Monday, February 28, 2005
It would have been patriotic and better served their cause, but I fear the activists not inclined to tell this story. Sad because these folks could avoid service by telling and don't. They have an honorable story and it should be told.
This leads me to a dismaying incident at the Conference this past week of Brit Tzedek l’Shalom, a peace group devoted to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. At a seminar about the American Christian Right (a mortal danger to the world, according to the facilitator), I got up and suggested that the poisoning of Islam by radical Imams and terror leaders in Europe and the UK, coupled with the appalling rise of anti-Semitism in Britain created such a potent mix as to make we want to emigrate from Europe to the USA. --Current Viewpoint Feb 28,2005
The guys at the North Riverside Bishop's told me this story. They should know. They worked at 18th and Damen for years.
Chicago Public Schools tore down the original Bishop's and the City belatedly offered them a lot near Lindy's; but that location didn't make much business sense. Walgreens built over the second Bishop's in Forest Park so both haunts are lost to us now. Only the offsprings in North Riverside and Westmont remain.
Most don't know this West Sider trivia, but Chicago named Damen Avenue after fellow Dutchman and West Sider Father Arnold Damen. Father Damen founded Holy Family Church in 1860 and opened near by Saint Ignatius College; now known as St. Ignatius College Prep.
Father Arnold Damen died in 1890, but local legend believes his ghost continues to hauntHoly Family Church and nearby St. Ignatius school. Numerous people over the years have reported seeing a man dressed in clerical garb wandering the halls of the school at night or passing through the church. -- thanks to the Gapers Block
Sunday, February 27, 2005
Not sure what in the world she was trying to say in response to Russert: Moral Absolutism leads to Putin leads to male escorts in the White House press corps... ok, well.
Watch for yourself thanks to Jackson's Junction: <
A classmate on the Grinnell 76 listserv told me the "world's not Chicago" so quit hurling Chicago stories at us, but here's one in today's Chicago Tribune on Chicago Austin-District Police Officer Jim Roussell using the same tactics he used hunting down the "Four Corner Hustlers" and "Conservative Vice Lords" on the West Side today in Iraq as a warrant Officer with the Marine Reserves: Gang-busting Chicago cop now hunts for insurgents.
He sees familiar tactics in his current assignment. Iraq is a world where the enemy hides in plain sight, using street names to cloak his identity and intimidation to protect it.
"The thing they're most afraid of is for us to know who they are and where they sleep at night," said Roussell, a chief warrant officer 5 in the 2nd Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, a reserve unit with headquarters on the Northwest Side. "They're not so much afraid of airplanes and artillery."
Many of the most effective techniques against those insurgents are more familiar to Roussell's old colleagues in the Chicago Police Department's Austin District than Marines drilled in taking ground from the enemy and defending hilltops.
The tools include painstaking searches for connections between myriad pieces of information and patiently repeated sweeps of neighborhoods to overcome potential witnesses' hesitation to come forward. They depend on quick assessment of truthfulness and the ability to cultivate inside informants who may be motivated by money, a desire for leniency or, often, revenge.
A teacher told me everything I needed to know about life was in Shakespeare's King Lear but Chicago works just as well.
Saturday, February 26, 2005
But now our heroic and tragic liberal-intellectual capaciousness is facing its sharpest test since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Back then, most of us were forced, against our wills, to give Ronald Reagan a large share of credit for winning the Cold War. Now the people of this Bush-hating city are being forced to grant the merest possibility that Bush, despite his annoying manner and his administration’s awful hubris and dissembling and incompetence concerning Iraq, just might—might, possibly—have been correct to invade, to occupy, and to try to enable a democratically elected government in Iraq. -- Kurt Anderson, The Imperial City:When Good News Feels Bad, From the February 21, 2005 issue of New York Magazine
Belt Railway of Chicago loco 524
I carry Chicago around in my head as map of all its glorious railroad lines and yards. When we drive over tracks or under viaducts (Chicago has many Railroad viaducts and they cause business huge problems with deliveries as many trucks today no longer fit under them), I call out the name of the railroad: "we're going under the Harbor Belt, we're going under Proviso Yard, we're going under the "Q" and so on. West Side Agent considers this an affliction but Number One Daughter gave me a thoughtful present. Thanks kiddo!
Steam Loco at Crossing
Ash is no friend of the administration but he recognized America's great strength: the way we welcome immigration. He said it's easier to be a Muslim immigrant today in the US than in Europe and cited the Dutch reaction to Theo Van Gogh's murder at the hand of Islamic extremists. Ash explained the 911 terrorists in the US were visitors, while Van Gogh's murderers and the Madrid Railway bombers had lived in Europe for years; marginalized and alienated in slums with no hope of joining Europe's mainstream.
Ash also said the the best thing Europe and the US could do to alleviate world poverty would be to drop our Agricultural subsidies and open our markets to the the impoverished world.
USA Today ran an editorial on Feb 23, 2005 supporting the Administration's cuts on Farm Subsidies as a freebie to the rich. Ash said a cow in Europe lives on subsidies larger than the per-capita annual income of most in the southern hemisphere.
Brings me back to the West Side and Walmart breaking ground for it's first store in the city --by the old Helen Curtis plant on North Ave-- because Walmart's a leader opening American markets to the impoverished trying to sell to us.
The American sentimentalist wrote a good review of the Austin issue and explained both sides.
Here is another site with pictures of Austin. Note the comment on Austin's heroic resistance to Walmart. I'm baffled as to what's heroic about fighting investment in a neighborhood void of a retail besides suffering high unemployment. Drive the West Side's streets and you'll see housing stock in reasonably good shape (look at th pics) but empty lot after empty lot where retail once stood.
Got a feeling Pastor Joseph Kyles of Heirs of the Promise Church at 4100 W. Grand Ave was right when he told the Sentimentalist, "We do not like the fact that this neighborhood has been used as a political balloon. Why should our community suffer for what other people want?"
Be wary of people telling you you're a hero for fighting their battles on your turf.
Friday, February 25, 2005
Work in a large gov agency and you can appreciate how this weirdness happens. Maybe it happens in small outfits too.
Here are some clips from the end of Turse's article:
Responses like these have come fast and furiously from Rumsfeld since the Abu Ghraib scandal first broke. Obviously, a pattern has developed, involving what looks like a systemic breakdown in information reaching the Secretary of Defense. The question is why? Why do reporters consistently know more than he does? Hell, why had I read the stories (and probably the military's own reports)before Rumsfeld?
I assume he's busy, but given his lack of reading, what exactly is he busy doing? Is he having personal problems? Recent reports indicate that lately Rumsfeld has been increasingly belligerent and cranky; most recently packing up his briefcase and spouting off about his lunch while being questioned by the House Armed Services Committee (where he also replied incoherently to a question about an aide's comments pertaining to the expansion of military retirement benefits with, "I have not… seen the statement that you've quoted in the context that it might have been included").
Other theories exist. Has he developed his boss's aversion to reading? Or has he somehow, despite all the new intelligence powers he's been garnering for the DoD, been squeezed out of the national security information loop. Is he being kept in the dark even about front-page national security news? Could Pentagon subordinates be rebelling against him for unknown reasons by refusing his requests for information, thus making him look uninformed and inept? Or could this be a more general problem of incompetence at the Department of Defense? Okay, maybe you can't expect a 72-year-old Secretary of Defense to be up-to-date on the latest technology, but can no one at the Pentagon figure out how to photocopy a report? Burn a photo CD? Copy a disk? Find an article on-line? Or figure out how to email a file?
You'd think with this kind of spending the people at the DoD could manage to get copies of crucial materials to their chief. But they either can't or won't. They've left Rumsfeld twisting in the wind, forced to admit on a daily basis that he can't get the information he asks for or wants to see in a timely fashion. The implications for national security are obvious. It's time for an inquiry. We need to know what Rumsfeld didn't see, when he didn't see it, and why he is so incredibly uninformed.
Makes you wonder what's going on.
The United States continues to reap major gains from what Charles de Gaulle called its "exorbitant privilege," its unique role in providing global liquidity by running chronic external imbalances. The resulting inflow of productivity-enhancing capital has strengthened its underlying economic position. Only one development could upset this optimistic prognosis: an end to the technological dynamism, openness to trade, and flexibility that have powered the U.S. economy. The biggest threat to U.S. hegemony, accordingly, stems not from the sentiments of foreign investors, but from protectionism and isolationism at home.
---The Overstretch Myth By David H. Levey and
Stuart S. Brown
A muon is similar to an electron, but heavier and unstable. Muons are created in the atmosphere by cosmic rays (high-energy particles from outer space) colliding with air molecules. They arrive at the Earth's surface at a rate of one per square centimetre per minute. Crucially for Dr Morris's and Dr Chartrand's idea, they are good at penetrating metallic objects such as lorries, and yet also tend to be deflected from their paths by heavy atomic nuclei such as those of uranium and plutonium.
Matt said we can use mouns to scan trucks and containers and tell within 20 seconds if there is radioactive stuff inside. Unlike x-rays nothing dangerous about using mouns as they're naturally occurring and surround us (may be more accurate to say they go through us) all the time.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived at the Wiesbaden Army Airfield on Wednesday dressed all in black. She was wearing a black skirt that hit just above the knee, and it was topped with a black coat that fell to mid-calf. The coat, with its seven gold buttons running down the front and its band collar, called to mind a Marine's dress uniform or the "save humanity" ensemble worn by Keanu Reeves in "The Matrix."
The press lets us down if this is all they can write about.
Tom Fenton (retired CBS news) has this book coming out March 1, 2005: The Decline of Reporting, the Business of News, and the Danger to Us All. I'm going to need to read it.
Wednesday, February 23, 2005
Dominick, a Cicero employee for 34 years, had a long climb from garbage man to town president. His supporters roared with delight when the victory became apparent around 8:15 p.m., chanting "Larry, Larry, Larry."
Dominick said his first task would be to get rid of Ed Vrdolyak, the former Chicago alderman and Loren-Maltese adviser whose law firm bills Cicero about $1 million a year. Dominick claimed Gonzalez was a puppet of Vrdolyak,which Gonzalez denied.
"Eddie Vrdolyak, you're gone!" Dominick told cheering supporters at Alessandro's Banquets on Cermak. "His days of controlling this town and getting rich off our tax dollars are over."
The Sun Times wrote earlier about Dominick bumping into mobsters at the Czech Plaza on Cermak. It's a great restaurant with a great selection of Czech and Slovak beer now.
Doubtlessly, the most pathetic aspect of the '60s phenomenon was the absolute conviction of Thompson and those who encouraged him that "living in the moment" really did count more than anything else in the world, that history never existed and that the future was their property.Some of us feel the same way now about Social Security reform. We're going to make our kids and immigrant workers pay for our senior "living in the moment". Their future labor is our property and we'll probably hike the FICA tax again as Congress did in the 1983 reforms to take a bigger chunk from them.
Monday, February 21, 2005
It was steady going all day, yet the feeling at the end was one of pleasure. The pleasantness was due largely to the presence of Jack, the headup man--a highly competent and soft-spoken person. We did an enormous amount of work yet did not feel driven or frustrated. It made me realize again how a single individual can count in the development of a pattern of life.
--Eric Hoffer, Working and Thinking on the Waterfront
The Trib ran a column by a steel worker named Mike Lavelle in the late 70s who was Cicero's flavor of Hoffer. Lavelle wrote a book (I've never read it): Red, white and blue-collar views: A steelworker speaks his mind about America with an introduction by Studs Terkel.
Leonard Kriegel wrote a review of it in The Nation, September 27, 1975 .
I just recall reading Lavelle's columns as a high school kid. He had one on draft-dodging youth of the rich. He said he didn't have anything against them (I think Lavelle had been a Marine), and said every guy should be out driving a sports car instead, if they could honorably avoid induction.
For some reason the sports car option has stuck in my head for decades now.
Norman Davies' Europe: A History imagined the natural stillness and quiet of pre-industrial Europe. Maybe we're headed for a return.
It is a great mistake to suppose that the only writers who matter are those whom the educated in their saner moments can take seriously. There exists a subterranean world where pathological fantasies disguised as ideas are churned out by crooks and half-educated fanatics for the benefit of the ignorant and superstitious. There are times when this underworld emerges from the depths and suddenly fascinates, captures, and dominates multitudes of usually sane and responsible people, who thereupon take leave of sanity and responsibility. And it occasionally happens that this underworld becomes a political power and changes the course of history. ---Warrant for Genocide: the Myth of the JewishWorld-Conspiracy and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, p. 18
A friend on the Hill sent me a great map displaying generic names for soft drinks by county. We say "pop" on the West Side and I had no idea there was an alternative for a long time.
Anyone trying to understand data displayed through maps must first read Mark Monmonier's book How to Lie with Maps. You can bamboozle yourself with map-displays besides getting suckered by the mapmakers.
Sunday, February 20, 2005
Friday nights can find b39olds and myself at the Elgin Turner's Fish Fry, the Thirsty Fox, Pub 222, Lil Jims, or The Scotland Yard.
Sad to say Jim's Market across the street from Freddy's is closed so no more Pork Roasts with Bohemian marinade. We still have Vesecky Bakery for kolacky.
Check the link with the audio of his lecture on "Garbios: Chicago's Dutch Scavangers". Grow up Dutch in Chicago and you know the Dutch ran the private waste-hauling business and fought the mob to keep control of it.
I'm agree with Cannon:
Third District Republican Rep. Chris Cannon also supports Rumsfeld and said calls for the resignation of the secretary of defense are a "historic constant" during wartime. "We are at war, and Don Rumsfeld is no exception," said Cannon. "He is a tough player in Washington and is, at times, less than diplomatic. I suggest those are not bad traits for a secretary of defense during these challenging times, whether dealing with Congress or with the Pentagon bureaucracy."
Saturday, February 19, 2005
Pages 887 to 896 devoted to entries on "Work" and "Work Culture" including a photo of women working in an egg-breaking plant in 1941.
I worked summers at Harrington and King Perforating Company in the West Side's neighborhood known as "The Island" . My boss was from Hungary and his constant compliant was someone was slacking off, and instead of doing their job, the slacker was out hunting for the guy who invented work because they wanted to hang him.
"Egg breaking to provide processed egg products (as compared to shell eggs) was well established before World War II. The demand for dried eggs for lend-lease and military needs during the war meant an increased need for egg breakers." p.890
Mark Schields wrote a column suggesting creation of Paul Douglas Brigades. It's a good idea.
Many of my friends opposed to our invasion -and liberation- of Iraq told me Bush was motivated by fundamentalist Christian beliefs. But I believe History will find the example of Bush Senior's service in WWII was at work inside Bush (and me and others) and not religion. Not that I think Bush was irrational, but I think it's important we know the ghosts influencing our choices, and I think our parents' ghosts often the most influential.
These can't be desperate unemployed people looking for jobs. They already have good jobs and volunteering for temporary duty in Iraq and Afghanistan out of a need to serve.
My contribution to the war effort at the moment may be setting the bottom-of-the-barrel so low that Uncle Sam doesn't have to reach far down.
It's hard to explain what you sum today, will not be the same as yesterday's or tomorrow's totals. Hard for me at least, SecDef did nice job here.
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld: "We're scheduled to have 200,000 in September or October of this year. When the elections take place with respect to the constitution, and the program takes it to 270,000 by June of'06."
Representative Loretta Sanchez: "The numbers that you bandy around about how many troops we really have out there that are Iraqi police, et cetera,
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld: "You say we bandy around numbers. They're not my numbers. I don't invent them. They come from General Petreus. There's no bandying at all."
Representative Loretta Sanchez: "I have Petreus' numbers. They're different than your numbers, by the way."
Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld: Well, what is the date? They're not different if the date's the same. The date on my paper here is February 14th. What's yours?"
Representative Loretta Sanchez: "December 20th."Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld: "Not surprising there's a
Ever since I was a kid I've been in love with trains and trolly cars. The trollys had been replaced by buses, like the West Towns one below, by the time I was a kid.
A West Towns Bus like the kind I would ride on Oak Park ave in the 1960s.
Thursday, February 17, 2005
Being desirous of promoting practical goodness in the world, and aiding each other in our moral and religious improvement, we have associated ourselves together: not as agreeing in opinion, not as having attained universal truth in belief or perfection in character, but as seekers after Truth & Goodness.
I believe in Universal Salvation after life, and I believe in Democratic Univseralism while alive. That's why, after voting for Democrats since George McGovern in 1976 through Al Gore in 2000, I changed and voted --enthusiastically-- for George Bush in 2004.
Bush's second Inaugural Speech sums it up for me. I don't think I've ever been so for a politician as I've been for President Bush.
America has need of idealism and courage, because we have essential work at home the unfinished work of American freedom. In a world moving toward liberty, we are determined to show the meaning and promise of liberty.
Saturday, February 05, 2005
The Dutch West Siders have been moving West ever since. I may be the frontiersman because I live in Campton Township, Kane County Illinois. That's about as far west as you can go and still buy an Italian Beef. You know you've left metro Chicago when you can't find Italian Beef stands anymore.
My Dad used to take me to Carm's in Berwyn for beef.
And a good book about the Dutch in Chicago is Robert Swierenga's Dutch Chicago.