Thursday, September 15

Back Home Again

You may recall Joel Silverman, High Exalted Grand Pooh-bah of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles and shining inspiration to all Hoosiers who aspire to succeed in business by allowing their businesses to be run out of business. Well, you'll be glad to know that Assistant Head Chief CEO Silverman hasn't allowed the "terrible terrible things" we've been watching on our teevees lately to cloud his judgment.

Silverman's latest money-saving plans include closing the only license branch in Gary. In case you're unfamiliar with the vacationer's paradise that is Indiana, Gary, located on Lake Michigan, is the rustiest point in the Rust Belt. It was once Indiana's second-largest city, until the steel mills closed in the 70s. It's now Indiana's fifth-largest city, and its major industry is boarding up shop windows. It has the highest percentage of African American residents (85%) of any city over 100,000 population in the country.

The citizens of Gary marched on the state capitol Monday to protest the closing. Emperor Governor Mitch "Robert Blake And I Are Exactly The Same Height" Daniels was unavailable to meet with them as he was in Cincinnati meeting with the Japanese. In his defense, Daniels pointed out that he hadn't met with the Japanese in over a month, and besides, his poll numbers go up whenever he leaves the state. So he tabbed Silverman to meet the somewhat restless natives.

Apparently it was not exactly a love fest. State Senator Earline Rogers called him "rude" and "abrasive". It should be pointed out that she's a Democrat, and for them those are undesirable qualities in a public servant.

But Silverman wasn't finished. He had a 30-minute phone interview with the Star's Matthew Tully, and explained why the Gary branch should close:

"Our customers are people who have cars," he said.


Anonymous said...

well, it sure didn't help the cause when channel 6 -- the one and only station i watched that evening -- showed a lot of angry black people at the statehouse.

i'm sure that made all the rich white people who live in the northern part of marion county and the southern part of hamilton shit their pants as they patted themselves on the back and said, "thank god we're not like THEM."

btw, have you seen gov comeover's commercial about getting healthy? the message, more or less, is "lose weight, gain jobs."

god, can't we all work for lilly? we probably will, someday.

Anonymous said...

Wow, that's some bracing condescension there. Sort of the Aqua Velva of compassionate conservatism. Of course his pre-government success in business gives him that extra oomph of credibility.

Anonymous said...

Being from southeast Chicago, I have memories of visiting Indiana a lot when younger. Although the center of both of our states are capable of instilling weeping boredom in me, I always liked visiting the northern shore. But, have to confess, my reaction was that Indiana, perhaps like Idaho, truly seems saddled with worthless/annoying/odd politicians. Is it an "I" state thing? You know, I now live in Iowa, and while I don't have the numbers, I think there may be a pattern emerging...

Anonymous said...

Asshole. Not like anybody without a car ever needed a state ID card or any other form of official licensing.

Seriously, what the hell is wrong with people who own cars?
Those of us who don't for whatever reason *make your lives better*.
We're one less car between you and home on your evening commute. We're one less gas tank to drive up the price at the pumps. We're less pollution.
And we're getting inconvenienced in every way for it, too. We get up early to catch busses that don't come within a half mile of where we live, we transfer to another bus that only turns up every forty minutes, we spend more time commuting, we get to appointments either slightly late or incredibly early and are treated like morons for doing so, and then we drag ourselves home with a headache from the mingled smells and sounds of several dozen people crammed into a sardine can for an hour and a half.

Meanwhile, the rest of the world whizzes by in their insulated shells with their choice of music and climate, never waiting at a stop in the rain for twenty minutes while people try to bum change off them, going straight from their homes to their jobs, and don't even have to carry everything they need everywhere they go.

And now there's this new wrinkle where, hey, if our lack of a car kills us, it's our own fault for being poor or too lazy to get a job or stupid or whatever.

To add insult to injury, mass transit systems are expected to *make a profit*, because SUV owners don't think they should have to subsidize it even a little.

Look, people. If there were a finite number of cows on the planet, it would be in your best interests as a carnivore to encourage people to stay vegetarians.

Instead, drivers treat non-drivers like non-people, and I see no reason to believe that will stop just because we've seen it now cost people their lives on national TV.

People with cars get the advantages out of this one. The rest of us see the disadvantages, especially once outside of the heart of a major city, and now that the government is on the verge of demanding we all jump through hoops to get more and more specialized ID if we want to do *anything*, they're closing down licensing centers?

We're a four person household with one licensed driver and even here, the driver is generally caught completely by surprise about the daily facts of life for non-drivers.
It's just not something drivers have to think about.

I had jury duty this year, a case with a woman who passed out behind the wheel and nearly got into an accident, and kept right on driving for weeks after, without even bothering to see a doctor, and of course it happened again and this time she plowed into someone at a stoplight.
Every single person on that jury was outraged at the suggestion that people don't have a positive *right* to drive.
I was the only non-driver there, and my reason, essentially that I am not capable of being medically certain I can control a car each time I get behind the wheel, was dismissed as "silly", and the fact that it's in many states *illegal* to drive with a number of medical conditions was treated as a suggestion akin to fascism.

I've come to the conclusion that drivers are more than willing to take the risk that someone--even themselves--will be killed because of someone who shouldn't be driving, as long as it means they don't have to give anyone a ride or pay for anyone else to do so, apparently even in the face of a natural disaster.

That's not just asshole behavior, it's amazingly self-defeating.

I apologize for the rant, but all the bullshit about people *choosing* to stay behind and drown has redlined me on this one.

Anonymous said...

d. sidhe:
I for one thought that was a great rant. I'm sending it to my roommate, who just recently chose to give up her car for ethical and economic reasons.

Anonymous said...

Another vote of support for d. sidhe.

People who don't drive SUVs are viewed as a lower caste. People who don't drive CARS are viewed as subhuman. Our busses have been cut, discontinued and spliced to ruin any functionality, and they keep raising fares. I was 9.5 months pregnant, waiting for a bus on the coldest morning of the year, and it turned out that the automated schedule system wasn't updated and that route wasn't even RUNNING that week. But that doesn't matter, because REAL people drive. Between major freeway reconstruction and the cost of gas, suddenly more people are riding the bus, so I haven't been able to sit down on my way to or from work in over a week.

julia said...

Hey, D? Guess what you need to vote in Indiana now

Anonymous said...

No surprise, Julia. They'll be doing it everywhere. Despite, of course, any sort of evidence that suggests that photo ID will discourage voter fraud, which is generally committed by absentee ballot.
But as they say, republicans vote absentee. Democrats don't have ID.

When I tried to get my bank account, which took me quite a while, they needed two forms of ID. I got my ID card renewed, and went in with all the cards I had.
Social Security card? Not good enough. Voter's registration card? Nope. Can't take that.
Insurance cards? Nope.

What they'd really like, they tell me, is a credit card. I don't have a credit card, which is another one of those circumstances that makes you something less than fully human.
A passport? Uh, no.
Well, okay, we can take your vehicle registration.
I don't drive.
At this point, they conclude I'm a freak.
They won't take my mortgage papers, despite the fact that this is the bank that carries our mortgage. They won't take the document from my last name change. They will take a note from my employer or a union card. I'm unemployed at the moment, of course. Seriously. A note from my boss, but not a voter card?

Okay, okay. They'll take a bill with my name on it. But only a utility bill or a phone bill. Of course, we don't get utility bills separately here, and the phone is now in the name of one of the housemates.

Eventually I went back in, after being given horribly conflicting info over the phone, with a piece of junk mail *from the bank* offering me a credit card. I used to have an account with them, you see.
They don't think the fact that I'm still in their computers means anything, but they do finally conclude that the junk mail can be accepted in lieu of a bill.

All I can say is, holy *shit* am I not gonna enjoy dredging up the forms of ID needed to get a REALID card. And *I* can walk, there's a DMV one bus away, and I have the money and time to get the paperwork I'll need.

Disenfranchisement: Not just for ex-cons anymore.