Tonight, I enjoyed a fundraiser named “A Tribute to Leadership Reception with Tony”. I was to honor Tony Peraica, an outstanding Commissioner of Cook County. It was at Pescatore 3400 North River Road Franklin Park, Illinois. The event was well attended with high profile types such as Frank Avila. Please make sure to visit Tony Peraica’s website, click here: http://www.joinperaica.com I am Commissioner Peraica’s personal photographer, a great honor. Salman Aftab is going to run for Chicago’s 50th Ward Republican Committeeman, I wish him good luck. Photo by Patrick McDonough.
3 Replies to “Salman Aftab, Commissioner Peraica. Commissioner Silvestri”
Patrick, your photo now looks fine just above this, but on the main webpage the right third of the photo seems to get cropped off. You might want to check that out. (Response) Randall if you close the window for “Favorites” you should see the entire picture.
April 28th – 11:10 a.m.
Well, Randy, you just get better and better with every post.
Truth is what I, for one, am seeking, truly.
Whether that truth is what I was expecting, or a complete surprise and contradiction of my opinions, doesn’t matter, at least to me.
At this late stage of my life, I’ve had about all the exciting entertainment a single human being can handle, and still remain relatively sane.
As I suspect you’ve noticed, my perspectives, to date, are that there does exist a small, but proportionally harmful, number of ‘people’ who, by hook and/or by crook, do much damage to the large number of ordinary folks, my being one of these many, who simply want to earn an honest day’s pay, for an honest day’s worth of work, without having a painfully large percentage of my earnings snatched from my pocket, for no reasonably good purposes, by the aforementioned little group of ‘not-so-petty’ thieves.
I can determine when someone in the ‘private sector’ is attempting to ‘sell’ me ‘less’ for ‘more’, when someone in the ‘private sector’ is trying to get ‘more’ from me, while paying me ‘less’, and I’m relatively free to decline doing ‘business’ with those in the ‘private sector’ who I believe are not being fair and honest in their dealings with me.
I, as with the rest of us ‘ordinary’ folks, don’t presently have an effective option to do the same, when ‘dealing’ with our elected officials, those they employ, and/or those who participate in activities directly concerning the hard-earned dollars that are plucked from my pockets through the force of taxation.
Without opening the other can of worms, namely the social and day-to-day living conditions that are impacted by the same ‘elected officials, government employees, etc.’ enforcements of the force-imposed ‘laws, rules, regulations, policies, etc.’ created by same, just the effects of taxations do much to diminish our potential quality-of-life experiences.
One can decide to accept these factors as if they were just another ‘force of nature’, like a passing thunderstorm, and do one’s best to make the best of the day, and that may end up being the only sane and rational thing to do.
My desire to understand the practical mechanics of our present political workings is a result of my observations that these ‘workings’ are too often overly beneficial to the small, minority of those ‘connected’, and painfully detrimental to the vast majority of the rest of us all.
Your observations on your experiences with ‘journalists’ reveals the fundamental weaknesses in the individuals who think of themselves as journalists, but fall far short of the definition of same.
Seeking the truth, however far the truth is from one’s expectations, ambitions and desires, is what a true journalist is all about.
Like the character of detective Joe Friday, from Dragnet, a true journalist is seeking ‘just the facts’, letting the readers determine what those facts mean.
Your suggestions to the Chicago Reader are excellent and insightful.
I hope that the Reader’s editorial authorities will jump at the chance to act on them, no matter how difficult it may be to execute these ideas and suggestions.
An active ‘post-a-question and get-an-answer’ type service, combined with an open comment board, for the rest of us non-journalists to offer our ‘two-cents worth’ on any question, would do much to help the Readers’ readers to begin to understand the means and methods of their own governance, and, thus, hopefully lead to a much more informed and effective citizen participation in the ‘political processes’.
Whether a voting publics’ increased understanding will lead to improvements in all of our lives, to greater participation and to changes in the way our ‘elected’ public ‘servants’ behave, remains to be seen.
I, for one, would like to see if a more informed electorate will result in a more honest, fair, beneficial and truly helpful crop of ‘public servants’ being elected.
While there are elements of ‘drama’ in many of my posted comments, that drama comes from the activities I observe, namely, the contradictions, deceptions, and convoluted mumbo-jumbo that our present bunch of ‘public servants’ routinely ‘appear’ to feed us, whenever, wherever and in whatever way ‘appears’ to serve their own purposes.
It may not be that they are ALL shitheads, but, as the saying goes, it only takes a few rotten apples to spoil the barrel, and, I suspect that we’re burdened with more than just a few.
Thank you for improving with every post, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Reader were to offer you the job of running the ‘alternative’ you suggested, though I know you’ve got better things to do.
April 29th – 12:01 a.m.
“Running the alternative”? Well, I would love to be involved, anyhow.
Like everyone else who posts publicly, I too have an agenda, and it is this.
After this horrendous election, I want peace, in my community, and in my city. I want to remind everyone of what we, as a city and a community have achieved, and what we will achieve in the next decade.
But you are incorrect in thinking it would be difficult to implement.
In actuality, the only software you would need for what I envision is the open source and free Drupal wiki (http://drupal.org/). It would only take a few hours to set up.
I would do it myself, but I really need the Reader to do it, not me. The Reader is Chicago’s own community newspaper, supported by local businesses, and I feel strongly that
newspapers should be one of the pillars a community is built on.
The Reader can do more than Investigative reporting and entertainment news, the Reader, and the thousands of small businesses that support the Reader, can work together to strengthen the community, as well (and make a nice profit at the same time).
Let me explain further. Back in the 1990’s, there was a television show on PBS, called “Ethics in America”
(free at http://www.learner.org/resources/series81.html)
I want the Reader to do something like that, but updating it for the internet, turning it into an interactive game, and involving their advertisers, as well.
Here is how it would work.
Drupal is a free pre-built PHP/MySQL web application, that you can customize with a browser, that can handle enormous numbers of hits, multiple languages, and most importantly, collaborative book creation.
Whoever maintains this website could put it up in a few hours. If they have problems, the Drupal community is one of the friendliest on the web.
Then the real work begins. The Reader needs to recruit prominent politicians and civic leaders to contribute their thoughts on a specific scenario, say, a proposed development of an abandoned theater (To use an example from Westridge).
The scenario is posted as a chapter in Drupal’s book module, and the public is solicited to submit their comments on what they would do.
Note that the submissions go into a moderation queue, and are not yet readable by anyone but Reader staff. The reader staff picks out the most interesting ones, and publishes them, along with the comments by the civic leaders and politicians on what they would do in the scenario.
Then, like in “Ethics in America”, the scenario is picked further apart, and the process is repeated.
The end result is that the Reader has just now written a chapter in a book (with Drupal, you can generate a publishable book easily from its collaborative book module) that it can market.
But it does not end there. The Reader staff gives points for each submission, and these points can be redeemed at local Reader advertisers for discounts (Drupal has a very nice rating system). You can even add in an “American Idol” like user voting mechanism.
The top points winner could also get some sort of civic award (perhaps not from the Pew Institute, but at least from the city. I bet Chicago politicians would love to see something from the Reader that didn’t involve suggestions for incarceration). The grand prize could be something spectacular, like no city taxes for that year. Lesser prizes could include bonus grade points for students in CPS, as well as things like partial scholarships.
Everyone wins. It promotes faith in our city government, promotes the Readers advertisers, promotes the Readers circulation (and the rates the Reader can charge), and best of all, since Drupal can handle multiple languages, it can bring the non English speaking ethnic groups into the discussion, which, when the book is published in June , 2009, should make one impressive statement to the International Olympic committee and bolster Chicago’s bid to become the “first city” for international business.
The software and maintenance is free (Drupal pretty much runs itself) the bandwidth is probably already in the Readers web budget, as is the disk space.
The real cost is the human effort, to recruit the political leaders and the advertisers, promote the idea, and judge the results. However, I am willing to bet that the City and the various political and civic stakeholders would back this to the hilt, and there would probably be no dearth of volunteers to help with the judging.
Like I said, the Reader has enormous untapped potential and revenue streams. This is just one of the ways it can tap them.
April 29th – 1:35 p.m.
Randy, you’re full of surprises, indeed.
Brilliant idea, well thought out details, the best of intentions.
God, I hope this isn’t destined to be one of those ‘no good deed goes unpunished’ experiences!
I’ll do what I can to spread the word on this concept; with a little bit of ‘pre-anticipation’ , on the part of the readership of the Reader, the evidence of a ‘demand’ for this interactive medium MIGHT spur the Reader to actually implement it!
April 30th – 7:34 a.m.
Well, look at it this way.
Just how badly could the board object to having every student in the Chicago public school system being given the Reader as a homework assignment for their social studies class? I bet the advertisers aren’t going to hate having hundreds of thousands of school kids will disposable cash seeing their advertisements, as well.
Look, the Reader was founded in the 1970’s to provide an alternative to the mainstream papers, and an outlet for “hard hitting” articles.
Two generations later, there are plenty of alternatives, and in a polarized society as this, hard hitting is hard to distinguish from spin.
But the changing times have hit the mainstream as well. The Trib and Sun are outmoded in an age of Internet news and videophones.
The one newspaper format that still has an advantage is the Readers long format. Journalism is still a profession, not an avocation, despite all evidence to the contrary, and the skill to produce such articles is still something that requires training.
Thanks to the Internet, everyone has the means to be a newspaper publisher. It does not mean, however, that they have the talent or skill to be a journalist.
But journalism has never been about investigation, that was just a fad inspired by the Post and Watergate. It is about communication, and about education.
And right now, the public the Reader serves needs that more than anything. We live in a polarized world, never hearing anything but what we want to hear.
And this week, millions of illegal immigrants are in our streets, because they think everyone else can’t hear them. And, many others, throughout the city, keep quiet for fear of being singled out.
This isn’t a proposal for some silly school project. This is an attempt to open up channels of communication that are rapidly closing, to give voice to those that are afraid to speak.
We can’t live like this, at war with ourselves.
The right hand cannot war against the left forever, we need both hands to build a future, for ourselves, and for our children.
We need a way to talk to each other, not at each other. So I proposed this as a moderated format, so cyber-bullies cannot intimidate anyone, and in multiple languages, so everyone has the ability to give voice to their thoughts.
And, most important, it is by the Reader, famous for their anti-establishment articles, who can give credibility to the assurance that posting your thoughts does not mean exposing yourself to retaliation by the authorities.
April 30th – 11:05 a.m.
Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I gotta tell you, you just keep getting better and better at this essay writing thing you once stated you were not all that good at. 🙂
If the Reader doesn’t pick up on this, (pardon my ‘French’), fuckin’ brilliant idea, then they must have lost interest in both being a paper worthy of being called ‘journalistic’ AND a profitable business.
Hell, SOMEBODY could implement this, and do well just selling ads on the Web!
Well, it’s only been a few days that your post has been up, I’ve been posting it a bit, (hopefully with no objection from the author), with the nature of this form of communication being quite rapid, some reaction should be forthcoming.
Ben and/or Mick, are you out there???
Do you guys ever read the comments on your articles????
I’ll keep on plugging away on this, Randy, as it’s the first really practical idea I’ve come across, sort of a focused Wiki, with the goals being just as lofty, ie., “to give voice to those that are afraid to speak.” & “to build a future, for ourselves, and for our children.” & “and in multiple languages, so everyone has the ability to give voice to their thoughts.”
Like I said, BRILLIANT IDEA!!!!
April 30th – 3:58 p.m.
I suspect that we have been the only two reading this thread for some time.
If you are interested in the issues that this proposal is addressing,
Katherine Barrette & Richard Greene of Governing Magazine, have spent years looking at these issues, and their latest article http://www.governing.com/articles/5manage.htm
discusses a related issue.
They are quite knowledgeable and respected regarding applications of technology to state governance, and could be both quite supportive and establish this form of government auditing and management as a franchise for whoever implements it.
You are welcome to full ownership of the idea, for whatever it may worth, if anything. Run with it, I have no further interest beyond making the original proposal, I have to get back to my own work.
April 30th – 4:34 p.m.
By the tone of your most recent post, I suspect you’ve determined that the ‘addictive’ nature of posting comments has worn off, and that this last post may well be your last.
Hopefully not, but, in the event that it is, I thank you for this wonderful idea, I’m kicking myself for not thinking of something similar!
But then, what this lack of inspiration on my part teaches me is that I am still vulnerable to not seeing the forest for the trees.
Thank you for the entirety of the rationality of your comments, you’ve remained civilized in an environment that is not commonly all that civil.
Good luck to you, in all that you choose to do.
May 1st – 6:59 p.m.
“Midway in the journey of our life
I came to myself in a dark wood,
for the straight way was lost.
Ah, how hard it is to tell
the nature of that wood, savage, dense and harsh —
the very thought of it renews my fear!
It is so bitter death is hardly more so.
But to set forth the good I found
I will recount the other things I saw.
from Inferno, Canto 1 http://etcweb.princeton.edu/dante/pdp/
The greatest gift of G*D was to forgo robbing each of us of that small share of glory that results from choosing our own path through those woods, even if we choose to ascend to Heaven via a path that winds through Hell.
The Reader doesn’t seem interested in walking this particular path. Neither did the Sun Times (mainly because I wasn’t related to the publisher) or the Tribune (mainly because of a total lack of courage)
I wish you luck in getting any traction. One suggestion, you might want to ally with Pete Zelchenko http://zelchenko.com/ a community activist, aldermanic candidate, techie. He probably has a more jaundiced view of Chicago politics than you do , but he would love this sort of thing.
If you do, I would suggest your first topic be illegal immigration. I want to propose a compromise that I think would benefit all sides, without leading to unwanted political, ethical or economic repercussions, based on my decades of research and experience in the competitive strategy of nations.
However, I cannot even propose it because the din of irrelevant discourse would drown it out. I need to get the public discourse to a far less hysterical level before the idea has even have a chance of a fair hearing. I suspect many others also have their own suggestions.
I have always felt that there are very few problems that cannot be solved when rational adults sit down together and discuss a solution. But to attempt that, we need to talk out the irrational fears, first, on both sides.
That means a moderated forum, where amateur spin artists and would be demagogues cannot divert the discussion from the issues. I have tried. I cannot make it happen. Perhaps you will have better luck.
If you get anywhere, let me know. I can help you flesh out the business case.
re R G
May 6th – 4:17 p.m.
I’m still banging on doors, but nobody seems to be home…….
Ah, the life of a salesman…..
As my papa always said, “Never give up hope, never stop trying, always get back up when life knocks you down and you can’t catch fish if you don’t put your line in the water”.
Oh, and the only thing that one can control is one’s own efforts, never the outcome of same, so do your best and be thankful for every breath you’re blessed with.
May 7th – 4:27 a.m.
I wasn’t kidding about that “Inferno” quote, though I have yet to post a complicated literary allusion and have anyone get it.
But make no mistake, this is important. If there is no mechanism for differing segments of the public to talk to each other, our society will continue to grow more partisan, till the lack of cohesion causes it to fall apart.
The various political bodies, from local city councils to the US Congress, were supposed to fulfill that function, but the ubiquity of spin and the media prevents them from doing so. Reaching out, being reasonable, is too dangerous, it would be used against you in the next election.
We have had partisan eras before in our nations history, in the early 1800’s, for example, the Whigs and the Democrats hated each other with a passion that makes our present polarization seem genial.
But always, in the past, there have been social forces to pull us together, to keep the lines of communication open.
There are no such forces now. It used to be that politicians could meet privately, out of the glare of the media and the spin, and work together without fear of their reasonableness being turned against them.
However, thanks to various laws that prevent elected officials from conducting business in private, that is no longer possible.
Open meetings is not a bad thing, per se, but we need to replace the social function that they performed. I am hoping this proposal will achieve that.
P.S. Just in case you were wondering, I am not the n.g.f.a. Randy Gordon, or the Democratic lawyer Randy Gordon, neither of them is part of the Westbridge community, as far as I know. (I really didn’t want them to get the blame for my posts).
I am just the political wonk and nerd Randy Gordon, and pretty much invisible to most of society, deliberately. I would rather my actions speak for me.
May 7th – 7:05 a.m.
“(I really didn’t want them to get the blame for my posts).”
I think you really MUST mean the credit…..
“But always, in the past, there have been social forces to pull us together, to keep the lines of communication open.”
This, of course, was before we all, as a society, became effectively separated by the very technologies which we thought would help in increasing our abilities to communicate, (telephone, radio, television, and, ironically, computers & the ‘World Wide Web’), though, maybe the error is in assuming that a greater ability to communicate would automatically equal a greater understanding and appreciation of each other.
Perhaps the incredible amount of information, both accurate and bogus, we have access to, about each other, leads not to a recognition of our commonalities, but to an irritating awareness of our differences.
I knew a fellow, once upon a time, who had this theory that the behaviors of mankind can be easily seen in every ‘lower’ species, (the herd instinct, fear of the ‘other’, the ‘birds of a feather, flock together’ principle, laws of the jungle, etc.), but, at the time, I thought he was over-simplifying human social motivations.
Maybe he had a more insightful understanding of people than I thought.
I wholly agree that some venue is desperately needed to provide at least the opportunity, for those who wish to avail themselves of it, to feel and believe that they can participate, in a truly meaningful way, in affecting the powerful and unavoidable forces that governments, at all levels, impose upon us all.
After all, even the most cynical of our politicians wouldn’t suggest that they are much different than the rest of us, that they don’t bleed red, that they don’t breath the same air, drink the same water and that their own shit doesn’t stink, just like everyone else’s.
One thing I’ve learned is that, while not a motivation to do nothing, one must find some satisfaction in appreciating what one has, regardless of how ‘less’ one perceives it may be from what one would like to have.
Balance, my friend, balance is what we seek, what we need, and, sadly, what we often lack.
I’ll keep on trying, what else is there to do?
Thank you, again, for your insightful concept.
May 8th – 11:26 p.m.
And that irritation is exactly why this project is so important.
When we become aware of something new or different, we decide how to respond by comparing it to the stories embedded deep within our souls.
And to me, “new or different” isn’t irritating, it means the possibility of a new story, an exciting and uncertain future filled with as many endless possibilities as the first day of summer.
That was my generation, the generation that grew up believing in the magic, the future, grew up viewing Norman Rockwell paintings on the cover of the Saturday Evening Post.
In reality, it was a horrible time, far worse than today, but there was also those stories, inspiring us, a small circle of firelight that kept the darkness of the times from extinguishing the hope that the stories of magic we grew up with wasn’t all lies.
Then, in the 1960’s, journalism had it’s greatest triumph, the Washington Post and a couple of lowly journalists took down the most powerful man in the world at the time, Richard Nixon, the President of the United States.
There is a legend that if mankind ever successfully stormed the gates of Hell, the fall of Heaven would not be far behind.
It was never better illustrated than by what happened next.
Seeking new victories, journalists took down everyone else, even themselves.
And finally,the journalists, those whose ancient heritage was to be the guardians of the stories, lacking anything else to attack, destroyed the stories themselves.
And so we come to where we are today, standing alone in the burnt out, shattered remnants of the stories that once nurtured our souls, and the only feeling that we can summon is irritation, because we can’t figure out what we have forgotten, because we no longer even have the memory of all that has been lost.
It is not that investigative journalism is a bad thing, far from it. But there is more to journalism than spin and attack.
In the heady aftermath of the victory of Watergate, journalists forgot their own special story, the one they inherited from Aesop so many millenia ago, that journalism was part of government, as just as important as the executive, legislative or judicial branches.
People need to feel and believe they can influence the government, because they no longer remember that they actually do.
The only stories they know is the Hollywood ones, that there is always a villain, and that the heroes must struggle against insurmountable odds to eventually win total victory.
It is a pity that most of us, plebeians and politicians alike, are neither heroes nor villains.
There is a place for heroes. It is called the Olympics.
Today, the US Olympic Committee is meeting with Patrick Ryan, head of the Chicago bid for the 2016 Olympics, to plan strategy to convince the international community the Olympics should be held here in Chicago.
An essential part of that strategy is to demonstrate that Chicago is not provincial, that visitors from all over the world can feel at home here.
Talk to Ryan. Convince him that this proposal can demonstrate that.
And more than that. Once we get people and societies talking to each other, we can weave a new story, a story of how Chicago fits into the wider world, how a city, a people, Chicago, can be a hero also, and lead the world into a better time, a time of trade and peace.
Yes, maybe it is a lie, maybe it will never happen, but I, for one, will never surrender quietly to the darkness, I will keep the firelight burning as long as I can.
After all, isn’t that the true meaning of the Olympic flame?
May 9th – 12:46 a.m.
I, for one, don’t ever want to see you post anything, ever again, suggesting that you’re no good at essay writing.
Reading your post leaves me with the desire to read more, though I understand your reticence at posting anything you deem to be too long.
I suspect that, with regards to your essays, there isn’t such a thing as ‘too long’, as this particular one is an example of the wealth of wisdom you have to offer.
I hope that the reporters working for the Reader will read and absorb the contents of your posts, (at the very least the contents of this one, single, brilliant piece of truth), if only to take the opportunity you have so generously presented, to learn some things about their chosen profession, and to realize how far each has to go in actually being journalists, not merely irritating tattle-tails.
Can you imagine what living in this great city and county could be like, if there were no longer any valid reasons for the poverty of those neglected areas all around us, no lack of jobs, decent paying jobs, no sub-standard schools, no profiteering speculators driving so many out of their homes, no ‘need’ for obscene taxes paying for those back-room deals, no tolerance for liars, manipulators, schemers, exploiters, and fraudulent ‘leaders’, both public and private, because everyone would have the opportunity to create and build that “time of trade and peace” of which you spoke.
Not a lie, Randy, but perhaps a hope-less hope, one that could come true, if we all do what it takes to make it happen, if we all want to do what it will take to make it happen, not what we many have been doing, allowing our better selves to be diminished by buying into the deceptions of those who have no better self.
I haven’t been participating in this comment board for very long, so I don’t know if the high level of intelligence and insight displayed by your posts is the rule, or the exception to same.
But what I do know is that this site alone can be the beginning of something big, really BIG, and something good, really GOOD, for all the citizens of this city, county, state and country.
If those ‘in power’ are interested in anything more than using the 2016 Olympics for their own personal, financial gain, some, at least, will embrace your proposal and give it the chance to flourish, as it well deserves to.
Those who fear the participation of the ‘common’ citizens are, as you would expect, ‘all the usual suspects’.
Those who purport to be the ‘Guardians of Truth’, the true journalists, will jump on this idea, as surely and as swiftly as the strike of a cobra or a flash of lightning.
Hey BEN, MICK, et.al., are you paying attention???””
Well, Patrick, does any of the above intrigue you, interest you, at least to ‘shop’ this concept around, amongst the many contacts you have developed?
What started with an exchange of words between two motorists ended with one following the other into a Rolling Meadows parking lot and beating him with a metal rod, police said.
The beating victim told authorities that the other driver pulled up beside him in traffic at about 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 3, made an obscene hand gesture toward him and yelled at him, a police report said.
The victim pulled into a parking lot in the 1500 block of Golf Road and was followed by the other motorist, who then approached the victim’s car holding a metal rod, the report said.
Police said the man stuck the rod inside the car through a partially opened window and struck the victim twice in the face with the rod. At that point, the victim exited his car, was struck in the head again and then fought back, punching and kicking the assailant and eventually grabbing the rod away from him, police said.
A Chicago man – Salman Aftab, 48, of 6403 N. Bell Ave. – was charged with aggravated assault and battery in the incident. Police said he was released on bond and is due in court next month.
It was unclear what prompted the initial exchange between the two men.
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