Sunday, March 31, 2013

Headlines From The American Empire, A New Daily Paper

There are a lot of different parts to MindsiMedia and one of our newest is a daily online newspaper called The American Empire Daily. It is found on the paper li site where they offer a content curation service. It short you get a paper and you have two basic ways to control the content. First everyday a new paper comes out based on the news sources and categories of interest you have chosen. This part is done automatically based on your choices. Second there is a widget you put on your browser so as you go to different places you can add content to your paper.

The new edition comes out around 5 am C.S.T. and I'm usually up and do a quick scan of the latest events to see if there are any stories I want to add to the new edition. Then I send out a little headline package to Facebook, Twitter, Google + and now here. It's a lot of fun and I hope you check it out and subscribe. It's a daily paper though so if you see a story you like save it because it will be gone tomorrow. 

Here is what the paper is all about:

"What we present is a look at the war on terror it's roots and consequences. We also explore the massive corruption that lies behind it. This leads us to the larger examination of the century + growth of the American Empire and the corruptions behind that.

Our aim is not to condemn this empire but to explain and show the history of it's development. America had a chance at the end of World War 2 to wipe the slate clean and build a better world and not repeat the mistakes of the past. We may have had the noblest of intentions but the methods we used to achieve our aims fell well short of our ideals and we repeated the same mistakes that all empires do.

We also explore the threats to our environment and the sensible solutions that are out there to meet those threats. It's important to realize the trouble were in how we got here and what we can do to build a better future. "

And here a few stories from today's edition.

How Bush Won The War In Iraq

by Greg Palast from Nation of Change

“That plan was created by a gaggle of corporate lobbyists and neo-cons working for the Heritage Foundation. In 2004, the plan's authenticity was confirmed by Washington power player Grover Norquist. (It's hard to erase the ill memory of Grover excitedly waving around his soft little hands as he boasted about turning Iraq into a free-market Disneyland, recreating Chile in Mesopotamia, complete with the Pinochet-style dictatorship necessary to lock up the assets – while behind Norquist, Richard Nixon snarled at me from a gargantuan portrait.)
The neo-con idea was to break up and sell off Iraq's oil fields, ramp up production, flood the world oil market – and thereby smash OPEC and with it, the political dominance of Saudi Arabia.
General Jay Garner also confirmed the plan to grab the oil. Indeed, Garner told me that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld fired him, when the General, who had lived in Iraq, complained the neo-con grab would set off a civil war. It did. Nevertheless, Rumsfeld replaced Garner with a new American viceroy, Paul Bremer, a partner in Henry Kissinger's firm, to complete the corporate takeover of Iraq's assets – "especially the oil".
But that was not to be. While Bremer oversaw the wall-to-wall transfer of Iraqi industries to foreign corporations, he was stopped cold at the edge of the oil fields.”
Read the whole story in today's edition.

Ahmed Errachidi: 'We shared one thing in Guantánamo Bay – pain'

By William Skidelsky from The Observer,

“The chef turned author on the five years he spent in Guantánamo Bay – and why his nickname is the General.”
Read the whole story in today's edition.

Not Just the Bees: Bayer's Pesticide May Harm Birds, Too

By Tom Philpott from Mother Jones

“Once again this spring, farmers will beginplanting at least 140 million acres—a land mass roughly equal to the combined footprints of California and Washington state—with seeds (mainly corn and soy) treated with a class of pesticides called neonicotinoids. Commercial landscapers and home gardeners will get into the act, too—neonics are common in lawn and garden products. If you're a regular reader of my blog, you know all of that is probably bad news for honeybees and other pollinators, as a growing body of research shows—including three studies released just ahead of last year's planting season.
But bees aren't the only iconic springtime creature threatened by the ubiquitous pesticide...”

Read the whole story in today's edition.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Midway Gardens, Lost Chicago Frank Lloyd Wright and A Wright Murder Story

 Washington Park on Chicago's southside. Located between 50th & 61st and seven blocks wide it serves as a large buffer. On the west is the Washington Park neighborhood which is racked with violence recording 55 murders since 2007 including six along the parks western boundary Martin Luther King Dr. Which is how many were recorded in the entire neighborhood to the east of the Hyde Park. Home of President Obama and the University of Chicago.

It is also the site of the 1893 Columbia Exposition that serves as the backdrop to the Devil In The White City. At the corner of 60th & Cottage Grove is the parks southeast corner where stands the massive sculpture“Fountain Of Time” which we showed in a previous ChiTownView video. Anyway right across the street once stood Midway Gardens. And by all accounts it was a fantastic piece of eye candy. A real gem that was designed & constructed by Frank Lloyd Wright . What few photos and surviving relics there are hint at the delights offered at this home for the arts that was a work of art.

It was a complex offering taverns, cigar stores, beer halls, dining, dancing, concerts, movies and more. This multi-level in and outdoor facility was built on the site of one of Chicago's first amusement parks. It opened on July 27th 1914 with a performance by the National Orchestra. For the first couple of years Wright booked the entertainment and over the years entertainers from Benny Goodman to Russian ballerina Ana Pavlova entertained there. For awhile the place was a success but the owner of the business Edward Waller fell into financial trouble. In 1916 the Midway Gardens was sold to the Edelweiss Brewery and was renamed the Edelweiss Gardens.

A combination of the first world war then prohibition kept the Gardens from succeeding and it was sold a couple of more times before being demolished in 1929 just fifteen years after opening. As testament to the sturdiness of Wrights construction two companies went out of business and a third took a huge loss destroying the concrete structure. It it's debris were taken to the lake to become break wall.

Not all though as some of the famous “sprite” statues were saved from destruction. They were saved by someone and eventually were discovered in pieces in a farmers field in Wisconsin. They found there about twenty years later and restored and returned to the Wrights and they ended up in Arizona and now stand guard over the Wright designed Arizona Biltmore Resort & Spa.

And a not part of the video bonus

A Frank Lloyd Wright Related Grisly Murder Story

At the same time as the Gardens opened Wright's life had been going through a series of personal setbacks that was capped less than a month after Midway gardens opened. While Wright was in Chicago working on the project an insane employee at Talisman Wright's Wisconsin retreat set fire to the house and slaughtered seven people with an ax when they tried to escape.

Julian Carlton was the name of the man who killed Wright's mistress Martha “Mamah” Borthwick Cheney her two children and four other Wright workers. Wright had created a huge scandal by having an affair with this married woman who was also a feminist intellectual. Once the affair became public in 1911 he had virtually stopped receiving commissions for new work. Midway gardens was Wright's first big project since he's been blackballed.

The true motive for the murder was never discovered Carlton tried to commit suicide, survived a near lynching only to die of self inflicted starvation after two months without revealing a motive.

For more information about this murder and news of a film about it click here.

Photos are from the National Archive. 

For more photos including a rare look at the Sans Souci Chicago's first amusement park whose entrance was located on the site of Midway gardens as well as a layout of the Gardens check out this post.

Check out our Wright playlist where you find an extensive collection of Wright designed buildings and other Wright related videos.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Reverend Gary Davis & Mississippi Fred McDowell, 2 Vinatge Clips

 Published by MindsiMedia on Feb 22, 2013

This is a real gem of a film featuring Reverend Gary Davis a master ragtime guitar picker. A simple black & white film that begins with Mr. Davis in his Harlem apartment playing his guitar. As he plays the camera takes out onto the streets and shows us the faces of the Harlem residents. It includes his final song 'DEATH DON'T HAVE NO MERCY.'.
For more on Rev. Gary Davis
This film can be purchased on DVD and higher quality versions of the film can be purchased for stock footage purposes. Contact for more information.
Producer: Harold Becker
Creative Commons license: Public Domain Mark 1.0

Uploaded by MindsiMedia  Apr 17, 2012

"Blues Maker" offers over thirteen minutes of blues legend Mississippi Fred Mc Dowell singing and playing. There are some brief snatches of conversation but mostly we get the unfiltered blues. Featuring Fred playing the sldie guitar with a real bottleneck. This film produced in 1969 by the University of Mississippi also has a lot of vintage footage of rural southern life.

MindsiMedia is an Internet broadcaster with a series of YouTube channels under development.
Visit our web portal ;
This film can be purchased on DVD and higher quality versions of the film can be purchased for stock footage purposes. Contact for more information.
Producer: Univ Of Mississippi; Dept Of Educational Film Production
Creative Commons license: Public Domain Mark 1.0

Offers a real nice collection of sights & sounds.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Gangsters & Ghosts, Welcome To Willow Springs Il.

Published on ChiTownView Nov 13, 2012

Willow Springs is a small town located between Archer Ave. & the Des Plaines River. It is about twenty miles southwest of downtown Chicago. If you drive down the main drag Archer Ave. these days you find a quiet town without much to slow you down. But it is a town with a past. One that includes a mayor who ruled the town for thirty five years and chief of police disposing of bodies for his mobster friends.

One of the corridors for the development of Illinois was along the Illinois & Michigan ship canal that was built in the 1830's and later replaced by the Chicago Sanitary Ship Canal which helps provide the only shipping link between the Great lakes and the Mississippi. They've turned this stretch of the canal into a nice little nature preserve with a bike/hiking path but in the 1970 & 80's it was a dumping AND burial ground. A place where some 70 cars were ditched as part of an insurance fraud scam run by a mob connected lawyer, Alan Masters and two high ranking policemen. James Keating head of the Cook County Sheriffs intelligence unit and Mike Corbitt chief of the Willow Springs police.

In 1982 the Feds had uncovered the scam and divers were sent into the canal to look for the cars. Inside the trunk of one of those cars was the body of Mrs. Masters. The subsequent investigation revealed the car was put there by Keating & Corbitt. The was tried, convicted Keating is dead and Corbitt has since been paroled. His book "Double Deal" is what brought my attention to this community. And from here you can almost see the police station.

Willow Springs has cleaned up it's politics and built a new development of offices and apartments. It might seem a little sleepy now but for almost thirty years this was a wide open town. "Doc" Rust was mayor during that time and this town was a mecca for gambling and prostitution. You see in 1924 Chicago elected a reform mayor William Deever which caused the Torrio/Capone mob to seek small suburban communities they could "take over". Towns like Cicero, Summit, Willow Springs among others became safe havens for mob activities. Little remains this sinful past and not much has been written about those years.

Except on the western edge where stands a pair symbols of the towns wild & haunted past. The Willow Brook Ballroom was a mecca for big band music for decades. In the past it also had a casino in the basement. This is also the starting point for Resurrection Mary a legendary ghost hitchhiker seen along Archer Ave. We have a separate video posted below.

Across the street is a joint that opened in 1915 as O'Henrys and had gone under a number of names since. It was built before the Willow Brook by the same guy that owned O'Henry's. One of several tunnels in the basement here leads across the street. During the 20's & 30's it was brothel and the scene of several violent events including murder. These events have led to a number of paranormal manifestations that have been reported from time to time.

The present owners do not welcome any explorations or discussion of these alleged manifestations,

For more about Resurrection Mary follow this link.

This clip was produced by MindsiMedia and it is part of our series "Chicago Crime Now & Then" where we explore the windy city's rich history of organized criminal activity.

Visit our web portal to explore the rest of our world.

Theme music "Constancy Part 2" Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons "Attribution 3.0"

Monday, March 25, 2013

Bomber, WW 2 Propaganda Film w/ Narration Written by Carl Sandburg

Uploaded to MindsiMedia on Mar 24, 2013

Here is a well made documentary made about the production of the B 26 bomber. One of the many weapons being churned out in fortress America during WW2. The narration was penned by Pulitzer Prize winner Carl Sandburg. This film got a well deserved Oscar nomination in 1941.

Visit our web portal.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Pink Floyd "Dark Side Of The Moon" Released 40 Years Ago

I was just listening to one of the "classic" rock stations and they were playing (on vinyl lp)  Pink Floyd's "Dark Side Of The Moon" in it's entirty to celebrate the fortieth anniversary of it's release. And I thought "forty years wow that ages one quick". At the time I was far more interested in the likes of Kiss and the New York Dolls to pay much attention to those hippies. Over the years I have come to appreciate the Floyd's early work and find DSOM as being one of the top ten albums of all time. I don't own a copy but who needs to it's on the radio all the time.

Anyway in honor of this occasion we would like to present  "The Dark Side Of Oz"  which gives us DSOM mixed with the classic film "The Wizard Of Oz". Thanks to the Internet we have this whole subculture that explores the synchronisities between these two cultural icons. Quoting from Wikipedia: 

"Dark Side of the Rainbow – also known as Dark Side of Oz or The Wizard of Floyd – refers to the pairing of the 1973 Pink Floyd album The Dark Side of the Moon with the visual portion of the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz.[1] This produces moments where the film and the album appear to correspond with each other. The title of the music video-like experience comes from a combination of the album title and the film's song "Over the Rainbow". Band members and others involved in the making of the album state that any relationship between the two works of art is merely a coincidence.[2]"

More great vintage Pink Floyd clips on our Rock Music / Psychedelic and Early Classic Rock playlist.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Chicago Gangster Spike O'Donnell, His Life & Times

"Chicago Gangster Spike O'Donnell  Talks To Senate Committee" was the title on the video so I had to check it out. In it he offers some lofty advice on crime prevention  in what looks like a speech to the press after his testimony. All in all it got me thinking about who he was and as it turns out Spike was major underworld figure on the southwest side for parts of four decades. He got his start in 1916 when Al Capone was still in N.Y.C. He survived the beer wars in the twenties by not coming in direct conflict with the Capone mob and controlling territory not as desirable as others.

Not that he lacked for action he did fight long running wars with two other southwest side mobsters. First there was the long running battle with the Saltis-McErlane Gang. It was during this conflict that Spike became a footnote in history by being the first victim of an assassination attempt by Thompson machine gun. We present below a video that goes into more detail. Then he conducted another war with the Danny McGeoghegan Gang during the 1930's.

He managed to survive these battles as well as major legal problems until  1943 when the odds catch up with him as he is gunned down on 83rd street near Loomis.

At ChiTownView one of our areas of interest is organized crime history in Chicago which goes back to the 1860's and was not invented by Al Capone. He only took advantage of a political system that was in place for decades before he came in on the scene.The best way to get an over view of what we have to offer in this area is check out the Chicago Crime History playlist.

Thanks to the ChicagoCrimeSceneProject & MyAlCaponeMuseum for background info & inspiration.

Multi- Vehicle Crash Briefly Closes Eisenhower Expressway Saturday, Aftermath

While down on Taylor street on Chicago's west side early Saturday afternoon I came across no traffic coming eastbound on the Eisenhower because there were a whole lot of police, fire trucks and ambulances about a quarter mile west. BY the time I got a clear shot they were just opening one lane again and cleaning up what looked to have been a three car crash. Click on the photo clip shows the traffic jam and the multi-agency response.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Nixon & The '68 Election, Dirty Politics Or An Act Of Treason?

He was known as "tricky dick" and like most Presidents he was much beloved but also much reviled. He also was the only one to resign in disgrace. There are accusations that Richard Nixon used dirty tricks to help McGovern get nominated in 1972. But did his campaign sabotage the Vietnam peace talks in 1968 in order to get elected.

Richard Nixon is also well known for and was in the end undone by his tape recording it was Lyndon Johnson who was the first to do it. His library has been releasing these recordings over the past few years and now they have all been released. Today we take a look at this story from two different sources.

First we take a look at a recent article from the BBC  that summerizes the information from the tapes. There is the fascinating plan for him to show up at the convention in a last minute attepmt to get renominated. As well as the plot by Nixon to slow down the peace talks.

"In a series of remarkable White House recordings we can hear Johnson's reaction to the news.
In one call to Senator Richard Russell he says: "We have found that our friend, the Republican nominee, our California friend, has been playing on the outskirts with our enemies and our friends both, he has been doing it through rather subterranean sources. Mrs Chennault is warning the South Vietnamese not to get pulled into this Johnson move."
He orders the Nixon campaign to be placed under FBI surveillance and demands to know if Nixon is personally involved.
When he became convinced it was being orchestrated by the Republican candidate, the president called Senator Everett Dirksen, the Republican leader in the Senate to get a message to Nixon.
The president knew what was going on, Nixon should back off and the subterfuge amounted to treason.
Publicly Nixon was suggesting he had no idea why the South Vietnamese withdrew from the talks. He even offered to travel to Saigon to get them back to the negotiating table.
Johnson felt it was the ultimate expression of political hypocrisy but in calls recorded with Clifford they express the fear that going public would require revealing the FBI were bugging the ambassador's phone and the National Security Agency (NSA) was intercepting his communications with Saigon.
So they decided to say nothing."

To read the whole story click here.

Here is a more in depth look at the story from the Real News Network when it first started coming out four years ago.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Street Scene, Early New York City Slice of Life Film

Uploaded by ChiTownView

Here is the classic story about the lives and loves of a group of residents in a working class building somewhere in New York City. A sort of urban version of Thornton Wilder's "Our Town". This story is almost entirely told from the front steps of this half block and takes place within a day. It is based on a Pulitzer Prize winning play by Elmer Rice

     The film features Estelle Taylor, David Landau, Sylvia Sidney, William Collier, and Beulah Bondi. The music score by is Alfred Newman's debut. With it's echoes of Gershwin"s "Rhapsody in Blue". It is a theme that has been used in a number of film noir classics including; Cry of the City, Kiss of Death, I Wake Up Screaming, Where the Sidewalk Ends and The Dark Corner.

       This year ChiTownView has begun to explore the streets of other iconic American cities like New York and LA we hope you enjoy this new direction and would love to hear your feedback.

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Friday, March 15, 2013

New Video Sharing Site, Reel Surfer Create Your Own Video Highlight Reels

I came across an interesting site called Reel Surfer where you can create your own video highlight reels from any(?) video source on the web. Basically you get a little thingie for your bookmarks bar and when you find a video you want to grab a highlight from you push the button and a little editing screen comes up. It's pretty simple to use and is kind of neat.

I just started to explore it and created my first reel and thought I'd pass it on. We have series of highlights from some of the videos we've posted on our MindsiMedia YouTube station. They include; Frank Sinatra welcoming Elvis home from the army, extreme Yoga from India, some dirt bike jumps in slow motion, Salvador Dali getting more than egg on his face, a beautiful sunset and more. Check it out!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Elvis Presley, His Last Concert and A Strange One

Growing up I appreciated Elvis and liked some of his music but he was just a bit before my time. It wasn't until after his death and you could see the arch of his life and as the whole history of America in the second half of the 20th century unfolded That Elvis and his story became a metaphor for the American dream. Because say what you will about Elvis he was the embodyment of the American dream post world war 2.

Elvis was just another guy with modest talent and ambition who hits the big time and experiences sudden wealth, fame and the power that comes with it. His life gets taken over by corrupt forces and he becomes nothing more than a trained circus performer for almost a decade. At the end of the 1960's he has a brief rebellion and begins to assert himself musically. But his life is still out of his control in many ways he lives in a bubble a prisoner of his own myth.

Unable to break free of the forces that control him he takes drugs gets fat and dies too young on a toilet. His life becomes a cautionary tale to anybody who suddenly finds themselves on easy street. One that was repeated by another music superstar Michael Jackson. But that's a story for another time.

For todays video extaraganza we offer a couple of items from out archives.

Uploaded by MindsiMedia on Jan 2, 2013
A fans recording of about a half hour of Elvis Presley's final concert. It took place on June 26, 1977 in Indianapolis at Market Square Arena. In less than two months he would be dead. There is a brief segment in the beginning of Elvis's plane landing him getting off and getting an award for his "Moody Blue" album. Not sure what's going on as this part is silent with a version of "If You Leave Me Now" by the opening band(?) dubbed in. To me it is somewhat fitting that this is a film that was made by a fan and not part of his myth machine. We get to see a more honest portrait of where the king was at the time.
The clip is in three parts and there is a link at the end of each part for the next one.

An early one from deep in the MindsiMedia vaults Nov 23, 2007
A dark lonely night, a woman sleeping alone, a dream, a voice passion ensues. Is it "the King" Elvis Presley or just another dream? A series of black and white polaroid photos taken in the winter of 1979 originaly entitled Little Elvis Makes A Night Deposit a little long and nonsensical so for the 21st century we shortened it to Little Elvis. If it doesn't make sense that's ok it's not supposed to.

It should come to no ones surprise that we have assembled a playlist of Elvis videos check it out.

And finally PLEASE comment, subscribe, share and explore our web portal.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Class Warfare In American and What We Can Do To Fight Back

So as someone who has been without full time work for over three years I am intimantly aware of how flaccid our economy has become, for most people. There is no shortage of stories that document the class warfare that is being waged by a greedy ruling class that has corrupted the political system here and across much of the planet. It is a battle that we've tried to cover here at MindsiMedia.

We have recently started a daily digital "paper" at Paper.Li called "The American Empire Daily". In it we present an aggregate of the days news stories. This economic war that is being waged is only one part of a larger story that also includes the war on terror and it's close cousin the war on drugs.All are related and designed to break us and take away our freedoms. We also look at ways we can fight back reclaim our freedoms and make a better world for people. The paper comes out every morning and subscribing is free.

We shall be posting daily updates here to lure you in. Today we highlight a couple of stories we just added to today's edition.

First a story from todays Huffington Post:

General Electric Avoids Taxes By Keeping $108 Billion Overseas

"The company with the most profits parked overseas is General Electric, according to a new Bloomberg analysis of 83 corporations.
GE said in a Feb. 26 regulatory filing that it was holding $108 billion in profits overseas as of the end of last year. That is up from $102 billion a year before. GE said in the filing that it reinvested most of these profits in foreign business operations and does not intend to bring those profits back to the U.S.
The practice of holding profits overseas has been highlighted as a strategy to avoid paying taxes. GE paid no U.S. taxes at all in 2010, according to The New York Times -- an allegation GE spokesman Seth Martin called "untrue" in an email to The Huffington Post Monday.
GE did not comment on the $108 billion in profits overseas.
Sixty big U.S. companies analyzed by the Wall Street Journal kept on average more than 40 percent of their annual profits overseas last year. The companies have attributed a growing amount of their revenue to foreign sales, and they have assigned patents and licenses to foreign subsidiaries. Thanks to these practices, the U.S. is not only losing out on tax revenue, but it is also missing money kept overseas that will not be used to invest in the U.S. or pay dividends to shareholders."

Taming Capitalism Run Wild

Not to be all doom and gloom we go to Bill Moyers who hosts a discussion with Economist Richard Wolff and Restaurant Worker Advocate Saru Jayaraman as the talk about the fight for economic justice.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Heavy Metal From Africa? From Bostwana? Yes

That there is heavy metal music being made in Africa should come as no surprise. One of my favorite cd's of the past 20 years was a collection of African Psych that came out on Luka Bop awhile back. But still when I saw this story online about metal heads in Bostwana I had to check it out and find out what they sounded like. Here is some of what I found.


By Frank Marshall from the Vice site:

    "Love it or hate it, when most people think of metal, they think of white dudes. Even if metal was born from the blues and there are growing scenes in places like Indonesia and Peru, metal's founding fathers--Priest, Sabbath, Maiden--and most of those who've come after have been unmistakably Caucasian. Which is why I was pleasantly surprised to find out about a small but passionate collection of guys who dressed like doomsday cowboys and listened to Motorhead in the predominantly black, central African country of Botswana.

    Spared the civil wars and venal dictatorships that scar much of Africa, in its own quiet way the Republic is something of an African success story. In 2008, South African photographer Frank Marshall accompanied a South African metal band on a one-gig tour of Gaborone, Botswana's capital."

Here are a couple of videos first is:

    "Botswana's very own, Metal Orizon performing, 'I Have Found', with traditional Setswana dance live, as well as a video for 'We Are Rolling.' The band has been performing for twenty plus years now. They have endured the hardship and struggle, yet continue to this day recharged and revamped. Read more about Metal Orizon, and other bands throughout Africa in my upcoming book on heavy metal music in Africa, expected in 2014. 

And this clip takes us into the everyday life of a Bastwana metal head.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Magic Slim RIP, Presenting A Half Hour Of His Raw Blues

I was listening to the Blues From The Red Rooster show on WDCB, broadcasting from the western suburbs, when I heard the belated news that Morris Holt AKA Magic Slim had passed on. Slim was one of the last of the second wave of Mississippi blues men who followed Muddy Waters north to make a name for himself in Chicago. He never achieved the fame of some of his contemporaries in many ways because he stayed a bluesman and never really changed his style.

He went to school with and was an early musical cohort of another blues guitarist by the name of Magic Sam. In fact he is the one who gave Magic Slim his name in 1955 when he arrived in Chicago. In a short time Slim realized he wasn't up to the competition in Chicago and returned to Mississippi for five years to work on developing his musical chops. He returned with his new band the Teardrops and never looked back.

Mr. Holt passed away on February 21 due to complications from a bleeding ulcer. A lifetime of playing the blues is hard on a man. Below are a couple of vintage clips of Magic Slim & the Teardrops.

U.S. Air Force Terrifying Video Of Flybots That Can Hover, Stalk Even Kill and More Stories From The American Empire Daily

"The U.S. Air Force is developing tiny unmanned drones that will fly in swarms, hover like bees, crawl like spiders and even sneak up on unsuspecting targets and execute them with lethal precision. 
The Air Vehicles Directorate, a research arm of the Air Force, has released a computer-animated video outlining the the future capabilities of Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs). The project promises to revolutionize war by down-sizing the combatants. 
'MAVs will become a vital element in the ever-changing war-fighting environment and will help ensure success on the battlefield of the future,' the narrator intones.
'Unobtrusive, pervasive, lethal - Micro Air Vehicles, enhancing the capabilities of the future war fighter.'"

Hovering: Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) are the future of the unmanned drones program, according to a new video from the Air Force. The Air Force has already developed a drone capable of hovering like a moth

The American Empire Daily is a new veture by MindsiMedia that is a new step towards one of our goals. That is providing a comprehensive look at the world and how we got here. It has been one of our irregular features since we started our second YouTube station Mindsi2 back in 2007.

What we present is a look at the war on terror it's roots and consequences. We also explore the massive corruption that lies behind it. This leads us to the larger examination of the century + growth of the American Empire and the corruptions behind that.

Our aim is not to condemn this empire but to explain and show the history of it's development. America had a chance at the end of World War 2 to wipe the slate clean and build a better world and not repeat the mistakes of the past. We may have had the noblest of intentions but the methods we used to achieve our aims fell well short of our ideals and we repeated the same mistakes that all empires do.

We also explore the threats to our environment and the sensible solutions that are out there to meet those threats. It's important to realize the trouble were in how we got here and what we can do to build a better future. 

We have a page on our web portal with more links and information archives.

I Wake Up Screaming Landmark 1941 Film

Hyperbole? Perhaps but “I Wake Up Screaming” is an excellent early example of film noir. Directed by H. Bruce Humberstone from a novel by the same name writter by Steve Fisher this is a dark little film. One of the first to explore the dark side of those who enforce the law. Where everyone seems to have something to hide. A side to themselves that lies below the surface.

There are four main characters. Victor Mature plays pr guy Frankie Christopher who gets involved with two sisters Jill & Vickie Lynn player by Betty Grable and Carole Landis. Frankie is promoting Vickie to “be a star” while sister Jill think she should get a real job and work hard. Vicky gets killed the night before she is to leave for Hollywood after signing with another agent.

Naturally Frankie along with three other men become suspects and a team of detectives work to solve the case. The lead detective Ed Cornell is a large menacing man who is brilliantly played by Laird Cregar. Whose career was cut short in 1945 when he dies from the effects of losing over 100 pounds while on a crash diet which included prescribed amphetamines. Another great small role is played by the always solid Elisha Cook Jr. who plays a very creepy apartment doorman.

The film looks great and is set in New York with a lot of Gotham city flavor of the streets. In one scene Mature and Grable go for a swim in the middle of the night at an indoor pool called the Lido Plunge. Two musical themes that first made their appearances in earlier films are woven into the film. An adaptation of Alfred Newman's score from Street Scene is mixed together with Harold Arlen's “Over The rainbow” form the Wizard of Oz. Together they provide the backdrop as the mystery unfolds.

I won't spoil the ending by revealing who the true killer is because this is one you will want to see yourself.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

A March Snowstorm & I'm Lost In A World of Stained Glass

Yet another in a series of late season snow storms rolled through Chicago. I was suffering cabin fever and had to get out of the house. So I braved the storm and went down to Navy Pier for a return to the Smith Museum. They have dozens, more than a hundred magnificent pieces of art glass. And it should be no surprise that someone who likes neon would also be attracted to these beautiful works of art.

Here is some of what I saw.  The storm outside. What happened to the tall buildings?


Inside works by Ed Paschke, Louis Comfort Tiffany and others. All and all it was a great way to spend a couple of hours. And the best part, besides being free is your right next to a Billy Goat's so after perusing the art for awhile you have a place to satisfy your thirst  and or hunger.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

A Look At Pre Quake San Francisco & The Flight Of The First SST

In the history of first half of the 20th century we witnessed dramatic improvements in transportation. In 1900 people got around on horses, train or ship. By the time we reached 1970 the world was choking on auto fumes which is how most of us now get around. The airplane has supplanted both trans and boats when it comes to moving people. We have even transported ourselves to the moon and back! All in seventy short years. 

The last two videos I've uploaded to ChiTownView on YouTube illustrates this advancement for us. Even though it wasn't planned at the time. First I uploaded “Soviet SST Maiden Flight, Russian Concorde Takes Off 12/31/1968” a video about the maiden flight of the first super sonic transport. The film also shows the development of the Soviet TU-144. And we learn about it's designer famed aircraft engineer Alexei A. Tupolev.


For the second clip “Lost San Francisco, a Pre Quake Look At Market St.“ we go back 62 years to April of 1906. We are on the other side of the world in San Francisco Ca. Riding down Market St. in a fairly recent innovation, the street car. This fascinating footage was of a lost landscape was shot only days before the great earthquake that would devastate the city.


Saturday, March 2, 2013

Horse Meat Scandal In Europe Distant Echo In 1950's Chicago

I have been hearing a lot about a scandal in Europe as it has been discovered that horse meat  was being relabeled and sold as beef product to unwary consumers. Here is a thumbnail of the story from Alternet.

Nestlé Recall and Mafia Connections: 5 Things You Should Know As Horse Meat Scandal Grows

by Tata Lohan "Getting to the bottom of how this came about has involved a lot of finger pointing. In Ireland, the ABP Food Group blamed supplies in Netherlands and Spain, and later Poland. “Five weeks into the scandal and the links in the Irish chain have still not been fully established,” writes the Guardian's Lawrence.” But this gets even more interesting in France, as she explains:
Comigel had subcontracted its ready meal production to a factory in Luxembourg, Tavola. It was supplied with meat by a company called Spanghero. Spanghero had bought meat from a Dutch fraudster already convicted of passing horse off as beef, Jan Fasen.
The Dutch trader ran a company called Draap, which spelled backwards is paard or Dutch for horse. It was registered in Cyprus in 2008, with an offshore vehicle in the British Virgin Islands. It emerged during Fasen's trial in Holland that he had supplied French companies with horsemeat imported from South America and Mexico fraudulently labelled as Dutch and German "beef" going back to 2007.
The horsemeat found in the recent tests on ready meals exported from France was said to have been sourced by Draap from Romania. The Romanian government has said its meat was legally exported correctly labeled as horse. The French government said Spanghero was the first agent to stamp the horse as beef; Spanghero has denied doing so deliberately. Fasen says Spanghero and French manufacturers were in on the deception from the beginning.
It turns out there may be a whole lot more criminal to this case."

  To read the entire story click here.

Capitalists are an amazingly creative bunch always looking for an angle to exploit in the quest for the bottom line. Over at the Business Insider they zero in on the Mafia.

  Europe's Horse Meat Problem Linked To The 'Mafia'

 "Bitish Tabloid the Daily Mirror seems to support the Romania-link, with an "exclusive investigation" pointing the finger at organized criminals who have earned themselves the nickname the "Horse Mafia." Poor farmers are paid for their horses by the criminals, who then fake the paperwork for the horses, the Mirror reports: In these rural areas of high deprivation, criminal gangs prey on poor farmers by offering cash for both wild and work horses farmers cannot afford to keep. They pay 50 to 100 Romanian Lei – as little as £10 to £20. Abattoirs will pay up to 27 times that for a horse with the right paperwork. A warm-blooded mare weighing 1,000lb can sell for around £270. 

 But one undercover source, based in Transylvania, who works as a vet and has intimate knowledge of the business, revealed the abattoirs often turn a blind eye to the illegal trade. According to the AP, however, two Romanian meat plants have denied any wrong-doing, arguing that the meat was labeled as horse and that the fraud must have happened at a different point in the supply chain. One of the slaughterhouses, Carmolimp, said it had not exported any beef at all in 2012, and suggested that an incompetent French meat processor must have mistaken the horse meat for beef. Meanwhile the Daily Mail reports that "mobsters from Italy and Poland" are just some of the criminal groups behind the multi-million dollar industry:" 

 In the age of international terrorism and wanton slaughter in many parts of the world it's almost refreshing to read an old fashioned crime story. And of course this isn't the first time the world has seen this kind of large scale fraud. While I was reading about this story it reminded me that in the early 1950's something like that happened here. So I did a little poking around and discovered that yes over a two year period almost five million pounds of horsemeat had been sold as beef in a mafia inspired scam. First I found this story on the WBEZ site.

Chicago horse butcher for the world?

 "The investigation had started with a packing plant in Lake Zurich. The feds claimed the “pure beef” shipped from there was actually 40 percent horse. The plant had processed more than 10,000 pounds of meat a week. Most of it wound up in Chicago. Simple economics was the reason. In 1952 beef sold for 59 cents a pound. A pound of horse meat went for 14 cents. The feds had shut down the Lake Zurich plant, but other area packers were still under suspicion. And the Chicago mob seemed to be behind everything." 

 Interesting but lacking in any real background so I dug a little deeper and found out nobody ever did time for this racket. But while researching I did come across a story on the Bookrags site about 1960's Outfit leader Sam Battaglia that seems to suggest the origins of the plot may have been in some teenage scams pulled by the notorious west side 42 Gang. "Most of the 42’s original members came from an area known as “the Patch”—an Italian section on the city’s West Side. At constant war with the Chicago police, gang members held up nightclubs, robbed cigar stores, stripped cars, and stole from peddlers. They also killed the horses that pulled peddlers’ carts, and sold their hind legs to businesses that purchased horse meat." To finish this story click here. 

 This was a group youths who became a satellite of the Capone mob and it's members went on to form the leadership structure of the the mob in the 1950's & 60's. Here is a roster from Wikipedia of some other names that were a part of this mob; Louis "Cockeyed Louie" Fratto (also known as Lew Farrell), Felix Alderisio ("Milwaukee Phil"), Samuel DeStefano ("Mad Sam"), Charles "Chuckie" NicolettiFiore "Fifi" BuccieriAlbert FrabottaWilliam "Smokes" AloisioFrank "Skids" CarusoWilliam Daddano ("Willie Potatoes"), Joe Caesar DiVarcoRocco PotenzaLeonard GianolaVincent Inserro and brothers Leonard andMarcello Giovanni Caifano ("John Marshall"). Also in the Battaglia story that I found on the Bookrags site I found this other nugget Sam also owned a horse farm. So that's the the lowdown on the horse meat scandal sweeping Europe and it's distant cousin here in Chicago and maybe an answer to who was behind that plot. On ChiTownView we have a series of videos about Chicago crime with a focus on the organization begun by Capone that held sway on the city for some fifty years. In the series we visit a location as it exists today and then tell the history of the spot. So far we've done about forty stories on this series. 
We have a couple of clips that relate to this story.   
 Here is a story about the neighborhood where the 42 Gang got it's start and an earlier gang that preyed on the area.
 And this video gives us a look at Sam Battaglia's Oak Park home and tells some of his story.  
 At ChiTownView we offer a couple of related playlists.

Chicago Crime Now & Then, An All Original Series

The Outfit, Chicago's Mafia From Big Al To Joey "The Clown"