The windy city; Hi mom and Dad!

I bought a one-way ticket to Chicago, IL. back in early June, arriving here on September first. I’ve been here a full month  now and it’s time to report.

I live in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. Today, the neighborhood is made up of a large Mexican/Mexican-descendant population which eclipsed the previous Czech/Pan-Slavic majority who lived in Pilsen during the 19th century. Before that it was mostly Irish and German.

But today, most businesses in the are bilingual and entire buildings are covered with 30/40 foot murals paying homage to cultura and communidad. One mural in particular, located off 18th is 2 stories high and 30 feet across.  The Art Pilsen blog on blogspot says this:

The mural is a visual dedication to all immigrants and allies who have marched hundreds of thousands of miles to advocate for fair legislation for immigrants and who have stood strong in the face of anti-immigrant rhetoric. Declaration of Immigration looked at some of the historic and current issues affecting immigrant communities and serve as a reminder that the United States of America was founded on emigration and settlement.

I know that sewage drain!

The unveiling took place in August 2009. Vandalism ensued. Blog outrage followed.

Continue reading

Publishing podcast

Here’s a podcast I did about publishing where I had the pleasure of interviewing two very smart ladies — Mrs. Ethne Clarke — garden writer, novelist, lecturer, woman extraordinaire and Ms. Pam Crumpler — who was the director of consumer marketing at meredith publishing and who has nearly 18 years of marketing experience. These two women indulge me in a conversation about the changes in publishing, the digital divide and why the charm of print will never die.

Here it is!

Sex education receives a failing grade in Texas

A recent study found that Texas public schools were failing kids when it came to educating them about sex education, according to an Austin-American Statesman article that ran in February. Here’s an excerpt from the article written by AAS reporter Laura Heinauer:

“In sex education classes, 94 percent of Texas school districts teach that abstaining from sex is the only healthy option for unmarried couples, and, in many cases, students are given misleading and inaccurate information about the risks associated with sex, according to a 72-page report released Tuesday.

Two percent of districts — in a state that has the third highest teen birth rate in the nation — ignore the subject completely, according to the study.

The two-year study, “Just Say Don’t Know: Sexuality Education in Texas Public Schools,” was conducted by two Texas State University researchers and funded by the Texas Freedom Network Education Fund, the research arm of the Texas Freedom Network, which describes itself as “a mainstream voice to counter the religious right.”

rest of the article can be found here.

Now…. let’s get to the good part. In light of the study, I decided to conduct an interview with San Antonio pediatrician, Dr. Kassia L. Kubena. According to the doctor, who says she has worked with several teen mothers, sex education is lagging in our schools and hurting our children.

Here‘s a link to my podcast. I hope you enjoy! Feedback is appreciated!

Robert Mugabe, a trillion dollar ad scheme and some bewildered Zimbabwean residents

Hey there.  So, if you haven’t been devoutly following my blog and weren’t able to catch the momentous post that was my first entry, I suggest you go back and read it now.

Not that I’m being some self-centered writer who thinks she’s like a bright star — rising high above the domain of wretched, boring, normalcy.


It’s not even like that.

But really, the stuff that I’m about to post here right now requires some context and I’d hate for anybody to be lost. You can either eat your Zimbabwean veggies here or you can get them elsewhere. An article like this isn’t a bad place to start.

Shall we?

This image is borrowed from The Zimbabwean newspaper's flickr account and features their trillion dollar ad campaign

This image is borrowed from The Zimbabwean newspaper's flickr account and features their trillion dollar ad campaign

Zimbabwe’s President, Robert Mugabe, has likely committed huge human rights atrocities (the ZANU PF, a political party showing broad support and allegiance to him has time and time again come under fire for intimidating, harassing and enacting violence against non-supporters of Mugabe although naturally, our man Robert is smart enough to plead the fifth), continuously under-serves his people and has currently found himself in an economic pickle after he printed hundreds of trillions of Zimbabwe’s dollars in 2001. Today, the country is experiencing such dramatic hyper-inflation that The Zimbabwean newspaper has launched an ad campaign in which they strategically placed posters made of real trillion dollar notes all over the country. In the corner, a headline:

“Thanks to Mugabe this money is wallpaper”

Here is the newspaper’s posted pictures of their campaign on flickr.

Moving forward means addressing (and rectifying) what happened in past

Here we are in the dawn of a new, open-minded Administration that’s ready to spring the American people forward — economically, socially, politically and perhaps most importantly, gracefully. The problem is that in order to do so, Obama and his cabinet members need to begin addressing some of the dark secrets left behind by the Bush era.

The most troubling of those secrets  is whether or not U.S. officials in high-ranking positions signed-off on the torture of prisoners of war — be it within our border and jurisdiction or outside.

I enjoyed this news/op-ed by CNN writer, Jonathan Mann. Here’s a teaser:

(CNN) — U.S. President Barack Obama met with his NATO allies in Strasbourg, France on Friday to talk about his plans for the war in Afghanistan, his “front line in the war on terror.”

But the U.S. war on terror has some dark secrets and Obama hasn’t really wanted to talk about them.

In Spain, a crusading judge named Baltasar Garzon is reviewing the case of several men who say they were tortured at the U.S. prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

In Washington, Senator Patrick Leahy has been asking similar questions that people around the world want answered:

Did the U.S. really torture prisoners, did it secretly transfer some to other countries specifically to be tortured and did senior officials authorize it?

Leahy says: “We can’t turn the page unless we first read the page.”

There are ample grounds to believe crimes were committed.

Individual prisoners have described being tortured in U.S. custody or being dispatched to other nations with the same terrible result.

An investigation by the International Committee of the Red Cross also reported evidence of it.

While he was in office, George W. Bush said flatly “the United States does not torture.”


N.Y. shooting rampage kills 14 at immigration center

Senseless violence unfolds at an immigration service center in Binghamton, New York after a man barricaded the back door with his car and opened fire inside — killing 13 and leaving 37 survivors. It looks like the man eventually turned and shot himself but authorities have yet to identify the shooter. They believe he has ties to the civic center, according to statements police made to CNN.

Here’s an excerpt from the CNN story:

“A gunman barricaded the back door of an immigration services center with his car and burst through the front door on a shooting rampage, killing 13 people and then, apparently, himself, police said.

Four more were wounded in the attack at the American Civic Association in Binghamton, New York, and taken to hospitals in critical condition, according to authorities.

Police say they are still verifying the shooter’s identity, but they believe that he was a man carrying a satchel of ammunition who was found dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot to the head, police Chief Joseph Zikuski said.

“It is our understanding he had ties to the civic association,” Zikuski said.

A warrant is being obtained to search the suspected shooter’s home in nearby Johnson City, another law enforcement source said.

In all, law enforcement removed 14 deceased people from the building and 37 survivors, Zikuski said, in what the city’s mayor has called the “most tragic day in Binghamton’s history.”

At 10:31 a.m., authorities received a 911 call from one of two receptionists who were the first victims of the rampage.

She told police that the a man with a handgun shot her and her colleague before proceeding to a nearby classroom and opening fire, Zikuski said.

The other receptionist died, the police chief said.”

The rest of the story can be found here.

Did you know? Exploring the exponential quality of technology growth

Perhaps I’m easily wowed but this video, which speaks of the exponential quality of technology growth, impressed the hell out of me. Please take a few minutes to watch it — I can assure you it will be time well spent.

Vodpod videos no longer available.