End the Shut-Down

Unions representing employees of the Federal government rallied at the Federal Plaza, Dearborn & Adams in downtown Chicago at Noon on Thursday. This was part of a nation-wide series of demonstrations protesting the budget stalemate that has shut down portions of the government, leaving some workers at home and others still at work but all without pay.

The event was probably better characterized as a press conference on steroids. The crowd was not large, considering the number of workers affected in the Chicago metropolitan area, considering, indeed, the number of Federal employees based in the immediate vicinity of the demonstration: say about 150 attendees, give or take a few dozen. As a press conference, it was highly successful with a large turnout from TV, radio and print. Better still was the opportunity for journalists to interview affected workers as nothing makes a story like putting an individual face on it.

There will be a protest at Noon in Federal Plaza (Dearborn & Adams) every Thursday in Chicago as long as the shut-down continues.

A sampling of some of the signs at the demonstration, shortly before the event. Photo by Roman.
Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., who also spoke. Photo by Roman.
Photo by Roman.
Susan Hurley of Chicago Jobs with Justice. Photo by Roman.
It was good to see Jorge Mujica: well met! Photo by Roman.
Charles Paidock, representing the Machinists’ Federal employees. Photo by Roman.
It could happen. Photo by Roman
I seriously love the hat. Photo by Roman.


Saturday, December 29

Awakened to an inch or two of snow!

My favorite bush, especially as it has no aspiration to govern. Let shrubs be shrubs. Photo by Roman.
More shrubbery in winter. Photo by Roman.
It was only seasonably cold, but the sparrows were lazy albeit camouflaged. Photo by Roman.
Actually, it was a little on the slow side even for spotting humans, though it was this ornamental plant that got my attention. Photo by Roman.
A cypress in winter. Photo by Roman.


North Park Village Nature Center

A few days before Christmas, a friend and I paid a visit to the North Park Village Nature Center. This is located between Bryn Mawr Avenue and Peterson Avenue along Pulaski Road in Chicago. Extending eastward to Central Park Avenue, it occupies 46 acres of the 155 acre North Park Village campus. North Park Village is senior citizen housing.

The Nature Center is a Chicago Park District facility. Most of it, I’m told, is an Oak savanna: lightly forested prairie dominated by one or another species of Oak. Competing trees and underbrush are kept down by fire or poor soil or human intervention. There are also two ponds in a wetland area. As you might imagine, it’s a good place for watching birds and deer. (The geezers feed them.)

A nice example of an oak savanna. (Pretend the background buildings are a glacial moraine.) It was shortly after noon, but the winter shadows were long. Photo by Roman.
Fallen trees were common, including snags that leaned precariously on the living. There is something about living wood in winter that glows. You can almost see it here. Photo by Roman.
Moss or lichen? Oh woe for my high school biology teacher that I cannot remember! Photo by Roman.
At times, Chicago was not obvious. Photo by Roman.
I keep trying to capture the shining golden quality of withered leaves, but it comes out brown in photos. Photo by Roman.
Here the glow is almost captured by the photo. Photo by Roman.
Very wetlands. Photo by Roman.