Monday, August 21, 2017

Gahan in eclipse, but what about the Solar Eclipse of August 7, 1869 as viewed in New Albany?


The Crashers during fireworks won't ever again be as awe-inspiring as this display.

Naming rights? They're a bitch -- and here's a reprise of NAC's "SHANE'S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS" column from January 11, 2017.

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SHANE'S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS: "The shouts of the New Albanians rent the air for the return of sweet daylight."


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

Around this time each week, anguished wails begin seeping out of the bunker's ventilation ducts: Why all these newfangled words?

Why not the old, familiar, comforting words, the ones that sufficed during the glory days, in those simpler times before inexplicably naked greed kicked in like a bond-issue-percentage speedball, knocking you back into the turnbuckles but feeling oh so fine, and now, as the Great Elongated and Exasperated Obfuscator of comic book series fame (can Disney World be far behind?) you teach detailed principles of banking to bankers, at least when not otherwise occupied making healthy deposits into your own account?

Thankfully, even if one toils for the Peerless Leader (not to mention Peerless Faucet), a healthy vocabulary isn't about intimidation through erudition. No, not at all. Rather, it's about selecting the right word and using it correctly, whatever one's pay grade or station in life.

Even municipal corporate attorneys reaping handsome remuneration to suppress information and to squelch community dialogue can benefit from this enlightening expansion of personal horizons, and really, as we contemplate CPIs, IUDs and IOUs, all we really have is time -- and the opportunity to learn something, if we're so inclined.

This weeks words are familiar, with a chronological twist: New Albanian.

New Albanian

[noo al-bey-nee-uh n]

adjective

1. of or relating to New Albany (as opposed to Old Albania, otherwise known as Shqipëri/Shqipëria), its inhabitants, or their psychology

noun

2. a native or citizen of New Albany

For a very long time, we've been speculating as to exactly when New Albanian first was used as a descriptive term.

I've never been shy about my own recent part in popularizing the usage of New Albanian, which became the name of my business in 1994, but was used informally prior to the advent of the company name, often when we'd hoist steins while trying to answer the question, "What is a person from New Albany called?"

"New Albanyite" never seemed right, and New Albanian always was the logical choice. For so long as historical evidence was scant, I was delighted to claim credit, but today, thanks to local physician and city council member Al Knable, there is definitive proof that the use of the term New Albanian to describe a resident of this city extends at least as far back into the life and times of the settlement on the flood plain as the Eclipse of 1869.



It's from the Ledger, a Tribune forerunner. Note the multi-syllable words used in the header, among them obscuration, magnificence, manifestation and protuberances. If cannot be imagined that a newspaper editor today would view these words in any way apart from sheer unmitigated horror. In fact, the News and Tribune recoils in just such a manner, daily.

Thanks to Dr. Knable for making this major etymological contribution to our understanding of the city's history.

Gahan in eclipse? It isn't heroin, it's #HereIAm ...


Nope, nothing much has changed since May, when even the News and Tribune noticed.

Editor Duncan pithily calls out New Albany in the newspaper's "Crossroads of Crisis" series finale.


A friend posted this photo yesterday on Facebook.


Nothing to see there. Just so long as it isn't in eyesight of luxury housing.

NA Confidential persists in reprinting these instructions for the safe disposal of syringes and sharps, as found on the city of Louisville's web site. In New Albany, Team Gahan has chosen to mimic Ronald Reagan's response to the AIDS crisis by saying nothing at all.


Here are the search results.


Nope.

#HisNA isn't very sharp, even if plenty of them are scattered around, pretending to be pine needles. Maybe what we really have is an overdose of Disney Think.

Gahan in eclipse? The ruling circle continues to shrink, but cerebral inbreeding makes better ideas, right? It certainly does wonders for pay packets.


The past two weeks have been vintage in the annals of the scandal-plagued second term of Generalissimo Jeff Gahan.

After Dear Leader's recent Super Tuesday vote-buying spree, we find serial bigot Dan Coffey once again firmly cemented to the mayor's side, with not a peep from local Democrats as to the repugnant irony of the Wizard of Westside's return to grace, or why the right-wing political arm of the Catholic Church should receive special facade treatment at Cappuccino's behest.

Ever noticed how Democratic Party chairman Adam Dickey's pious and mellifluous public words almost never seem to match with what he's engineering, sanctioning and blessing in private?

More intriguingly, recent personnel moves point to the ongoing domino effect of whatever foul-up caused David Duggins to be rushed overnight from the inner Hauss Square sanctum to the relative Siberia of Bono Road.

I've continued to point out that this transfer probably wasn't planned, and because when a mayor predicates campaign finance on the well-versed skills of a bag man at Redevelopment, losing such a financier's daily presence isn't a void to be filled in midstream without difficulty. Knowing where the bullion is buried is a form of job security, after all.

Hence the apparent (rumored) solution: allow Duggins to double-dip while at NAHA, continuing to moonlight coordinating the cash-stuffed envelopes at Redevelopment even as a loyal Democratic foot soldier (Tony Toran) is added at NAHA to do the unqualified Dugout's job, while assigning the task of pretending to do redevelopment work to the already well compensated corporate attorney, Shane Gibson, whose only true mission in the Church of Gahan is to coordinate the Machiavellian subterfuge of the preceding flow chart.

In reality, the troika of Gahan, Gibson and Dickey governs the city, with occasional input from Duggins, and kibbles and bits tossed in the ragpicker Coffey's direction at regular intervals.

#OurNA?

Hardly.

It's #TheirNA at present, though this needn't be a permanent affliction.

Previously:

Newspaper letter writer savages a failing, flailing and floundering Duggins at the NAHA, and follows the bread crumbs back to Deaf Gahan.

GREEN MOUSE SAYS: Shane Gibson to fill David Duggins' shoes as economic development & redevelopment bag man, with a joyous wetting of beaks to follow.

Council approves solidarity resolution as Coffey's therapist advises him to skip yet another meeting.

ON THE AVENUES: Love in the time of choleric Coffey, though it's nice of Deaf Gahan to support the K of C's political agenda.

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As an addendum, NA Confidential has been unable to confirm whether New Albany Mayor Jeff M. Gahan or anyone working in the city's administration is under federal investigation or indictment for corruption, bribery or racketeering. It is standard policy of the U.S. Justice Department to refuse to confirm or deny the existence or non-existence of investigations or subjects of investigations. A similar policy exists at the F.B.I.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Newspaper letter writer savages a failing, flailing and floundering Duggins at the NAHA, and follows the bread crumbs back to Deaf Gahan.



The Deputy Executive Director mentioned in Susan Ryan's letter (below) is Tony Toran, a former city official and longtime Democratic Party higher-up. This and other carefully pre-scripted "surprises" occurred at last Monday's New Albany Housing Authority meeting, but numerous reports of David Duggins' escalating managerial incompetence have been coursing through the Green Mouse's grapevine for weeks.

Once again: I think Duggins was moved to the NAHA not by design, but necessity. Something happened to make Dugout's position at redevelopment untenable, and he needed a fatter pay packet, and so Gahan shifted him to the NAHA. Now Toran is brought aboard to do Duggins' job, while Gahan looks elsewhere for a new bag man (I'm getting to that).

ON THE AVENUES: Using Deaf Gahan’s dullest razor, we race straight to the bottom of his hurried NAHA putsch launch.

From the very start, Jeff Gahan's putsch against the NAHA has been about grabbing the housing authority's acreage for the sort of real estate developments that feed campaign funds rather than the needs of ordinary people.

Gahan also has been directing dog whistles to his not-so-democratic "traditional" Democratic Party supporters. To be succinct, references to "the project" always have been intended to mean not the buildings, but African-American (and other minorities) living in them.

When a Democrat whispers "if only we could do something about the projects," the inference is crystal clear, and has been since Warren Nash dozed though his term as mayor. Republicans? They're perfectly content to let so-called Democrats do their heavy lifting. It's a symbiotic relationship, if highly repellent.

As Ryan correctly points out, Duggins, who was no more prepared than a feral neighborhood cat to inherit Bob Lane's salary at NAHA, much less grasp Lane's duties -- and is surrounded by a similarly useless and clueless governing board of bootlicking sycophants appointed by Gahan -- needed a bailout.

Toran is a trustworthy Democratic foot soldier, and he's African-American, this intended by Gahan as reassurance to black voters who by all rights should (and might yet) desert His Deafness in droves in 2019. Rehabbing the former Baity Funeral Home is another such scrap, albeit a relatively meek one.

Welcome to New Gahania, where we answer to the anchor.

If the rumors are true and legendary Municipal Concealment Attorney (and Democratic Party grandee) Shane Gibson takes over Duggins' former bailiwick as bag man at redevelopment (and as titular economic development director), pretty soon there'll be so few people involved in New Albany civic decision-making that all of it can be transacted by Gahan, Gibson and Adam Dickey in the back seat of a limo, while Warren drives and Duggins is sent off in his brand new NAHA vehicle to pick up a few cases of ice cold Michelob ULTRA Lime Cactus.

Now THAT's what I call gesture politics, although the specific gesture I have in mind probably wouldn't meet with Adam's approval. Okay, boys and girls, all together now: "SHOW US YOUR BEAKS" -- and take it away, Susan Ryan.

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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: More surprises at NAHA meeting, by Susan Ryan (Hanson Christian Chronicle)

The New Albany Housing Authority (NAHA) meetings always have a surprise and the most recent one was no surprise. We learned that the Interim Executive Director is having difficulty doing the job that Bob Lane did so effortlessly for 17 years. While the Family Self-Sufficiency program is having to cut staff, Mr. Duggins requested that the Board approve a new position for a Deputy Executive Director, and of course the board all approved and refused to consider one board member’s request that they first examine the overall budget. The position description reads exactly like an Executive Director’s job which I guess means that now Mr. Duggins' major responsibility will be to make sure the board approves what the Mayor wants, and represent NAHA to the HUD authorities.

In other news, the board meeting was moved from 5:30 p.m. to 4 p.m. to accommodate staff, and make it difficult if not impossible for working citizens to attend and monitor the board meetings. Nothing like transparency.

We need a reset button. We need to bring Bob Lane back and be serious about building a cooperative working relationship between the city and the NAHA. We need an Executive Director who respects the tenants in public housing and does not castigate them as “those poor who can take their vouchers and find a different city to live in.” Enough is enough.

Teachable moments: "A Flowchart For People Who Get Defensive When Talking About Racism."


Credit where credit is due:

A Flowchart For People Who Get Defensive When Talking About Racism, by Mira Jacob (BuzzFeed News)

If you've ever felt defensive or hurt when your non-white friends have talked about racism, this flowchart's for you.

Women, sex, socialism and Slavenka Drakulić's How We Survived Communism and Even Laughed.

Published in 1992.

When I saw the NYT article (below) last week about the sex lives of Eastern European women during communism, it immediately brought to mind a book I read a very long time ago.

Her Life Through Their Eyes, by Cathy Young (New York Times)

HOW WE SURVIVED COMMUNISM AND EVEN LAUGHED, by Slavenka Drakulić

 ... One does not have to embrace stereotypes about some uniquely female sensibility attuned to the personal (as if men never write about the personal!) to acknowledge the particular burdens that scarcity in Eastern Europe has imposed on women. Not surprisingly, Ms. Drakulić concentrates primarily on women's lives. Her perspective is that of a feminist, but the Eastern European experience gives her feminism a special edge. She is acutely aware of a larger helplessness that unites women and men: "It's hard to see . . . men as a gender. . . . Perhaps because everyone's identity is denied, we want to see them as persons, not as a group, or a category, or a mass."

For more on the author:

To some, Slavenka Drakulić (4 July 1949--) may not seem like a particularly remarkable figure in European history. She is not often proclaimed to be a hero who might inspire all people; nor was she, arguably, a particularly explosive dissident. However, in reading Drakulić's own accounts of her life under Communism in former-Yugoslavia, we may see that Drakulić herself places great value in what others may deem “the boring parts of the revolution.”

Now last week's article about female sexual pleasure in a time of Marxism-Leninism.

Why Women Had Better Sex Under Socialism, by Kristen R. Ghodsee (New York Times)

When Americans think of Communism in Eastern Europe, they imagine travel restrictions, bleak landscapes of gray concrete, miserable men and women languishing in long lines to shop in empty markets and security services snooping on the private lives of citizens. While much of this was true, our collective stereotype of Communist life does not tell the whole story.

Some might remember that Eastern bloc women enjoyed many rights and privileges unknown in liberal democracies at the time, including major state investments in their education and training, their full incorporation into the labor force, generous maternity leave allowances and guaranteed free child care. But there’s one advantage that has received little attention: Women under Communism enjoyed more sexual pleasure.

A comparative sociological study of East and West Germans conducted after reunification in 1990 found that Eastern women had twice as many orgasms as Western women. Researchers marveled at this disparity in reported sexual satisfaction, especially since East German women suffered from the notorious double burden of formal employment and housework. In contrast, postwar West German women had stayed home and enjoyed all the labor-saving devices produced by the roaring capitalist economy. But they had less sex, and less satisfying sex, than women who had to line up for toilet paper ...

Saturday, August 19, 2017

GREEN MOUSE SAYS: Shane Gibson to fill David Duggins' shoes as economic development & redevelopment bag man, with a joyous wetting of beaks to follow.


I good bag man is hard to find.
You always get the other kind.

The Green Mouse just staggered back from the Mad Tax Payers gig at Pastimes and started babbling in Sicilian.

Fortunately we keep one of those spontaneous translation androids on a leash (he knows the combination to the liquor cabinet).

"It makes perfect sense. If the Godfather's only trusted capo screws up and has to get sent away to the NAHA for a while until the scandal blows over, then Tom Hagen's the only man alive who can keep the envelopes stuffed -- and his own mouth clamped shut."

A source tells NA Confidential that city attorney Shane Gibson will replace David Duggins as head of the redevelopment commission, also functioning as the city's economic development director.

This is a rumor, as yet unsubstantiated, but if true, Gibson's income from various sluices will make him the highest paid public official in living memory.

And concurrently, the scandal-plagued Team Gahan's closed circle of circled wagons will get even smaller, proving yet again that when times get harder, there is no prohibition against incest in politics.

Perhaps the mayor is worried that State Representative Ed Clere might enter the 2019 mayor's race after all.

Perhaps Gahan has been watching one too many documentaries about the grandeur of Kim Jong-un's personality cult.

Perhaps they all just need to ensure that the right beaks stay wet. After all, it's what Gahan will be remembered for. Look for the announcement to come on Tuesday, as Deaf is waiting for a sign from the heavens to proceed toward consolidation of his power.

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As an addendum, NA Confidential has been unable to confirm whether New Albany Mayor Jeff M. Gahan or anyone working in the city's administration is under federal investigation or indictment for corruption, bribery or racketeering. It is standard policy of the U.S. Justice Department to refuse to confirm or deny the existence or non-existence of investigations or subjects of investigations. A similar policy exists at the F.B.I.

Who'd have guessed? William Anthony Nericcio's "aggressive, relentless, and, at times, pathological interrogation of Mexican, Latina/o, Chicana/o, "Hispanic," Mexican-American, and Latin American stereotypes."


Apropos to nothing in particular, were you aware of this blog?

The new and improved Tex[t]-Mex Galleryblog™ devotes itself to the aggressive, relentless, and, at times, pathological interrogation of Mexican, Latina/o, Chicana/o, "Hispanic," Mexican-American, and Latin American stereotypes. It is both the online supplement to and the bastard sister of a 2007 University of Texas Press book. The book, marketed for the general public (not just academic cultural studies wonks) and a perfect (if a tad garish) stocking stuffer, is also available from Powells, Amazon.com, and LA's rad Skylight Books.

The educational opportunities are virtually limitless, but here's a particularly instructive blog entry: Hipster Ode: Sombreros, Zarapes, and the Witchy Magic of Tequila.


Well there! Thanks to our friend Miguel-Angel Soria for the saucy linkazo to Etsy, the hipster DIY mercado. This stationer was so inspired by the dreamy voice of Joe Nichols' song: Tequila Makes her Clothes Fall Off, she designed a bachelorette party invitation as a loose-fitting ode to the song. No need for the Algebra degree. Etsy-selling lady figured it all out. ¿Cierto?

Tequila = Mexican, which means: Mexican = Sombrero and Zarapes.

A taste of the salty lyrics (no lime required.)

"Them pantyhose ain't gonna last too long
If the DJ puts Bon Jovi on
She might come home in a table cloth.
Ya tequila makes her clothes fall off"

Unconvinced by a blog? Confident that this troublesome blogger probably comes without the sort of academic credentials designed to make you sweat? Wrong again. The blog's creator ...

William Anthony Nericcio is Professor of English and Comparative Literature at San Diego State University in California, where he also serves on the faculty of the Center for Latin American Studies and the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies.

... has even written a much praised book on the topic.

Tex[t]-Mex: Seductive Hallucinations of the "Mexican" in America, by William Anthony Nericcio

A rogues' gallery of Mexican bandits, bombshells, lotharios, and thieves saturates American popular culture. Remember Speedy Gonzalez? "Mexican Spitfire" Lupe Vélez? The Frito Bandito? Familiar and reassuring—at least to Anglos—these Mexican stereotypes are not a people but a text, a carefully woven, articulated, and consumer-ready commodity. In this original, provocative, and highly entertaining book, William Anthony Nericcio deconstructs Tex[t]-Mexicans in films, television, advertising, comic books, toys, literature, and even critical theory, revealing them to be less flesh-and-blood than "seductive hallucinations," less reality than consumer products, a kind of "digital crack."

Nericcio engages in close readings of rogue/icons Rita Hayworth, Speedy Gonzalez, Lupe Vélez, and Frida Kahlo, as well as Orson Welles' film Touch of Evil and the comic artistry of Gilbert Hernandez. He playfully yet devastatingly discloses how American cultural creators have invented and used these and other Tex[t]-Mexicans since the Mexican Revolution of 1910, thereby exposing the stereotypes, agendas, phobias, and intellectual deceits that drive American popular culture. This sophisticated, innovative history of celebrity Latina/o mannequins in the American marketplace takes a quantum leap toward a constructive and deconstructive next-generation figuration/adoration of Latinos in America.

Why bring this up?

Just because I believe in teachable moments -- nothing more, nothing less, and if the ones who should be doing it refuse to so much as answer e-mails, I'm eager to step into the breach with source material.

Statue removal? Yes, the Civil War was about slavery -- and I'm just fine with tracing it all the way back to the Founders. Now, let's all go read a book.

But what of Thrasher's fork?

Our lead photo is from The Baffler's elegant summary: Weekly Bafflements: What a dogshit week.

Man, what a terrible week. Just an unrelenting deluge of morally bankrupt people parroting stupid opinions. Usually we round up a few good and funny things we read this week but honestly, everything is so fucking bad right now. So, here are some statues that are better than Confederate monuments.

The statue controversy? We visited this territory just this past May.

From Berlin to Budapest to New Orleans: "Historically, Confederate symbols have appeared at times of racial discord."

 ... Symbolism matters, but at the same time, if we're determined not to learn lessons from 152 years ago, symbolism just might be the least of our concerns.

Did these lessons somehow begin with the shelling of Fort Sumter? Of course not. As NAC's junior editor Jeff Gilenwater observed last week on social media:

I've seen several mentions now saying that comparing Confederate leadership to patently racist, pro-slavery, slave owning, slave raping, slave and any "other" murdering founding father types is a false equivalency. It's not. It's the latter who brought white supremacy to these shores in the first place and used it not just as justification for their own violent, self-serving actions but as the foundation upon which this country was built. If you're still clinging to some alternative mythology, perhaps you're not ready yet for the truths we have to accept. It's somewhat understandable given several hundred years of Eurocentric storytelling, but get ready anyway.

Mythology.

Hold on to that word; I'll get there in a moment. First, I point you to Daniel Suddeath's stand-alone commentary in the Glasgow Daily Times ("You can love the South without loving its biggest mistake.")

If anyone has to explain to you why supporting a group that believed it was OK to torture and murder people for personal gain isn't a good thing to do, you have bigger problems than worrying about the future of a statue. And that goes for supporters of the Confederacy and Nazis.

At Insider Louisville, Joe Dunman addresses the Castleman equestrian statue in the Highlands, beginning in Berlin.


Commentary: The Castleman statue has stood long enough


... Missing from our tour, and from Berlin in general, are any memorials to Hitler or any of his subordinates in the Nazi regime. No dignified bronze casts of Herman Goering or Josef Goebbels, no marble statues of Heinrich Himmler or Wilhelm Keitel on horseback. No murals of brave Wehrmacht soldiers marching off to invade France or Russia.

And yet, without any of these relics, the history of the Third Reich is alive and well in Berlin and across the rest of Germany. The country has not forgotten its past. In fact, it still works daily to reconcile with it. To atone. To make sure that through a very clear memory of what happened in the past, it will never make the same horrible mistakes again.

Don't worry -- I'm working my way around to the mythology. In the following video (circa 2009), historian James M. McPherson refutes the "states' rights" Confederate apologetic.

That's right, kids -- it really was slavery that ignited the American Civil War. Sorry about that faux "Lost Cause" verbiage. It's merely barroom banter after the fact.



In 2001, McPherson's argument in the lengthy book review linked below is a detailed, fact-based, well-nigh irrefutable case for slavery as first cause of the war. It's a long read, but it effectively rests the debate, and I've highlighted the "mythology" explanation.

Southern Comfort, by James M. McPherson (The New York Review of Books)

When Abraham Lincoln delivered his second inaugural address on March 4, 1865, at the end of four years of civil war, few people in either the North or the South would have dissented from his statement that slavery “was, somehow, the cause of the war.” At the war’s outset in 1861 Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy, had justified secession as an act of self-defense against the incoming Lincoln administration, whose policy of excluding slavery from the territories would make “property in slaves so insecure as to be comparatively worthless,…thereby annihilating in effect property worth thousands of millions of dollars.”

The Confederate vice-president, Alexander H. Stephens, had said in a speech at Savannah on March 21, 1861, that slavery was “the immediate cause of the late rupture and the present revolution” of Southern independence. The United States, said Stephens, had been founded in 1776 on the false idea that all men are created equal. The Confederacy, by contrast,

is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to the white man; that slavery, subordination to the superior race, is his natural and moral condition. This, our new Government, is the first, in the history of the world, based on this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.

Unlike Lincoln, Davis and Stephens survived the war to write their memoirs. By then, slavery was gone with the wind. To salvage as much honor and respectability as they could from their lost cause, they set to work to purge it of any association with the now dead and discredited institution of human bondage. In their postwar views, both Davis and Stephens hewed to the same line: Southern states had seceded not to protect slavery, but to vindicate state sovereignty. This theme became the virgin birth theory of secession: the Confederacy was conceived not by any worldly cause, but by divine principle.

The South, Davis insisted, fought solely for “the inalienable right of a people to change their government…to withdraw from a Union into which they had, as sovereign communities, voluntarily entered.” The “existence of African servitude,” he maintained, “was in no wise the cause of the conflict, but only an incident.” Stephens likewise declared in his convoluted style that “the War had its origin in opposing principles” not concerning slavery but rather concerning “the organic Structure of the Government…. It was a strife between the principles of Federation, on the one side, and Centralism, or Consolidation, on the other…. Slavery, so called, was but the question on which these antagonistic principles…were finally brought into…collision with each other on the field of battle.”

Davis and Stephens set the tone for the Lost Cause interpretation of the Civil War during the next century and more: slavery was merely an incident; the real origin of the war that killed more than 620,000 people was a difference of opinion about the Constitution. Thus the Civil War was not a war to preserve the nation and, ultimately, to abolish slavery, but instead a war of Northern aggression against Southern constitutional rights. The superb anthology of essays, The Myth of the Lost Cause, edited by Gary Gallagher and Alan Nolan, explores all aspects of this myth. The editors intend the word “myth” to be understood not as “falsehood” but in its anthropological meaning: the collective memory of a people about their past, which sustains a belief system shaping their view of the world in which they live ...

Finally, what to do with all those empty plinths? Public art, dad.

What To Do With Baltimore's Empty Confederate Statue Plinths? by Kriston Capps (CityLab)

Put them to work, Trafalgar Square style.

Baltimore suddenly has a surfeit of empty sculptural plinths. Overnight, Mayor Catherine Pugh and a fleet of trucks removed four Confederate monuments with a quickness not seen since the Colts skipped town. While other cities fret over what to do with Lost Cause memorials that are increasingly targets of ire and vandalism, Baltimore appears to have put the issue to rest.

With the statues gone, only opportunity remains. What can the city do with those empty (and now graffiti-covered) pedestal plinths? Baltimore could do worse than to take a page from London’s Trafalgar Square.

The last word goes not to me, but to Jamil Smith.


Happy demolition, sports fans.

THE BEER BEAT: Schansberg explains Sunday and Indiana's lingering sales restrictions: "Support for restrictions is driven by greenbacks more than blue laws."

I've decided to post this link on Saturday so you'll have time to read it before Sunday, when you can readily purchase cold beer to go at your local brewery, but not at a liquor store or a grocery.

We still refer to restrictive laws like these as "blue," but as Eric points out, the prime motivator usually is green.

SCHANSBERG: A history of Sunday and what it has to do with beer, by Eric Schansberg (Funding 'Bama on Bill Hanson's Knee)

In his new book, “A Brief History of Sunday,” Justo Gonzalez explains how we arrived at our sense of Sunday and “the Sabbath.” It is worthwhile to review this history and then consider how it relates to “blue laws” — legislative restrictions on economic activity on Sundays.

Before Christianity began to dominate world culture, civilizations used different ways to identify “weeks” and “months,” needing to observe lengths of time between days and years. Setting the table for Christianity, the Jewish calendar was built around a seven-day week, with its Creation-based Sabbath.

I'll cut directly to the part about "blue laws," because this is a beer column, after all.

Of course, legislation and political economy are always a matter of theory vs. practice. If one wants to legislate rest, the ideal may be prayer, study, acts of service and devotion. But those who don’t want to pray or pray so much will do other things with their “spare time.” So, the reality was often a desire to play instead of pray — something that legislation also sought to regulate.

This brings us to today’s “blue laws.” While fading in recent decades, such laws are still on the books in many states. In Indiana on Sundays, for example, dealers cannot sell cars. And as the recent case of Rickers Oil Co. reminded us, there are restrictions on alcohol sales (although fewer so for bars, restaurants and breweries and wineries that have been granted exceptions by the state).

An economist would expect “blue laws” to be driven by three motives ...

You'll have to go to the newspaper to read the rest, but it's worth the time. Will Indiana's legislature ever get its act together with regard to the crazy quilt of conflicting alcohol laws, exceptions and re-exceptions?

(breaths aren't being held on this end)

Local Democrats gear up for the talent show, except "you can’t fight Herrenvolk populism with weak-tea liberalism."


Earlier this week, Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi asked that Steve Bannon be fired, and a day later Bannon was gone. I was struck by this single passage in Taibbi's article.

... Prospect writer Robert Kuttner noted with surprise in his piece that Bannon seemed upbeat. He essentially told Kuttner he believed the Charlottesville mess and stories like it were a long-term political windfall for people like himself.

"The longer they talk about identity politics, I got 'em," he said. "I want them to talk about racism every day. If the left is focused on race and identity, and we go with economic nationalism, we can crush the Democrats."

Speaking for myself, perhaps this lifelong atheist's revulsion at public displays of piety, when otherwise unaccompanied by private acts aimed at gaining the stated objective, explains why the past week's gestures have left me not so much cold as completely disinterested.

It isn't that I disagree with many of them, having been proudly "anti-fascist" since around 1978, so much as lament the left's ongoing inability to place the focus on the genuine economic evil perpetuating our divisions: capital accumulation, big money, robber barons, the One Percent-- call it what you wish.

Inequality results from more than one contributing factor, but really, don't we need to follow the wealth?

To me, Bannon's phrase "economic nationalism" reads as code for those who'll perpetuate divisions to keep the money where it rightfully belongs, and in this usage, Bannon might be detestable but at least he's honest. He knows his bosses' names, and makes sure their birthday cards always arrive on time.

Democrats imagining themselves as leftists or progressives in a Clintonesque mold are in thrall to an illusion. You can serve the interests of capital accumulation, or not. There isn't much of a middle ground, if any, and yet local "Democrats" avoid this introspection as though you were asking them to ban same sex marriage or reinstitute Jim Crow.

I cannot recall a local Democratic Party candidate speaking about anything of a genuine balls-out economic nature apart from Dan Canon, who hasn't yet even contested an election. But we're treated to a never-ending series of resolutions and gestures -- and faux Democrat Jeff Gahan's dog-whistling putsch against public housing, which by now should have been publicly condemned by every Democrat in the city.

But instead, everyone merrily plans events, concerts, talent shows and diversions, and while they're engaged in these wild goose chases, functionaries like 1Si's Wendy Dant Chesser ensure the worsening of the fundamental economic imbalance by serving our regional oligarchs first -- and maybe some of it will trickle down, eventually.

Presumed left-wingers, note that your omelette remains uncooked because almost no one among you is willing to break a few eggs. A member of Jacobin's editorial board explains why, and if you fancy yourself a progressive ...

Steve Bannon’s Autobahn, by Connor Kilpatrick (Jacobin)

You can’t fight Herrenvolk populism with weak-tea liberalism.

 ... So “far-right racist” doesn’t make Bannon particularly unique or worrying. It’s how devastatingly well he understands liberalism’s failures and how willing he is to craft a fraudulent and reactionary program for those who’ve only experienced decline during the Clinton and Obama years.

Like a mutant weed growing out of a shit-covered pile of compost, Bannon has cultivated his particular brand of reaction entirely within the decomposing corpse of American liberalism. In no other soil could it ever have blossomed.

And:

Bannon’s ambitions make gruesomely clear that liberalism and the Democratic Party in no way represents the left-wing obverse of conservatism and the GOP. And liberals, deep down in their hearts, understand this. They have no true ideological counterpoint — no real program and certainly no vision for changing society for the better. Michael Wolff correctly diagnosed Bannon as “embodying more than anyone the liberals’ awful existential pain and fury.” This doesn’t just refer to his disgusting comments — it includes his fiery ambition, something the Democratic Party has altogether lost. And even at its absolute best, liberalism’s aspirations were only a watered-down, cheap knockoff of the utopian dreams of communist and socialist activists.

Then:

But you can’t fight Herrenvolk populism with weak-tea liberalism. A paltry means-tested welfare state just flips white-supremacist programs and policies “for the deserving us not the undeserving them.” Both fit comfortably in the ruling-class politics of divide and conquer as opposed to the broad solidarity they fear. How can we expect the public to rally around something like Medicaid when huge portions of the working and lower-middle classes don’t qualify for it? Universal social democracy — a more transformative program than the one Sanders campaigned on — is called for. We’re in the midst of a reckoning with the neoliberal consensus. The Right has made their play, and now we have to make ours.

In closing, a suggestion to my councilman: if Team Gahan won't show you the results of its rental housing registration program, perhaps a new council resolution would do the trick. Just make sure to craft it in a manner emphasizing human rights rather than economic imperatives, or Adam will overrule you.

Black Lives Matter: "You can agree or disagree with (it), but nothing in it promotes hatred of any race or group."


Even if Develop New Albany seems determined to sweep its own teachable moment under the soiled but convenient rug of Dear Leader's scandal-plagued wing, other such opportunities have been in abundance since last weekend's display of Neanderthal Americana in Charlottesville.

Like this one. Does the local branch of the Democratic Party ever find itself waxing democratic about "matters" like this?

You're right; unlikely, isn't it? Jeff Gahan's largest bloc of supporters doesn't want to be troubled by thoughts of this nature, and so the dog whistles will continue.

The Economist explains: The misplaced arguments against Black Lives Matter

Some on the right have called for the movement to be classified as a hate group

 ... Some seem to object to the name, hearing in the phrase “Black lives matter” the implication that other lives do not.

That argument is easily dismissed. Affirming one thing does not negate all else. Donating money to support, say, cancer research does not make one a cheerleader for tuberculosis. Someone who says that black lives matter does not imply that other lives do not—they are simply reminding people that for most of American history black lives have been valued less than white ones. The days of slavery and de jure segregation have mercifully passed, but black Americans remain poorer, less healthy and more likely to be killed by police than whites. You can agree or disagree with BLM’s platform, but nothing in it promotes hatred of any race or group.

Friday, August 18, 2017

THE BEER BEAT: Scofflaw Brewing flies the bird as AB InBev shareholders watch with preda-masturbatory glee.

Photo credit: Paste.

The ensuing scenario can be easily imagined.

Somewhere deep inside the bowels of AB InBev, one among a legion of highly paid thievery consultants peruses the Paste article with ill-contained and growing enthusiasm.

"It's just what we need," he says to himself while frantically calculating shelf space algorithms.

"An edgy vibe, perfect for capturing the 'screw you' market segment."

Within weeks, a new photo appears.


Now, Scofflaw's friends and foes alike at last find common cause to unite, rejecting the newborn mockrobrew to find the next greatest Northeastern IPA, and lofting those middle fingers in the precise direction this most honest of all personal salutes always should have been pointed.

To AB InBev ... over and over ...rinse, repeat ... and bartender, can I have a Bell's Two Hearted Ale, please?

Breweries vs. Fans: Craft Beer on Social Media, by Jim Vorel (Paste)

Take a look at the photo above. The crowd of assembled, bearded brewers (and a few ladies) belongs to Atlanta-area brewers Scofflaw Brewing Co. You may have noticed that they all have their middle fingers raised in salute—I assure you that this will become relevant soon enough. But first, a little bit of background.

Scofflaw is one of the young stars of Atlanta’s beer scene, having gathered a huge amount of hype for a company that hasn’t yet celebrated its one-year anniversary ...

 ... But there’s always a flip side to such stories, and according to many Scofflaw drinkers, the pressing issue is consistency and replicability of the company’s flagship beers such as Basement IPA ...

 ... What is uncommon is a brewery reacting to those types of concerns with combative words and upturned middle fingers. That’s what Scofflaw did via Facebook yesterday, firing off a post that has lit up the Atlanta craft beer scene and ignited debate on both sides.

LIVE TO EAT: Read my profile of August Moon's Mimi Dabbagh in the The Fall 2017 issue of Food & Dining Magazine.

The Fall 2017 issue of Food & Dining Magazine is out. You can read the new issue at issuu.

While not billed as such, the magazine's theme this time around centers on local women in the food and drink business.

Speaking for myself, I richly enjoyed my time with Mimi Dabbagh, chatting about her life and career.

I hope readers enjoy the profile.

Mimi Dabbagh is someone you should know. Since 1987, Dabbagh has been Chef Peng Looi’s co-owner and business partner at August Moon Chinese Bistro, and yet 30 years after the eatery’s inception, she’s almost unGoogleable, having consistently avoided the limelight in favor of tending to the less glamorous aspects of restaurant ownership.

“Chef Looi is like the front man; I’m behind the scenes,” says Dabbagh. “It’s all right, because most people aren’t so interested in the owner. They’re interested in the chef and the food.”

Grid Control, Vol. 22: City engineer Larry Summers answers our questions about intersection striping errors and the "No Trucks" sign removal.


In Vol. 21, we asked questions about the soon-to-be-repaved intersection at Spring and 10th Street, and the disappearing "No Trucks" sign at the intersection of Spring and Vincennes.

Afterward, city engineer Larry Summers swooped into a discussion at the New Albany Indiana page at Facebook and gave these answers.

First up: Spring and 10th.

On the western leg of the intersection, the center line stripe was put in 6 feet too far to the south which created the exaggerated jog. Brian is correct in noted the street was milled because relocating the stripes without milling would have left grind marks along side the correct striping. The potential for confusion necessitated the milling of the asphalt.

All together now: Six feet!

This wasn't a small error. Unfortunately, removing the mistaken dogleg and straightening the lanes likely will have the effect of speeding traffic through an intersection that SHOULD BE GIVEN A FOUR-WAY STOP, though the city seems determined not to discuss this topic.

As for the "here today, gone tomorrow" sign:

The original sign was removed prior to the project but the plans were put together when the sign was there. The intent still remained for the sign to no longer be present so the contractor was instructed to remove it.

Another contractor error, though once again, questions are left unanswered -- in fact, they've been raised oft times before at the Board of Works, and never once given definitive replies:

Does a "truck route" through New Albany still exist, and if so, where is it? And if it exists, does the city plan on enforcing it?

Thanks to Larry for answering these questions. He probably willingly engages the public more than the remainder of Team Gahan combined, and as such, deserves credit.



---

Previously:

Grid Control, Vol. 21: Murderous intersection at Spring & 10th to be repaved and restriped -- and, the hocus-pocus with a disappearing "No Trucks" sign at Spring & Vincennes.



Grid Control, Vol. 20: As Team Gahan dawdles, another bicyclist is crushed into mincemeat at 10th & Spring's dangerous dogleg.



Grid Control, Vol. 19: In a positive move, HWC begins righting the wrong cross hatching on Spring Street.


Grid Control, Vol. 18: Finally a few BoW street grid project answers, almost all of them citing "contractor error."

Grid Control, Vol. 17: Judging by the misdirection of this "CROSS TRAFFIC DOES NOT STOP" sign, we now reside in the British Empire.



Grid Control, Vol. 16: What about HWC's cross hatching correction? Will this be finished before or after Team Gahan declares victory?


Grid Control, Vol. 15: Dooring enhancement perfectly epitomizes Deaf Gahan's "biking last" approach to grid modernization.

Grid Control, Vol. 14: Yes, you can still park on the south side of Spring Street during the stalled two-way grid project.

Grid Control, Vol. 13: "Dear Deaf Gahan and minions: FOR THE LOVE OF PETE, STOP TRYING TO BE COOL AND DESIGNER-ISH. YOU'RE NOT, AND IT'S EMBARRASSING ALL OF US."




Grid Control, Vol. 12: Meet the artistic crosswalk design equivalent of dogs playing poker.

Grid Control, Vol. 11: HWC Engineering meets with St. Marks, city officials nowhere to be found.

Grid Control, Vol. 10: City officials predictably AWOL as HWC Engineering falls on its sword over striping errors.

Grid Control, Vol. 9: "This was supposed to be discussed with us," but Dear Leader doesn't ever discuss, does he?


Grid Control, Vol. 8: City Hall characteristically mum as HWC Engineering at least tries to answer the cross-hatching question.


Grid Control, Vol. 7: What will the Board of Works do to rectify HWC's striping errors on the north side of Spring Street, apart from microwaving another round of sausage biscuits?


Grid Control, Vol. 6: Jeff Speck tweets about NA's grid changes, and those missed bicycling opportunities.


Grid Control, Vol. 5: Egg on HWC Engineering's well-compensated face as it botches Spring Street's westbound bike buffer cross hatching.


Grid Control, Vol. 4: But this actually isn't a bus lane, is it?


Grid Control, Vol. 3: TARC's taking your curbside church parking, says City Hall.


Grid Control, Vol. 2: Southsiders get six more parking inches, but you gotta love those 10-foot traffic lanes on Spring.




Grid Control, Vol. 1: You people drive so freaking horribly that someone's going to die at Spring and 10th.


Suddeath: "You can love the South without loving its biggest mistake."

Daniel Suddeath and I jousted often during his tenure as News and Tribune reporter, and while our exchanges occasionally got testy, I viewed it as healthy in the main.

We barked and snarled, and kept talking. Both of us are prone to streaks of self-righteousness, which isn't always helpful when writing an essay such as the one linked here.

Speaking merely as an observer, one who toils at writing and feels like he never gets it quite right -- and who doesn't always feel obliged to practice what he preaches -- the objective is to maintain poise while in the throes of passion, making the necessary points with cool precision with just enough emotion to engage readers and keep their attention.

I believe the writer's ability to communicate in this fashion is a sign of maturity, skill and command, even when he or she occasionally decides to chuck it and go straight for the polemical jugular.

What I'm meandering around to saying is that Daniel does a damned fine job here, quite apart from the fact that I agree with his point of view.

Suddeath: Fake history, by Daniel Suddeath (Glasgow Daily Times)

There is a difference between remembering history and holding on to beliefs that were never right.

While I generally don't support removing articles of history, be they reminders of good or bad, it's hard to distinguish between those who want to keep Confederate statues in place for historical reasons versus those who would like to see our country revert to a time when it was OK to be racist, and frankly brutal and primitive to our fellow man or woman.

This paragraph is the anchor.

What's the point? What was so great about the Confederacy that it should be cherished? You can love the South without loving its biggest mistake.

Continued best wishes to Daniel in Glasgow.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Council approves solidarity resolution as Coffey's therapist advises him to skip yet another meeting.

Need help with voting? Just ask.

Dan Coffey didn't make it to tonight's city council meeting, although a few minutes before seven, he was busy like a beaver on social media.


Coffey pitching craft beer? New Albany never ceases to amaze.

In the Wizard's convenient and surely coincidental absence -- he also skipped a March non-binding resolution condemning white supremacy -- his colleagues inadvertently raised an interesting procedural point by unanimously approving Greg Phipp's request to insert the previously unannounced solidarity resolution into the agenda.

In short, the events in Charlottesville occurred over the weekend, past the deadline for agenda items. Because public speaking time at council meetings requires signing one of two sheets (either agenda or non-agenda items), and since there was no way of knowing the resolution would be inserted, there also was no way of knowing to sign up to speak about it.

It didn't matter this evening, but machinations like this need to be watched carefully in the future.

Of course, the motion to insert Phipps' resolution might also have garnered a "no" vote and failed the test of unanimity. Coffey would have cherished pulling this particular plug, and Scott Blair, who after a brief dalliance with pragmatism has newly rediscovered his uneasiness with non-binding resolutions, might have but didn't.

Consequently, and oddly, the newspaper's Elizabeth Beilman devotes the bulk of her coverage to two items that did NOT appear on the announced agenda: Phipps' resolution, and Tony Nava's non-agenda public speaking clinic on neighborhood issues.

Three quick questions for CM Phipps:

Exactly which Human Rights Commission?

The one you only recently (and publicly) conceded was moribund?

It's too bad Jeff Gahan built the HRC to fail, isn't it?

That sort of thing could come in handy during times like these, but there it rests, up on blocks, in the bunker's down-low garage.

New Albany City Council approves resolution condemning white supremacy displayed in Charlottesville

Councilman Blair abstains, says resolutions not council's role

NEW ALBANY — Though it bears no legal weight, a proclamation approved by the New Albany City Council on Thursday is meant to take a stand against acts of white supremacy in Charlottesville, Va. last weekend.

Entertainingly, Beilman was paying extra close attention to Blair.

While (Blair) said he agrees with its content, a non-binding resolution that makes a statement of this nature isn't the council's role, he said. Blair read from Indiana code during the meeting, which states the council passes legislation concerning "the government of the city, the control of the city's property and finances, and the appropriation of money."

Blair argued the council's role is to work on local issues and that government functions better when its sticks to its pertinent role.

"I think it's just a waste of time," he said. "For instance, I probably had more budget items I wanted to talk about but it became more of a distraction."

In fact, Blair stepped into a buzz saw.

This isn't the first time Blair said he hasn't voted in favor of non-binding resolutions of a similar nature. In the past, he said they often overwhelm council discussion.

But he did vote in favor of a resolution condemning the promotion of intolerance this March, after white supremacists and anti-Semitic fliers were posted around New Albany and on the door of a local restaurant owned by Muslim immigrants.

I'll return to Nava's thoughts tomorrow. Right now, I'm turning in.

Grid Control, Vol. 21: Murderous intersection at Spring & 10th to be repaved and restriped -- and, the hocus-pocus with a disappearing "No Trucks" sign at Spring & Vincennes.




On Thursday morning, the dull roar of invasive roadway dentistry signaled an exciting new phase in the ongoing grid modernization monetization project.

The whole intersection at Spring & 10th has been milled, to be repaved and restriped. Seeing as I missed Tuesday's Bored of Public Works and Safety meeting, we turn now to Chris at Hanson's Folly for coverage.

• The intersection at 10th and Spring streets will be milled, repaved and restriped in preparation for the two-way street conversion. The curve at Spring and 10th was considered too sharp for the marked speed limit, forcing drivers over into the bike lane. The area had already been striped, but will now have to be redone.

They'll do anything to avoid a four-way stop, won't they?

Ah, but here's something useful.

• Many of the center lines on the streets that are part of the downtown grid modernization plan will not be marked until right before the streets are converted to two-way to avoid confusion. These streets include Elm, Market, Bank and Pearl.

Here's how the intersection looked on Wednesday morning.



This Ragle employee seemingly was doing the impossible, because every single car coming around the curve meekly slowed and successfully stayed between the lines.

Had we just permanently stationed rotating city council reps, deploying them to work traffic slowing shifts at this corner, equipped with folding chairs and whips, the repaving wouldn't even be needed.


Let's move to the intersection of Spring and Vincennes, where it's time to play Street Grid Hocus Pocus.

Now you see the "No Trucks" sign ...


... and now you don't.


Damn -- the trucking lobby works fast, a task made easier by virtue of a thoroughly spineless and milquetoast City Hall.

---

Previously:

Grid Control, Vol. 20: As Team Gahan dawdles, another bicyclist is crushed into mincemeat at 10th & Spring's dangerous dogleg.



Grid Control, Vol. 19: In a positive move, HWC begins righting the wrong cross hatching on Spring Street.


Grid Control, Vol. 18: Finally a few BoW street grid project answers, almost all of them citing "contractor error."

Grid Control, Vol. 17: Judging by the misdirection of this "CROSS TRAFFIC DOES NOT STOP" sign, we now reside in the British Empire.



Grid Control, Vol. 16: What about HWC's cross hatching correction? Will this be finished before or after Team Gahan declares victory?


Grid Control, Vol. 15: Dooring enhancement perfectly epitomizes Deaf Gahan's "biking last" approach to grid modernization.

Grid Control, Vol. 14: Yes, you can still park on the south side of Spring Street during the stalled two-way grid project.

Grid Control, Vol. 13: "Dear Deaf Gahan and minions: FOR THE LOVE OF PETE, STOP TRYING TO BE COOL AND DESIGNER-ISH. YOU'RE NOT, AND IT'S EMBARRASSING ALL OF US."




Grid Control, Vol. 12: Meet the artistic crosswalk design equivalent of dogs playing poker.

Grid Control, Vol. 11: HWC Engineering meets with St. Marks, city officials nowhere to be found.

Grid Control, Vol. 10: City officials predictably AWOL as HWC Engineering falls on its sword over striping errors.

Grid Control, Vol. 9: "This was supposed to be discussed with us," but Dear Leader doesn't ever discuss, does he?


Grid Control, Vol. 8: City Hall characteristically mum as HWC Engineering at least tries to answer the cross-hatching question.


Grid Control, Vol. 7: What will the Board of Works do to rectify HWC's striping errors on the north side of Spring Street, apart from microwaving another round of sausage biscuits?


Grid Control, Vol. 6: Jeff Speck tweets about NA's grid changes, and those missed bicycling opportunities.


Grid Control, Vol. 5: Egg on HWC Engineering's well-compensated face as it botches Spring Street's westbound bike buffer cross hatching.


Grid Control, Vol. 4: But this actually isn't a bus lane, is it?


Grid Control, Vol. 3: TARC's taking your curbside church parking, says City Hall.


Grid Control, Vol. 2: Southsiders get six more parking inches, but you gotta love those 10-foot traffic lanes on Spring.




Grid Control, Vol. 1: You people drive so freaking horribly that someone's going to die at Spring and 10th.