Least appealing headline, from a recent appliance-company news release: "Honestly Now, When's the Last Time You Cleaned Your Can Opener?"
"What happened to [Chicagoan and soon-to-be-former Democratic National Committee chairman David] Wilhelm is an allegorical tale of Washington, in which the allegiance he offered to the president who appointed him was returned neither by Clinton nor others around him," writes Dan Balz in the Washington Post weekly edition (August 15-21). "Not since George S. McGovern said he was '1,000 percent' behind his 1972 vice presidential candidate Thomas Eagleton, only to dump him days later, has a verbal pat on the back meant so little....[Wilhelm's] Chicago patrons, including Mayor Richard M. Daley and brother William Daley, urged him to resign in the face of relentless sniping. He rejected that advice too, fearing it would seem disloyal to Clinton. But Clinton did little to return the loyalty to Wilhelm. Instead, he and others allowed Wilhelm to become the scapegoat for the party's problems."
Things Republicans don't want to know, from "Families on Welfare," a May report by the U.S. General Accounting Office: "Contrary to popular belief, most AFDC families in 1976 were small, and most AFDC families today are small. In 1992, over one-third of single women receiving AFDC had one child, and over half had two or three children."
We "have an established religion in this country," insists Thomas Hetland, of the Center for Rebuilding America's Schools in Palatine, in Intellectual Ammunition (July/August). "And its church is the public school.... It works just like the colonial established churches. All are taxed to support it, though not all use it. You are free to choose another school system, but you must pay for the privilege. Worse, this established church demands that everyone be a worshipper. All are required to attend services, either at the public school for free or at the private school for an extra fee. If the kids don't worship somewhere, the parents can be arrested."
From one architect to another. "For me, this library is all about style. And, it's about the wrong style," says Helmut Jahn about the Harold Washington Library in an interview in Subnation (Volume Two, Issue Ten). "It's all about decoration. I don't think it's inventive....It fails on a lot of levels in terms of being a public building....A library today is about tapes and other media, not a container for the storage of books which is decorated in the way that reminds one of the past and not the future."
"Agents of dispossession" or diligent students? "Studying poverty comes increasingly to substitute for fighting inequality," complains Northwestern political scientist Adolph Reed Jr. As far as he's concerned, most studies of poverty are just "poverty pimping"-- acquiescing to and profiting from the status quo. In the Progressive (August), he turns on his own colleagues at NU's Center for Urban Affairs and Policy Research. "How lucrative is this new form of welfare fraud?...Affiliated faculty [at CUAPR] received a total of at least $4,800,000 for poverty research in 1992 and 1993 alone. The big hitters include professor Thomas D. Cook, who got $1,997,700 for projects on adolescence and schools, teen pregnancy, and racial-identity formation in the schools. John McKnight, who has retained high levels of public and private funding through Democratic and Republican administrations, received $499,200 for work on microlevel 'community innovations'--nonpolitical accommodations to systemic dispossession. Professor James Rosenbaum acquired $422,200 for studying school/employer linkages. (He thinks they're good, by the way.) Economist Rebecca Blank received $394,200, mainly for a joint project with Christopher Jencks to reproduce neo-liberal poverty pimps' professional DNA by 'training' graduate students as specialists on the underclass. Sociologist Roberto Fernandez received $237,400 for yet another rehash of the thesis that inner-city unemployment is so high mainly because black and brown poor people live too far away from the jobs for which they'd qualify....
"The originators of poverty pimping [in the 1960s] were creatures of a system of dispossession. The new academic perpetrators are also its active agents. They should be fingered as such publicly, since that's what we do with welfare cheats." Let's hope Professor Reed isn't planning on having coffee with these folks in the near future.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): illustration/Carl Kock.