Thursday, May 22


• There's this guy. His name is Matt Tully, and he's the political columnist for the Indianapolis Racist Star. Got the job around 2005, went into the tank for the paper's Republican masters around, oh, 2005.

Tully's columns have, increasingly, looked like part of Mitch "The Hamster" Daniels' permanent reelection campaign, down to the using the same sort of "criticism" the Entrepreneurator-in-Chief subjects himself to: "Daniels big problem is that he's terrible at explaining just how brilliant his ideas are".

There's this other guy. His name is Greg Ballard, but everybody I know calls him Goober. He's the accidental mayor of Indianapolis, the beneficiary of that ginned-up Property Tax Revolt from last summer. He's a retired Marine Lt. Colonel, and as if the emphasize that point he recently mused about constructing a Chinatown on the Indianapolis Southside, and proposed luring the lucrative, if somewhat non-existent, North American cricket market to town. (To be absolutely fair about this, the source for this story was...Matt Tully. But, then, when the Accidental Mayor gave did a Q&A with the City County Council that was so embarrassing even the rest of the local media just buried its head in its hands, Tully praised it, leading one to conclude that the Chinatown and Cricket bit was just a warning to Ballard's handlers that he should not, under any circumstances, be allowed to speak off the cuff, even to GOP faithful after two cocktails.)

Ballard had run an absolute cesspool of a campaign, accusing incumbent Demopublican Bart Peterson of everything short of necrophilia and purposely singing the National Anthem off-key. This went generally unremarked, since nobody knew he was running until he won. He harped a lot on spending, including criticizing the new football stadium deal and the "misplaced priorities" of trying to land a Super Bowl.

So, yesterday, after the second attempt to get the promised Bread and Circuses, Mostly Circuses payoff for the new, taxpayer-funded $400 $500 $Your Guess Is As Good As Any stadium succeeded in bringing OMG It's Super Bowl XLVI !!! to town, whose reactions to the news of his successful stewardship do you suppose Tully wrote a tick-tock about?

• By the way, I'm replacing the all-purpose Chinese insult "May you live in interesting times," with "May you live in a small-market NFL city for two years while its Chamber of Commerce types try to attract a Super Bowl with your money, and may your teevee be stuck forever on, and only receive local news."

• Somehow, the Failing Indianapolis Public Schools and the eastside community will get to keep a "$9 M" practice facility after the Big Weekend is over, to be built with "private funds", although, apparently, we don't exactly have those yet and the city has vouchsafed the money. Thank god we're not wasting the money on education.

• Oh, and incidentally, Hoosiers on the waiting list for some of those 6000 new Colts season tickets at the new boondoggle have apparently just learned that as many as the first 125 of them will actually be getting tickets to the palace they bought. On accounta the new seats are mostly mostly for rich people. Plus 1000 new seats for the disabled, which the Colts announced as if they were doing it out of the goodness of that tiny sliver of corporate heart which isn't occupied by insatiable greed, and not because the law required it.

• Speaking of The Hamster, he went to Iraq this week, and found it "much better" than his previous visit, although he allowed as how Baghdad is "no garden spot". Which means that Mitch Effing Daniels is more honest than his party's nominee for President.

Now, I think it's fine for public officials who have absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with national policy to junket off to war zones, if that brings a bit of cheer to the troops. And it's nice if, time and again, the governor can keep in touch with where his National Guard is located. But then I think a planeload of strippers might have been more appreciated. If it were me, a planeload of mimes would have been more appreciated.

Oh, and the camp where he overnighted was reportedly hit by mortar fire, suggesting his popularity with the citizenry is about the same over there as it is here. Not to worry, Mitch; they don't have the technology to hit anything so small.

• Via Roy we find George Packer's New Yorker piece on the Fall of Conservatism. We do wish people would start surrounding the term in quotation marks, as is right and proper, but we must admit our little heart was warmed by the anguishing cracks in Davids Brooks and Frum's Peter Pan/Ronald Reagan's Peter Syndrome.
Brooks had moved through every important conservative publication—National Review, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, the Washington Times, the Weekly Standard—“and now I feel estranged,” he said. “I just don’t feel it’s exciting, I don’t feel it’s true, fundamentally true.” In the eighties, when he was a young movement journalist, the attacks on regulation and the Soviet Union seemed “true".

Say it again: by the time David Brooks was a young "movement" reporter--incidentally, "movement" is pretty much the image his current output conjures up--it was widely known that the Soviet military was bankrupt; the government had known for a decade or more. So it had the same "true feeling" as the Eisenhower/Kennedy claims of a "missile gap":  it's "true", unless you look at it. Funny how this now winds up being "Conservatism's" fault for not finding new and exciting ways to make Brooks imagine he's "with it", and not Brooks' for being a careerist lackey in the first place.   Which means that nobody has to look at how such a massive canard was sold to them in the first place, since they were behaving reasonably at the time.  Second, and for what it's worth, it's the Carter administration which began trumpeting "deregulation", which has been a demonstrable success to the extent that people who believe in it believe it to have been so. Please explain to me what risk Young David Brooks, Movement Conservative, felt he ran from either the Soviets or government regulation? He wasn't planning on opening an oil refinery in some protected wetlands, and he sure wasn't about to join the Army.

What Packer fails to say is that these sorts of blithering tools had a hegemony on the public debate from Reagan through Katrina. Who th' fuck can possibly care if these guys now want to climb aboard Global Warming or Wage Stratification? What have they ever touched that didn't turn to shit?  The proper response to a poem is another poem; the proper response to realizing you've spent your life as a tool is to gouge your own eyes out with a rat-tail file. We might listen to you after that.


heydave said...

I will use their tears for lubricant in my machinery of ennui.

Anonymous said...

You have been on a wicked humourous roll of late good sir. More humourous, of course, if one doesn’t live in Midwestern Cities Accidentally Governed By Big Dumb Guys. I’m still chuckling over your letter to the late Mr. Oster. One of my partners recently showed me an Osterizer he was packing prior to moving. It had about a truckload of attachments one could attach to the base unit. All worked, all looked in pretty good shape considering they were 50 plus years old.

Keep up the good work.

A somewhat older than 50 years inhabitant of the land north of you and not looking nearly as well as similarly aged appliances.

Anonymous said...

...gouge your own eyes out with a rat-tail file.

I've tried that. It's kind of overrated.

coldH2O said...

Good post.

Anonymous said...

I agree with my elder anonymous: you are on a roll, sir.

A somewhat YOUNGER than 50 years inhabitant of the land north of you and not looking nearly as well as similarly aged appliances.

Anonymous said...

• Speaking of The Hamster, he went to Iraq this week, and found it "much better" than his previous visit, although he allowed as how Baghdad is "no garden spot". Which means that Mitch Effing Daniels is more honest than his party's nominee for President.

The same honesty that he campaigned with, and won, governor with.