Tag Archives: politics

Judging the Judges (2012 Election Special)

I hope that all of you already have one of these. If not, go get one today!

So unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year you’re aware that we’ve got an election coming up. In fact, early voting started Monday, so get out and do it, y’all. I’m not here to tell you who to vote for. Instead, I’m here to call your attention to the fact that there’s other stuff on the ballot for Chicago voters that may catch them by surprise.

If you’re a landlord or renter you have a couple of choices to make that may be more important than your presidential vote. One involves power – the electrical kind – and the other involves the people downtown at the courthouse who preside over eviction lawsuits.

A Little Early Morning Opacity

I tend to vote early in the day before it gets crowded. This year I’ll have to remember to drink some coffee before I head out, as I’m going to be confronted with some pretty opaque questions on page one of the ballot before I even get to choosing between Mr. Obama (D), Mr. Romney (R), Mr. Johnson (L) and Ms. Stein (G) and assorted candidates for the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. I’m also going to have to go earlier than normal, as I’d bet most voters are going to be scratching their heads as they try to untangle these four massive questions and the lines could be longer than normal. (more…)

Reality TV Week: Extreme Makeover Home Edition

Extreme Makeover Home Edition Logo

Shall we move a bus or two today? (Logo via abc.com)

I’d normally be writing a statistics post today, but given that this is our special reality TV week it seems right to do a very special opinion post instead. I’m talking about “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition” today, a show which wrapped its successful 9 year run in January of 2012. Specifically I’m talking about the implications of this show’s premise, popularity and the criticism it has received as a reflection of our cultural views on real estate. We can learn some valuable things from this show about the American view of poverty, and how it’s interpreted through the lens of mass media. Equally valuable is the public’s reaction and what it tells us about our cultural view of profit via real estate.

Houses vs Noses vs Time

Lest their be any doubt at the outset as to where I stand on this show – EM: HE was, much like House Hunters and World’s Worst Tenants, created to sell appliances and home building supplies via mass spectacle. In this case it’s making a spectacle of the poor and unfortunate souls who were deemed pitiful enough to merit new houses. Back in ancient Rome those poor souls would have been fed to the lions or bears for spectacle. Now we tear down their houses and replace them with opulent mansions filled with Sears appliances and run up their utility bills into the five-figures in the process.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m all for helping out the less fortunate. EM:HE, though, was a frosting of generosity plastered thickly onto a cake of “let’s sell lots of furniture.” (more…)