"Politics is about enmity," says Seventh Circuit federal appellate judge and Hyde Park resident Richard Posner in the New Yorker (December 10). "It's about getting together with your friends and knocking off your enemies. The basic fallacy of liberalism is the idea that if we get together with reasonable people we can agree on everything. But you can't agree: strife is ineradicable, a fundamental part of nature, in storms and in human relations."
Acronym watch. "I had no life beside my students and NBC," said one teacher involved in the yearlong process of obtaining National Board Certification (from the Chicago Panel's Initiative Status Report, "National Teacher Certification," Summer).
Quotes you won't find anytime soon in a northwest Indiana newspaper. Robert Crandall of the Brookings Institution was quoted in the December 9 Baltimore Sun commenting on a proposed bailout of bankrupt Bethlehem Steel in which federal taxpayers would pay its health-care costs of $1 billion a year so that U.S. Steel could more conveniently buy the failed company. He said such a measure would do little to stimulate the economy because "the entire industry...has a market cap of less than $3 billion. It's a very small, almost inconsequential part of the economy."
Don't read the paper? Paul Varnell (Chicago Free Press, November 21) thinks you should: "There are some people out there, outside the gay enclave, who want you dead. Even more people want you powerless, invisible, delegitimized, sexless, isolated without a community, feeling guilt-ridden, miserable and in therapy, or languishing in jail. They are doing whatever they can to influence the culture and pressure governments to make that happen. You might want to keep an eye on them."
A Chicago that might have been. On September 28 John Calloway gave a talk at the Design Excellence Awards ceremony of the Chicago branch of the American Institute of Architects. He recalled covering the near west side's unsuccessful early-60s struggle against Richard J. Daley's plan to put the Chicago campus of the University of Illinois in the neighborhood. "I remember writing an editorial...and I suggested that they clear Goose Island as a campus. And the more I looked at it, it's an idea that I don't think was all that half-baked. But they didn't listen to us."
Welfare reformed. "Chicago's Project Match, a nonprofit group that helps poor people get jobs and move up the career ladder, experienced a jump in its enrollment in the late summer and early fall of 2001," writes Tom Mirga in an article published in the January/February issue of the Democratic Leadership Council's magazine Blueprint. "'Instead of 10 new people coming in a month we're now seeing 20,' says Toby Herr, the group's director and a senior research associate at Chicago's Erikson Institute. 'What's significant is that these are people who aren't connected to any sort of mandatory work program. A lot are former TANF [Temporary Assistance for Needy Families] recipients. And there's been a significant increase in men that we just hadn't seen before. People are saying the economy is putting pressure on them to keep their job. We're seeing more and more people consciously reaching out to get help finding and keeping work.'"
NIMBY watch. From a December 3 press release issued by the Alliance of Residents Concerning O'Hare: "There are better alternatives to manage and expand Chicago's transportation system than to continually expand airports: re-instate the high-density rule, develop intermodal high-speed rail transport, build new airports removed from urban populations." That way the cows could find out where the grass really is greener.
Could sprawl fight terrorism? Randal O'Toole, writing in the Heartland Institute's "Environment and Climate News" (December), thinks so: "The World Trade Center compactly fit into just 16 acres, and the terrorists destroyed it and several nearby buildings with two airplanes. The Pentagon, which has about two-thirds of the office space of the WTC, sprawls across 583 acres. With one plane, the terrorists demolished only about 6 percent of that space."