Chris “thrill up my leg” Matthews recently pointed out that Democrats will consider 2014 a good election if they only lose five seats, but that they could potentially lose 10 seats.
If Matthews is bringing this up, you know it’s bad news for the Democrats. So let’s have a look at how 2014 is shaping up:
- In 2014, there are 21 Democrat races to only 14 Republican races
- Only one Republican race is in a 2012 blue state (Maine), while seven Democrat races are in 2012 red states
- Two of the Democrat races in 2012 blue states are open (no incumbent running)
- In 2010, Democrats lost three seats in blue states (Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, and Illinois), while only holding one seat in a red state (West Virginia). It’s worth noting that one seat was Joe Manchin, who some would certainly call Democrat-lite.
[Click above to embiggen: how Rahm Emanuel became Mayor of Chicago in the first place]
Today, a friend of mine sent me this article by Rick Perlstein entitled “Rahm on the Ropes” and asked me what the feeling is here in Chicago towards Rahm Emanuel (and what that portends for his future as Mayor). Anecdotally, here a few recent things to note about the man (or lizard, in my opinion) who will be Mayor of Chicago for as long as he wants (but that’s as high as he will ever go):
* I happened to be at O’Hare Airport for something in January and needed to take the Blue Line back into the city. I was SHOCKED to learn that it now costs $5.00 to board a CTA subway train at the airports; apparently, that fee hike took effect that very week. There was actually a CTA employee stationed at the turnstiles because passengers getting on the train were confused and angry that the automatic system was deducting $5.00 from every train card instead of the normal $2.25 to ride. ”You can thank our wonderful mayor for that”, the clearly perturbed black CTA worker said, with a dramatic roll of her eyes and a knowing nod that expressed she didn’t like the fare hike any more than passengers did. The entire ride into the City was nothing but grumbles from people upset by how much it cost to ride the train. People were fuming in their seats…and frustrated there was nothing they could ever do about it, knowing that in Chicago once the price is raised on something it will never, ever come back down.
This move to double the train fare from the Airports was made because under Emanuel the City is going out of its way to soak tourists and travelers for as much as they can while they are here, figuring that people won’t stop coming to Chicago just because the train ride from the Airports costs double what the CTA charges to board at any other station…but what the City doesn’t think about is all of the black people who work at the airport and take the trains to get there. 90% of the TSA workers in Chicago are black, as are the food service, retail, and other airport employees. Since they board the trains at the Airport to ride home, Emanuel just doubled what it costs them for the return trip of their daily commute. That adds up to a lot of money per month for people working minimum wage…and I can’t imagine that’s not having unintended consequences in other aspects of life in the city, since it’s NOT just the tourists who are being gauged by this fare hike.
* Blacks are also going to be dramatically impacted by the plan to shut down the Red Line completely in May for a 5 or 6 month overhaul of the tracks on the Southside. The line’s being closed after the Roosevelt stop…and that will affect all the stops south to 95th/Dan Ryan. For those who don’t live in Chicago, these are the stops that are mostly used by black people (who will now have to struggle with shuttle buses to get to their jobs in other parts of this very segregated city). Emanuel claims that shutting down the entire line will save time and money, as opposed to only shutting it down on weekends to do track rehabilitation work. Right now, only a few people here and there talk about this disaster coming…but that’s because the trains are still running and no one is really paying attention. But, when May hits and the CTA trains stop serving the Southside…it’s going to get ugly.
* Public relations telephone polls and surveys happen all the time, with people calling every few weeks to ask opinions on Rahm Emanuel. That never happened when Mayor Daley was in office. The entire time I’ve lived in Chicago I was never polled about the Mayor until Emanuel took office…and now it seems like someone’s polling Chicagoans about a new crisis a week with him. An awful lot of money is being spent on this…and it makes you wonder why, since Democrats have a lock on the Chicago Mayor’s office (and, thus, you’d think they wouldn’t need to keep polling so much). This leads me to believe that people are grumbling so much with Emanuel as Mayor that Democrats want to keep tabs on the discord and always know just how upset people are on a rolling basis.
* There’s anger at Emanuel for his ineptitude in handling the teachers’ unions last year, but more people are upset that Chicago doesn’t have a casino. I hear that one all the time, because people say we’re losing jobs and money to Hammond, Indiana (just across the Illinois border) or to the casino that’s out in the suburbs and reachable by Metra trains. I’m from Cleveland, which fought a downtown casino for decades, and I’ve never understood the logic of allowing gambling residents to board buses to take their money to other states (or cities) to play their slots…when a city can keep that revenue (and all those jobs) in its city center. People seem to think having a casino means their town will turn into the dystopian “Biff’s” version of 1985 in Back to the Future…but does anyone really believe that having a casino in Chicago will suddenly make this city more corrupt or crime-ridden? I say at this point the city needs to do whatever it can to create jobs in Chicago and keep all the money it can…instead of letting anything leave for Hammond (which, incidentally, generates $22 million in tax revenue a month from its casino…and almost all of that is from people in Chicago who race across the border to hit the slots). Emanuel came into office promising that his bad temper and caustic way of doing things would pay dividends with stalled projects like the casino…but people have not seen that at all.
* Murders are out of control here and the street gangs do not fear the police or any kind of prosecution. It really is like the days of Al Capone again…and taking a trip to the Southside is like playing Russian roulette. Everyday life in Chicago feels less safe than when Mayor Daley was in office. I’m not sure why that is, but I think there was an emotional connection to Daley that made him feel like a no-nonsense uncle who’d crack skulls if the need arose. Daley seemed in control at all times…and that just made those of us who live here believe that he could apply the right pressure in any situation to make things happen. Emanuel has never seemed in control like that, and I think the thugs have absolutely no fear of him or any belief he can get the cops to really crack down on crime. So, essentially it’s become a free-for-all with Emanuel as Mayor.
* Cigarettes are $11 a pack now in Chicago, which is a big deal to all of the native Chicagoans. What I mean by that are the people who were born and raised here and live mostly in places like Bridgeport or off Polaski and in all the working-class neighborhoods with all the post-WWII squat brick single family homes. These are the people who obsessively play the lottery every day and who still smoke like chimneys (honestly, never, ever get behind one of these people in line at a convenience store because they take FOREVER picking out their lottery numbers and grumbling about the price of cigarettes…you will never be able to dash in and out for something quickly when they are in lottery or cigarette mode). Chicagoans are either natives or they’re young people who moved here to find jobs but leave after about seven or eight years when the weather gets to them or they realize life is probably a lot easier (and better) in other cities like Dallas or Austin. The people who were born in Chicago, have lived here their whole lives, and will no doubt die here are a different breed with vastly different concerns…and chief amongst those is the price of cigarettes. Most of these people find ways to cross the border into Indiana and buy “their smokes” at Wal-Mart over there, where a whole carton is now about the price of three or four packs in Chicago.
I need to note here how lizard-like and unappealing Rahm Emanuel is in general. He is not a nice person, and that shows. Truthfully, a nice person probably can’t really be the Mayor of Chicago but I will tell you that people loved Mayor Daley…even if they grumbled about him. Daley was charming and likable…and because he was Mayor for decades I think people just got used to him being around and accepting he was in charge. Following an affable figure like Daley with a caustic and petty man like Emanuel was a very strange decision on the part of Democrats in Illinois. I think it was really the worst move they could have made…and that a black Mayor would have been able to really crack down on the crime and bring the murder rate back into “acceptable” levels.
Conservatives never understand just how big a role race plays in Democrat politics, but in Chicago everything is about race. And to win the Mayor’s race, you have to remember that Emanuel needed the vote split 6 ways along specific racial lines…so willing clowns like Carol Mosely Braun, Patricia van Pelt Watkins, and William Dock Wells III gleefully split the black vote in the 2011 Mayor’s race…while buffoons Gery Chico and Miguel del Valle split the Hispanic vote to help Emanuel. Mosely Braun received a lot of money for her role in this and was able to wipe out a great deal of her longstanding debt by agreeing to be a stooge for Emanuel. Some of these others just liked the attention of being “a candidate for Mayor!” or enjoyed building some name recognition. It was all a big game though, because Democrats knew that having three black candidates on the ballot instead of just one meant that there was no way Chicago would have a black Mayor. Similarly, ensuring there are two Hispanics on there to split the Spanish-speaking/illegal Mexican vote means that Chicago doesn’t have a Hispanic Mayor. This is the game that Democrats play here that works so well in such a segregated city. All Emanuel needed was to be the only white person in the race and he’d win…which he did.
Republicans don’t even field a candidate for Mayor in Chicago because I think they are afraid of being punished for “interfering” with the Mayor’s race. Everything in this town is quid pro quo, so I think if Republicans don’t run anyone for Mayor then Democrats agree not to go after the seats of the token Republicans who do hold office in the Chicagoland area. And those Republicans enjoy being tokens and having their little positions, so they don’t ever want to rock the vote.
I always hope black people wise up one day and see how Democrats treat them no better than animals…because if Carol Mosely Braun and William Dock Walls III had just dropped out of the Mayor’s race in 2011, then that Patricia van Pelt Watkins could have solidified the black vote against Emanuel….while the Hispanic vote was still split between the two Spanish-speaking candidates…and I don’t know if Emanuel could have won if blacks were all focused on just one candidate.
But, getting people to see things like this is very much like herding cats. I’m really at the point of just giving up and accepting that this is how it’s always going to be in this city, where people have become so dumb that they’ll always fall into whatever trap Democrats set for them. Even though it keeps hurting them all on a personal level that they just never connect back to keeping Democrats in office.
I don’t see how Rahm Emanuel is ever ousted from the Mayor’s office because of how expertly the Left exploits race in this City…but I don’t see how this would ever translate into a presidential run for this lizard. Barack Obama owes everything to being “black”…and the last five years of American politics have been anomalous because we’ve had a black man as the head of the Democrat party. Things change immensely in 2016 when a black person most likely will not be at the top of the Democrats’ ticket…or even be in contention for the nomination. What has Rahm Emanuel ever done that would convince black people to support him with the same level of enthusiasm they’ve shown for one of their own like Obama? It’s ludicrous to think that. So, he (and any non-black Democrat) will be at an immediate disadvantage in 2016.
Next, you need to look at this man’s physical appearance and personality…and see that he is very much lizard-like. He’s also foul-tempered, bitter and angry, and prone to hurling curses and vile pejoratives at people he disagrees with. Emanuel is a very unstable person with possible bipolar disorder…and he’s infamous for sending dead fish to people in the mail or screaming at men while nude in the Congressional gang showers.
Emanuel is also gay and has staffed his Mayor’s office on the fifth floor of City Hall with as many Zac Efron-looking young male interns as he can find. Watching the Oscars, it was hilarious to see George Clooney dragging around yet another woman as his “date” or to see the other Hollywood actors who sport their own “beards”…and it’s so funny to me that a lot of straight people can’t tell that Emanuel’s gay. He’s a former ballerina who used to frequent the Man’s Country bathhouse here in Chicago before becoming a big national name…and his marriage is very much one of convenience. There are scores of young guys here in Chicago were part of a Rahm Emanuel “placement program”, where they had to be his boy toys for a while…but then were ultimately rewarded with recommendations into the top law firms, brokerage houses, or whatever after Emanuel moved onto the next hot young thing. This has been going on for years…and is the sort of thing that happens all the time in politics, particularly when it involves people who consider themselves untouchable (like Emanuel).
Could a foul-tempered, mean-spirited, and lizard-like petty tyrant become President? I don’t think so, because though Barack Obama’s personality is actually a lot like Emanuel’s (and they seem to have similar taste in boys) there was a stark difference in how the public at large reacts to these men. The majority of Americans like Obama, think he’s “cool”, and have a generally good impression of him on a personal level. They know nothing about who he really is and don’t really care, because they like supporting the “hip, black guy”…and that’s a brand that’s served him and those around him very well. Rahm Emanuel just doesn’t have that going for him….and he can’t suddenly transform himself physically into an attractive and likable person. The lizard in his DNA just can’t be transformed enough for him to run for President.
This is actually kind of like the Ministry of Truth that is our national media talking about Michael Bloomburg running for President when that just never made sense either. Bloomburg is not as lizard-like as Emanuel, but he still gives many people the creeps…and that’s a high hurdle to face before he’d even have to justify his policies and decisions in office to people. Democrats are great at hiding someone’s past or obscuring their personal beliefs and record…but even the best spinmeisters on the Left can’t take a naturally unappealing person who gives people the creeps and make that person into a credible presidential candidate. Andrew Cuomo’s going to have a big problem with this too, if he really thinks he can become a presidential candidate…and so for the good of the country I think it might be funny and interesting to see Emanuel, Bloomburg, or Cuomo mount an ill-fated presidential campaign. I just hope Republicans aren’t stupid enough to run someone even more unappealing against a guy like that.
Every day I realize I’m really nearing the end of my time in Chicago. The city is getting to me…and the fun I used to have here is just largely gone for me. There’s just too much wrong with the place since Emanuel became Mayor and things I used to be able to tolerate when Daley was in office just seem to bother me more now that Emanuel’s the public face behind these policies. The classic example I’ll leave you with is the city’s never-ending quest to snatch revenue from Chicagoans via parking tickets. There is an elaborate game that any driver in the city needs to play to avoid parking tickets…where there’s often a half a dozen signs giving conflicting instructions, with oddball requirements and warnings posted that require LSAT or SAT-level logic deductions to figure out if, yes, you can actually park in that spot today. Chicago has always been this way, but for some reason it felt like more of a game than an ordeal when Daley was Mayor.
I don’t know if that will make any sense to you, but when Mayor Daley was the public face of the City this “try not to get a parking ticket no matter how hard they try to trick you” thing felt more like an adventure…like, by parking your car you were engaging Mayor Daley in a high-stakes board game played on the streets of Chicago…and whoever knew the rules better won, but Daley wasn’t necessarily rooting against you and wouldn’t be upset with your beating him. With Emanuel, it’s just a totally different vibe now. Whenever Justin and I go anywhere and he parks the car there’s a real negative energy involved with the parking signs or dealing with the incredibly expensive parking meters. I feel a real heaviness in the air when I’m standing there in the cold with my notebook, trying to figure out if today is the third Friday of a month or a day when there’s a Sox or Cubs game or if there could be considered more than two inches of snow on the ground…or whatever other bizarre clues the signs are giving us to indicate whether or not we can park in that spot.
Since Emanuel’s been Mayor, it just feels like the game is now rigged and the deck is so stacked against everyone that I don’t wan to play anymore. I feel oppressed and overburdened by the action of the City of Chicago that it drains my energy to stand there and contemplate the parkings signage. This is not just because I’ve been living here for so long that the “adventure” of the Daley days is gone…it really is like playing Monopoly or Clue or whatever, but instead of playing it with a jovial person you like it’s now a game against a lizard-like and mean-spirited jackass. And it’s emotionally draining after a while.
I pick up on other people in Chicago feeling like this these days…and I don’t see how this man could mount a national campaign for office when this is the sort of impression he leaves on people.
This was left as a comment on another article here on the site and I thought it was an interesting chance to talk about something I find fascinating: the correlation between campaign signage and how well someone actually does in an election.
I think this theory really hits the mark in a lot of ways.
It’s actually pretty hard to get someone to put a political sign in their yard for a national candidate. I see most signs for local people or MAYBE a Senate race, but there’s too much emotion wrapped up in the national campaigns for a lot of people to advertise for a candidate one way or the other. Those who DO put out yard signs are hyper-partisans…and I think very brave individuals in most cases.
This is one of those things my boyfriend Justin would be TERRIFIED of doing because if we had a Romney sign in our window Justin would never sleep at night worrying about someone throwing rocks through the glass or trying to burn the place down while we slept. This fear is actually not irrational as during the 2008 primaries I had Hillary signs in my windows and someone one night through a rock through one of them…and the rock had an Obama “Yes We Can!” sticker on the back. The police told me I was lucky it was just a rock and not a Molotov cocktail. That’s “Hope” and “Change” in Chicago, for you!
I don’t think yard signs really paint an accurate picture of how the election will turn out in places like Chicago because Obama thugs will in fact vandalize and attempt to harm the property of those who don’t support ‘The One”. This is widely known, and as noted it’s a rational fear. Back in 2004, the same thugs would have attacked anyone who supported Bush just because they hated Bush…but in 2008 and 2012 the hatred was directed at people because they did not support Obama, not because people wanted McCain or Romney to win. But the hatred from the Left was still there…and people are justified in being afraid of the vandalism.
I’ve noted repeatedly on this site that no one is saying boo to me here in Chicago when I walk around with my Romney shirt on. Back in 2008, however, I was screamed at on the street for not supporting Obama. This time around, that zeal and hate is just not on display from the Obama supporters in Illinois.
I’m a confrontational and sometimes abrasive person who does enjoy provoking reactions from people…but my boyfriend Justin is sweet and nice and flies under the radar…so he is not the sort who would ever dream of putting out a campaign sign (or even wearing a political shirt unless I make him) so I think there’s a big split amongst people out there when it comes to these signs. I think 80% are like Justin and only 20% are like me.
Outside of urban areas, I bet people are more willing to put signs for either Romney or Obama on their property because the fear of thugs and vandals would be less…but I bet it’s still there. I also think that people in more rural areas are less likely to be so upfront and in-your-face with their votes. Justin grew up on a tomato and berry farm in Arkansas and keeps his cards close to his vest always. His whole family is like that, unless it’s with people they really know well.
I’m fascinated by the phenomenon of political signs and what they could mean about how states will vote and wonder if anyone out there has ever seen a good study on this.
It is exciting to see more Romney signs than Obama ones in an area…and I think that’s safe to say that place will most likely go to Republicans in a few weeks. But seeing more Obama signs than Romney signs somewhere might not mean the same thing because Romney voters could be afraid of vandalism and broken windows if they make their support for Romney obvious. An area with no signs might just mean they were all stolen overnight.
This would make a really great chapter in another Freakonomics-type book if anyone could ever wrap their arms around how to measure and quantify this stuff.
Do you have any thoughts on it?
PS — As I wrote this article, I had Hulu on for company in another window and it played the latest episode of the TV show Bones: ”The Tiger in the Tale”.
It was a politically-tinted episode with the lead character, Bones (a forensic anthropologist), talking about how she wanted to run for President someday. I’m not sure, but I think Bones is high-functioning Asperger’s because she has a lot of social quirks that they play up in the show. Randomly, she’d talk about things she’d do in her fictional administration as she investigated this week’s murder.
Not a single mention of Barack Obama or Mitt Romney or the real 2012 election, though it was clear the episode was set in a presidential election year.
That’s interesting because the show has mentioned Obama in the past, so it’s not like avoids current references to keep the show from feeling dated in syndication or on DVD.
I think they just didn’t want to get into praising Obama on TV because next year when he’s no longer president this episode would feel so incredibly weird and stale…but the show’s writers didn’t want to take any potshots at Obama either or praise Romney in any way.
So they just kind of pretended neither of them exist and kept things just about “the election”, but didn’t specify who was running.
Keep watching shows you like and reporting what references to either Obama or Romney are made because I think this is very fascinating and telling too.
So, today’s excitement of the day is to think about Barack Obama actually losing Pennsylvania…which is now moving from “it’s probable” to “it could actually really happen”.
Technically, those mean the same thing so not much has really changed…but politics is all about nuance.
I worked the Pittsburgh area as part of the Kerry campaign in 2004 back when I was still a Democrat. At the time, we thought there was a very good chance that Kerry could lose Teresa Heinz’s adopted “home state”…which was embarrassing because this was where one of the Kerry family’s many residences sat (in a wealthy suburb of Pittsburgh). I really had a lot of fun living there for a while and stayed in Shadyside, which is a very cute part of town not far from the University of Pittsburgh. The thing I remember most — and will probably never forget — is one day when I was out canvassing for Kerry a woman I talked to at her door asked me if it was hard walking around talking to strangers about him. She looked at me very intently to see if I would tell her the truth and I started to hesitate so she rescued me by saying, “I knew it. I feel the same way. We’re stuck with him and I’m a Democrat so I will vote for him because I hate Bush but man, he’s just so dreary and awful and so ugly. I just look at him and know the guy smells like farts. I guess I have to vote for him anyway though”.
Pittsburgh was a really fun place. It was kind of like an alternate universe version of Cleveland because people would say things like that where I grew up too, only the geography was so radically different with so many hills and mountains there in western Pennsylvania.
Of course, Kerry went on to win the state but things were tense until about two days before the election. I am telling you directly that the campaign actually thought Bush could pull off a win there and things were frantic until the very last internal poll showed that the Philadelphia region and the easter part of the state would save Democrats yet again…despite Bush doing very well in western Pennsylvania, where I was in Pittsburgh. Apparently, people in Philly just can’t get enough of Democrats who “smell like farts”. Perhaps that should be Obama’s new campaign slogan in the Keystone State.
I love rolling the dice in life and am willing to go to the mat for all kinds of crazy things sometimes but even in what I believe will be a landslide win for Romney in the upcoming election I still have a hard time believing Obama could lose Philadelphia because Pennsylvania is what I consider the Zac Efron of states: a great big perpetual tease. Every once in a while, it looks like Zac’s about to come out or there will be a Blind Item making the tabloid rounds about an actor who sure sounds like him who’s meeting with publicists to decide how to make “the big announcement”. But then Zac will be out on the town again with some Disney actress pretending they’re dating again. When Justin and I were in Los Angeles last year we spotted Zac at the gay bar The Abbey really digging the underwear-clad, buff go-go boys they have in their main room near the fireplace. And then on tee-vee a few days later there we saw Zac again, awkwardly holding some girl’s hand at the premier of something. I couldn’t believe he was scoping male strippers at The Abbey and thought he might really be on the brink of coming out…but, nope, Zac was still in the closet and determined to stay there.
This is how I see Pennsylvania. Living there for a year, in the western part at least, it’s a state that should be open about being conservative at heart…but it’s a state that is also so close to New York and the Democrat strongholds that it wants to pass as solid lefty just to fit in or whatever…or maybe it fears damage to its career or public image. So, it flirts with being who it really is on the inside…and then retreats to old form again. Over and over again. In every election in my adult lifetime. Like its publicist or manager is insisting on this or something.
Will this be the year it finally “comes out” as conservative?
I’m not holding my breath…but I am hopeful…and encouraging (towards Pennsylvania and every state or person who is reluctant or scared to come out in public as who they really are).
If you’re on the ground in Pennsylvania or just know a lot about the most Zac Efron of states, please chime in below and give us some good scoop on what’s going on there. All my contacts are in Pennsylvania and they tell me the same thing they always do: that Republicans will win the west but it all depends on what happens in Philly. With Democrats successfully encouraging voter fraud in the state and blocking photo ID requirements to vote that means they’e feeling at least somewhat desperate and straw-grasping (or is it clinging?) right now. But, that’s how the Kerry campaign felt in 2004 when I worked there and Democrats won anyway.
Any insight on Pennsylvania you can Ground Report today?
Chicago Ground Report: Urban Outfitters pretending that no election is happening #MittRomney #BarackObama #PresObama
[ If you walk into an Urban Outfitters in October 2012 you'd almost not even know an election was happening. But, in 2008 walking into one was like stepping into an Obama shrine. The Ministry of Truth that is the American media does not want you to know this. Nothing to see here! ]
I had to testify downtown today in a discrimination case against a gay local business that has been persecuting its Christian employees (whom other employees deem “traitors” for being both gay and Christian and refusing to be bullied by other gays into denouncing their faith just because they happen to like guys). I was similarly discriminated against as a patron by these same people, so today I went on record with what happened to me and I guess we’ll see if the City of Chicago does anything about this. Stay tuned.
On the way to the train station to ride the Red Line home to Boystown, I decided to pop into Urban Outfitters to see if they had any Obama or Romney campaign shirts. If you recall, in 2007 I found a bright red “Hot for Hillary” shirt at Urban Outfitters that I turned into my primary campaign uniform…but never bought the one McCain shirt that Urban Outfitters had later on (opting instead for first a Democrats for McCain shirt I made myself and wore from June-August of 2008…which was replaced by a Palin for VP shirt I wore for the rest of the election). I fully intended to pick up another Romney shirt for my collection if they had one at Urban Outfitters and I was curious to see what Obama merchandise they had on sale, since in 2008 the store essentially turned into a floor-to-ceiling Obama shrine during the presidential campaign.
I was stunned to find they had almost ZERO Obama merchandise (which is ironic for those of you who call Bathhouse Barry by his other nickname, “Zero”…instead of the “O” he uses as his creepy personal emblem (The Eye of Obama)).
Walking off State Street (that great street!) and into the store I was immediately confronted by a massive display of Stephen Colbert merchandise. Tees, books, stickers, etc. all advertising Stephen Colbert for President. The large wooden table also had random things in the colors red, white, and blue including phones you could plug into your computer, a Stay Puffed Marshmallow Man from the movie Ghostbusters (which might be the mascot of the Green Party, I don’t know), stuffed animals that looked like monsters but matched the color scheme, etc.
Not a single Obama anything was anywhere to be found on the entire first floor. Not even pro-Obama books in the little books section.
Upstairs, I cruised the tee shirt racks for anything political and did find two stacks of Obama shirts; these were piled high and off to the corner as if no one had touched them in a while. One shirt was an Andy Warhol riff on Obama’s face…replicated in different pop art colors four times (which is exactly four times too many)…and the other shirt was a weird, religious-like tableau of Obama in the Oval Office kneeling in front of what I think was a picture of himself while a light from Heaven shined on him. There was a giant, dusty stack of those suckers. If you have visited the rough part of town in any urban center in the last few years I’m sure you’ve no doubt seen various thugs selling these kinds of shirts on street corners or from the open trunks of cars set up in parking lots of strip malls. These are the kinds of shirts they also used to sell on Times Square in New York City or in the low-rent souvenir shops that mar the National Mall in DC.
Clearly, there is not a big market for these at Urban Outfitters or they’d be prominently displayed in the front of the store.
I really want to emphasize how surreal this decision was by this store, particularly in Chicago, because absolutely no money was invested by Urban Outfitters in Obama re-election campaign merchandise. When I was in high school and my early years of college, I worked in retail for a few mom and pop shops and I actually got to help the owners select what merchandise I thought customers would like to buy. It was tough looking through the catalogs and making bets like this, because I’d feel awful if something I picked didn’t fly off the shelves and ever made it into the remainders bin. People who work for big chains like Urban Outfitters need to be even more savvy with their purchasing orders, since bad decisions by them result in millions of units of product heading to outlet malls or the Dollar Store if they don’t sell quickly in retail shops like the store I visited today on State Street in downtown Chicago.
There is no enthusiasm for Obama’s re-election amongst the target demographic of Urban Outfitters shoppers; if there was, I’d have been accosted by an Obamapalooza in the front of the store like I was back in 2008.
Obama is so four years ago to the kids who shop at Urban Outfitters.
Come to think of it, they didn’t even bother to design a new Obama shirt for 2012 since I remember seeing the Warhol and the religious-overtoned ones in 2010 or so; these may have been the last Obama propaganda shirts that Urban Outfitters had made and the stacks on display now could have been sitting there for some time. And yes, the religious-looking ones really were dusty. Nothing around them were, though. Those were the only shirts that people aren’t picking up and handling or ogling for purchase.
Ground Reports are always anecdotal…but they contribute to the notion that the corrupt, vintage media (which I call The Ministry of Truth, or Minitrue for short) is not giving us the real picture of this election on the tee-vee or in the newspapers. If what Minitrue says about people being more excited to re-elect Obama than they were to put him in office four years ago was really true then wouldn’t a chain of stores like Urban Outfitters sink a nice investment into selling Obama campaign merchandise to ride that wave of enthusiasm too?
I’m sorry, but Minitrue has got this all wrong (deliberately, I think) because a thorough exploration of Urban Outfitters on State Street in downtown Chicago (as close to the Mecca of the Obama cult as is humanly possible to be) turned up zero evidence of any lingering love affair for “Zero” amongst Chicagoans.
Minitrue won’t report this, but I just did.
UPDATE: I mentioned in comments that I like the tee shirts at Urban Outfitters (the ones that don’t feature Obama on them, anyway). They have a lot of 80s retro stuff and pop culture shirts that are cool. I am very much a tee shirt and jeans kind of guy and have a fun collection of vintage-looking tees that I’m proud of. I just found out a bout a place called BustedTees that has a honey badger shirt that I will be getting very soon no doubt:
I love it.
Honey badger don’t care, indeed.
Honey badgers are the natural enemies of snakes AND Eeyores, in case you weren’t aware.
And I will totally take this opportunity to tell you an anecdote about what to never, ever do to a gay guy you don’t know very well: do not EVER buy him a tee shirt or any other piece of clothing in a LARGE size. It’s like going up to a woman and telling her, “You should really shop at Layne Bryant. They’d have nice things for you there”. Whether that’s true or not, a woman doesn’t want to hear that. And a gay guy will check the label on anything to see if you gave him a LARGE. in gay culture, guys do this to one another to screw with their heads and call each other fat…which is the third worst thing you can say to a gay guy after (1) telling him you hope he gets AIDS and (2) saying you think he’s losing his hair.
My boyfriend Justin is trim and kind of looks like Joseph Gordan Levitt a little. He’s that sort of wiry, athletic build. His sister Darcy sent him a shirt from her vacation to some beach resort somewhere and it was a LARGE. For about a week after that, Joseph obsessed over “why my sister would send me that” and “does my sister think I’m fat”. He would only eat salad and grilled vegetables for days afterwards.
The thing is, Darcy is married to a straight guy (duh…she’s not Liza Minnelli or Michelle Obama) and straight guys like wearing LARGE things for some reason. Gay guys prefer athletic-cut small or medium shirts. Even if they really need a LARGE, they will squeeze into a medium or become a recluse until they starve down enough to do so.
Just a little tidbit that all straight people should know. So, honestly, if you are ever mad at a gay guy at work or some relative of yours then totally give him a LARGE tee shirt and say “I saw this and thought it would look nice on you”…and step back for the burn, baby, burn because Mary will be all sorts of degrees of upset over that.
UPDATE: After I posted this article, I checked my email and my friend Heidi out in the ‘burbs sent me a snapshot she took out in Prospect Heights, Illinois of a lawn sign that’s popping up EVERYWHERE over there:
I really like this. I really, really like this.
I think we need to do something fun with this in the form of palm cards to distribute around Chicagoland and nationwide. Justin’s working today but when he comes home I’ll have to ask him to make up something similar for us…and on the reverse perhaps include facts like these:
See anything like this where you live?
Chime in below or send us a ground report on it!
GROUND REPORT NEEDED: Someone should talk to DC area souvenir vendors. How is Obama merchandise selling?
I can’t get to DC myself between now and the election, so I am asking anyone in the vicinity of the Capital to walk around the National Mall and the streets around the White House to checkout the souvenir vendors and the gift shops. The people to talk to are the vendors who sell tee shirts and other goods all day. How is the Obama merchandise selling?
Do they have Romney goods for sale?
How is Romney merchandise selling?
Look at the price tags and see if Obama goods are marked down.
Here’s my thought process on this:
* Tourists coming to DC want to bring back something they are proud to show off when they get back home…they don’t want to show grandma or their friends at work something that people think was a waste of money.
* Souvenirs are ridiculously overpriced in DC. If someone buys something at those prices, they REALLY wanted it…and they REALLY think the folks back home will love it.
* If people aren’t buying Obama merchandise in DC right now, they don’t expect him to be in office much longer. They don’t want to buy a sweatshirt for $40 that says OBAMA 2012! on it when they know the guy is going to lose big. That shirt can never be worn again when he loses…so it would be dish rags after November 7th. Just like with the Superbowl merchandise that’s printed up in advance for a team that ends up losing…all that Obama 2012 junk will be unloaded in Africa or South America via relief effort charities.
The tee shirt and souvenir vendors already know who is going to win the election. They have to know, because their livelihoods depend on giving people what they want to buy.
If there is high demand for Romney gear in DC right now…then people are expecting Romney to win and they want to bring Romney souvenirs back to show grandma in Cleveland or wherever.
Can anyone reading this do some field work today and check around in DC for sales figures from the vendors?
This is an instance where I really wish I lived closer to the Capital because I just can’t get this intel here in Chicago firsthand.
Apparently, this image is burning up Twitter today. No less than 22 people have sent this to me via email. I’m not sure but I think it originated on GatewayPundit. It’s a shame when the Internet does not credit the right people (though, people should always put their logo in the corner of something before they send it out or they can’t complain if people don’t know how to credit them properly).
It’s not just political people sending this, either. I’ve seen this image turn up on the Facebook profiles of people who don’t even know who the candidates on the ballot will be in November. Even they get the creepiness of this new “Obama flag”, which is actually for sale on the official Obama site.
People think it’s a joke, or a sick parody…but this is real. It should be a joke, but it’s not. As my friend Reba says, “This s*** is too weird. I’ve lived too long”.
Tell me again, corrupt vintage media, how Obama is re-elected when there is just so much weird, scary, s*** connected to the last four years and “Scary and Weird” has honest to goodness replaced that old “Hope and Change” theming from 2008.
Jim Geraghty over at National Review Online spent some time yesterday calling out those in the Legion of Gloom who keep running articles on conservative sites declaring Mitt Romney “doomed!” for no good reason other than the people employed by Comcast and MSNBC claim he is. Don’t forget to note these people desperately want Obama to win and are just lying on camera and saying what they WANT to happen. Watching Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, or Andrea Mitchell is like walking into story time down at a particularly untalented kindergarten just as the kids start rambling about what they want for Christmas (in May). For some reason, there is somebody out there every single day who needs to hear this…so I will say it again now…but the polls are deliberately lying to you by using pro-Democrat party affiliation numbers from 2008. The media is insisting that Democrats are as wildly popular today as they were in 2008, which was a Democrat high water mark. To put this in pop culture perspective, it’s as if the media was telling us there would be lines stretching around the blocks tomorrow and fist-fights breaking out into parking lots for the next delivery of Cabbage Patch Kids to hit the Toys R Us nearest you…in the year 2012. That Cabbage Patch Craze crested and evaporated A LONG TIME AGO, so the media insisting bedlam would break out when a Cabbage Patch shipment arrived tomorrow (when no one gives a damn, quite frankly) is just lunacy. THAT is why the polls are all wrong that the media pushes…they are based on an alternate reality that mirrors 2008 when the world has changed a lot since then.
Last night, I had the misfortune of talking to one of the nastiest reporters I’ve ever encountered: her name is Pat Shipp at the National Enquirer and she is horrendously rude…and stupid, too. She talked to me about a celebrity story that’s breaking here in Chicago that I have information on through a source, and somehow we got into the polls…and she actually screamed at me over the phone about “Obama being ahead by 8 points and all the polls say that so no way he loses!”. She couldn’t understand the point that the polls are rigged and actually said, “They’re not allowed to say things on TV that aren’t true”. She wasn’t kidding, and actually believed it. I didn’t much feel like giving her any information or a line to my source after this…but the woman became completely unhinged when I challenged her belief that “all the polls say Obama is winning!”. She didn’t know the sample sizes or the party affiliation skew of any of “those polls” that she was citing, or even the names of the polls. I promised her that on November 6th when Romney wins I would call her again and show her how stupid she is…and remind her how rude she is on the phone. I made a note for myself to remind me to do this and tacked it up to my cork board. I very much look forward to making that call, but told her she is more than welcome to call me and do the same thing if I’m wrong. I am not wrong about this.
I think Pat is pretty typical of reporters out there, though. Though she’s crass and nasty while most of the rest of the ones I encounter are pretty meek and very well-mannered mostly, all of them have convinced themselves that Barack Obama can be president for life if he wants. Since 2008 they have consistently referred to this as “his first term” and they have never wanted to admit the Tea Party is real. They have insisted to themselves that the Tea Party was some sort of planned, astroturf thing like Occupy Wall Street was…and that it would just go away. They have never allowed themselves to believe the Tea Party is real and that even Americans who don’t go to tea parties share Tea Party beliefs and plan on voting Democrats out of office with glee in November. These people believe their own hype and rigged polls. It reminds me of those stories you’d hear in some History Channel documentaries about Berlin in the last days of the war when people would still keep showing up at their desks every day in their finest clothes and would keep sending out propaganda memos and military orders to units that had been obliterated and to subs and ships that were now permanently sunk to the bottom of the ocean.
The fact that these reporters are so shrill and brittle when challenged about the accuracy of these polls…and the fact that they feel the need to shout into telephones at strangers who tell them, quite calmly, that NO, Obama is losing and the media needs to inflate Democrat sample sizes by increasingly ridiculous numbers to give him a win is really telling me something. I honestly am afraid that there will be newscasters who die of brain aneurysms on camera or who become physically ill on live TV as they realize that, YES, Obama is losing…and when Romney is declared the winner, I think Chris Matthews will either kill himself on live TV or he’ll just claim that everyone is racist for not awarded Obama a second term.
Check out the new Globe Magazine that’s on stands this week…it has the cover that looks like this:
It’s an interesting read, trust me.
Here’s a bunch of great Ground Reports from readers who are seeing the same thing I’m seeing here in Chicago — that people who don’t work in the media just aren’t enthralled or enraptured by Obama like they were in 2008 (so it’s absolute madness for the media to be running polls based on 2008 enthusiasm and affiliation numbers when people on the ground can see that’s just not the case):
Read the rest of this entry »
YOUR DOOM ANTIDOTE: Ground Reports coming in from across country prove media lies about Obama’s chances of re-election
[ See above: look at how negative the stories are that HotAir features. It's almost like they want to purposefully demoralize and depress conservative voters. But, for what purpose? They're stupid to think that putting this stuff up there will attract lefties to the site. I have no doubt it's a marketing and branding decision to include Doom Reports on there "to widen the audience" but in endlessly fishing for more web traffic, these guys do a big disservice to America's Comeback team in the general election. How can we make this stop? ]
“Doom Reports” are what a lot of conservative sites have repeatedly flashed across their front pages during this campaign (I think just to get web traffic and panic people to create weird, “negative excitement”). Doom Reports originate in the corrupt, vintage media and are most often conceived by the JournoList Club of Democrat operatives posing as “journalists”. I don’t know why conservative writers run with this stuff because repeatedly the lies that MSNBC, CNN, the New York Times and other propagandists of the Left tell are so blatantly apocryphal and CLEARLY designed to depress, demoralize and panic conservatives…but Doom Reports can often be found at sites like HotAir and RedState in particular. There are a lot of them regularly posted at RealClearPolitics too.
I’ve really had enough of this garbage and am tired of fellow conservative writers helping Barack Obama by deliberately posting negative stories about the Romney campaign that supporters of Obama ENCOURAGE these clowns to write. Starting today, look for a DAILY DOOM ANTIDOTE to this nonsense and supported by actual Ground Reports from people coast to coast who’ll help counter everything that MSNBC, CNN, the Times, and even some conservative sites keep saying to reinforce the chosen meme that “Obama is inevitable! We’re doomed! Surrender now! So, so DOOOOMED!”.
For starters, here’s a great piece by Jennifer Rubin in the Washington Post that remembers some of the previous memes the corrupt, vintage media was pushing not that long ago. A lot of these lies breed Eeyores in conservative ranks because for some reason Republicans are shockingly amnesiac. So focused on panicking, running around bemoaning the sky falling, and racing to demoralize and discourage their friends and neighbors with reports of DOOM! these people for some reason don’t remember how previous Doom Reports actually played out. Well, Rubin did, and here’s her list…
1. Romneycare would prevent Mitt Romney from getting the nomination.
2. Romneycare would prevent Romney from making an argument against Obamacare.
3. Texas Gov. Rick Perry was a sure thing.
4. The GOP would pick a tea party favorite as its nominee.
5. Romney’s $10,000 “bet” in a primary debate was going to wreck his campaign.
6. Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom’s “Etch-a-sketch” remark was going to kill Romney’s chances.
7. Romney’s remark about owning two Cadillacs was going to doom him in Michigan.
8. Romney’s comment that he was most concerned about the middle class and not the very poor who have a safety net, which may need fixing, was going to cripple him.
9. Romney’s Bain experience would kill his campaign.
10. Romney’s foreign trip would kill his campaign.
11. Romney would have to release more than two years of his tax returns.
12. Romney’s remarks on the embassy attacks were the most important issue and would kill his campaign.
13. The Democratic National Convention bounce for President Obama was meaningful.
14. Clint Eastwood was a disaster.
15. Picking Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) as a VP was a mistake
Comedian Jon Stewart is probably the very best weapon the Left has at its disposal; a large chunk of voters from the ages of 18-35 gets most of its “news” from The Daily Show. Stewart is far more influential than Saturday Night Live..and is even more of a force than anyone on MSNBC or CNN (despite their best efforts to be Obama’s greatest propagandists). But, seriously folks…THIS is the best Stewart can do? Comparing Mitt Romney to Montgomery Burns on The Simpsons? Really?
I’m just not feeling it.
I opposed Romney in the primaries and didn’t want him to be the nominee. In fact, I spent the last four years working my own angle to paint the guy as out of touch, elitist, and a “soggy cucumber and mayonnaise sandwich”. None of it ever stuck. Not even the lefties responded well to this line of attack on him because Mitt Romney honestly comes off as a nice guy and is the most vanilla and non-evil politician I can think of. I tried in the primaries to paint that vanilla aspect of him as a detriment, and few Republican voters listened. This stuff just doesn’t gain any traction against Romney because voters do not think being “too vanilla” and “too boring” in the year 2012 is a detriment. After four years of the mysterious and exotic Barack Obama a great many people think someone vanilla and boring is a great thing. Count me as one of them. I’ll even serve cucumber sandwiches at the November 6th victory party to toast Romney’s win if this, indeed, is the best that Jon Stewart can do to mock Romney.
But enough from Buzzquarters in Chicago, let’s hear from YOU out there coast to coast in Ground Reports to combat the DOOM REPORTS that are out there:
Read the rest of this entry »
Illinois Ground Report: It is now safe to walk around Chicago in a Mitt Romney tee shirt. No one will scream at you, spit at you, or call you a racist…I swear!
My friend Penny Arcade and I designed the above Mitt Romney/Paul Ryan shirt based on a photograph she liked of the two of them; we’re going to wear these as our campaign 2012 uniforms. I made a few of them so I could wear one every day, and one for Justin too. I plan on wearing it everywhere I go through November 6th. Remember that I live in Chicago…and let me remind you what happened in 2008 when I’d wear anything with Hillary Clinton on it (and then later John McCain or Sarah Palin) when I’d go out and about in Chicago.
Just four years ago, black people would come up to me, try to spit in my face, and would scream that I was a racist because I was not supporting Barack Obama and DARED to wear anything backing Hillary and then later McCain/Palin. They would go completely UNHINGED at anything that wasn’t praising “The One”. Leftie loons of the privileged, young, white variety would also scream expletives, push me on the train, and shout that “Anyone who doesn’t vote for Obama is racist!” garbage. Though no one was sitting at Obama command centers specifically telling each individual to do this, the general vibe in Obama supporter ranks was to “get in their faces!” and to essentially bully and otherwise intimidate people who weren’t supporting Obama to become completely invisible. Anyone backing Hillary in the primaries or McCain/Palin in the general election was targeted with the full-on Alinsky Death Star. It was actually kind of scary to go out in Chicago in my Democrats for McCain tee shirt because the laser-focused hatred emanating from the eyes of Obama supporters did make me feel afraid for my personal safety at times.
Things are 100% different in 2012. That fervor to elect Obama is long gone and his supporters no longer even bat at eye at someone supporting Mitt Romney. Even in Chicago, his formerly zealous voters feel no compunction to berate Republicans, bully Romney supporters, or call anyone a racist who isn’t drinking the hopeychange Kool-Aid.
Obama is going to lose, folks…and lose BIG.
I’ve spent the last week or so going to all sorts of places in Romney/Ryan gear and while I have received a few looks from people who are surprised to see a Romney shirt on someone in Chicago, I’ve had no bad experiences while in 2008 I couldn’t walk to the end of my block without being screamed or spit at by Obama lunatics. I even get a lot of thumbs-up and questions about “where (I) got that”.
This is something the media doesn’t report, or even acknowledge exists, but the reality is that 2008 was a massive fluke and was powered largely by raw emotion: Americans thought it was time to “make history” and elect a magical black man to be President because they thought the color of this guy’s skin was going to “change the world”. Well, they were right about that…but in a very Twilight Zone kind of way people were not at all careful with what they wished for and the change that resulted over the last four years isn’t what they wanted.
Record unemployment, with between 25-30 million Americans either out of work or underemployed. $16 Trillion in national debt (and exploding with more daily). Islamic radicals conquering the Middle East, raping and murdering male ambassadors, and the White House ignoring clear security warnings and even considering releasing the “Blind Sheik” 1993 World Trade Center bomber. Obama’s watching the world burn and is enjoying it. Meanwhile, Obamacare’s terrified small businesses, forced many of them to shutter, and has frozen most hiring. We’re in an economic Depression caused by the wasteful 2009 “stimulus” (that went mostly into union coffers) and the uncertainty and zealous regulations of Obamacare.
People know Obama has failed and made a giant mess in Washington. Many are still uncomfortable admitting the first black man in the job was not as magical as they thought he’d be. These people not only won’t turn out for him in numbers he needs them to in November, but here in Chicago at least they have no interest at all in physically accosting, screaming at, or otherwise trying to bully anyone who doesn’t support Obama.
What happens when a would-be dictator loses his unpaid goon squads on the street?
I think we’re going to find out come November 6th, folks.
Are you noticing anything like this where you live? If so, send in a Ground Report and let us know!
Ground Reports from the “Depression that Shall Not Be Named” — things we notice that the corrupt media won’t report that show this is indeed a Depression
On my desk, just under the computer monitor, I have a little box full of slips of scrap paper. I’ve been doing this since I was a kid because the nuns who taught me in Catholic School refused to ever waste paper. Anything that comes into my home that’s blank on one side and has outlived its usefulness is drawn and quartered and spends some time as scrap paper in that little box for a while before it goes anywhere near the trash bin. When I get ideas for stories or someone tells me something that’s happened to him or her, I jot it down on these slips and then tack them up on the cork boards around my desk until I have time and a better idea of how I want to communicate that information to you on this site. Often, these slips sit there for a while because there’s not enough there for a big post in itself. Today I’m cobbling a few of them together into a Ground Report for Illinois that deals with some of the things I notice that make me conclude that — YES — we are most certainly in an economic Depression regardless of what the corrupt media is telling you. This is the “Depression that Shall Not Be Named” because Chris Matthews, Rachel Maddow, Anderson Cooper and the rest of the pro-Obama talking heads keep using magic tricks and diversion to obscure this “invisible” Depression for as long as Barack Obama is in office. In their role as the Obama Palace Guard, they are better than David Copperfield, Doug Henning, or Siegfried & Roy ever were on the stage…or the Deatheaters were in all those Harry Potter books.
I invite you to share anything that YOU see in your own home towns that leads you to believe we are in an economic Depression, regardless of what the “news” is calling the current economy under Barack Obama. Here are a few of my observations:
* Storefronts are empty and long-abandoned in the fanciest buildings in Chicago downtown in the Loop, and that’s never happened before. While shops fail, they are usually replaced immediately by something else. I’ve never seen empty stores on Michigan Avenue or entire buildings completely vacant in Chicago. This is the kind of thing that was common in Cleveland in the 80s and 90s, but never in Chicago. When I moved here in 2005 or so, I was amazed by the fact that so little was ever empty or boarded up in this town because I grew up in an economically depressed city where this was common. Chicagoans are now experiencing this sort of thing. That can’t be good, folks. Entire shopping malls downtown have been failing…and these were the luxurious “vertical malls” that travel brochures used to brag about when it came to “shopping on the Magnificent Mile”. There is no mention of coming to Chicago to shop anymore in any of the Convention & Visitors’ Bureau material that I’ve seen in the last year or so…though there has been an ever-more-desperate push to bring in tourist dollars. Something is definitely wrong.
* I have a friend who used to be a realtor, with her own business. She had a beautiful two bedroom apartment near Boystown in a historic building that she owned, where she lived with her dog. Since Obama was elected, the woman lost her business and had to take a job as a cashier at Target just to keep the lights on. She had to sell off a lot of her designer clothes on eBay to buy money for food. Then she had to get rid of her dog, because she couldn’t afford to feed him and pay all her bills. Next, she had to move out of her apartment and take the extra room at her mom’s place because she needed to rent out the home she owned so that the rent money would pay the mortgage. She’s 37 and would have been homeless if not for her mother. Her tenants are frequently late with their rent because the husband in that couple lost his job and has not been able to find a new one.
* My boyfriend Justin plays this online video game with something to do with Star Wars. He started playing a year or so ago, when we were just starting to date and he explained how the game works to me: you pay a monthly subscription and get access to the game, which was originally hosted on 200 servers. You can create characters on a server you pick and interact with other players who are running around in this virtual world. In the time I’ve known Justin, that game has had to shrink from 200 servers down to just 10 because they keep losing subscribers. The game is impressive-looking, but people can’t afford to continue paying the membership forever. They’re about to eliminate more servers and rework the game into a free version that would just require purchases of special weapons and gear to play at a higher level. Star Wars fans are rabid and live and breathe this stuff, so if a Star Wars game is failing like this…then something is seriously wrong.
* A friend of mine is a recruiter/membership coordinator for a high-end gym. People are missing their payments and dropping their memberships like crazy in Chicago. The gym recently had to run an incentive for new members where if you sign up they’d reimburse your “joining fee” of $160 if you’d use the gym 80 times or so in the next 90 days. I’ve never seen this gym chain ever give any sort of breaks like this. Those joining fees were always nonrefundable and non-waivable. They are hurting for business so bad that they have to use desperate measures to recruit people.
* Another friend in New York just got married. She bought her dress on eBay. The day after the wedding, she put the dress up for sale on eBay. She essentially rented her wedding dress because she could not afford to buy one and then she recycled it to someone else.
* Consignment shops in Chicago are so flush with goods from people trying to sell their designer clothes that some won’t even take anymore product from people hoping to sell things.
* Coffee shops are closing. Not the big Starbucks ones and not Caribou, but the local ones, the mom & pops, and the limited area chains. I noticed one downtown that had actually just opened about a year or so ago (can’t think of the name) when it replaced the Ethel’s Chocolate Shop/Coffee Bar in the mall next to the Marriott on Michigan Avenue; and now that place is gone too, despite being in a busy area right next to a giant hotel and on Michigan Avenue.
* There is a real sense of desperation from anyone who works on commission whenever I go into a store. They really are laying on hard-sells, when before they were more laid back.
* It’s easy to walk into any restaurant in Chicago now, when they used to be packed. Places you’d never get a table now need no reservations and bars that used to be jumping 7 nights a week are now only busy on Friday and Saturday.
* At the grocery store I go to there’s a customer service stand at the front by the registers; this is where I buy my bus passes. When I’m waiting in line, I can’t help but watch people checking out and I see almost every other person using a purple and yellow Illinois EBT card. ALL kinds of people are using these now. There is a look of shame and embarrassment from most of them as they swipe their cards, too. This particular store makes someone who is using an EBT card announce it to the cashier, who has to push a special button to allow it as an EBT transaction and the humiliation on some people’s faces as they have to tell the cashier they are using EBT is heartbreaking. It’s cruel the way this store has this set up.
* I’ve written about this before, but places that would always have tons of job openings have nothing these days. The universities around Chicago are a good example because they previously always had, at any given time, at least 100 active open positions on their online Jobs Boards. Now, when I check these listings there are maybe 5 to 10 jobs open and they are all for very specialized and highly-degreed fields like professor or Vice President of Development. There are no entry level or mid-management jobs to be had in Chicago at a university or nonprofit. The paid internships are also almost all gone. Unemployment here is much worse than the corrupt media will ever allow you to know. About a year ago, friends of mine who are head-hunters stopped asking me for leads for anyone I could think of to fill jobs they were looking for…they don’t need leads anymore because they have more jobseekers than open positions and there’s a glut of applicants at every skill level in the system. That has not happened before in all the years my friends have been head-hunters.
* The panhandlers are nastier and more aggressive than ever in Chicago. More plentiful too. Crime in Boystown is up with robberies, pickpocketing, and burglary common here now. All over Chicago, there is more violence as the unemployed and desperate resort to crime to survive.
* If you check Craigslist for Chicago, there are more people selling themselves for money than ever before. There is an explosion of male prostitution in this town. This is noticeable because while you’d often see female hookers here and there on the streets, now you see groups of 20-something blonde boy hustlers working the streets too…and not just in Boystown, but everywhere. They look like guys who could be college students but for whatever reason are on the street and selling themselves instead.
* The workers at Burger King and Dairy Queen have gotten a lot better looking and are often times English-speaking now, when in the past the fast food jobs were usually filled by low-lifes or Spanish-speakers in Chicago. Now, people who would have worked at Borders or Best Buy or something are now working at Burger King, which means that the people who would have gotten jobs at Burger King probably have no jobs now (since they were displaced by this other tier of people).
Are you noticing any of this where you live?
Chime in below in comments or send us a ground report on signs of the “Invisible Depression” — the Depression that Shall Not Be Named — via HillBuzz@gmail.com.
If you aren’t seeing anything like this, please tell us where you live because the lot of us need to move there by you.