Monthly Archives: July 2006

Schools, College, Israel

Bingo for Neil Steinberg today:

When the Rev. James Meeks tries to score political points by pinning the problems of the Chicago Public Schools on Mayor Daley, when he says, “These kids who started in kindergarten, they wasn’t messed up when they started in kindergarten. ..,” he is not only plain wrong, but devious and damaging.

He cites these debilities with which kids come to school already “messed up”:

Half arrive at their first day of school unable to identify the colors red, blue and yellow. Half are unable to speak in complete sentences.

Half do not know how to hold a pencil or a crayon, never mind write with one. Half can’t tell you their last names — heck, some kids show up for school and don’t even know their first names, only a street tag — “They call me ‘Lil Man.’ ” It takes a special parent to send their child to school without knowing his name — actually, not so special, which is heartbreaking.

This from admittedly 12–year-old surveys,

but the situation hasn’t changed. Students are “messed up” at the start — angry, unaccustomed to learning, unaccustomed to discipline, and ready to fail.

But not bingo! for the screaming headline story, “College Aid Falls Far Short of Need,” which breathlessly announces that some can’t afford the college of their choice even when qualified:

[S]ome students [have had] to take out more loans or work longer hours to pay for school — on top of loans and work study they already shouldered under federal financial aid formulas. Others have dropped courses or live at home to save money. Still others switch to more affordable two-year community colleges.

And in true daily newspaper sobbing fashion, this change is given flesh and blood by focus on one presumably deserving student, famous for a day, because she can’t go downstate to school.  No context is given, just emphasis on deprivation.  It’s the sort of story that makes liars out of newspapers.  They have to hype it up to sell.  Buyers beware.

Finally, truth be told, Chi Trib has its Monday sampling of the Best of Wash Post with Charles Krauthammer levelling with us about Israel in “Passing judgment on Israel-Hezbollah When wantonly attacked, one must disarm aggressor”:

What other country, when attacked in an unprovoked aggression across a recognized international frontier, is then put on a countdown clock by the world, given a limited time window in which to fight back, regardless of whether it has restored its own security? What other country sustains indiscriminate rocket attacks into its cities–every one designed to kill, maim and terrorize civilians–and is then vilified by the world when it tries to destroy the enemy’s infrastructure and strongholds with precision-guided munitions that sometimes have the unintended but unavoidable consequence of collateral civilian death and suffering?

And he further dismantles the proportionate-response argument vs. Israel, citing U.S. and U.K. performances which earned no such widespread criticism and/or condemnation.  No other country gets this treatment, just Israel, who is supposed to hunker down and head for the shelters, while madmen work for its destruction.

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Schools, College, Israel

Bingo for Neil Steinberg today:

When the Rev. James Meeks tries to score political points by pinning the problems of the Chicago Public Schools on Mayor Daley, when he says, “These kids who started in kindergarten, they wasn’t messed up when they started in kindergarten. ..,” he is not only plain wrong, but devious and damaging.

He cites these debilities with which kids come to school already “messed up”:

Half arrive at their first day of school unable to identify the colors red, blue and yellow. Half are unable to speak in complete sentences.

Half do not know how to hold a pencil or a crayon, never mind write with one. Half can’t tell you their last names — heck, some kids show up for school and don’t even know their first names, only a street tag — “They call me ‘Lil Man.’ ” It takes a special parent to send their child to school without knowing his name — actually, not so special, which is heartbreaking.

This from admittedly 12–year-old surveys,

but the situation hasn’t changed. Students are “messed up” at the start — angry, unaccustomed to learning, unaccustomed to discipline, and ready to fail.

But not bingo! for the screaming headline story, “College Aid Falls Far Short of Need,” which breathlessly announces that some can’t afford the college of their choice even when qualified:

[S]ome students [have had] to take out more loans or work longer hours to pay for school — on top of loans and work study they already shouldered under federal financial aid formulas. Others have dropped courses or live at home to save money. Still others switch to more affordable two-year community colleges.

And in true daily newspaper sobbing fashion, this change is given flesh and blood by focus on one presumably deserving student, famous for a day, because she can’t go downstate to school.  No context is given, just emphasis on deprivation.  It’s the sort of story that makes liars out of newspapers.  They have to hype it up to sell.  Buyers beware.

Finally, truth be told, Chi Trib has its Monday sampling of the Best of Wash Post with Charles Krauthammer levelling with us about Israel in “Passing judgment on Israel-Hezbollah When wantonly attacked, one must disarm aggressor”:

What other country, when attacked in an unprovoked aggression across a recognized international frontier, is then put on a countdown clock by the world, given a limited time window in which to fight back, regardless of whether it has restored its own security? What other country sustains indiscriminate rocket attacks into its cities–every one designed to kill, maim and terrorize civilians–and is then vilified by the world when it tries to destroy the enemy’s infrastructure and strongholds with precision-guided munitions that sometimes have the unintended but unavoidable consequence of collateral civilian death and suffering?

And he further dismantles the proportionate-response argument vs. Israel, citing U.S. and U.K. performances which earned no such widespread criticism and/or condemnation.  No other country gets this treatment, just Israel, who is supposed to hunker down and head for the shelters, while madmen work for its destruction.

Coming up big with crisis

Pardon me while I throw up at this history-deprived breathless Chi Trib HUGE story today about the oil crisis.  Fifteen thousand words!  Heaving is an option for me because I happen to be reading The Doomsday Myth, by Charles Maurice and Charles W. Simpson, a 1984 book out of the Hoover Institution at Stanford U.

Their first chapter, “The Energy Crisis Is Over!” is a rundown on what happened 1979–83, when newsies and others proclaimed the end of everything — “a long dry summer” and “Over a barrel,” both Newsweek cover stories in 1979 — but ended with stories of glut — “Down, down, down: OPEC finds that it is a crude, crude world” in Time in 1982 and “Oil prices hit the skids” in Newsweek in 1983.

They look back on “10,000 years of economic crises,” none of which ended everything, as we know, as bad as they were.

No matter.  Trib’s Paul Salopek, born yesterday as far as crisis-history goes, writes another chapter in panic:

TRIBUNE SPECIAL REPORT: Traveling from a gas station in the Chicago suburbs to Nigeria and beyond, the Tribune’s Paul Salopek retraced seemingly ordinary tankfuls of gas to the most fragile and hostile corners of the planet. His journey shows why our gas-fueled lifestyle is at risk.

Furthermore:

[T]o truly grasp the scope of the crisis looming before them, Americans must retrace their seemingly ordinary tankful of gasoline back to its shadowy sources. This is, in effect, a journey into the heart of America’s vast and troubled oil dependency. And what it exposes is a globe-spanning energy network that today is so fragile, so beholden to hostile powers and so clearly unsustainable, that our car-centered lifestyle seems more at risk than ever.

It would be different, of course, if he cited this argument by Maurice and Simpson, in addition to others.  One does not do it that way, however, when one wants or thinks he has a HUGE story.

In any case, his is the language of those news mags’ headlines.  So.  How are Salopek and his editors on crisis history?  Weak?

Coming up big with crisis

Pardon me while I throw up at this history-deprived breathless Chi Trib HUGE story today about the oil crisis.  Fifteen thousand words!  Heaving is an option for me because I happen to be reading The Doomsday Myth, by Charles Maurice and Charles W. Simpson, a 1984 book out of the Hoover Institution at Stanford U.

Their first chapter, “The Energy Crisis Is Over!” is a rundown on what happened 1979–83, when newsies and others proclaimed the end of everything — “a long dry summer” and “Over a barrel,” both Newsweek cover stories in 1979 — but ended with stories of glut — “Down, down, down: OPEC finds that it is a crude, crude world” in Time in 1982 and “Oil prices hit the skids” in Newsweek in 1983.

They look back on “10,000 years of economic crises,” none of which ended everything, as we know, as bad as they were.

No matter.  Trib’s Paul Salopek, born yesterday as far as crisis-history goes, writes another chapter in panic:

TRIBUNE SPECIAL REPORT: Traveling from a gas station in the Chicago suburbs to Nigeria and beyond, the Tribune’s Paul Salopek retraced seemingly ordinary tankfuls of gas to the most fragile and hostile corners of the planet. His journey shows why our gas-fueled lifestyle is at risk.

Furthermore:

[T]o truly grasp the scope of the crisis looming before them, Americans must retrace their seemingly ordinary tankful of gasoline back to its shadowy sources. This is, in effect, a journey into the heart of America’s vast and troubled oil dependency. And what it exposes is a globe-spanning energy network that today is so fragile, so beholden to hostile powers and so clearly unsustainable, that our car-centered lifestyle seems more at risk than ever.

It would be different, of course, if he cited this argument by Maurice and Simpson, in addition to others.  One does not do it that way, however, when one wants or thinks he has a HUGE story.

In any case, his is the language of those news mags’ headlines.  So.  How are Salopek and his editors on crisis history?  Weak?

Teardown timeout

OP’s village board reaches out:

Oak Park trustees are looking to stop teardowns that are threatening predominantly single-family blocks in multifamily zones.

At a study session Thursday, trustees directed Village Attorney Ray Heise to draft an ordinance that would prohibit demolition permits to be issued for single-family homes and small flats in multifamily districts for 90 days.

Trustees expect to have a first reading of the ordinance at a special meeting tomorrow, and vote to adopt it Monday.

That’s fast work, but

“We have the power as a home-rule community to do it,” said Trustee Robert Milstein, who led the charge for a moratorium. “We need to have some courage as a board.”

We can’t let that power go to waste, can we?

Praise from Caesar

It’s cute how NY Times calls Chicago “the Windy City.”  And it has almost nothing but praise for the Big-Box ordinance, of which it approves as far as it go.  But what this country really needs is legislative pay increases for the lowest paid across the board:

Laws should not be tailored selectively for individual companies, and most of the working poor will not be helped by simply targeting big retailers. An approach fragmented among many localities is also inefficient and in some instances illegal. The courts will decide that question. But the Chicago ordinance is a powerful expression of public dismay. The lot of the most disadvantaged will only improve if the issue is forced, as it was in the Windy City.

Public dismay, eh?  Wouldn’t we like to know as little about Chicago aldermanic politics as that newspaper?

Praise from Caesar

It’s cute how NY Times calls Chicago “the Windy City.”  And it has almost nothing but praise for the Big-Box ordinance, of which it approves as far as it go.  But what this country really needs is legislative pay increases for the lowest paid across the board:

Laws should not be tailored selectively for individual companies, and most of the working poor will not be helped by simply targeting big retailers. An approach fragmented among many localities is also inefficient and in some instances illegal. The courts will decide that question. But the Chicago ordinance is a powerful expression of public dismay. The lot of the most disadvantaged will only improve if the issue is forced, as it was in the Windy City.

Public dismay, eh?  Wouldn’t we like to know as little about Chicago aldermanic politics as that newspaper?

Daley courageous

Daley’s “profiles in courage” toss-off the other day, about aldermen unwilling to oppose big box/living wage, is suspicious, to say the least.  When has he bet on a not-sure thing except when he ran for mayor the first time and had no choice?  In the case of this bb/lw veto, for instance, do we think he will do it without first getting the votes to sustain it?  Do we think he will do it either way?  Reliable Spielman reports aldermanic opinion that he won’t:

The fact that all of the undecided votes broke labor’s way led some aldermen to believe that Daley wanted it that way to get himself off the veto hook. 

As for the suit v. bb/lw by retailers, held off until Daley does or does not veto at the 9/13 council meeting, Chi Trib discusses decisions about big-box legislation with nary a mention of this year’s Maryland fed court case that shot a bb ordinance down.  The Defender, in a Medill News Service article, thought it worth reporting, however. 

As for minimum wage in general, as in House Repub leaders wanting to raise it nationally, consider this from Cato chairman William A. Niskanen:

An increase in the minimum wage has long been a symbolic issue for the Democrats, however inconsistent with their other professed political values. House Republicans should challenge the Democrats on this issue, pointing out that an increase in the minimum wage would most hurt those that they claim to help.

Take Emma Mitts’s 37th ward, for instance.  It’s a half mile east of Oak Park but worlds away in terms of unemployment.  Ald. Emma is against bb/lw ordinance, needless to say.

Daley courageous

Daley’s “profiles in courage” toss-off the other day, about aldermen unwilling to oppose big box/living wage, is suspicious, to say the least.  When has he bet on a not-sure thing except when he ran for mayor the first time and had no choice?  In the case of this bb/lw veto, for instance, do we think he will do it without first getting the votes to sustain it?  Do we think he will do it either way?  Reliable Spielman reports aldermanic opinion that he won’t:

The fact that all of the undecided votes broke labor’s way led some aldermen to believe that Daley wanted it that way to get himself off the veto hook. 

As for the suit v. bb/lw by retailers, held off until Daley does or does not veto at the 9/13 council meeting, Chi Trib discusses decisions about big-box legislation with nary a mention of this year’s Maryland fed court case that shot a bb ordinance down.  The Defender, in a Medill News Service article, thought it worth reporting, however. 

As for minimum wage in general, as in House Repub leaders wanting to raise it nationally, consider this from Cato chairman William A. Niskanen:

An increase in the minimum wage has long been a symbolic issue for the Democrats, however inconsistent with their other professed political values. House Republicans should challenge the Democrats on this issue, pointing out that an increase in the minimum wage would most hurt those that they claim to help.

Take Emma Mitts’s 37th ward, for instance.  It’s a half mile east of Oak Park but worlds away in terms of unemployment.  Ald. Emma is against bb/lw ordinance, needless to say.

$13 an hour revisited

Cato Institute chimes in on Chicago’s legislated wage increase:

In “Minimum Wage Socialism,” James A. Dorn, professor of economics at Towson University and editor of the Cato Journal, writes: “The idea that legislators can help low-income workers simply by mandating a pay raise is the height of hubris. While the minimum-wage rhetoric may sound good, the reality is quite different. Forcing employers to pay low-skilled workers a higher than market wage — in the absence of any changes in productivity — will decrease the number of workers hired (the law of demand).”

Meanwhile, Rush Limbaugh asks, as he always ask when minimum-wage legislation comes up, Why stop at $13 an hour by 2010?  If it’s a good thing, then move it to $75G a year for all, with fully paid, no-copay health and medical?  These Second City aldermen are pikers.

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