Smile Politely

Local news analysis — from Michigan!

Well, I was wrong. You can subscribe to the Gazette in pdf format. Unfortunately, due to a small fixed window, it’s hard to navigate and makes reading the paper even more aggravating than usual. Not that that stops me from trying to spoil my Sundays, even 500 miles away.

Nothing much to report in local news this week — Tom Kacich takes a walk and waxes poetic about the sweet smells of summer, but weirdly ending with the smell of death in your typical pond, followed by the patriotic smell of fireworks. Christine Des Garennes has a front page story on the UI Research Park board getting close to naming either Fox/Atkins or an outfit out of Atlanta as the developer of the expansion west of First street. Not much new info there, except, it appears it’s too expensive to move the UI swine research facility so the expansion will be built around it. There’s a joke in there somewhere. A story on the recent meeting about the Urbana Police Review Board had little information except that community members wish to publicize the existence of it. It was either a not very substantive meeting or I, or the reporter, missed something. Decent feature by a UI student — part of the joint J-School/Gazette project — on the CU Citizen Access project that seeks to provide less expensive internet hook-up to underserved areas and low-income households. A Montana man was reunited with his class ring after 37 years of it being in a drawer in Rantoul. Gosh!

The Business section has a Champaign-datelined AP article about high fructose corn syrup. I’m not sure why it came out of Champaign, but it’s a summary of the issues and the business of HFCS. Some movement away from it to sugar, but as long as soft drink companies use it, the market remains huge, and growing overseas. Corn refiners think the sugar industry is behind the negative publicity. The usual arguments about the HFCS/obesity link are summarized. Speaking of corn going overseas, I recently saw an article noting exports of ethanol are up by a factor of more than 10. Need to confirm that, but what was that about getting the US off of foreign oil via biofuels?

A former Urbana High basketball player (John Huett of the fabled ’69-’70 team for all you basketball freaks) and his wife are opening a clothing store on Bloomington Road where the Wonderbread/Hostess outlet was before moving to Prospect and Bloomington. In bummer news for downtown Urbana, Furniture Lounge is moving to downtown St. Joe and will concentrate more on internet sales. Can’t say I’m surprised. Well, it opens up space for maybe an art gallery or lawyer’s office.

Lots of stuff in the Sports section — all boring.

Usual smattering of national/international stuff. I did enjoy the headline: Peruvians Grill Dutch Suspect. They’ll eat anything.

Commentary features an article about how fucked Haiti is as hurricane season comes on, a paean to the US Empire by neocon militarist Max Boot (using American military might to advance American ideals overseas, oh and maybe access to markets and materials like oil), a commentary by some Republican pol from Oswego about how we need to take “bold action” on ethics and political reform, and one by our State Senator Mike Frerichs defending his bill on student voting in an article that starts with a quote from Jefferson. Never seen that done before.

The editorial shockingly reveals some friend of a pol got all four of his children legislative scholarships. GRRRR, Now I’m Really Angry and want some of that Bold Action.

George Will blames unions for education problems — I think he’s recycling his 1970s columns. Garrison Keillor, the token liberal I guess, meanders about a bit and then decides to check out to sit in his backyard. The other occasional “liberal” who sometimes appears when he’s not tooo liberal, makes note of the obvious fact that the folks in charge are not competent.

My favorite fascist, Cal Thomas, lets ‘er rip this week. It seems the only motivation of getting supplies into Gaza is pure hatred of Israel by a bunch of fiends and their dupes. These kinds of vicious attacks on holy Israel will happen “again, and again, and again, unless and until the world wakes up to the clash of civilizations too many want to ignore, hoping it will go away. It won’t until one civilization crushes the other.” Well praise Jesus and lock and load!

And speaking of the gods, a Mohel, apparently responding to a letter to the editor, talks about his business in a guest commentary headlined: Ritual Circumcision Sign of Covenant with God. Those of you interested in the recent SP discussion on cut/uncut might find it interesting. Actually, the commentary is kind of weirdly interesting, as are all expositions about the laws of Leviticus. Now if you’ll excuse me I have a goat to sacrifice on the alter.

Oh, that reminds me. The Chicago Tribune article on Olympian Drive and Prairie Fruits Farm, that standing-in-the-way-of-progress business run by “the goat lady” as Mayor Prussing calls her, has appeared. It’s here.

One more thing. Following on last week’s focus on bad times, particularly for the poor, this week’s paper features several national articles about how bad the employment situation is and will be, even for the educated classes. Many of you are probably familiar with the drill outlined here: 2500 resumes and individual cover letters and nothing, then a couple of interviews that lead nowhere, making the nothing feel even worse, and then maybe an offer, only to discover employers are lo-balling. Jobs that once paid $40 to $50k are now offered at $28k, and so on up and down the line. The point: take that $1.50 you saved by not buying the Gazette this week and pocket it. You’re gonna need it.

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