(Note DTG:) This was the sample piece submitted by “Brian of the North” to sub for Juliette “Baldilocks” as she can’t write here till Jan 1st due to the AB5 restrictions in California till the end of the year. I thought it was good enough to post so here is your introduction to the latest member of our Magnificent Seven. If you like what you see let me know and we will, subject to the limits of AB5 as he is also from California, keep him as a regular after Jan 1st as well!
Chicago removed its last Christopher Columbus statues the other day. The statue had been on display in the City of Big Shoulders for 130 years. At least, in a nod to civilized behavior (remember that?), it was the mayor who ordered the statue removed, not the mob.
The mob, though was behind it, and objected that Columbus mistreated the indigenous people of the Americas, and so was unworthy of admiration. Columbus statues were also recently removed from or vandalized in Sacramento, Richmond, Providence, Pittsburgh, Miami, Boston, and, of course, Columbus. Along with numerous statues or monuments to Confederate soldiers, statues of Ponce de Leon and George Washington were also vandalized by the thoughtless mob.
The mob understands that statues represent a society’s heroes, those individuals the society has deemed worth remembering and literally looking up to. But what those brainless goons fail to understand is why Columbus, Washington, and de Leon are worthy heroes.
Heroes are admired for their accomplishments, not their failings. We understand people are imperfect. But we admire certain people for what they managed to accomplish, despite living in a world filled with the same idiots we all deal with every day. And while we should consider their failings, we should only to the extent those failings exceed the normal failings of humans of that era. Washington held slaves? Understood, but then, humans had owned other humans as slaves in a continuous line from that era back to the time of the caveman, so maybe that failing wasn’t so extraordinary.
As for Washington’s accomplishments? Let’s not turn this article into a listicle.
Likewise, Columbus’s failing of mistreatment of the indigenous people, while worth criticism, certainly was not so extraordinary to the era. And the indigenous peoples were no angels themselves, and mistreated others of different tribes in ways that would make Tarantino blush. But the accomplishment of sailing the Atlantic into the unknown, and finding the Americas, transformed Europe, transformed the Americas, transformed the world.
Society needs heroes – real life heroes, who accomplished big things in real life. By showing people what was possible then, we inspire people to dream what might be possible tomorrow. And by holding these heroes to impossible standards, we blind our own selves to that same inspiration.
You don’t think Columbus still inspires? Did you watch the Space X landing last weekend?
About twelve hours after I finished my DTG post last week about Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s get-tough policy on sunbathers in Chicago at Lake Michigan, Chicago became Detroit. That’s not to say that you can now drive for miles in America’s third-largest city–for now–and see nothing but a few lived-in homes among the vacant lots and abandoned houses. Just as you didn’t encounter that in Detroit after the destructive riots there a few days after the 1967 riots faded away.
The Motor City hit rock bottom in 2013 when it declared bankruptcy.
These things take time. Detroit is turning things around now. But its vacant lots will be there for many years.
“Seventy percent of Chicago’s economic activity takes place in and around downtown,” Mike Flannery said last night on his Flannery Fired Up program on Fox Chicago, “and it’s in more peril now than ever before.”
And that’s where the looting, likely directed by Antifa, was centered late last Sunday night and early Monday morning–in and around downtown. Flannery called it “Sad, organized-crime looting.”
So the simple story is that economically speaking, the heart of Chicago is the Loop and North Michigan Avenue, the latter has been known as the Magnificent Mile for decades. You kill that and Chicago dies. Welcome to Detroit.
Last Sunday afternoon a 20-year-old Englewood man was shot by Chicago police officers; he has since been charged with first-degree attempted murder. The accused allegedly shot at the police. A rumor spread online–or was it a manufactured lie?–that the cops shot instead shot an unarmed 15-year-old boy in the same impoverished Englewood neighborhood.
Then came the looting later that night.
The coordinated manner of the looting consisted of mobile criminals, a few of them armed, that quickly descended on the Mag Mile. Some of them came with specialized tools such as drills to hasten the break-ins. There were reports of U-Hauls being packed with stolen goods. The thieves were more organized, Flannery remarked, than the 400 police officers dispatched downtown to confront them.
Much like the people of Englewood, the residents of the downtown area–and the business owners–don’t feel safe there. That’s not to say the folks of the South Side–or the even-worse off West Side–don’t deserve to feel safe. They certainly do. Some of that 70-percent-of-Chicago’s-economic-activity makes its way to the city’s poverty-stricken areas. Should they receive more of it? Probably, but that discussion will belong to shoulda-happened-looking-back rants that you’ll find on Reddit soon.
A few days after the most recent round of looting it was reported that Macy’s is considering leaving the glitzy Water Tower Place mall on North Michigan Avenue, or just perhaps they’ll just downsize there. Under the Marshall Field’s name Macy’s was an original tenant of the mall. What of the smaller operations, the family-run retail outlets who have been devastated with two rounds of looting in just over two months? When they leave, because they don’t have the big names, it won’t make big news. But when Chicago’s downtown area is dominated by boarded up store-fronts with signs declaring “Move in now–lease rates reduced again–first month free!” you’ll know the downtown descent is well under way.
As for the residents of the Loop, the Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, and Lakeview, unlike those people in Englewood, they can afford to move and swallow selling their homes at a loss. A lot of them will. “Why should I stay here?” many will wonder, “there is so much crime, there are no good restaurants here, and there are no decent places to shop.”
You don’t believe me? Here’s what Alderman Brian Hopkins (2nd), a Lightfoot opponent, said on that same Flannery Fired Up show. He decried “the economic devastation and the blow to our collective psyche,” as well as “the sense that people have that they can’t live here anymore, their safety is at risk if they try to live here.” Hopkins believes with the right actions Chicago can be saved. Lightfoot certainly knows that she is facing a severe crisis. But I suspect because she is an ideologue she is incapable of instituting meaningful policy changes.
Right now I believe that for Chicago it’s a matter of mitigating its decline and fall. The looting and riots are of course just a symptom. Chicago hasn’t had a Republican mayor since 1931 but it’s best-known mayor–and possibly its best-ever–was machine boss Richard J. Daley, who ruled America’s then-second-largest city with an iron fist from 1955 until 1976. He was a New Deal Democrat–with a strong law-and-order bent. But Lori Lightfoot is Chicago’s first leftist mayor. After the spring round of looting and riots she seemed more interested in protecting the rights of protesters than protecting citizens and businesses. Sadly the line between rioters and protesters in 2020 is blurry and that sentiment was expressed by a Black Lives Matter organizer who said last week in front of a Chicago Police station about looting, “That is reparations.”
Yesterday a march on the South Side evolved in a violent confrontation downtown between protesters and the police. Cops were attacked with mace, one police officer was repeatedly struck with a skateboard.
Many accounts of this latest round of looting mentioned that the criminals seemed emboldened. Of course they are.
Chicago has other serious problems. Its municipal pension programs are the worst-funded of any major city. Detroit’s fall was hastened by enacting a commuter and municipal income tax in 1963. Chicago doesn’t have either of those but it has its pension bomb. So does Cook County and the rest of Illinois. Lightfoot, to be fair, didn’t create the Chicago pension crisis. It was Boss Daley’s son, Richard M., another long-serving mayor, who bears most of the responsibility for that disaster.
Welcome to Detroit.
If there is a way out for Chicago, here it is. State law needs to be changed so municipalities and government agencies can declare bankruptcy. This move will in the short-term be painful as pensioners will receive a “haircut” and vendors will end up with ten-cents on the dollar or so for money owed to them. And the federal government needs to allow states to do the same.
Yep, just like Detroit.
I’m not gleeful about such a move. I have friends and relatives who are collecting those pensions. And as a man of the private-sector I don’t like seeing businesses getting short-changed. As a property owner living just five miles from the city limits I might get caught up in the financial tsunami too.
But the money wasn’t there for pensions in Chicago before COVID-19 and the riots. There’s less of it now.
I was born in Chicago and I’ve lived one-third of my life there. This story is tragic.
Agitators in Chicago complain of “systemic racism” and “white supremacy.” Perhaps. But then again perhaps not. Lightfoot, Foxx, as well as the Cook County president, Toni Preckwinkle, are African-American women. Chicago’s new police chief is a black man, he succeeded another African-American male. The chief judge of the Cook County Circuit Court is a black man too.
Another way to cushion Chicago’s fall is its citizens to vote, regardless of party-affiliation, for leaders who are results-oriented and not ideologues.
Apparently a small beer company in Seattle is making beer with the Acronym APAB (all Police are bastards) on each can. The owner says he’s happy to lose customers that disagree.
The irony here is palatable he is free to put whatever message he wants on the beer, other are free not to buy it, that’s free market capitalism at work.
The bigger irony? He is free to do so because he doesn’t have to worry about those who disagree torching his brewery, thanks to police.
In something right out of the movie The Devil & Daniel Webster, between 180 and 270 million bushels of corn in Iowa were likely damaged by hurricane force winds and rain that hit the state. Given that Corn is the basis for a lot of what we make and eat expect food prices to go up fast.
I finally got that replacement laptop I was talking about. I ended up buying a HP from my local Staples vs the Acer I was going to buy on Amazon because it seemed to me that every single laptop being sold there was from a 3rd party seller and the number of bad reviews of the specific sellers seemed awful high to me so I decided I’d rather buy somewhere so if there is a problem I can go to an actual person in an actual store face to face (or these days mask to mask) for relief rather than go to court.
It’s nice having choices like this rather than having to go through a monopoly like Amazon.
Counting the new laptop that is still in its box I now have 3 laptops functioning. All of my email in done on the oldest. This one is going to get hooked up to ann old screen with an HDMI cable as soon as I find one and the new one will be for my general work. Interesting point. Didn’t have brave on the oldest laptop and because I wanted a link for an email opened a site I visit regularly in chrome.
The number of ads and popups was astounding. You don’t really appreciate the joy of running a brower like Brave until you do without it.