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  • Archive for May, 2012

    Care to Bet?

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 10th May 2012 (All posts by )

    British Bookmakers William Hill and Ladbrokes both have these odds on the US Presidential race:

    Barack Obama    1/2
    Mitt Romney  13/8

    That means people putting real money on the table are saying that as of today the odds are 2 to 1 in favor of Obama, 8 to 13 in favor, i.e. 13 to 8 against Romney.

    This is consistent with the steady 60 on Intrade in favor of Obama.

    Disregard the polls.

    The betting money says Obama wins.

    It is an uphill race for Romney.

    Posted in Elections, Politics, Polls, Predictions | 30 Comments »

    Around Chicago May 2012

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 10th May 2012 (All posts by )

    Recently I was walking in River North and a restaurant was touting their “local farming” element. Fine but that hay bale seemed to be sprouting some extra fungus. I don’t think Dan would feed it to his animals.

    I liked this gull on a lamp.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Chicagoania, Humor, Photos | 5 Comments »

    Thank Goodness for the Linotype

    Posted by David Foster on 9th May 2012 (All posts by )

    …and its successor, the computer-driven phototypesetting machine.

    Because in the Olden Days, when typesetting was done by hand, the typesetter would need a physical piece of type for each occurrence of a specific letter in a particular composition.

    If we were still at that level of technology, there would be a serious “I” shortage for print-media reporting of the speeches of a certain individual.

    Posted in Media, Politics, Tech | 5 Comments »

    I Hope the University of Chicago Never Changes

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 9th May 2012 (All posts by )

    Posted in Chicagoania, Education | 34 Comments »

    Earned Success and Learned Helplessness

    Posted by David Foster on 9th May 2012 (All posts by )

    Arthur Brooks (surely one of the very few people to pursue a career as a professional player of the French horn before becoming a professor of business and government) has a good piece in today’s WSJ.

    The opposite of earned success is “learned helplessness,” a term coined by Martin Seligman, the eminent psychologist at the University of Pennsylvania. It refers to what happens if rewards and punishments are not tied to merit: People simply give up and stop trying to succeed.

    During experiments, Mr. Seligman observed that when people realized they were powerless to influence their circumstances, they would become depressed and had difficulty performing even ordinary tasks. In an interview in the New York Times, Mr. Seligman said: “We found that even when good things occurred that weren’t earned, like nickels coming out of slot machines, it did not increase people’s well-being. It produced helplessness. People gave up and became passive.”

    Read the whole thing.

    Posted in Civil Society, Economics & Finance, Entrepreneurship, Europe, Human Behavior, USA | 3 Comments »

    Bring the Ride

    Posted by Jonathan on 9th May 2012 (All posts by )

    Old Cadillac In Miami Beach


    Posted in Photos | 8 Comments »

    Wisconsin Recall Primary Analysis

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 9th May 2012 (All posts by )

    Some cocktail napkin math and most likely incorrect analysis of yesterday’s recall primary under the fold for anyone who is interested.

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Politics | 11 Comments »

    Murderers of the Middle Class

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 8th May 2012 (All posts by )

    I was reading about an aspect of the composite New York girlfriend which our current President incorporated in that gracefully luminescent autobiography which apparently very few people read, when I was reminded yet again of how much I despise Bill Ayers. Yep, that Bill Ayers, wanna-be terrorist, influential educationist, neighbor and apparently BFF with said president. My daughter has a word (or several, actually) for people like him, of which the mildest is ‘hipster douchbag.’ It seems that some of the elements of the composite girlfriend have something in common with the girlfriend of Bill Ayers in his bomb-throwing days … the one whose skills at bomb-making were – shall we say – somewhat less than skilled?

    Diana Oughton – like Mr. Ayers and some of his other confreres – came from an embarrassingly well-to-do family. They pleased and amused themselves four decades ago by messing around with violent revolution, bank robbery and the inexpert assembly of high-explosive devices, presumably for the benefit of the working class, the poor, the proletariat, or whatever Marxist euphemism it pleased them to label the recipients of their beneficence. The bomb, which exploded prematurely in March of 1970 in a Greenwich Village townhouse, was made of roofing nails and dynamite stuffed into a length of water pipe; the intended target was a dance at the Fort Dix NCO club.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Anglosphere, Big Government, Chicagoania, Civil Society, Human Behavior, Leftism, North America, Society | 47 Comments »

    Just Because I Like It

    Posted by David Foster on 8th May 2012 (All posts by )

    The prospect of terminating Barack Obama’s employment inspired Bookworm and her commenters to link various breakup songs.

    Which reminded me of this great song: Goodbye to You!

    Irritating 10-second ad at the beginning, but it’s worth it.

    Posted in Music, Politics | 3 Comments »

    Abandoned Skyscrapers in Chicago

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 7th May 2012 (All posts by )

    In Chicago a new real estate boom is occurring. There are 3 large hotels and 2 major apartment skyscrapers being built in River North.

    There is also some good news on the “abandoned building” front. At 111 W Wacker, there is an abandoned, partially finished skyscraper that was going to be an 80+ story condo / hotel. They recently changed the facade in the front of the building as you can see in the photo above and claim to be working on completing the building, sitting idle since the 2008 crash. According to this article, it is to become a 65 floor apartment building, apparently satisfying an insatiable demand for high end apartments in the city (also due to the fact that people were having trouble selling condominiums in this real estate market). We’ll see if it actually gets built but this is a good start nonetheless. I wonder if it hurts a building to sit out half-finished, exposed to the elements all winter, but apparently this isn’t stopping the new owner. Doesn’t seem like a good idea to me.

    On the other hand, there is a Staybridge Suite building in River North that has been covered with some sort of strange tarp for years. If you go to this link you can see the odd shape that the building was supposed to have. I will believe that they finish this damn thing when I see actual construction, although they do keep the lights on at night. The f’d up part of this is that Staybridge is an actual company – I hope that this leads to some bad publicity or something for them, leaving a giant half built eyesore in the middle of Chicago. Hopefully they make some headway on this before the current mini real estate boom ends in dust and misery like the last one.

    Cross posted at LITGM

    Posted in Business, Chicagoania | 7 Comments »


    Posted by Jonathan on 7th May 2012 (All posts by )

    A bowl of fruit photographed using HDR techniques. (© 2012 Jonathan Gewirtz /


    Posted in Photos | 5 Comments »

    “Sooner or later, your schtick will wear thin, in half empty halls.”

    Posted by Chicago Boyz Archive on 5th May 2012 (All posts by )

    This classic song by Nardwuar The Human Serviette & The Evaporators is dedicated to President Obama.

    He began his re-election campaign today in a half empty stadium in Ohio.

    Mr. Obama’s advance team really screwed the pooch on this one.

    The story is not his speech, or his campaign, but the empty seats.

    It is a long way to November. But this is not a good omen for Mr. Obama.

    “Sooner or later, your dream will crash, in half empty halls.”

    Posted in Big Government, Elections, Politics, USA | 27 Comments »

    News That You Can Optionally Use

    Posted by Jonathan on 5th May 2012 (All posts by )

    Tonight will be the occasion of a “super Moon”, which seems to be a term used by people who know a lot about the Moon to denote a full Moon that coincides with the Moon’s closest passage to Earth in its elliptical orbit. Cosmophobia aside, there is no reason to be alarmed. However, some Chicagoboyz are finding it necessary to shave more frequently than usual, and if you have a hot date tonight it might be a good idea to pack a disposable razor with your breath mints. Don’t let that stubble become any trouble. (I’m not sure if this advice applies to the ladies as well.)

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Diversions, Photos, Science | 4 Comments »

    Me and My MacBook

    Posted by Carl from Chicago on 5th May 2012 (All posts by )

    When I started out with computers it was all Apple. We had Apple II machines and I remember the “green screens” (and then an “ochre” screen). It was quite exciting to have 2 disk drives, back in the day when you stored your programs on disk rather than on a hard drive in the machine. My father had a background in computing from the earliest days and was happy to invest in computers when hardly anyone else I knew had one and this helped me to get exposure which has been a big help in my career. The most exciting games were Choplifter which was great with the joystick (thanks to Wikipedia for helping me with all these memories), Castle Wolfenstein which startled me when the guards shouted at you, and of course the epic Wizardry game for which I have the cover sheet of the rules manual right here.

    In college I had an IBM PC XT. This machine was also state of the art for the day and its casing was some sort of nearly industrial metal that you could run over with a truck. By then we had started to move on to 3.5″ disks which seemed very futuristic when compared to a 5.2″ floppy. I remember actually moving this computer around which was not simple because it was the opposite of portable.

    At work we had “luggable” machines which were compacs. I am not sure which version we had it may have looked like this I do remember that it was 1) very heavy 2) if I lost it I’d probably be fired 3) it had an eerie screen color that was described as amber.

    Over the years I ended up in the Windows world because this was the tool for business and in various jobs you had to program on and work with Windows laptops and desktops.  Given that, it made sense to just stay in the Windows world for my home PC’s of which I’ve had many but are quite boring so I will spare you that update.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History, Personal Narrative | 35 Comments »

    This Was All B.S.

    Posted by Dan from Madison on 4th May 2012 (All posts by )

    Does anyone remember the “protests” last February from up here behind the cheddar curtain? I sure do.

    Next Tuesday the recall primary goes off, with Kathy Falk, dedicated union lover running against Tom Barrett. Yes, that Tom Barrett, the guy who lost to Scott Walker in Nov. of 2010. Falk has been effectively kneecapped by her own party. She is a lefty liberal from Madison with strong union backing and the Donks realize there is no way for her to win against Walker.

    I have heard from a few places that team Obama/Emmanuel have had something to do with the Democratic Party killing off Falk. I don’t have any proof besides what I have heard from friends and volunteers in the Falk campaign.

    Barrett is a far more moderate choice than Falk. Early ads against Barrett were run by AFSCME and others.

    Neither candidate is really mentioning collective bargaining for government unions anymore. It is a dead issue. This fact, combined with the Donks getting behind a much more centrist, corporate sponsored candidate tells me one thing. The recall and all of the b.s. associated with it is nothing more than a power grab. Plain and simple. The left and government unions have been played. Will they vote for Barrett if Falk loses? Probably. But that will be a bitter pill to swallow indeed.

    Posted in Politics | 15 Comments »

    The Life of Celia

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 4th May 2012 (All posts by )

    (With apologies to the Obama perpetual re-election campaign. Other people have had a go at this concept – I think The Life of Brian is one of the funniest, but I wanted to have a go at this myself. )

    3 Years Old – Under President Eisenhower, Celia stays home with her younger brother, as her full-time work-at-home Mom helps her get ready for school by reading aloud to her, supervising her playtime and providing a secure home environment. She will join thousands of students across the country who will start kindergarten ready to learn and succeed.

    17 Years Old – Under President Nixon, Celia takes the SAT and is on track to begin applying for college … which college program includes two years at a local junior college capped by two years at a state university – a public university system that the taxes paid by Celia’s parents over the years have subsidized. The public high school which Celia attends is in a working-class suburb, but offers academically enriched courses for those students who qualify for them.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Civil Society, Health Care, Human Behavior, Humor, Leftism, Media, Military Affairs, Obama, Personal Narrative, Politics, USA | 22 Comments »

    Day and Night

    Posted by Jonathan on 4th May 2012 (All posts by )

    [photoshelter-img width=’200′ height=’320′ i_id=’I0000T9g7y4YXiXE’ buy=’0′]   [photoshelter-img width=’200′ height=’320′ i_id=’I0000KZxChv2x2kE’ buy=’0′]

    (Click the the “Read the rest” link below to see larger versions of these photos.)
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in Photos | Comments Off on Day and Night

    Elizabeth Warren and 1/32nd Identity Politics

    Posted by Jonathan on 3rd May 2012 (All posts by )

    Chicagoboyz community member John Wolfsberger, Jr. emails:

    I actually feel some sympathy for Elizabeth Warren. She was a law professor, unfairly besieged by the republican War on Women (TM), apparently sitting alone in the faculty lounge. In an effort to meet new people and make some friends, she decided to make herself more interesting by revealing her Native American Ancestry. She really did nothing wrong.
    However, the incident has led me to an interesting insight. Ms. Warren tells us she is 1/32 Native American based on her great, great, great grandmother being Cherokee. For simplicity sake, let’s refer to her as the g3 grandmother. It occurred to me that if two of her g4 grandparents had been Cherokee, but parents of different g3 grandparents, Ms. Warren could still be considered 1/32 Native American. Furthermore, if 4 of Ms. Warrens g5 grandparents had been Native American, and parents of different g4 grandparents, Ms. Warren would still be 1/32 Native American. And so on.
    That insight led me to a bit of research. Homo ergaster, the forerunner of Homo Sapiens (which is all of us) left Africa between 1.8 and 1.3 million years ago. Taking the nominal value as 1.5 million years, and assuming 20 years per generation, that means my (roughly) g75,000 grandparents were ALL African. True, more recent ancestors lived in Bavaria, the Vorarlberg and Ireland, but they were ALL African as well, by THEIR (roughly) g74,997 grandparents.
    Since every single one of my ancestors was African, shouldn’t I be able, a la Ms. Warren, to claim minority status as an African American? And if I can, shouldn’t everyone else in the United States be able to as well, regardless of where their more recent ancestors resided for a time?
    This seems eminently reasonable. There is only one issue to resolve: if we all belong to the exact same Victim Group (TM), who’s the oppressor group?

    Posted in Humor, Politics, Quotations, Rhetoric | 26 Comments »

    Derbyshire Redux

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on 2nd May 2012 (All posts by )

    I recently expressed my opinion about the shameful treatment of John Derbyshire by National Review, his former employer, which dropped him as a writer because of a piece he wrote in another online magazine. One of his statements which seemed to be the most objectionable to NRO was “(9) A small cohort of blacks—in my experience, around five percent—is ferociously hostile to whites and will go to great lengths to inconvenience or harm us. A much larger cohort of blacks—around half—will go along passively if the five percent take leadership in some event. They will do this out of racial solidarity, the natural willingness of most human beings to be led, and a vague feeling that whites have it coming.

    (10) Thus, while always attentive to the particular qualities of individuals, on the many occasions where you have nothing to guide you but knowledge of those mean differences, use statistical common sense:

    (10a) Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.

    (10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.

    Two weeks ago, an incident in Virginia validated a couple of Derbyshire’s bits of advice to his kids (the premise of the piece).

    There’s outrage in Norfolk, Va., today after a white couple was attacked by dozens of black teenagers, and the local newspaper did not report on the incident for two weeks, despite the victims being reporters for the paper.

    Even today, the Virginian-Pilot did not cover the crime as news, but rather as an opinion piece by columnist Michelle Washington.

    “Wave after wave of young men surged forward to take turns punching and kicking their victim,” Washington wrote, describing the onslaught that began when Dave Forster and Marjon Rostami stopped at a traffic light while driving home from a show on a Saturday night. A crowd of at least 100 black young people was on the sidewalk at the time.”

    Tonight, Bill O’Reilly played tape made at the scene. There were several young black men interviewed who had not participated in the attack. What they said was “If you go into a neighborhood you don’t know (and are white), you had better be careful.”

    Apparently the young man driving the car got out of the car after a rock was thrown at it. He said, “That was a big mistake.” He and the young woman in the car were attacked by about 20 to 40 men from the crowd on the sidewalk. One of the young black men interviewed on O’Reilly’s program mentioned the Trayvon Martin case. Their injuries were not life threatening but kept them from work for a week.

    How does this differ from what Derbyshire warned about ?

    Another issue is the delay in reporting the attack by the local paper.

    It happened four blocks from where they work, here at the Virginian-Pilot.”

    The Virginia Pilot did not mention the attack on its own employees for two weeks. Why ?

    Could this be related ?

    That is the Pilot’s publisher and he was just confirmed as Obama’s new Deputy HUD Secretary.

    The U.S. Senate on Thursday approved the appointment of Maurice Jones, publisher of The Virginian-Pilot, to be deputy secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

    No, it couldn’t be related.

    Posted in Civil Society, Crime and Punishment, Human Behavior, Law Enforcement, Leftism, Obama, The Press | 39 Comments »

    Quote of the Day

    Posted by Jonathan on 2nd May 2012 (All posts by )

    Richard Epstein:

    So what next? The best first step is to free up labor markets world wide. Specifically, we need policies that take aim at the unbearable political forces that seek to tighten the regulatory noose on voluntary labor markets.
    Unfortunately, the dominant attitude of macroeconomists is to assume that nothing that takes place within the labor market (of which Krugman never speaks) is large enough to influence the large macro trends to which they attribute today’s high employment rates.
    The blunt truth is exactly the opposite. The calcification of labor markets is the primary impediment to economic recovery. The direct effects of government regulation of labor can matter far more than the indirect effects of macroeconomic policy, whether Keynesian or austerity-based. Neither austerity nor lavish public expenditures will improve the overall situation, which is why the massive increase in American public debt has not nudged unemployment rates down. The only workable solution has to stress job creation, not by misdirected subsidies, but by dismantling the government obstacles to market exchange.

    Posted in Big Government, Business, Economics & Finance, Obama, Public Finance, Quotations | 14 Comments »

    Singer/Songwriter Appreciation: Tom Russell

    Posted by David Foster on 2nd May 2012 (All posts by )

    From an Amazon customer review of one of Tom Russell’s albums:

    Twice in my life, while driving in heavy freeway traffic, I’ve heard songs so good on the radio that I had to pull off the road and collect my thoughts. Turns out Tom Russell wrote both of ’em.

    I’ve never had to actually pull off the road, but there’s no denying that TR’s songs pack a considerable emotional punch…indeed, I think Russell is one of the most talented singer/songwriters working today. I’ve been meaning to write a review of his work for some time, and was stirred into action by L C Reese’s post Grasshoppers and Frost, which reminded me of some lines from Russell’s song Ambrose Larsen:

    The blackbirds and the locusts, destroyed our corn and wheat
    The hawks they ate the chickens, the wolves our mutton meat
    With traps and dogs and shotguns loud, we fought this old wild ground
    Our children caught the fever, but no doctors were around

    (listen here)

    The above is from TR’s album The Man From God Knows Where, a song-cycle about the American immigrant experience based in part on the lives of his own Norwegian and Irish ancestors. “Concept albums often fall flat because they are too explicit” noted an SFGate review of this work, “…but The Man From God Knows Where triumphs by laying out the story of one man’s family in intimate detail while developing general themes that inform all our lives.”

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History, Ireland, Music, USA | Comments Off on Singer/Songwriter Appreciation: Tom Russell

    Beat the Stockmarket and RC Pilot

    Posted by Jonathan on 1st May 2012 (All posts by )

    A couple of high-quality links that come to me from people I know and that may be of interest to Chicagoboyz readers:

    Beat The Stockmarket’s Blog looks to be very good on, of course, markets and trading. Check it out.

    -To see a truly interactive magazine at play, check out RC Pilot (there’s a free demo at the link). I find the content extremely interesting overall despite my low level of interest in radio-controlled models per se. There is a lot of good aviation content inside, and RC technology is increasingly relevant WRT drones and other hot topics. You will probably like RCP if you are any kind of technophile.

    (I’m going to permalink these sites for future reference.)

    Posted in Aviation, Diversions, Economics & Finance, Media, Tech | Comments Off on Beat the Stockmarket and RC Pilot

    Today is Victims of Communism Day

    Posted by David Foster on 1st May 2012 (All posts by )


    via Instapundit

    See also Claire Berlinski’s post A hidden history of evil.

    Posted in History, Leftism | 6 Comments »

    “Do readers of liberal and conservative blogs live in two different countries?”

    Posted by Jonathan on 1st May 2012 (All posts by )

    The results of a survey of blog readers taken by the BlogAds company. (Some of the survey questions are still running in the upper left sidebar of Chicago Boyz.) The people who responded to the survey are self-selected and it’s not clear how big the sample is, but the results are interesting and worth a click.

    (Chicago Boyz is a BlogAds affiliate, in case this is not obvious.)

    Posted in Blogging, Politics, Polls | 14 Comments »

    Stand Off at the Salado – Conclusion

    Posted by Sgt. Mom on 1st May 2012 (All posts by )

    Most people accept as conventional wisdom about the Texas frontier, that Anglo settlers were always the consummate horsemen, cowboys and cavalrymen that they were at the height of the cattle boom years. But that was not so: there was a learning curve involved. The wealthier Texas settlers who came from the Southern states of course valued fine horseflesh. Horse-races were always a popular amusement, and the more down-to-earth farmers and tradesmen who came to Texas used horses as draft animals. But the Anglo element was not accustomed to working cattle – the long-horned and wilderness adapted descendents of Spanish cattle – from horseback. Their eastern cattle were slow, tame and lumbering. Nor were many of them as accustomed to making war from the saddle as the Comanche were. Most of Sam Houston’s army who won victory at San Jacinto, were foot-soldiers: his scouts and cavalry was a comparatively small component of his force. It was a deliberate part of Sam Houston’s strategy to fall back into East Texas, where the lay of the land worked in the favor of his army. The Anglos’ preferred weapon in those early days in Texas the long Kentucky rifle, a muzzle-loading weapon, impossible to use effectively in the saddle, more suited to their preferred cover of woods – not the rolling grasslands interspersed with occasional clumps of trees which afforded Mexican lancers such grand maneuvering room.
    Read the rest of this entry »

    Posted in History, North America | 3 Comments »