course on some of the who, what, why and how. RezkoWatch launched January 26, 2008; all the original articles and much more can be found in The RezkObama Reader. When BlagoGate surfaced in late December 2008, RBO kept up with the news, such as it was; articles are compiled at The BlagoGate Reading List.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

VIDEO: Tea Party Racism?

H/T Illinois Review

Which side of Love was this: White House closes Lafayete Park due to DADT protesters, kicks out media?

Love the Chicago way maybe with no press around to get in the way?

I've been waiting for The Standing on the Side of Love folks to comment but as of 8:12PM Chicago time...nothing. For that matter, nothing on the UU Blogosphere. Wonder why?

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Unitarian Fears Taxation Power

Minister at All Souls Say Extent of Right Must be Decided Soon

The Government's right to tax is becoming an unlimited and confiscatory power and will be one of the great issues of the next decade, the Rev. Walter Donald Kring said yesterday.

"We have alway known that the right to tax is the right to destroy," Mr Kring said, "and we are rapidly approaching a point in this nation's history where we shall have to come to a basic understanding as just how far this right extends."

Mr Kring spoke on "Respecting the Rights of Others" at All Souls Unitarian Church, Lexington Avenue and Eightieth Street. He contends that the Government's right that the Government's right to tax and its right to annex private lands for public purposes were often used in flagrant violation of the individual's right to private provperty, which he called the basis of our free economy.

Mr Kring said that the principles of respect for the right of others, both in Government and on an individual level, extend far beyond the mere concept of stealing.

Although the day of absolute ethics is past the minister said, there are still imperative issues of right and wrong, and the attitude toward stealing like so many other attitudes depends upon the philosophy man.

"What we think of others is the ultimate test our ethical principles", Mr Krings said, "If we respect a person, we cannot help but respect his property".. As an ethical code, the precept forbidding us to seal is too negative and superficial. There must also be a positive sensitiveness to the needs of others, whether that requires the give of money, compassion, time, sympathy or love.
NYT Monday, May 4, 1959

A column on the same page writes of Universalists and Unitarians voting 3 to 1 in favor of Union.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Ayers, Beacon Press and hateful images

Do we UU's really need to be flogging this fool's books? He's a hateful sort of guy and this 2001 image from Chicago Mag hyping his book a deliberately hateful thing to do; and done in the pursuit of wealth to boot.

No wonder we're a dying Church if we can't see through this supremely phony Chicagoan.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

AFL-CIO Prez Trumka on hate speech

Democrat's Hate-Speech frame gone silly. Trumka of all should know better. Via Michael Grahm,
AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka was at Harvard Wednesday night, denouncing talk show hosts like yours truly as “apostles of hatred.” He accused Glenn Beck (the only host he called out by name) and the rest of us supporting the Tea Party crowd of being a “similar movement” to the “Nazi-style” fascism of the 1930s with its “racial hatred and political violence.”

A labor leader disturbed by possible “political violence”? That’s a switch. When I think of “kindler, gentler labor action,” I assume that means being told to “watch your head” as they close the trunk of the Caddy.

After all, this is the same Richard Trumka who, while with the United Mine Workers, was notorious for his fiery rhetoric. In fact, Trumka and other UMW officials were charged in a $27 million wrongful death suit by the widow of a non-union contractor shot in the back of the head while leaving a worksite in 1993. The UMW settled that suit.

Alexi Giannulis: If I had $20 Million Dollars

For UU's wondering why I couldn't buy Obama's narrative as the only virgin in the whorehouse the Illinois Democratic Party's become. Alexi Giannulis a political unknown Obama recruited to run (and win) Illinois's State Treasure's race over House Leader Mike Madigan's protest. Now Alexi is running for Obama's senate seat. Mob Banker sings a history using an old favorite. Broadway Bank pumped a lot of money into Obama's first Senate run by the way.

Madigan getting the last laugh here. A comment from a few days ago via American Princess,
Powerful Democratic House Speaker Michael Madigan today had a bit of a chuckle at the expense of Democratic U.S. Senate nominee Alexi Giannoulias.

Asked if the problems at the Giannoulias family-owned Broadway Bank would affect the candidate's voter support in the Senate race, Madigan replied, "I'm glad I don't have any deposits there."

Friday, April 09, 2010

Hate Prayers

The Bergen County Education Association's prayer,
"Dear Lord this year you have taken away my favorite actor, Patrick Swayze, my favorite actress, Farrah Fawcett, my favorite singer, Michael Jackson, and my favorite salesman, Billy Mays. I just wanted to let you know that Chris Christie is my favorite governor."

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Ahmadinejad on Obama's nuclear strategy

Wonder if Sinkford might regret: Rev. Sinkford remarked, “I could not imagine the current U.S. president taking the time to honor questions about his actions the way Ahmadinejad did today.” now.

via Yahoo,
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad derided Obama over the plan in a speech Wednesday to a crowd of thousands in the country's northwest.

"American materialist politicians, whenever they are beaten by logic, immediately put their finger on the trigger like cowboys," he said.

"Mr. Obama, you are a newcomer (to politics). Wait until your sweat dries and get some experience. Be careful not to read just any paper put in front of you or repeat any statement recommended," Ahmadinejad said in the speech, aired live on state TV. "(American officials) bigger than you, more bullying than you, couldn't do a damn thing, let alone you."
I fear the war-of-last-resort with the weapons of last-resort, and that Obama may well get us into one with Iran. Ahmadinejad should be well aware a materialist Pol will pull the trigger when that's the last resort.

Fearful times ahead....

ANP mourns Timergara tragdy

The ANP's statement,

The Awami National Party has announced three-day mourning over the killing of party workers in a suicide attack at a rally in Timergara on Monday.

52 workers were killed and more than 90 injured when a suicide bomber blew himself in a meeting convened to celebrate renaming of Pakhtunkhwa in Timergara, Dir district.

ANP Central President Asfandyar Wali Khan also condemned the attack on a meeting at Lower Dir, three bomb blasts in Peshawar and killing of innocent citizen.

The ANP provincial president Senator Afrasiyab Khattak also condemned Timergara suicide attack and three bomb blasts in Peshawar and extended sympathy with the members of the bereaved families.

Reiterating party’s commitment to continue struggle till the elimination of terrorists, both the leaders said the ANP would not let nefarious designs of these terrorists and extremists to succeed.

They said restoration of peace was the mission of the ANP, which had lost over 300 workers and lawmakers for it.

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Timergara blast death toll hits 55

The Awami Natioanl Party traces it's roots back to Gandhi and Gandhi's colleague Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan. That Liberals fond of invoking Ghandi can ignore the slaughter of ANP activists shameful. Below the latest attack timed with the attack on the US Consulate in Peshawar. Via The News.
TIMERGARA: The death toll from the Monday’s suicide attack on the Awami National Party (ANP) public rally jumped to 55 as 10 more injured succumbed to their wounds on Tuesday.

Hospital sources said that some of the 90 persons injured in the blast were still in precarious condition. The Timergara city, the headquarters of Dir Lower district, and its adjoining areas were still in grip of fear and gloom and touching scenes were witnessed during the funerals and burials of the blast victims.

The office-bearers and a large number of the ANP workers were celebrating the renaming of NWFP as Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa when the bomber struck the gathering at Timergara Rest House on Monday.

Timergara city and other major towns wore a deserted look and all the markets and bazaars remained closed. Those killed or injured in the explosion belonged to almost all the tehsils of the Dir Lower district but majority of them hailed from Maidan subdivision. Some of the dead were already buried on the day of occurrence while others were laid to rest in their respective towns and villages on Tuesday.

Several of families lost their near and dear ones while many others sustained injuries in the powerful explosion.The dead included journalist Nisar Ahmed, Qaiser Rehman, Muhtaram Zeb, Sarwar Khan, Ali Shah, Mehmood Khan, Zahid Khan, Fateh Noor, Muhammad Ilyas, Waheed Gul, Azizur Rehman, Sher Zamin, Sultan Zeb, Muhammad, Iftikhar Khan, Farmanullah, Gul, Hayat Muhammad, Abdul Wahid, Ibrar Ahmed, Sher Khanay Khan, Fazal Rabi, Rahimul Haq, Rahim Shah, Said Akber Khan, Wasif Khan, Saeedullah,Muhammad Riaz, Saleem Khan, Younas Khan, Muhammad Roz, Arif, Abdur Rashid, Said Faqir, Nawab Khan, Akbar Khan, Bahadur Khan, Nazir, Hanif, Niaz, Samiur Rehman, Rashid and Ajab Khan. Over 100 persons were injured in the blast and admitted to different hospitals in the district while some seriously injured were shifted to hospitals in Peshawar.

Monday, April 05, 2010

David E. Bumbaugh: The Marketing of Liberal Religion

From an essay last year over at the Journal of Liberal Religion. I appreciate Davids review of UUism since 61 and the different paths traveled by Unitarians and Universalists. Please consider his questions here. I plan to return to this. It's important and he's framed the analysis the way it should be framed: in a straightforward narrative of how we've gotten to this moment.
If we are to respond to the needs of the world from a liberal religious basis, it is critical that we be able to address and answer three central questions:

* What do we believe?
* Whom do we serve?
* To whom or what are we responsible?

Several years ago, I was asked to deliver a lecture on the title "Beyond the Seven Principles: The Core of Our Faith." In that lecture, I suggested that the question of what do we believe cannot be answered adequately until we struggle with the question, "Whom do we serve?" I am increasingly convinced, now, however, that given the makeup of our movement--a movement comprised of people who value education, a movement that reflects a tradition of accommodation to science and embraces concern for creating a tolerant, moral society, a movement that is socially located with access to the levers of power, a movement that is forever tempted to accommodation with the secular culture--it is important that we not delay grappling with the question of what it is we believe, what it is that provides a foundation for, indeed, makes possible a vital religious vision.

Friday, April 02, 2010

66th and Marshfield: We have shots fired here

15 or 16 shot last night (I lost count) in Chicago including four at 66th and Marshfield. The video shows the police at the crime scene attending to victims as another shooter opens up. Note the cops run towards the gun fire. Note all that far from Meadville Lombard where one participate at the Peace Keeping conference not so long ago was taken aback when I said the causalities here were higher than losses in Iraq. (Care to venture west? To the sound of guns?)

Note Newark's started March murder free. It can be done... with the right leadership and Chicago and Illinois have sorely lacked that for many years.