Blithe potpourri

STYLE NOTE: Do you keep your baseball cap on when breakfasting at George's on Oak Park Ave.? Or do you doff it? One sees both, one is not sure.

BEAVERS VS. JACKSON: Good-govt. advocates must applaud Chi alderman-ward committeeman Wm. Beavers for his candor. He is truly a gift to the movement. On TV, in reference to picking a Cook County board presidential candidate, he said, accurately as to role of committemen, "We can do anything we want." In a more recent assertion, in reference to Congr. J. Jackson Jr., who threatens to upend Beavers in his ward, he said, also accurately in view of committeemen’s slating powers, "Committeemen make congressmen," not the other way around.  

Congr. Jesse Jr. called him "Jurassic" in reply, and laughter rang out loud and clear in our dining room when this was read by the man of our house, maybe alarming neighbors in our three-flat. The lady of same house, in Brooklyn with their shoulder-torn (but recuperating) daughter, was not there to remind him of neighbors, who have yet to complain anyhow, though the neighbor below us in our previous apt. did call once to make sure we were all right after hearing said man roar approval of a White Sox double play. 

The thing is, does Congressman JJ Jr. really mean to upend Ald.-Committeeman Beavers with talk of his being jurassic? Rather, does not JJ Jr. betray his exclusive Eastern prep school education with such talk? Or does he think to appeal to movie-watchers of the movie of that name, with "park" attached? Has the word become part of Everyman's vocabulary thanks to Hollywood, our supreme arbiter of historic and prehistoric reference? 

CLOONEY TO PITT TO REAGAN: Meanwhile, history marches on. Did you know, for instance, that Shakespeare was never knighted because he was a "player," that is, actor, and King James thought the nobles would object? Or that no player was knighted in England until 1895? And now we listen respectfully to players speaking on all sorts of subjects. George Clooney, Brad Pitt, and others take your bows. We care. 

Of course, some players or ex-players are weighty enough. We the people knighted Ronald Reagan in our way, electing him president. He rode aw-shucks friendliness and finely tuned Everyman communicativeness to victory while carrying intellectual saddlebags that weighed more than the Democrat media realized or admitted. History, yes! 

SAVING CAPITALISM: Thomas DiLorenzo's How Capitalism Saved America The Untold History of Our Country, from the Pilgrims to the Present [Dewey decimal shelved at 330.122] is a good read in defense of our most helpful, most abused economic system. He teaches econ at Loyola College, Md., and writes lots of books for which he mines other books, sometimes footnoting 8 or 10 Ibid.'s in a row (with new page numbers), which tells us how he works. He's honest about it, and mining helps -- he reads the books, we don't have to. You're in a hurry? Let DiL. drive home his points for you. 

For example, describing the anti-capitalist, he says some people just don't like us to have freedom to move about the economic landscape. Liberals love Cuba or at east soft-peddle Castro's excesses and failure to provide for his people and give freedom of speech, for instance. They are not put off by dictatorship, which they feel is a good thing if you just have the right dictator. It's a "purposeful" place, said Saul Landau in or before 1978. (See what I mean? DiL reads a book, and marshals what he can from it.) Libs like control and order. 

DiL does mercantilism, a centuries-old system that promotes state-sponsored monopolies and protectionism, guaranteeing special favors for the politically astute and/or connected and in the process putting the producer almost always first, the consumer second, said Adam Smith. Mercantilism = corporate welfare, as Oak Parker Kathryn Jonas argued in a 6/20/06 letter to the OP Wed. Journal, if in not so many words, her target being TIF (tax increment financing) money paid to woo Trader Joe's/Whiteco at Harlem & Ontario. This stuff never pays off, says DiL.

WE LOVE NONSENSE: Oak Park School District 97 Superintendent Constance Collins's pants are on fire. She told Oak Leaves that inner-city schools have trouble attracting good teachers not only for salary considerations but also because the buildings are old in districts without "funds to keep the buildings up," adding "community issues that spill over into the schools" as another reason.

That's diplomacy of a high order. "Community issues" indeed, as term for an excess of wild kids unwilling to learn and for all practical purposes incapable, plus too many parents who can't or won't do anything about it. Such students come from demoralized neighborhoods where upkeep of buildings is as much a result as a cause of demoralization.

So she's a liar? Sure, in the sense that governments lie all the time, to save jobs and not exacerbate the overall situation. It's the rare public official who risks either. For that matter, we the public don't like public officials outspoken, or not enough of us do enough of the time. If you can fool only some of the people some of the time, as Lincoln said more or less, you can talk to them straight about as much. 

SAVING MAPLE AVENUE: Some OP trustees feel exaggerated responsibility and ability. 400 N. Maple-dwellers (objecting to a new condo building) and the developer can be part of a win-win situation, says Trustee Milstein. We can achieve that, he says, clinging gamely to his notion of making everybody happy, rejecting Trustee Marsey's caution about limitations in the matter, in view of this or any developer-businessman's being unlikely to drop his profitable, legal plans or, as Milstein suggested improbably, exchange them for another proposed by the village.  

Trustee Brock feels responsible too but is less specific than Milstein (who is none too specific, at that), mostly expressing a generalized discontent about various things (and often requesting explanation from staff while the other trustees wait patiently). Trustee Brady offers her own cautionary comment, but Milstein concedes nothing. He gets the last word, which seems very important to him.  

He is the guy who won't be ignored, grimly holding on while now and then offering a humor-free chuckle. In this case he is clearly prepared to pay the developer not to develop, all for the sake of rescuing a group of residents from entrepreneurship.  

CASE OF THE MISSING CHASUBLE: Fr. John at St. Edmund on Friday 7/21/06 said mass in alb and stole, as if he were blessing a new car or baby. What's going on here? Did the sacristan cop the chasuble, the overgarment (vestment) -- whether flowing Gothic or sandwich-board Roman, once de rigeur but maybe now gone the way of head-covered female worshipers and the altar rail? I doubt that. So why did Fr. John do the honors this day without one?

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