Thursday, May 30, 2013

Let There Be Light, Good News About Solar Power

In what may be the best news the planet has had in a long time there has been a dramatic growth in the solar power business. Countries like Spain, China and spearheaded by Germany are reaping the rewards provided by generating energy directly from the sun. Even here in the US we see more people employed by the solar industry than mine for coal. This story is going to become a regular part of what we post here because it's one that is vital to our future.

Today we have a couple of stories the first is about Danny Kennedy who is the aythor of a recent book called Rooftop Revolution: HowSolar Power Can Save Our Economy -- and Our Planet. He is the founder of Sungevity  one of the nations largest solar energy companies and a former Greenpeace activist. The book is a great all aroind introduction into solar power and it's near limitless potential. Here from Alternet is a story about Danny and his book.

Rooftop Revolution: How Solar Energy Is Putting Power Back in the Hands of the People
AlterNet / By Heeten Kalan

"Heeten Kalan: Your book is titled Rooftop Revolution. Why do you think solar power is a revolution in the making?
Danny Kennedy: Solar power represents a change in electricity that has a potentially disruptive impact on power in both the literal sense (meaning how we get electricity) and in the figurative sense of how we distribute wealth and power in our society. Fossil fuels have led to the concentration of power whereas solar’s potential is really to give power over to the hands of people. This shift has huge community benefits while releasing our dependency on the centralized, monopolized capital of the fossil fuel industry. So it’s revolutionary in the technological and political sense."

To read the entire interview click here.

And then I found this hopefull story about what the state of Minnesota is doing to tap into solars potential.

The Three Best Things Minnesota Did For Solar Energy In The Last Week
From ThinkProgress by Adam James, Guest Blogger on May 28, 2013 at 3:31 pm

"This development is a good indicator of some fundamental dynamics that are playing out in the energy space. First, if you were to look at a map of US solar potential, Minnesota would not be the first place you’d put solar panels. This can also be said of Germany — not exactly heralded for its sunny weather — but which still has 1.3 million installed solar power systems that just set a new peak output record of 22.68 GW. So why is solar getting traction in these places?

Well, with the cost of solar PV dropping 80 percent since 2008 alone; the truth is that economic inertia has made solar practical even in places like Minnesota and Germany. In addition, the secret to solar success has not been finding the places with the most sun, but rather finding places where the political will is ready to galvanize around smart, forward looking investments that create good jobs."

 We've long had an interest in the promise of renewables here is a video we produced four years ago that was on our, now terminated, 1Future21 You Tube station.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

March Against Monsanto In Chicago, 5/25/13

Uploaded by ChiTownView on May 25, 2013
Thousands of Chicagoan s took to the street on Saturday afternoon as part of the global March Against Monsanto. Monsanto is the manufacturer of Agent Orange, Roundup and are deeply invested in genetically modified organisms (GMO's). We see some of the marchers as they go up La Salle. In the audio we hear one of the days many speakers. The young lady who's name I missed explains why roundup threaten bees and butterflies.

For some reason this goof showed upon his bike and unfurled a Confederate flag. On the other side of the plaza a woman carrying a big American flag and began to twirl and dance and in the end outclassed the "rebel" who quickly tucked tail and slunk off.

Later I ran into Ms. Liberty and she had this kazoo like device and I asked if should could do America The Beautiful for me which she did.

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A Nine Year Old Speaks Truth To Power In Chicago And Indie Media Is His Megaphone

There is a heartwarming story out of Chicago this week. While most of the news is myopically focused on the murder rate students, parents and teachers have risen up against mayor Rahm Emmanuel's  plan to corporatize the school system with wholesale closures. He managed to ram his plan through the school board but the citizens are aroused and this fight isn't over. The highlight of the week of protests is this speech by  9 year old Asean Johnson and the reason you are able to see it is through the work of independent media like The Video CatalystProject which can be found on You Tube.

V.C.P. Is the work of Oak Park native John Sheehan who has worked tirelessly for almost a decade reporting on events and covering stories that the mainstream media ignore or are late to the party on. He also turns his eye on some of the more obscure corners of the windy city. Altogether he has posted over a thousand videos and his station is well worth a look.

The world is catching up to this local institution as this weekend as VCP's video of Asean's speech is being picked up by CNN!! Way to go Asean & John congratulations thanks for speaking truth to power.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Museum Of Neon Art & Chinatown Some Los Angeles Neon Photos

Here are a couple of more clips from the beginning of MindsiMedia. It was a real drag when YouTube terminated the station but on the other hand it's nice to see the old stuff again and share it with those of you who missed them the first time around. Both originally posted on MindsiMedia in 2008

First we have a slide show of photos from a trip I made to The Museum of Neon Art in Los Angeles California. They are a really great organization that works to promote one of the most beautiful of industrial art forms. The museum is right now closed with plans to reopen in Glendale.

They do offer a variety of three hour neon themed bus tours that are a really great time. Drinks & refreshments are on hand & they do make stops including one in Chinatown where the second slideshow comes from

Check their web site and/or Facebook page for more info.

We also have a Chicago Neon Tour playlist.

And we also have a lot of neon photos on our web portal.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Vintage Garage Rock From The (Chicago) Atomic Fireballs

Another refugee from our now defunct MindsiMedia You Tube station that we have just uploaded to ChiTownView.The original Chicago Atomic Fireballs were a great early 90's garage rock band in the Stooges, Cramps, Shadows of Knight vein. They imploded too early due to the old rock and roll disease too many egos and not enough stage. The boys practiced within smelling distance of where that classic candy treat is made. Here is a couple of originals Gal That's A Head & Fish In My Car.


Monday, May 20, 2013

MindsiMedia Terminated By You Tube, R.I.P.

We began almost seven years ago and today MindsiMedia was terminated by You Tube for repeated 3rd party infringements. We posted a lot of old movies and tv shows that were supposed to be in public domain or free to use non commercially. Sadly things change and you could be okay for years and then someone magically gets the rights and then your screwed. Over the years I posted over 600 hundred videos and got three complaints. That's all it took.

When they terminated my account they discarded dozens of my own videos that I know longer have copies of and will never be able to recreate. Oh well life goes on we have other stations and we hope you will support us by visiting ChiTownView on You Tube.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

The War On Drugs, An End To The Madness?

Has the world had enough of the war om drugs? There is growing evidence that resistance to this corruptive and destructive strategy is reaching the policy makers. Today we look at some recent stories that illustrate that point. My interest was started this morning by a story that I came across in the Guardian UK.

Western leaders study 'gamechanging' report on global drugs trade

By Jamie Doward from The Observer, Saturday 18 May 2013

Publication of the Organisation of American States (OAS) review, commissioned at last year's Cartagena Summit of the Americas attended by Barack Obama, reflects growing dissatisfaction among Latin American countries with the current global policy on illicit drugs. It spells out the effects of the policy on many countries and examines what the globaldrugs trade will look like if the status quo continues. It notes how rapidly countries' unilateral drugs policies are evolving, while at the same time there is a growing consensus over the human costs of the trade. "Growing media attention regarding this phenomenon in many countries, including on social media, reflects a world in which there is far greater awareness of the violence and suffering associated with the drug problem," José Miguel Insulza, the secretary general of the OAS, says in a foreword to the review. "We also enjoy a much better grasp of the human and social costs not only of drug use but also of the production and transit of controlled substances."

Intersting I thought but what else is happening and I didn't have to look far. On Alternet I found this story.

Congressmen Help Launch Drug War Exit Strategy Guide

A new generation of legislators be a key asset to drug policy reform.
From AlterNet by Bill Piper

On Thursday, the Drug Policy Alliance will release  An Exit Strategy for the Failed War on Drugs. This comprehensive report contains 75 broad and incremental recommendations for legislative reforms related to civil rights, deficit reduction, law enforcement, foreign policy, sentencing and re-entry, effective drug treatment, public health, and drug prevention education. The guide will be released at  a forum on the Hill cosponsored by Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-TX) and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), both of whom fought for major drug policy reform at the local level before running for Congress and winning. This new generation of legislators has demonstrated that support for drug policy reform is no detriment to electoral success – and in fact that it can be a key asset.

To read the entire post click here.

Meanwhile in the real world people are literally taking the law into their own hands. In last falls elections two states vote to legalize marijuana and even more states voted to begin to allow the medical use of pot. Here is a video of a recent appearance on the Bill Maher show by MasonTvert one of the leaders of the Colorado legalization effort.

And to round things out I found this little history of the war on drugs (since 1971) from a recent episode of the Melissa Harris-Perry show on MSNBC.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Louis Sullivan Lincoln Park Designs Part 1

Louis Sullivan is considered by many as the father of American architecture, one of his many proteges was Frank Lloyd Wright. Although major works like the Auditorium Theater & the Carson Pierre Scott building still stand most of his designs fell victim to the wrecking ball. One area where you can still find examples of his work is in Chicago's near north Lincoln Park area. So on a recent gorgeous spring day we took a walk through the area and came back with these two examples of his work.

While Mr. Sullivan had nothing to do with the building at 1616 N Wells that the improv group Second City calls home it still showcases his work. One of the many Sullivan designs to get torn down was the Garrick Theater at one time located at 64 W. Randolph. It was being torn down in 1961 at the same time the highly successful comedy troupe was building a new home.

By chance one of the 2nd City founders Bernie Sahlins wandered over to watch the demolition. He saw the heads and became intrigued and thought it would make a great addition to his new home. So after a brief negotiation with the crew boss money was exchanged and this small piece of Architectural history was saved.

These are four of what were a dozen of these bas reliefs that were in the Garrick the others are dust by now. As for who they are well that's another story one that is told on The Errant Inquisitor site. Where you will find the whole story this guy (I'm guessing) did a lot of research so I'll let him tell you the story.

A little further north from second city was our next stop on the Louis Sullivan Lincoln Park tour the Ann Halsted row houses. In 1882 Ann Halsted's husband died the following year she had a home built on west Belden. The firm of Adler & Sullivan got the commission for it's design. The next year she decided to build an investment property which would generate income for her family. Construction began on 3 townhouses in 1885 the following year, the architects added two more townhouses. You can tell by the ornamentation at the top of the houses which are which. Ann Halsted collected rents on these properties until 1921, then she started selling each property one by one. Her Adler and Sullivan-designed house is still standing on nearby Belden. We will be visiting that along with a couple of other existing Sullivan designs and posting those videos next week.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Original Playboy Mansion and Gold Coast Alley Paved With Wood

On a gorgeous spring day we took a walk through some of Chicago's near north side. Our first stop was at the home of the first Playboy mansion. Located at 1340 North State Parkway this 70 room brick & limestone residence was built in 1899 for Dr. George Swift Isham. And for most of it's life it was a fairly sedate building on a quiet street in one of Chicago's better neighborhoods. In 1959 it was bought by Hugh Hefner and for the next fifteen years it was Hefs hutch. While he lived there the front door had a brass plate that read "Si Non Oscillas, Noli Tintinnare" which in Latin means "If you don't swing, don't ring. It has since been divided up into condo units.  

While I was researching this story I came across a site that had a bunch of pictures from inside this magnificent structure. You can see them here.

After stopping to pay my respects at the former Playboy Mansion I was heading up to some Louis Sullivan designed row houses. As I approached North Ave. a sign caught my eye. It said "Wooden Alley" ah ha this was something I had heard about this was the last alley in Chicago that was still paved with wooden blocks.

For the most part these aren't the original blocks but new ones installed a few years back before it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. There is a small section just off State where the remaining original blocks were placed. The price for paving the alley in 1909 was just a little over three thousand dollars. For repaving the alley the cost was around four hundred thousand dollars. To find out more about wooden paving and a group of "blockheads" effort to restore this alley follow this link.

My Louis Sullivan explorations will be in an upcoming post. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Worlds Oldest Playboy Bunny and More From The Golden Age Of Playboy

Ran into my good friend Boz who is a Karaoke DJ up at Sidekicks 4424 W. Montrose in Chicago. He is also a YouTube video producer running the The Video Catalyst Project station. It is a station that features all original content shot in and around the windy city area. He covers a wide variety of topics in and around town. While my station tends of cover more historical topics the VCP has more of a journalistic/political point of view and is known for it's coverage of Chicago Occupy movement.

Anyway he told me he met the worlds oldest Playboy bunny! Now that's not something that everyday I thought. Or night. At any rate I thought I would share this one of a kind experience with you hear her tale of meeting Hugh Heffner and watch her sing with Elvis last night. Then we also have some other offerings from the golden age of Playboy. Enjoy.

Joyce claims to be the very first Playboy Bunny hired by Hugh Hefner.
Guest singer, Johnny Elvis 

The Golden Age of the Playboy Club

"I don't think that most people today realize the extent of the success of the Playboy Club in the 1960's and early 70's. In 1961, The Playboy Club was the busiest night club in the world. The Chicago club alone brought in around 132,000 customers in 3 months. Famous entertainers like Bob Hope, Ray Charles, Steve Allen, Ann-Margret, and Dizzy Gillespie performed at Playboy Clubs from New York to Manila, London, Tokyo to the Bahamas."

Now I went looking for some other vintage Playboy club related stuff and came up with this gem that can be found on another outstanding YouTube station GeorgeCarlinCentral..

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Summertime And The Living Is Easy, A Playlist & A Story

So here we are on a Saturday morning in mid May in Chicago  when it should be glorious out. What we have is a cold overcast day that just screams at you "Stay Inside!!!". So I am going through my vast backlog of emails. One of my recent Twitter follows is a jazz man by the name of Philippe Saisse and one of recent tweets is his version of one of my all time favorites the Gershwin classic "Summertime" from Porgy & Bess.

I'm listening to it it's a great version and  I start thinking of all the other versions of it out there I like. The only thing to do is make a playlist and gather them together. So that's how I spent a cool gray Saturday morning. By the time I'd assembled thirty or so the weather had gotten better and it was time to go look for a Mothers Day present.

Here's a little background on the tune and a couple of samples from the list.

Searching for Summertime, BBC Four: a documentary on Gershwin's masterpiece

From the Telegraph By James Maycock

"It seems that everybody knows the song. It’s a composition that has transcended age, race and nationality. Today, there are thousands of recorded cover versions in existence. But aside from those huge numbers, it has become one of the most loved songs in the world, conjuring up in each new listener an ideal image or memory of summer.
As playwright and author Bonnie Greer observes in the documentary, “Everybody has got a summertime somewhere.” There’s magic in the tune, and that’s why I wanted to make a documentary about it – to explore Summertime’s bittersweet mysteries."

To read the entire post click here.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Maxwell St., Tales of Chicago's Lost West Side

Here are a couple of clips that lift up the curtain of urban renewal and give us a look at what used to be. On Chicago's near west side just east of the Taylor Street area is the sprawling campus of the University of Chicago. Before that the area was known as the Maxwell street area from the 1880's to the 1930's it was "Bloody Maxwell" one of the most violent areas of the city as waves of competing immigrant groups battled each other. From the 1940's on it was still a rough area but one more known for the vast open air market and one of the cities centers of blues music that it became most famous for. Anyone that has watched the film The Blues Brothers get a brief taste of the area in the scenes with John Lee Hooker & Aretha Franklin.

Here we offer that a couple of clips that we have just uploaded to our ChiTownView You Tube station. In the first our recent walking tour of the near west side takes us to the old Maxwell St. police station used in Hill St. Blues and the nearby "Dead Man's" corner. The other film is a 2001 documentary that focuses offers some history and tells of the struggle to preserve the area before it was gentrified.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Eliot Ness's Untouchables Make A Major Brewery Bust In 1930

In both the original tv show and the Robert Di Nero film The Untouchables there is a scene where Eliot Ness makes a bust by smashing into a brewery with a battering ram mounted on a truck. While a lot of incidents in both these explorations into the work of these G-Men are fictional this one is based on a real incident.

On the night of June 13, 1930 with Mr. Ness himself sitting on top of a 10 ton truck the Untouchables smashed their way into this location at 2108 S. Wabash. They arrested five workers and seized 200,000 gallons of beer and mash. This was one of the G-Mens biggest successes and it became part of the indictment that ended the career of Al Capone.

As it happens this location is on the same block as another infamous spot that helped launch Capones career. Just a couple of doors south was the home of Colosimo's the restraunt owned by Big Jim Colosimo. The crime boss that imported Johnny Torrio & Al Capone from New York to the windy city. It is also where Jim was murdered just ten years earlier by (as many people say) Al Capone.

And if you find this sort of history interesting we suggest you visit our playlist "Chicago Crime Now & Then". you will find clips about the "death corner", Taylor St. area and other windy city hot spots.

We also recommend a couple of other sites for those who wish read more about Chicago's colorful past.
The Chicago Crime Scene project.
My Al Capone Museum.

Produced for ChiTownView by MindsiMedia visit our web portal at  

North Side, South Side, Downtown Beauty Found All Around The Town

Spring has come to Chicago and it's great to be out again. At ChiTownView we have been visiting various parts of the city and finding moments of beauty everywhere. Today we present three clips from different places in Chicago. In Andersonville we find a colorful patch of flowers.  On the near south side on a quiet morning we spend a minute with "Helping Hands"  haunting memorial to Jane Adams. And in the middle of the loop at 70 East Lake the terra cotta facade of the original home of De Paul another one of the cities century old buildings. Get out enjoy the weather and explore some of the world around you.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

The 1964 New York Worlds Fair Then & Now

From a time when the United States was still a land of hope and promise we present these two films from the 1964 World's Fair. It took place in a mile square patch of land known today as Corona Park and was also the site of the 1939 worlds fair.Before that fair it was where ash was dumped and was referred to as a "valley of ashes" in F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.

 The first was produced by the Sinclair oil company and gives us a broad overview (with lots of plugs for Sinclair) of this fabulous view of mid century America. It's all here from dinoland to bold visions of the future. The slogan of the fair was “peace through understanding” a great idea that seems to have become lost here in the 21st century. The second film focuses in on the Unisphere which was a magnificent symbol of this event. It is the largest globe ever made on the earth. So put on your rose colored glasses grab a snack and sit back and enjoy. And for dessert we offer a link to a photo montage of what the site looks like today.

For those that might be wondering what the site of this event looks like today I found this cool post (link below) on the imagineering disney blog.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Chicago's Oldest (and most traveled) Home, The Clarke House

The Clarke House is Chicago's oldest surviving home. It was built in 1837 and was originally located at around 1700 south Michigan Ave. which at the time was an old indian trail. The home was an early example of Greek revival and the Clarke's lived there until 1872 when the home and land was sold to the Chrimes family. By that time the city had expanded and what had been an isolated house on the prairie was now part of a rapidly expanding city. One that had almost burned to the ground the previous year in the great fire that started just a little to the west.

Fearful of another fire and seeking cleaner country air for an ailing child the house was moved almost thiry blocks south to 4526 Wabash where the Chrimes lived until 1942 when they sold it to Bishop Louis Henry Ford and the St. Paul Church of God in Christ. They built a church next door and used the home for a variety of purposes until 1972 when they wanted to use the land for something else and began negotiating with the city to sell them the house.

A deal was reached in 1977 and the city planned to move it (again) this time to a new park where it currently sits about a block away from it's original location. There was a problem though since the move to south Wabash the el had been constructed. How were they going to get the home past that. Various ideas were proposed and rejected before the city reached a final decision

They were going to lift the 120 ton building up twenty seven feet up in the air and over the el tracks. Starting at midnight on 12/4/1977 train service was halted and the operation began in front of a crowd of 2,000 people. The operation was a success until it got to the other side when the hydraulic equipment froze up leaving the building stuck up in the air until the 18th of December when it got warm enough to finish the move to it's present location.

For the full story of this historic home follow this link.

I found this video about the move on Vimeo.

A Walk Through Chicago's Prairie Street Historic District, Three Historic Homes

On my recent walking trip through Chicago's near south side I passed through the Prairie St. historic district. It's a small area tucked between Michigan Ave. and Lake Shore Drive just north of Cermak Rd. It is where Chicago's wealthy elite settled after the Chicago Fire and is home to many 19th century mansions as well as The Clarke House the City's oldest still standing house. But that's on a separate video this one offers a quick look at three of the places listed on the historic register.

We will be looking at more homes in this area in future clips.

They are:
2110 S. Prairie, The Harriet F. Rees House from 1888
The tall, narrow, elegantly-detailed limestone house at 2110 S. Prairie Avenue was the last of three designed by the firm of Cobb & Frost on Prairie Avenue. (The others are the Joseph G. Coleman house at 1811 S. Prairie Ave. and the Osborn R. Keith house at 1808 S. Prairie Ave., razed 1968). Built in 1888 at a cost of $20,000 for Harriet F. Rees, a widow, the Romanesque style residence features beautifully executed detailing in its steep gable peak, third-floor arched window colonnade, and two-story bowed bay. It originally shared a party wall on the north with the Mark Kimball house, and abutted the Max Rothschild home on the south, so today it looks rather out of place standing alone....

2013 S. Prairie, William Reid House, 1894
This three-story Classical Revival style house, completed in 1894, is an excellent reflection of the popularity of that style, following the World’s Columbian Exposition the previous year. The home was originally one of a row of attached houses which extended south from 20th (now Cullerton) Street. It was built for successful banker William H. Reid, who had occupied another house on the same site since 1870. Reid’s first wife, Eleanor, died in 1888, and he married Caroline Whittlesey the following year. This new home may have been built at her request, as it is considerably larger and is more in keeping with her others homes - a summer estate in Ottawa Illinois, and a winter home in the Ozarks near Eureka Springs Arkansas.....

1900 S. Prairie, The Keith House from 1879
John W. Roberts, architect. The last surviving example of the popular Second Empire-style on Prairie Avenue, this was  one of several homes on the street occupied by
members of the Keith family.

For more about the area follow this link.

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When People Most Familiar With Wall Street Say This About It, You Know It's Time For Reform - Switch Your Bank

After watching Charlie Munger compare investment bankers to heroin addicts this morning (above), we had the idea to put together a list of people who've been directly involved at some level with Wall Street and are now outspoken critics. Here's what we've come up with so far:

To see the list click here.

Bob Dylan's Lyrics For Unrecorded Anti Nuke Song Surface & More Dylan

While going through this mornings news I came across an interesting story about Bob Dylan and one of his earliest supporters Izzy Young. I thought I would pass it on but went looking for some other related items to go along with the story and here is what I came up with.

Bob Dylan's anti-bomb lyrics for unreleased song to go on sale

by Sean Michaels from

"I hate you cause yer man-made and man-owned an' man-handled," Dylan wrote in the apparently unrecorded lyrics to Go Away You Bomb. "You might be miss-made an' miss-owned an' miss-handled an' miss-used / An' I hate you cause you could drop on me by accident an' kill me."
Dylan's wry and livid screed dates from his early days in New York, when he was working on his debut album, The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. The young songwriter had come under the wing of Izzy Young, owner of an influential folk-music shop in Greenwich Village. Young, who had organised Dylan's first New York concert, asked the singer for a new song to include in a book of songs opposing the atomic bomb. The next day, according to the New York Times, Dylan gave him this lyric sheet, with handwritten deletions and alterations.

Here we have an interview with Mr. Young where he gives his definition of folk music.

And for a little more on Bob Dylan we offer this from Democracy Now! Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Legendary Bob Dylan Turns 70: Democracy Now! Airs Rare Interviews and Songs from Pacifica Radio Archives


And for a touch of the master himself we offer this clip from a Westinghouse 1963 television apperance.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Why Do They Hate Us? Tom Brokow Provides An Answer

Terrorism threatens the people who live in the Middle East a lot more than it threatens us. None the less the way we have chosen to fight this "war on terror" has only increased the danger to ourselves and the innocent people who live in countries like Iraq, Pakistan & Afghanistan. Sadly the true facts of the matter are kept out of the mainstream news.

So it has been up to those of us who exist on the margins of the media world to spread the truth. The good news is that for those who want to get the true facts of the consequences of our policies that it is out there for those that look. Of course you have to sift through a lot of bullshit to get to it sometimes.

And every once in awhile a voice from the mainstream media raises his voice. Last weekend on Meet The Press longtime NBC reporter Tom Brokow spoke the truth. I found out about this morning and thought I would share the article I came across as well as Mr. Brokow's statement.

A Cronkite Moment for the War on Terror

Tom Brokaw states the glaring truth about the Boston bombings.
BY DAVID SIROTA from In These Times

“The stuff we have done overseas is now brought back into our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost.”—Reverend Jeremiah Wright
In 2008, the hysterical backlash to the above comment by Barack Obama's minister became a high-profile example of one of the most insidious rules in American politics: You are not allowed to honestly discuss the Central Intelligence Agency's concept of “blowback” without putting yourself at risk of being deemed a traitor to country. …....
This is the news from Tom Brokaw's appearance on “Meet the Press” last Sunday.

As one of the establishment's most venerated voices, Brokaw is not prone to radical statements. But in a nation that often avoids acknowledging its own role in intensifying cycles of violence, it is unfortunately considered radical to do what the NBC News veteran did and mention that our violent attacks abroad increase the chance of retributive attacks at home. 

Lost Chicago Neon & The Chicago Video Neon Tour

MindsiMedia began some seven years ago to be a home for a collection of Polaroid photos of neon signs that I took around the Chicago area from the late 1970's until the mid 1990's. Shortly after getting online I found You Tube and directed most of my energies there. After recently reviewing my web site I thought it was time to update it In there you will now find some video selections from our Chicago Neon Tour playlist found on our ChiTownView You Tube station. After that you will find selections from the collection of neon Polaroid photos. Here are a few examples of what we've posted.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Triple Murder Of "Black Hand" Terrorists On Chicago's South Side 11/22/1911

Here is another chapter from Chicago's infamous past presented by ChiTownView.

Late on November 22nd 1911 a trio of black hand extortionists Pasquale Damico along with Stephano and Francisco Denello approached Rock Island Lines railroad viaduct on Chicago's near south side. They thought they were going to make a routine pick up. What really was going to happen was Big Jim Colosimo Chicago's leading criminals was finally getting a stone out of his shoe. He might have been a crime boss but he was a wealthy Italian and that made him a target of the same gangs of extortionists that were preying on Italian communities all across the country.

The Black Hand was a loose knit group of Italian Mafia whose roots go back to 1750. They weren't an organized gang with a leadership structure but a loose association of independent gangsters preying on the same community. For the first couple of decades of the twentieth century they reigned terror on the immigrant community. Even a man like Enrico Caruso gave into the extortion demands of these hoodlums.

Chicago was no exception on the near north side in an area known as “little hell” there was a gang of Black Hand that operated at the corner of Oak & Cleveland. It was known as death corner where some fifty bodies were dumped including thirty eight between January of 1910 and March of 1911. Their chief enforcer was known as “the shotgun man” who is said to have contributed fifteen of those bodies. Later this area was torn down and became home to the Cabrini Green housing project that became notorious in it's own right for gang violence.

On the west side just a couple of miles away was the Taylor street area. Another Italian enclave that at the time was a hot bed of political and ethnic violence. It was also home to it's own gangs of Black Hand. A little further to the east from Taylor St. was the infamous Levee where Colosimo was king. He made a tempting target to those who were looking to fatten their wallet. And they had had their hooks in him since 1909.

Now Big Jim might have been a crime boss but he was basically a vice lord with political protection. He didn't really have an army of gunmen like the gangs that would come to power after prohibition. So when he decided that he had enough he reached out to New York city for some muscle. His wife’s cousin was Johnny Torrio who was a rising star in that cities underworld. He was a vice president of the legendary five points gang and an ambitious young man who like many in those days decided to go west to seek his fortune.

So on that night instead of making another extortion payment Johnny “the fox” was waiting to make a little payback. And instead of a bag of cash Damico and the two Denello's were gunned down. Stephano was wounded and discovered crawling away from the scene. He was rushed to the hospital but made no statement and his only request was that Big Jim be brought to his bedside. But had nothing to say to him when he arrived.

A couple of weeks later the Tribune spun a story abut a love triangle involving two of the three men and how they all shot each other that night. Right, sound like another Chicago story to me.

And if you find this sort of history interesting we suggest you visit our playlist “Chicago Crime Now & Then”. Where you will find clips about the “death corner”, Taylor St. area and other windy city hot spots.

We also recommend a couple of other sites for those who wish read more about Chicago's colorful past.