Fenger fighting explained

A Fenger High neighbor who subs in city schools and whose wife taught there tells “Why they fight at Fenger” in a ChiTrib letter today, explaining at one point:

At Fenger, the Altgeld Gardens area is called “the dirty 130’s.” Altgeld students came to Fenger several years ago when Carver High School in the “Gardens” was changed to a military academy.

The conflict started when Altgeld students were sent to Fenger. This tension has been going on for a very long time. But every year, many of us noticed that the feuding escalated.

There were many times my wife expressed her concern about the tension among the students. There are always fights going on in the building.

He goes on to urge that adults “instill some moral and spiritual values in our children.”

But if they don’t, isn’t it better that kids go to school in their neighborhood, where they don’t run into outlanders?

This is the school and neighborhood where a kid was beaten to death with a board (not shot, as most South Side killings occur).  Wouldn’t it be a matter of common sense not to mix the two neighborhoods? 

But someone downtown — Arne Duncan before he followed Obama to Washington? — had the bright idea of making the Altgeld Gardens area school a selective military academy, and off the Altgeld kids went to Fenger.

If anyone has mentioned this specifically as an important aspect of the Fenger problem, I haven’t read about it.

Later: I better not assume you all know about the killing.  It’s here on videotape, if you can bear to look.

The Greising-Davis combine

How is David Greising (D.-ChiTrib) like Rep. Danny Davis (D.-IL)? 

Give up? 

Neither considers cost of national health care relevant.

Delegate Greising, who has a column:

There are some who see the problems with programs in Maine and Massachusetts and argue that is the reason the federal government cannot afford to meddle in health care.

But with health care insurance premiums eating up 18 percent of the typical family’s income, en route toward a 24 percent bite in 10 years if nothing is done to “bend” the cost curve downward, it’s not a question of whether the federal government can afford to meddle in health care more than it already does.

We already know where Rep. Davis stands.  “No price is too high for quality health care,” he said in a townhall meeting at Malcolm X College on Aug. 22.

Greising has an explanation: The high-cost Maine and Massachusetts insurance programs “show that government intervention is better than no action at all,” because “[t]he only way to bend the cost curve is to adopt national efforts, while remembering the lessons of Maine.”

Which are that if you provide health insurance, you spend more than you thought and/or run out of money.

In Mass. costs doubled in two years.  In Maine the state ran out of money after enrolling only 10% of the previously not enrolled.

Like Audrey in “Little Shop of Horrors,” Maine and Mass. want more.  Which in addition to her sense of civic responsibility may explain why Olympia Snowe voted the way she did.

Rep. Greising is all for “mandates,” as he puts it, in quotes.  Some object, but they merely

want minimal government and . . . apparently, are comfortable living in a country where people can “free ride” the system by not buying insurance, knowing all along that the taxpayers or hospitals will come to the rescue should they get terribly sick.


More about breakfast reading at Not For Attribution

Now what?

The morning read has two parts, I must add to yesterday’s Breakfast Challenge, pre– and at-breakfast.  There’s coffee in both, but one is pre-walk, the other after it.  Difference is, at the 2nd you take in heavier food requiring digestion, at the 1st lighter that is not so demanding on internal excretions.  At the 1st, rather than imbibing newspaper-style stuff with coffee — one cup at most — you want what makes best use of your semiconscious state, such as poetry by Pound or, as now, criticism by Hugh Kenner.

His book on American fiction and poetry (A Homemade World, Morrow, 1975) lies now on the little reading table in the front room, far from PC and ‘Net.  . . . .