Thursday, April 22, 2010
In honor of the Earth Day commemerence, I want to relate the tale of Dr. Jerome Irving Rodale. He is generally considered one of the founders of the organic foods craze. He died of a massive gripper before a live studio audience after bragging that he would live to be 100 because of his healthy diet.
This is how it happened.
On June 5th, 1971, Dr. Rodale was a guest on the Dick Cavett Show. That was a nationwide late night talk show of the era, which due to Cavett's snooty Yale liberal demeanor, was favored by American liberals.
As Cavett relates it in his autobigraphy, the modestly entitled Cavett (1974), the organic foods guru was a somewhat pompous, Leon Trotsky look-alike, who had devoted most of his life to the promotion of organic farming and organic food consumption.
As the first guest on the show, the 72 year old got down on the studio floor and began doing pushups to illustrate his diet-induced vigor.
He then boasted that he would likely live to be 100, unless run down in the streets by a sugar-crazed taxi driver.
When the second guest of the evening, a New York Post columnist made his entrance, Dr. Rodale moved downstage to the secondary chair in a way common to the TV talk show format.
A few minutes later he appeared to have dozed off in the chair and was snoring loudly. Cavett then asked, "Are we keeping you awake, Dr. Rodale?" Audience laughter ensued.
Then it became quite apparent that there was something quite wrong with the health-foods guru. Cavett couldn't stir him. Cavett says he resisted the instinct to announce, "Is there a doctor in the house?" due to its comic implications. A staffer then came out with an emergency oxygen tank which in 3 Stooges or Keystone Cops fashion was found to be lacking a key component.
By this time some women in the audience began openly sobbing. Finally, paramedics arrived and the Health Foods kingpin was pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital of a massive heart failure. He was 72, about the average age for an American man of his time.
The show was being videotaped and as such was never aired by ABC.
Today there is a non-profit organization, the Rodale Institute, which promotes organic farming and organic foods and has an entire section on its website devoted to the hokum of Global Warming.
I have little doubt that the Rodale crowd are among the biggest enthusiasts of government action to regulate the foods that we eat and forcibly restrict the product choices that we can be allowed to make.
They know what's best for us.
If we take their advice and adhere to their dictactes, we will all live happier, healthier and longer lives.
Just like their great leader, Dr. Rodale.
The only man in the history of American television to croak before a live studio audience.
Monday, April 12, 2010
It's opening day at Wrigley Field. And despite the Cubs 101 year World Series Championship drought, it will now cost you more to see this year's motley assemblage in blue perform than any other team in major league baseball.
According to the Wilmette-based Team Marketing Report, the Cubs have now overtaken the Boston Red Sox with an average ticket price of $52.56. That means "a day of fun at the old ball park" as Jack Brickhouse used to blurt, will now cost a family of four $329.74, when you add in parking and all of the other associated costs.
The Cubs were second in the majors with a 10.1% price increase for 2010.
Thank you, Ricketts family.
But as the Cubs limp into Wrigley today with a 2-3 record, hitters that can't hit in the clutch and a bullpen creakier than the boards on the deck of the Mayflower, they will be sold out this afternoon.
You see, the Cubs now are chic.
But it wasn't always that way.
Back in the mid-60s, the old owner, P.K Wrigley, couldn't give away Cubs tickets.
On a bone-chilling opening day in '67 or '68, one of my avid Cub fan childhood friends ditched grammar school to attend along with about 1,014 other stalwarts (or lunatics depending on your perspective.)
P.K. was so grateful that he gave them each a certificate for free admission to another game. I wonder what the 2nd place prize winners got -- 2 tickets?
Back in 1964, the year the Cubs traded away future Hall of Famer Lou Brock for a sore-armed pitcher, Ernie Broglio, to save money ladies used to get in for free every Wednesday.
I'm sure that P.K.'s marketing geniuses thought this would turn Wrigley Field into a chick magnet. In reality it gave suburban mothers an excuse to pack the station wagon with the neighborhood kids and bring them to a game. The moms would get in for free and the kids would set them back a quarter a piece.
My mom did that with me and my neighborhood baseball card trading pals on several occasions.
According to an old scorecard that I have (I was lucky enough to get it autographed by future Hall of Famer, Juan Marichal) that year an Oscar Mayer hot dog cost 30 cents and a Budweiser bottle 40 cents.
Bleacher admission was 50 cents.
That was, of course, before the great liberal Democrat, Lyndon Baines Johnson, inflated the US currency to pay for his wildly successful wars: his war in Vietnam and domestic war on poverty.
In 1981, Cubs Manager, Lee Elia went into his famous on-tape, career ending, obscenity-laden rant when he said that most of the city of Chicago worked for a living and the rest came out to Wrigley to boo his ballclub.
Despite a nation-leading 11.9% unemployment rate you won't see the unemployed represented at Wrigley today.
It's just too bloody expensive.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
This past Monday, the author of the Chicago Lampoon was a guest on the Paul Gallo talk show on the Supertalk Mississippi radio network.
The invitation was in response to the piece that appeared earlier this month in the Lampoon entitled: "Hey Garry Meier: Mississippi is Freer that Chicago."
The interview was heard on stations in Jackson, Hattiesburg, Brookhaven/Monticello/McComb, the Mississippi Delta, Oxford, Corinth, the Golden Triangle and in Elvis' birthplace, Tupelo.
I discussed the relative superiority of Mississippi over Chicago from a libertarian perspective and was particularly critical of Chicago's gun ban, smoking ban, red light camera surveillance and the lousy record its colleges have on student liberties.
You can listen to the interview by clicking HERE
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
Speaking on the morning WLS radio Don Wade and Roma Show, North side Congresswoman Jan Schakowsky (D-9th) said that Chicago's low rate of census form return was due to the fears of Chicago's massive population of recent immigrants.
Hear the entire interview here.
The rate of return of the mailed census forms was a paltry 38% in the Chicago area compared to a nationwide average of 52%.
Schakowsky said that this was because immigrants are poor and begin to "double up" with several families living in a single apartment. "They may be afraid to say how many people are living in certain spaces," she said.
Wait a minute. Is Schakowsky saying that immigrants, many of them illegal, are overcrowding apartments and homes in violation of various municipal codes of occupancy, health codes and fire codes?
Immigration control activists have been arguing for more than a decade that this overcrowding is commonplace among immigrants. They argue that it is unsafe, unhealthy and poses an unfair burden on other renters who have to share common spaces with people who are not paying there fair share. They also argue that it is unfair to taxpayers who pay to educate the large numbers of children brought into their neighborhood schools after being illegally crammed into these dwellings.
In fact, in September of 2006, there was a fatal fire in Schakowsky's own district where 6 illegal alien children died. They were among 13 illegal aliens who lived in a cramped East Rogers Park apartment.
And this past February 14th, 7 people, including a newborn died in a fire which swept thru a Cicero apartment that was packed with multiple families.
Yet when Cicero authorities had tried to enforce the codes of occupancy that would have stopped such overcrowding, Schakowsky and her friends in the Illinois Coalition for Immigrant Rights - Chicago's main illegal alien lobby group - called the enforcement racist. It discriminated against Latino immigrants, they said, and in '97,they prompted the Clinton Justice Department to force Cicero to desist.
And when Waukegan authorities objected to packing multiple families and unrelated persons into apartments and homes, Schakowsky and her illegal alien lobbyist friends got the Clinton Justice Department in '97 to force them to desist too.
And now Schakowsky is explaining to us that immigrants aren't answering the census questionnaire because they may be packing multiple families into small apartments and don't want to get caught by authorities who she and her allies have not yet browbeaten into non-enforcement of their occupancy and fire codes.
What a web these leftist do-gooders and uplifters weave.
Saturday, April 3, 2010
I genuinely like WGN radio's Garry Meier. I think he is one of only two genuinely funny jocks on the Chicago airwaves and I genuinely hope he blows away his backstabbing ex-partner, Roe Conn, in the arbitron ratings.
But last week Meier made the mistake of trying to make a serious observation and he showed his obvious 60's timewarp in the process.
He tried to do a bit on the inanity of some obscure North Mississippi High School, which cancelled its prom so as to not allow an overt lesbian couple to attend.
He then concluded that Mississippi was a repressive place and he was sure glad he lived in much freer Chicago.
Think again Garry. This isn't 1964 and Sheriff Clarke is long dead. Chicago today is vastly more repressive than that old bastion of the Confederacy.
Old black men in Mississippi are free to exercise their constitutionally guaranteed right to defend their homes and families with firearms. Not so in King Daley's fiefdom, where an elderly black man named MacDonald had to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to secure that civil right in the face of Chicago's onerous and unconstitutional violation of his 2nd Amendment rights.
The free adults of Mississippi are free to partake of legal adult tobacco products when they sip beer in a pub or play blackjack in one of the Gulf Coast casinos.
And in the enlightened libertarian utopia of Lucedale, MS, they can smoke anywhere they wish -- even in workplaces.
Not so in the Chicago nanny state where adults must hunker down in the cold 15 feet from the entrance of a tavern in order to enjoy a puff on a cigarette. They can't even smoke on Chicago's windswept beaches for Chrissakes!
Mississippi citizens can face their accusers when alleged to have run a red light. They have no autamotonic revenue generating red light machines there as those that torment Daley's serfs.
And while the actions of an obscure Mississippi High School may seem petty and onerous to the libertarian minded, they pale in comparison to the outright neo-fascism of the speech codes at all of the major universities in the Chicago area.
Northwestern, De Paul, UIC and the University of Chicago are all on the red light watch list of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, a potent civil rights advocacy group, for their outrageously unconsitutional "Speech Codes."
These purportedly "liberal" Chicago institutions have conspired to violate their adult students' civil right to free speech for decades now. The University of Chicago even went so far as to attempt to discipline an adult student for his private Facebook postings. The UC book burners had to back down when threated by a FIRE lawsuit, but the petty, pusillanimous academic bugaboo chasers there remained unrepenetant.
As I mentioned, the notorious Mississippi Sheriff Clarke of the civil rights era is long gone. His police state tactics have been resurrected however by people with names like Burge and Abbate. And they are from enlightened Northern Chicago, not Mississippi.
So please stick to your funny bits, Garry and don't lecture us on how relatively free Chicago is. It is a civil rights backwash by comparison to Mississippi.
I briefly dated a fetching belle from the Mississippi Delta and a friend dated a total knockout who had been Miss "Ole Miss."
We both can attest that the girls are freer there too.
For the second time in two years, the University of Chicago has threatened a student with disciplinary action over comments posted on the student's personal Facebook page.
This time, they launched a police investigation into controversial Pro-Israeli tongue-in-cheek comments posted by an undergraduate campus radio host.
This time the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), a civil rights advocacy group, may take legal action against the UC (which formerly employed both Mr. and Mrs. Barack Obama.)
Here is the report from the FIRE website:
University of Chicago Repeatedly Censors Student Facebook Posts:
Joke about 'Israel Lobby' Author's Assassination Leads to Police Investigation
CHICAGO, March 24, 2010—For the second time in two years, the University of Chicago has censored a student's post on a private Facebook page. Undergraduate Joseph "Tex" Dozier posted a joke that he had had a dream about assassinating University of Chicago professor John Mearsheimer "for a secret Israeli organization." Mearsheimer is co-author of the controversial book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy. This post prompted an investigator from the university's police department to question Dozier about his political views, suggest that he would investigate Dozier's comments on his university radio show, and demand that Dozier remove the post or else have the post reported to Mearsheimer, one of his professors. Dozier came to the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) for help.
"Any reasonable person would recognize that Dozier's post was unquestionably a joke," said FIRE Vice President Robert Shibley. "If Dozier worked for a secret Israeli organization, would he have announced it via Facebook? And if the University of Chicago truly believed that Dozier presented a threat to a professor's life, how would merely censoring the student have solved the problem? The U of C is making a joke of itself by policing and censoring student comments on Facebook."
On December 6, 2009, Dozier wrote on his personal Facebook page, "Dreamt that I assassinated [University of Chicago professor] John Mearsheimer for a secret Israeli organization - there was a hidden closet w/ Nazi paraphanelia [sic]. Haha! :-)" Mearsheimer is popularly known for his 2007 book The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy with co-author Stephen Walt. According to the authors, the book "focuses primarily on the lobby's influence on U.S. foreign policy and its negative effect on American interests."
University of Chicago Police Department (UCPD) officer Abraham Martinez phoned Dozier on December 7. According to Dozier, Martinez called the post a "death threat" and asked if Dozier disagreed with Mearsheimer politically. Martinez also asked if he had made "controversial comments" about Mearsheimer in the past that the UCPD should be aware of.
Martinez even told Dozier that he had "researched" Dozier and his weekly radio show The Boiling Point, which is broadcast on university-hosted station WHPK. When Martinez said that he was required to contact Mearsheimer to inform him of Dozier's comment, Dozier replied that Mearsheimer had been one of his professors and that he feared negative repercussions if his innocent comment was reported to Mearsheimer. Martinez responded that if Dozier deleted the comment within 30 minutes, Martinez would include the removal in his official report and not contact Mearsheimer. Dozier negotiated a two-hour window and then deleted his comment.
Neither the University of Chicago nor the UCPD has challenged FIRE's or Dozier's account of this conversation.
FIRE wrote University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer on March 2 about the violation of Dozier's expression rights. While the University of Chicago is a private institution not bound by the First Amendment, it explicitly promises students freedom of speech in its Student Manual, which also states that "The ideas of different members of the University community will frequently conflict and we do not attempt to shield people from ideas that they may find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even offensive. Nor, as a general rule, does the University intervene to enforce social standards of civility." The university has not responded.
This is the second time the University of Chicago has censored a student's Facebook post in violation of the university's promises to its students. In 2009, undergraduate Andrew Thompson posted a photograph album on his personal Facebook page under the title, "[Name of ex-girlfriend] cheated on me, and you're next!" The photos were of various persons and were unremarkable, though some of Thompson's Facebook "friends" posted negative statements about the ex-girlfriend.
The next day, after the ex-girlfriend complained, Susan Art, Dean of Students in the College, demanded that Thompson "remove her name and remove the pictures you have posted of her" because of an alleged Student Manual prohibition against "disrespectful" speech.
"Can you let me know when her name and her pictures are removed from your [F]acebook page?" Art wrote. "I expect this to happen right away." Fearing university punishment, Thompson complied with Art's censorship demands, but turned to FIRE for help.
FIRE wrote President Zimmer on February 23, 2009, but the university eventually replied that since FIRE was not threatening litigation, the University of Chicago did not want to engage in any further discussion regarding the issue.
"The University of Chicago had a chance to reverse course last year and start respecting students' free speech rights, but it has continued to monitor students' off-campus Internet speech and censor innocuous comments," said Adam Kissel, Director of FIRE's Individual Rights Defense Program. "The university has failed to fulfill its own promises once again."
FIRE is a nonprofit educational foundation that unites civil rights and civil liberties leaders, scholars, journalists, and public intellectuals from across the political and ideological spectrum on behalf of individual rights, due process, freedom of expression, academic freedom, and rights of conscience at our nation's colleges and universities. FIRE's efforts to preserve liberty on campuses across America can be viewed at www.thefire.org.
Tell the University of Chicago to respect student rights. Send a letter to President Zimmer here.
Thursday, April 1, 2010
In 1953 a loyal Pittsburgh Pirates fan from Dubois, PA, vowed that he would not shave until the Pirates won a pennant.
True to his word, he let his whiskers grow, unabated, until the Pirates finally clinched the NL crown in 1960.
The Cubs finished 35 games behind the Pirates that year with a meager 60-94 record.
Figuring that some of the Pirates good luck might rub off, a group of North Siders vowed back then that they too would refuse to shave until their beloved Cubbies won the NL flag.
With the unseasonably warm weather this April 1st, the loyal group (pictured above) gathered today outside the Museum of Science and Industry downtown to discuss the Cubs prospects for 2010.