Monday, August 24

Leave The World Unseen, And With Thee Fade Away Into The Forest Dim Now With Enhanced Visibility

Mary Beth Schneider, "State to allow logging in protected area". August 20

“It’s a huge success story,” he said. “The forests are healthier, the wildlife is healthier and the Indiana economy is healthier.”

--David Pippen, Policy Director for Environmental and Natural Resources

Christ, you've got to give it to that sod. If he lost an arm he'd try to sell it for sausage meat.

--Fat Andy Dalziel

WHY The Indianapolis Racist Beacon Should Be Labelled A Choking Hazard, Vol. XLII:

"I don't like the cynicism of politics, the natural cynicism among citizens who think these folks are only out for themselves and they don't really mean what they say. We would like to try to create an eight-year example of a group that came and went and really did keep their word, or tried."

Gov. Mitch Daniels, telling the nation's state Capitol reporters meeting in Indianapolis that he would not consider a 2012 presidential bid. [Note: incoherence in original]

Okay, so we've been on the wrong side of the Looking Glass so long now that an entire generation knows nothing else, and veteran "newsmen" look off into the distance at the mere mention of it, like they're trying to picture the kid who sat next to them in eighth-grade homeroom. Okay, so it's not strictly accurate that The Mighty Atom has kept his word, or tried to keep his word, or done anything more than try to shape the public perception of his actions to accord with the PR version, which is where they actually do accord with his Principles. But this is nothing but a quibble Over Here. In a sense, or from one side of the mushroom, Mitch is correct, if still short (Eat Me); one could have taken out a notepad in January, 2005, and sketched a rough outline of what your average, but still short, Republican corporate buttboy would have attempted to do with eight years in office, and you'd have something approaching Daniels' list of accomplishments, or "accomplishments". In other words, he's done precisely what people who imagined the worst about him thought he would do. The fact that it's not what he said he'd do is beside the point. He's lying, but you have to give him points for the absolute candor underneath it all somewhere. Excepting, of course, that Big Brain doesn't think anybody in the audience will get it, so he didn't think he was playing with his own chips. Plus he was talking to "our state Capitol reporters", who are probably about as likely to question some risible platitude as an archbishop is to turn up at the Vatican butt-nakid.

[Prime example of this came two pages later in what used to be salable Racist Beacon real estate: Stuart Lowry, the former kiddie DJ who's run the Indianapolis Department of Parks and Recreation since last August, when the guy who knew what he was doing quit, told us all how doubly good the new creative energy at Indy Parks would be, thanks almost entirely to Major Mayor Gomer F. Ballard's across-the-board 10% budget cuts (which, to tell the truth, at least meant he didn't try to make any real decisions), just as soon as public volunteerism takes up the slack.
However, we already have the sparks of a recovery in parks. Staff is stepping up with ideas and efficiencies, new partnerships are forming, and sister agencies are helping to address security, paving, and patching of park roads. Within the 2010 budget, we are seeking savings by competitively bidding services such as mowing, trash pickup, plumbing and athletic field maintenance to become better stewards of taxpayer dollars.

And the check's in your mouth, and I won't come in the mail. In the space of a single paragraph, the guy goes from explaining how super-duper it is that we're now living within our Artificially Impoverished Thanks to His Party's Property Tax Grandstanding budget to explaining how our deferred maintenance program is now, at $121 million, four times the annual Parks budget. This isn't "living within your means." It's congratulating yourself for making every other mortgage payment and hoping that Lack of a Roof thing gets some attention from a subsequent owner.]

I suppose we should be grateful the price of fill dirt hasn't skyrocketed. Meanwhile, Painfully Honest Mitch and the boys, last seen (in the woods, anyway) auctioning off public land at 5x normal speed, thanks to the processing power of those Enormous Entrepreneurial Intellects, recently spotted (from the air, probably, while hunting) some perfectly good potential timber products which were just standing there using up our precious carbon dioxide. A minor detail was that they happened to be hiding in a designated backcountry area set aside in 1981. This is the sort of thing you or I see as a problem, while the Large Craniumed Go-Getter sees only Opportunity.

But let's shuffle and deal from this side of the mirror, if only for nostalgia's sake. Public lands in Indiana, aside from state parks, are designated "multi-use". This means that if you're hiking in a State Forest, such as Morgan-Monroe, and you've forgotten to check the calendar first, you might find yourself sharing the mid-August trail with semi-automatic weapons-firing squirrel hunters, who've been stuck since the previous February with only family members and revenooers to shoot at, and who, no doubt, have wandered onto the prohibited and obvious trail sorely by accident. It means that Indiana's half-dozen timber operators and their vital employment of the family members of Indiana's half-dozen timber operators, not to mention their penumbra of lobbyists and legislators, have traditionally had access to timber. But it also means the concerns of recreational users are supposed to factor in there somewhere, and I don't recall "except during Republican administrations" being in the charter. I've hiked in state forests--principally Morgan-Monroe--for thirty some years, through the Republican administrations of Otis Bowen, Bob Orr, and Evan Bayh, and if I'd seen a dozen markers I've forgotten them. The summer after Daniels gets hold of the thing I'm walking one of the two five-mile loop trails squeezed onto its 9500 hectares, and I come to a clearing which hadn't been there before. Looks like a utility right-of-way. Instead it's part of Daniels' own Healthy Forests Initiative, in which the dangers of potential tree diseases was eased by eliminating their potential hosts. The thing had been bulldozed, was deeply rutted, and cutting and road debris was scattered everywhere. Though, in fairness, my knees and other factors have kept me away since. It's probably a mature second-growth forest by now. Or an apartment complex.

And this was the guy who couldn't find a reason to support the bailout of automakers that jibed with his principles.

And sure, right-o, Mr. Bonzai Governor. I know what to expect from you, though I don't think that's to your credit, exactly. What actually concerns me is the ease of finding someone who'll say something like this:
The openings will be replanted and become wildlife areas, (John) Seifert (director of the Division of Forestry) said. “You’ll see songbirds in there. You’ll see snakes in there, things that you won’t normally find in a closed-canopy forest. We’re trying to manage the system to provide as much diversity as we can.”

Or this:
“We’re not going to deny the visual impact is there,” Seifert said of the initial logging. “But in six months to a year, you’re going to have a new forest starting.”

Besides, you hippies like grass, right? Hell, we'll seed the whole place when we're finished, including the trail we tore up to make an access road, and the acre or two we clear-cut to make room for the construction trailers, an' everything. You won't even know we were there. Assuming you live to be 106.

And I guess the whole Eastern Jewel-backed Ash Borer Is On the March! routine is inoperative now? The threat is cyclical, only occurring in the first gubernatorial term? Or have they been superseded by the Protected Back Country Tulip Moth? Not that I exactly remember Mitch running as the Hardwood Husbandry candidate. And fer chrissakes:
Greg Koontz, a lumber buyer with Foley Hardwoods in Bargersville, agrees and would like to see more state forest logging, including in the back-country areas. With the downturn in the economy, construction is off, and the price of lumber has fallen with it.

“When prices go down, private landowners are reluctant to sell timber,” he said. “It becomes real important that that public timber goes up for sale to sustain the mills in a downturn.”

Can't we choose one story per decade and stick with it? Weren't you telling me just yesterday that the Gubmit shouldn't be competing with private insurance companies? Why're we undercutting private landowners? Why don't these fuckingly vital lumber operators buy their own fuckingly vital property? Because it'd force them to look for cheaper lobbyists? Or am I just forgetting Mitch's pledge of Corporate Welfare for all?


Brendan said...

I almost want this clown to run for president, just so the world will discover your reporting on him. You could become the new Mudflats!

CAPTCHA: becliw (which sounds like a process the state house reporters should undergo)

Julia said...

oh, man. Dalziel and Pascoe shoutout.

Have I told you lately that I heart you?

Grace Nering said...

“When prices go down, private landowners are reluctant to sell timber,” he said. “It becomes real important that that public timber goes up for sale to sustain the mills in a downturn.”

The self-serving logic here is a thing of horrifying beauty.

Aaron said...

Why not cut out the public-timber middleman and just pay the fuckingly vital lumber operators to kick back at the mills with a twelver of Old Milwaukee and a flat-screen teevee?

I mean, if the Market doesn't see fit to provide them with a living, and all.

Davis X. Machina said...

Thinking about the forests of Indiana just made my day.

I had always assumed the generation of Lincoln, and Lincoln's father, had taken care of them.

It has inspired me to begin the creation of Maine's first tallgrass prairie.

Well, actually the lawnmower broke, but that sound so much better.

Joyful Alternative said...

You're right, Davis. I've been to Indiana on business, and I wouldn't call the landscape "forested." It was horrifyingly flat, with drainage canals everywhere, and full of salesmen trying to lease tiny spaces by outfitting the model apartments with 4/5-size furniture that looks normal but can't be sat on.

Based on my 4 days in Indiana, I believe everything Riley says, except about the woodlands. The Appalachian Trail does not go there for good reasons.