Monday, January 30

Olio: May You Live In Interesting Times, And A Mid-Sized Market Hosting The Super Bowl Edition

• A week or two ago I saw the most jaw-dislocatingly stupid thing I'd seen on local teevee "news", at least until the next time I turned it on: in reporting on the monthly state unemployment numbers, whichever useless shill I'd subjected myself to ignored until the end of the report the fact that Indiana's rate--9%, the neighborhood of which was, leading up to the 2008 gubernatorial elections, was the most important piece of evidence for Mitch Daniels' economic miracle--is now worse than the national average (and way north of Ohio's (8.1), while Kentucky (9.1) and Michigan (9.3) have both appeared in the rear-view mirror, not that he mentioned any of that), instead focusing on the one-month jobs creation number, which was, apparently, the greatest in the entire 6000 years of human history.

Which number did not budge the unemployment rate. We're all glad that 15,000 Hoosiers found jobs last month. And it's not like I think that local teleprompter readers compile their own statistics. It's just interesting that three years ago how Indiana compared with surrounding states was the chief measure of economic progress, and now it's a mumbled afterthought.

• You can imagine what's transpired when the modern-day local teevee news operation's natural inclination to Jaycee boosterism meets something like The Super Bowl. But do yourself a favor. Don't.

I swear that everyone doing remote reports while standing has been fitted with a catheter.

Which is not much of a surprise, since a couple weeks ago they were all beside themselves at the prospect of Jack in the Box returning to Indiana.


And who can blame them? People were lined up across the parking lot.

But for chrissakes, how does this infest the only print reporter in town with a political beat ?
Some of the more curmudgeonly Hoosiers among us are intent on noting that all of the city's problems will remain after Jimmy Fallon and Alec Baldwin leave. Yep, they will. Just as they would have without a Super Bowl. Expecting more is expecting too much.

I've been a critic of outsized public spending on professional sports stadiums and what it says about our priorities. And I'd trade this Super Bowl for a city full of super schools without blinking.

But it's not as simple as either/or. There's no doubt about the benefits that sports bring to this city, and the benefits of this particular game are obvious. The Eastside legacy project and the economic boost for local businesses are but two examples. Perhaps most important is the reminder that it sends to the city about the benefits of thinking big. This city has become what it is -- and it's something to be proud of -- after decades of thinking bigger than our weight class.

The "Eastside legacy project" is, essentially, Indianapolis' version of the annual NFL "Let's give 0.00001% of our teevee revenues to some poor side of whatever town gets to hand us a Super Bowl". In exchange for which Indianapolis--whose new Teabagger mayor was crying poverty at the same time--matches those funds and builds a practice facility for the visiting team to equal the practice facility we built the (privately-owned, need I remind you?) Colts. (Explain that one in terms of economic benefit, would ya?)

They've done a good job. The $1 million in matching NFL funds has become--reportedly--$154 million.

But where th' hell was that money? Those schools Mr. Tully "wishes" we'd improve could have used that sort of cash over the last twenty years. He should know; he spent a year in one of 'em without noticeably losing the conceit that it's all the fault of bad teachers. Maybe he should spend a year drinking straight out of the raw-sewage receptacle known as White River. Then tell us what it is or isn't reasonable to expect.

Funny how this excuse always sides with Circuses, and against Bread.

• Brave Indiana blogger Doug Masson points us at this Muncie Star Press editorial supporting the latest religiocrank legislation moving in the Indiana General Assembly (Motto: Quick, Kansas Is Gaining On Us!"):
The legislation allows schools to authorize "the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life" and specifically mentions "creation science" as one such theory.

And specifically mentions no other.
Creationism is the belief that the Earth and its creatures were created by a deity.

But creation "science" has been forced to back away from the deity routine.
Opponents will argue this bill chips away at the separation of church and state and brings an unwelcome mixing of theocracy and scientific theory into the classroom.
Not necessarily.

It's true; you can use the Bible in public schools. To teach the Bible. Problem is that you're not supposed to use it to teach the Bible exclusively. And religious diversity, as we all know, leads directly to Sharia law.
We see nothing that would change that here, and note the bill stresses "theories" on the origins of life.

Sure it did, because one of our citizen farmer legislators heard from some other state's citizen farmer legislators--or a teevee pastor--that such language makes it all fair to teach Christian just-so stories alongside natural selection in biology class.

No worries, though. I'm sure Mitch "Culture War on the Back Burner" Daniels will be weighing in on this any minute now.


heydave said...

I'm guessing you Hoosiers got that whole "thinking big" schtick from the Mighty Forehead himself.

I fully expect to see you in the Super Bowl crowd waving a John 3:16-1/2 sign or something. Please don't disappoint.

John of Indiana said...

Dontcha just LOVE the way these Gomers think "Theory" means "Some bullshit we just pulled out of our asses"?

My money's riding on one of our "citizen farmers" getting a copy of the bill, suitable for submission, with a fat "contribution" and 2 StupidBowl tickets pinned to it.

Anonymous said...

"the teaching of various theories concerning the origin of life"

Something tells me their enthusiasm for variety would deteriorate rapidly after the teaching of Hindu, Buddhist, Wiccan and Australian Aboriginal theories of the origin of life.