Thursday, October 16, 2014

Erotic Art (?), Joe DiMaggio and The Violent Alderman's War In Chicago's Taylor Street Area

Three new videos posted on ChiTownView.

The Taylor Street area on Chicago's near west side is a community of well maintained older buildings with new development mixed in. It's sandwiched between the University of Illinois & the Rush Medical area. Earlier this month we took you to Arrigo Park and showed some of it's public art. Today we showcase two more interesting spots in this community and shine a spotlight on what was the cities most violent struggles for political power.


Published on Oct 16, 2014

Well who knows what is and isn't art and erotic is a personal decision right? It's in a beautiful little space right along Roosevelt Rd. in Chicago's Taylor St. / University Village / Little Italy neighborhood. Part of St. Ignatius College Prep this little green spot is also a time capsule that contains architectural details of two long gone Chicago institutions.

The large flower pot that opens the video is part of the cornice from the old Chicago Stock Exchange. A building designed by Dankmar Adler & Louis Sullivan and demolished in 1972. The massive bas reliefs that may or may not be considered racy were part of the old Chicago Stadium. Home of Michael Jordan's championship run with the Chicago Bulls. The panels were a gift by Bill Wirtz owner of the Blackhawks.


For more background on this spot follow this link.




Published on Oct 16, 2014

Located across the street from the Italian American Sports Hall of Fame at 1431 W Taylor St.in Chicago's University Village is a delightful little plaza with fountains and this handsome statue of Joltin' Joe DiMaggio himself.




The bucolic  quiet streets and noble purposes of the institutions are a far cry from what the area was like almost a hundred years ago. Then the area was a teeming slum known as the bloody 19th ward seething with gangsters and crooked politicians. And the scene of the Alderman's War a violent conflict for political control that earned the area it's nickname.

In this video we show the Taylor St. area or University Village as it's now called and what some of the key sites of the story look like today. We meet Johnny Powers and Antonio D'Andrea the two principals of our story and hear the tale. It's another chapter in Chicago's hidden history that we call “Chicago Crime Now & Then”. Produced by Mike Beyer & MindsiMedia and presented on ChiTownView. To see more videos in the series click here.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

Gary Webb "Kill The Messenger" In His Own Words

One of the sadder more galling stories of the second half of the 20th century is getting a little more exposure in the past couple of weeks with the release of a couple of new films. The  story is about the drugs for guns program run by Nicaraguan rebels the with the assistance of the US government. On the one hand Nancy Reagan was telling us to “just say no” and her husband was enacting harsh penalties on people who used crack. At the same time Oliver North, George Bush and his cronies at the CIA were at the very least turning a blind eye towards drugs being imported into the country to finance covert warfare in Nicaragua.

How deep was the governments involvement? We'll never no because it's a story America's so called liberal media covered the story up and drove one man who tried to break the story to kill himself. That man was Gary Webb his story was called “The Dark Alliance” and he and his story are the subjects of the films.

There is a documentary, “Freeway: Crack in the System,” directed by Marc Levin, which tells the story of “Freeway” Rick Ross, crack kingpin in LA during the 1980s and one of the subjects of Webb’s “Dark Alliance” series of reports. Then just released Friday is “Kill The Messenger,” which focuses on Webb's tragic story and features Jeremy Renner in the role of Webb. You can read more about these films and see their trailers by clicking on this link to Huffington Post. One of the sadder more galling stories of the second half of the 20th century is getting a little more exposure in the past couple of weeks with the release of a couple of new films. The  story is about the drugs for guns program run by Nicaraguan rebels the with the assistance of the US government. On the one hand Nancy Reagan was telling us to “just say no” and her husband was enacting harsh penalties on people who used crack. At the same time Oliver North, George Bush and his cronies at the CIA were at the very least turning a blind eye towards drugs being imported into the country to finance covert warfare in Nicaragua.

There is a documentary, “Freeway: Crack in the System,” directed by Marc Levin, which tells the story of “Freeway” Rick Ross, crack kingpin in LA during the 1980s and one of the subjects of Webb’s “Dark Alliance” series of reports. Then just released Friday is “Kill The Messenger,” which focuses on Webb's tragic story and features Jeremy Renner in the role of Webb. You can read more about these films and see their trailers by clicking on this link to Huffington Post. 

We at MindsiMedia first reported on this story about seven years ago om our Mindsi2 YouTube station. Mindsi2 was a station that explored some of America's hidden history. Tracing the growth of the American empire from the Spanish American war onwards. While the stupid name hindered our growth we had a respectable viewership before YouTube terminated it last year. Why it was terminated I don't know it had no strikes one day and the next it was gone.

We have revived the spirit of Mindsi2 at MindsiMedia. On our ChiTownView YouTube station we are uploading videos and collecting them in a playlist we call the old news. Two new clips we have just uploaded deal with Gary Webb and the Contra Drug story. Both of them were part of the Mindsi2 library. “Gary Webb In His Own Words” is an interview that was recorded shortly before he committed suicide in 2002. CIA / Contra Drug Connection? is a clip that tells the wider story of possible CIA involvement in drug running.


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Other places on MindsiMedia where you can explore stories that aren't part of the mainstream are on our web site on the Mindsi 2 / Hidden History page

If your on Pintrest there are several relevant boards on my page there.

We have also blogged here on this subject but to be honest our archives are in a bit of disarray. It's an issue were working on.

One of the first journalists to report on this story, even before Gary Webb was Robert Parry who has the online news magazine Consortium News check it out by following thelink. 



Monday, October 6, 2014

Arrigo Park Public Art In A Chicago Green Spot

The Taylor street area now known as University Village is a residental neighborhood tuckedice between the University of Illinois campus and the Rush Medical complex. It was one of two original Italian communities in the city. Nowadays it is more cosmopolitan and upscale than a hundred years ago when it was a mobster controled slum. Among other things it is home to Arrigo Park a nice little patch of green in a fairly dense residential area.








It is also has a couple of works of public art that I recently post videos of on our ChiTownView You Tube station.




Published on Oct 5, 2014
This bronze statue of Italian explorer Christopher Columbus is one of the few surviving relics of Chicago's 1893 Columbia Exposition. It was created for the “white city” by noted sculptor Moses Ezekiel. After the exposition this masterpiece was housed in Columbus Memorial Building located in the loop at State & Washington. That was torn down in 1959 and the statue was stored in a lumber yard until the Chicago Tribune wrote a story about it's plight. A community group was organized by Victor Arrigo and the statue was rescued and in 1966 was installed in what was then known as Vernon Park. Since then the park has been renamed Arrigo Park to honor the man who not only rescued the statue but served the area as a state representative.

 
Published on Oct 4, 2014
A small veterans memorial located in the Taylor St areas Arrigo Park on Chicago's near west side. The monument is just behind the statue of Christopher Columbus at the Lomis St. entrance.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Ghosts Of Gangsters And Some Tasty Soda Pop A Dispatch From Forest Park Il.

As you may well or not know the world headquarters of MindsiMedia is located in Forest Park Il. A small town just west of downtown Chicago. It might not be a upscale bustling metropolis but it has it's quirky charm and a bit of history. Today we share some video snap shots from ChiTownView of both aspects with you.

Forest Park's “main street” is Madison Ave. and on it you will find Shaure's Hardware. Inside of it I recently came across some tasty beverages which led to a couple of videos.



Published on Sep 24, 2014
I found some Capone family soda pop at my local hardware store the other day and decided to give it a taste test. As I sipped the beverage I ruminated a couple of Al Capone related stories. Including one involving Chicago legend "Weird" Harold Rubin. Then to wind things up I recited a quote from “snorky” himself. The quote is included on the post card shown at the end of the clip. It can be found at the MindsiMedia shop at Zazzle. http://www.zazzle.com/words_of_wisdom...



Published on Oct 4, 2014
Last week we taste tested the green apple soda part of the line of Capone Family Secrets line of pops. Today we have a double header of small label soda pop samplers first up is a Soviet soda called Leninade and thena blast from the past called Kickapoo Joy Juice. All three of these fine beverages I found at my local hardware store. This would be; Shauer's Hardware 7449 W Madison, Forest Park, IL 60130, (708) 366 – 1100, http://schauershardware.com/
Kickapoo Joy Juice dates back to the 1950's and has it's own song.





While Forest Park itself wasn't home to any of Chicago's gangster elites a whole lot of them lived in neighboring Oak Park and River Forest. So they did do a lot of business here Sam Giancana aka “momo” held court at a nondiscript tavern on Roosevelt Rd.



Published on Nov 9, 2013
The south side of Roosevelt Rd. west of Harlem has been home to a racetrack, a golf course, a torpedo plant, a shopping mall and a church. The north side of the street is a nondescript collection of apartments and businesses including this restaurant. In the 1950's and 60's it was called the Armory Lounge and was the headquarters for Sam Giancana head of the Chicago outfit.
The powerful Mafia boss choose this location because it was out of the way and a two minute drive from his house. Not far enough out of the way though because the FBI stumbled onto the joint and ended up planting a wiretap here and another in a Michigan Ave. clothes store. Together they provided the first insights into the inner workings of the Chicago outfit. And began a series of legal problems that eventually forced Giancana leave the country for awhile.
This spot began its life, in a different building, during the 1920's as the Roosevelt Gardens. It has also been called The Lodge and the Torpedo Tap.

This clip is another in our series "Chicago Crime now & Then" check out our playlist.

For more looks at Forest Park check out our playlist of videos about the town.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

The Wire creator David Simon: why American politics no longer works

The Wire creator David Simon: why American

politics no longer works

The writer’s next show, Show Me a Hero, is the true story of a
battle over public housing that convulsed New York in the 80s. Here,
on location in Manhattan, he talks about how money corrupts US
politics, the erosion of the working class, why it’s a crime to be
poor in America – and why he likes to argue



“That’s the notion that the markets will solve everything. Leave me alone. I want maximum liberty, I want maximum freedom. Those words have such power in America. On the other hand ‘responsibility’ or ‘society’ or ‘community’ are words that are increasingly held in disfavour in the United States. And that’s a recipe for cooking up a second-rate society, one that does not engage with the notion of collective responsibility. We’re only as good a society as how we treat those who are most vulnerable and nobody’s more vulnerable than our poor. To be poor is not a crime, except in America.”  





Omar sums it all up in this classic scene from The Wire. 
Click there.





Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Totalitarianism, American Style From Alternet




From AlterNet

From remarks made by Chris Hedges on Saturday at a panel discussion in New York City titled “The Climate Crisis: Which Way Out?” The event occurred on the eve of the massive People’s Climate March in New York City. For a video of some of what the panelists said, click here.

"The old liberal class, the safety valve that addressed grievances and injustices in times of economic or political distress, has been neutered. There are self-identified liberals, including Barack Obama, who continue to speak in the old language of liberalism but serve corporate power. This has been true since the Clinton administration. Bill Clinton found that by doing corporate bidding he could get corporate money—thus NAFTA, the destruction of our welfare system, the explosion of mass incarceration under the [1994] omnibus bill, the deregulation of the FCC, turning the airwaves over to a half dozen corporations, and the revoking of FDR’s 1933Glass-Steagall reform that had protected our banking system from speculators. Clinton, in exchange for corporate money, transformed the Democratic Party into the Republican Party. This was diabolically brilliant. It forced the Republican Party to shift so far to the right it became insane."  

To read the entire post click here, Totalitarianism, American Style | Alternet

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Isis A History of This Terror Group And Where Their Money Comes From

It has been a mostly an off again year for us here at MindsiMedia but as summer turns to fall we look to become more on again. For sure there is enough going on in the world to take a look at and we have been doing a lot of work on our web site so lets get into it. First up we take a look at developments in the over decades long war on terror which by now should be called the war in error.

Isis our newest most deadly and dangerous enemy is like so many of our foes in this conflict that has come to define America in the 21st century is a product of blowback. They are an offshoot/mutation of a Sunni terrorist group called Jama’at al-Tawhid w’al-Jihad (the Party of Monotheism and Jihad) started by a Jordanian named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. He arrived in Afghanistan in 1989 to fight the Soviets but was a little late for the party so he returned to his home country and bounced around the edges terror community for a decade.

He returned to Afghanistan in 1999 to set up his own terrorist training camp and while he met with Osama Bin Laden did not join al-Qeda. He fled Afghanistan in 2001 when the Taliban were ousted from power by the U.S.. Al-Zarqawi next turned up in Iraq where his presence was used as one of the pretexts for the American invasion. For the rest of the evolution of this group check out "ISIS:AShort History, The terrorist group's evolution from fervid fantasytodeath cult"

 from Atlantic magazine web site.

If you interested in a closer look at the overall development of radical Islam we have posted a three hour film called "The Power of Nightmares" on the Mindsi2 page of our web site. It is named after a now terminated YouTube station where looked at some of the hidden history of the development of the American empire..



But back to Isis knowing the history is one thing but where does the money trail lead? Who ponied up the money to start this group and how do they sustain themselves nowadays? For the answers to these questions we turn to a pair of articles I recently came across.

First from the excellent WhoWhatWhy site we have this story.

Saudi Connections to ISIS?


"Now that the U.S. is back at it in Iraq against a new foe, there’s suddenly renewed focus on evidence of Saudi involvement in 9/11.
More specifically, questions are now being asked about whether the U.S. government’s suppression of what it learned about Saudi Arabia during the 9/11 investigations contributed directly to the rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria."
- See more at: http://whowhatwhy.com/2014/09/20/saudi-connections-to-isis-nah-cant-be-true-after-911/#sthash.q1Rbzq0e.dpuf 

But there is more than one revenue stream feeding this beast and today's Huffington Post provides this look at how Isis is being funded.


This Is How ISIS Makes $3 Million A Day

"U.S. intelligence officials revealed last week that they believe the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, is reaping as much as $3 million a day in revenue, making it one of the wealthiest terrorist groups in history.
The group desperately needs the money, for as one U.S. official recently told NBC: "Running a caliphate is not cheap." ISIS needs to pay, arm and feed its brigades. The group also rewards the families of killed militants with a pension, and it needs to cover the costs of governing the territory it has captured.
This is where the Islamic State is getting its money from:"

To read the rest click here.