More Chicago Stuff

My wife sent me this story from the Sun Times about a business called See Chicago With a Cop. You travel around for half a day, and see the neighborhoods and get told war stories. Sounds pretty good actually.

This reminded me of a memorable episode. Once I worked on a case where we had retained an expert witness to testify about security who was a retired cop. The client was being sued for supposedly having inadequate security at their place of business, and the plaintiff’s decedent in the wrongful death action had been stabbed to death by two crack-heads there. So we went out to this dire neighborhood on the West Side to look at the place, and I’m sitting in the back seat and Jim the retired cop is in the passenger seat and his son, also a cop is driving. The son is getting increasingly nervous. Jim is going off about the neighborhood, and what it was like 40 years ago, happy as a clam: “Look, see that guy in the doorway, he’s a crack dealer” and “hey, turn down here, let me show these boarded up synagogues,” etc. And at one point he turns around and says, “Hey, want a gun?” and extends to me the butt of a revolver. I declined. We did not get out of the car at the place where the tragic events occurred. We were able to make our assessments of the scene and scoot.

While I’m at it, there was also this remarkable obituary of a guy who was a cab driver who got his Ph.D and taught at UIC. His family described him as “an old Lefty” who wanted to live long enough to vote for Kerry. “His oncologist joked, ‘Well, if I knew you were going to vote for Kerry, I would have given you the good stuff.'”

(Update: I fixed the link to the obituary.)

And Speaking of Scalps

Add another to the long, long list of U of C Nobelists … (hat tip: Bill Roule). Any doubts that everyone’s favorite major South Side university can credit itself with this one are dispelled by this telling passage:

… although he wasn’t socially adept, “I fit right in,” [Wilczek] recalled. “It was fortunate to me that the U. of C. didn’t stress sociality,” he joked.

The dweebs are inheriting the Earth.

The Libertarian Gap

(crossposted on Flit(TM))

The Gap, or more formally the Non-Integrating Gap, is a concept at the core of Dr. Barnett’s The Pentagon’s New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century. But what is the Gap? This question comes to me every time I read a libertarian critic of the concept.

Gap countries are, by definition disconnected from the global rulesets that manage the Core, those states where a disturbingly large proportion of the world wants to get into. I say disturbingly because, all things being equal, there is really no reason for people socially acculturated and biologically specialized to warm climes to make their way in large numbers to nordic nations, but they do. Something pretty special must be attracting them while simultaneously repelling them from their ancient homelands. That something is clear after a bit of investigation, huge waves of horrifying violence interspersed with a daily brutality of individual denigration and lack of the normal rights to live out their lives in control of their own destiny.

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