How Chicago reclaimed the projects but lost the city
by Kevin D. Williamson,
February 13, 2013
Hey, man. Hey, man. What you need?” The question is part solicitation, part challenge, and the challenge part is worth paying attention to in a city with more than 500 murders a year. The question comes from a young, light-skinned black guy with freckles. We’re in the shadow of what used to be the infamous Cabrini-Green housing projects, only a 15-minute walk from the Hermès and Prada boutiques and the $32 brunch at Fred’s that identify Chicago’s Gold Coast as highly desirable urban real estate, a delightful assemblage of Stuff White People Like. Just down Division Street from the boutique hotels and the more-artisanal-than-thou Goddess and Grocer, Cabrini-Green is still in the early stages of gentrification, though it does have that universal identifier of urban reclamation: a Starbucks within view of another Starbucks.All that remains of Cabrini-Green is sad stories and the original section of row houses around which the projects grew up. Those row houses are being renovated as part of the foundations-up effort to rebuild the neighborhood. Even the name “Cabrini-Green” is being scrubbed from memory: The new mixed-income development on the site of the old Cabrini-Green Extension heaves under the unbearably pretentious name “Parkside of Old Town.” But some of the old commerce remains, and Freckles is pretty clearly an entrepreneur of the street. “You buying?” I ask what he’s selling, and he explains in reasonably civil terms that he is not in the habit of setting himself up for entrapment on a narcotics charge.
Cabrini-Green has had its share of tourists — in 1999, the film Whiteboyz found a group of Wonder Bread–colored hip-hop fans from Iowa visiting the site. But real estate and the scarcity thereof is the ruling fact of urban life, and once downtown Chicago began to evolve from a place in which people worked in factories and warehouses into a place in which people work in [....]
Soft Targets Back In Focus
by Scott Stewart,
February 13, 2013From time to time, I will sit down to write a series of analyses on a particular topic, such as the fundamentals of terrorism series last February. Other times, unrelated events in different parts of the world are tied together by analytical threads, naturally becoming a series. This is what has happened with the last three weekly security analyses -- a common analytical narrative has risen to connect them.
First, we discussed how the Jan. 16 attack against the Tigantourine natural gas facility near Ain Amenas, Algeria, would result in increased security at energy facilities in the region. Second, we discussed foreign interventions in Libya and Syria and how they have regional or even global consequences that can persist for years. Finally, last week we discussed how the robust, layered security at the U.S. Embassy in Ankara served to thwart a suicide bombing.
Together, these topics spotlight the heightened and persistent terrorist threat in North Africa as well as Turkey and the Levant. They also demonstrate that militants in those regions will be able to acquire weapons with ease. But perhaps the most important lesson from them is that as diplomatic missions are withdrawn or downsized and as security is increased at embassies and energy facilities, the threat is going [....]
by Dr Walter E. Williams,
February 16, 2013Steven Spielberg's "Lincoln" has been a box-office hit and nominated for 12 Academy Awards, including best picture, best director and best actor for Daniel Day-Lewis, who portrayed our 16th president. I haven't seen the movie; therefore, this column is not about the movie but about a man deified by many. My colleague Thomas DiLorenzo, economics professor at Loyola University Maryland, exposed some of the Lincoln myth in his 2006 book, "Lincoln Unmasked." Now comes Joseph Fallon, cultural intelligence analyst and former U.S. Army Intelligence Center instructor, with his new e-book, "Lincoln Uncensored." Fallon's book examines 10 volumes of collected writings and speeches of Lincoln's, which include passages on slavery, secession, equality of blacks and emancipation. We don't have to rely upon anyone's interpretation. Just read his words to see what you make of them.
In an 1858 letter, Lincoln said, "I have declared a thousand times, and now repeat that, in my opinion neither the General Government, nor any other power outside of the slave states, can constitutionally or rightfully interfere with slaves or slavery where it already exists." [....]
Ag Subsidies: Out-of-Hand?!?
by Erika Johnsen,
February 19, 2013There is no sector of the American economy that has been so systematically and unnecessarily coddled for so long as agriculture. Stretching back to the 1800s, the federal government has been steadily piling on a hugely complex network of subsidies, payouts, grants, insurances, exemptions, regulations, loan programs, tariffs, production controls, protections, and who even knows what else meant to help out the supposedly struggling agricultural industry — except that none of the ostensible reasons for which the government claimed they did so actually apply anymore, if they ever did in the first place.
Alleviating farmer poverty? Farm household incomes are well above the national median. Saving the family farm? The vast majority of federal subsidies benefit the largest and wealthiest echelon of agribusiness growers of the ten biggest crops, not the small farms producing the organic butternut squash and boutique tomatoes we’re told we should be eating. Ensuring a cheap and stable food supply? The government constantly distorts market signals that jack up prices and misallocate resources — the free market just does it better. Protecting the environment? Big fail there, too: The government’s subsidies are become a part of lands’ values and create incentives [....]
Guns and Pensions
by Dr Thomas Sowell,
February 19, 2013A nation's choice between spending on military defense and spending on civilian goods has often been posed as "guns versus butter." But understanding the choices of many nations' political leaders might be helped by examining the contrast between their runaway spending on pensions while skimping on military defense.
Huge pensions for retired government workers can be found from small municipalities to national governments on both sides of the Atlantic. There is a reason. For , pensions are virtually the ideal thing to spend money on, politically speaking. Many kinds of spending of the taxpayers' money win votes from the recipients. But raising taxes to pay for this spending loses votes from the taxpayers. Pensions offer a way out of this dilemma for politicians.
Creating pensions that offer generous retirement benefits wins votes in the present by promising spending in the future. Promises nothing in the short run — and elections are held in the [....]
Where Do Criminals Get Their Guns?
by Fox News,
Last month Fox News invited convicted criminals to share where they get their weapons that they use in crimes. A survey of Prison inmates found that 40% get them off the street, 40% from friends and family, 4% from pawnshops and 1% from flea markets and gun shows. Does that debunk the entire gun control narrative that regulating guns shows will reduce crime?
Feb 22, 1:52 AM EST
US gov't to air-drop toxic mice on Guam snakes
by Eric Talmadge,
February 22, 2013
ANDERSEN AFB, Guam (AP) -- Dead mice laced with painkillers are about to rain down on Guam's jungle canopy. They are scientists' prescription for a headache that has caused the tiny U.S. territory misery for more than 60 years: the brown tree snake.
Most of Guam's native bird species are extinct because of the snake, which reached the island's thick jungles by hitching rides from the South Pacific on U.S. military ships shortly after World War II. There may be 2 million of the reptiles on Guam now, decimating wildlife, biting residents and even knocking out electricity by slithering onto power lines.
More than 3,000 miles away, environmental officials in Hawaii have long feared a similar invasion - which in their case likely would be a "snakes on a plane" scenario. That would cost the state many vulnerable species and billions of dollars, but the risk will fall if Guam's air-drop strategy succeeds.
"We are taking this to a new phase," said Daniel Vice, assistant state director of U.S. Department of Agriculture's Wildlife [....]
Part 3 MAY follow...