Risk Rap

Rapping About a World at Risk

City of Broad Shoulders

“Boyish Man”

The cosmic scales are correcting Chicago’s over abundance of positive karma. A rebalancing was clearly overdue. The Windy City’s favorite son, Barack Obama was beaming constellations of light and hope like an exploding quasar showering positive electrons onto a depressive American culture in a recessive state of mind. We needed the positivism. We needed a reason to believe that we can uncouple ourselves from the fear and loathing of a broken political system, bankrupt bankers, the drudgery of war, the gloom of recession and a nation tearing itself into a thousand pieces along the million fault lines of our fractured cultural divide. President Elect Obama convinced us that it didn’t have to be. We could arrest our slide into the slow boil of constant simmering conflict within our boarders and in the far reaches of the globe where America is intent on projecting its dissipating power. The man from Chicago said it didn’t have to be. The man from Chicago said he had a better way. The people from American agreed with the man from Chicago and said, “Yes We Can.”


But fate, destiny and determinism has a curious way of bringing us back to earth. After we have looked over the highest peaks of our expectations to glimpse the possibility of our ideals we get smacked in the face by greed, corruption and the callous disregard for others that human beings use much to frequently as the common currency to guide our interactions and relations with one another.


First there is the greed exemplified by Sam Zell. That crusty Chicago street guy who is as tough as he is smart. He parlayed his gifts and built a multi billion dollar real estate empire in Chicago and eventually sold his company at the height of the market. He pocketed a cool $6 bn in that transaction and used a tiny fraction of the proceeds from that deal to buy the Chicago Tribune newspaper chain; owner of the LA Times and the Chicago Cubs and Wrigley Field as part of the package. Mr. Zell financed the large portion of this transaction with equity participation and debt assumption collateralized by the assets in the Tribune Company pension funds. As the fundamentals of the newspaper industry deteriorated the Tribune deal quickly went south prompting Mr. Zell to initiate his exit strategy while the company filed for bankruptcy. Zell’s trying to cash out of the deal recouping his small initial investment. Workers at The Tribune Company feel Mr. Zell did irreparable damage to workers retirement funds and degraded the company brands by placing the company in a most precarious financial position to extract a maximum return on Zell’s small initial investment.


Next there’s the story of the month, the arrest and indictment of Illinois Governor Milorad “Rod” R. Blagojevich. Mr. Blagojevich is accused of seeking compensation or favors in anointing the successor to sit in Mr. Obama’s vacated US Senate seat. Apparently this is a trend with Illinois Governorships. Once they leave the governor mansion the career path leads to a cell in a federal penitentiary. Three of the last four sitting Governors made the move and one is still serving time. The culture of corruption among our country’s political and business elites seems to know no bounds and its symptomatic of Americas deep crisis in leadership and citizens deepening cynicism and distrust of institutional leadership. This distrust was a major reason why the American electorate overwhelmingly turned to Mr. Obama. His message of change resonated with our deep revulsion of executive fiat placing their personal interests first last and always in any decision or program.


This scandal has legs. It has the potential to walk down Wacker Drive taking with it important allies and supporters of our President Elect Obama. Already Senate Candidate #5, Jessie Jackson Jr. name has surfaced in this scandal. Republicans can make this a major political trauma for the incoming administration. Good grist for partisan politics is bad medicine for the United States as it desperately needs strong and focused leadership from our executive branch of government to get us through our current multidimensional crisis.


Lastly we have an industrial action at Republic Windows and Doors. The management of the company shut down the business stiffing the 300 plant workers of their separation pay and benefits rightfully due them under federal labor laws. In response, the workers have taken over the factory and refuse to leave until they are paid the separation compensation due them. This is the callous part of our initial equation of greed, corruption and disregard for those who are vulnerable. We salute the courage of the Republic workers actions. The Republic workers have turned their vulnerability into a strength that inspires all Americans and hopefully will open the hearts of Republic management to settle accounts with their former employees.


Yes the cosmic scales over Chicago are correcting. They are tilting back in an infinite flux of balancing the attainment of our desires and needs with the prohibitive reality of restraint borne from the power elites inability to cede anything. A return to normalcy as its business as usual in sweet home Chicago.


CHICAGO

HOG Butcher for the World,

Tool Maker, Stacker of Wheat,

Player with Railroads and the Nation’s Freight Handler;

Stormy, husky, brawling,

City of the Big Shoulders

Carl Sandburg



You Tube Video: Muddy Waters, Mannish Boy


You Tube Music Video: Buddy Guy, Sweet Home Chicago


Risk: political, ethical, moral,

December 12, 2008 Posted by | corruption, Obama, poetry, politics | , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Victory for Republic Workers

workers41MASSES

AMONG the mountains I wandered and saw blue haze and red crag and was amazed;  On the beach where the long push under the endless tide maneuvers, I stood silent; Under the stars on the prairie watching the Dipper slant over the horizon’s grass, I was full of thoughts.

Great men, pageants of war and labor, soldiers and workers, mothers lifting their children–these all I touched, and felt the solemn thrill of them.

And then one day I got a true look at the Poor, millions of the Poor,
patient and toiling; more patient than crags, tides, and stars;
innumerable, patient as the darkness of night–
and all broken, humble ruins of nations.

Carl Sandburg, Chicago Poems

The laid off United Electrical Union workers who took over their shuttered Chicago workplace to receive separation compensation due them under the Federal WARN Act have been offered a settlement by Republic management. According to breaking stories, The Bank of America and JP Morgan have created a fund that will provide each Republic worker 8 weeks pay, any accrued vacation time and a continuation of health and welfare benefits for the next two months.

We thank the banks for making the funds available to redress the just grievance of the Republic workers. Unfortunately the close of this incident signals the beginning unemployment for the 300 Republic workers. In this economy the availability of well paying jobs will be difficult to secure. We wish them well in their search. We once again commend the Republic workers for standing up for their rights. Their steadfast commitment in the fight for justice is a courageous example of speaking truth to power and a lesson that power concedes nothing without a struggle. You are the salt of the earth. You are a light to the world. Thank you.

We wish the Republic workers a holiday filled with abundant joy.

You Tube Music Video: Pete Seeger, Union Maid

Risk: labor unions, bankruptcy, credit, unemployment, banking,labor unrest

December 10, 2008 Posted by | banking, bankruptsy, folk, poetry, unions | , , , , | Leave a comment

People’s Guide to Recovery Acronym’s

Carl Sandburg
“The People, Yes!”

The economic recovery program is creating new acronyms faster then Hank Paulson can spend a $100 billion of taxpayers money.

This is an modest attempt to develop a glossary of acronyms so taxpayers can keep track of where, how and who is spending the dough.

EESA: Emergency Economic Security Act

TARP: Toxic Asset Recovery Program

VEPP: Voluntary Equity Purchase Program

LIBOR: London Interbank Overnight Rate

FDIC: Federal Deposit Insurance Corp

SEC: Security Exchange Commission

The US passed EESA to legalize TARP and VEPP to lower LIBOR so the FDIC and SEC can help banks get us out of this xo#*!&^ mess.

Got it?

You Tube Video: Carl Sandburg: The People Yes!

Risk: language, communication, humanity

October 14, 2008 Posted by | EESA, Paulson, poetry, SEC, TARP | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment