Chicago

Photo Of The Day

This legendary 1973 photo by Bob Gruen of Led Zeppelin standing in front of their own “Led Zeppelin Airplane” helped make the band bigger than life.

This legendary 1973 photo by Bob Gruen of Led Zeppelin standing in front of their own “Led Zeppelin Airplane” helped make the band bigger than life.

“The Starship”

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Photo Of The Day

Yelling at U.S. Dep Marshal Stanley Pringle after Madama Butterfly. Chicago, 1955.

Yelling at U.S. Dep Marshal Stanley Pringle after Madama Butterfly. Chicago, 1955.

Maria Callas in Chicago

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Crime drops in Chicago…you’ll never guess why

Crime has dropped dramatically in Chicago.

What has caused this?

Is it better welfare payments to the poor? Nope.

What about increased resources to Police? Nope.

What then?

Gun rights activists have often held up Chicago as an example of the failures of gun control. The city has historically had some of the strictest laws against gun ownership while also suffering under some of the worst crime rates in the US. In 2012, Chicago surpassed New York as America’s murder capital. However, after the US Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit struck down Illinois’ ban on concealed carry in December of 2012, a concealed carry program was implemented in the state this year, finally and for the first time allowing law-abiding Chicago residents to arm themselves in public against the city’s seemingly-perpetual crime wave.

According to The Washington Times, now that citizens in Chicago can legally defend themselves, the city’s historically disastrous crime rates have begun to plummet precipitously. Police department crime statistics note that, in the first quarter of 2014, the homicide rate in Chicago has dropped to a 56-year low. In 2014 so far, burglaries are down by 20%, auto theft rates have dropped by 26%, and robberies leading to arrests are down by 20%.

The Chicago Police Department wasted no time in declaring victory and claiming credit for the drop in crime, but Illinois State Rifle Association executive director Richard Pearson told The Washington Times, “The police department hasn’t changed a single tactic — they haven’t announced a shift in policy or of course — and yet you have these incredible numbers.” He feels that the drop in crime can at least in part be attributed to the implementation of concealed carry in Illinois. Said Pearson, “It isn’t any coincidence crime rates started to go down when concealed carry was permitted. Just the idea that the criminals don’t know who’s armed and who isn’t has a deterrence effect.”

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Photo Of The Day

“Unemployed men queued outside a depression soup kitchen opened in Chicago by Al Capone,” February 1931.

“Unemployed men queued outside a depression soup kitchen opened in Chicago by Al Capone,” February 1931.

Al Capone’s Soup Kitchen during the Great Depression, Chicago, 1931

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Photo Of The Day

Photo: Reuters/John Gress It's an incredible sight. A building covered in ice, with fire fighters working to extinguish an enormous blaze in a warehouse in below-freezing temperatures on January 23, 2013.

Photo: Reuters/John Gress
It’s an incredible sight. A building covered in ice, with fire fighters working to extinguish an enormous blaze in a warehouse in below-freezing temperatures on January 23, 2013.

Chicago‘s Freezing Fire

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Map of the Day

Chicago - 1833

Chicago in 1833, population – 350.

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Looks like Global Warming is giving it a miss again

Several news items suggest that despite the moaning and propaganda of the warmists it appears that global warming is nowhere to be seen, even in the summer of the Antarctic.

An Antarctic-bound ship spent Christmas awaiting rescue after the ship became wedged in thick sheets of sea ice.

The ice-breaker Akademik Shokalski set sail for the sub- Antarctic and Antarctica from Bluff on a mission of science and discovery, which sailed on November 28.

The month-long Australasian Antarctic Expedition is following in the footsteps of explorer and scientist Sir Douglas Mawson, one century on.

Central Otago woman Nicole Kerr is one of the crew members.

Omakau-raised Ms Kerr was on board the Akademik Shokalski as a chef.

The ship had been on a multi-day tour from New Zealand to visit several sites along the edge of Antarctica.The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) received a distress call on this morning, notifying the rescue co-ordination centre that the ship was trapped in ice and would need help.

It is not known how long the ship has been unable to break free from the ice floes.   Read more »

Tuesday nightCap

A journalist, trained and skilled.  Nothing much has changed it seems.

Want to fix Education? Get rid of the unions

If you want to fix education then the single best thing that anyone can do is get rid of the unions.

The Chicago teachers strike is over, but the public didn’t win. Schools will still transfer bad teachers to other schools because it’s nearly impossible to fire them. When bad teachers go from school to school, principals call it “the dance of the lemons.” It would be funny if those teachers didn’t slowly wreck children’s lives.

The basic issue is: Who decides how to manage a workplace? Unions say it’s good that they protect American workers from arbitrary dismissal and make sure everyone is treated equally.

But it’s not good.

Rules that “protect” government workers from arbitrary dismissal and require everyone be treated equally are bad for taxpayers and “customers” — and even union workers themselves.

But this is not intuitive. Union workers certainly have no clue about it.

At a union rally, I asked union workers if it bothered them that slackers are paid as much as good workers. The activists actually said, “There is no slacker,” and that union rules mean less productive colleagues are helped, “brought up to speed.”

C’mon, I asked, aren’t there some workers who are just lazy, who drag the enterprise down?

“No!” they told me.

The union activists were also quick to say that unions built the middle class, that without unions, greedy bosses would lead a “race to the bottom” and pay workers next to nothing. “There would be no weekend, or eight-hour day!” they told me. “All that came from unions!”

Nonsense.

Workers’ lives improved in America because of free enterprise, not because of union rules. Union contracts helped workers for a while, but then they hurt — even union workers — because the rigid rules prevent flexibility in response to new market conditions. They slow growth. And growth — increasing productivity, which leads to higher wages and new opportunities — is what is best for workers.

Reconciliation personified

People have asked my why I am blogging about gay issues and marriage equality…as is often the case I have come across my answer in another blog post or article:

Two years ago, I went to Chicago’s Pride Parade. Some friends and I, with The Marin Foundation, wore shirts with “I’m Sorry” written on it. We had signs that said, “I’m sorry that Christians judge you,” “I’m sorry the way churches have treated you,” “I used to be a bible-banging homophobe, sorry.” We wanted to be an alternative Christian voice from the protestors that were there speaking hate into megaphones.

What I loved most about the day is when people “got it.” I loved watching people’s faces as they saw our shirts, read the signs, and looked back at us. Responses were incredible. Some people blew us kisses, some hugged us, some screamed thank you. A couple ladies walked up and said we were the best thing they had seen all day. I wish I had counted how many people hugged me. One guy in particular softly said, “Well, I forgive you.”

Watching people recognize our apology brought me to tears many times. It was reconciliation personified.

My favorite though was a gentleman who was dancing on a float. He was dressed solely in white underwear and had a pack of abs like no one else. As he was dancing on the float, he noticed us and jokingly yelled, “What are you sorry for? It’s pride!” I pointed to our signs and watched him read them.

Then it clicked.

Then he got it.

He stopped dancing. He looked at all of us standing there. A look of utter seriousness came across his face. And as the float passed us he jumped off of it and ran towards us. In all his sweaty beautiful abs of steal, he hugged me and whispered, “thank you.”

Before I had even let go, another guy ran up to me, kissed me on the cheek, and gave me the biggest bear hug ever. I almost had the wind knocked out of me; it was one of those hugs.

This is why I do what I do. This is why I will continue to do what I do. Reconciliation was personified.