New Orleans's economy is in many respects stronger today than it was the day before the levees broke. Yet the city's remarkable recovery has, to a troubling degree, left behind the African-Americans who still make up the majority of its population. Black New Orleanians are less likely to be working than when the storm hit in 2005 and are more likely to be living in poverty. Black household incomes, adjusted for inflation, have fallen. And the earnings gap between black and white residents has grown.1
Monday, August 31, 2015
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Northwestern lures star professor from University of Illinois | Chicago Sun-Times http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/7/71/919246/northwestern-university-illinois-john-rogers (Share from CM Browser)
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Friday, August 28, 2015
We thought he said the right thing. I just wish he slapped the president, too.New Orleans trombonist Glen David Andrews
When people think back to West's telethon moment, the first thing that comes to mind is his seven-word indictment of the sitting president, a stark memory of one of the world's most famous artists accusing its most powerful man of racism. Less remembered are the 200-or-so words that came before that -- words targeted not at Bush, but at the media: "I hate the way they portray us in the media. If you see a black family, it says, 'They're looting.' You see a white family, it says, 'They're looking for food.'"
In the days following Hurricane Katrina, an image widely circulated on the Internet contrasted two photos and their captions. In one, a white man and a white woman walked through the high waters left by Katrina. The accompanying AFP/Getty caption explained, "Two residents wade through chest-deep water after finding bread and soda from a local grocery store ..."
In the other photo distributed by The Associated Press, a black youth could be seen in a similar situation. The caption, however, read, "A young man walks through chest deep flood water after looting a grocery store ..."
Organizing, Not Activism: Chicago's Dyett HS Hunger Strikers Mark 11th Day Resisting Closing & Privatization of Their School | Black Agenda Report
Activism is showing up, speaking out, demonstrating here, tweeting there, disrupting that and blogging that. But activists are only responsible to themselves. Organizing, as Chicago's Jitu Brown points out, is entirely different from mere activism. Organizers are responsible to communities, they raise up leaders from among those who've been told they cannot and do not deserve to win. #FightForDyett
Julius Erving, Dawkins' teammate on the 76ers, once told the magazine Black Sports: "Dunking is a power game, a way of expressing dominance. It makes your opponent uptight and can shatter his confidence."
Thursday, August 27, 2015
Organizing for Action is paying more than $1.2 million a year to rent what is widely believed to be the largest political email list ever created, according to new tax filings released Friday to The Wall Street Journal.
Sunday, August 23, 2015
In the last few years, the architecture and roots culture became a magnet for young people, reversing years of brain drain. Mayor Landrieu inherited a dysfunctional city and proved a catalyst in rebuilding infrastructure with funds from FEMA and other federal agencies, charting a new urban path.
Saturday, August 22, 2015
Which is why, for me, at least, the most inspiring sight to come out of Charleston following the racial massacre there was not the lowering of the Confederate battle flag, welcome as that was. Rather, it was a march through town by a mostly white crowd chanting, "Black lives matter! Black lives matter!"
This time, it's MJ following LeBron's lead.
Good for him.
LeBron James' philanthropy a light in the darkness
NBA basketball player LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers arrives to watch a basketball clinic at a mass housing community known as "Tenement" at suburban Taguig city east of Manila, Philippines Friday, Aug.21, 2015. James is here to launch a Nike sponsored television program. (AP Photo/Bullit Marquez)
BY DAN McGRATH – For the Sun-Times
Frequent promos for the Little League World Series on ESPN remind us we're approaching the one-year anniversary of a story that proved way too good to be true.
If you were playing word association, wouldn't ''awful,'' ''terrible'' or ''what the . . . '' come to mind more quickly than ''three-time Stanley Cup winner'' as a match for Patrick Kane?
With no say in the matter, Milwaukee taxpayers will help fund a new arena for the billionaire owners of the Bucks, lest they lose their NBA team and a half-share of their town's big-league identity to another market. A similar scenario has been playing out in Sacramento. It's extortion, it's legal and it will continue as long as there are hoops-hungry cities such as Seattle available to abet it.
Despite Ray McDonald's best efforts, domestic violence has become a back-burner story in the NFL — at least for now. Credit (???) goes to Deflate-gate and the idiocy of players such as Aldon Smith, not to any measures the league has undertaken to combat it.
Do you still think of soccer as ''the beautiful game'' as you learn about FIFA, Sepp Blatter and a straight-out-of-Chicago-style business model that makes the Olympic movement seem almost noble?
It's tough to maintain a healthy interest in sports when the values they're supposed to foster are drowning in greed, corruption and lawlessness.
So thank you, LeBron James, for a respite from the mind-numbing drumbeat of bad news.
James made an announcement last week that was, if not ignored, totally devoid of the fanfare that accompanied ''The Decision,'' that misguidedly self-centered spectacle by which he revealed he was forgoing the grit of Cleveland for the glamor of Miami five years ago. He is sponsoring a program that will enable thousands of disadvantaged kids in his native Akron to receive college scholarships.
James won two titles in four seasons with the Heat and erased any doubt that he's the best player on the planet by taking the badly outmanned Cavaliers to the NBA Finals last season. He never has beaten up a wife or girlfriend, never has been arrested, never has been in trouble despite a sadly dysfunctional upbringing that easily could have led him toward bad decisions and dire consequences.
Some basketball fans' unrelenting animus toward James makes no sense. The scholarship program could cost $40 million if enough kids take advantage of it, and there is a tutoring/mentoring component available to prepare them, as well as a community-service requirement.
James is as unselfish and outstanding a citizen as he is a basketball player, and some folks hate him for it?
I work at Leo High School, a small-but-feisty all-boys school in the Auburn-Gresham community on the South Side. A program such as James' would be a godsend for our kids, nearly all of whom are college material but are limited in their choices by economic circumstances.
One of them, a 2015 graduate named Isaiah, stopped by to say goodbye the other day, off to college in Mississippi. Isaiah transferred in from a nearby charter school three years ago, fearing for his life because he refused to throw in with the gang element that enjoyed the run of the place.
As a Catholic school receiving no state funds, we have to charge tuition, and we broke down the cost structure for Isaiah's mother. Her response: ''It's cheaper than
The grim reality of her observation haunts me.
Isaiah recognized an opportunity to be somebody at Leo and embraced it. He graduated No. 2
in the senior class, a dean's list student, National Honor Society member, co–captain of the baseball and chess teams. He decided to give football a try as a senior and did a terrific job as our punter.
''Leo changed his life,'' Isaiah's mother told me.
All he needed was an opportunity to thrive in a safe, nurturing, learning environment.
James' scholarship program is Isaiah's story writ large. James is doing it because he can but also because he cares. And thousands of kids will be better for it.
The same day James' scholarship initiative was announced, Michael Jordan was in a Chicago courtroom, seeking $10 million from a defunct grocery-store chain over unauthorized use of his likeness in a tribute ad. It's his image and his right to protect it.
The jury found for him and awarded him $8.9 million, which MJ said he'll donate to charity. Jordan is the player with whom James most frequently is compared. This time, it's MJ following LeBron's lead.
Good for him.
Seeing this 90 year old man vigorously walk into room and jump on dais reminded me of my grandfather who reached a similar age and was similarly active and clear minded. I hope to be the same. Good luck President Carter.
Steve Harvey to air show despite 'disrespectful' audience at Chicago taping
Steve Harvey is photographed in November 2013 at The Steve Harvey Mentoring Program for Young Men at Chicago State University. Harvey's show tapes in Chicago.
(John J. Kim / Chicago Tribune)
Steve Harvey will air a two-part season premiere of his show next month focused on "What Men Think," despite complaints the Chicago audience was disrespectful to the women on stage.
Harvey, whose "Steve Harvey Show" tapes in Chicago, gathered 2,000 men and 150 women Sunday at the Oriental Theatre in the Loop for the day-long discussion about life and relationships. WWE star David Otunga, longtime talk show host Geraldo Rivera, Chicago entrepreneur Bill Rancic and reality star Todd Chrisley served as guest panelists.
A few audience members told the Tribune that some of the men in the audience catcalled and shouted at the women. A Steve Harvey spokeswoman said the daytime NBC show is still scheduled to air the episode in two parts Sept. 8 and 9 for the series' Season 4 premiere.
"The nature of the topic alone can elicit strong opinions from both men and women. While we always encourage a healthy debate, we do not condone or tolerate rude or disrespectful behavior towards our audience or any of our guests. We are very proud of the episodes that we produced and are confident that our national audience will find the conversation both insightful and entertaining," a representative for the show said in a statement to the Tribune.
Tyler Samples, of Andersonville, described the energy in the room Sunday as "caustic." He said some of the men in the audience jeered at the women and Harvey, a comedian who wrote the relationship book "Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man," was permissive of the attitude.
"It served a really great lesson about what women have to go through on an everyday basis," said Samples, 31.
Jermaine Terry, 24, said it was a "big opportunity" to be at the taping because he finds Harvey to be inspirational, but he found members of the audience Sunday to be rude.
"The majority of the time there I had a major migraine from people in my ear yelling at Steve and at the women," said Terry, who lives in the south Austin neighborhood. "I could see from the women's faces that they felt disrespected."
Terry said Harvey didn't take sides between the male and female guests but he said Harvey said he understood why some of the men were acting in that fashion. Samples said Harvey used a "misguided metaphor" to describe women as prey and men as hunters.
"If they air (the show) the way I assume they will, heavily edited ... it would be disingenuous," Samples said.
Dan Johnson, who said he attended the taping in the morning, said he didn't hear any disrespectful words amid the noise of the audience.
"Men were excited and yelling but there wasn't any particular catcalling to any women. It was just a lot of noise from people being in a studio audience," said Johnson, 40, of Wilmette. "It was a blast."
Copyright © 2015, Chicago Tribune
@Tassos You are right Tassos.I overlooked that part. I like him as a comic but I do not agree with his views.on relationships and how men think
AT 10:59 AM AUGUST 22, 2015
Stay classy Chicago.
AT 10:20 AM AUGUST 22, 2015
Friday, August 21, 2015
Can Khan of Madiganistan be weakened in 2016?
NANCY STONE/CHICAGO TRIBUNE
Cook County Democratic Party Chairman Joe Berrios is a longtime party warhorse. And he could be challenged for 31st Ward Democratic committeeman.
Does Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan, the powerful political boss of a broken state, have any weak spots?
They're not easy to find, hidden by the dragon's impenetrable scales. But yes, you can reach him, through his servants.
You can get to him in his Southwest Side lair. You can touch his meat puppets in the Statehouse, who hold office in the suburbs, in districts where taxpayers are tired of Boss rule.
And, you can touch his man, Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios.
First, though, consider Madigan's strengths. The Chicago Democrat, chairman of the Illinois Democratic Party, works harder than anyone at the craft of power. He has been the unrivaled boss of Illinois for decades.
During that time, government red ink and more than $100 billion in public employee pension debt have helped sink the state's economy, washing out businesses and jobs and offering a bleak future for young people.
Yet the Khan of Madiganistan, lord of that dry economic wasteland once known as Illinois, could give two figs for what people say.
"Illinois has become a dictatorship from Chicago to the taxpayer, and you can see where that's gotten us," Gov. Bruce Rauner said the other day, when he referred to Madigan derisively as king.
So what did Madigan do? His loyal mini-me, state Senate President John Cullerton, D-DeLeo, went to work against Rauner.
Senate Democrats undercut Rauner's leverage with the state's costly public employee unions, denying the governor the ability to use the threat of a lockout in contract talks.
And who pays? Don't be a chumbolone. You pay.
Meanwhile, the Khan sits secure, wealthy from his legal practice reducing property taxes for the large downtown real estate interests. He is all powerful, perched comfortably like some Chicago Genghis upon a throne of skulls.
He ignores angry editorial rhetoric and Rauner's commercials. Dragons respond only to power. Only at the source can they be touched. And the source of Madigan's power is in his supermajority as House speaker.
It wouldn't be easy to threaten his hold, and I expect his jesters and media biscuit eaters to cry foul and unleash their trolls.
It would also cost some $10 million, well within the reach of Rauner's political funds for 2016. If done correctly, Madigan's resources could be stretched thin.
First, a Democratic candidate in Madigan's increasingly Hispanic Southwest Side district must be found to challenge his re-election.
Ideally, the candidate would be a woman, a Latina; best if she were a mom, a cop, Roman Catholic with a college degree.
If such a candidate were well-funded, the Khan would be forced to keep his troops close. He'd have to spend power to keep it.
Second, Rauner must mount well-funded challenges in districts where Republican sources say he ran strongly in comparison to House and Senate Democratic candidates.
The targets could include House Reps. John Bradley, D-Marion; Deb Conroy, D-Villa Park; Carol Sente, D-Lincolnshire; Kate Cloonen, D-Kankakee; Mike Smiddy, D-Hillside; Marty Moylan, D-Des Plaines; Michelle Mussman, D-Schaumburg; Sam Yingling, D-Grayslake.
State Senate targets could include Sens. Melinda Bush, D-Grayslake; Tom Cullerton, D-Villa Park; Gary Forby, D-Benton; Julie Morrison, D-Deerfield and Bill Haine, D-Alton.
Third, a challenge must be made to Madigan's man in Cook County — Berrios, the Cook County Democratic Party chairman.
Berrios is a longtime Democratic Party warhorse. He worked his way up. And personally, I happen to like him because, unlike many in politics, he's no phony.
He relishes the role of Cook County boss and puts relatives on the public payroll.
"So I'm old-school," Berrios told me Thursday. "Whether my family worked for me or they worked for someone else, the comments would the same, that I'm helping family. But they have to produce or I'll get rid of them. I expect them to work harder than everyone else."
Still, Chairman Berrios knows there's a target on his back.
He's had a string of recent defeats. His daughter lost her state House seat to Will Guzzardi in 2014. And earlier this year, Berrios backed the loser in the 36th Ward aldermanic race.
But Berrios' great sin was that he lost his own longtime incumbent alderman in his home 31st Ward.
Berrios' guy, Ray Suarez, was defeated by a newcomer, former television journalist Ald. Milly Santiago, a dynamic candidate.
Now there are rumblings she might run against Berrios for the 31st Ward Democratic committeeman's spot in March. If she could knock him off as ward committeeman, he'd be out as county chairman and worthless to the Khan of Madiganistan.
"I'm sure some feel there's vulnerability since the aldermanic election," Berrios told me. "But I've got a good organization. I expect to meet with Ald. Santiago next week, to find out her intentions."
Santiago hasn't decided on a challenge to Berrios. But she is holding a fundraiser at a Berrios hangout, the Erie Cafe, on Oct. 8. And she sat down with me for an interview to talk it over.
"Some people have told me, 'Milly, this is your momentum and you're going to be able to prove that it's time for a change,' " she said. "And these big bosses may be very concerned. I'm not afraid. I challenged the machine and I was very vocal about attacking Joe Berrios through my campaign, talking about all these years of corruption and personal interest and everything else."
So she's thinking about it. And Berrios is thinking, as are Madigan's meat puppets in the legislature. And Rauner.
Of course, Madigan is always thinking.
It is never too late," George Eliot wrote, "to be what you might have been."
Ronald Reagan very much believed in that. He refashioned himself any number of times, always keeping track of the goal, never keeping track of the clock.
Comcast Raises Its Bet on New Media
Media company's NBCUniversal unit to invest in BuzzFeed, valuing it at $1.5 billion
Buzzfeed CEO Jonah Peretti at a marketing conference in Hamburg, Germany, last year. In a memo to staff, Mr. Peretti said the NBCUniversal deal would allow Buzzfeed to 'grow and invest without pressure to chase short-term revenue or rush an IPO.' PHOTO: BODO MARKS/DPA/ZUMA PRESS
LUKAS I. ALPERT
Updated Aug. 18, 2015 7:22 p.m. ET
Steve Burke, chief executive of Comcast Corp.'s NBCUniversal, stood before his senior executive team early this year and issued a directive: The media company needs to go where the eyeballs are going, he said, and introduce more "digital" to its DNA.
Now, NBCUniversal is making some headway in realizing those ambitions. The company said Tuesday that it agreed to invest $200 million in BuzzFeed in a deal that people familiar with the situation said values the new-media company at $1.5 billion. The pact comes a week after NBCUniversal said it would invest the same amount in BuzzFeed competitor Vox Media.
The deals give NBCUniversal more exposure to websites that offer a combination of news, lists and advertiser-sponsored content, and specialize in reaching the young audiences that are increasingly fleeing traditional television. NBCUniversal anticipates opportunities to become partners with BuzzFeed and Vox in areas such as advertising and creating television programming to appeal to younger viewers, people familiar with the deal said.
On Monday, BuzzFeed also said it had signed a joint-venture deal with Yahoo Japan Corp. to create a local Japanese-language version of the site. Japan would be the ninth foreign market BuzzFeed has expanded into, and the company says it now gets 45% of its traffic from abroad.
Many media-industry observers have been expecting for the past year to see significant mergers among television-channel owners to deal with mounting competitive pressures in the pay-TV world. But so far no such blockbuster transactions have happened. Instead, several media companies appear to be directing their capital—at least for the moment—into digital media companies that hold the promise of powering future growth.
Unlike the venture investments traditional media companies have made for years, these are sizable bets. Time Warner Inc.'s Turner cable unit paid nearly $200 million for a majority stake in Internet TV tech vendor iStreamPlanet, saying the deal could help expand Turner's online video products. 21st Century Fox Inc. in July invested $150 million in fantasy-sports startup DraftKings Inc., which is attracting the coveted demographic of young men.
Last year, A+E Networks, which is jointly owned by Walt Disney Co.and Hearst Corp., invested $250 million in Vice Media and has since sought to rebrand one of its channels as a Vice channel.
The NBCUniversal investment is likely to help BuzzFeed "grow and invest without pressure to chase short-term revenue or rush an IPO," Chief Executive Jonah Peretti said in a memo to staff. For 2014, the company said it took in more than $100 million in revenue.
In an interview, Mr. Peretti said there could be many potential strategic partnerships for the companies, such as allowing marketers to promote across NBCUniversal properties and BuzzFeed. He said the resources would help BuzzFeed expand into television and film, which he estimates will only make up about 10% to 20% of BuzzFeed's business over the long term but require bigger content investments than online media.
"The cost structure of traditional media is much higher—the cost to make a movie or show is higher," he said, adding that even though BuzzFeed aims to improve on the efficiency of Hollywood's traditional model, "it's still going to take significant investment."
As for Comcast, the company in April abandoned a $45.2 billion bid to buyTime Warner Cable after strong pushback in Washington over competition concerns. Since then, Comcast's entertainment arm, NBCUniversal, has been scouting for digital media deals, including with Vice Media, AOL's Huffington Post, BuzzFeed and Vox, people familiar with the situation said. The company decided to move ahead with the investments in BuzzFeed and Vox.
NBCUniversal, which owns channels such as USA, Bravo, E! and MSNBC, has struggled like other media companies to maintain a connection with young viewers, who have increasingly dropped their cable connections in favor of watching video online. According to a Horizon Media analysis of Nielsen data, only about 25% of people ages 18 to 34 watch prime-time TV, compared with 53% of those over 55.
Over half of BuzzFeed's 82.4 million unique visitors in July were between the ages of 18 and 34, according to comScore Inc. Vox, which is made up of eight websites focused on sports, politics, food, fashion and technology, had a combined 54.4 million unique visitors in July, with over 40% between the ages of 18 and 34.
One potential area of partnership with BuzzFeed is the Olympics, which NBC telecasts. For a television feature about an Olympic swimmer, for example, BuzzFeed could create promotional videos showcasing young Olympic swimmers to help generate interest among younger TV viewers and bring in ad dollars, said a person familiar with NBCU's thinking. In addition, some popular BuzzFeed shows such as "The Try Guys"—in which a few men try outlandish acts such as walking a mile with fake pregnant bellies—could get picked up as a television show or segment on an NBCU channel, the person said.
NBCU also could join forces with Vox and BuzzFeed to package together younger audiences for advertisers to target. NBCU could offer a marketer a chance to buy ads across its cable channels Bravo and E!, as well as BuzzFeed and Vox, to reach a particular demographic, the person said. NBCU's news properties also hope to learn from BuzzFeed's expertise in making stories and videos go viral online, the person added.
Before the NBCUniversal investment, BuzzFeed had raised $96.3 million in five investment rounds. Last year, it raised $50 million from venture-capital firm Andreessen Horowitz, valuing the company at $850 million.
As part of the BuzzFeed and Vox deals, NBCU will likely have a seat on the boards of each company, according to a person familiar with the transactions, which would give the media company a voice in the startups' strategic direction.
—Amol Sharma contributed to this article.
There are 2 comments.
If the cable, programming, and broadcast channel companies think that buying the digital companies, that are grabbing the eyeballs and ad/subscription dollars, will be the tail that wags the (well) dog(gie), then I'll invoke Jed Clampett, that's "Like trying to poke a cat out from under a porch with a wet rope."
Thomas O'Rourke2 days ago
Comcast looking for more revenue to prop up its flagship portal of hate speech -- MSNBC/Sharpton!
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Candy Crush: is it a model for online courses? Paper argues that mobile game’s addictive appeal could be harnessed to improve course retention
CANDY CRUSH: IS IT A MODEL FOR ONLINE COURSES?
Candy Crush: is it a model for online courses?
Paper argues that mobile game's addictive appeal could be harnessed to improve course retention
August 19 2015
BY CHRIS HAVERGAL
FOLLOW AUTHOR ON CHAVERGALTHE
Lecturers who find themselves competing with Candy Crush for their students' attention may not be fans of the mobile game.
But a new paper argues that, far from complaining about the tile-matching puzzle, academics should harness its addictive appeal in order to tackle the problem of poor retention on online courses.
Writing in the International Journal of Information and Learning Technology, mother-and-daughter researchers Evangeline and Maria Varonis say that many of the structural features of Candy Crush could be emulated in programme design.
These include the way that the game groups content into identifiable, compact modules, allows access to these levels only when previous units have been completed, and provides clear, measurable objectives for the behaviour expected of learners.
The pair also recommend imitating Candy Crush's use of "shuffles", which reset tasks and hints to stop users getting stuck, the offering of bonuses for surpassing acceptable performance, and the introduction of skills slowly, over separate levels, to prevent learners becoming overwhelmed.
The paper, "Deconstructing Candy Crush: what instructional design can learn from game design", suggests a number of other features that could be replicated in online courses.
The authors, of Ohio's University of Akron, say that these include allowing learners to take risks and test different strategies for task completion, offering students different progression options to make them feel like active participants, and mixing easy and hard activities.
They conclude that, since online courses tend to have high dropout rates, the key should be to achieve a sense of "flow", with appropriately challenging tasks, clear goals and immediate feedback.
Maria Varonis told Times Higher Education that the reaction a player gets to Candy Crush's infectious elements "can be replicated and achieved within the academic setting", resulting in learning which is "engaging, enjoyable, and far more successful".
"Instructors can and should draw students into the curriculum the same way the game designers have," she said. "Though the objectives might be different between the game and the course, the same drive, commitment, and reaction students have playing the former can be triggered in the latter if presented in a particular way."
READER'S COMMENTS (1)
OLADELE CAMPBELL | 19 AUG 2015 19:15PM
Another call to reconsider our pedagogy in HEIs as we are increasingly confronted with students with preconditions or drives for learning that does not match our traditional instruction mode. Won't we better match pedagogy with these students' preconditions for learning if we are improve enrolments, retentions and achievements which are our shared concerns these days?
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Thursday, August 20, 2015
Title: Civil Society Reconsidered: The Durable Nature and Community Structure of Collective Civic Action
Title: Civil Society Reconsidered: The Durable Nature and Community Structure of Collective Civic ActionAuthor(s): Robert J. Sampson, Doug McAdam, Heather MacIndoe, and Simón Weffer‐ElizondoSource: American Journal of Sociology, Vol. 111, No. 3 (November 2005), pp. 673-714Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1086/497351Abstract: This article develops a conceptual framework on civil society that shifts the dominant focus on individuals to collective action events—civic and protest alike—that bring people together in public to realize a common purpose. Analyzing over 4,000 events in the Chicago area from 1970 to 2000, the authors find that while civic engagement is durable overall, "sixties‐style" protest declines, and hybrid events that combine public claims making with civic forms of behavior—what they call "blended social action"—increase. Furthermore, dense social ties, group memberships, and neighborly exchange do not predict community variations in collective action. The density of nonprofit organizations matters instead, suggesting that declines in traditional social capital may not be as consequential for civic capacity as commonly thought.
In Cook County Jail alone, inmates and detainees have placed more than 20.4 million calls since 2008, generating nearly $60 million in revenue.
Who profited? Securus Technologies, one of the nation's largest providers of inmate phone services—and Cook County government, which made $26.1 million in commissions during those years, according to county data. Securus has been the vendor for inmate phone services since September 2008.
Commissions often are used to pay for services, equipment or facilities unrelated to the cost of maintaining the calling service, and they drive up the cost of each call for inmates and their families, according to the Federal Communications Commission.
Some advocates take it further, saying phone commissions help fund mass incarceration.
Adjusted for population, Baltimore's murder rate this year is 34 per 100,000 people, while New York's is 2.5 per 100,000. If New York had Baltimore's murder rate, it would have seen 2,874 killings already this year.
Chicago has seen the most killings of any city, with 284. With 2.7 million people, Chicago's homicide rate is about 10.4 per 100,000 people.
Wednesday, August 19, 2015
Let's chase real solutions, not hypothetical storms
Kristen McQueary's Hurricane Katrina revisionism only distracts from the work of resolving the problems at hand
Tuesday, August 18, 2015
Friday, August 14, 2015
Thursday, August 13, 2015
But a Chicago Reporter analysis found that most of the money generated in Woodlawn's oldest TIF district, which includes a swath of 63rd Street and Cottage Grove Avenue, has not been invested in the area. Of the $30.8 million in revenue generated by the district from 1999 to 2014, according to city data, nearly three-fourths of the money was either unspent or transferred out of the district to repay the city bond debt from the construction of a high school in South Shore, another struggling South Side community.
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Thursday, August 6, 2015
Chicago police detained thousands of black Americans at interrogation facility | US news | The Guardian
Unusually for a police facility, people are taken to Homan Square from every corner of Chicago. Most arrests, however, take place in the predominantly black West Side and South Side. 54% of arrests took place within 2.5 miles of Homan Square.
Wednesday, August 5, 2015
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
[B]ecause the industries that are returning to the United States are heavily automated, they won't provide anywhere near the number of jobs that manufacturing facilities did in past decades. The Economic Policy Institute, a left-leaning think tank, estimates that the U.S. trade deficit in goods with China eliminated or displaced 3.2 million American jobs between 2001 and 2013, three-fourths of which were in manufacturing. And that's not to mention the millions of manufacturing jobs that were lost to automation and offshoring in the decades before that.
Monday, August 3, 2015
Sunday, August 2, 2015
Jackson Rising: Black Millionaires Won't Lift Us Up, But Cooperation & the Solidarity Economy Might | Black Agenda Report
News, information and analysis from the black left.
Jackson Rising: Black Millionaires Won't Lift Us Up, But Cooperation & the Solidarity Economy Might
Submitted by Bruce A. Dixon on Wed, 05/07/2014 - 06:44
By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
"320 activists from all over the country, including 80 or more from Jackson and surrounding parts of Mississippi converged on the campus of Jackson State University for Jackson Rising. "
Has raising up more black millionaires been a successful economic development strategy for our communities? Evidently not. What's the alternative to gentrification, to stadiums, to ruthless exploitation? It's the solidarity economy. It's cooperation. It's democratically owned, worker-run cooperatives for child care, retail, auto repair, factories, health care, you name it. It's already rising in Jackson Mississippi, and soon, near you.
Jackson Rising: Black Millionaires Won't Lift Us Up, But Cooperation & the Solidarity Economy Might
By BAR managing editor Bruce A. Dixon
"...The hundreds gathered at Jackson Rising spent the weekend exploring and discussing how to fund, found and foster a different kind of business enterprise – democratically self-managed cooperatives...."
For a long time now we've been fed and been feeding each other the story that uplifting black communities means electing more faces of color to public office and creating more black millionaires. Those wealthy and powerful African Americans, in the course of their wise governance, their normal business and philanthropic efforts can be counted on to create the jobs and the opportunities to largely alleviate poverty and want among the rest of us. The only problem with this story is that it's not working, and in fact never really did work.
It was a myth, a fable, a grownup fairy tale which told us nothing about how the world and this society actually functioned.
In the real world, we now have more black faces in corporate board rooms, more black elected officials and more black millionaires than ever before, alongside record and near-record levels of black child poverty, black incarceration, black unemployment, black land and wealth loss. The fortunes of some of our most admired black multimillionaires, like Junior Bridgeman and Magic Johnson, rest firmly on the continued starvation wages and relentless abuse of workers in his hundreds of fast food and other restaurants.
Over the first weekend in May about 320 activists from all over the country, including 80 or more from Jackson and surrounding parts of Mississippi converged on the campus of Jackson State University for Jackson Rising. They came to seek and to share examples of how to create not individual success stories, but stories of collective self-help, collective wealth-building, collective success and the power of mutual cooperation.
The hundreds gathered at Jackson Rising spent the weekend exploring and discussing how to fund, found and foster a different kind of business enterprise – democratically self-managed cooperatives. They reviewed future plans for and current practices of cooperative auto repair shops, laundries, recycling, construction, and trucking firms. They discussed cooperative restaurants, child and elder care coops, cooperative grocery stores, cooperative factories, farms and more, all collectively owned and democratically managed by the same workers who deliver the service and create the value.
Participants at Jackson Rising learned a little of the story ofMondragon, a multinational cooperative enterprise founded in the Basque country, the poorest and most oppressed part of Spain. That country now has about a 25% unemployment rate, but in the Basque country where Mondragon cooperatives operate factories, mines, retail, transport, and more, the unemployment rate is 5%. When a Mondragon factory or store or other operation has to close because of unprofitability, Mondragon retrains and relocates those workers to another of its enterprises. Mondragon's cooperative ethos makes it so different from other enterprises, one representative explained, that they're about to have to offer their own MBA program, to guarantee they get trained managers without the bloodsucking, predatory mindset taught and valued at most business schools. They heard that Mondragon is now partnering with the UFCW and local forces to establish cooperative grocery stores and enterprises in Cinncinnati.
Those attending Jackson Rising heard about the concept of a solidarity economy, an economy not based on gentrification or exploitation or the enrichment of a few, an economy based on mutual cooperation to satisfy the needs of many, to stabilize neighborhoods and communities, to provide needed jobs and services.
Cooperation, or as it's sometimes called, "the cooperative movement" is a model that is succeeding right now in tens of thousands of places for tens of millions of people around the world. It's a model than can succeed in the United States as well. The dedicated core of activists in the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, MXGM, after deeply embedding themselves locally in Jackson Mississippi and briefly electing one of their own as mayor in the overwhelmingly black and poor city of half a million, are determined to show and take part in a different kind of black economic development.
To that end, they've formed what they call "Cooperation Jackson," with four short term objectives
Cooperation Jackson is establishing an educational arm to spread the word in their communities about the distinct advantages and exciting possibilities of mutual uplift that business cooperatives offer.
When Mayor Chokwe Lumumba was still in office, Cooperation Jackson planned to establish a "cooperative incubator." providing a range of startup services for cooperative enterprises. Absent support from the mayor's office, some MXGM activists observed, a lot of these coops will have to be born and nurtured in the cold.
Cooperation Jackson aims to form a local federation of cooperatives to share information and resources and to ensure that the cooperatives follow democratic principles of self-management that empower their workers. We've always said "free the land," observed one MXGM activist. Now we want to "free the labor" as well.
Finally Cooperation Jackson intends to establish a financial institution to assist in providing credit and capital to cooperatives.
The MXGM activists are serious thinkers and organizers. They conducted door to door surveys of entire neighborhoods in Jackson, complete with skills assessments to discover how many plumbers, plasterers, farmers, carpenters, construction workers, truck mechanics, nurses and people with other health care experience live there, and how many are unemployed. You'd imagine any local government that claimed it wanted to provide jobs and uplift people might do this, but you'd be imagining another world. In Jackson Mississippi, local activists are figuring out how to build that new and better world. The US Census Bureau gathers tons of information useful to real estate, credit, banking and similar business interests, but little or nothing of value to those who'd want to preserve neighborhood integrity and productively use the skills people already have.
In the short run, new and existing cooperatives in Jackson or anyplace else won't get much help from government. Mike Beall, president and CEO of the National Cooperative Business Association pointed out that the federal budget contains a mere $7 million in assistance for agricultural cooperatives, and that the Obama administration has tried to remove that the last two years in a row. There was, he said, no federal funding whatsoever to assist non-agricultural business cooperative startups or operations
By contrast, Wal-Mart alone receives $7.8 billion in tax breaks, loophole funds and public subsidies from state, federal and local governments every year, and according to one estimate, about$2.1 million more with each new store it opens. Another single company, Georgia Power is about to receive $8.3 billion in federal loan guarantees and outright gifts for the construction of two nuclear plants alongside its leaky old nukes in the mostly black and poor town of Shell Bluff. When it comes to oil companies, military contractors, transportation infrastructure outfits, agribusiness, pharmaceuticals and so on there are hundreds more companies that get billions in federal subsidies. Cooperatives get nothing. In the state of Mississippi, according to one Jackson Rising workshop presenter, non-agricultural cooperatives are technically illegal.
All these traditional corporations have one thing in common. Unlike democratically run cooperatives which share their profits and power, traditional corporations are dictatorships. Their workers don't, in most cases, have the freedom of speech at work or the opportunity to form unions, and certainly don't get to share in the wealth their labor creates for their bosses. To normal capitalist corporations, those workers, their families and communities are completely disposable. Detroit used to be a company town for the auto industry. When that industry grew and consolidated enough to disperse production in lower wage areas around the world it quickly abandoned Detroit and its people leaving a shattered, impoverished polluted ruin behind.
The new mayor of Jackson, who ran with developers' money against the son of the late Chokwe Lumumba and narrowly defeated him, locked a number of city employees affiliated with the old administration out of their offices immediately after the election, before even being sworn in. The city removed all sponsorship and assistance to the Jackson Rising conference. There was a campaign in local press branding its organizers, communists, terrorists, unpatriotic and unfit to discuss the serious matters of job creation and building local economies. But the conference ran smoothly anyway, with invaluable assistance from the Federation of Southern Cooperatives Land Assistance Fund, an organization that has help save the land and land rights of more black farmers over the last forty years than any other, and the Praxis Project, the Fund for Democratic Communities, the Highlander Research and Education Center, and several others.
"At Jackson Rising, hundreds of movement activists from around the country discovered, rediscovered, began to visualize and explore cooperation and the solidarity economy..."
"This new mayor of ours made a big mistake. What would it cost him, even if he imagines cooperatives cannot succeed, to give his blessing to this gathering?" asked Kali Akuno of Cooperation Jackson. "As an organizer I can now ask why he's against job creation? He's got no answer to that.... It's hindsight of course, but maybe we should have paid attention to this piece first, and the electoral effort only afterward. Who's to say that if we'd done it that way we would not have been more successful in retaining the mayor's seat."
This past weekend was the 50th anniversary of the first freedom rides which kicked off the youth-led phase of the southern Freedom Movement. Something of similar importance happened in Jackson Mississippi last weekend.
At Jackson Rising, hundreds of movement activists from around the country discovered, rediscovered, began to visualize and explore cooperation and the solidarity economy. They met with their peers from North Carolina, Ohio, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and of course Mississippi already engaged in pulling it together. It's an economy not based on gentrification as black urban regimes in Atlanta, New Orleans and other cities have and still are doing. It's not based on big ticket stadiums or shopping malls or professional sports teams, none of which create many permanent well paying jobs anyway. It's not based on fast food and restaurant empires that follow the McDonalds and Wal-Mart model of low wages and ruthless exploitation. It's about democracy and collective ownership of business, collective responsibility and collective uplift.
It's coming. Jackson Mississippi is already rising, and your community can do the same. Black Agenda Report intends to stay on top of this story in the coming weeks and months.
Bruce A. Dixon is managing editor at Black Agenda Report, and a state committee member of the Georgia Green Party. He served seven years on the board of a 480 unit housing cooperative in Chicago, and now lives and works near Marietta GA. He can be reached via this site's contact page, or at bruce.dixon(at)blackagendareport.com.
Submitted by Bruce A. Dixon on Tue, 05/13/2014 - 21:04
It's a fight we fight because it's right. I mean left. And we fight it, like the Old Testament character Job, whether we expect the cavalry to show up on our side or not.
As for how few of us there appear to be, increasing those numbers is an organizing job. Some of us are organizers. We can do this. C'mon in.
Submitted by charly47 on Thu, 05/08/2014 - 21:28
This sounds like a great way forward.
One other thing I feel needs to be done in the US, the working class MUST finally put aside all the artificial "divides" that keep us from uniting. We are told to not hang out with those who have different skin color, or different religious beliefs, or different politics, or some other false division that are generated to insure the working class is never really united. Once the working people see that these supposed divisions are false, our lives will improve.
Oh dear, this makes me sound like some radical socialist no doubt. Well, too bad. I have wondered for decades why the working class keeps falling for these false divisons and not see that they are put there by the ruling gangs of Wall Street, international finance, and various religious groups among others who need to keep the workers from uniting. Oh, Karl Marx didn't go far enough, so there. Maybe I am a socialist, but I do believe in people being judged by the content of their character NOT some fake division set up by the ruling gangs.
Submitted by Dramond on Fri, 05/09/2014 - 11:54
One of the reasons plans end up not succeeding for us is because people see us coming a mile away. Why? Because sites like this one get excited about such movements, start advertising it, banging their gong. Whatever happened to us quietly doing our necessary work and as others bear witness, they adopt similar practices? This post put a bull's eye on these organizations. Stop being so vocal about what you're doing. Stop announcing every damn thing. Take a note from the Chinese. They plan well in advance and work QUIETLY. They advertise NOTHING. You need to remove this post and stop making these organziations and their plans targets. Learn from history, damn.
Submitted by Kamau Ajamu on Mon, 05/12/2014 - 11:07
This is kind of a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" scenario. I like knowing that this is happening, and I'm certain others enjoy reading about what's happening in Jackson. I think it's worth the risk of exposure. How many enemies to this movement in Jackson already know about this anyway? How many know about BAR? I don't know. This is not being announced on NBC, CNN or other large media outlets as far as I know. Exposure is relative in this case and may not be enough to hurt their cause. Let's hope they can maintain and grow into something great...quietly!
Submitted by Bruce A. Dixon on Tue, 05/13/2014 - 21:00
Political organizing depends on popularixing notions while you can, convincing people, changing their hearts and minds, arguing and discussing and meeting and hashing and rehashing and committeefying. Except in some very special circumstances, it cannot be done in secret. It's work that has to be done in the open.
And really as loudly as possible, because after all, to oppose this is to oppose the creation of jobs and opportunities, which would only make our opponents look foolish.
We were charged also to help build open support for the advanced efforts of Jackson in nearby cities... I hope to do a bit of that in Atlanta and perhaps Dallas as well, both 400 miles in opposite directions up and down I-20.
Submitted by Dramond on Tue, 05/27/2014 - 08:34
Building support does not mean recounting everything they're planning, including meeting dates, etc. It also does not mean putting a bull's eye squarely on the backs of these people/organizations who haven't even had a chance yet to try without BAR making them a mark.
It means discussing ideas and providing successful examples - as in the case of the Mondragon organzation whose documentary I watched online.
Again, it doesn't mean showing a hostile government your hand. Let's lose the naivete and let's learn from our own history!
Submitted by Bruce A. Dixon on Tue, 05/13/2014 - 21:57
and nobody's looking for you yet. This is the time for open and above ground organizing, politicizing, advertising, discussing, time to educate all those you can reach. If you wanna hide, go hide. Nobody is stopping you.
Submitted by freedom23 on Sun, 08/31/2014 - 08:34
Submitted by Priff1974 on Thu, 10/09/2014 - 08:22
Saturday, August 1, 2015
Ta-Nehisi Coates: A fresh voice for an impatient generation
Author Ta-Nehisi Coates speaks to an audience July 15, 2015, at Union Baptist Church in Baltimore. (Algerina Perna / Baltimore Sun)
Race relations may still be a mess, but at least people are interested in reading about it.
Congratulations to Ta-Nehisi Coates. His meditation on race in America has hit No. 1 in its first week on The New York Times' Best Sellers list. Race relations may still be a mess, as his book suggests, but at least people are interested in reading about it.
Good timing helps. In the age of smartphone cameras, police dashcams and Twitter activism, the nation is abuzz with talk of minor encounters between police and black Americans that suddenly escalated into fatalities in places as varied as Long Island, N.Y.; North Charleston, S.C.; Waller County, Texas; and, most recently, Cincinnati.
In these places, in particular, video now validates much of what black communities have been complaining about for decades. Video has become what Paul Butler, a professor at Georgetown University Law School and a former prosecutor, has called "the C-SPAN of the streets."
Amid this heightened conversation, Coates, a national editor at The Atlantic, offers a brief, often angry yet elegantly provocative 152-page book, "Between the World and Me," that could have just as easily been titled, "The Talk." That's what many black parents call the chat we have with our children about how to behave on the streets — between the perils of armed gangbangers on one side and touchy police officers on the other.
Coates offers his searing reflections on race in the form of an open letter to his 14-year-old son, Samori. His approach, inspired by James Baldwin's 1963 classic, "The Fire Next Time," and titled with a line from a Richard Wright poem, puts us inside the world of black parents and their children trying to navigate the world that poses pervasive threats to the black body.
He describes the fear he felt growing up. Police, he cautions his son, "have been endowed with the authority to destroy your body," and commit "friskings, detainings, beatings and humiliations."
Street gangs — "young men who'd transmuted their fear into rage" — might also break your body or "shoot you down to feel that power, to revel in the might of their own bodies."
The "need to be always on guard" can be exhausting, Coates writes, but death might "billow up like fog" on any ordinary afternoon.
@segesta65 looking in the mirror is not in any of their play books
CHAZ MICHAEL MICHAELS
AT 8:36 PM AUGUST 01, 2015
I've been a fan of Coates' work for years as a fresh voice in social commentary, and he offers many valuable observations here. Yet I also was disappointed by the pervasive sense of pessimism in regard to America's ability to redeem itself from past sins and provide opportunities for more progress — if we all work at it.
I heard in his impatience the voice of my own son, who is far more eager to gripe about how far we have to go as a nation than to express appreciation for how far we have come. That's OK, I have reasoned. It is the job of each new generation to express impatience with the present. It is up to older folks who remember how bad things were in the days of Jim Crow segregation, for example, to tell the youngsters not to abandon hope.
To test my theory, I called Coates' father, W. Paul Coates, a former Black Panther in Baltimore who is founder and director of Black Classics Press. Paul was predictably proud of his son's success with a book that was not expected to make him rich but mainly to "let what was inside of him out."
But, unlike me, Paul Coates refused to acknowledge any daylight at all between his son's outlook and his own. We may have moments of progress, including the election of an African-American president, Coates told his son, but "we must continue to struggle," he said.
"Much of what he's writing sounds like what I told him," said the elder Coates, "only less eloquently and with a lot more repetition. I don't believe the arc of justice bends our way. I think we have to go out and bend it our way."
With that, the elder Coates raises a good point. His son offers an eloquent diagnosis of what ails us about race and racism these days. But it mostly leaves prescriptions for the rest of us to find and to fill.
Black Lives movement shifts racial discussion Activists emphasize that their votes also matter Tribune, Saturday, August 01, 2015
Black Lives movement shifts racial discussion
Activists emphasize that their votes also matter
BY EVAN HALPER AND KURTIS LEE | TRIBUNE NEWSPAPERS
FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Democrats have never been more confident that their chances of hanging onto the White House hinge on black voters, who tipped key states toward President Barack Obama — but they have never been less confident, it seems, about how to talk to them.
The Black Lives Matter campaign is seeing to it that the rules they relied on for courting the vote of African-Americans no longer apply.
The social media-driven movement, sparked in the aftermath of Florida teen Trayvon Martin's 2012 death and re-ignited in the racial unrest of the past year, has some 2016 contenders adjusting their strategies. Candidates who might otherwise have been complacent given their high marks on legislative report cards from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and endorsements from an older generation of black leaders have had to more directly confront questions of racial inequality and how the criminal justice system treats blacks.
"We want to ensure that these candidates will actually deal with the issues that black people face," said Patrisse Cullors, a co-founder of the movement who is from Los Angeles. "The reality is that it's still not legal to be black in this country."
The group's demands weighed heavily on discussions at a major conference of the National Urban League in Fort Lauderdale on Friday, where candidates of both parties sparred over the best approach for improving the lives of African-Americans. Hillary Rodham Clinton discussed the challenges of being black in America. Jeb Bush spoke of his conservative growth agenda and how it related to minority empowerment.
"Four percent growth is more enterprise in urban areas, more people moving in, a higher tax base and more revenues — in other words, a better chance to save our cities," he said. "We can do this as a country. We can grow at a pace that lifts up everybody, and there is no excuse for not trying."
Democrats are re-educating themselves on how to talk to black voters They fear any stumbles could erode the coalition of black voters that was key to Obama's victories in Florida, Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania.
"This is not just about statistics, as damning as they can be," Clinton said at the Urban League. "This is about Americans doing some soul-searching and holding ourselves to account."
Cullors said the group wants candidates to address poverty, racial profiling by police, incarceration and homelessness.
"What we are seeing is a group of voters that are getting their political legs up under them and beginning to define what politics are going to be like for them post-Obama," said Cornell Belcher, who was a pollster for the Obama campaign. "You will have a hard time getting to the White House as a Democrat without speaking to them and including them in your coalition."
These activists are sidestepping the usual brokers whom many white Democrats have gone through to reach black voters.
"There is a sense that the traditional civil rights organizations have been far too cozy with whoever and not making clear enough demands," said Fredrick Cornelius Harris, director of the Center on African-American Politics and Society at Columbia University in New York. "They see these people as having failed them."
It's a point of concern with some of the older groups, like the Urban League, which embrace the attention Black Lives Matter has managed to direct toward racial disparity and injustice but express frustration that their own work is overlooked.
"We have been talking police accountability since before these incidents occurred," Urban League President Marc Morial said of the events that spawned the Black Lives Matter movement.
Black activists have more strongly emphasized elections in the aftermath of the Ferguson riots, where they led a push to vote out local officials, and organizers with experience mobilizing voters are building coalitions around Black Lives Matter.
Kareem Jordan, a criminal justice professor at the University of Massachusetts in Lowell, drove to Clinton's town hall Tuesday in Nashua, N.H., where he was one of a handful of blacks in an audience of
250. He pushed the candidate on mass incarceration.
Clinton, who decried racism in sentencing and emphasized the need to build trust between police and local communities, provided an answer Jordan found mostly adequate, though "a little vague."
Jordan plans to vote for Clinton. But he said turning out the black vote the way Obama did is going to be "tough for her." It's hard, he said, for whites to talk about racial justice issues in a way that blacks find genuine. "There are gaffes."
Evan Halper reported from Fort Lauderdale and Kurtis Lee from Los Angeles. David Lauter contributed from Nashua, N.H.email@example.com