Friday, February 18

Back Home Again

I DON'T believe I can adequately describe the current Indiana General Assembly. Okay, I could, but I think I get enough traffic already from people searching for "shit eating motherfuckers".

In addition to Definitively Defining Marriage For All Time As Between One Man and One Woman, In Case Anybody Can't Read The Law Already on the Books, and No Tag Backs, eradicating the menace of public education, enacting a clone of the sure-fire Arizona immigration and suspiciously brown people act (just in time for the fucking Super Bowl) and requiring doctors to inform potential pregnancy terminators that You're killing a human baby, you whore! in their best DeForrest Kelly voice, the two-chamber Republican majority is seeking to arm every law-abiding and substantially law-abiding citizen in the state at all times. Actually, this is the one part of their agenda which makes sense to me, since it might be useful in mediating the total fucking chaos they're in such a rush to provoke. You know what they say about blind pigs and acorns.

I used to watch local Channel 8 "news" in the evenings; in part this was because 8 once had a decent news staff--true, this is like watching Katie Couric because of Edward R. Murrow--headed by an Indianapolis-born anchor, and produced, for a time, by a Hoosier with a social conscience. They're a half-generation gone, now, and the survivors of that time are like a police line-up of what's happened to journalism over the course of their careers. There's the doyenne of local female teleprompter readers, appended to the anchor desk back in the heady days of The Mary Tyler Moore Show is Already Off the Air and the ERA has Already been Obstructed, who took to reading whatever was in front of her--news report, unfounded rumor, or promo copy for Survivor--the way a duck takes to crapping on your lawn; the Dean (Broder) of local political reporters, whose sing-song delivery can be used to trace the last quarter-century movement in the Overton Window, by analyzing the Doppler shift; the…

Oh, just a minute. Jim "Dean Broder" Shella has found it increasingly difficult to hide his middle-class fat cat Republican fetishism in the Mitch Daniels era; he's the guy I heard on the blaring radio one day when I was rehabbing my knee, yukking it up with his pal and GOP hatchet man Fat Mike McDaniel over Hillary Clinton ordering a Crown Royal shot in that Northern Indiana bar. This was maybe two weeks after the event, and thus 13 days and 23 hours after it had been explained that it was the bartender who gave her Crown Royal, the Cadillac of blue-collar bourbon scholarship. Can't let that sort of thing get in the way of perpetrating a joke that was already ten-days past what sell-by date if might have had, if it hadn't been a factory reject from the start. Anyway, Shella's the long-time moderator (the word has no actual meaning) of something called Indiana Week in Review, a sort of cornpone conflation of The McLaughlin Group and Washington Week on the local PBS affiliate. The panel used to consist of a Republican representative, a Democratic-Republican representative (it's Indiana; what choice do they have?), and two political reporters from Hoosier newspapers. It now consists of the same goddam four people, every week: Fat Mike, former (say twenty years ago) Democratic-Republican insider Ann Delaney, and two guys who used to be on the show a lot as reporters, but now work as mouthpieces for industry groups, yet are still on the show. It's like watching somebody's weekly poker game. Nobody at the PBS station seems to've noticed, or dares to say, that replacing Reporters with Guys Who Used To Be Reporters sorta sabotages the whole concept. The resulting discussions are so wide-ranging, so inclusive of differing viewpoints, that it occasionally threatens to veer into the center lane. If you missed your opportunity to hear someone describe Barack Obama's Indiana electoral victory as "historic", this was your place to come, provided that was all the analysis you needed.

And the point here is this: I wish ill on no Hoosier without first knowing whether he voted for Mitch Daniels. So let's just say that, should Shella actually depend on the income generated by this thing to send his children to college, or operate his boat, the irony that the Republican party is about to remove its funding would not be lost on me.

…there's the Jeff Greenfield guy, the one who started at 8 as a mustachioed young liberal go-getter, and now is a mustachioed, middle-aged burgher and promoter of regular home maintenance; and the aging (quite well, actually) pretty boy who seems to have enough on the ball to read a teleprompter and not fuck up a good-paying gig. In other words, he's the one whose skills best translated into the modern era.

When these people were young Channel 8 was the #1 rated, and #1 considered, local news broadcast, but it's now mired in mediocrity. Upstart Channel 13 was better positioned in the 70s to take advantage of the Galloping Stupidity of Happy Talk News, especially as it was then the local ABC affiliate, and could get plenty of pointers from Roone Arledge, Barbara Walters, and Good Morning America. Now, I don't know about you, but for me, personally, if someone smiles incessantly in my presence there'd better be a confirmed neuropathology behind it. Fuckers at 13, if you turn the sound off you'd swear they were trying to sell you a car. Hell, half the time they are, and they couldn't be more pleased about it.

So 8's been losing to The Osmonds now for a couple decades, yet all these people still have jobs, possibly because they demonstrate the sort of flexibility which would give you pause in dumping a mistress. The news direction has obviously slanted right at an escalating pace in recent years, either because there's a wingnut at the helm, or because the FOX template happened to float by while they were gulping seawater. At any rate, these are not masterminds at work, and they aren't really covering "news" anyway, so what you get is a sort of unqualified Daniels boosterism combined with the natural unlettered libertarianism (gotta stop repeating myself!) of the SUV-piloting regional marketing director.

I had more-or-less given up on 8 in disgust after it let disgraced former Marion County Prosecutor Carl "Face Time" Brizzi back on the air--two nights in a row!--to comment on his successor's handling of the Drunken Cop Kills and Maims Stopped Motocyclists case he had conveniently botched, but last night I had it on for some reason, or no reason. And one of the many Let's Arm The Citizenry To The Teeth bills moving from Bad Idea to Even Worse Law, SB 0202, this one sponsored by State Senator Jim Tomes (R-New Phallusburg), "prohibits, with certain exceptions, a political subdivision from regulating any matter pertaining to firearms, ammunition, and firearm accessories," those exceptions, as widely reported, being schools and courthouses. It also provides for that favored accessory of the total lunatic, the ability of the inconvenienced far-arm enthusiast to sue whatever comma-nist political subdivision pried the guns, ammo, and accessories out of his still warm fingers.

Now, about a week or so ago, Jim Irsay, the inheritor of the Indianapolis Colts (thanks to an activist divorce-court judge), and the inheritor of millions of dollars of Indianapolis taxpayer largess (thanks to the local officials who get to eat free on game day), tweeted, fer chrissakes, his semi (I'm feeling charitable this morning)-literate opposition to the bill:
Someones got a bill n Ind.State Legislature making it illegal 4 CIB 2 stop some1 from bringing a gun into Luc Oil,I'm against it,so should u

Now, for the record, "CIB" is the Capital Improvement Board, the unelected tax-seizers who operate "Luc Oil", among other scams, the Football Barn we built Irsay when he outgrew the old one. Why this would be a Tweet, well, you're asking the wrong man. Why Channel 8 would pick it up a week later, I suppose incompetence has its own internal rhythms. Shut up and dance.

So the goddam thing is a big deal last night: Jim Irsay opposes bill! He's going to have a press conference, and we'll bring it to you live! And 8's two male halves (it's f'ball) are squeezing the air out of the thing for ten minutes prior. And a big part of that is how Senator Jim Tomes says Irsay's misreading the bill. This was not presented as the usual he said/guy with equipment problem said. No. It was "Hey, the Senator who wrote the bill says it doesn't mean that. So Irsay's just getting all het up about something that doesn't mean anything, and, besides, guns are really no risk at all, and nobody would carry one into a Colts game anyway." Except, of course, guns were mentioned as little as possible, lest someone in the audience start to get the picture.

Except, of course, that's not how the law works, and if you don't believe that you can look at the Indiana General Assembly and its history of passing dumb-ass shit that blows up in everyone's face while taxpayers pay the court costs. Then, as this is still unfolding, we get a second story from the Senator: the law wouldn't apply to the Football Barn (Home of the It Might Happen Super Bowl LXVI) because people who buy tickets are entering into a contract.

Now, as to why every "political subdivision" seeking to keep crazed killers and 18th century musketeers out of public buildings wouldn't make every library, public park, and stadium in its jurisdiction a contract deal is unclear. As is the reason why guns are so safe in those spots, but not courtrooms or classrooms.

Although it's wasn't exactly a mystery as to what does the talking here; the NFL trumps sacred Constitutional rights. The legislature is reported to be writing Luc Oil into the exemption list. Which, of course, means the Senator was quite possibly full of shit, and the two anchormen, with almost sixty years combined experience, couldn't find the handle on the story with four hands.

Oh, and Mr. Irsay? Why don't you buy your own fucking stadium?


RobertB said...

I'd be laughing at that shit, if I wasn't living in Ohio.

timb said...

Uh, Riley, you know he can't afford that Stadium. He has prescription drugs to abuse and a helicopter to maintain.

Riley, the irony of John Ketzenberger becoming a non-reporter CW kinda guy is that he never wanted to stop being a reporter and, when I knew him well, was a screaming liberal. The stint at the Star changed him and I know he rarely rocks the boat on that show, which is why Shella likes him. But, from talking to him back in the old days, he certainly wanted to be the Eleanor Clift of IWE.

Just an unwatchable show, btw

Weird Dave said...

Dear Sir,

Please do not conflate Crown Royal (Canadian whiskey) with made in Kentucky Bourbon whiskey.

Thank you.

Weird Dave