Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Free Booze in Wrigleyville

Precisely one year ago today, I reported on my tremendously interesting discovery that one can find free booze in the alleys of Chicago's yuppified neighborhoods on apartment moving day.

Back then, using the simple expedient of riding my bike thru the alleys of Roscoe Village, I found an entire 12 pack of Leinenkugel's beer, several unopened bottles of Spanish wine and an entire bottle of rum.

This year it was a foray thru the backways of Wrigleyville and once again I hit the mother lode.

Behind an expensive looking condo on Southport in the very shadow of Wrigley Field, I discovered a plastic storage container which contained (I am not making this up) an unopened bottle of Courvasier cognac, a 3/4 full bottle of French Grey Goose vodka, a bottle of British Tanqueray Gin, a mostly full bottle of Canadian whiskey, a 1/2 full bottle of Maker's Mark Kentucky whiskey, a book on cocktail recipes and a fancy cut glass bottle stopper.

To my mind it would have been sinful to relegate these fine potables to the city waste dump, so, given my steadfast commitment to recycling, I put the delictable potions to good use.

Is this a great city or what?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Evanston Library Filters Porn -- And Everything Else

Evanston has long had a storied tradition of prudery and pecksniffery. It was, after all, home to Frances Willard one of the founders of the Women's Christian Temperance Union. Her Evanston home -- The Willard House -- served as its national headquarters and is now a designated historic monument.

As such Evanston was one of the last municipalities in the state to allow the sale of booze --this many decades after the repeal of prohibition.

When we were prep school roustabouts, we would make a point of swinging by the old WCTU HQ at 1730 Chicago Avenue and flinging our empty beer cans on the lawn -- take that, you old biddies!

Today, Evanston had become hipper, younger and leftist -- but maintains its tradition of chasing down moral bugaboos. Today, instead of going after boozehounds, it goes after racists, hatemongers and homophobes with an enthusiasm that Mrs. Willard would admire. It stages an annual " Run Against Hate" and is a sanctuary city for illegal aliens.

But I didn't expect its librarians to catch the Evanston morality fever. But it seems they have with their extremely zealous use of anti-pornography filters at the Evanston Public Library.

For almost an entire month now, its public internet connections have disabled just about anything that requires a flash player. This means that usually all of youtube is off limits there.

Recently while stopping in there for a quick email check, I tried to open a link to an article in Forbes sent by a friend.

I was notified that due to the graphics contained in the Forbes article, it was filtered by the moral guardians of the EPL. Same with all the youtube bits on my own blog -- although come to think of it, Barry Manilow and ABBA are kind of aesthetically obscene.

The librarians on the 3rd floor say they are cognizant of their filtering problems and are working on it.

I just hope their crack techno-staff solves it with greater alacrity than the geniuses who are grappling with the Gulf oil gusher -- but it seems to be taking almost as long.

So I think I'll just forgo use of the Evanston library, for now, and spend my time just down the block from Mrs. Willard's house -- swilling beer at the Celtic Knot Public House.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Mr. Proft and Mr. Schakowsky Agree: De Facto Amnesty for Illegals

It was a wild Sunday on WLS talk radio. I put on the Sony Walkman to drown out the ambient noise in Legion Park while trying to read Alvah Simon's riveting account of his solo adventures in the Arctic.

But the banter on both Tom Roeser's "Political Shootout" and on Dan Proft's virgin solo foray into radio talk turned to Arizona and the illegal alien question.

I didn't get much reading done.

What was most disturbing was an identical assertion made by extreme leftist, Bob Creamer (Cong. Jan Schakowsky's convicted felon husband) and ostensible conservative, Proft.

They both repeatedly and quite casually said, "There is no way we are going to be able to deport the 11 million illegal aliens already here."

This is the new shibboleth being propounded by both leftists who lust after a new lumpenproletariat voting bloc and Chamber of Commerce types who crave their next cheap labor fix.

But it's not true.

We can deport substantial numbers of the illegal alien squatters and can effect self deportation of most of the rest.

I'm not talking about draconian measures like President Eisenhower's "Operation Wetback" which rounded up illegals en masse and bused them back home.

But serious enforcement of existing law (including ongoing deportation) and comprehensive removal of employment and social service possibilities could readily effect removal of those who have effectively ignored our sovereign laws.

When the magnets which attract and keep illegal populations here disappear many will self-deport.

This has happened before in our history. During the darkest days of the Great Depression, tens of thousands of persons who had recently legally immigrated to the USA, faced with bleak job prospects and minimal government assistance, simply packed up and headed home.

According to the political scientist Leuchtenburg, during the dark depression years of 1930-31, the numbers of recent immigrants boarding ships for a return to Europe averaged 5,000 a month.

3,000 American immigrants actually even took up the Soviet Russian government's offer of jobs and resettlement in the workers' utopia. Seems they had full employment in the gulag state.

We have no reason to believe that self-deportation would not correspondingly occur today if all incentives to stay were eliminated. Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies argue that as many as 50 percent of illegals would leave voluntarily if the government were to initiate an aggressive deportation policy.

When conservative Proft and leftist, Creamer, blithely assert that deportation is impossible, they are simply paving the way for yet another mass amnesty by asserting the impracticality of any alternative.

Amnesty as with the word amnesia is from the classical Greek word for 'forget.'

Either way you cut it, if you believe that deportation is impractical as with Proft or undesirable as with Creamer, you are advocating an amnesty -- that we just forget that they came illegally.

Proft may envision some scheme whereby the illegal invaders may have to pay a tax and perhaps, pretend to learn English. And Creamer may just want to legalize them all and register them to vote tomorrow, but by conceding the inevitability of their continued presence -- by refusing to consider serious enforcement and removal of incentives to stay -- they're both advocating amnesty. They're both telling us to just forget about the fact that our laws have been broken wholesale and our borders and sovereignty as a nation trampeled.

A vote on amnesty for illegal aliens is unlikely in this, an election year. The American people are overwhelmingly against it.

But if it's somehow rammed through in the future, it could well have the most societally disruptive and disasterous consequences to have been experienced in this country since the period 1861-65.

Monday, June 14, 2010

"Vote--Vote--We Want Beer!"

Normally I do not like to admit this in polite company, but I was once a Democrat. In fact a liberal Democrat.
As a precocious kid of 12 or 13, I used to tag along with a Democrat precinct captain as he went door to door.From him I learned some of the savvy techniques (and dirty tricks) that would later serve me well when I became a sentient being and began working to elect conservatives.
But I am not ashamed to admit it. I was once a Democrat. But then so was the very witty conservative writer, P.J. O'Rourke. He was not just a liberal Democrat, but was in fact, a drug addled hippie wwhen he wrote for Rolling Stone. Now he leans more toward dry martinis and H. Uppmann cigars. Now his writing makes sense.

And so, of course was the Great Communicator, himself, Ronald Reagan. Most people are unaware of this, but not only had he been a Democrat, but he was the only President of the United States who had been a labor union leader. He served as President of the Screen Actors Guild.
I can't often think of nice things to write about Democrats, but in recent reading, I came across the one indisputably good thing the Democrats ever did.

They legalized booze!
It was largely at the urging of pecksniff Midwestern and Bible Belt Republicans that liquor was outlawed in the US from 1919 to 1933.
It was the Democrat FDR who gave us back legal liquor.
Here is what the political scientist, William E. Leuchtenburg had to say about it:
"On Monday, March 13th, the President asked Congress to fulfill the Democratic pledge of an early end to prohibition. Roosevelt's victory had speeded a remarkable revolution in sentiment; even some veteran dry Congressman now voted for liquor. While the 21st Amendment was making its way through the states, Roosevelt requested quick action to amend the Volstead Act by legalizing beer of 3.2% alcoholic content by weight.
"Roosevelt's message touched off a rollicking debate. The drys, who had succeeded in killing a beer bill only a few weeks before, rehashed the arguments that had been so convincing for more than a decade, but to no avail.
"Impatient Congressmen chanted: 'Vote -- Vote -- We Want Beer!'

"Within a week, both Houses had passed the beer bill and added wine for good measure, although Congressmen protested that 3.2% wine was not 'interesting.' On March 22, Roosevely signed the bill.
"As the day of liberation approached, breweries worked feverishly to meet the anticipated demand. Working around the clock, a St. Joseph Missouri factory turned out ten tons of pretzels a day, but still ran two month behind. Emanuel Kovelski, president of the New York bartenders union proclaimed: 'We're all set. The bartenders will be all fine, clean upstanding yound men.'
"On April 7, 1933, beer was sold legally in America for the first time since the advent of prohibition and the wets made the most of it. In New York, six stout brewery horses drew a bright red stake wagon to the Empire State Building, where a case of beer was presented to Al Smith, 'the martyr of 1928.'
"In the beer town of St. Louis, steam whistles and sirens sounded at midnight, while Wisconsin Avenue in Milwaukee was blocked by mobs of celebrants singing 'Sweet Adeline.' The most important ritual took place at the Rennert Hotel bar in Baltimore: H.L. Mencken downed a glass of the new beer and assured anxious connoisseurs it was a worthy brew."
In 1936, The Democrats made the most of it as FDR easily sailed into his second term. They had a campaign song, which I once taped off of NPR. It went:

"Back Again,
Back Again

We Got Franklin D. Roosevelt,
Back Again

Since Roosevelt's been elected
Moonshine liquor's been corrected
We got legal wine, whiskey, beer and gin."

So don't ever say that I never gave the Democrats credit for ever doing anything good.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Ald. Joe Moore Proposes Arizonian Foie Gras Boycott

In the wake of the Chicago City Council's measure to boycott Arizona firms, Alderman Joe Moore (D-49th) has introduced a bill to turn up the heat on that hellish state by forcing Chicago firms to boycott Arizonian foie gras.

"In solidarity with the illegal aliens of our great sanctuary city, I propose a complete boycott on the importation of all and any foie gras from Arizona, " Moore said.

"Irrespective of what may transpire elsewhere, we must show the world that we are one city that genuinely cares for its illegal aliens and geese," Moore said.

The move was heralded by Alderman Tom Tunney (D-44th) who said, "The gay community is behind this bill 8,000 percent."

Alderman Berny Stone (D-50th)awoke from his customary slumber to say, "If it's good for the city's landlords, I'm all for it."

Jesse Jackson (D-United Nations) put the issue in moral terms saying, "This is indeed a civil rights issue. As our great Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ so clearly put it: 'That which you do unto the least of my geese, you do unto me.'"

Joshua Hoyt, director of the chief illegal alien lobby in Illinois, the Chicago Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, predicted widespread support for Moore's bill. "We must remember that no goose is illegal. Geese are people too," he said.

The bill is expected to pass the City Council by the usual 50-0 margin.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Welcome To the Chicago Service Economy

This past week I ran into a very interesting high fashion designer. A 3rd generation sansei, Japanese American, she graduated from New York's Fashion Institute of Technology and spent years in the realm of Manhattan high powered fashion design.

She commented that not long ago, the preponderance of American high fashion creations were actually produced in New York's garment distict. Today she lamented, the percentage actually manufactured in the USA hovers around 3%.

This made me recall an incident which occured a few years back. While dog walking in East Rogers Park, I ran into a twenty-something black guy. He was living under bushes in the park by night and cadging quarters to buy malt liquor by day.

During one of his infrequent lucid moments, he sadly recollected growing up on the South side in a stable family headed by a well paid steelworker. All those jobs are gone now, he said.

And with them have gone opportunities for a stable, dependable good job for Americans lacking a secondary education. As those jobs have flown to lower paid overseas cheap labor havens, a critical component of our societal stability has flown away alongside.

The US in general and the Chicago area, in particular, have been hemorrhaging industrial jobs at a fantastic rate for the past three decades.

Today a mere 10% of workers in the Chicago metropolitan area are employed in manufacturing. A greater number work for government and when you include the government schools, that becomes a vastly greater number.

According to 2005 Federal statistics, these are now the largest employers in the Chicago metro area:

Largest employers -- Number of employees

U.S. Government 88,000
Chicago Public Schools 39,402
Jewel-Osco 36,749
City of Chicago 35,978
Cook County 26,505

Instead of tax generating, real goods production, our economy is now dominated by the parasitic tax consuming government classes.

Since the Reagan years, we've been hearing a lot of the new "service economy" reliably compensating for the loss of industrial jobs.

Frankly, I never bought a word of it. Real production of tangible goods, is, in the final analysis, the only real basis of wealth.

The 1961 economic analysis by British economists, Cole and Postgate, The British Common People,chronicled the flight of manufacturing from Great Britain which began as early as the 1920s.

"Napoleon is said to have called Great Britain 'a nation of shopkeepers,'" they wrote. "By 1939, it seemed to have turned into a nation of shop assistants, clerks, waiters and machine attendants."

If Napoleon had scoffed at Americans as a nation of fast food franchise owners, he would be likewise wrong. It is fast becoming a nation of hamburger flippers and Wal-Mart greeters.

Welcome to the new "service economy."

"Do you want fries with that?"