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05 October 2009


"Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule-and both commonly succeed and are right." - H.L. Mencken

Chicago lost its bid for the 2016 Olympics that Obama endorsed, so the far-right cheered gleefully. I don't even need to explain how childish and unfortunate that is. I thought we were all Americans after all. Anyways, that quote hit a nerve as I've noticed this repeatedly in recent years. It's just so selfish. It doesn't matter where you stand on the political spectrum. It's sad to watch our government in a self imposed gridlock that they use to sustain their own power at the expense of the well being of our nation and the world.

The context of that quote was that the founding fathers (as they're often called, but I really don't like the term) had quite the disdain for political parties... but started them none the less.

"[T]he worst enemy [of democratic governments], potent engines by which cunning, ambitious and unprincipled men will... subvert the power of the people." - George Washington

"If I could go to heaven but with a party, I would not go there at all." - Thomas Jefferson, one of the founders of the Democratic-Republicans; the predecessor of the modern day Democratic Party.

This is a photo I took the other week of the housing projects just south of 22nd St. on State St. (in Chicago) being torn down. I ride by them every day on my way to school and I anguish over the fact that I want to take more photos, especially at night, but shouldn't because it's just a stupid risk. there's a good chance I'd be mugged. On another note - this is part of the CHA's (Chicago Housing Authority) revitalization and rehab program that utilizes bailout funds (or so say the signs surrounding neighboring developments), so here's a look at how that's doing.

Edit: Chicago losing the bid for the 2016 Olympics impacts me very directly. This summer and over the next few years I'll be looking for an architecture internship/work. Being at IIT, the closest and most prominent architecture school to where the Olympic site would have been - I was more or less guaranteed work. Now I'm shit out of luck.

Also, my family owns an engineering business - Reed Engineering... we nor any of the other tradesmen we know will be riding that wave now. The Olympics would have brought more people into the trades in the Chicago area and given them the experience of working with the older skilled workers; creating a whole new generation of skilled tradesmen in Chicago. I knew a few people who were planning to pull a lot of overtime and take early retirement so that all the up and comers in the union could get decent work. I guess this is common practice. Now that won't happen and as a result Chicago's ability to build sound complex buildings will suffer. This is why the best architects go to Europe. There the skilled workers have years of training and they know their buildings will be built correctly.

This is a huge problem for the trades and architects and I've seen it first hand. The knowledge is disappearing and, because of what I feel is a general disdain for blue collar workers, it isn't easy/possible to gain back. Hell, I'm proof. I'm about half (that's just a guess, I figure it'd take me 7 years to learn most of what my dad does - I worked for about 3.5 years with him) way done with my steam apprenticeship that I'll never finish. Our work is specialized to the point that we can charge more than most doctors and lawyers if we so choose (we rarely do, why is a debate for another time). That ends a three generation blue collar family business.

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