Manufacturing Dissent Since 1996
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Cabrini demolition

We're looking at multiple levels of government, multiple branches of government that are essentially involved in making sure that the CHA isn't moving forward with building these units that it's responsible for building. You know we've got City Hall here, we've got the CHA board...we've got the US Department of Housing and Urban and Development, we've got Congress and its funding decisions, budgeting decisions, we've got Federal judges, and court orders that don't appear to be moving with great haste. You know, it's like every branch of government is involved and what it adds up to is, again, a lack of will to help house people through innovative public housing policies.

Mick Dumke is a reporter for ProPublica. His work has focused on politics and government, including investigations of local and federal gun policies, secret police databases and corruption at Chicago City Hall.

Mick is on to discuss his reporting on the growing Chicago Housing Authority scandal. Mick's most recent article on the topic at ProPublica is headlined, "Chicago Officials Withhold Key Financial Information as City Hands Public Housing Land Over to Wealthy Ally of the Mayor.



Posted by Alexander Jerri
Crooks always win

Patricia Highsmith, 1921-95, was the author of the Talented Mr. Ripley series of books, among other fiction, including probably the only lesbian love story of its time wherein the protagonists aren’t dead or arrested at the end. Graham Greene, who could really write a book, called Patricia Highsmith “the poet of apprehension.” In those days, whenever that was, there existed an informal fraternity of genre writers, and popular writers in general, and Highsmith was both. She was also a lifelong drunk – kudos to her for sticking with it – another literary fraternity one could inhabit. And she was queer as an anaconda is long.

She was also a proud anti-Semite who wished Hitler had done a more thorough job of it. She wore the label “Jew-hater” proudly. And she did support the Palestinian cause. So, if you ever wonder how anyone dare slur people with the charge of anti-Semitism just for supporting Palestinians, just remember that Patricia Highsmith existed and lent her bad name to that particular political stance.

She also vocally avowed hatred for black people, the welfare state, speakers of the Romance Languages and of Latin persuasion, Greeks, Indians (both the Western indigenous and subcontinental varieties), men, and women.

She was also in the literary fraternity of compulsive fornicators. The Belfast Telegraph called her a “Nympho, racist crime writer” just this past January. I didn’t even know nympho was still a word.

And she opined that human pregnancies should be aborted, and the fetal remains used to feed animals. Literary misanthropes were another fraternity one could belong to, although they tended not be able to stand each other’s company. So, it might be more proper to call it an individual avocation than any kind of siblinghood.

She preferred to have affairs with well-heeled women who were either married or in relationships. She enjoyed breaking up lesbian couples.

I have been reading, in no particular order, but almost reverse chronologically, the five books known as “The Ripliad.” I became interested in Highsmith’s Tom Ripley character after seeing “The Talented Mr. Ripley” starring Matt Damon in the title role. It’s not the first time that particular novel has been adapted to the screen. In 1960 it was made into a film, “Plein Soleil,” (English title, currently, “Purple Noon”)... read more

Posted by Alexander Jerri

Welcome to the Moment of Truth: the thirst that is the drink.

There are more white people living in poverty in the USA than any other ethnic group. Not exactly, though. About 67-70% of people living in poverty are white, but that includes white people of Latino, Latina, LatinX identification. Somewhere between 34 to 40 million people live below the poverty line in the USA, and even just non-Latin white people still make up a whopping 40% of those living in poverty.

Steven Pinker, the famous popular writer of questionable brain-candy books, tends to rejigger all the figures he uses – inflating, or at best leaning toward the largest estimates of populations living in violence and poverty in past times, while both theoretically minimizing and leaning toward the minimal numbers of current rates of violence and poverty in order to prove his point that human history represents a trend of progress in material existence for all people.

So forgive me for being a little squishy while using the figures I’ve given above, but as I do so, I’ll be transparent about the process. White folk of northern extraction make up 40% of the impoverished in the US. 40%. That’s almost 50%. That’s roughly their percentage of the entire US population as a whole, give or take. There are about 40 million people in the USA living below the poverty line, and the poverty line is widely acknowledged to be a laughable gauge of what constitutes poverty, constructed as it is by people who aren’t poor. So there’s probably more poor people than official definitions indicate.

I’m going to suggest, with a Pinkeresque fungibility of reported statistics, that about 70 million people in the USA, about 20% of the population, are poor, including the functionally poor, which means people who have to pay half or more of their income for shelter, who opt out of necessary visits to health professionals for lack of funds, who have trouble affording healthy food, who have no choice but to work more than one fulltime job, or work one fulltime job that sucks, who have to work gig jobs but think they’re not poor because they sell their homemade jewelry on Etsy on the side, who go without medication, have severely limited if any time to themselves, or are burdened by snowballing debt due to predatory lending or predatory credit or a punitive civic system of fines.

Easily one in five people in the wealthiest... read more