Friday, September 30, 2011

Dems Dissing Democracy

More entries for the Annals of Inanities:

Well, if you people would just stop voting for Republicans we wouldn't have to do this -- 
North Carolina Democrat governor Bev Perdue proposes to "suspend" Congressional elections until Congress improves the economy (link).  She was serious in tone and doesn't appear to have been joking (link).  The prospect of significant Republican gains in those elections has nothing, nothing to do with her thinking.  Meanwhile, "more criminal charges are expected in the investigation of Gov. Beverly Perdue’s campaign finances" (link).  Perhaps she's running a distraction campaign.

Since those damn Republicans won't go along with our plans, this country really needs "less democracy" and lots of "automatic policies" --  
Former Obama budget director Peter Orzag writes (link) that "To solve the serious problems facing our country, we need to minimize the harm from legislative inertia by relying more on automatic policies and depoliticized commissions for certain policy decisions. In other words, radical as it sounds, we need to counter the gridlock of our political institutions by making them a bit less democratic."  That's right, we need to rely more on "depoliticized commissions" and "automatic policies" because those benighted voters keep electing Republican politicians who won't go along with our plans.  I'm betting he's not thinking of George Bush, Dick Cheney, Sarah Palin, or Rush Limbaugh for those "depoliticized commissions".  Just a guess.  Perhaps he's been talking to NY Times columnist Tom Friedman, who on occasion writes longingly of communist China's ability to get things done without all those distasteful disagreements and roadblocks that come with all this voting and democracy stuff.  Actually, no doubt many Democrat elites feel the way Orzag and Friedman do.  Remember "What's the Matter With Kansas?" -- the false consciousness theory is alive and well.

At least that's not how our system works right now, but we're not through yet --
"The idea of doing things on my own is very tempting. I promise you, not just on immigration reform. But that's not how our system works. That's not how our democracy functions. That's not how our Constitution is written," Obama said at the National Council of La Raza's annual conference. (link)

Addendum (10/14/11)
Constitutional limits are for Republicans --
'Illinois Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr., ... said that congressional opposition to the American Jobs Act is akin to the Confederate “states in rebellion” .... and said that Obama should “declare a national emergency” and take “extra-constitutional” action “administratively” — without the approval of Congress — to tackle unemployment.' (link)

John M Greco

Monday, September 26, 2011

New Look for the Old Colony

Chicago’s Old Colony building is looking better than it has in perhaps almost a century after a cleanup that has washed away layers of build-up soot.  It’s one of my favorites, for its curved corners, interesting design, and appealing height, and I was delighted the other day to see it cleared of scaffolding and looking bright and clean.   

Completed in 1894 by Holabird and Roche, the slender early skyscraper has a classic Chicago tripartite structure, with a distinguishable base, a plain midsection, and a defined top section, which here includes a colonnade and a projecting cornice.  The most striking and unusual feature is its curved corners, and one can also see the “Chicago windows”, characterized by a large fixed pane of glass flanked on either side by narrower windows with sliding sashes that can be raised.  The Old Colony sits at southeast corner of Van Buren and Dearborn streets in the south Loop, and forms with the Fisher, Plymouth, and Manhattan an interesting row of old, preserved classic Chicago skyscrapers running between Dearborn and Plymouth streets.

Judith Paine McBrien, in her Pocket Guide to Chicago Architecture, says that the Old Colony was “built on speculation by Boston lawyer Francis Bartlett” and was “named for the first English colony in America….  The building was a successful venture, offering 600 offices that were occupied by railroad, printing, and lumber interests who sought space here in the thriving printing center of the Midwest.”  

Ira Bach says, in his Chicago’s Famous Buildings, that “the Old Colony is the last remaining Chicago downtown building with rounded projecting corner bays, a device often employed … to create highly desirable corner spaces on the interior and an interesting silhouette on the exterior…. [Also,] It was the first structure to employ a system of portal arches to brace it against wind loads, an innovative solution to a basic problem of tall skeleton-framed buildings.”  In Chicago on Foot, authors Bach and Wolfson tell us that the building has 17 stories, ... the first four [of which] are of light-blue Bedford stone [while] the upper part pressed brick and white terra cotta.”

Finis Farr in Chicago says that “the design as a whole gave an impression of dignity and power.”  Agreed.  Kudos on the rehab. 

The photo is taken from the west side of Dearborn street, northwest of the Old Colony; part of the Fisher Building is visible on the left, and the Chicago El tracks run on Van Buren Street between the two buildings.  The postcard is postmarked November 1907 to a Miss Underwood in Dayton, Ohio.  Click on an image to enlarge.  A brief Wikipedia article is here

R Balsamo

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Annals of Inanities - Sept 20, 2011

>  Eric Holder, Obama's disastrous (link), dangerous (e.g., the Fast and Furious/Gunwalker scandal - link), and reverse-racism-obsessed Attorney General, said the other day (link) that the Obama crew still really, really, really does intend to close the Gitmo terrorist detention camp.  That "fierce moral urgency" to closing Gitmo seems to have left him sometime in early November, 2008.
>  Obama's rampant sexism in the way he's treated his White House staff (link; link) -- doesn't count since he's a Democrat.

>  Obama blows over half a billion dollars of taxpayer money by giving it to a company, Solyndra, run by a big money man of his, despite a mound of evidence that the company was failing and despite internal warnings by members of his own team (link) -- doesn't count since he's a Democrat.  Meanwhile, former Obama assistant at the time Rahm E's memory has failed on this one (link).

>  Obama's urgent, urgent, urgent jobs plan, that he had announced in August that he would deliver in a September speech whenever he returned from vacation, now won't be put forward by Congressional Democrats for another month at least because they have other things to do (link) -- doesn't count since they're all Democrats.   

>  The Obama stimulus gave almost $800 thousand dollars to the "National Science Foundation" to spend on ....... "interpretive dance" (link).  And now comes Obama to demand those remaining Americans not under his Rasputin-like spell join his acolytes in passing his half-billion dollar Son of Stimulus plan.  Fat chance. 

John M Greco