Tuesday, September 23, 2008



Brazilian Authors Reading
From Aufgabe 6

Maria Esther Maciel • Paulo Henriques Britto
Sergio Medeiros • Virna Teixiera

Spons ore d By: Litmus Press • Northwestern University
The Consulate General of Brazil • Chicago Poetry Project

Thursday, September 25th
5:00 pm
Northwestern University
Kresge 2-301, 2nd Floor
(west end of building)
Spanish & Portuguese seminar
room, Evanston, IL
or email Raymond.bianchi@gmail.com

Saturday, September 27th
3:00 pm
Chicago Author’s Room
Harold Washington Library Center
400 S. State St. 7th floor
Chicago, IL
For More Details: litmuspress.
Friday, September 26th

1:00 pm
Humanities Institute at
University of Illinois Chicago
(bottom floor of Stevenson Hall)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Farewell to My Friend Mark Tardi

I became friend with Mark Tardi in 2003 when I moved back to Chicago-we were introduced by another friend Kerri Sonnenberg. I will always be grateful to Kerri for knowing Mark.

Mark leaves today for Lodz, Poland to do a Fulbright and I will miss his insights very much.

Many poets are unable to downshift and be real human beings. Many poets are unable to be regular people and enjoy life at many levels. Mark, while an intellectual of the first order is also good for a great baseball talk or just a hang out Mark will be missed.

Mark's poetry is important but he has never been self-important which is refreshing in a poet. How many times have you had to sit through the self importance of a poet and his/her vision? So as Mark leaves Chicago we lose another poet in our midst.

Lodz's gain is Chicago's loss.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Chicago Curses and Barack Obama

A month ago it appeared that Chicago was ascendant.

Finally after so many years of sunbelt dominance our Chicago with all its good and bad was moving to center stage. It was not New York that produced a moving trans formative presidential candidate- and two great Baseball teams it was our Chicago.

But to paraphrase Nelson Algren our city's broken nose does not please plastic and strip mall America. They hate us. A month ago it appeared that the Cubs and the White Sox (Barack Obama's own) would both make the playoffs. Maybe we would have a Crosstown World Series and a President from our town- this would surely lead to Chicago getting the 2012 Olympics.

Chicago would be center stage.

It appears however that all these plans are being destroyed by multiple curses. The Cubs are collapsing they have lost so many games that even the mellow Lou Pinella is frustrated- the White Sox are filling up with injuries and slowly falling and our favorite son, Barack Obama is being eviscerated by a moose killing woman who cannot even pronounce Iraq (It is e rack not I Rack) correctly.

Our City has been slandered. Bill O'Reilly of the vast Right Wing Conspiracy continues to say that Chicago is "radical" and "crazy left" as if the Haymarket Rioters run our town and Richard J Daley never existed. Now the curses the billy goat for the Cubs Shoeless Joe Jackson for the White Sox are returning- and overflowing the Barack Obama campaign. Our curses will result in four more years of pain and decline and having to listen to Sarah Palin's annoying accent.

I know that it is silly to believe in curses. But how is it possible that the party that caused so much pain and incompetence (Iraq, Katrina, 6.1% unemployment, the Mortgage mess) is going to win the election? How is that an annoying Hockey mom can be allowed the absorb all the racist attitudes of Americans and make hating Barack Obama (Community Organizer and Radical Chicago Dweller) ok and lead to his defeat? How is it possible that both the Cubs and my White Sox wont make the playoffs?

It must be a curse- or a nightmare.....

Friday, September 5, 2008

Why they Hate Community Organizing.

John McCain stumbled through a speech last night arguing for change? But the Republicans have been running Washington since 1994?

The line of attack in the GOP convention that troubled me the most was their derision of community organizing. I write this as a person who is a few years younger than Barack Obama.

When I was in my mid twenties I worked as a Lay Missioner for the Franciscans in Bolivia and it is the seminal event of my life. I learned amazing things and it made my life better. I got to serve people and learn about another place and it gave me empathy and changed my world-view.

Yet at the convention Rudy Giuliani and Sarah Palin felt it neccessary to deride Barack Obama's time, three years, of service. John McCain's very real service to country is laudable Obama's service to the poor in Chicago is laughable to Palin and Giuliani.

  • Are we to dismiss the work of Peace Corp and Americorp volunteers?
  • Are we to dismiss people who work with the poor or the homeless?
  • Is being a volunteer or community organizer less than say being a lawyer or politician in a small town?
The reason they hate 'community organizing' is because they do not like what happens when it succeeds. If you look at the greatest community organizers in our nation's history they are all hated by people of Palen/Giuliani ilk. In our own Chicago you had people like Jane Addams whose organizing work challenged the exploitation of immigrants. In California Cesar Chavez challenged the exploitation of farm workers. In New York Dorothy Day challenged the materialism of our nation and housed the homeless and clothed the naked. Most spectacularly Martin Luther King changed a nation- organizing people against evil. These people changed society in ways that the people on the floor of the GOP convention resent and they made that very clear this week.

These are all people hated by the Bush-McCain-Palin party because they lift the curtain on who they really care about- the powerful and the in power. The most important thing about the GOP week is not that he nominated a woman or that Mc Cain is a hero- the most important thing is that the Republicans do not believe that people- ordinary people have a right to change the world- that is best left to 'heros' like Giuliani & Palin

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Note from Obama's "Cosmopolitan" Home

So now we know.

  • Being the mayor of a small town is more impressive than giving three years of your life as a virtual volunteer when you could be making millions. Being a state senator for 10 years is worth less than being governor for 1.5 years and a BA from Idaho is worth less than a JD from Harvard.
  • Now we know that as Rudy Giuliani put it Barack Obama is a "Cosmopolitan" which was word used by the Nazis to describe Jews in the 1930's. I guess his New York values dont fit this world do they?
  • The desire of the American people to not be bankrupted by insurance company's profits with some sort of universal healthcare is Socialism.
  • The war in Iraq is about 'victory' . Not waste and corruption.
  • The Democrats chose not to demonize Muslims by not using the term "Radical Islamic Extremism" but did speak about terrorism- this makes them weak losers.
  • We also know that all the terrible things perpetrated by the Bush administration over the past 8 years do not matter because the real reformers are Sarah Palin and John McCain both of whom have been in power for the past 8 years with George W Bush.

Are they kidding?

Are people so narrowminded that they believe that the enemy is 'Big Government'. After Katrina, the Iraq war, Mortgage Crisis, and spiraling healthcare costs the problem is 'big government'?

If small town values mean that we choose to be ignorant of the facts then I hope the "Cosmopolitans" win because we cannot take anymore of this lunacy.

Is the answer to the challenge of China to teach Creationism in our schools? Or to demonize old gay couples that want to go the hospital or buy homes?

The Republicans demonize government so they can steal more from it for their corporate friends just look at the Iraq war, Katrina and the Mortgage Crisis... the American people suffered and the Republican's friends got rich-- who are the reformers?