Saturday, May 30, 2009

Evanston's Jorgensen Steel Corp. Being Replaced by Dunkin' Donuts, Car Wash

Jorgensen Steel, with its big stately-looking office and massive production/distribution factory has left Evanston.

Its grand 50's vintage edifice on Oakton St., just east of the MSWRD canal has been demolished.

In its place is emerging three cookie-cutter buildings that will house a car wash, a self-storage operation and a Dunkin' Donuts.

Jorgensen Steel was a grand old building with a red brick and chrome facade on its front office building and a massive, hangar-like industrial operations building in back.

It seemed the kind of place to which Ward Cleaver might go off with his brief case in the morning after kissing June good-bye and admonishing Beaver and Wally to be good. It seemed the kind of place to which Chester A. Riley would dash off in the morning with his lunch bucket.

It was also the kind of industrial facility that provided millions upon millions in tax revenue to Evanston and the State of Illinois over the years.

Under its new ownership, it has moved operations to low-tax, right-to-work (non-union) Texas.

The grand old building has been razed now. While still a perfectly usable, architectural gem, no industrial operator silly enough to move to high-tax, high-regulation Evanston, Illinois could be located, even though the Evanston economic development team scoured the nation's lunatic asylums.

So overwhelmingly Obamaite, Evanston's, last large industrial operation will be replaced by a Dunkin' Donuts.

This is the face of the new American service economy.

Instead of producing steel and aluminium -- the very rock core of hard industrial production -- we will now have jobs serving each other donuts and washing each others cars.

Steel workers could provide a home and education for their families. Dunkin' Donut's workers can make enough to buy new i-pods at Best Buy.

And yet the donut servers and car washers will still show up on Federal statistics as being among the ranks of the employed.

"You ain't seen nothin' yet, " Obama squawked at his gala fundraiser in Los Angeles last week.

That is precisely what I'm afraid of.

With China now producing the world's hard industrial goods -- the true bases of real economic wealth -- how long can the US sustain this economic house of cards, which is increasingly based on paper shuffling and hamburger flipping (and massive amounts of consumer debt)? Can we export car washes? How many Dunkin' Donut's chocolate creme filled bismark's can possibly be exported to satisfy the US balance of trade?

This situation is precisely that about which Ross Perot and Pat Buchanan warned in the mid-90s during the NAFTA-GATT debate.

But no one listened.

So, Good bye Jorgensen Steel, with your well-paid factory and white collar jobs, employee health care and solid contribution to US economic economic preeminence.

And Hello Dunkin' Donuts.

How many creams do you want with your frappe?

Monday, May 18, 2009

All We Are Saying: Is Give Proft a Chance

Dan Proft has effectively announced that he will be running for Governor of Illinois.

I say, "Go for it Dan!"

Dan Proft is arguably the most literate and articulate and hard-line, conservative man in the State of Illinois.

He is the best that we've got.

The little screaming mimis from the margins of the rightist feminazi RTL crowd want to do him in.

Take, for instance, Fran "eatin'" Eaton. Looking at the massive girth of this intellectually limited school-marm, whose only claim to conservative intellection is having been a lady leader of a bunch of fellow elementary-educated rightist harpies, seems to be her formidable talent for lapping up mashed potatoes with a fork.

One is reminded of the old Beverly Hillbillies skit.

Where did Jethro go to school?


What did he major in there?


Just like fatty Fran. (Of Illinois Review misediting and large-sized girdle fame.)

So why should we back Dan Proft?

Because he is very probably the most politically saavy and intellectually adepy conservative in the State of Illinois.

And he is a man.

And that is why the mosquitos in the so-called, Illinois Conservative Movement, want to shoot him down.

The laughable Jill Stanek -- a probably competent hospital bed-pan changer, who somehow has boosted herself and her d0-nothing husband into becoming highly paid syndicated scribblers.

And Fran "Eatin."

And the panoply of silly woman and their male enablers , who have somehow grabbed control of the dying conservative movement in Illinois.-- are you listening Dennis Lacomb?
Are you gay or do you just like to cross-dress?

Why are conservatives so fearful of a real and serious man like Dan Proft?

We used to be led by serious conseervative men like Phil Crane and Henry Hyde.

Now, the remnants of the Illinois Conservative Movement are a bunch of Right to Life Nurse Ratsched, intent on neutering real conservative male leaders -- like Dan Proft.

One funny little point.

Ken Kesey, in his best-selling, "One Flew Over yhe Cuckoos Nest," named the ball-cutting nurse,
"Miss Ratsched."

I'm sure the ill-educated, Jill Staneks and Fran "Eatin'" Eatons won't be able to fathom this with their limited intellection -- But what Kesey was playing on was the notion of Nurse "Rat Shit."

Leave him alone, you silly right wing school marms!

You'd best leave Dan Proft alone.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Car Dealerships Slashed -- Good Riddance!

So Chrysler is pulling the plug on a quarter of its car dealerships. And GM is doing the same to about one-sixth of its dealers.

The Chicago Tribune yesterday ran a dewy-eyed story on their demise, lamenting the loss of these veritable pillars of their communities.

They sponsor little league teams we are told. They gave opportunities to thousands of returning WWII vets. They hire thousands and pay millions in state and local taxes. Their loss is a sad thing, we are told.


These are car salesmen we are talking about here.

I say, Good Riddance!

Their passing is no more a cause for sadness than was the slow syphilitic demise of Al Capone.

Scarface sponsored soup kitchens during the Great Depression, too, you know.

The whole rickety dealership franchise system is a dusty marketing vestige of an era when there were 200 American car manufacturers, each eagerly trying to ply their newfangled horseless carriages.

In the 1920s South Michigan Avenue in Chicago was the site of storefront after storefront of hawkers of Reos, Packards, Stutz Bearcats, Mercers, Oldmobiles, Fords and the like.

As the dealership system boiled down, it ended up being a cash cow for the con-men left standing who used their government clout to safeguard their privileged market status. They used government to restrict entry, crowd out competitors and screw consumers.

No wonder organized crime began to move into the auto dealership game in Chicago during the 50s and 60s. Anyone remember Pete Epstein Pontiac on Lincoln Avenue? How exactly was a little provincial Chicago car dealer able to get Frank Sinatra to do his radio jingles?

For decades, the car dealers fought like cougars and barracudas to legislatively keep "unauthorized" replacement parts off the market. They wanted to keep their monopolies on parts and service.

And thereby screw the consumer.

For decades, they tacked on needless, high-priced extras like undercoating and extended warranties to jack up prices and profits on popular models.

And thereby screw the consumer.

The dealers leaned on their wholly owned state legislators to kill state "lemon laws" designed to protect buyers of hopelessly incorrigible Detroit concoctions. (Remeber the Chevy Vega, whose aluminum block engines would spontaneously burst into flame?)

And thereby screw the consumer.

Don't get me wrong. I am sure there are car dealers who are not crooks.

Maybe some day, I'll meet one.

After spending my summer break during high school, slaving away in a little factory that made Weinman furniture polish (this was back before the illegal alien invasion, when American manufacturers would actually hire American students during the summer at good wages,) I had saved up enough to contribute to my prep school tuition and to buy my first car.

I wanted a VW. This was after all, not too long after the summer of love and Woodstock. So I went to a Volkswagen dealer -- Nugent Volkswagen, on Waukegan Rd. in Glenview.

I picked out a clean, shiny, used Beetle, within my price range, excitedly test drove it and plunked down the cash.

A few months later, while working on the car, I discovered an old service tag on the battery, which recorded 129,000 miles on the odometer at the time of service -- not the 29,000 miles on the odometer when I bought it.

I went back and confronted the salesman (who actually had a German accent -- immigrants came here from places other than the 3rd world back then) and he and his manager gave me some lame explanation. I really had no recourse.

The dealership had clearly turned back the odometer.

They had screwed this consumer.

Many years later, over breakfast in Lake Forest, my then girlfriend's father told us how when he had traded in his Cadillac to a dealership owned by one of his country club pals, he was asked to sign a transfer form, verifying the mileage on the odometer. The form misrepresented the mileage by about 100,000 mi.

These car dealer sharpies never miss a trick.

So I am shedding no tears over their demise.

There is no reason why in this technologically advanced era, we should not be able to buy cars direct from the manufacturer, on-line.

There is no reason why the manufacturers can't authorize a large number of independent mechanics to service their cars and honor their warranties.

And as for the displaced car dealers, don't cry for them.

They'll easily be able to find work running rigged games of chance on the travelling carnival circuit.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Blame the Gays for Chicago Corruption

There has been much hand-wringing, gnashing of teeth and psychic agonizing at the new lows of Chicago corruption that have been reported over just the past two days.

I am speaking of the revelations that the champion sales tax hiker, Cook County President Todd Stroger, has had an IRS tax lien slapped on his home for a minor memory lapse over a little matter of $12k in federal taxes that seemed to have escaped his, usually laser-like attention.

What racists those IRS bean counters. Why hasn't the teflon Messiah (who endorsed the Toddling) yet sent them back to their Ku Klux Klaverns?

I am also speaking of the sad revelation that openly gay champion, Alderman Tom Tunney, after voting for Daley's new, wild, $4.00 hr. parking meter fee hikes, had one of his key aides outed for producing and displaying on his car a phony "Official City Business" placard, to avoid the distraction of having to feed the meters.

The Tribune splashed this ugly dislosure on their new downsized pages. Homophobia seems to be running wild at Tribune Tower.

Who is to blame for this accelerated spate of Chicago civic corruption?

Who is responsible for this Moscow-apparatchik-styled official duplicity?

Some would blame the knee-jerk Cook County voters who would vote for John Wayne Gacy so long as a big D appeared after his name.

Some would blame black voters from the South and West side plantation wards who give 99.8% of their collective vote to any scoundrel who happens to share their melatonin levels and negroid anthropological features.

I blame the homosexuals.

While walking my dog in the 49th Ward during the 2006 election season, I found a stray handbill on the sidewalk. It was produced by the dreary leftist SEIU government employees union. It urged a vote for the taxin' Toddler, because it said the Republican candidate for County Board President, Tony Peraica, WOULD BAN GAY MARRIAGE IN COOK COUNTY.

Aside from the fact that the Cook County Board President has no more power over that than does the Patriarch of the Albanian Orthodox Church, this was hardly the most pressing issue facing the county electorate in 2006.

The County Hospital was in a shambles.

The County Jail was beginning to resemble the black hole of Calcutta.

The County government was hemmorhaging money faster than the hemophiliac Tsarevich Alexei after a bicycle spill.

And into this context, the ever-predictable lefties at the SEIU injected the pressing matter of marriage for Cook County homosexuals.

Republican Commissioner, Tony Peraica, a serious man, narrowly lost the election to Democrat Todd Stroger, a silly man.

Was it just coincidence that the Boys Town 44th and 43rd Wards turned in 80%+ margins for the Toddler in that election?

Their boy, Todd, then proceeded to ram thru a sales tax hike that elevated Cook County to the highest tax level of any jurisdiction in the nation (while, of course giving dozens of do-nothing 6 figure jobs to friends and family while neglecting to pay his own taxes.)

And then there is Chicago's first openly gay Alderman, Tom "Sticky Buns" Tunney.

He campaigned as an exemplar of reform-minded Lakeshore independence from the corrupt Democrat machine.

The Anne Sather's sticky buns provender then proceeded to join 44 other Aldermanic zombies in rubber stamping Daley's sale of City parking meters, which effected a 400% parking meter fee increase. (Only 5 Aldermen refused to rubber stamp Daley's proposal.)

But just this week, Tunney's trusted aide, an old machine hack named Zodak Younan, was caught by a Tribune photographer with a phony, Word XP concocted, "Official 44th Ward Business" placard on his Lincoln Town Car, so that he could park in metered spots, unharried by the distractions of the meter enforcement Gestapo.

This, of course, triggered howls of outrage from, the poor saps who have been carrying around buckets of quarters to avoid the approbation of the ever-efficient, expired meter monitors.

So the gay community has been instrumental in foisting on us a laughably inept scoundrel as County Board President and a gay, business-as-usual political hack Alderman.

In Chicago, at least, gays really are just like everybody else.

Except, now that they are out of the closet and putting their weight behind crooked Chicago pols, they're not just sticking it to each other anymore.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Todd Stroger's Exercise in Fertility

Radio news directors throughout the city were having great fun with the Toddling's most recent Yogi-Berra-istic malapropism. In the wake of the Cook County Board's 12-3 vote to rollback his 1% County sales tax increase, he blurted out that he wouldn't veto the act because it would be "an exercise in fertility."

But those broadcasting eminences didn't understand that the hereditary, pygmy Prince was saying pretty much what he meant. He meant that the tax, which gave Chicago the highest sales tax in the country, was itself "an exercise in fertility."

Let me explain.

One summer during my high school years, my uncle invited me up to Wisconsin to work on a dairy farm. Being too young to drive a car at the time, I got a big thrill out of driving the tractor. So I always volunteered to drive the manure spreader thru the fields. A manure spreader is a little trailer attached to the rear of the tractor and when engaged, it shoots its load of cow manure into the air in all directions out across the field.

It is an exercise in fertility.

Pretty much like the Toddling's vision of government.

Stroger announced that he was going to veto the tax relief measure after all and he announced it to his political base on black talk radio station WVON. After all, the preponderance of his base pay no taxes at all and are the principal users of subsidized county health and welfare services.

He's just taking Obama's dictum to heart -- that the role of government is to spread it around.

Today on the relatively conservative WLS radio, the Toddling ducked, weaved and dodged facts relating to his tax increase and abruptly cut off the interview.

For instance, he had no response to the Civic Federation's findings that in the wake of his tax hike, retail activity had fallen by 5.7% in areas of Cook County which border other lower tax counties, by 4.1% in Cook County overall and this compared to a recession-driven decline of only 1.7% in adjoining counties.

He had nothing to say about the hundreds of millions lost due to a failure of the county to bill Medicare, Medicaid and individuals for health services rendered.

When asked about his "friends and family" hiring practices, he blathered that he had only 3 blood relatives pulling down 6 figures at county jobs -- conveniently neglecting to mention the numerous relatives by marriage, old high school chums and felonious dishwasher pals.

Yea, Todd was spreading it on pretty thick.

And along with, Obama, the man who endorsed this nincompoop for office, get ready to have them spread your earnings around to their constituencies.

It's an exercise in fertility.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

If It's Pock-iss-tahn It Must Also Be Chi-caw-go

General David Petreus was on Fox News Sunday this morning. I listened but did not pay attention to whatever he was blathering. I know that Generals are no more soldiers than Bishops are holy men. When they attain that level of hierarchical prominence they have become politicians. As such they are not worth listening to.

I did notice, however, that Petreus was now pronouncing the name of Pakistan in the new Obama fashion --- Pock-iss-tahn. All my life Americans have been pronouncing it Pack -iss-tan. But lately -- in this era of hyper-multicultural sensitivity -- we have been called on to change our pronounciation of foreign names and places with maddening frequency.

These multiculturalist fashions are changing as quickly as fashions in cell phone design.

For centuries, Westerners had been referring to the capitol city of China as Pea-king (Peking.) Then one day, about a decade ago it suddenly became Bay-zhingg (Beijing.)

Until they had that big terrorist attack there, I was not aware that the Indian city of Bombay had been rechristened Mumbai, in Western parlance.

Are we now supposed to order a Mumbai gin martini (dry) with our Beijing duck?

Which brings me to Shi-caw-go.

That's the way real Chicagoans pronounce it. But just turn on any national news broadcast, and you'll hear the East Coast news reader referring to Shi-caaah-go's latest political scandal. Or Shi-caaah-go's lousy weather. Or Shi-caaa-go's whatever.

It's worse when an obviously non-native Chicagoan gets hired to news read on one of the local stations and uses the East Coast pronunciation. I even heard one of that breed refer to the major East-West thoroughfare as De-vinn, in the British manner, rather than the way that every Chicagoan has been pronouncing Devon Avenue for a century or more -- DEE-vaughan.

So I think if the Mumbains and Beijingists can demand cultural sensitivity to their native pronunciations, Chicagoans should demand and expect no less.

Now I've got to cut this short, because I have to travel down to Goa-theee Avenue in Lincoln Park.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Intellectually Honest Loathe Chicago's Weather

Well, here we are, the day before Mother's Day -- 55 degrees at midday -- cloudy, grey, overcast, intermittent drizzle -- cold wind blowing in from the North.

My neighbor Gail took in her newly purchased New Guinea impatiens last night as they only thrive in temps above 45 deg.

Why do people live here?

While I can understand that Todd Stroger's friends and family could find no other city on the planet where they could pull down 6 figure salaries for lolling around, swilling coffee in the Cook County Building, what excuse do the rest of us have for staying?

I once dated a girl on the Southeast Coast whose father desparately wanted her to return to suburban Chicago.

When I commented on Chicago's crappy weather he rationalized, " well, there's really only December, January and February to get thru -- then it's just like anywhere else."

Yea, like anywhere else in Greater Metropolitan Juneau.

In a post last month, I noted how the brilliant Monty Python comic, John Cleese, who had lived in Chicago during his year with the 2nd City troupe, told a Chicago interviewer point blank: "I suppose Chicago's a nice enough place, but your weather is just so filthy."

Cleese, the Cambridge educated intellectual of the ensemble, always blunt, always honest.

Well I have found another leading intellectual light of the 20th century who thought that Chicago' weather stinks.

George S. Kaufman was arguably the greatest American comedic playwright of the 20th century. He crafted 27 Broadway plays, 18 of which became full bored hits. He collaborated with such luminaries as Edna Ferber, George and Ira Gershwin Moss Hart and many others. He hated Hollywood (the culture, not the weather), but might be best remembered for his work there with the Marx brothers, having written the scripts and film adaptations for Coconuts, Animal Crackers and A Night at the Opera.

In the mid 1940s, His daughter, Anne, was shopping for a college and, being somewhat academically adept, considered the University of Chicago.

This is what he had to say about that idea:

Anne Darling,

More and more as we inquire about the University of Chicago, it doesn't seem to be at all the place that you would be happy in. your mother has already pointed out, there would be no campus life. Nothing of the atmosphere that is supposed to go with college life and which, I know you would find so congenial.
It seems to have nothing at all to offer you and I forgot, the Chicago weather. Simply frightful all the time.

Kaufman's daughter was accepted to the University of Chicago, but took her dad's advice and declined the offer and thereby declined the opportunity to subject herself to our frightful weather.

I see droplets on the window. Time to grab the fleece lined jacket and brave the Chicago May.

Happy Mother's Day.

Friday, May 8, 2009

A Welcome Respite From Ron Santo

It has been relatively easy to listen to the Cubs' radio broadcasts for the last few games.

Ron Santo has not been in the broadcast booth.

Since his leg amputation and subsequently more fragile medical condition, Santo has declined to go on longer road trips with the Cubs. Sitting in for him as Pat Hughes' color commentator on these occasions is former Cubs relief pitcher Dave Barrisch.

Barrisch, to be sure, is not destined for the Broadcasting Hall of Fame, but he is a veritable Vin Scully or Mel Allen, compared to Santo.

Santo is simply annoying.

He is supposed to be supplementing Hughes' play-by-play accounts with interesting observations and keen insights into the play on the field.

Instead he talks about the tepid temperature of his soup. Or the antics of his wife's poodle. Or he bellows like the drunken fan sitting in the seat behind you at Wrigley Field and who gets so carried away with the excitement of it all that he ends up showering you with his beer.

What is worse, is that in his wild, drunken-fan-like bloviating, his voice often blots out the play-by-play account so you don't have a clue as to what is going on in the game. That, I believe, defeats the very purpose of sports broadcasting.

I remember a few seasons back, while cycling on the North Shore, I was listening to the Cubs game on my Walkman.

Mark Grace was on second and takes off on a hit and run. The hit fell in for a bloop single and Grace begins rounding third heading for home -- apparently running thru the third base coach's stop sign. Hughes is trying to relate these rather exciting events and as Grace is headed for home, Santo bellows out, "WHAT'S GOING ON??!!!"

I was actually p.o.-ed, because I wanted to know precisely that, but this boorish fan, named Santo, was bellowing to 32 states with 50,000 watts of power so that no one in that earshot could find out "what's going on."

Had I been watching the Cubs on TV, I would have known.

Two non-Chicago native, Cub fans have asked me why Ron Santo is a broadcaster. They, being more objective than those of us who grew up with Santo batting 5th, backing up Sweet Swingin' Billy and Ernie, just can't fathom why he is allowed on the airwaves.

The fact that he remains on the air, apparently popular, year after year, makes me sometimes want to agree with those misanthropic, mullet wearing, Sox fans who say that Cub fans have the collective IQ of a snail darter.

Don't get me wrong. I respect Ron Santo as a brilliant 3rd baseman and an integral part of Cub lore of the very colorful 60s era. Once at a Glenview bar, I met Ron Santo's son, Jeff, the movie producer, and I found him to be one of the nicest guys you'd ever want to meet. He was actually flattered when I told him that as a kid, I had his father's baseball card and really respected his dad's achievements on the field. Santo's son seemed a great guy.

I'm sure Ronnie is too. And I think he would be a great guy to sit down and have a beer with as well.

But please, elect him to the Baseball Hall of Fame under the old-timers provisions. Or give him a statue on Clark St. outside Wrigley. Anything he wants.

But please, get him off the airwaves so I can listen to the Cubs and actually find out "WHAT'S GOING ON??!!!"

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Free Booze in West Rogers Park

One of the little known benefits to living in the "Golden Ghetto" section of West Rogers Park is the free booze often found in the alleys there.

I am reticent about making public this secret of mine for fear that armies of lushes will now begin scouring the alleyways there and scooping up the vinous booty before I can get to it.

But my duty in publishing this blog is to provide useful public services, so I must spill the beans on this very strange phenomena. Besides, Obama the Magnificent said that we must all become more public spirited, so here I am doing my bit.

I first discovered that there was free booze in the alleys of West Rogers Park almost a decade ago. As an inveterate dog walker, I would often take my dog thru the alleys to avoid the complaints of pecksniff homeowners who would wildly object to a little yellow water being squirted on their precious Japanese maple.

While walking in an alleyway near the Rogers Park School one autumnal day, next to the black garbage cans, I spotted a discarded vinyl Cubs tote bag and a cardboard box containing 7 or 8 wine bottles.

I thought nothing of it until I glanced again and said to my dog, "Holy shit, Mac -- those bottles are unopened."

Sure enough, there were unopened bottles of red Kosher table wine and at least three bottles of a cloyingly sweet white wine. The white wine label revealed that it was a product of Israel and contained something like 17% alcohol by volume.

My obedient pup sat and looked on as I stuffed the miraculous find into the discarded Cubs tote bag. And off we went. I discovered that night that the Israelis make some hootch that could probably double as fuel for the fleet of F-18 fighter-bombers that we supply them.

This was just the first in what turned out to be at least a twice yearly occurence of this sort.

At least 12 times since then, my dog and I have found and transported home supplies of discarded, perfectly good kosher wine. Once an entire dusty gallon bottle of Mogan David white wine. Another time, a half case of Kedem table wine. And the biggest haul of all -- last Spring 5, count them -- 5 -- unopened cases of light kosher table wine.

Using my formidable powers of deduction, I have come to the conclusion that there is method to this madness.

The finds usually occur in the Fall or Spring, roughly corresponding to the periods just before or just after Sukkoth and Yom Kippur in the fall and Passover in the Spring.

But why toss out perfectly good wine?

One guess is that the discarding parties discover the wine that they have left over from the last holiday and decide that it is too old. Another guess is that the wine is leftover after the event and the housewife doesn't want it lying around the house, lest Moishe be tempted to tipple and neglect his fatherly and husbandly obligations and/or stop minding the store.

Further, the sociologist Vance Packard, once conjectured that drunkeness and alcohol abuse are statistically lower in Jewish subpopulations because of a historical reaction to persecution. It's not a good idea to be sloshed when the Czar's Cossacks start rampaging in your village.

I will leave these weighty matters to the academics. I will be too busy working on my forthcoming book, "The Alley Dog Walking Connoisseuer's Guide to Kosher and Israeli Wines."

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Highland Park Mulls Pitbull Ban: Girl Mauled

A Highland Park girl needed 100 stitches on her face
 and hands after an attack by a 9 mo. old pitbull

Mayor Michael Belsky of Highland Park today said that he wants the North suburban village to consider a ban on pitbulls.

At first I thought he was talking about the gaggle of Highland Park liberal Democrats who quadriennally vie for municipal office with such a level of ferocity as to rival the bloodiest South Side Friday night dogfights.

Or perhaps the lefty backers of Dan Seals who engaged in all manner of dirty tricks last year. Or perhaps State Sen. Jeff Schoenberg who unveils an 11th hour surprise, dirty trick every campaign accusing his Christian opponent of having ties to the Nazis.

But no, the mayor was talking about the actual pitbull, favored dog breed of drug dealers, junkyard owners and assorted other thugs and bullies.

This was prompted by an incident last Friday, where a 14 year old Highland Park girl was attacked on the face and arms by a neighbor's newly acquired 9 month old pitbull. She will live, but required more than 100 stitches.

My libertarian instincts make me take pause at agreement with inveterate do-gooders and nanny staters like Mayor Belsky, who made it a personal crusade to save Highland Park beachgoers from the horrors of 2nd hand cigarette smoke (as if that's a real problem given the gale-force winds usually howling at Chicago beaches.)

But reluctantly, I have to agree with him on this count.

Having been an owner of sporting-breed dogs for almost a quarter century, I've had numerous run-ins with pitbulls and pitbull owners. They can be real white knuckle experiences.

I have ended up in the emergency room with a gash on my hand acquired while trying to save my dog from a pitbull. It was a successful effort, but my hand required stitches, was swollen for a week due to the blunt force trauma of the pitbull's jawlock on my hand and I still sport a scar there.

I have not been a big fan of that breed ever since.

The kind of people who gravitate toward pitbulls usually leave something to be desired.

Once while walking along the Chicago lakeshore with my dog we happened across a young black guy with a pitbull pup. The guy boasted, " when he gets bigger, my dog's gonna be able to beat the shit out of any dog."

Something told me that this canine-human relationship was not going to work out well.

And indeed they haven't usually worked out all that well.

A few years back the Evanston Animal Shelter, which had boasted of its humane, no-kill policy, finally had to abandon it in light of the profusion of unadoptable fighting pitbulls that it was sheltering. It now euthanizes dogs.

Let's face it. The pit bull terrier was bred for one purpose and one purpose only. Fighting.

It's jaws have almost twice the psi pressure of the next closest breed, the German Shepherd. It has an instinctual drive to clamp its jaws and hold on. And so many druggie types have been backyard breeding them that even its naturally menacing characteristics have been further complicated by in-breeding, often resulting in very erratic and unpredictable behavioral traits.

The death and injury toll of pitbull victims, human, canine and feline -- rises almost monthly.

That's why Great Britain, the State of Ohio and a growing number of municipalities have banned ownership or possession of the breed in one form or another.

And Highland Park would be right in adopting a ban.

Monday, May 4, 2009


Two notable passings of patriots and champions of freedom on May 3rd.

The first, the death of Patrick Henry Pearse, occured ignominiously, effected by a British firing squad in the courtyard of Dublin's Kilmainham jail on May 3rd of 1916.

The other occured this past Saturday evening as Jack Kemp expired in more sedate circumstances attended by family and friends in his Bethesda, Maryland home.

I met Jack Kemp on the set of a television interview, some years back. His energy and exuberance was palpable, almost infectious.

He exuded genuine excitement while expounding his plans for a major lightening of the tax burden on the American people and the creation of a genuine opportunity society, based on the strictures of Milton Friedman and his collegues of the Chicago School of economics.

To the great amazement of many in Washington and elsewhere he managed to push thru his comprehensive tax abatement plan over the objections of the soon-to-be-felonious, powerful, Chicago Congressman, Dan Rostenkowski.

The Kemp-Roth tax cuts led to one of the longest sustained periods of economic growth in American history. It was perhaps his proudest acheivement.

Jack Kemp entered Congress in the class of 1970 along with such notorious characters as Bella Abzug, the hellish, harpie feminist (best remembered for the bigness of her hats, mouth and buttocks) and the absurd, afro-centric, avowed neo-Marxist, Ron Dellums.

Both are little more than curious footnotes in American history, now.

Jack Kemp will be remembered as a towering champion of personal liberty.

Patrick Henry Pearse was the Irish poet, Gaelic scholar-educator, and visionary leader of the abortive 1916 Easter rebellion against the British occupiers.

He was the influential teacher, who numbered among his students, James Joyce. He wrote and orated the stirring Proclamation of the Irish Republic from the steps of the Dublin Post Office, which his rebels, armed more with zeal than effective weaponry, had seized on Easter Monday of 1916.

When the British began indiscriminately bombarding civilian areas of Dublin (they seemed to have had little regard for the notion of collateral damage) Pearse called a halt to the uprising.

He is today commemerated on Irish coinage, in statuary scattered throughout the Irish Republic, in a famous poem by WB Yeats and in song:

The poet and the Irish rebel
The Gaelic scholar and the visionary.
To him we gave no fitting tribute
When Ireland's at peace
only that can be
When Ireland's a nation united and free.

May 3rd: A day for rememberance of two great freedom fighters.
Two great visionaries.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Blowhard Biden and Chicago's Laughable CPS Schools

I first met Senator Joe Biden in the early 90's, just after he had his new hair transplant plugs.

A pal of mine, Jonas, whose father was a leader of the Chicago Lithuanian Community worked with me on Capitol Hill then. Jonas worked for the old Chicago, crew-cutted, Polack, Congressman, Ed Derwinski.

At the time Lithuania was becoming the first of the Soviet-dominated slave states to unilaterally assert its independence from Gorbachev's grip, and Jonas was asked to go on CNN and argue the case for US recognition of Lithuanian freedom.

Taking the other side of the issue was the dissembling, hair-deprived, Delaware Democrat, Joe Biden.

I met Senator Biden in the CNN green room before the show, and he seemed an amiable enough dunce. This was just after he had been outed by the media for plagiarizing, verbatim, a speech by a fellow blowhard, British Socialist Labour candidate for PM, who ran a failed campaign against the great "Iron Lady," Conservative Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.

Biden is now the liberal Democrat Vice-President of the United States. Obama's devoted running mate.

Thursday on the NBC Today Show, Blowhard Biden blurted out to Matt Bauer, that he would advise Americans to avoid subways, buses and air transport to avoid the contagion of the Mexican Swine flu.

Obama's equally blowhardian yahoo press secretary, Robert "Gomer" Gibbs, then told a laughing Washington press corps: "He really didn't mean to say that. What he meant to say was....."

The new Oberfurhrer of Homeland Security, Janet "Goebbels" Napolitano also offerred in " What he meant to say was....."

This brings to mind the old Mayor Richard J. Daley's old balding press secretary, Earl Bush. After one of hizzoner's almost daily malapropic, Yogi Berra-isms ("The Chicago Police aren't here to create disorder -- they're here to preserve disorder,") Bush would admonish the Chicago press corps to "Print what he means, not what he says."

This would evoke loud guffaws from the assembled liberal journalists and haughty derision from the liberal Chicago Lakeshore elite.

But all we hear from the liberal gaggle about Biden's, actually very dangerous statement is --- "well, that's just Joe being Joe."

Funny, I don't recall the liberal establishment giving that same, forgiving, benefit of the doubt to conservative Senator Trent Lott when he made eminently less socially dangerous comments at Senator Strom Thurmond's birthday party. They howled at Lott and hounded him from the Senate leadership.

What hypocrites these American leftists!

And what undiscerning quietude by the American sheeple.

But why not?

Today's Chicago Public School student is treated to a daily diet of propagandistic leftist goo. In their English classes, Shakespeare and Chaucer are disregarded as "Old white men." And frauds like Maya Angelou and bigots like Malcolm X are elevated to the status of great provenders of profundity.

For decades now, CPS students are taught how to put a condom on a cucumber, but aren't even vaguely exposed to the Greek and Latin classic literature -- the pinnacle of human expression and thought.

Maybe if they had been they would be more discerning in the face of bloviators like Biden.

Perhaps then, they might have been able to refer to the 4th century B.C. Hellenistic poet, Nicarchus who wrote:

"You certainly should have made a sign saying which was your mouth,
which your asshole.
Just now when you were gabbing, I thought you farted."

Wonder what the ancient Greek poet would have had to say about Obama's blowhard veep. Obama's press secretary, Obama's Homeland Security Czar and about the teflon Messiah, himself.

The more things change -- the more they stay the same.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Devon Merchants Jump on Bootleg Cigarette Bandwagon

My spies on Devon Ave. reliably report that you can now buy single cigarettes under the counter at more than one little store there.

This doesn't at all surprise.

In an earlier post I reported witnessing an itinerant entrepreneur selling bootleg packs of Newports in Warren Park. Since the imposition of the Pelosi-Obama Tobacco Prohibition tax on April 1st, the cost of tobacco products has skyrocket and with the heavy IL, Cook County and Chicago sin taxes piled on top, we have de facto cigarette prohibition here for all but the very rich.

As with the 1918-1933 "noble experiment" in alcohol prohibition, it is inevitable that a black market in smokes would develop and it has, with all the predictability of Chicago's lousy weather or a Cubs losing streak.

Now, licensed Chicago merchants are getting into the act. Reportedly, kids on Devon can request purchase of a single cigarette from several provenders there.

That is illegal in Chicago, of course, but so were speakeasies in the 1920s.

There are only two places where I ever heard of store owners selling single smokes. Once in Daley's clout laden Bridgeport and once in New Orleans, a city which seesaws back and forth with Chicago for title to "Most Politically Corrupt American City."

When on a shrimp buying excursion to New Orleans in the 90s, I was accompanied by two black guys and resultantly got to see parts of the Big Easy that were generally off-limits to the usual white tourist. These two black guys regularly went down there to buy shrimp for transport and resale in Washington, D.C. and to visit "their New Orleans wives." Apparently they each had a wife in D.C. and another in New Orleans. The precise details of the legal nuptuals, if any, were rather murky, but it seemed to work for them.

Anyway, in one of the predominantly black areas that invariably went underwater a decade later, I went into a little corner 7-11 type shop and was astounded to see that Newport actually produced cigarette packs, containing only 5 cigarettes, for this impoverished market and that kids were sent down to the shop to pick up single cigarettes for grandma or grandpa that would be on sale for 35 cents or so.

Some years later, I was told by a Bridgeport drug store/liquor store owner that he had unearthed a supply of old Alpine cigarettes (remember them) that had been gathering dust, forgotten in his storage room since about the time, his neighbor, Richard J. Daley was making his first run for City Clerk. He began selling the old, stale Alpines individually, for a quarter or so, to the black customers, who would cross Wentworth Ave into forbidden Bridgeport to buy his overpriced booze.

The Bridgeport merchant told me that one of his neighbors, who worked at City Hall, would alert him when the City inspectors would be coming, and the Alpine singles would disappear, until the coast was again clear. At a quarter a piece, he made a tidy little profit on thost dusty old Alpines.

And now a new generation of South Asian Chicago merchants are engaging in the same practice on the far North side in the West Rogers Park area.

Whenever government sticks its nose into the free exchange of goods and services, provenders will find a way to skirt the law. It's in the age old tradition of Alphonse Capone and Bugs Moran.

As P.J. O'Rourke once noted: "Giving power and money to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teen age boys."