A Walk Through The Windy City

IMG_7607I am in my hometown of Chicago this weekend — still recovering from the loss of our Cubs to the Dodgers (who cheated by hitting the balls outside of Wrigley where our players could not catch them and throwing the balls really, really fast so we could not hit them).  Returning home for me continues to be rejuvenating, particularly with this unseasonably warm weather.  I wanted to share a few pictures of our beautiful city to counter the dire descriptions that have been raised in the political forum.  Chicago is experiencing a terrible violent crime wave, but the city is not the hellscape that comes out of some political exchanges.  I will readily admit that I am biased.  I have always been proud to be a Chicagoan and raised in this resilient city.  I hope that people will come for themselves to experience the wonderful lakeshore, restaurants, bars, museums, architecture, boating, sports, and sights.

The city continues to dig out of huge debt and rising crime rates.  Chicago has always struggled with corrupt and poor leadership.  The responsibility ultimately rests with the voters who continue to accept politicians who avoid tough decisions while pandering to special interests.  The city continues to reelect politicians who ran both the city and the state into virtual bankruptcy. Whether it was bloated pensions plans to secure votes while approval of a corrupt parking meter contract, Chicago politicians simply kicked the can down the road toward an eventual economic meltdown.  With record murder rates, our leaders continue to pass and then repeal dumb taxes like the soda tax.  

However, the city remains a unique place with some of the friendliest people you can hope to meet.

I took a long walk yesterday to the Lincoln Zoo on a picture-perfect day.   It remains one of my favorite spots. It is a cute little zoo that has used its limited footprint to create a surprisingly diverse array of animals.  It is so much better than when I was a kid. There is more and better space for the animals including a wonderful polar bear exhibit.  When I grew up coming to see “Big Mike” on a weekly basis, his cage was terribly cramped. It is not much larger and humane.

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I then took my 90-year-old Mom to her favorite place: the doggie beach.  A new addition to the huge beach for dogs is a dog wash contractor called Mutt Jackson. For $10, you can now wash and blow dry your dog with shampoo and conditionaer supplied. There are also meat “doggie cigars” and Doggie beer (beef broth). It was fun to watch and a great idea.

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Today I go out to see many in my family in Naperville and watch the Bears hopefully beat the Panthers.

Even with the untimely demise of the 2017 Cubs, Chicago remains unbent and proud.  The “City of Big Shoulders” has shrugged off the Cubs loss.  We have been in worse spots.

So all I can say is “Go Hawks.”

79 thoughts on “A Walk Through The Windy City

  1. Enjoy the continuous crime wave that is Chicago. It is merely a mirror of the corruption within the city government that has advanced corruption for its own profit and consolidation of power. In short, Turley is bemoaning the fate of the city whose very politics coincide with his own. Of course, Turley will take no responsibility for his long-standing support for the politics of corruption. Leftists never do. Their only answer to the misery, corruption, crime, and destruction their policies have wrought is to demand more Leftism. This is where the old saying, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

    There is no cure for Leftism. For them, it is not even an issue of “learning from their mistakes.” They DEMAND that their mistakes be repeated over and over and over again where Leftism has not , fortunately, yet fallen to its diseased policies.

    Happy now, “Professor” Turley? Enjoy.

  2. My Dad grew up in Chicago and lived there during prohibition.
    He had an out-of-town friend who refused to visit because he heard it was so dangerous.
    My father had little or no experience of any danger and finally convinced his friend to visit.
    On his way from the train station, his taxi was at a stop light when men in 2 cars stood up and fired Tommy Guns at each other. My father’s friend, who was on the floor, told the driver to turn around and take him back to the train station.

    • Hey Malcom, I’m one of the co-founders of Mutt Jackson, the business where Jonathan saw the “Dog Cigars” and “Dog Beer.” Please feel free to email me at PaulF@MuttJackson.com, and I can share with you how to order the cigars.

    • Exactly !!! It is even bad in the burbs now … This guy says he is from Narperville He is clueless of what can really happen down there. Well then again there have been a few too many Prostitution stings, moms killing their kids and husbands freaking out killing their entire family in the Ritzy suburb of Naperville.

      • Exactly !!! It is even bad in the burbs now

        No, it is not. There are inner-ring suburbs with homicide rates like the more congenial neighborhoods in the city (~ 5.6 per 100,000), but only a single-digit share of the suburban population lives there. The truly disagreeable area of the metropolis outside the City of Chicago are the municipalities of Harvey in Cook County, Illinois and Hammond, East Chicago, and Gary in Lake County, Indiana. The total population of these four municipalities about 215,000 out of a suburban population of 5.6 million (and portions of Hammond are satisfactory).

  3. Richard J. Daley was an exceedingly decent man and had many accomplishments. He also presided over the decay in public order that nearly all core cities experienced after 1958 or thereabouts. The ‘city that works’ didn’t work any better than most others in that respect. It just wasn’t the catastrophe that Detroit or DC or St. Louis City was.

    Up until a couple of years ago, you could say of Chicago’s public order situation ‘it could be worse’. Not now. Given Chicago’s demographics, their police staffing is adequate. It’s just that they’re indifferently deployed and do not use best practices. In 2013, the City of Chicago encompassed about 30% of the dense metropolitan settlement and about 85% of the population in troublesome neighborhoods in that settlement. New York City encompassed about 45% of the dense metropolitan settlement and roughly 75% of the population in troubled neighborhoods in that settlement. The share of the whole living in troubled neighborhoods (~13%) is about the same in these loci. You’d expect Chicago’s homicide rate to be about 1.5x New York’s. It was at that time 3.3x New York’s. If the rest of the year is as bad as the year-to-date, Chicago may end the year with a rate 5x that of New York. At least it’s not Detroit.

    And, of course, the schools are the country’s worst. And it’s Mayor is a famously awful human being (in contrast to the Mayor of New York, who is merely odd and annoying).

  4. Despite being one of Hillary’s deplorables I thouroughly enjoy and respect your musings, views and judgements.
    This goes back to Clinton the Bill legal struggles.

  5. Always appreciate the photos, JT. There is the wealthy and white blue collar Chicago. Then there is the poor black and Hispanic Chicago. When I lived and worked there I spent a lot of time in the latter, being a PI. It was bad in the 80’s but it’s depraved now.

    • There has been a solid black middle class in Chicago for a very long time. There are also upper class black people. The same can be said for the hispanics. Not as divided by race as you say. Go to any office there and you will see people of color in all professions that are doing well.

      • swm – there is a reported “black flight” from Chicago right now. Probably upper and middle class who can afford to move.

        • There’s been a considerable black suburban population for at least a generation. Same deal in Detroit, and, in fact, just about anywhere else. About 1/3 of the black population lives nestled unobtrusively in and among the larger society. The blacks living in concentrated urban zones are on a spectrum. You have knots of affluence, like Rochester’s 19th ward. Those aside, at one end of the spectrum, you have ordinary wage-earners who assess the trade-offs of moving out differently from their neighbors who have left. On the other, you have ghastly lumpenproletarians who make everyone miserable. In between, you have wage-earners with somewhat low-rent manners which emerge when demographic balances reach a certain level. They’re not globally awful people. They are just abrasive and others move away from them.

          • Ferguson gets defamed in the Press on a daily basis. One thing in the minds of the media dorks is that Ferguson is now 70% black. But the population is middle class to wealthy. No projects. Drive around and see. It is nicer now than forty years ago. White Flight? From Ferguson? They moved to new subidvisions and new homes. That is the center of White Flight. Same with Black Flight. People move to what is their notion of better housing. Chuck Todd: eat itShay. Ferguson is not a Ghetto as you said on tv.

      • SWM, You are projecting your disdain for me w/ things I DID NOT say. I lived and worked in Chicago. When we moved to very liberal Madison from Chicago we lamented there were no upper and middle class black or Hispanic, just poor. Both my bride and I worked and socialized w/ middle and upper middle class black and Hispanic people in Chicago. If you know Chicago, you know many upper and upper middle class people of ALL colors have fled to the suburbs. Hell, people who work in Chicago now are building homes in Kenosha County! Black people are not welcomed in the very liberal Gold Coast. Dirty little secret..like Harvey Weinstein.

        • Hyde Park around the U of Chicago is a black bastion where of course the Obama’s lived. I don’t think they’ve visited there more than a few times the past decade.

          • The area where BO lived, if I’m not mistaken, is a gated community or something just this side of a gated community and has a private security force.

            • Spam, Hyde Park is just a neighborhood around the U of Chicago. It borders one of the worst neighborhoods on the south side of Chicago. It sits on the lake so they are safe from that direction, unless the gangs of Gary, Indiana go amphibious.

              • Steven Sailer, a lasped Chicago denizen. He has written about Hyde Park and the peculiar security features which are available where BO and family were living.

                • The University of Chicago has an interest in keeping that neighborhood safe. “There were 2.5 Property crimes per 1,000 people in Hyde Park in the past 30 days. (down 30% year over year2). Hyde Park ranks 35th (tied) among Chicago’s 77 community areas for Property crime reports in this time period.”

            • The news reports that they’re moving to Manhattan are speculative.

              They’ve been living at a glam address in DC and hunting for property in SoCal. Valerie Jarrett has all but moved in with them.

              Mooch is the Chicago native, not BO. Her father is long deceased, her mother has been living with them, and her brother has been living in Oregon. I think BO did have aunts and uncles which included Chicago denizens, but it’s doubtful he ever cared much about them. It is true that their very circumscribed set of personal friends (Eric Whittaker, et al) do live in Chicago.

              • Last I heard, the Obama’s were looking at buying a home in Hawaii, a home in Palm Springs (Coachella Valley), a home on Martha’s Vineyard, and now a home in Manhattan in addition to the mansion they already bought in Washington, DC. Maybe they bought them all?

                Isn’t it amazing how uber-wealthy our ‘public servants’ become? Why do ‘we the taxpayers’ have to pay them a ‘pension and perks package’ for the next 30+ years when they can walk out of the White House with a net worth of over $65 million with the potential for hundreds of millions more $ flowing into their bank accounts? In any event, the Obama’s will always call Chicago home, but they will never make it their home again.

                • It didn’t used to be that way.

                  There were no presidential pensions prior to 1958. Congress enacted one in part because Harry Truman was so impecunious. Herbert Hoover accepted the pension (he didn’t need) so as not to embarrass Truman. The Trumans had a handsome home in Missouri, but it was the Wallace family homestead that Bess had grown up in. As a courtesy, the Trumans were the first two people to sign up for Medicare, which, again, was a benefit they could use.

                  The Eisenhowers, who had led an itinerant life as a military couple, bought their first home in 1952. Mamie had grown up in well-to-do circumstances, which may account for the house being too elaborate for a married couple. The Eisenhower’s had multiple income sources: Mamie’s private income, the issue of royalties from Ike’s memoirs, Ike’s military pension (37 years on active duty, retiring with the highest rank evah), and his presidential pension.

                  Mrs. Kennedy / Onassis had ample resources (derived from her marriages; her father pee’d away a fortune and anything derived from her step-father she likely would not have seen until she was past 60) and wanted as little to do with public life as she could manage. There were a handful of philanthropies for which she raised funds and she made some public appearances on behalf of her b-i-l but otherwise had nothing to say.

                  The Johnsons were crooks, of course, the main point of contention being to what degree Lady Bird was his accomplice. OTOH, I don’t think either one ever hit the cash speaking circuit.

                  Nixon I think was made wealthy by derivatives of his political career – his partnership at Mudge, Rose, Guthrie, and Alexander and his participation in Bebe Rebozo’s businesses. That I would call honest graft – nothing shady per se, but opportunities which would not have been available had he not been a prominent office-holder. He had legal debts though. He accepted a one-off from David Frost of $600,000 for 29 hours of one-on-one interviews (a contextually similar sum today would be about $4,000,000).

                  About Nixon, James Fallows (playing the liberal twerp) said ‘who else would have asked for a fee?’, The answer is, just about any one of his successors. As far as I’m aware, Jimmy Carter hasn’t had his snout in the trough, but the rest of them have to one degree or another. I think in Reagan’s case, it may have been a few lucrative one-offs. He began to implode mentally in 1993 and was suitable for any public appearance thereafter. Gerald Ford was the pioneer of this sort of piggery. Supposedly, George Bush the Elder figured if he set his fee high enough, no one would bother, so he tells his assistant, ‘tell ’em $100,000′ and discovered there were still takers. His son’s had ample income from these sources. You don’t hear about it because he only speaks at confidential gatherings.

                  Still in all, no one beats the Clintons for cupidity. The grossness of that crew could never be matched by the Fords at their cheesiest.

                  Prior to 1965, past Presidents had no Secret Service protection. I’m not sure that Eisenhower or Truman took it when proffered. When he was in office, Margaret Truman had a detail, but Bess shoo’d them away. You’ll recall that Puerto Rican nationalists tried to kill Truman in 1950 and murdered a DC police officer in the attempt. Mrs. Kennedy shlepped around Manhattan from 1975 until her death with no detail following her. She hadn’t had any after she married Onassis and the detail was w/d from her son in 1973 at the family’s request. The Nixons voluntarily gave up their detail in 1986. That should tell you that 12 years is enough. At one time, there was a statute which limited post-presidential details to 10 years, but I think they repealed it before it applied to anyone. What Michael Kinsley said in 1984 still applies: “The brutal truth of the matter is that even if Lady Bird Johnson’s life were in danger, the functioning of democracy would not be compromised”. Aside from Mrs. Kennedy and (after 1986) the Nixons, they’ve all had guards tailing them at great public expense.

                  Then there are the bloody ‘presidential libraries’, most of which have too few visitors to justify the expense of maintaining them.

                  1. Limit the Secret Service protection to 12 years.

                  2. Build a modular records center in Kansas City and move the archival material in the presidential libraries there. Turn the residuum of the presidential libraries over to the county governments in question and pledge to never build another one.

                  3. Grant the president a salary determined by the following formula: ((f/6.66) ^ (0.215)) x 2 x c where “f” is the number of federal employees (FTE) and ‘c’ is the mean compensation per employee in the economy. Subject it to taxation on the same terms as everyone else and withhold 15% as a retirement purse. While he’s in office, he’ll have full medical, the l/t care insurance available to federal employees, meals, transportation, security, domestic service, and berths at presidential retreats. He won’t need much cash except when he’s fartin’ around Martha’s Vinyard. He gets a retirement purse, not a pension. He only gets a pension if he’s vested for one after requisite time as a federal employee, and all pensions must be actuarially sound.

                  4. Place federal price controls on honoraria for quondam federal employees contracted for across state lines. You get a roundtrip plane ticket, a night in a hotel, a limo ride, and a fee of $x per FTE employed by the agency inviting you. The value of x might be set at $2.15 this year and adjusted each year according to the change in compensation-per-worker in the economy as a whole. This will generate shortages in the amount of pointless gas emitted by retired politicians, and that’s all to the good.

                  / rant off.

                  • One other thing. Make the president’s ‘papers’ federal property under the custody of the National Archives, letters, diaries, and commonplace books written in longhand the exception.

              • Spam, Being a golf nut, Barry would love to live in Palm Springs. He looked @ some properties a couple years ago. But, anyone who knows the Obama’s know Michelle calls the shots. Wherever they settle, it will be her decision.

                • Unbeknownst to us, Nick was also a real estate broker in Palm Springs so one should not question the veracity of his report of the Obama’s house searches.

                  • Also, Nick is close friends with the Obamas. That is why he is able to report to us the dynamics of their marriage.

                    • Jodi Kantor’s book incorporated portraits of both. You never quite know what’s going on in a situation unless you’re on the inside of it, but you can observe some aspects of it. Of course, her observations are secondhand.

                      I haven’t bothered to read it myself. One reviewer offered this summary of her portrait of Mooch, “Organized, maternal, intelligent, and disagreeable”. It’s quite evident the woman is something of a Material Girl. It’s also known their finances were a mess until The Audacity of Hope began selling like hotcakes. As for him, it’s evident he doesn’t have much of a visceral connection with anyone. While his mother was expiring from cancer he was attending the Million Man March.

                    • Spindell’s blog implodes and he comes here under his transgender name. LOL!! A-hole, the Palm Springs house search was widely reported, and Stevie Wonder can see who is the boss in the Obama family. Start another blog or go get some exercise, you’re lame and pitiful.

                    • Nick:
                      No need to respond. I found it and boy was it nasty. One title suggested Trump supporters were “racist bigots” and the next called for “patriots” to stop “bringing knives to gun fights” with “Trump Traitors.” I’m sure he meant allegorically but the rhetoric was way over-the-top. The last one I saw showed a photo of Hitler opposite Trump’s picture with a title “If you’re not angry and fearful about Trump … I’ve got no time for you.” Looks like he just retired and hence your comment but given those headlines that decision seems overdue.

    • I’ll check the Statistical Abstract, but I suspect the homicide rate was higher in 1980 than it was in 2013. The BLM murder spike may have pushed it back to 1980 levels.

      The way the vectors work in Chicago – institutional sclerosis in the police department, indifference on the part of the general run of influentials, (often hostile) indifference on the part of the suburban electorate, and a black political class indifferent to the welfare of black wage-earners and fixated on trivia – means you do not have concerted efforts to restore order in Chicago’s slums. You can fix Chicago. It might take 20 years of assiduous effort, but you can do it. No one who matters cares to make it happen and there are a mess of vested interests who like things the way they are.

      • Spam,

        While checking that abstract, would you check out the Chicago homicide rate vs other American cities? I think you’ll find there are many other cities that have a higher rate.

        • If you’re talking about core cities, that’s true. You should look at the whole settlement, but the data are arrayed in ways that make that cumbersome.

          Re core cities, Detroit, St. Louis, Baltimore are worse. Much worse.

  6. It is with some degree of irony that the Nationals have replaced the Cubs as the team most frustrating to its fans. Is that because the professor has moved?

    • Vince Jankoski – the Cubs do their spring training here and I have a theory that all or most of Cubs fans are actually masochists. Allowing them to win the World Series again just adds to that cycle of masochism over the years ahead. You can see it in the apologist writing of JT trying to explain their loss to the Dodgers, it was not the Cubs fault as you can see, the Dodgers cheated.

    • Generally speaking the Chicago Police do an excellent job of protecting tourists and other visitors to major attractions that generate tax revenue that gives Chicago its margin of solvency. But then Toynbee claimed that cities have always relied on the pilgrim trade.

  7. I’m forced to recant. Professor Turley is occasionally satisfied with several things; such as the lakefront, the zoo, the dog beach, the perfect weather and the friendly people each of which is ‘just right’. He is, therefore, at least as good as Goldilocks. Good for Turley.

  8. So sorry that the Dodgers cheated. Next year, maybe they can get Goodell as commissioner and he will change the rules. All balls hit out of the park are automatic outs. Would change the entire dynamic of the game.

  9. My first trip to Chicago was in the late 1940s. I best remember the visit to the Museum of Science and Industry, complete with a working coal mine elevator.

  10. Towns and cities can be defamed by the media. St. Louis and within that area Ferguson have been getting the large mass of BS from fake news. Chicago is one of the best cities in the world. The Cubs need to come back next year. I love Wrigley Field. I am a Cardinal fan but my second favorite team is the Cubs.
    The University of Chicago is a great school and the law school is very good. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals is interesting. DC is also a good town and a good place to go to law school. Turley teaches at a good one.

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