Wednesday, February 10

Wash Hands Before Returning To Work

OUR story so far: In the 1960s the Indianapolis Water Company, which has, for some reason, been owned almost exclusively by carpetbaggers since the 1880s--oddly, unlike the Gas Company, which has operated as a municipally-owned charitable trust since the 1930s, and whose shining example never fucking gets mentioned in and around the incontinent pools of privatization state and local government soak in--decided to cash in on "excess" land it had purchased in Hamilton County (Indianapolis' neighbor in the Cool White North) in the 1920s, and turned into Geist Reservoir, by building a subdivision. The Indianapolis City Council opposed the move right up until the time the land was appraised for something like $4 million (about $30 million in today's dollars, but that's a mere adjustment for inflation; this was prime "lakefront" property* at the beginning of White Flight and the (unexpected) tail-end of the endless plain of 50s prosperity). Opposition evaporated, somehow. Then the state utility regulators ordered the Water Company to divest itself of the land-peddling operation. In other words, they were ordered to form a shell company so the exact same people would get the exact same profit, without any ethical or practical concerns being raised by that profit being visible on the Water Company's books. Think Chinatown, except with characters painted by Grant Wood, plus the Murchison family (best known as the founders of the Dallas Cowboys and the assassins of John F. Kennedy), and the incest storyline replaced by sheep fucking.

Then the recently-annexed far-reaches of Marion County proved Not Far Enough Away From Africa, and white flight filled in the rest of the local farmland; the region, which had always been dominated by the Party of Lincoln--just then in the process of turning into the Party of Ratfucking Nixon Clones--didn't just permit, but enforced an unfettered development plan that made the aftermath of the Homestead Act look like a Rockettes routine. And the poster child for this is something called Fishers, Indiana, a sleepy farm village thirty years ago, and now a sort of Jaycees' wet dream of subdivisions, strip malls, and traffic congestion. There is essentially one way into or out of the place, Interstate 69, which peters out to the south into the surface streets of Indianapolis, where most of these people work, or "work".

True to the tenets of modern-day Republican hegemonies, this situation has engendered calls for everyone else's taxes to solve their problem, a noteworthy embrace of mass-transit, specifically the taxpayer-funded creation of a light-rail system. This, in a county where it is technically illegal to drive anything other than an SUV, unless you have a doctor's note attesting to your male menopause.

Now, sure as shucks, this would reduce the number of gas hogs on the road, somewhat, and sometime in the future, when the price of operating one made taking mass transit attractive to the sort of person who isn't about to do so otherwise, and this is a good thing. But it's also true that this won't happen without a permanent gas crisis, and a permanent gas crisis would solve the problem without giving these fucks an alternative way to get into my town. Then they can all get jobs at Linens 'N Things, which will fail because all its customers get the employee discount, and the whole thing will revert to pastureland. It's the Circle of Life. Let's add here that burning the fucking eyesore to the ground would accomplish the same thing, do so much quicker, and encourage much-needed biodiversity.

Anyway, this is old news, and so are the ongoing efforts to figure out a way to make everyone but the people who benefit pay for the thing, the latest of which landed the recommendations of its $10 billion date-rape feasibility study on the pages of today's Indianapolis Racist Beacon. It ascribes the plans to "a group of Central Indiana business leaders" who wind up being identified, in a sidebar, as a guy who operates a holding company, and who used to advise George W. Bush and James Danforth Quayle on economic issues, and has presumably been paroled since; a partner at the biggest law firm in town and chairman-elect of the Chamber of Commerce; and the vice-president and general manager of FedEx in Indianapolis. So no, in case you were wondering, a) they don't think they even have to try anymore; and b) the goddam Robber Baron pedigree didn't prevent any commenting wingnuts from reading "Mass Transit" and accusing the Obama administration of syphoning gas.

We generally don't ever link to that daily source of cents-off coupons, anti-fluoridation screeds, and snapshots of twenty-something partyers whose expressions belie the theoretical depression of mental functioning provided by the intoxicating beverages that lured them there, because its contents are so valuable the links disappear in a couple days, after which you're welcome to buy them. I don't know what happens to the comments, but this is one of those rare instances where I offer--not commend, mind you--them to stout-hearted readers who haven't eaten recently. The Racist Beacon recently had the decency to put these things behind a link, instead of splashing them over the unsuspecting reader who merely scrolled to the bottom of a story. Here's some ideas once you get there:

• Time how long it took for someone to mention "low-income housing".

• Count the pages until someone else equates Obama and Hitler.

• Marvel that the guy who warns mass transit will encourage gays to move to the suburbs can operate a computer, or place a restaurant order without assaulting the waitress.

Your teacher will have more project suggestions.

And, look, I do not urge anyone to read this sort of thing, but it has to dim your hopes for the future of the Republic, if any. What I will say is this: the mass-market "news" operations which facilitate this sort of thing ought to own up to it honestly, and let those millions of childish, ignorant Americans Jacob Weisberg knows are out there in on a secret only internet denizens and Daily Show watchers are informed of: the real depth of ignorance, petulance, and homicidal befuddlement which attaches itself unequally to our two major political parties. Might encourage more of them to be a little less ignorant. (Channel 8, for example, reads selected viewer comments from its website, always carefully chosen to represent "both" sides of an "issue", and to avoid using the term "nigger President" when families are gathered around the dinner table.)

Then again, maybe the first recipients of the news ought to be the news deliverers themselves, as Weisberg colleague Fred Kaplan is moved to ask why responsible Republicans haven't spoken out against Sarah Palin. And, especially dear to the Slate lifer, why none of that crowd has run to the defense of the President's advancements of Our Global Struggle for the Survival of the General Region which Used To Contain Western Culture.

Like Weisberg before him, Kaplan doesn't actually name any responsible Republicans, which may or may not suggest that they already know the answer and are just funnin' with us, Slate style. So let's answer it. Why aren't Republicans rushing to defend the Obama record on the War on Terra and Underpants? Because they don't give a fuck. Because they don't believe in it. Some might still believe there's the potential for genuine attacks that transcend some religion-mazed flunkey setting his magic briefs ablaze, but even they realize that's not war, and the danger most Americans face is being killed by their supermarkets, or their doctors, or their stockbrokers. (Of course the real threat to those Republicans is that voters will recognize this.) They don't care about what the President does to further this vital national campaign, because they won't get the credit. This is the one service Sarah Palin (whose book-signing stop here--the one she ended early--was in Hamilton County, by the way) provides to the nation: she can't sell this shit, and the more she tries the more she underlines the fact that there is no longer any factual debate going on at all. The woman has the gravitas and moral force of a particularly dim young mother exhorting her brood to go to sleep lest benign imps come out from under the bed and tickle them without mercy. She's a tenth-rate Sunday School teacher. Make that substitute Sunday School teacher.

Why don't "responsible Republicans" oppose Sarah Palin? Besides money? How about Math? Palin's hyperobjection to Rahm Emanuel's use of "retard" is to her gosh-darn support of Rush Limbaugh's repeated use of "retard" as Republican concern over global terrorism is to what Republicans actually do about it. There's no such fucking thing as "responsibility" anymore. Responsibility requires some sense of Truth: absolute, relative, empirical, or plerophoric; the Republican party gave up on those decades ago, though it does still trot out the Divine, or the Divine Miss Rand, perfunctorily and on occasion. How could it be otherwise? If anything, God's track record over the past four decades is even worse than Milton Friedman's.

This is beginning to substantiate my suspicion that the craftiest move St. Ronnie ever made was driving marijuana production indoors, where it would be subjected to the machinations of High Times readers, who would shortly flood the market with pot so strong it required normal people with lives and things to do to set aside eight to twelve hours of nothing to do but respirate before they could think of toking up. And that this--crafty old bastard!--was what Kaplan and Weisberg were bonging when they half-formed impressions of the Reagan Revolution. It must've been something like that for them not to recognize that Sarah Palin is Ronald Reagan, and that the Teabagger Army is the Republican party he midwifed. I realize--I'm not sure I believe--that some Republican die-hards claim to have been in it only for the tax breaks and the securities crime, and claim to have been Shocked! Shocked! when they realized they were sharing a clubhouse with Strom Thrumond's legitimate children. This would probably be a little easier to believe if you weren't still trying to canonize Th' Gipper.

You ask me, well, hell, what's a little Light Rail suppose to mean when the cards are still so obviously stacked in favor of the people who gave you suburban sprawl, highways to nowhere, and gas guzzlers to get you there, Stop Here to Pay Toll? (Jesus fuck, that and griping about the Obama administration is all Mitch Daniels has left in the bag. He just announced he wants three new bridges over the Ohio, presumably so all the unemployed workers he's created can get out of the state quicker.) And when there is, so obviously, no end in the number of people who'll fellate them for quarters, then moan about how both parties are equally at fault for permitting it? Seems to me the only answer is a Palin presidency; not because I imagine it's going to teach a lesson to people who so steadfastly, and thoroughly, managed to refuse to learn it from Reagan or Bush, but because they fucking deserve it.


* Locals will no doubt get the joke: the "lake" people ponied up exorbitant amounts to live on is a reservoir, hence subject to being drawn down as needed, plus their habit of having someone dump several tons of fertilizer and god knows what else on their lawns, most of which ends up fertilizing said "lake", has resulted--who knew?--in pestilential levels of blue-green algae and the attendant rendering of any and all aquatic activity which results in getting slightly wet the rough equivalent of seeing how much habanero purée you can rub on yourself before hospitalization is required. The result--when these people aren't suing the Town of Fishers over annexation--is that they complained to state legislators, who, of course, came running and did nothing, nothing here including telling these assholes to quit dumping phosphorous compounds in the glorified drainage ditch they voluntarily located to.


Murfyn said...

If only we had elected a liberal socialist.
The best I could do was this link to plerophoria;
See: 4135.

Murfyn said...

Not that it really matters, but the link for plerophoria was

jackd said...

Sarah Palin is Ronald Reagan

See the Bizarro-world argument between crazy Pam Geller and Ron Jr. over at Crooks and Liars. Personally I think St. Ronnie would have approved of Mooseburger Barbie the same way Reagan the actor would approve of the latest hot starlet.

mark drago said...

hilarious...Doghouse,as usual. and, sadly, true. I admire your strength.

mark drago said...
This comment has been removed by the author.