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America vs. The World

The big trouble with dumb bastards is that they are too dumb to believe there is such a thing as being smart. — Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

News and notes

Mayor Daley
1.) Man, Daley is totally my boy. On Monday, exercising the veto for the first time in his 17 years in office, Chicago Mayor Richard Daley slapped down the big-box ordinance approved by the City Council last month. (Like many influential Chicagoans, Daley is a frequent reader of this blog.)

The City Council could still override the veto Wednesday, and the original ordinance passed by a large enough margin to do so. But a badass like Daley would never have used the veto, especially for the first time ever, unless he was confident it wouldn't be overridden. In fact, three of the bill's original supporters have already switched sides.

This is a huge political win for Daley, of course, and will teach the Council to think twice before crossing him. But it's also a victory for Chicago itself, especially those poorer communities which most stand to benefit from the new stores that will now proceed as planned. For all his corruption, Daley almost always ends up doing what's in the best interests of the city. Look for more on this in the Respect Rankings I'll be posting later this week. (Respect Rankings concept borrowed/stolen from Mills and Pierce at Urbanagora.)

2.) Speaking of Mills and Pierce, last week they linked to us and proclaimed Gordon and me their favorite former-and-current-Illini bloggers, amongst heavy competition. (To all of you taking notes, yes, flattery is the surest way to get a link back.)

Naturally, it was during a week where we weren't posting much, mostly because I was a little freaked about losing my job and Gordon... well, Gordon's just a lazy bum. Sorry about that.

Anyways, they're pretty good too, and you should check them out.

3.) This is shaping up to be one of the most important mid-term elections in American history; I don't think we can survive another two years of unfettered Republican control. If you're feeling slightly guilty because you haven't done anything, giving money is always an easy way to assuage guilt.

I've got a page where you can contribute to the campaigns of three guys running against the worst the GOP has to offer. Even if it's only $10, every little bit helps — I give about $20 every couple weeks or so.

Come on, it'll make feel good about yourself. Always works for me.

4.) The demonization of Katrina victims is a topic I've returned to several times. In my most recent post on the subject, I attributed a lot of it to the simple human desire to blame victims for their fate. While acknowledging that racism contributed to the problem, I didn't consider it the driving factor.

Digby, blogging about Katrina for most of a week, wasn't having any of that. Here's a couple snippets that made my toes curl; I can't believe I'd never heard about these before.
BATON ROUGE, La. — They locked down the entrance doors Thursday at the Baton Rouge hotel where I'm staying alongside hundreds of New Orleans residents driven from their homes by Hurricane Katrina.

"Because of the riots," the hotel managers explained. Armed Gunmen from New Orleans were headed this way, they had heard.

"It's the blacks," whispered one white woman in the elevator. "We always worried this would happen."


We organized ourselves and the 200 of us set off for the bridge with great excitement and hope. As we marched past the convention center, many locals saw our determined and optimistic group and asked where we were headed. We told them about the great news. Families immediately grabbed their few belongings and quickly our numbers doubled and then doubled again. Babies in strollers now joined us, people using crutches, elderly clasping walkers and others people in wheelchairs. We marched the 2-3 miles to the freeway and up the steep incline to the Bridge. It now began to pour down rain, but it did not dampen our enthusiasm.


As we approached the bridge, armed Gretna sheriffs formed a line across the foot of the bridge. Before we were close enough to speak, they began firing their weapons over our heads. This sent the crowd fleeing in various directions. As the crowd scattered and dissipated, a few of us inched forward and managed to engage some of the sheriffs in conversation. We told them of our conversation with the police commander and of the commander’s assurances. The sheriffs informed us there were no buses waiting. The commander had lied to us to get us to move.

We questioned why we couldn’t cross the bridge anyway, especially as there was little traffic on the six-lane highway. They responded that the West Bank was not going to become New Orleans and there would be no Superdomes in their city. These were code words for if you are poor and black, you are not crossing the Mississippi River and you were not getting out of New Orleans.
Read the whole post. It really lays bare the open racism of those chaotic days, now just over a year ago.


Blogger Billy Joe Mills said...

Good commentary on the Daley-Big Box story...I am simply curious whether something went on behind the scenes. Perhaps Wal-Mart promised him some type of campaign support or money or something...

If he had no personal incentives, other than his general interest in the City, then this is definitely a bold and courageous act. Right now the Tribune reports that a bunch of protestors have been around him all day...presumably those are his own people, the are likely Democrats. Perhaps what bothers people the most, the fact that he has a virtual hereditary kingship of the City, is the very thing which allows him to do the right thing and piss people off. He has virtually unlimited political capital.

Blogger Billy Joe Mills said...

Oh, and, for readers who are just as white as me and didn't understand the good Mayor's caption:

1. Hizzoner

A contraction of His Honor. Not city-centric, but used regularly in New York City newspapers, usually to set an informal tone about a public official.

"Hizzoner would have none of it."
2. Hizzoner
3 thumbs down

In Detroit, a sarcastic reference to Kwame Kilpatrick, the man who dubbed himself the "hip hop mayor."

May also be used to describe others who bring a "ghetto" or low class ethos to an otherwise-esteemed position, particularly in government.

It was recently disclosed that other cities' police forces refuse to guard Hizzoner after hours because of his unethical behavior.

Blogger Buck B. said...

Actually, Billy, I think you've hit on one of the things I like most about Daley — he's essentially an enlightened (at least in my mind) dictator, which is my favorite form of government.

If he had a personal stake in this, it's probably that he was pissed the City Council chose to go against a position he'd taken a stand on — something they don't usually do. LIke, ever. Hence his never having used the veto.

I've mostly heard "Hizzoner" specifically as a nickname for the mayor's father, Richard J. Daley, usually by my older relatives. It's kind of devolved to Daley The Younger as part of his birthright. Along with, you know, control of the city.

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