Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Another slap in the face to Chicagoland's Arabs by Mayor Emanuel

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Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Office of New Americans (ONA) excludes Arabs
Mayor Rahm Emanuel again slapped Arab Americans in the face, disenfranchising more than 100,000 Arabs who live in Chicago and their children who attend Chicago schools.
Mayor Emanuel. who has a historic aversion of American Arabs because of his Israeli military service and his efforts to undermine President Barack Obama's push to force Israel to compromise, unveiled a new plan to help foreign born residents of the city participate, find jobs and contribute to the city's economy.
Emanuel was very careful to include three Muslims in his plan, but not one leader of any American Arab organizations. That's the "loophole" that people who hate Arabs always use in order to avoid doing anything with American Arabs. They find Muslims who speak for the Muslim community and who represent the Muslim community but who do not represent ANY Arab Organizations.
The fact is there are more than 7 million Muslims in the United States but only 22 percent of them are Arab Muslim. The remainder are African American (37 percent), Asian (27 percent) and others (14 percent).
In Chicago, the majority of the Arabs, though, are Christian Arabs. The largest group are Palestinian followed by Jordanians and Lebanese. In the Greater Chicagoland area, there are some 450,000 Arabs including in Chicago and the majority are Christian, also, with the largest group being Palestinians followed by Lebanese, and then Egyptian. There is a large group of non-Arab people from the Middle East who are Assyrian and who do not consider themselves Arab. Ask them. They will tell you.
I don't criticize the three individuals representing the Muslim American community. They do great work for their religious activism and community. But they don't represent the American Arabs at all.
And that is morally and ethically wrong for Mayor Emanuel to exclude Arabs.
Here is the Mayor's press releases, followed by the list of the appointees to the commission:
Mayor Emanuel Unveils First-Ever Chicago New Americans Plan

New Plan, Developed over Months of Community Conversations, Outlines 27 Distinct Initiatives That Can Create Thousands of Jobs and Boost the Ability of Chicago’s 560,000 Foreign-Born Residents to Fully Contribute to the City’s Growth

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Today, Mayor Emanuel released the Chicago New Americans Plan, which outlines 27 initiatives to build a thriving, diverse and welcoming city over the next three years. The plan, which is the first of its kind in the nation, highlights the potential economic impact when the City supports the creation and expansion of immigrant-owned businesses; develops, attracts, and retains talent and expertise from other countries; and aims to bolster the City’s status as a vibrant and welcoming international city.

“With residents from over 140 countries and more than 100 languages spoken in our city, Chicago is a city of immigrants,” said Mayor Emanuel. “These immigrants are small business owners, teachers, parents, clergymen, elected officials, and leaders in our communities. This is why I am committed to making Chicago the most immigrant friendly city in the nation. I thank the ONA Advisory Committee for assisting us in developing a plan that will ensure Chicago continues to thrive and grow and attract the world’s leading human capital to compete in the 21st century global economy and beyond.” 

By implementing the initiatives listed in the Chicago New Initiatives Plan, the plan proposes to create thousands of jobs by increasing the growth of immigrant small and medium sized businesses and by doubling the exports of immigrants businesses. The plan also states that making early childhood options and summer enrichment opportunities more available to immigrant parents will increase savings later; for each dollar spent on early-childhood education, seven dollars in savings are coming.

In July 2011, Mayor Rahm Emanuel created the Office of New Americans and set the goal for Chicago to become the world’s most immigrant-friendly city. Just months later, the Mayor convened an advisory committee comprised of 50 leaders representing Chicago’s business, academic, civic and philanthropic communities. The goal of the advisory committee was to identify challenges unique to immigrants, recommend initiatives to be implemented over the next three years, and develop a detailed implementation plan for the Office of New Americans and its partners.

The Chicago New Americans Plan recommends a broad array of new programs and initiatives, which are designed to improve the day-to-day lives of immigrants while promoting Chicago’s economic growth and cultural vitality.

The plan’s 27 initiatives are grouped into three categories: Our Growth, Our Youth, and Our Communities. The three categories are divided into eight subgroups which will focus on economic opportunities, human capital, education, public safety, health, city services, civic engagement and ensuring that Chicago remains a place where diversity is welcomed and celebrated.

“The Chicago New Americans Plan is an economic improvement and community development tool that will be a national model for creating a city that welcomes and incorporates the immigrant community into all city services and programs,” said Celena Roldan, Executive Director, Erie Neighborhood House. “Historically serving immigrants since 1870, Erie Neighborhood House is committed to empowering the immigrant community through the Mayor’s New American Plan and applauds his efforts to make Chicago the most immigrant friendly city in the country.”

"As one of the most rapidly growing immigrant groups in the Chicago area, South Asian Americans appreciates having a voice as the city considers how to make the city more inclusive and leverage the great potential of all immigrant groups,” said  Ami Gandhi, South Asian American Policy & Research Institute (SAAPRI).

"Our humanity is enhanced by our differences; we build Chicago knowing that our diversity represents our strength and our best selves,” said Jerry Doyle, Vice Provost, Illinois Institute of Technology. “The Mayor's announcement today reminds us all that we are ONE Chicago; that as we welcome, embrace, and celebrate New Americans we draw upon and renew the long-standing tradition of Chicago as a city of immigrants upon whose shoulders we have launched the dreams of millions; a city whose voice and achievements serve as a beacon for all to aspire to - including ourselves."

To make Chicago the world’s most immigrant-friendly city, the City will effectively manage the implementation and success of this plan. The Office of New Americans will utilize a multi-tiered scorecard to measure initiative implementation and results. The scorecard will also evaluate the extent to which the initiatives together are improving economic, civic, and cultural vitality for Chicago.

The ONA collaborated with Civic Consulting Alliance, A.T. Kearney, and Downtown Partners Chicago, all of whom provided their support on a pro-bono basis, in the development of the plan.

The Chicago New Americans Plan was unveiled at the Erie Neighborhood House, a place historically serving immigrants since 1870. The Chicago New Americans Plan and a full list of initiatives are available at http://www.cityofchicago.org/newamericans.


ONA Advisory Council Members in their respective subgroups:

Economic Opportunities:
Omar Duque, President and Chief Executive Officer, Illinois Hispanic Chamber of Commerce
Nilda Esparza, Executive Director, Little Village Chamber of Commerce
Sue Gin, Chief Executive Officer, Flying Food Groups
Liz Griffiths, Executive Director, Albany Park Chamber of Commerce
Luis Gutierrez, Executive Director, Latinos Progresando
Michael Mini, Director Government Relations, Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce George
Chunkau Mui, Global Business Consultant, U.S. Department of Commerce, Minority Business Development Agency
Rob Paral, Principal,Rob Paral and Associates
Jaz Park, Board Member, Korean American Association of Chicago
Alberto Senior, Senior Exec., Miller Coors
Alejandro Silva, Chief Executive Officer, Evans Food Group
Roberto Rodrigues, Professor, University of Chicago

Human Capital and Education:
Nancy Aardema, Executive Director, Logan Square Neighborhood Association
Ana Bedard, Associate Director, St. Augustine Institute for Workforce Education
Tanya Cabrera, Associate Director, Illinois Institute of Technology
Gerald P. Doyle, Vice Provost, Illinois Institute of Technology
Roberto Gonzalez, Assistant Professor, University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration
Jill Kushner Bishop, President, Multilingual Connections
Clara Lopez, Vice President , El Valor
Juan Rangel, Executive Director, United Neighborhood Organization (UNO)
Harold Rice, Executive Director, Albany Park Community Center
Juan Salgado, President, Instituto del Progreso Latino
Rebecca Tancredi, Managing Director, Upwardly Global - Chicago Office

Safety, Health and Access to city services:
Walter "Slim" Coleman, Reverend, Centro Sin Fronteras
Ahlam Jbara, Interim Executive Director, The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago
Kathleen Jung Hee Fernicola, Policy Director, Asian American Institute
Viviana Martinez, Chief of Staff, Office of Cook County Commissioner Jesus Garcia
Mary Meg McCarthy, Executive Director, National Immigration Justice Center
Katya Nuques, Associate Director, Enlace Chicago
Caroline Orzac Shoenberger, Director, Chicago Legal Clinic
Maria Pesqueira, President and Chief Executive Officer, Mujeres Latinas en Accion
Sima Qureshi, Executive Director, Muslim Women's Resource Center
Celena Roldan, Executive Director, Erie Neighborhood House
Layla Suleiman Gonzalez, Director Office of Strategic Planning, Illinois Department of Human Services
Tania Uzueta, Advocacy Coordinator, LGBTQ Immigrant Rights Project - ALMA
Bernie Wong, Executive Director, Chinese American Service League

Civic engagement, Diversity welcomed and celebrated:
Lawrence Benito, Executive Director, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant & Refugee Rights
Dalila Fridi, Senior Technical Application Analyst, Northwestern Memorial Hospital
Ami Gandhi, Executive Director, South Asian American Policy and Research Institute
Maricela Garcia, Executive Director, Gads Hill Center
Alie Kabba, Executive Director, United African Organization
Gary Kenzer, Executive Director, Polish American Association
Emma Lozano, Founder, Centro Sin Fronteras
Denise Martinez, Director of Office of New Americans, Office of the Governor
Ahmed Rehab, Executive Director, CAIR Chicago
Rebecca Sanders, Executive Director, Chicago Cultural Alliance
Freddy Santiago, Pastor, El Rebano Church
Elena Segura, Director, Office for Immigrant Affairs and Immigrant Education, Archdiocese of Chicago

Friday, November 09, 2012

Chicago's anti-Arab Mayor Rahm Emanuel pushing through his Zero Arab Cultural Plan

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Ever since the election of Rahm Emanuel as mayor, the presence of American Arabs in government and in cultural events has declined to the point of near extinction.

Although American Arabs have been a part of Chicago since the first immigrants arrived in the city in the middle of the 19th Century from Arab countries and regions that had not yet become nations, American Arabs have been an active part of Chicagoland's rich diversity.

Despite the prejudice and racism against American Arabs, they have remained loyal, patriotic, taxpayers and full contributors to our society.

The late Chicago Mayor Harold Washington, Chicago's first minority and African American chief executive, was the first to recognize the need to expand the city's narrow minded approach to "culture." Washington recognized that although the city claimed to be color blind, there was a distinct discrimination against certain minorities, among the most discriminated were Arabs.

Washington sought to help Arabs and others become an active part of molding Chicago's future when he launched the Human Relations Commission and created the Arab Advisory Council. It continued even after Washington died that tragic Thanksgiving inn 1987, although the ethnic diversity group became a lifeless patronage haven for political cronies of Washington's political successors.

Upon his ascension to the Machine thrown, Emanuel, whose historic conflict with Arabs stems from his own personal religious and political upbringing -- his father was a member of the racistly anti-Arab Irgun Zvi Leumi terrorist organization -- don't be totally ignorant, people ... look this shit up! -- the first thing Mayor Emanuel did was to undermine the paltry achievements of the Arab Community. No more Arab Festival (we had it only for a few years), no more Arab events or celebrations (that began with Washington) and no more Arab appointments to major City jobs. In fact, at his so-called Eid celebration last year, there were no Arab Muslims, only non-Arab Muslims in the audience.

The issue isn't that he is anti-Muslim. Emanuel is not. He is anti-Arab.

Now the mayor has devised a plan to further undermine the opportunities for American Arabs in Chicago with the new Chicago Cultural Plan 2012. Of the dozens and dozens of volunteers and officials, only one is actually an Arab -- Lebanese American. That's it?

Chicago has a healthy American Arab community. Although we can't give you exact numbers because the U.S. Census refuses to include as in their every decade count, we estimate there are maybe 45,000 just on the Southwest Side. Most American Arabs had fled the bigotry and bias of Chicago over the years, despite the brief moment of respite under Harold Washington and casual interest by former Mayor Richard M. Daley who connected with some American Arabs as a way to strengthen business ties with the Arab World for himself after his surprise retirement in May 2011.

It's a shameful and intentional snub of Chicagoland's American Arabs. We're proud taxpayers. Hard workers. Great achievers in professions across the business spectrum. We are social activists and political activists, even though we have not yet achieved our own fundamental political presence in today's bigoted world.

In this face of the Arab community's weakness -- disorganized, without its own social structures of significance, and with no real presence in politics or government -- American Arabs deserve equality and their share of the taxpayer-funded pie that they help to finance with everyday of their hard work. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has no right to exclude American Arabs or to suppress our presence simply to satisfy his racist, hateful family heritage.


Thursday, November 08, 2012

Lone Woman Has Saviano on Edge

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Lone Woman Has Saviano on Edge

By RAY HANANIA • Southwest News-Herald Newspaper Friday, November 02, 2012

Kathleen Willis was a long time activist in DuPage County at a time when the only thing a politician could be was Republican. So how did she end up in the center of a fight on the Southwest Side and suburbs?

Willis switched to the Democratic Party to run for State Representative against 10-term incumbent Angelo “Skip” Saviano in the 77th House District.

Saviano is known for his occasional temper tantrums but it’s the viciousness of his followers that caught my attention. Saviano’s supporters have made derogatory and personal attacks against Willis, referencing to her weight. It’s very unprofessional.

Rather than address Willis or contain the ugly personal mudslinging, Saviano has run to the media claiming he is a “victim” of Illinois House Speaker Michael J. Madigan.

When a do-nothing politician wants to distract voters from his poor record, they always try to make Madigan the issue. But Madigan has been on the right side of a lot of issues that have put him in conflict with Saviano.

For example, Saviano is best known for his defense of McPier, the political bastion of taxpayer waste. When it was controlled by disgraced former Gov. Rod Blagojevich and his cronies, Saviano introduced bill after bill to dump funds into the sinkhole of spending at the McPier.

He claims Madigan is mad at him because of McPier and because he has slammed Lisa Madigan, the Illinois Attorney General, who has rightly challenged allegations of mob influence in a proposal to build a casino in Rosemont. But many of the people involved in that effort were close to mobbed up investors.

Madigan is a Democrat. He supports qualified Democratic candidates who seek legislative office. He’s been effective fighting hard for the region and the state. Saviano finds that difficult to understand.

Saviano attacked Madigan because the downtown Chicago media attacks Madigan. The notoriously biased Chicago Tribune, flagship of a collapsed Republican fiefdom, hates Madigan.

The Tribune endorsed Saviano claiming they can’t reach Willis, but I found her easy to reach. Here’s her Web page: http://www.kathleenwillis.org.

The Tribune hates Madigan because Madigan stopped the Tribune from getting tax money to bail out their former baseball team, the Chicago Cubs, and renovate Wrigley Field. The Tribune was forced to sell the Cubs and they have always blamed Madigan.

That’s “personal!”

Allies of Saviano organized a phony “community forum” in the west suburbs last week. Willis went to defend her record. When she got there, she was ridiculed and attacked personally. But she had one key ally, Southwest Side Sen. Martin Sandoval (D-12th).

As soon as Sandoval got up to speak to defend Willis, the organizers tried to shout him down. Sandoval’s message was clear.

“The Republicans have never cared about the concerns of the Latino community. It’s the Democrats who have supported Hispanics,” Sandoval said over and over again.

The meeting erupted into confusion. Saviano’s activists tried to push Sandoval to stop talking. But he refused to budge. Sandoval is not called “El Cabello” for nothing. Here’s the link to the video. You HAVE to see it!


I don’t know if Willis will defeat the whining Saviano. But I do know she is backed by a lot of good people like Madigan and Sandoval who continue to be shamefully slandered by Blagojevich’s pals.

When the going gets tough, Sandoval is the guy you want on your side.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning columnist and political analyst. Reach him at http://www.TheMediaOasis.com  — City & Suburban News-Herald

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Early, long and cumbersome voting process

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Early, long and cumbersome voting process

I "Early Voted." Funny how the phrase has become a verb in our lexicon. It involved long lines and hassles with the voting machine made by Sequoia, the company contracted by the Cook County Election Board.

The touch screen system was excruciatingly slow. That slowness in registering votes is what caused my voting experience to last nearly 18 minutes.

Can you imagine taking 18 minutes to vote? I mean 18 minutes to actually vote, not including waiting in line which took 20 more minutes in a long line of 30 early voters and only four machines for voting.

But I voted. The major offices up for election were easy choices.  Below is my complete, excruciatingly long ballot.

I hate the section on Judges. I don't know many so I will only vote in favor of those I do know. The vote section on retention -- where you vote yes or no on whether a judge should be retained -- is about the only place where I can have any satisfaction. Like I am actually accomplishing something. I ALWAYS vote NO on every Judge seeking Retention, unless I know them. If I don't know them, why should I vote to keep them?

I also vote no against any judge associated with federal convicted convict felon Ed Vrdolyak, like Judge Paul  A. Karkula. why would we put any Vrdolyak judges on the bench in Cook County's judicial system? It's a travesty. 

Several are great choices like Michael Howlett Jr., and a few others I supported for retention. A lot of them are merely the relatives of the clout-heavy and the powerful, so why just surrender a vote to them and put them into office, a great salary and a golden pension?

Voting against the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District Machine was fun, also. I voted straight Green Party. Not that I expect them to win. But I am not going to vote for three Democratic incumbents who have done NOTHING to address the flooding problems in Cook County and are on the ballot because they are related to some politician, like Patrick Daley Thompson. 

If who they are related to doesn't matter, then why do they insist on including their Clout Names on their ballot listing? "Daley?" Yes, one of the former mayor's relatives. I liked Mayor Rich Daley, but always felt he could have done far more for the people of Chicago than he did for himself and his family and relatives and cronies. None of the people he defeated, though, were any better. So his reign was probably the best Chicago could have ever expected.

I thought by voting early, it would be more convenient. It wasn't. But, I did get it out of the way.

-- Ray Hanania

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

Baby boomer memories: Things I used to do but don't do any more

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Baby boomer memories: Things I used to do but don't do any more

I still call the refrigerator the "ice box." My wife and kid laugh at me all the time.

"Is the ice box the freezer dad?" my son asks.

"Everyone's a comedian," I reply.

We used to have a big box with a white insulated plastic or steel lining. Probably steel painted white, or maybe porcelain. Every few days, a truck would carry in a block of ice using a large metal clapper shaped like rounded tongs. He would drop it in the box and we'd have meats and other fresh foods in there.

That was back in the days when peddlers used to roam the neighborhood streets in Chicago. The guy who pushed the cart with the large wheel that turned as he rolled the wood and metal contraption down the center of the street walking slowly and calling out "Knives. Knives. Knives." He used to sign a song too, but I don't remember how it went or what he was singing about.

Imagine a guy walking down the middle of the street with a collection of butcher knives hanging from a wire like a clothes line over the cart?

"Fall to the ground face down, sir. Spread your legs and arms and keep your palms down. You will only get one warning before we start firing, sir."

Clothes lines. Clothes pins. Every home had two metal "t"'s in their yards, one pipe cemented into the yard at one end, and another at the other end of the yard. The top was crossed by another pipe. And there were little metal loops under each cross pipe. Lines made of nylon or string stretched from one cross to the other. Usually about four lines. A bag with clothes pins hung at one end, bulging with wooden clothing pins that were snapped together with a metal spring. Those were the good ones. The older ones were a single piece of wood carved into a clasp that slipped over the clothing item and the line.

Drying out the clothes after a wash in the scrubber was a family affair. Mom would have the kids help as we stretched out the bed sheets and folded them over a line, snapped a clothes pin at each end and one in the center. That allowed them to dry in the sun. When there was sun.

For some reason, it was always sunny when I was a kid. Safer neighborhoods. Less to fear. Less talk about gruesome violence and killings. And nothing about race relations. There was only one race as far as most people were concerned. Blacks were people you read about when studying the Civil War.

We didn't have dish washers. Instead, we had a plastic "box" that we placed in the sink and filled with warm water and some soap. Each day after dinner, we'd scrape the dinner scraps into the garbage -- no liners, just a plastic container that had to be hosed out each week. And then we would put the plates, glasses and dishes into the plastic box and wash them by hand. 

We had a wire frame where we would line each plate standing up held in place by a row of hard plastic covered steel wire bands. They'd dry and then we'd put them in the cabinet until the next meal.

Someone invented a "plate" with a down pointing lip so that the plates would drip dry on the plastic plate and the lip would hang over into the sink and the water would roll down into the sink. Before, we'd put a folded towel underneath to catch the dripping water from the plates and glasses.

Not everything could be easily wiped dry.

We had the black and white box TV set with the round TV tube. We'd turn it on and wait for the tubes inside the TV to warm up and a light would form a dot in the center of the gray screen and then expand into a gray then black and white picture. When we closed it, it would snap to a small star burst that disappeared into a tiny dot in the center of the screen.

Every time you changed the channel, you had to get up off the coach, walk to the TV set and switch channels turning the tuner.

Then you'd sit down and get back up to move the rabbit ear antennas on top of the TV until the picture came in clearer. It never was "clear." It was always "that's better!"

We had one telephone. Heavy black with a black chord wrapped in electrical cloth-like covering.. The long cord was about 10 inches in length and you had to stand by the phone. It didn't move. You dialed using a ring dialer putting your finger into the numbered holes and turning it in a circle to the silver clip, then lifted your finger out and the dial would turn back into place in a snap. You would dial 6 numbers. Everyone's phone number began with two letters, usually representing a neighborhood. Raveswood5 3487  ... or RW5 3487.

There were all kinds of neighborhood extensions you would use and that's how you remembered everyone's number.

Of course, it was easier to just yell out your kitchen window into the kitchen window of the neighbor. 

"Hey Esther. When you come over, bring the peanut butter and the Wonder Bread!" Mom would cheer.

Mom and Esther would place one of two pieces of white Wonder Break on a plate in front of the kids and spread butter on it. And then they would pour white sugar on it and we'd eat that for lunch. Peanut butter was a luxury. One of the great inventions we enjoyed in the 1950s.

In the background, if you had some money, you might have a large box that was a radio. And the voice would introduce orchestra songs during the day. Some news. And stories and plays read by the day's Hollywood and New York actors and actresses. We loved listening to stories on the voice box.

One day the gas company came but to seal the coal shoot on the side of the house. It was a black heavy wrought iron cover sidewalk level usually in the front of the house. A coal truck would stop and someone would shovel coal into a pale and then carry it to the shoot. Open the shoot and pour the coal in. I don't recall that lasting long when I was a kid. I remember when it was a big deal to have a large tank installed that was filled with some kind of heating oil. Then later, it was replaced by gas pipes.

Only the luxury homes in the 1960s were built with Central Air Conditioning. It was like owning a Mark I Lincoln Continental. But many families managed to buy an air conditioner box that was placed inside a window in a room. The air conditioner would chill that one room. And run all day. Water would drip from the outside grill into the garden on top of the garden snakes that were common, too.

It was actually called a "Garter Snake." I think it was called that because the cris cross yellow pattern on the snake's back looked like a garter snap.

They didn't bite but they sure were abused.

We had a push mower. A gasoline mower was one of those luxuries only the rich later enjoyed. And in the Fall, we raked the leaves into a pile over the curb into the street and then at night lit them on fire until they burned down to black charred ashes. The smoke from the small piles of leave fires that dotted the streets as far as the eye could see were memorable. Not nauseating at all.

One day, the City of Chicago sent an "Alderman" to explain that the community was going to regulate when we could burn the leaves. All during the same few weeks. Eventually, burning leaves was outlawed.

Our family would also get together at 6 pm and sit together around the dinner table and enjoy a dinner meal together where we would talk. That would last about an hour.

Today, the dinner table is just a convenient place to put the laptop and the ethernet box that plugged into the wall socket to bring in the Internet. There are wires everyplace, now. Corners of counters are filled with them. We have a dish washer that has to be replaced about every six years. A refrigerator with a built in freezer. When the ice box was replaced by the rounded white refrigerator, they added a top freezer area. Later, we could by a storage freezer box where we could store bulk purchases of meat and also store the plastic bags of grape leaves that we picked that my mom used to make grape leaves stuffed with rice and lamb.

The air conditioner goes on and off by itself. I don't even notice it, except when it is too hot outside. The TV's are always on with someone chatting on the flat screens constantly. Little green and red lighted dots stay on at night glowing the night with an eerie LED mist.

It's a different world. That's for sure.

-- Ray Hanania

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Consequences of hate speech, not for everyone

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Consequences of hate speech, not for everyone
By Ray Hanania

The tragic killings of four Americans during protests in Libya including the American Ambassador to Benghazi, Christopher Stevens, has over-shadowed a major aspect of the role hate plays in provoking communities to hate.

The Stevens killing was a tragic exception to the rule involving protests that are sweeping the Arab and Muslim World against America’s hypocritical standards when it comes to hate speech.

An American extremist originally thought to be an Israeli American produced a movie which defames in the most offensive manner Arabs, Muslims, Islam and the Prophet Muhammed.

To Arabs and Muslims, the film was no different than a man standing up in a crowded theater and yelling “fire,” but then also blaming the “fire” on a specific religious or ethnic group.

While Americans have expressed unbounded criticism of the murders of Stevens and the three other Americans, the initial criticism of the promoter of the hate video was tempered by arguments that “people in American enjoy the right of free speech” and “free speech is a corner stone of Democracy.”

That changed days later when it was determined that the man, who claimed to be Israeli American Sam Bacile, has been identified as an outspoken anti-Muslim Coptic Christian, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula. Immediately, police set upon Nakoula and determined that he had outstanding criminal warrants.

For those who argue that as disgusting as Nakoula’s anti-Islamic and anti-Arab video is, it is protected by free speech and American society is powerless to take any actions, I would remind them about the vicious campaign orchestrated by pro-Israel groups and activists against Helen Thomas in 2010.

Critics charged that Thomas, an award winning veteran journalist and the first female White House correspondent, had engaged in anti-Semitic hate speech when she flippantly responded to questions posed in an ambush by a notoriously racist anti-Arab supporter of Israel.

In fact, the Anti-Defamation League, which selectively fights instances of bigotry and hatred, issued a statement that gave the Society of Professional Journalists, the national organization of mainstream American media, the mandate to act on Thomas, one of the SPJ’s veteran and honored members.

The SPJ had created a Life Time Achievement Award in her name that was awarded to a long list of prestigious journalists.

But the ADL coordinated with the SPJ’s newly elected Israeli American president and a national SPJ board that had become increasing hostile to American Arab SPJ members and that same year terminated its then young program to give American Arab members of the SPJ a voice to raise issues concerning imbalanced media coverage.

The ADL spearheaded the assault on Thomas and issued this statement on January 10, 2010 to give the SPJ’s board cover for their political move to censor Thomas and punish anyone who dared to question media bias in favor of Israel, a foreign country:

“Fortunately, there are consequences in our society for those in positions of power or authority who publicly express racist, anti-Semitic or prejudiced views. We are pleased that the executive committee of the SPJ agrees that this award was no longer appropriate given the unprofessional and unbecoming conduct of its namesake.”

If you dispute that the ADL’s role was merely as an observer, it’s worth noting that the ADL statement denouncing Thomas came one year before the SPJ national board under its Israeli American presidency terminated the Helen Thomas Life Time Achievement Award, Jan. 14, 2011.

What are the consequences of anti-Arab and anti-Islamic hate speech? Statements by American politicians defending the rights of the haters included a declaration by Republican Candidate Mitt Romney attacking President Barack Obama for bowing to Arab and Muslim extremism.

The Egyptian embassy statement read, “The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims, as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.”

Romney said that a statement issued by a low-level Administration aid from the Egyptian embassy expressing regret for the hatred expressed in the video was a “surrender” to our enemies and an apology for “American values.”

Yes, when someone criticizes Israel, they become anti-American Nazi anti-Semites.

When someone criticizes Arabs and Muslims, or even denounces hatred against Arabs and Muslims, they are ridiculed as contradicting American values of free speech.

Maybe that’s why this year the ADL has been invited by the SPJ’s increasingly anti-Arab and anti-Muslim national board to be a sponsor of this year’s journalism convention which takes place in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida Sept. 20.

Maybe someone should make a video about that. But God Forbid that we might protest, being Arab and Muslim and all.

(Ray Hanania is an award winning journalist who ended his more than 30 year long SPJ association by tearing up his membership card. Reach him at www.TheMediaOasis.com.)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Palos Heights Restaurant showcases local comedians

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Palos Heights Restaurant showcases local comedians

Sam Buca’s in Palos Heights will showcase a lineup of local comedians at a special performance Wednesday Sept. 26.

Performers will include longtime club owner and comedian Bill Brady, comedians Brian Hicks, Paul Kelly and a special appearance by Southwest News-Herald Columnist Ray Hanania.

The show begins at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $10 each with a two drink purchase minimum. Dinner is also available for guests during the show.

For information, call Sam Buca’s, 12231 S. Harlem Avenue, at 708-361-1226.


Friday, September 07, 2012

Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow should run for Governor

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The good news in the Drew Peterson conviction is that finally, after tolerating years of Peterson's outrageous arrogant taunting of justice and the public, he was finally convicted for the murder of his third wife, Kathleen Savio.

Peterson is a low-life skank, the kind of human trash that makes you wonder about how someone like that manages to become a part of a police department. Of course, a close look at Bolingbrook's controversy-plagued, corrupt-looking police department pretty much explains the "how" of it all.
But the real good news is Will County State's Attorney James Glasgow.

Finally, someone who is not afraid to stand up for the rights of the victims of crimes. Someone who is willing to roll up his sleeves and fight the good fight for real justice. Finally, someone who doesn't run for a tough battle but instead goes into it will all of his talents, convictions and relentless energy.

The real victory in the Peterson conviction is the rise of James Glasgow. This is a guy who clearly has shown he cares more about the people he represents than the politics that often corrupts the system and undermines true justice.

The people finally have someone who doesn't let fearing losing a fight prevent him from fighting, especially when it involves the rights of the public who oftentimes are an after-thought for most elected officials.

Glasgow is my candidate for Governor of Illinois. Maybe Illinois Attorney General. Maybe for the US Senate. But surely someone we need in Illinois to stand up and fight for us. Someone the public can trust to defend their rights, not abuse them. Glasgow is the person who we, the public, can give our trust, and then return to our everyday lives without becoming investigators or vigilantes because the current system has let us all down. Glasgow is someone we can proudly say "represents us, the people."

For a change.

Run for higher office, Glasgow. Run!

Fight, now, for Stacy Peterson, Glasgow! And then turn your sights on that cesspool of government corruption, Bolingbrook. The public is with you whatever you plan to do!

-- Ray Hanania

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

And important change in the Democratic National Committee Convention Platform

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And important change in the Democratic National Committee Convention Platform (And as fast as it was changed, it was returned to the Israeli enslavement language. President Obama ordered that the issue of Jerusalem and Israel's claim to it be restored to the Democratic National Committee Platform. What a puppy!)
We'll see how long this lasts:
2012 Democratic National Committee Convention Platform

The Middle East. President Obama and the Democratic Party maintain an unshakable commitment to Israel's security. A strong and secure Israel is vital to the United States not simply because we share strategic interests, but also because we share common values. For this reason, despite budgetary constraints, the President has worked with Congress to increase security assistance to Israel every single year since taking office, providing nearly $10 billion in the past three years. The administration has also worked to ensure Israel's qualitative military edge in the region. And we have deepened defense cooperation—including funding the Iron Dome system—to help Israel address its most pressing threats, including the growing danger posed by rockets and missiles emanating from the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria, and Iran. The President's consistent support for Israel's right to defend itself and his steadfast opposition to any attempt to delegitimize Israel on the world stage are further evidence of our enduring commitment to Israel's security.

It is precisely because of this commitment that President Obama and the Democratic Party seek peace between Israelis and Palestinians. A just and lasting Israeli-Palestinian accord, producing two states for two peoples, would contribute to regional stability and help sustain Israel's identity as a Jewish and democratic state. At the same time, the President has made clear that there will be no lasting peace unless Israel's security concerns are met. President Obama will continue to press Arab states to reach out to Israel. We will continue to support Israel's peace treaties with Egypt and Jordan, which have been pillars of peace and stability in the region for many years. And even as the President and the Democratic Party continue to encourage all parties to be resolute in the pursuit of peace, we will insist that any Palestinian partner must recognize Israel's right to exist, reject violence, and adhere to existing agreements.

Elsewhere in the region, President Obama is committed to maintaining robust security cooperation with Gulf Cooperation Council states and our other partners aimed at deterring aggression, checking Iran's destabilizing activities, ensuring the free flow of commerce essential to the global economy, and building a regional security architecture to counter terrorism, proliferation, ballistic missiles, piracy, and other common threats.
(369 words)

The 2008 Democratic National Committee Convention Platform

Stand with Allies and Pursue Diplomacy in the Middle East
For more than three decades, Israelis, Palestinians, Arab leaders, and the rest of the world have looked to America to lead the effort to build the road to a secure and lasting peace. Our starting point must always be our special relationship with Israel, grounded in shared interests and shared values, and a clear, strong, fundamental commitment to the security of Israel, our strongest ally in the region and its only established democracy. That commitment, which requires us to ensure that Israel retains a qualitative edge for its national security and its right to self-defense, is all the more important as we contend with growing threats in the region–a strengthened Iran, a chaotic Iraq, the resurgence of Al Qaeda, the reinvigoration of Hamas and Hezbollah. We support the implementation of the memorandum of understanding that pledges $30 billion in assistance to Israel over the next decade to enhance and ensure its security.

It is in the best interests of all parties, including the United States, that we take an active role to help secure a lasting settlement of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with a democratic, viable Palestinian state dedicated to living in peace and security side by side with the Jewish State of Israel. To do so, we must help Israel identify and strengthen those partners who are truly committed to peace, while isolating those who seek conflict and instability, and stand with Israel against those who seek its destruction. The United States and its Quartet partners should continue to isolate Hamas until it renounces terrorism, recognizes Israel's right to exist, and abides by past agreements. Sustained American leadership for peace and security will require patient efforts and the personal commitment of the President of the United States. The creation of a Palestinian state through final status negotiations, together with an international compensation mechanism, should resolve the issue of Palestinian refugees by allowing them to settle there, rather than in Israel. All understand that it is unrealistic to expect the outcome of final status negotiations to be a full and complete return to the armistice lines of 1949. Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.
(392 words)

-- Ray Hanania


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Remembering Mosquito spraying in the 1960s

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Many suburban communities through Cook and DuPage Counties will be spraying for mosquitoes because of fears stemming from the West Nile Virus outbreaks.

Dozens of people have become infected with West Nile Virus, and several have died. The virus is carried by mosquitoes. The virus was first associated with Africa, the Middle East and Asia and first appeared in the United States in New York in 1999. It's been an annual health threat ever since.

Local governments have arranged to have their communities sprayed to kill mosquitoes that might be carrying the virus. This year has been particularly deadly with more than 66 fatalities nationally. Incidents of the virus are increasing exponentially, up 40 percent from last week and expanding.

It's become of particular concern in Cook and DuPage Counties following the death of some noted celebrities including the Village President of Lombard, Bill Mueller.

When I was a child, we had never heard of West Nile Virus. People did die from the flu virus and other infections, many thought to have been spread by mosquitoes during rainy summer months. Although this year in Chicagoland has been dry, with a drought across the country, the last few weeks have brought rains, pooling water and a sudden increase in mosquitoes.

Government efforts to combat the virus include driving trucks spraying a "fog" consisting of chemicals including Envion, which is most commonly used to kill mosquito larvae and mosquitoes with carry the virus. Envion is not considered dangerous. As a child, the county used DDT and sprayed it twice a summer at the start and at the end driving the truck through neighborhoods up and down streets until the entire city was covered.

The truck was large and white, and it had a tube that extended from the back that spray the heavy gray-white fog into the air as it drove down the street. As children, we used to drive out bikes next to the truck, grabbing on to the truck and to the other kids on their bikes who were holding on to the truck as the DDT saturated our faces, hair and noses.

It wasn't healthy but back then, no one really cared. Never mind that riding a bike while holding on to the side of a big truck driving down a street was considered pretty dangerous, too, and still is.

Nowadays, the idea of having the chemical sprayed in the air has raised fears among parents. So local officials from government and schools have been doing "robo-calls" to alert parents that spraying will take place in suburban communities, usually after 8 pm and closer to the curfews to minimize contact with humans who presumably are in their homes.

Hopefully, it will work.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Unique pictures of Chicago's Black Squirrel

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One of my absolute favorite animals by far is a special Black Squirrel which is unique to Chicago. So far in my lifetime, I have only seen one on the north side of Chicago near where I do my Sunday morning radio show.

Squirrels can be annoying. And given that the vast majority that I have seen are an ugly, boring gray, they are not very popular. The urban legends, which may or may not be true, is that if a squirrel bites you, you'll have to get that series of painful rabies shots. Of course, most squirrels run when approached by humans, but will fight with rabbits and crows, so the odds of knowing whether that is true or not are pretty high.

But a Black squirrel is a beautiful sight. Amazing fur and deep black. It stands out. You can't miss it.

The Black color makes the squirrel look a lot less like a "rat," and more of a potential pet.. Maybe that's why over the past 300 years, the population of black squirrels has diminished to the point where they are so rare. People either killed them for the fur or trying to capture them. Squirrels do not like to be caged at all and will go berserk and screech like a demon until released.

A few years back, I had two squirrels in the throes of matrimony apparently chew their way through the sofit and facia to get into the roof of my home. They seemed to love to prance around during the day collecting nuts and acting nutty but at night they were raising a real noisy ruckus. So I had to try to flush them out of the house and back into their usual nest of browned leaves twined together by sticks and string they collect. (And maybe so squirrel spit, too.)

They just refused to leave.

So, I checked to make sure there were no babies in the roof and waited until I could confirm they were both inside. When they were, I closed the opening, and stuck my hand into the roof with two cans of insect fogger and filled it up. Within a minute, outside, the stuffing in the whole pushed out and the squirrels jumped out of the hole onto the roof screaming like hyenas. One after the other.

They were mad. But as soon as I knew they were out, I permanently closed the opening to keep them out using "Stuff," the foaming junk that sprays and grows and hardens. Then I had to spend $3,500 to re-do the gutters, sofit and facia around the entire house.

Here are some pictures of the Black Squirrel to which I have rededicated this column to reflect my Chicagoland upbringing.


Saturday, August 04, 2012

Total recall, the remake is a fantastic SciFi feature film

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Don't listen to the movie critics who are trashing the new remake film "Total Recall" starring Colin Farrell. The movie critics are much like the journalists and media types who have been trashing the HBO TV series "The Newsroom." People in creative industries often don't like the successes of others because they didn't do them. It's the downside of creativity. Envy. HBO's "The Newsroom" is a realistic look at the hypocrisies of today's media and "Total Recall" is a reflection of how a great idea can be converted into another great idea.

There are three ways to make a movie that has already been made. The first is to remake it precisely to the story line, adding only the advancements of our new technologies. The second is to make a sequel, which is what I always prefer, a follow through of a great movie. The third one is to take a great movie, use the same concept and story line and adapt it and the story and that is exactly what Producer Toby Jaffe has done. 

Total Recall with Colin Farrell is a different version of the 1990 Total Recall starring Arnold Schwarzenegger

The story lines are similar but the facts of the story have changed dramatically. The digital technology advances have made this new version a spectacular film worth seeing. Kate Beckinsale plays Lori Quaid the "wife" of unsuspecting secret agent Douglas Quaid whose memories and skills come alive after visiting Total Rekall (spelled with a K), a place where people of the future can go to get the "memories" of an exciting vacation, past life or experience they have never had but always wanted. Jessica Biel plays his partner who is working with the resistance. Beckinsale plays a much tighter sinister role than Sharon Stone, although Biel is easily matched by Rachel Ticotin's original 1990 role.

Missing is the exploding "fat" woman, the talking robot Johnny Cab, and the mini-Siamese little face that is conjoined and comes out of the revolutionary's stomach. The three-breasted woman is there and they made her far better looking than the old role. 

But Doug Quaid is already a secret agent with a mind control plant suppressing his memories and his visit to Total Rekall brings out his secret agent skills through 118 minutes of non-stop excitement and film energy.

You know where the film is going if you saw the original Schwarzenegger film of 1990, but the details are as different as night and day. Even the story location between the Federation and the "Colony" are significantly different. 

This is a far better film than "The Dark Knight Rises," the Batman follow-through.

I know you will enjoy it.

-- Ray Hanania

Thursday, July 26, 2012

The passing of Paul McGrath, a Chicago icon

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Paul McGrath and I never really got along. Well, in the beginning, we started off as friends. In 1979, when Jane Byrne was elected Mayor, McGrath was writing a column for Chicago Magazine. About that time, Walter Jacobson was doing commentaries of substance at WBBM TV. And I was writing a lot of the things that most of the veteran City Hall reporters didn't want to write about the new mayor, Jane M. Byrne. So Byrne, naturally, singled me out for anger. She attacked me publicly. Her aides assaulted me verbally. They excluded me from press briefings and denied me the information they were giving to other reporters. That only made me write even more forcefully about the Byrne Administration.

When Byrne declared that she would refuse to speak with me, Jacobson did several TV commentaries about me, noting that my columns in the then Daily Southtown, had sent Jane Byrne into a spiraling tizzy. They were great columns of insider tidbits that by themselves could not fill up or justify a news story.  About a year after I started my City Hall insider column, Mike Sneed started hers, doing the same thing I did. (She blamed me for Byrne firing her, although in reality I had nothing to do with it.)

That's when Paul McGrath called me. He wanted to profile me in Chicago Magazine. It was fun being showcased by Jacobson on TV. It was the first time I had been put in such a high profile public spotlight And  as we all know, I've never left that fast track of high profile spotlight since. I'm still there in the apex of the spotlight, usually in the middle of some major controversy. That's my job as a media consultant. That's what I do best for clients, help them survive the toughest controversies, especially those created by the news media. That's what they pay me for.

McGrath did a nice two page profile with a large picture of me leaning into a press briefing that Byrne was giving. The headline, I believe, was "Who is Ray Hanania and Why is Everyone Mad at Him?"

That was exactly my life at that time. Everyone was mad at me. It wasn't just Jane Byrne. It was nearly every alderman and suburban mayor. But that was also a different time in journalism when I was given lots of time to do my work. Today's reporters are rushed and bias comes from cutting corners in favor of your friends.

His feature profile on me was the first one I had framed, one of many that followed.

McGrath was later hired by Jane Byrne to serve as a deputy mayor. And he was doing well, until one day his close friend Karen Connor and Byrne's Patronage Chief Frank Santoro ahd a meeting with him and they invited me to attend. McGrath was against it and I was hesitant. I liked Karen and Santoro. They were both very honest and very cordial to deal with, unlike other political types I had met at City Hall. Santoro and Connor thought they could sit with me and offer me some insights to help me "better understand" the good that Jane Byrne was trying to do.

I agreed. Why not? I had been trying for a year to get Byrne to sit down with me and talk about she was always suspicious because I came from the Southwest Side and was close to both Alderman Bill Lipinski and Rich Daley, who we all later learned was planning to topple her and take her place as mayor. Daley had been frozen out after his father's death by Mayor Michael A. Bilandic and City Hall Chief of Staff Tom Donovan, a brilliant political insider.

It was while we were all four sitting in Karen Connor's office that Jane Byrne slapped the door of her office open and looked around spotting Connor, Santoro, McGrath and me, her arch enemy in the media, sitting together. She snapped in her usual sarcastic tone a satisfying "a ha!" and then remarked, "I see you are all having a little meeting her without me." She looked around for a few minutes that seemed like years burning her eyes into the faces of each of her aides -- like they were traitors -- and then as fast as she came in, disappeared, spinning around on her three inch high stiletto heels, escorted by her two body guards, Mike Graney and another who I would later disclose were secret owners of one of ChicagoFest's most profitable concession stands, Anna's Friend Dough.

Before Byrne could storm out, McGrath was up and out of his chair screaming at me, Connor and Santoro calling us traitors and blaming them for our meeting. He chased out quickly on Bryne's jet stream.

We didn't talk much but it wasn't more than a few months before Byrne fired him and replaced him with a former City News Bureau reporter Bill Griffin, who later went on to marry Mike Sneed.

McGrath never got over his anger with me. He didn't want the meeting to take place at City Hall to begin with and wanted us to go to a restaurant in the burbs. But Santoro wouldn't leave the city's limits and Connor thought the paranoia was unjustified.

In the end and many years later, Connor and Santoro moved up to Michigan or Wisconsin where they started an antique store. I haven't heard from them in years.

But I did hear from McGrath about three months ago when he asked to be my "Friend" on Facebook. We seemed to get along until I wrote a column critical of Israel and he made some vicious comments that I felt were extremist and inappropriate. And I quickly unfriended him and even "Blocked" him from my page.

I would not tolerate intolerance.

We never did get to speak again.

Still, it is with sadness that I note that Paul McGrath died this week at age 75. (Read the Chicago Reader story by writer Mike Miner.)

Ironically, I had written a lengthy feature for the Chicago Reader on the 20th Anniversary of Jane Byrne's election, in February 1999. McGrath was writing for The Chicago Reader and had protested back then that he didn't feel I would be objective and that I would simply bash Byrne. I didn't bash Byrne at all, but merely reported on her notorious antics. In fact, I thought I was kind to Jane Byrne who clearly was mistreated by Rich Daley and the Daley administration. Byrne never did get her due as a former Chicago Mayor and the hatred between Daley and Byrne never chilled.

Regardless, Paul McGrath was a Chicago political icon and presence in Chicago politics and Chicago news. He deserves recognition for his skilled writing, his many journalism awards, and his talent as a political analyst. Whether we were or were not friends is irrelevant. I always respected him as a character in a the major theater of Chicago Politics.

As a good friend of mine and my journalism mentor would often tell me, "It's all a paper moon." Harry Golden Jr., meant that politics was just a stage and everything was not real except the people who acted on the stage of politics.

-- Ray Hanania

The Chik Fil A controversy is all Bull-Fil-A

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We do live in America, don't we? This is a country where free speech is not only tolerated but it is encouraged. The idea that two people can argue differing views on controversial topics is what makes this country so great.

Dan Cathy, the owner and founder of Chik Fil A told an interviewer recently that he opposes same-sex marriage. I disagree with him but I don't hate him. He cited his religious beliefs that marriage should only be between a man and a woman.

As a Christian, myself, I think religious views sometimes overshadow reality but we tolerate them. I'm not against Gays living together or being recognized as "married" not because of religious views but because it makes sense. Two people who care about each other -- love is a word with a lot of meanings and nuance -- should be able to share their property and rights without hassles in the event of one or the other's death. And they should be allowed to live their life together.

On the other hand, my personal view in my life is that I don't embrace that lifestyle and frankly I honestly don't care about the debate over whether it is genetic or a choice. It exists and if people don't bother me or force me to accept their views, I'm fine with everyone.

What I am not fine with, though, is people like Chicago Ald. Proco "Joe" Moreno who disagrees with Chik Fil A owner Dan Cathy but has taken his disagreement beyond tolerance, vowing to prevent Chik Fil A from opening a restaurant in Chicago.

That violates the same Constitutional Rights that allow two people of the same sex to be "married." It's just wrong. It is also a denial of free speech. 

Dan Cathy did not say he would refuse to hire anyone who is Gay. He simply said he doesn't believe in Gay Marriage. That's his right. Ald. Moreno should be defending him, not punishing him. And Mayor Rahm Emanuel, the biggest hypocrite of all, shouldn't be wasting his time engaging this debate when Chicago has so many more important problems like the unacceptable level of gun-related violence and street gang shootings and murders.

Those are things we should work against, not punishing someone who has a view that differs with our own.

What Ald. Moreno is basically doing is saying that if enough people in this country hate Gays, they should use that power to prevent Gays from actively pushing for equal rights.

Does that mean cities that oppose Gay Rights should ban businesses that recognize Gay Rights? When we talk about about hate crimes, that is exactly

I haven't eaten at a Chik Fil A ever. Not because of this issue or other political issues. But because I heard the place was expensive.

-- Ray Hanania

Friday, July 20, 2012

The assertion that "banning guns would stop the criminals" has a major flaw

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Well here is a fact, folks: "Don't outlaw guns, outlaw the criminals ... it's the criminals who get guns and kill people. If we ban guns, the only people who will have them are the criminals." 

Well, maybe that wouldn't be so bad, based on history: Think about it. 

James Holmes was not a criminal, just a 24 year old with no major criminal history, with an arsenal at his home. He killed 12 and injured 71. 

There was Seung-Hui Cho, who shot and killed 32 people and wounded 17 people in 2007 at Virginia Tech. He wasn't a criminal, just an Asian American college kid.
John Hinckley, Jr.'s shot Reagan, Brady and Orland's Police Chief Tim McCarthy on March 30, 1981.

John Hinckley, Jr.'s shot Reagan, Brady and Orland's Police Chief Tim McCarthy on March 30, 1981.  
The 2nd Amendment was written for a different world, and there's no reason why it can't be changed to protect our rights in today's world.

He wasn't a criminal, but he got a hold of a gun. 

The two kids at Columbine High school in 1999 in Columbine, Colorado were not criminals. But they got a hold of an arsenal of weapons. 

On Jan. 8, 2011, Jared Lee Loughner killed six and wounded at least 12, including then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, outside a grocery store in Tucson, Ariz. He wasn't a criminal either. 

On Nov. 5, 2009, Major Nidal Hasan, a psychologist with the U.S. Army, killed 13 soldiers and wounded 42 others at a base in Fort Hood, Texas. He wasn't a criminal and was authorized to have a legal weapon. 

On April 3, 2009 Jiverly Wong, 42, burst into a citizenship class at an immigration center in Binghamton, N.Y., and killed 13 and wounded four, before he killed himself. He wasn't a criminal.

On March 30, 2009, a gunman shot eight people to death and wounded several others at a nursing home in North Carolina. Most of those killed were elderly nursing home patients. The suspect did not have a criminal past.

On March 29, 2009, a man killed five of his family members, including his two children, and wounded his wife at a townhome in Santa Clara, Calif., before killing himself.

On March 10, 2009, Michael McLendon, 28, killed several of his family members including his mother and grandparents, and then went on a rampage killing 10 people in several towns in Alabama before killing himself.

On Dec. 24, 2008,  Bruce Jeffrey Pardo, 45, dressed up in a Santa suit and showed up at a Christmas party at his ex-wife’s parents’ house in Covina, Calif., and killed nine people to death. He then burned the house and then killed himself.

On Feb. 14, 2008, a former graduate student at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill., killed five students in a lecture hall, and wounded many others, before shooting himself.

This is just a partial list of the mass murders that have taken place. There are two dozen more I can cite. In EVERY CASE, the killers were NOT CRIMINALS, but regular people who got a hold of a weapon and then went on a murder spree.

It isn't just "criminals" who we have to stop from getting guns.

The 2nd Amendment was written for a different world, and there's no reason why it can't be changed to protect our rights in today's world.

-- Ray Hanania

(Some of the chronology data above is from WKBT News in LaCrosse, Wisconsin.)