Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Fear and loathing on the campaign trail, 2015 -- or, the Louisville Magazine feature about the independent pirate's bid.


It feels odd to tout an article about me, so instead, here is the writer Dylon Jones to introduce his feature article in Louisville Magazine.

I spent the last year getting to know Roger Baylor. After months of political humor, debates, cigars, Communist cats, and a good many beers, I give you this: The Independent, my profile of a small-town dissident with the whole world spread out before him.

It's flattering to be featured, but more importantly, my aim is to draw your attention to Dylon Jones as a writer. He spent countless hours taking notes and making recordings, distilled this unruly mass of information to its essentials, then formed an accurate, entertaining narrative. As a journalist, he gets it right, and as a writer, he tells the story well. Writing is damned hard work, and Dylon does it well. Keep your eyes on him.

The Independent, by Dylon Jones (Louisville Magazine)

New Albany craft-beer pioneer Roger Baylor drained his glass and left his brewery to run for mayor last fall. The path ahead is littered with obstacles -- contentious former business partners, the two-party system, "garbage trees." Good thing he brought shears.

Also, kudos to Chris Witzke for his photography and informed chat. The link takes you to the interactive issue of Louisville Magazine (June 2016), which is easy to use.

South Bend, John Gilderbloom, and two-way ideas Team Gahan can't even begin to comprehend.



In 2013, we took a glance at South Bend, Indiana, where two-way discussions were underway.

Updating the two-way street discussion in South Bend: Conversions coming soon.



South Bend is rocking the two-way street discussion.



Just imagine highly placed officials in New Albany collectively taking a strong public position on complete streets, and leading.

I know, I know.

It's genuinely unimaginable in New Albany, isn't it?

RETURNING ONE-WAY STREETS TO THEIR TWO-WAY ROOTS, by Rachel Quednau (Strong Towns)

A recent article out of South Bend, IN suggests that the movement toward two-way streets is growing. South Bend plans to convert many of its downtown streets back into two-ways by the end of 2016 ...

As the thinking goes, two-way streets provide better exposure to ground-level businesses and calm traffic, contributing to a more pedestrian-friendly environment that is conducive to retail development.

 ... If your goal is a productive place with thriving local businesses, then slowing traffic with two-way streets is a much better plan. It's a tried and true method. The article continues:

A common refrain among critics of two-way streets here is that they are simply a “trend,” similar to the pedestrian mall trend of the 1970s, which turned out disastrously for many cities, including South Bend.

On that point, [Scott Ford, the city's executive director of Community Investment] strongly disagrees, arguing that the Complete Streets philosophy represents a “return to the fundamentals” of urban planning.

“This is consistent with how streets have operated as public spaces for thousands of years,” Ford said.

As we, at Strong Towns, have been arguing for years, a return to traditional development patterns with walkable neighborhoods that prioritize people over cars will lead to higher economic productivity for our cities and towns. A return to two-way streets is a big step in the right direction.

Monday, May 30, 2016

Wormholes, rabbit holes, ratholes and now this big-ass Caesar Hole on Spring Street Hill.


Is there money left in the Sinking Fund? (not my joke; thanks to my gag writer)

It's déjà vu all over again. At around 4:00 p.m.on Sunday, at-large councilman Al Knable and family began posting photos on social media.

PLEASE SHARE!

Spring Street Hill, New Albany CLOSED until further notice...

THANKS to Mickey Thompson and NAPD for a quick response on a busy Memorial Day.

Pictures below document what the street looked like around noon today when I called the Street Department. Four hours later we have what you see below.

Initial assessment is likely to take a few days. I'll keep you posted.

In the meantime please STAY AWAY as this is still UNSTABLE and should be considered DANGEROUS.

On June 29, 2005 at a special Board of Works session held at night at the Calumet Club (small wonder James Garner got beat), someone in the crowd asked a question and received an answer, paraphrased.


Q. Will the road up Spring Street hill be reopened?
A. Yes, if we can find the money necessary to make repairs the right way.

By 2009, the "right way" had been found, and the usual suspects at Jacobi Toombs and Lanz designed repairs to the tune of $1.3 million.

In April of 2011, Spring Street Hill was closed again after it was revealed that no one involved with the "right" 2009 repairs had considered the possibility it might rain. A year and $660,000 later, Bob Caesar declared a "state of copacetic," which abruptly ended earlier today.

Following (in reverse order) are NAC links to those classic 2012 municipal deliberations. What happens next is anyone's guess, but if you're keeping track: To date, that's $2 million for less than a half-mile of Spring Street Hill, and around $3 million for less than a mile of Main Street beautification.

Somewhere right now, Dan Coffey is salivating, but he (and we) must wait until next Monday.

Hey, kids -- BOOMTOWN!

---

June 3, 2012

Nash asks: If those who benefit must pay for it, then why not toll Spring Street hill?


NASH: A little bit of everything, by Matt Nash

... A few weeks ago the New Albany City Council failed to pass a non-binding resolution condemning the use of tolls to fund the Ohio River Bridges project. After being the first municipal government to speak out against tolls a couple of years ago, this time the vote went the other way. A couple of the councilmen spoke out about how much our community needed both of these bridges and the only fair way to pay for it is with tolls.

The resolution was in response to a study that shows the downtown bridge will have a negative impact on the lives of Hoosiers and the people of our state will end up paying a disproportionate amount of the cost of these bridges.

Interestingly the same city council voted to spend $660,000 of taxpayer money to fix the problems with Spring Street Hill. This after spending $1.3 million on the road just a few years ago. The road allows better access to a select few in the neighborhood of Silver Hills. Had the pro-toll councilman used the same logic as the “Bridges Authority” that those who benefit should be the ones who pay for the project, they could have just made Spring Street Hill a toll road too.

---

May 23, 2012

Bob Caesar's commute is about to get easier.


... Councilman Bob Caesar, who sponsored the council measure and is a Silver Hills resident, said the reopening of Spring Street Hill road will be a “big deal” for the community.

“We just wanted to make sure this was done once and done right,” he said ...

... City officials firmly stated their intentions to install and enforce vehicle weight limits for Spring Street Hill Road. “I’d even recommend a camera on that hill to keep heavy trucks off of the hill,” Caesar said.

quotes from the paper (Suddeath)

---

May 18, 2012 (Gillenwater)

Separate but equal but not really (wink, wink).


The City of New Albany has recently spent an amount on Spring Street Hill Road nearly double the state's total $1.2 million annual TARC outlay to fund transit in the whole of Southern Indiana.

That poorly located, two-fifths mile of engineering accident serving a very limited but very specific population was deemed a high priority necessity for all the goofy reasons Bob "adverse and disproportionate are good, right?" Caesar and a handful of well placed others could muster.

But cut multiple bus routes on which other parts of the city depend for work, groceries, trips to the doctor, etc.? Shucks and shrugs all around. Sorry about your luck.

Given that we're about to spend another million or so on Governor's Balls and the like patting ourselves on the back for 200 years of ongoing something or other, isn't it about time we address the blatant, class-based attitudes that fuel our politics as much now as they did when Washington C. DePauw owned our government?

---

March 7, 2012

On engineering and the devaluation of 1,000-year weather events.


At Monday's city council meeting, as the discussion turned to how many dollars per inch it will require to restore Spring Street Hill to viability as Councilman Bob Caesar's fastest route home, engineers became weathermen.

New Albany council wants review of Spring Street Hill work; $540,000 project receives initial approval, but second opinion requested, by Daniel Suddeath (News, Tribune and Pop Up Generator)

The city hoped to receive aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA, as Jacobi, Toombs and Lanz President Jorge Lanz said almost 9 inches of rain fell on Silver Hills between April 19 and May 2 of 2011.

But FEMA denied the city’s request earlier this month, though administration officials declared Monday they will appeal the decision within 60 days. Lanz said the “historic” problems associated with the road were part of FEMA’s decision to deny the request, though he said much their reasoning for the ruling was still “cloudy” ...

... Lanz said crews had to dig about 30 feet into the ground before the ravine was discovered, and he added that kind of testing is unusual for such a project.

The drainage installed met city standards, but it’s not feasible to design a system capable of dealing with a 1,000 year storm like April’s rain event was, he continued.

“For this kind of structure, I don’t know what else we could have done,” Lanz said.

If umbrellas were necessary, were they to protect us from rain, or exaggerations? A blog reader delved into the archives:

Indiana Precipitation Records

Driest location ranked by lowest annual average precipitation: English, southern Indiana, 49.72"

Wettest location ranked by highest annual average precipitation: Monroeville, northeast Indiana, 33.74"

Snowiest location ranked by highest annual average snowfall: South Bend, northern Indiana, 76.6"

State precipitation maximum for 24 hours - Princeton, southwest Indiana, 8/6/1905, 10.50"

State precipitation maximum for 1 year - Marengo, southern Indiana, 1890, 97.38"

State snow maximum for 24 hours - Seymour, south-central Indiana, 12/22-23/2004, 29.0"

State snow maximum for 1 season - South Bend, northern Indiana, 1977-1978, 172.0"

It's hard to believe that nine inches of rain falling in a 13 day period qualifies as a "1,000 year storm" - especially when you consider 10.5 inches fell in 24 hours in 1905 in Princeton, Indiana.

Indeed, and another friend asks: "Didn't this much rain fall in two days back in 1997?" In the end, it probably doesn't matter. Caesar wants his handy commute fixed -- and that's not a request.

... Caesar, who is sponsoring the measure, agreed that a second opinion is “imperative” but doesn’t believe it will greatly delay the project to obtain a review.

“I think this could happen in a very short amount of time,” he said.

-----------------

March 2, 2012 (Gillenwater)

Head for the hill: Caesar leading another self-serving charge.


Despite Bob Caesar's silly claims to the contrary, Spring Street Hill Road is not a major city artery. It's a low volume, local access road serving a very limited number of residents who have not one but two alternate routes for entering and exiting their relatively isolated neighborhood(s).

The entire path in question is approximately 1,900 feet long. If Caesar's latest proposition receives council approval, the imprudently championed and poorly executed 2/5 of a mile update will have cost citizens $1,000 per foot, assuming the same engineers who didn't sufficiently account for the watershed last time get it right this time.

But Bob lives up there, so nothing's more important.

New Albany’s Spring Street Hill fix to be heard, by Daniel Suddeath

NEW ALBANY — The New Albany City Council will be asked Monday to appropriate $540,000 for Spring Street Hill Road repairs, which if approved, would bring the total amount of money spent on stabilizing the street to nearly $1.9 million.

The road was again closed by the city in May after a section of the street shifted following heavy rains last spring. In 2009, Spring Street Hill was reopened after being shutdown for several years due to erosion problems.

More than $1.3 million in tax-increment financing, or TIF, proceeds were poured into the project three years ago, as engineers and officials believed the road that connects the city’s West End to Silver Hills was finally stable.

"To claim (Christopher) Hitchens posthumously for evangelical Christianity is to defame a man who was a champion of the Enlightenment."

One is tempted to read no further than "Alabamian evangelist."

Christopher Hitchens and the Christian conversion that wasn’t, by Matthew d'Ancona (The Guardian)

 ... The religious knew that it was worth claiming the spiritual scalps of the founding father of evolution theory and of Italy’s pre-eminent Marxist. In our own era, a resourceful Alabamian evangelist is exploiting his friendship with Hitchens, who died in 2011, to allege that the author of God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything was, in fact, on a secret spiritual journey and halfway to embracing Jesus ...

 ... There is so much wrong with this book that one hardly knows where to start. But its fundamental error concerns the nature of intellectual inquiry itself. For Taunton, there is only one such pursuit, and it is unidirectional: if you are interested in morality, you are, axiomatically, interested in religion – which, for a southern evangelical, means the gospels. When Hitchens observes that a child and a piglet are morally different, Taunton says that “this was unambiguous theism, as he well knew”.

Of course, Hitchens knew no such thing. For him, as for any atheist, morality did not need the framework of religion. Philosophy did not depend upon the supernatural, and ethics did not require a godhead to be worth discussing – a discussion that can be traced back at least as far as Socrates in Plato’s Euthyphro.

The baseball wormhole continues: Joe Pepitone and the 2015 reissue of Joe, You Coulda Made Us Proud.

Photo credit: Little Studio Films.

In the mid-1960s, Joe Pepitone and Jim Bouton played together for the New York Yankees. Later, Pepitone famously dismissed Bouton's Ball Four, only to co-author an epochal book of his own: Joe, You Coulda Made Us Proud.

The two works are very different, but equally groundbreaking. Bouton rendered made major league ballplayers into genuine humans, and destroyed the heroic masks. Pepitone gutted himself with a crazed, self-loathing and relentlessly honest autobiography/confessional, pulling no punches to own jaw. It's dark, hard to read -- and absolutely essential.

I have not read Joe, You Coulda Made Us Proud since the summer of 1976, and my dog-eared paperback disappeared before high school graduation. Last year I simply missed these two excellent essays by Dan Epstein in Rolling Stone.

If the Bookseller is reading ...

Joe Pepitone on Smoking Weed, Screwing With Sinatra and 'Seinfeld'

His 1975 autobiography raised eyebrows, and 40 years later, it still shocks. Now, baseball's all-time partier reflects on a life lived to the limit

Joe Pepitone is in an upbeat mood today. "Everything's good, and that's honest," he confides over the phone to Rolling Stone. "Next time you talk to me, and I'm screaming and yelling at you and don't want to talk to you, you'll know everything's horseshit" ...

... Throughout it all, though, Pepitone has never lost his sense of humor – nor, as evidenced by his being name-checked on episodes of Seinfeld, Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Sopranos, has he lost his pop-culture cachet. Last year, Little Studio Films optioned the book rights to Joe, You Coulda Made Us Proud, and Pepitone is guardedly optimistic about seeing his colorful story make it to the screen. "I just sit back," he says, "but it seems to be going really good so far. We'll see!"

For now, though, he's happy to strut down memory lane and share some thoughts with us about his book, his wild times and those infamous hairpieces.

As for the book itself ...

'Joe, You Coulda Made Us Proud:' The Best Baseball Book You've Never Read

Joe Pepitone partied with Frank Sinatra and Mickey Mantle and slept with half of New York. Now, 40 years after it was published, his raucous bio gets a much-deserved reissue

In 1970, Houston Astros pitcher Jim Bouton published Ball Four, one of the most influential baseball books ever written. Breaking the clubhouse code of omertà by portraying ballplayers as skirt-chasing, hard-partying regular guys rather than paragons of virtuous American masculinity, Ball Four forever changed the way that the press covered professional sports; it also unleashed a wave of massively entertaining (and deeply off-color) player memoirs, including Sparky Lyle's The Bronx Zoo and Bill Lee's The Wrong Stuff.

Though Bouton's best-selling memoir was rather hilarious, most of his colleagues weren't laughing at the time. "Why didn't he write that he was the horniest [expletive] in baseball?" complained Joe Pepitone, who had been Bouton's teammate in New York and Houston. But in 1975, Pepitone would follow the trail blazed by Ball Four and write a tell-all of his own – Joe, You Coulda Made Us Proud – a book which was not only far more revealing than Bouton's, but also made it exceedingly clear that the horniest expletive in baseball was, in fact, Pepitone himself.

On the Seattle Pilots, George Brunet and the lives of journeymen.


It all started when I stumbled upon a documentary about the 1969 Seattle Pilots (released circa 2010). You can skip Part One (it's only a snippet) and begin here: The Seattle Pilots: Short Flight into History.

The Seattle Pilots were an American professional baseball team based in Seattle, Washington for one season, 1969. The Pilots played home games at Sick's Stadium and were a member of the West Division of Major League Baseball's American League. On April 1, 1970, they moved to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and changed their name to the Brewers.

Jim Bouton played for the 1969 Seattle Pilots, and wrote a book about it. It is no exaggeration to state the Ball Four is one of the seminal texts in American sporting history, and I fairly devoured it at the age of 12, with repeat readings for years to follow.

Save for Ball Four, the Pilots would remain little more than an archaic footnote in major league history. It explains why 40-plus years after reading it for the first time, this documentary brings the ill-fated Pilots vibrantly back to life through both archival footage and filmed appearances by surviving players -- and their ranks have thinned considerably, before and since filming.

Most of those still here to tell the tale are in their mid- to late-70s. Sicks Stadium is long demolished. Seattle was awarded a second expansion franchise in 1977, and the Mariners have succeeded where their predecessors failed.

Internet + baseball fan = Memorial Day weekend rabbit hole doubleheader, and so it is that I began researching the life of pitcher George Brunet, who features prominently in Bouton's book, most famously during a digression about the usefulness of underwear. Brunet also is the topic of a fine anecdote in the film, as related by Greg Goosen (repeated here).

The Brunet narrative trail has been blazed, starting here.

Cooperstown Confidential: The wild life of George Brunet, by Bruce Markusen (Hardballtimes)

... We know plenty about the stars, the legends, the Hall of Famers. We know their stories; we enjoy hearing about them. But it is the journeymen, the less talented players who truly fascinate me. They seem to be the most colorful; they have to overcome the greatest adversities. Their stories are often the most compelling, if only we are willing to dig and search.

One of those journeymen who has intrigued me is George Brunet. I first became aware of him in Jim Bouton’s Ball Four. I then heard about his exploits, at an advanced age well into his 50s, in the Mexican League.

In every sense, Brunet was a baseball lifer, amply fulfilling the many cliches about southpaw eccentricities and emptying more than a few bottles along the way. His career in the big leagues was average at best, though good enough for parts of 15 seasons. Today, such longevity is awarded with millions.

But that's only the half of it, as Brunet played in the minors, majors and Mexican League for 37 consecutive years, from just after high school to the age of 54 -- from Eisenhower through George H.W. Bush.


All told, Brunet pitched more than 6,000 innings and set the minor league record for strikeouts (3,175). He finally retired in 1989. Remaining in Mexico, he died only two years later following a heart attack.

Markusen has it pegged. The journeymen among ballplayers are the most interesting, probably for the same reason Bull Durham is the best baseball movie.

It's all about the stories.

"Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream."



Thanks to Robin Garr for the idea. The best way to honor the departed is to live in peace, even if humans seem incapable of doing it.

And yet a boy can dream.

Ed McCurdy (January 11, 1919 – March 23, 2000) was an American folk singer, songwriter, and television actor. His most well-known song was the anti-war "Last Night I Had the Strangest Dream", written in 1950.

Video: "Romania: The Spectre of Tyranny."



The documentary dates from 2012, and seeks to explain totalitarianism's lingering hangover in Romania.

"According to a recent survey, 70% of Romanians believe that wealth comes from illegal means. 17% believe that in order to achieve prosperity, you must have personal contacts and recommendations. This  means 87% believe the wealth generated in Romania only comes from dishonest methods. This reflects the distrust the Romanians have for their own progress."

The critique is  unsparing, and the conclusion unsurprising: Once the over-40s have gone, a functional civil society may be possible -- assuming the under-40s haven't all moved away.

Romania's 50-year dictatorship caused social problems, poverty, and political and economic instability. A young Romanian journalist uncovers the continuing legacy of Nicolae Ceausescu's tyranny that still casts an enduring influence over people's lives today.

Ironically, also the goal of the local Democratic Party.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Wildlife crossing structures: "What's been done about roadkill, and why isn't it enough?"

In the Netherlands -- from the article.

File under "things none of us have thought about lately."

NEW SOLUTIONS: WHAT’S BEEN DONE ABOUT ROADKILL, AND WHY ISN’T IT ENOUGH?

While Europe has many, indeed hundreds, of wildlife crossing structures, North America has relatively few. The best-studied and only overpass crossing structures are in Banff, Alberta. However, these structures were not designed specifically for wildlife; rather, they were conventional bridge structures which were adapted. They have proven remarkably successful in restoring ecological connectivity and in improving road safety, but could their capacities expand and the cost of their construction contract with a redesign expressly for their purpose?

New solutions to wildlife crossing infrastructure are intended to reduce the costs and to tailor each type of crossing to the specific species in various landscape contexts. We are also considering new solutions to the construction and material of these structures, as we may need to move, enlarge or downsize them based on changing wildlife movement patterns due to changes in habitats, climate or other factors. In the broadest sense, we aim to capitalize on the potential for crossing structures to tell a story—the story of our renewed relationship with wildlife and landscapes.

You don't need Adam Dickey's permission to be a community planner.


The anguished cries echoing through the confines of Adam's cranium are palpable.

"But how would these community planners lend themselves to Democratic Party financing needs?"

Because ... the city planners surely do, don't they?


City Planners vs. Community Developers (The Small Street Journal)

... By this definition, city planners can be community developers within their own communities, or they can act as consultants to other communities. However, city planners are not necessarily community developers.

This disambiguation showcases an important distinction between community development and city planning: where a profession like city planning tends to view itself as the expert, the final-say, or the holder of specialized knowledge, community development is rooted in the knowledge of a locality; where city planning offers a top-down solution, community development offers a bottom-up approach.

I’m sure by now I’ve offended a few city planners, but please, stick with me.

Two entrenched political parties are the problem, not the solution.

Photo capriciously cribbed from the interwebz.

It's a long read, and worth it.

We've already had lengthy discussions on social media about the points herein, and as the days pass, my determination is solidified. I've spent too many years voting "against" one side even when the other sickened me. It won't happen again.

If I can't be "for" one of the two major political parties, both of which are rotten and monetized to the core, then there are alternatives. The sooner we reject the two-party duopoly, the better. I don't need national examples to assist this conclusion. The local ones work just fine to inspire revulsion.

This article is an epiphany for me, but as the author notes, it's an expression of personal conscience. Vote as you will, according to your conscience.

To Leave the Future Open: On the False "Choices" of Election 2016, by Kay Whitlock (Truthout)

Something's hidden behind the curtain of the looming 2016 presidential election that the national leaders of both entrenched political parties don't want us to see.

It's the future.

Not just the near future, but the one that will ripple on into history, the one that will do so much to define the age in which we're living. It's the ideas and vision that will frame and shape and animate that future, which has two possible trajectories. One future undermines possibilities for starting to dismantle structural forms of racial, gender, economic, and disability-related violence and for realizing a much truer exercise of democracy while the other strengthens them.

That's why I'm #notwithher when I cast my vote in November 2016.

I've already said publicly I will not vote for Hillary Clinton if she's the nominee of the Democratic Party. This is not a decision made lightly.

But it is the only right decision for me ...

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Cuba! Africa! Revolution!





Che Guevara's foray into the Congo in 1965 ended badly, but Fidel Castro was playing a long game, and Cuba's adventures in Africa reached critical mass in Angola during the mid-1980s.

Between Washington and Moscow: the cultural impact of the Cold War in Africa (The World Weekly)

Among many revelations in this excellent two-hour documentary is the USSR's continuing annoyance with Castro's tendency to slip the presumed leash. When Mikhail Gorbachev made negotiations with America his prime focus, Cuba became the leading exponent of Communism measured by troops on the ground.

The US Department of State knew how many Cuban troops were in Angola from the number of baseball diamonds as observed by satellite; Cuban army regulations stipulated a baseball field for every "x" number of soldiers, almost a half million of whom returned home after the 1988 peace accords. Castro justified it as anti-imperialism, and few Americans know the cross-currents in Angola in the 1980s.

Variables included the legacy of three separate armed Angolan forces, South Africa's national security via power politics, independence for neighboring Namibia, Castro's determination to bring about the end of apartheid, Gorbachev and the declining Soviet influence internationally, and of course Ronald Reagan's aggressive determination to make life difficult for Soviets and Cubans wherever they were located.

The testimony of the principles is what sets this film apart. Many key players from all eras were alive to tell the tale in the early 2000s, although several have died since, including the Falstaffian character Jorge Risquet. His unlikely meeting with South Africa's Pik Botha in a Cairo hotel bar provided an impetus to talks that led ultimately to agreement -- and at least made a minor contribution to the freeing of Nelson Mandela two years later.


Risquet's fondness for cigars is an amusing sidebar to the preceding. In summary, it's like a Cold War diplomacy primer, perhaps no longer useful, but still instructive.

I'm unsure which of two titles is accurate. Strictly speaking, the videos are taken from the BBC4 program Storyville, and comprise Cuba! Africa! Revolution! Elsewhere they're referred to as Cuba: An African Odyssey. The director is Jihan El Tahri, and the release date is 2007.

Let's recall the council's role in the Story of the Steeple, starting way back in 2012.

Photo by Robert Landrum.

It wasn't enough to divert the paper's reality television fetishism from the top spot in its daily e-mail news tout, but the Second Baptist Church on Main Street has a new steeple.

In a "Cheers and Jeers" over the weekend, one of the paper's long-term sous chefs made note of the fundraising effort to make the steeple possible, and in the interest of historical accuracy when recalling this historic rehab, let's not forget that the city chipped in, too -- and it was mildly controversial at the time.

From the Red Devil Chronicle, July 19, 2013:

New Albany council OKs funds for church, by Daniel Suddeath

 ... When the money was appropriated in February, Councilmen Greg Phipps and Scott Blair voted against the measure. Blair said at the time he had reservations about whether matching funds could be raised to complete the initial phases of the project. Phipps cited his belief in separation of church and state matters as his reason for voting against the appropriation.

From NA Confidential, October 2, 2012:

1 - City council meeting tweeted as it happened, October 1

A-12-21 $ to restore 2nd Baptist Clock Tower. Discussion. Phipps voices church-state concerns; easements must be included. Gonder dislikes.

Steeple replacement and erection sailed through council at a time when it was imperative to fund various pablum-by-the-numbers Bicentennial galas so that four years later, Bob Caesar still can refuse to provide me specifics on expenditures incurred by his party-like-it's-1817 committee.

(Look for a FOIA request, coming soon; after all, I've waited almost a year)

As was obvious at the time, Councilman Phipps was right about the church/state separation issues inherent in the steeple discussion. In effect, council provided "challenge funding" (John Gonder's words) to one active congregation while withholding it from others, although in retrospect, the steeple's refurbishment may have been the sole Bicentennial gesture toward the city's African-American community -- most of whom do not attend Second Baptist Church.

Water, meet bridge and flow downstream.

All's well that ends ... well, the steeple does look lovely, and it's been immensely entertaining to watch as the city's propaganda arm carefully parsed praise for the project, given that personages high on Oz's Fundamentally Stinkier Enemies List carried the ball for the steeple, Irv Stumler and Jerry Finn prime among them.

Just a thought, but can we do something yet about the street grid that kills people?

Friday, May 27, 2016

Will all the Libertarian VP candidates please step forward -- not so fast, William Weld.

Vote Hugo (the No Tolls Kitty) for President. He'll both thank and ignore you.

Petersen has a point, unless these doctrines of free choice and individual judgment contradict traditional party unity to the point where one wonders how a Libertarian can even belong to a party, but at least if Johnson, Trump and Clinton are the nominees, we'll have three political parties nominating Republicans.

I'll save you the trouble: Jill Stein for President.

Gary Johnson Booed at Libertarian Party Convention for Calling William Weld 'the original libertarian', by Matt Welch (Reason)

Former Republican governor's praise for former Republican governor comes under fire from current Libertarians

Last night, on the eve of what may well be a historic Libertarian Party National Convention, America's leading third party held a debate among the very many people running for its highly coveted presidential slot. Former New Mexico governor and 2012 L.P. nominee Gary Johnson, who is considered to be the front-runner in the race, took a sharp jab during the debate from upstart contender Austin Petersen over the controversial-to-libertarians, praised-by-media-outsiders selection of former Massachusetts governor William Weld as his suggested running-mate. (Veeps are elected separately at L.P. conventions.)

Petersen, who has been making hay with his contention that "It's time for us to stop nominating failed Republicans, and start nominating successful Libertarians," drew sustained applause when he challenged Johnson over Weld's Libertarian bonafides: "In 2012, he didn't endorse Ron Paul, he didn't endorse you, he endorsed Mitt Romney. In 2016, he endorsed John Kasich. Why didn't your VP pick endorse you?"

With a scant five days notice, here's your chance to "speak out" about the Floyd Memorial Hospital sale.

Wait, Larry -- is that a crosswalk on a street with uncontrolled traffic?

Whether you support or oppose the hospital sale, five days isn't much time to adjust calendars. Nonetheless, this could be a long one.  

Public meetings to discuss Floyd County finances, hospital sale, by Chris Morris (River Ridge Today)

NEW ALBANY – For the first time since it was announced, the public will get the chance to speak out about the proposed sale of Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services to Baptist Health.

Since the sale was announced in March, residents have not been able to voice their opinions, either for or against the transaction. That is until now.

The meeting will be at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Pine View Government Center. Members of the Floyd County Council and Floyd County Commissioners will be in attendance, as will representatives from Floyd Memorial Hospital.

"The goal of the public meeting is to inform the public about the details of the sale and help the public understand the process and how we got to this point," said Floyd County Council President Brad Striegel.

Lori Sympson's campaign for safe streets: Sign the petition, and "like" the Fb page.


Lori Sympson has started a Facebook page, and it is self-explanatory.

Safer Streets/Justice for Chloe Allen

A dear friend of mine was hit and killed trying to cross the street. My goal is to get New Albany's streets safer; in honor of my friend and her family.

She also opened a petition at Change.org, and we don't expect to see Warren Nash's name there any time soon.

Safer Streets for Pedestrians In New Albany Indiana

The people who cross the streets need to feel safe! In honor of my friend Chloe L(Babcock) Allen. She was hit by a driver at the corner of E. Spring and Vincennes St. As a community we need to come together and make sure nobody else dies. Join with me for everybody's safety. Our mayor and street dept could make this happen.

Be a malcontent,  and help penetrate the purposeful unresponsiveness of Jeff Gahan's down-low bunker with a signature.



ON THE AVENUES: On the crass exploitation and politicization of tragedy.



Dangerous intersections: Something for Greg Phipps to consider, though it's unlikely they will.



Watch this moving video from the late Chloe Allen's friend: "If anything good can come of this, it'll be that this intersection is made safer."



ON THE AVENUES: Requiem for the bored.



City Hall crassly exploits the death of a walker in order to brag about its achievements.



"New Albany has a long way to go on street safety," says Broken Sidewalk in an understatement for the ages.



R.I.P. Chloe Allen.



"For we are the killers. We blithely tolerate a street grid with 48-foot-wide streets that pedestrians are expected to navigate without the sanction of government protection."

How Donald Duncan's second obituary came to be written.

Photo credit: New York Times.

First there was an obituary.

Donald W. Duncan, 79, Ex-Green Beret and Early Critic of Vietnam War, Is Dead, by Robert D. McFadden (NYT)

Mr. Duncan, who died in obscurity in 2009, wrote in 1966 of witnessing atrocities by American troops and helped organize antiwar protests.

The, a week later came the explanation. It sheds light into the editorial process at a newspaper (just imagine if ours attempted any such), and suggests that it's still possible to disappear in plain sight in places like ...

An Obituary Runs Seven Years After the Subject’s Death. What Happened?, by William McDonald

Obituaries editor William McDonald explains why The Times decided to remember a once-famous activist who had slipped into obscurity, seven years after his death.


... In sum, Mr. Duncan made an appreciable impact on the national discussion of the war; he had for a time been a newsmaker, and by The Times’s rule of thumb his death was thus newsworthy. The obituary ran online on May 6, and in the paper on May 8.

What was unusual about the obituary, however, was how belated it was. Mr. Duncan had died seven years earlier, on March 25, 2009. And therein lies a tale, about a life in which notoriety gave way to its flip side, obscurity, and about a journalistic decision in which one imperative of reporting — to be timely — deferred to a greater one: to simply get the story out.

 ... Madison, Indiana, where Donald Duncan's death notice appeared seven years ago.

Duncan's 2009 obituary in the Madison Courier.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

ON THE AVENUES: On the crass exploitation and politicization of tragedy.

ON THE AVENUES: On the crass exploitation and politicization of tragedy.

A weekly column by Roger A. Baylor.

One of William Shakespeare’s most famous plays is The Tragedy of Julius Caesar. A spoiler alert is unnecessary, for the title character’s assassination at the hands of supposedly patriotic conspirators is central to the narrative.

Following Caesar's death, Marc Antony crafts a funeral oration. With words carefully chosen, Antony initiates the process of politicizing his friend’s death.

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears;
I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
The evil that men do lives after them;
The good is oft interred with their bones;
So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus
Hath told you Caesar was ambitious:
If it were so, it was a grievous fault;
And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.
Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest, —
For Brutus is an honorable man;
So are they all, all honorable men, —
Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.
He was my friend, faithful and just to me:
But Brutus says he was ambitious;
And Brutus is an honorable man.

By the time Antony has finished “burying” Caesar, the mood of the crowd has shifted ominously, and the assassins have become the hunted. It is rumored that in an early draft of the play, Shakespeare penned these words for a fleeing Brutus:

Antony, vile malcontent, thou hast crassly exploited this tragedy for political purposes.

The roots of “tragedy” in the modern sense extend to ancient Greece.

Tragedy (from the Greek: τραγῳδία, tragōidia[a]) is a form of drama based on human suffering that invokes an accompanying catharsis or pleasure in audiences. While many cultures have developed forms that provoke this paradoxical response, the term tragedy often refers to a specific tradition of drama that has played a unique and important role historically in the self-definition of Western civilization. That tradition has been multiple and discontinuous, yet the term has often been used to invoke a powerful effect of cultural identity and historical continuity …

In everyday terms, we use the word “tragedy” as a sort of catch-all, one describing unexpected, bad and destructive situations or events, which often involve someone’s death.

A tragic occurrence can be a simple twist of fate, or echoing the ancient Greek point of view, the victim may have suffered ill tidings owing to an inner flaw or moral weakness, as Anthony Weiner might well attest.

Moreover, we recognize the potentially collective nature of tragedy, in the sense that our flaws and weaknesses as a society can result in disasters, or abet them.

In 1988, tens of thousands died as the result of an earthquake in then-Soviet Armenia, often as the result of shoddy construction techniques and lack of preparedness. Of course, the earthquake itself was unpreventable, but not preparing for the eventuality of earthquakes in a region noted for seismic activity is a human variable. To an appreciable extent, Armenians tragically died because of choices made by a network of other persons, not Mother Nature.

The debate will continue as to the concept of collective responsibility in totalitarian systems, but we needn’t restrict our gaze to dictatorships.

In America, ostensibly a nation founded on rule of law and devoted to individual liberty, the period following the Civil War, from 1865 to the present, has been marred by tragedy in the specific form of discrimination, lynching and myriad affiliated acts of purposeful violence directed against African-Americans by dominant white supremacist culture.

These acts are neither random nor senseless. Rather, they occur within the framework of American politics, as opposed to inexplicable spins of a cosmic wheel.

Writer Matt Taibbi offers this working definition of politics:

“Politics at its most basic isn't a Princeton debating society. It's a desperate battle over who gets what.”

Taibbi’s reckoning matches what my poli-sci instructor said on the first day of class at IU Southeast in 1978, paraphrased: Politics is about power – what power is, how it is used, who gets to have it, and who doesn’t.

This is why Dr. Martin Luther King did not hesitate to crassly exploit tragedy for political purposes, as in 1963, when members of the Ku Klux Klan planted sticks of dynamite beneath church steps in Birmingham, Alabama and killed four African-American girls.

And yet they died nobly. They are the martyred heroines of a holy crusade for freedom and human dignity. And so this afternoon in a real sense they have something to say to each of us in their death. They have something to say to every minister of the gospel who has remained silent behind the safe security of stained-glass windows. They have something to say to every politician who has fed his constituents with the stale bread of hatred and the spoiled meat of racism. They have something to say to a federal government that has compromised with the undemocratic practices of southern Dixiecrats and the blatant hypocrisy of right-wing northern Republicans. They have something to say to every Negro who has passively accepted the evil system of segregation and who has stood on the sidelines in a mighty struggle for justice. They say to each of us, black and white alike, that we must substitute courage for caution. They say to us that we must be concerned not merely about who murdered them, but about the system, the way of life, the philosophy which produced the murderers. Their death says to us that we must work passionately and unrelentingly for the realization of the American dream.

When Dr. King was assassinated in 1968, his death was crassly exploited for political purposes. The cycle continued. In 1998, there was yet another tragedy, this time in Wyoming.

On October 7, 1998, Matthew Shepard, a 21-year-old student at the University of Wyoming, was brutally attacked and tied to a fence in a field outside of Laramie, Wyo. and left to die. On October 12, Matt succumbed to his wounds in a hospital in Fort Collins, Colorado.

The savagery of this young man’s death helped prompt a long overdue recalibration of America’s moral compass.

The horrific killing of Matthew Shepard in 1998 is widely seen as one of the worst anti-gay hate crimes in American history. Matthew was beaten by two assailants, Aaron McKinney and Russell Henderson. They pistol whipped him with a gun then tied him to a fence in freezing conditions and set fire to him before leaving him to die.

The attack became a cause célèbre: it precipitated a national backlash against hyper-macho culture and tacit tolerance of homophobia. As a result of Matthew’s death, many good things have happened for the gay community.

This backlash following Shepard’s murder was knowingly spurred and intentionally politicized by LGBT activists, civil rights advocates, world famous celebrities, but also ordinary folks inhabiting a table at Denny’s. It was crass, exploitative and fully justified. I supported it then, and I do now.

Perhaps then we’re all malcontents, each and every one of us, crassly exploiting tragedy for political purposes, whether it’s Marc Antony, the grieving Armenians pointing fingers at the Kremlin, Dr. King, human rights proponents memorializing Shepard – or a citizen like Lori Kay Sympson, who doesn’t want you to forget that her friend Chloe Allen was killed trying to cross a dangerous street in New Albany, where streets are kept dangerous due to crass exploitation – that’s right, for political purposes.

Politics is power. For a prevaricating politician like Greg Phipps to selectively deny the efficacy of this statement by tarring others as malcontents is a tragedy in itself, and a misreading of history eligible for crass exploitation by those of us, malcontented or otherwise, who apparently understand his elected position – and his past – far better than he does.

---

May 19: ON THE AVENUES: Requiem for the bored.

May 12: ON THE AVENUES: A design for life.

May 5: ON THE AVENUES: Getting back, moving forward, drinking coffee.

April 28: ON THE AVENUES: You know, the two-way streets column I wrote -- 7 years ago, in 2009.

To crush the slumlords, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentations of their investment portfolio managers.



It is both sad and riotous to imagine letter scores for New Albany's rental properties.

Should Landlords Be Licensed?, by Kriston Capps (City Lab)

Toronto is considering an experiment that would give landlords and apartment buildings restaurant-style grades.

Last week, a Toronto City Council committee voted unanimously to endorse a new licensing regime for landlords. The proposal would institute a system for grading landlords of buildings of a certain size for conditions such as mold, bedbugs, working elevators, water cleanliness, and working air conditioning. If the full council proceeds with the idea, landlords will be subject to licensing and, potentially, grades that they will be required to post in building lobbies—the same way restaurants do in some cities.

While some of the details have yet to be determined, the bill would require landlords of rental buildings of three or more stories or 10 or more units to pay a licensing fee of $12 to $15 per unit, per year. The fees would defray the roughly $3.5 million cost for executing annual audits. The program would call for detailed building management plans from landlords; currently, inspections typically follow complaints. The Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) supports landlord licensing, while the Greater Toronto Apartment Association opposes it.

Toronto Mayor John Tory has expressed some doubts about whether licensing landlords is necessary or workable. But to some extent, that question has already been answered. Rentlogic, a Canadian company that uses open data to provide a better rental market for prospective tenants, has built a tool, LandlordWatch, that ranks the worst landlords in Toronto, based on the number of investigations into the condition of their buildings and resulting violations.

No need to build a fire: Trash pickup questions answered by Ecotech/SIWS.

Looks like Wild Bill Allen has bulk items for bundling.

Like I keep saying, when the paper's not staging cooking promotions or binge watching reality television, it can actually publish useful tidbits. Click through, evade the same tired circus sideshow ads, and read the whole article.

New Albany trash, garbage pickup questions answered; Storm in March delayed trucks, by Chris Morris (Eastside Tidings)

NEW ALBANY — There has been some confusion among New Albany homeowners about what kind of trash will be picked up by Ecotech/SIWS on a weekly basis.

Bryan Slade, president of Ecotech/SIWS, told the New Albany Board of Public Works & Safety on Tuesday that his crews have been working six days a week picking up bulk items from residents. He said a storm in March put his trucks behind and they are just now getting caught up.

"After those storms we collected 74 tons of material," he said. "It put us behind."

Slade also said there has been some confusion in what his trucks will pick up on a weekly basis, which includes:

• Weekly garbage pickup

• Total of 10 bags and or bundles of limbs

• Branches and limbs must be less than three feet long and no larger than three inches diameter, tied and bundled.

• All yard waste must be placed at the curb or in alley, wherever garbage is picked up prior to 7 a.m. on the regular pickup day

• Bags of grass and leaves cannot weigh more than 50 pounds

Slade said some homeowners are confused about items that his trucks will not pickup which is regulated by city ordinances. Those items include large tree branches, stumps, lumber, construction materials, appliances using Freon and hazardous liquid items like oil based paint or medications.

Ecotech/SIWS will collect up to three large, bulk items at a time. Slade said it's important for residents to call 812-944-4018 to make an appointment to have the bulk items collected. He said trucks do travel throughout the city, but it is easier if they know where the items to collect are located. The bulk items need to be placed where the regular trash is collected by 6 a.m. Trucks will pick up one tire at a time, but it must be off the rim.

Slade also told the BOW that his crews have had issues recently with needles being placed in garbage and are taking precautions.

"Safety is our number one concern," he said.

Garbage will be picked up a day later than normal next week due to Monday being Memorial Day ...

Renovation escalates at the former Walgreen's and Kresge at 302 Pearl.


Matt Chalfant's firm is renovating the building at 302 Pearl Street, and while I've no idea what it will become, we know what it used to be -- rather of a theme this week, given that somewhere around 10 buildings are being renovated within a square blocks downtown.

We turn to the folks at historic preservation:

S. S. Kresge Building
302 Pearl Street
New Albany, IN 47150

Category: Neoclassical

Year Built: 1930

This Neoclassical style building was built in 1930, replacing a three-story 1865 structure that was torn down to make way for this structure.

Seven years after it was built, it got very wet (photos courtesy of the Indiana Room at the library).



In the preceding photos, you'll notice the street-level windows on the Market Street side. Now see what's happening in 2016.


Many of us remember the period when Walgreen's operated here. What you may not know is that the national S. S. Kresge five-and-dime chain was the forerunner of what eventually became K-Mart.

We can only imagine how the value of Chalfant's investment would be enhanced, rather than suppressed, by two-way a traffic on Pearl and Market.

"If this isn't the job of an engineer -- and it's not -- who should design streets? The answer is as simple as it is radical: everyone."

They're roads, not streets.

This is too good not to print in its entirety .The point isn't to spark conflicts between engineers or to malign those charged with engineering jobs. Rather, it is to delineate between streets and roads, and to urge democratization of the planning process as it pertains to their proper uses in a varied environment.  

---

Engineers Should Not Design Streets, by Charles Marohn (Strong Towns)

Last Friday I was participating in the 5th Annual Mayor's Bike Ride in Duluth following a week spent sharing the Strong Towns message on the Iron Range. The friendly woman riding next to me asked me what could be done to to better educate engineers so they would start to build streets that were about more than simply about moving cars. My answer rejected the premise of the question: We should not be asking engineers to design streets.

A quick review for those of you that are new here (which might be up to half the audience -- amazing). Roads and streets are two separate things. The function of a road is to connect productive places. You can think of a road as a refinement of the railroad -- a road on rails -- where people board in one place, depart in another and there is a high speed connection between the two.

In contrast, the function of a street is to serve as a platform for building wealth. On a street, we're attempting to grow the complex ecosystem that produces community wealth. In these environments, people (outside of their automobile) are the indicator species of success. So, in short, with a street we're trying to create environments where humans, and human interaction, flourish.

Engineers are well-suited to constructing roads. Road environments are quite simple and, thus, lend themselves well to things like design manuals and uniform guidelines. There are only so many variables and the relationship they have to each other is fairly straightforward. In the United States, we have tested, refined and codified an engineering approach to roads that is pretty amazing and, in terms of engineering, the envy of the world.

There are two primary variables for designing a road: design speed and projected traffic volume. From those two numbers, we can derive the number of lanes, lane width, shoulder width, the width of clear zones and the allowable horizontal and vertical curvature. From those factors, we can specify all the pavement markings and signage that are necessary. We can then monitor things like the Level of Service, the 85th percentile speed and traffic counts to optimize how the road functions over time. Engineers are really good at this.

Engineers are not good at building streets nor, I would argue, can the typical engineer readily become good at it. Streets that produce wealth for a community are complex environments. They do not lend themselves well to rote standards or even design guidelines. There are numerous variables at play that interact with each other, forming feedback loops and changing in ways that are impossible to predict.

Consider just one variable: the future of the adjacent land. The operative component of building wealth on a street is building. Who owns the property? What are they going to do with it? What is their capacity? Will they stick with it? Will they find the love of their life and move across the country? Each property has a near infinite set of complexities to it that change and respond to change, each of which is far more important to the wealth capacity of the street than, for example, lane width.

If we're trying to create an ecosystem that results in our indicator species (people) showing up in greater and greater numbers, we can't just focus on one or two variables. It can't be just design speed and volume. The natural ecosystem equivalent would be an observation that productive forests have trees and so we hire our forest engineers to go out and plant rows and rows of the optimum tree. It's obvious that, absent other flora and fauna, insects and bacteria, sunlight and rain and a myriad of other variables, the trees we are planting just aren't enough to get the ecosystem we're after.

If we're trying to create a natural ecosystem, we first have to recognize the environment we're in. A desert ecosystem will be far different than a northern forest. We then need to seed the basic elements, but we don't direct them day-to-day; we nurture them as they grow. If we know what we're after -- if we know our indicator species of success -- if we see the experiment getting way off track, we can intervene in small ways to nudge it back on course. We can introduce small changes and see how the system responds. Over time, our natural ecosystem will show us how it wants to grow.

We do a disservice to our communities when we treat streets as if they were roads, when we ignore the complex environments streets are meant to create and treat them as if they were simple throughput models. Streets need to be designed block by block. Those designs need to be responsive and adaptable.

Understanding that 99%+ of all streets that will exist a decade from now already exist today, what we're really talking about here in North America isn't building new streets but making good use of existing streets. The way we do this -- the way we design block by block in ways that are responsive and adaptable -- is to try things and see what works. Our tools are not traffic counters and code books but paint, cones and straw bales. Before we make any change permanent, we test it -- and possibly other variations -- first to see what works.

So if this isn't the job of an engineer -- and it's not -- who should design streets? The answer is as simple as it is radical: everyone. Building a productive street is a collective endeavor that involves the people who live on it, those who own property on it, those who traverse it as well as the myriad of professionals who have expertise they can lend to the discussion.

Put your least technical person on staff in charge of your next street. Empower them to meet with people, observe how people use the street and then experiment, in a low cost way, with different alternatives. Keep experimenting until you start to see your indicator species show up (outside of their cars, of course). Now you have a design you can hand over to your engineer to specify the technical stuff -- pavement thickness, paint specs, etc... -- and get the project built.

Engineers are highly competent at building roads. When you are trying to move automobiles quickly from one place to another, put your engineering in charge and do what they recommend. When you are trying to build a street -- when you are trying to make your city wealthier and more prosperous -- make your engineer one small voice in a larger chorus of people whose words and, especially, whose actions dictate what your design should be.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Mute balsa agony amid luxurious rabbit hutch erections as bicyclists and walkers fend for themselves.


Pressboard makers of America, unite. You too can hang your ladders by nocturnal crane -- not that the neighborhood has a crime problem or anything.


Break Wind Lofts at Duggins Flats is coming long swimmingly, and -- wait, what's THAT?


Ah, yes. The middle-of-the-block "bikes merge" sign.

Cyclists, merge into THIS:


Do you feel safer yet?

Mayor Gahan is doing his best to ignore church-state separation, so bone up on your prayers. They'll probably be the most effective traffic calming strategy in Race Through City.

SHANE'S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS: Sardonic.

Welcome to another installment of SHANE'S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS, a regular Wednesday feature at NA Confidential.

But why all these new words?

Why not the old, familiar, comforting words, like the ones you're sure to hear at Democratic Party fundraising bowl-a-thons?

It's because a healthy vocabulary isn't about intimidation through erudition. Rather, it's about selecting the right word and using it correctly, whatever one's pay grade or station in life.

Even remuneration-engorged municipal corporate attorneys are eligible for this enlightening expansion of personal horizons, and really, as we await an explanation that will never come as to why City Hall insists on awarding no-bid monopolies to Louisville companies, when our own community has the know-how to do it ourselves, all we have is deadening stretches of down-low time -- and the opportunity to learn something, if we're so inclined.

The adjective "sardonic" is a perennial favorite, and one that lies very close to the front of any responsible New Gahanian resident's Book of How to Cope.

sardonic
[sahr-don-ik]

adjective

1. characterized by bitter or scornful derision; mocking; cynical; sneering.

Origin of sardonic
1630-40; alteration of earlier sardonian (influenced by French sardonique) < Latin sardoni(us) (< Greek sardónios of Sardinia) + -an; alluding to a Sardinian plant which when eaten was supposed to produce convulsive laughter ending in death.

It's almost a default condition among the ruled.

"I flashed a sardonic grin when my councilman referred to me as a malcontent, and reminded him that his undemocratic principles were showing."