Street Smart Chicago

Dime Stories: Invasion of the Rahmbies

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Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

By Tony Fitzpatrick

Since coming out for Chuy a couple of weeks ago, I’ve encountered no small amount of hostility from the Rahm supporters—the “Rahmbies” as I like to think of them. They can rationalize any inequities brought forth in the last four years because the shuttered schools, the ubiquitous gunfire, potholes and unplowed streets—these things don’t directly affect them. That’s where we live now: Rahm, in four short years, has made this an Us and Them city. A city of wealthy one-percent types, and then there is the rest of us. We’re useful because we can fix their cars, bus their tables and deliver their groceries.

The poor? I think he and his pal Rauner just hope they go away. Emanuel took a page from what then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg did to New York, and now Manhattan is an island of the wealthy and the people who do their dishes. The poor and the creative class were scattered to Brooklyn, Queens and Jersey. Emanuel, Bloomberg, Rauner and their ilk are succeeding in building a culture glaringly divided by economic class, and it is more pernicious than the machine politics we’re used to. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of March 19, 2015

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): You’re entering a time and space known as the Adlib Zone. In this territory, fertile chaos and inspirational uncertainty are freely available. Improvised formulas will generate stronger mojo than timeworn maxims. Creativity is de rigueur, and street smarts count for more than book-learning. May I offer some mottoes to live by when “common sense” is inadequate? 1. Don’t be a slave to necessity. 2. Be as slippery as you can be and still maintain your integrity. 3. Don’t just question authority; be thrilled about every chance you get to also question habit, tradition, fashion, trendiness, apathy and dogma. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of March 12, 2015

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): In the old Superman comics, Mister Mxyztplk was a fiendish imp whose home was in the fifth dimension. He sometimes sneaked over into our world to bedevil the Man of Steel with pranks. There was one sure way he could be instantly banished back to his own realm for a long time: If Superman fooled him into saying his own name backwards. You might think it would be hard to trick a magic rascal into saying “Klptzyxm” when he knew very well what the consequences would be, but Superman usually succeeded. I’d like to suggest that you have a similar power to get rid of a bugaboo that has been bothering you, Aries. Don’t underestimate your ability to outsmart the pest. Read the rest of this entry »

Linework: Puberty Song

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By Paul Nudd. Edited by Ivan Brunetti and Aaron Renier. (Click on image to enlarge.)

new_city_nudd_WEB

 

Dime Stories: Mayor Garcia?

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Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

By Tony Fitzpatrick

A funny thing happened on the way to the coronation of Rahm. People started to remember their street not being plowed, the furious murder rate, the shuttering of schools and the indifference signaled to our poorest citizens. Yep they remembered. Unlike four years ago, Rahm now had a record to run on and a great many people find this record wanting. Good on you Chicago.

Jesus “Chuy” Garcia is woefully underfunded he does not have one-tenth of what Rahm has; but with a lot of help from Bob Fioretti and Willie Wilson, he had enough to force this race into a runoff.

Mark my words Garcia is infinitely more likable than Rahm—he doesn’t carry himself like a smug, condescending automaton. There is a real human being in there who, four years after becoming a citizen, ran for office because he believed freedom demanded participation. He came in with Harold Washington and for a time helped change the way people thought about Chicago politics. Even with the seventies porn-‘stache, Chuy is capable of a genuine smile that isn’t just politics. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of March 5, 2015

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): To depict what lay beyond the limits of the known world, medieval mapmakers sometimes drew pictures of dragons and sea serpents. Their images conveyed the sense that these territories were uncharted and perhaps risky to explore. There were no actual beasties out there, of course. I think it’s possible you’re facing a comparable situation. The frontier realm you are wandering through may seem to harbor real dragons, but I’m guessing they are all of the imaginary variety. That’s not to say you should entirely let down your guard. Mix some craftiness in with your courage. Beware of your mind playing tricks. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of February 26, 2015

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By Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): Lately your life reminds me of the action film “Speed,” starring Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves. In that story, a criminal has rigged a passenger bus to explode if its speed drops below fifty miles per hour. In your story, you seem to be acting as if you, too, will self-destruct if you stop moving at a frantic pace. I’m here to tell you that nothing bad will happen if you slow down. Just the opposite, in fact. As you clear your schedule of its excessive things-to-do, as you leisurely explore the wonders of doing nothing in particular, I bet you will experience a soothing flood of healing pleasure. Read the rest of this entry »

Linework: New Ideas for Winter Holidays

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By Corinne Mucha. Edited by Ivan Brunetti and Aaron Renier. (Click on image to enlarge.)

Corinne_Mucha-Winter-Holidays-WEB

Dime Stories: The Real Face of Obamacare

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Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

Illustration: Tony Fitzpatrick

By Tony Fitzpatrick

Chances are, the most defining achievement of the Obama administration is the passage of the Affordable Care Act, i.e. “ObamaCare.” After a long battle, the bill that was eventually passed was gutted by Republicans and Democrats alike. The point is that it passed. The reactionary among us want you to equate ObamaCare with a black, yellow or brown face when, truth be told, the greatest beneficiaries of ObamaCare are white baby boomers.

As much quarrel as I have with Guantanamo, drones and the continuous warfare, I must admit to anyone who will listen that Barack Obama saved my life. Without the Affordable Care Act, I would not be here. And I am sure it warms the cockles of your heart to know that my ample white ass was able to purchase health insurance. The true face of ObamaCare is ME. Male, mid-fifties, overweight, with one pre-existing condition that excluded me from the luxury of being able to buy “normal people” health insurance…. anywhere. I went for nearly two years without any health insurance. Insurance companies are particularly offensive to me because they pretend to give a fuck about you. I don’t know who to hate more, big pharma or insurance companies. Big pharma at least admits they are pigs and are in it for the money. What is odious about the insurance industry is that they pretend to care about you and yours: Right… I got your “good neighbor” right here, swinging. Read the rest of this entry »

Free Will Astrology: Week of February 19, 2015

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By  Rob Brezsny

ARIES (March 21-April 19): There are many different facets to your intelligence, and each matures at a different rate. So for example, your ability to think symbolically may evolve more slowly than your ability to think abstractly. Your wisdom about why humans act the way they do may ripen more rapidly than your insight into your own emotions. In the coming weeks, I expect one particular aspect of your intelligence to be undergoing a growth spurt: your knowledge of what your body needs and how to give it what it needs. Read the rest of this entry »