Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What really needs to be done to stop the violence

There were press conferences, hearings and a lot of hubbub in D.C. regarding potential laws restricting guns, particularly assault weapons, magazines, and background checks. Like many people I support laws that will put reasonable restriction on guns, just like I would support restrictions on any dangerous substance. But anybody who thinks any gun law by itself can curb the culture of violence is delusional. Chicago has been in the spotlight as homicide rates have been particularly high and the most recent tragic death of Hadiya Pendleton, 15, who performed in the inauguration just highlight the issue more. Quite understanding @Prison Culture is well, irritated:
“If I see ONE MORE G.D tweet asking about what Chicago community members &  .orgs are doing to “end the violence,” I won’t be held responsible”.
  These include,,,, and many, many more.more. The problem?                          
“My point is that TONS of people and organizations are working every SINGLE day. . . Our young people are taking to the streets asking for trauma centers, fighting back against further criminalization in schools, asking for their fair share . . . “
There is a petition to ask President Obama to come to Chicago for the funeral of Pendleton. @Prison Culture asks
“ . . Also what is the President concretely bringing with him to the city on this trip? Will he (be) bringing more jobs with him for the Southside? Will he be intervening with Mayor 1% (to) insist that the dozens of Southside schools slated (for) closure be kept open? WHAT WILL HE BE BRINGING TO THE CONCRETELY FOR THE COMMUNITY? . . . So many of us who actually LIVE in this city want RESOURCES. You can keep the symbolism.”

Communities that have an economic base, where people have jobs, access to schools and resources do not have violence. While allocating of government dollars is often  presented as rob Peter-to-pay-Paul scenario—if more money is spent on the Southside does that mean less money on the Northside—we KNOW there is the money. What is often kept from us is where it goes and who actually gets it, and this hurts everybody. Until resources are fairly allocated, and not just siphoned off into non-development development i.e. TIFs or into the same corporate pockets, there will be violence.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Things I did not know about CPS until 1/28

Monday, 1/28, there was an outreach meeting by CPS regarding school closings at Truman College. First, CPS has a very particular definition regarding "open" meetings, apparently they do not include reporters. CPS officials themselves may attend such meetings--but they do not run them--according to my twitter feed there were some in attendance but the people who actually ran the meeting were outside consultants--Loren I think was the name. As has been pointed out by people across the political spectrum possibly the single most offensive aspect of CPS is that there is no plan. This was asked at the meeting and of course was not answered. Even with some of the leaked documents regarding school closings a month or so ago there appears to be no overall plan, no particular goals beyond getting as many charter schools as possible. As someone tweeted Monday night, they are not even trying.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Drone Attack in Yemen

I came across a Yemen-based blog yesterday with the headline

 "Dear Obama when a drone missile kills any child in Yemen, the father will go to war with you, guaranteed. Nothing to do with Al Qaeda."

This is really not too hard to understand right? If you are wondering why they hate us . . .

So of course we need more.

Protest at University of Chicago

Last night led by Fearless Leading by Youth several organizations led a protest at University of Chicago demanding trauma care service on the South Side. It turns out you can get arrested faster on University of Chicago campus then you can get trauma care. Most hospitals operate as non-profits and their ability to operate is regulated by the state and their ability make money is largely dependent on state/federal services (Medicare and Medicaid). Therefore they must serve their community, especially when that community has such obvious trauma needs. Hospitals that operate as non-profits are generally taxed a very different rate, if at all, as compared to for-profit corporations. The logic behind this is that some of that money that might have gone to tax goes to charity care--however most hospitals are famous for not advertising this fact and U of C has a particular reputation as actively avoiding Medicaid patients. As the ACA is implemented in IL it is important that hospitals are held accountable to their communities. More info at occupied chicago tribune

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Aaron Swartz Tragedy

About two weeks ago Aaron Swartz killed himself. It is so odd to not know somebody and yet feel a palpable loss on discovering that person is gone. From my twitter feed I learned of the death of Aaron Swartz, a local boy (Highland Park) done good. Among other feats at fourteen Aaron invented RSS and was important enough to the founding of Reddit to get a big payout, and for the rest of what was to be a tragically short life used his abilities for the public good. We all know the way many tech geniuses go, they invent something and go off to make a start-up, create a hedge fund, give TED talks, go to Davos.

But this was not Aaron, he worked to make the internet a better place, in part by founding Demand Progress, which worked to protect privacy on the internet and fought against SOPA. Aaron had a history of depression but it is hard to imagine that the US government’s attempts to make him plead to felony charges or go to jail for at least 35 years didn’t play a role.

Aaron’s crime? Was it defrauding homeowners? Was it money-laundering drug dealers’ money? Was it advertising medication with full knowledge that said medications could have dangerous, fatal, side effects? No, it was downloading documents that were behind a paywall that Aaron, and many others felt was morally wrong since the documents in question were public documents (that are now available for free). And the producer in question—JSTOR dropped its compliant. But this did not matter to the US government. Even if Aaron was breaking the law—reasonable people can disagree—nobody thinks what the government was demanding was reasonable.

What has come out in various comments and blog posts since his death was the sheer humanity of this person, people really cared about him and are mourning his loss. People loved him and valued him not because of his obvious technical skills but because of his absolute commitment to helping people and using his skills for the common, public, good and reading these comments one has tofeel that the world is a lesser place today now that he is gone.

The internet and technology are universally hailed as good and vital, and are described as ways to increase conversation and debate, and as “fair”. It is really important to remember it does not have to be this way, that there are plenty of people who like to change this. At a minimum one can hope a real debate about the appropriate place of copyright law might get started with this tragedy. Also, realize we are living in an era when the government has broad powers to do whatever it wants. This has always been true but between post-9/11 fears and the rise of companies like Google the drive to know and control—whether it is in the name of “security” or just to make money, has never been larger.


Welcome to the Lincoln Square - North Center - Lakeview Green Party website! We will be seeking affiliation with the Illinois Green Party in the coming months. As the name implies, we are Chicago neighbors who live in the Lincoln Square, North Center, and Lakeview neighborhoods. We are building a progressive, environmentally conscious, non-corporate, Green Party in our city.

Our goal as an organization is to elect strong, progressive, and independent, Green Party candidates so that we can enact policies that are socially just, democratic, peaceful, and that protect our environment.

As a political party, we do not accept corporate donations unlike the Democrats and Republicans. We use future focus in our policing making and coalition building in order to build a truly independent political voice for Chicagoans.

We invite you to join our growing movement for a progressive Chicago.


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