The Mob vs Gangs

This morning after mass I stepped into our parish hall for hospitality. I sat and had coffee with another “old guy” who is just a year younger than me. Bill lives in a community outside of Frankfort named Gateway. It is an over 55 community. He started discussing how he loves it there, and how he has suddenly become allergic to mowing the lawn. Age triggers many allergies you know. He took to hiring a sixteen year old grandson of a resident. The kid cuts a hundred lawns a month at $20 a cut. That is amazing money for a teen ager 20 x 100 = $2000. Our conversation drifted to where we grew up. Bill in the Bridgeport neighborhood, and me in Burnside. We both attended Catholic high schools, Gordon Tech and Mendel. Our sports teams competed against each other.

Our conversation drifted to how the mafia dominated his neighborhood. He told of being in a neighborhood restaurant with his parents when two men dressed in long black overcoats and black fedoras came in. One stood at the door to prevent anyone from coming or going. The other walked through into the kitchen looked at everyone there then moved into the lady’s room to do the same. Finally the guy went into the men’s room to search it. Evidently he didn’t find who he was looking for so the two of them left. “There is no doubt in my mind that the guy they were looking for would have died on the spot,” said Bill. I couldn’t top that story, but it brought to mind that even though we don’t hear about mob killings anymore like when we were kids, we hear about gang killings daily. They are so common we don’t even get upset about them anymore. Then the idea that killing people on the streets is a long time Chicago tradition came to mind. Shooting people on the street has been part of our culture, and has been for almost a hundred years.

The next time I read the shooting count, like this morning, six wounded, one dead, it will just pass like the mob killings of my youth. It isn’t about gun control it is about eliminating bad people within the community. I have to admit, however, that the mob limited killing to their enemies while the gangs will kill anyone in the way. Therefore, they are not the same and I shouldn’t compare the mob to gangs. Gang killing is not just the result of rivalries, it is often a rite of passage. In some cases killing is necessary to prove you are man enough to join a gang.

I also remember that if I had any ideas of joining a street gang to cause trouble, the trouble would have been mine. My Dad would have punished me in a way that hurt long and hard, killing would have been too easy on me.  I truly believe that the current gang problem is the result of kids being raised in fatherless families. There is one thing fathers are good at like dispensing punishment, deprivation, banishment, or some other form of misery to their kids who err. The problem is that mother’s never wait for the father to come home, and they dispense justice immediately. If the job was too big for Mom she relied on the famous standby  “wait until your father gets home.” That wait was enough to make me change my ways.

“Ah, the good old days!”

New Math

293362f7cd3680f54c76f5031ef9335b.jpg

Teaching practical math in Chicago that
kids understand!

Chicago Schools are finally starting to teach practical math that kids can use in real-world situations:

NAME______________________________________________ ______

GANG/CREW NAME_________________________________________

CRIB______________________________________________ _______

1. Lajames has an AK-47 with a 200-round clip. He usually misses 6 of every 10 shots and he uses 13 rounds per drive- by shooting. How many mofos can Lajames ice on a drive-by before he gotta reload?

2. Willie has 2 ounces of cocaine. If he sells an 8 ball to Antonio for $320 and 2 grams to Juan for $85 per gram, what be the street value of the rest of his ****?

3. Dwayne pimps 3 ho’s. If the price is $85 per trick, how many tricks per day must each ho turn to support Dwayne’s $800 per day crack habit?

4. Raul wants to cut the pound of cocaine he bought for $40,000 to make 20% profit. How many ounce bags will he need to make to gets the 20% upside?

5. Ray-Ray gets $2000 for a stolen BMW, $1500 for stealing a Corvette, and $1000 for a 4 x 4. If he steals 1 BMW, 2 Corvettes and 3 4×4’s, how many more Corvettes must he steal to make the 10k for his brother’s bail?

6. Pedro got 6 years for murder. He also got $10,000 for the hit. If his common-law wife spends $100 of his hit money per month, how much money will be left when he gets out?

7. If an average can of spray paint covers 22 square feet and the average letter is 3 square feet, how many letters can be sprayed with three 8 oz. cans of spray paint with 20% paint left over ?

8. Tyrone knocked up 4 girls in the gang. There be 20 girls in his gang. What be the percentage of bitches Tyrone knocked up ?

9. Lafawnda is a lookout for the gang. Lafawnda also has a boa constrictor that eats 5 rats per week and a cost of $5 per rat. If Lafawnda makes $700 a week as a lookout, how many weeks can she feed her snake with one week’s income ?

10. Marvin steals Juan’s skateboard. As Marvin skates away at 15mph, Juan loads his 357 Magnum piece. If it takes Juan 20 seconds to load his piece, how far away will Marvin be when he gets whacked?

Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic

     Free education in the USA is a joke. There is nothing free about it. We pay dearly in taxes. The education opportunity given to our children is a golden gift. They waste the gift from grades 1-12 daily. Our kids just do not get it. They are too young to get it on their own. The problem is with parents who fail to take their parental responsibility seriously.

     My own parents did not have the same opportunity that they gave me. Their formal education was at a fourth grade level. Both Mom and Dad left their homes in a foreign country to migrate to America as teenagers.  The experience of coming to a new land on your own at age sixteen is unimaginable. Yet, there were thousands of European kids coming to America for a better life. When they arrived, they did not find a friendly country. People called them greenhorns and hunkies. They stuck with others of their own nationality in order to survive.  After they settled into a community, they attended school for two reasons: first to learn the language, second to become citizens.

     What I am getting to is that they understood the value of education, and insisted that we get a good one.  My own philosophy is the same. My children’s philosophy is the same as mine. Our kids will not squander the golden gift. I made sure the kids went to good schools.  We insisted they show us their assignments, and reviewed their homework. We talked to their teachers and gave them our permission to discipline our kids when they were out of line. Every teacher they had was a caring person who was serious about his work and my kids. I am satisfied that my kids took advantage of the gift.

     What makes me upset today, is the low graduation rate and the number of kids who get out of school, and do not know how to read. I hear politicians campaigning on the promise to spend more money on education. I see Chicago schools that are a hundred years old, and in need of serious repair. I see school busses lined up to deliver kids to school. I see kids getting free breakfast and lunch. I see teachers afraid to enter a classroom because of discipline problems. I see parents who do not give a hoot about their kid’s education. I see gangs substituting for parents and family in a kid’s life.

     All of the above only makes me mad as hell. What makes me furious is when I hear about teachers who are no longer interested or capable of teaching, and the administration cannot fire them because of their tenure. Between tenure and the teachers unions, I see my tax dollars flushed down the toilet.  I recently learned that it costs $219,000.00 to fire a bad teacher in the Chicago system. As a result, the bad teachers remain in force. They ignore our kids, and waste our dollars. When they retire, they get great pensions. Our kids are screwed.

     My point is that we have to make the teacher unions give a little in order to improve the school system. Certainly, more money is not the answer.

Grumpa Meets His Match

gran-torinoYesterday, I met my match. I like to refer to myself as “Grumpa” because my disposition is not always cheerful. Peggy and I continued our ‘wild and crazy” days by seeing another movie. That’s two within seven days of each other. The main character in the movie is Walt Kowalski played by Clint Eastwood. Walt clearly owns the title of “Grumpa.”  He’s retired from Ford, and living next to a troubled kid who loves to garden.

The movie is Gran Torino. I thought Slumdog Millionaire was great, but Gran Torino is right next to it. My expectation was to see a car movie. There is a beautiful 1972 Gran Torino in the film, but it is there as a grand possession. It barely moves throughout the film.  Throughout the story, Walt is bugged by a young priest who tells him he should go to confession. The story had me laughing out loud, yet at points it  brought me to tears.  We saw it on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, and it was a beautiful way to begin lent. 

The opening  begins at a funeral mass for Walt’s wife of many years.  Walt moves on to deal with his grief by exhibiting great animosity and hatred for his Hmong-Chinese neighbors whom he mistakes for Koreans. Slowly, Walt, a gook hating veteran of the Korean war evolves into a man who truly loves his neighbor, and is willing to sacrifice greatly for him.

This picture includes all the key elements of a good story. It has drama, intrigue, humor, tension, conflict, love, and compassion. The acting by Eastwood and the supporting cast is  believable and noteworthy. The plot is  a 2009 vintage contemporary drama. The ending is guaranteed to bring one to tears, as it did me.  It is also untypical of what one might expect from today’s society. The symbolism in the final scene was dramatic and thought provoking.

Why wasn’t  this movie nominated for an Oscar? As I watched the credits roll by it became clear to me that Eastwood was being dissed by Hollywood. He is a co-author of the story. He produced, and directed the film. Additionally, he played the  principal role. I believe he bucked the establishment with this performance, and produced a heart warming story with a moral. Another reason might be that the story includes religion in it’s telling. Could it be that the liberal anti-God, hollywood gay loving establishment dissed the Catholic Church too?

Peggy and I have been discussing the film ever since.

We give it four stars.****

A GITMO Proposal

Stella Dora Lilly

Stella Dora Lilly

Throughout the campaign for the presidency, liberals have advocated the closing of the Guantanamo Bay prison camp. The idea of locking up terrorists bent on destroying the United States has offended the sensibilities of these open minded people. They berated “W’ for denying these poor troubled souls from Afghanistan and Iraq their civil rights. What the liberals don’t understand is that these guys aren’t citizens of the USA nor are they immigrants. They have no rights in the USA.

I am always open to solving problems and find myself very creative at coming up with suggestions. Among the many reasons for not closing Guantanamo is that no one knows what to do with the remaining bad guys. None of our friends in the world want them. I doubt that the Arab world wants them. So there lies the problem, what to do with these people?

Here is my proposal. There is a very large home in the Hyde Park neighborhood of Chicago that is currently empty. It belongs to our newly elected president. I suggest that the bad guys be brought to live in the empty home of our president. We place them in the hands of our toughest neighborhood gang to watch and to control. One of the neighbors, a retired terrorist himself, can act as their  mentor on life on the southside of Chicago. Another neighbor, Louis Farakhan could arm wrestle Jeremiah Wright for the priviledge of infusing them with a more rigorous hatred for America than they already have.

If we do this quickly, like today, the bad guys can taste some real torture in the form of our normal average winter weather; currently minus six degrees F and dropping. My guess is that they would reform quickly.

If the liberals think the torture of a Chicago winter is too harsh, I suggest they move to the north pole where all the heat from our cars is concentrated and it is much warmer these days. 

On the positive side: The bad guys would stay indoors to keep warm and avoid committing bad acts.

The president will receive a tidy rental for the use of his home. He could put the money away for his daughters’ college fund.

The gang in charge of keeping them in check would have some responsibility teaching these thugs some new techniques for terrorizing communities.

The neighborhood terrorist could occupy his time testing radical teaching methods on them.

The preacher who wins the arm wrestle will re-ignite them with Islam or Black Liberation Theology. 

 Of course all of this would most likely constitute  torture, thereby upsetting  the liberals once more. The final upshot could be the liberals assume the responsibility for reclaiming these lives. They will adopt the terrorists and bring them into their homes  all across the country.

Everyone will be happy again.

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