Chicago gang members hold press conference to … criticize police, city

We’ll stop our thuggery – only if you give us some jobs! Via CBS 2 – Chicago:

At a news conference organized by self-identified gang members Thursday morning, several speakers complained that police and city officials do not respect them, and that the only way to curb violence is to provide jobs and improve their community.

The self-described current and former gang members held a news conference at the Columbus Park Refectory, at 5701 W. Jackson Blvd. on the city’s West Side.

“You say it’s gangs, drugs and guns. We say we need jobs, opportunities and contracts,” said Reginald Akeem Berry Sr., who identified himself as a former gang member. “That’s the resolution.”

They are taking issue with police Supt. Jody Weis’ strategy of meeting with gang leaders and warning them of serious consequences if violence continues.

Weis held a meeting with the reputed leaders of several West Side gangs at the Garfield Park Conservatory over the weekend. At the meeting, prosecutors warned that the gang members could be charged under the federal racketeering laws if killings were traced back to gangs with members attending the meeting.


But at the news conference, the speakers said the city should be working to place young African-American men in jobs, particularly those with criminal records who have paid their debt to society.

“The problem with them is that they’re giving us an ultimatum – quit – instead of an alternative. But we’re offering these young men an alternative, saying, ‘Get off the corner selling these bags, and come to this construction site and pick up this brick,” Akeem Berry said.

Another speaker, Barrion Dupree El, 34, identified himself as a member of the Conservative Vice Lords, and said he has pride in his affiliation.

“It wasn’t to tear down our community. It was to uplift the fallen stages of humanity,” he said.

All the speakers said repeatedly that they do not condone the violence in the community and “gang banging” and want to stop it. But they argued that gangs are not the cause of the violence.

“You keep saying gang violence. It’s drug-related. It’s not gang related. It’s drug related,” Akeem Berry said.


I want your money!

From (oddly enough), a trailer for their forthcoming documentary on government spending and the role of the federal government. Trust me, it’s much more entertaining than it sounds:

From the movie’s description:

Set against the backdrop of today’s headline – 67% of Americans don’t approve of Obama’s economic policies, the film takes a provocative look at our deeply depressed economy using the words and actions of Presidents Reagan and Obama and shows the marked contrast between Reaganomics and Obamanomics.

The film contrasts two views of the role that the federal government should play in our daily lives using the words and actions of Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama.

Two versions of the American dream now stand in sharp contrast. One views the money you earned as yours and best allocated by you; the other believes that the elite in Washington know how to best allocate your wealth.

One champions the traditional American dream, which has played out millions of times through generations of Americans, of improving one’s lot in life and even daring to dream and build big.

The other holds that there is no end to the “good” the government can do by taking and spending other peoples’ money in an ever-burgeoning list of programs. The documentary film I Want Your Money exposes the high cost in lost freedom and in lost opportunity to support a Leviathan-like bureaucratic state.

The movie releases October 15th, just in time for midterms. Quite the coincidence, that.

I’ll be looking for it.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

Hands off my moonshine!

For something on the light side this morning, here’s a short video from Reason.TV arguing that outdated laws against amateur distilling (i.e., “making moonshine”) should be repealed, using analogies to craft brewing of beer by home brewers and micropubs:

As a general principle, I have no problem with decriminalizing home distilling, as long as basic health and safety standards are met. (None of this cooked-in-an-old-radiator stuff.) If we can do that for beer, why not homemade brandy … or tomato hootch?

PS: Before anyone brings up the contentious question of marijuana legalization, I’ll confess right now that I’m agnostic. I really don’t know if it’s no more harmful than alcohol, or if it’s too dangerous to allow. All I know is that the stink clings to the curtains. Sick

Deval Patrick: “It’s a free country. I wish it weren’t, but … it’s a free country”

Revealing. Via the Boston Herald:

Independent gubernatorial candidate Tim Cahill blasted Gov. Deval Patrick yesterday for appearing to suggest he wished America wasn’t as free so that last week’s Glenn Beck rally at the Lincoln Memorial where Martin Luther King Jr. once spoke would never have happened.

“It’s a free country. I wish it weren’t, but . . . it’s a free country,” Patrick said on the “Jim & Margery Show” on WTKK-FM. “You know, you got to, you got to respect that freedom.”

The comment had Cahill lashing out at his liberal rival.

“It’s pretty unbelievable and typical of the far left,” Cahill told the Herald. “When they don’t like what the other side says, they want to close down free speech.”

Patrick later in the day defended his radio remarks, stressing he has long defended freedom of speech. The governor said he meant that Fox TV host Glenn Beck should not have chosen the site of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech on its 47th anniversary to hold his “Restoring Honor” rally. The rally was held Saturday.

“I wish they hadn’t chose that place and that day to have that event,” Patrick said. “But it’s a free country. That was my point, and it has to be respected.”

Cahill, who has courted Tea Party followers and appeared on Beck’s show, slammed Patrick for saying the Lincoln Memorial was somehow sacred ground.

“If the governor thought it was OK to build a mosque near Ground Zero, he should think it’s OK for Glenn Beck and other people to speak at the Lincoln Memorial,” Cahill said. “He wants to have it both ways.”

The governor, a former Clinton administration civil rights official, recoiled at the notion he would abridge Beck’s or anyone’s rights.

“I’ve been involved in civil rights for most of my career,” Patrick said.

Hmmm. Well, it sounds like he’s talking about civil rights for liberals, because – if these comments and past remarks are any indication (he once accused Obama critics of being “almost at the level of sedition“) – then he is not very tolerant of viewpoints that aren’t in line with his own, to the point of bemoaning the fact that his opponents have the right to express those opinions in the first place.

These days, Patrick is what is unfortunately coming to be known as the “typical liberal.” As far as “dissent being patriotic”? Well, that popular liberal rallying cry got tossed out the window the moment Barack Obama was sworn in as President.

Ed Morrissey has the audio of Patrick’s comments.