Monday, October 31, 2005

The Gang of Four on Halloween.

All tricks, but no treats.

"Give us candy or we'll send you to the worst place of all ... where people get sent when they haven't been good ... to ... yesss ... SCRIBNER PLACE!!!

AAyyyyyyyeeeeeee ...

UPDATED: Will the K & I Bridge link be restored? Can the Greenway be green? Why ask why?

With the Tribune busy covering New Albany’s trog terrorism epidemic, the Evening News got the scoop on another initiative to improve the quality of life hereabouts:

Communities take steps toward River Walk, by John L. Gilkey (Jeffersonville Evening News).

Here are edited excerpts:

Officials on both sides of the Ohio River say a circular river walk between the K&I Railroad and the Big Four bridges would be a significant asset to the region, and are taking steps to make it happen …

… Ohio River Greenway Development Corp. Director Rick Dickman … said the Greenway Commission has agreed to work with Kentucky officials to create the 10-mile loop around the Falls of the Ohio, but he stressed that the first priority of the commission is to build the Greenway.

"We have some serious issues to overcome with the next sections of the Greenway and with crossing Silver Creek on the Greenway," Dickman said.

Currently the pavement leads to nowhere ... but maybe ...

As for the river walk concept, it is widely understood that the biggest obstacle to completing such a loop is the Norfolk Southern Railroad, owner of the K & I Bridge, and the company’s fear of liability when people and trains share transport space.

A retired city councilman once told me that the railroad would be happy to yield on this point if either state agreed to pay for the necessary insurance, but warned me not to do something foolish like hold my breath.

Beyond that, can anyone connected with the recent history of the Greenway project provide an explanation for why it was designed for vehicular traffic, and not to be a pedestrian and bicycle path – which, after all, seems to fit the destination of “greenway” better than billowing exhaust fumes, motorcycles and automotive traffic that we’re told will be somehow controlled and restricted as to speed?

As a daily cyclist, color me skeptical about claims like these, although in fairness, it’s true that I’ve made it all the way through 2005 without garbage being thrown, obscenities being yelled, or evasive action being required to avoid a rampaging driver.

Wouldn’t the Greenway’s cost be far less if a new automotive bridge didn’t have to be built, and the existing trestles in Al Goodman’s Loop Island Wetlands could be used in the fashion of the Monon Trail in Indianapolis?

Ms. Bolovschak, recent commission appointee, if you’re reading: Do you think it’s too late to rethink the Greenway concept and make it more green, and less Dick Cheney?


Big thanks to Ms. Bolovschak for this prompt Monday morning response:

"I would gladly hear from any of you who care to voice their opinion about the Ohio River Greenway. I contacted the Tribune about an open forum I will be hosting to discuss the topic. You’ll be reading about that soon."

Ancient themes in a modern setting: Dr. Nassim's office now open.

Here's one cribbed from the Healthblogger's post-it note:

Despite controversy, Nassim building to open, by Amany Ali (from the Saturday edition of the New Albany Tribune).

Here are edited excerpts:

A well-known local doctor met with opposition in her attempts to expand her operation, but she has accomplished her goal and will start a new chapter … Dr. Cynthia G. Nassim, M.D. said Friday that she is excited about getting back to just practicing medicine …beginning Monday, the doctor will begin seeing patients at a much larger facility at 2305 Green Valley Road near the Ellen Court subdivision …

… She faced opposition from neighbors of the Ellen Court area who didn't think a medical facility suited their neighborhood.

Warren Nash lives on Ellen Court and is still against the medical offices at the Green Valley Road location.

"It obviously doesn't fit in with the neighborhood," Nash said. "It shouldn't have been approved."

Nash said he has already face problems exiting his neighborhood because of construction equipment. He thinks the problem will be worsened once the office opens.

Several months ago, when Dr. Nassim’s case was brought before the City Council, it prompted a famously cantankerous episode in which then-council president Bill Schmidt, also a resident of Ellen Court, at first refused to recuse himself owing to a painfully obvious conflict of interest stemming from his involvement with those in the neighborhood who opposed the project, before relenting and permitting deliberations to proceed in his absence.

Longtime community political leader, former mayor and real estate agent Nash was among those speaking against the offices, and now, perhaps a year later, his annoyance is unabated even as the medical offices are finished -- a development that can only be good for the community as a whole.

Consequently, the Nassim case has all the elements of Greek tragedy, which specializes in narratives that result in its heroes being humbled by internal contradictions.

Certainly most of us looking on at the time felt bad for the residents of Ellen Court, a quiet and well maintained older subdivision now hemmed in on most sides by commercial development along State Street. Speaking personally, I still feel bad for them. They’re solid people with nice homes, and the older homeowners certainly didn’t foresee the way that their immediate vicinity would change during their period of residence.

But it has changed … and there’s the rub.

It is indisputable that many decades of civic service and involvement have been proffered to the community by Nash and Schmidt, and to their credit.

However, it follows that their proximity to the various levers of power implies an intimate connection with the processes of local zoning and the many precedents for interpreting these processes.

The New Albany that these Democratic politicians helped to tolerate, encourage and create – sometimes purposefully, sometimes in the breach -- is the same one that ultimately generated Dr. Nassim’s presence in the council chambers, asking for zoning exceptions and considerations that have long since been regarded as reasonable in the main, and generally approved as a matter of course by men like Nash and Schmidt until brought uncomfortably close to their own backyards.

There’s no intended moral to this story, although readers are encouraged to brown-bag it and provide their own.

At the same time, it is encouraging that men like these, when faced with developments that they find disagreeable – which undoubtedly make them mad as hell – nonetheless comply with the law even when the law seems to be taunting them. They’re not donning masks, lobbing bricks, shutting down sewage facilities, breaking and entering, and making dire threats against the community that has nurtured them – their community, after all.

Then again, perhaps that is the moral.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

BREAKING NEWS: "What They Don't Want You to Know."

Crawling on my hands and knees through the Sunday morning mud, blood and beer outside the darkened and shuttered Luddite Bar & Grill … deathly silence, where only hours before Lite-swilling customers were morosely chanting along while the jukebox played “movement approved” ditties like “Our Pink Panties” and “Trog Sham’s Blues” … barely able to squeeze my adult hand through the matchbook-sized rear window … trusting the senses and fearing the vicious Chihuahua … then, suddenly, finding what I was looking for and gently extracting it from the impossibly small aperture … it’s a piece of paper, scrolled, and I see the title:

What They Don't Want You to Know

In order to understand the oppression of the little people you need to realize that everything is controlled by a good old boys made up of constituency for progress with help from vested interests.

The conspiracy first started during city council votes in Scribner Place. They have been responsible for many events throughout history, including stormwater drainage dispute.

Today, members of the conspiracy are everywhere. They can be identified by book reading.

They want to defibrillate Concern Taxpayer and imprison resisters in Destinations Booksellers using ox carts.

In order to prepare for this, we all must speak out loud. Since the media is controlled by Baylorites we should get our information from Valla Ann.


Actually, the preceding was composed with the assistance of “Make Your Own Conspiracy Theory”, a random conspiracy generator and offshoot of

When I read the results to Diana, she said, "so that's how the newspaper gets the story."

Not to mention the Gang of Four.

Unsurprisingly, "Wal-Mart Healthcare Mythology Shattered."

Looking for the perfect segue into a reminder about the forthcoming Wal-Mart movie spectacular in downtown New Albany?

Wal-Mart Healthcare Mythology Shattered, with links to the newsworthy internal memo and New York Times coverage.

Remember to mark the event on your calendars:

CFP and Destinations Booksellers to screen "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price" documentary film on Nov. 16.

New Albany's Constituency for Progress (CFP) is pairing with the city's only full service bookstore to screen "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price," a documentary from director and producer Robert Greenwald, maker of Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism," and "Uncovered: The War on Iraq."

Saturday, October 29, 2005

"A growing network of people and institutions that openly and enthusiastically invite positive change and progress to our city."

Yesterday we referred readers to Randy Smith’s Volunteer Hoosier coverage of the Democratic Party fete at the Grand on Thursday evening.

Unsurprisingly, Randy’s piece prompted an ill-tempered response from someone hiding behind a bizarrely contrived Internet pen name:

Your comments, sir, make me want to puke. You are still wet behind the ears … more than your labeled "Gang of Four" weren't there … my party is fine, sir; you, sir, are not.

Anonymous cowardice having become the little person's Olympic medal sport in New Albany thanks to the tireless efforts of Trog Sham’s cyber-vandalism contingent, we would expect to find nothing particularly noteworthy in such a response ... except, in this case, it inspired our friend bluegill to compose the following riposte, one fully deserving of reprinting in this space owing to his clear, economical prose and a devastatingly accurate description of the facts -- not the opinions -- of where we are, and where we're going.

Feel free to enjoy Jeff's words as much as we have.


I'm still trying to figure out what there is to be learned from a group that's been largely unsuccessful for decades. After a year, I still have no idea what positive notions I'm supposed to glean from petty, ill-conceived and badly executed attacks on rationality. If anything, they've proven themselves to be informative as a sort of collective anachronism, a symbolic view into the darker past that created the conditions many are now working to reverse. They aren't Rosa Parks. They're the bus.

There are any number of people who've done more to improve conditions in New Albany in a year or two than have any of the usual cast of malcontents in a lifetime.

To clarify, that statement isn't made to discourage or disenfranchise those in (or outside) the party who've dedicated years of honest work to New Albany's improvement. In fact, it should serve to bolster their spirits and provide inspiration for redoubled efforts.

The days of feigning happiness and forcing smiles when a Dan Coffey or Larry Kochert wins an election, purely out of a sense of loyalty to the party, are coming to a distasteful but inevitable end. As their public lives haven't afforded much respect for or understanding of the concepts of grace or dignity, neither should their political deaths be expected to engender such traits. Dead, however, is dead.

According to almost all the longtime party members with whom I spoke last night, the dinner was a success not only because of the notable and not-so-notable absences but also because the speakers enjoyed a view that included so many new faces.

Whether party leadership has the gumption to engage the minds behind those faces and harness their energy to further enable the work of those who are actually creating progress in the streets everyday remains to be seen. To the extent that they do, I'll support them.

Because after the aforementioned year (the timeframe of which not at all coincidentally dovetails with the opening of Destinations, the debut of NA Confidential, the continued strengthening of the East Spring Street and S. Ellen Jones neighborhood associations, the revival of the Downtown Merchants Association, the work of Mike Kopp, and the finalization of plans for Scribner Place), this is what I know:

There is a growing network of people and institutions that openly and enthusiastically invite positive change and progress to our city. It was evident when my wife and I began looking for a home here. It is evident in our own efforts to communicate our belief in the potential of New Albany to others.

Most people I've met in the past year are not only willing to put forth an invitation to new residents and businesses, but also to do the leg work necessary to nurture and sustain their presence here. And make no mistake, that sense of pride and potential is spreading exponentially.

I know people who've convinced families and businesses to move here. I know those families and businesses are extolling the benefits of their choice to others just like them. And I know those people aren't just from Jeffersonville, Clarksville or Louisville. They're from Rhode Island, New York, California, Florida and foreign countries. Even the natives are beginning to see what's so clearly evident to those from elsewhere: New Albany, with its pioneering, multicultural heritage and regionally unparalleled historic resources, if matched with even a modicum of modern sensibility and cooperative vision, can regain its long lost position of being a place that matters.

The fear that “foreign” proposition creates in some is an aberration, a minor annoyance along the path to progress and should be dealt with as such. It's simply no match for the determination and talent of those who can do, are doing, and will do, whether out of a duty to their ancestry or a love of possibilities.

This is evidenced by the fact that, when I have occasion to help facilitate or participate in increasingly popular public affairs symposiums, neighborhood gatherings, educational activities, and various other meetings with investors, bankers, property owners, academics, and real estate and cultural agents- all with the aim and often the resources to turn that potential into a tangible, concrete reality- the nay sayers are not present. Ever. Revitalization efforts are occurring in spite of them, not because of them.

And for that, I say to hell with them. They're irrelevant.

What is relevant is a continuing and increased cooperation between agencies and individuals, between money and ideas, and an overriding, pervasive DIY spirit. New Albany doesn't need heroes; it needs partnerships and at least one partner stares back at each of us in the mirror everyday.

If you have money to spend, spend it here. If you have an old pick up truck, help haul your neighbor's repair supplies. If you have a building department to rebuild, rebuild it straightaway.

The horn has been tooted, ladies and gentlemen. Now it's time to bring the instruments together to play a song.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Local Democrats toast FDR, celebrate party principles while Gang of Four dines on cold barbecued bologna.

With nary a good beer in sight,
settling for a Sprite in a plastic cup:

Beginning silent auction bid

on a U.S. President matrushka doll:

Dinner and a table for you and nine

of your closest Democratic stalwarts:

City council’s Gang of Four

nowhere in sight:
(Steve) Price-less.


At last evening’s annual Jefferson-Jackson Dinner at the Grand Convention Center, the Floyd County Democratic Party offered an extended homage to four-term president Franklin Delano Roosevelt, providing local party members with the opportunity to use this non-election year to begin the process of education in preparation for the 2006 campaign.

For recommended coverage 0of the event, go to Democratic Party Dinner a Triumph, by Volunteer Hoosier’s Randy Smith.

Given the celebration of FDR’s bountiful political legacy, and with retired Indiana House speaker John Gregg and former 9th district congressman Baron Hill both in attendance, the intended seminar on what it means to be a Democrat was bound to focus more on the larger national and state pictures than the local.

But party chairman Randy Stumler sought to provide balance, recognizing local office holders and future candidates, and noting the importance of activism at the local level as a preface to the party improving its performance in state and national races.

Stumler urged party members to attend upcoming meetings at which local issues will be discussed prior to the formulation of a platform for the 2006 election campaign.

While Hill’s and Gregg’s speeches were rousingly effective post-meal sermons to the faithful, the central point of the evening was Stumler’s emphasis on education in the context of the party’s future local identity.

When the party’s elder statesman, Warren Nash, stepped down as chairman last spring, Stumler was resoundingly elected to replace the former mayor in the position of local party stewardship, and judging from the new chairman’s casually efficient but focused performance last night, it is a job to which he is well suited.

Along with Stumler, a new central committee was chosen: Marcey Wisman, Tony Toran and Adam Dickey. For those of a progressive bent, the keys to the party bandwagon seem to be passing to a new generation, and a more hopeful sign for the party’s future would be difficult to find, but naturally the new team must prove its worth to the party’s veterans by organizing the party, administering it, financing it, and ultimately, winning elections.

On what philosophical basis will the Democratic Party contest the 2006 elections on the local level?

Will it be on the basis of core party principles, properly retained but sagely updated to reflect 21st-century realities?

Or will it be on the basis of the increasingly discredited and shamefully incestuous ward heeling, pandering and self-serving demagoguery typified by the city council’s obstructionist Gang of Four?

Progress or regress? How conservative can a Democrat be before a Democrat ceases to be?

Speaking as a left-leaning free agent, last evening represented a good start towards answering these many questions in a positive manner. Speaker Gregg noted that both monarchists and anarchists are welcome in the Democratic Party ... and if so, there's hope yet.

A reminder: NA Confidential's comments policy.

Now more than ever, it's time for one of our periodic reminders that while NA Confidential welcomes reader comments, we do not sanction anonymity in the comments section.

Recent newcomers (truth_detector, Old Mrs. Smith, et al): Pen names are perfectly acceptable, but the primary blog administrator must know your identity. It will be kept confidential.

We insist upon this solely to lessen the frequency of malicious and cowardly anonymity, both of which plague certain other blogs hereabouts, and have risen to a fever pitch of irresponsibility in the past few days. Here we have rules, and intend to enforce them; anonymity will result in deletion.

You may e-mail the New Albanian at the address given in the profile section. Thanks for reading, and please consider becoming a part of the community here.

Thursday, October 27, 2005

All four parts of the "Historic District Building Tour" series are posted.

Scroll down to see them all.

Recapping the Historic District Building Tour and Field Day, Part 1.

“Sensory overload” is the best way to describe yesterday’s historic district building tour and tax credit field day.

In terms of educational content, the field day was intended to answer a few basic questions with respect to processes involved with rehabilitating, modifying, and restoring listed historical properties located in designated historical districts.

If you are the owner of such a property and wish to rehabilitate it for use, what are the rules? What canm you do and not do? How do you go about it in such a manner that will enable you to claim the 20% federal tax credit?

What can be changed, what must remain the same? What are character-defining features of a façade? What are the rules concerning windows? How do you restore brickwork? What is the application procedure?

Like I said, just a few simple questions ...

From the layman’s point of view, yesterday provided the rare opportunity to get inside three historical structures and see what’s behind their façades, all the while listening to an architect (David Duvall) discuss design elements and construction techniques, with background provided by note local historian David Barksdale.

All in all, it was an amazing learning experience.

Readers, bear with me today as I sift through Wednesday’s photos and post a few notes about each of the three buildings featured during the downtown field day. First will be the Reisz building, followed later this afternoon by Shrader Stables and the Baptist Tabernacle.

While I’m not the person to provide technical details yesterday's program, if you have questions or wish to learn more, contact me privately and I’ll direct you to the people who can help.

Recapping the Historic District Building Tour and Field Day, Part 2: Reisz Building.

Since it was built circa 1850, the structure on Main Street that most of us know as the Reisz Furniture building has been the site of numerous businesses, including a flour mill, saddlery maker and embalmer. The industrial steel and glass windows seen below (in a photo taken earlier this year) were installed later in the building's life.

David Duvall describes the facade, which is typical of warehouse buildings from the Federal period. The drawing to his left shows the view, circa 1900.

Inside, three floors have been used for decades as warehouse space for Schmidt Furniture, and it would appear that the family-owned business is amenable to selling the building if the potential buyer will assist in downtown revitalization, i.e., if it becomes housing, retail or something other than what it is now.

Many of the windows facing Main Street are still in place, covered with sheet metal on the exterior.

Here's the third floor, with ample light from the industrial windows even on a dull October afternoon. Looking south:

And back to the north:

Few buildings in downtown New Albany have an unobstructed view of the Ohio River, but the third floor Reisz vista includes the river and the Louisville skyline.

Did someone say "condo ready"?

(Parts three and four will be posted later Thursday afternoon, and will be backdated for sequencing)

Recapping the Historic District Building Tour and Field Day, Part 3: Shrader Stables.

The Shrader Stables building, which we're treating as the whole of two contiguous structures, is located on Main Street opposite the Scribner Place development. The Italianate buildings date from around 1875, with the larger left side originally an actual stable for horses, and the smaller structure to the right almost always in use as a tavern, most recently Shirl-Ray's.

The city of New Albany now owns the buildings as part of the Scribner Place land acquisition deal, and their precise future use is uncertain at this time, City development officials are hoping that a buyer can be found who will utilize the buildings in a way that is complementary to Scribner Place. Here are views of the interior of the stables portion, first looking north, then south:

Ready to restore an old window?

Following is a view on the tavern side, with wainscotting below and plaster above, and some remnants of old wallpaper.

To reiterate, the purpose of the field day was to learn about ways to achieve rehabilitation while satisfying requirements for tax credits. These views provide some perspective on possible uses, and also on the expense required to restore these long neglected structures; as in the cases of all three buildings that were visited, interiors have long since been compromised with the objective of using the buildings as storage space or for industrial applications.

Still to come: The Baptist Tabernacle.

Recapping the Historic District Building Tour and Field Day, Part 4: Baptist Tabernacle.

By the time the tour reached the venerable Baptist Tabernacle (circa late 1870's) on 4th Street, between Market and Spring and just opposite the new fire station, I'd passed the point of overload and ceased taking notes.

Of the three buildings viewed on the walk, the Baptist Tabernacle has fared the worst in terms of the ravages of time and the destruction of so many of its original design elements. Part of a rear wall near the roof gave way a few years ago, and a concrete block wall fills the cavity. Much of the interior design has been stripped away. However, once upon a time ...

The drawing shows how the original windows have been modified and cut down, and doors added to the front.

In addition, an entire floor has been added atop these steel beams, without regard for the original proportions -- first added, then largely unfinished, so that the "floor" above is little more than wavy plywood sheets tied down to two by fours.

However, the ground floor does not prepare the visitor for the scene up higher, in what has become a large, open room atop the plywood, where decorative ceiling details can be glimpsed and some semblance of the church's original grandeur finally discerned.

The helter skelter effect of the deteriorating old and the slipshod new reminded me of certain places I'd visited in Communist Eastern Europe, where there'd been no money to restore buildings (like churches) deemed unimportant, and where thankfully no effort had been made to tear them down.

In spite of such melancholy reflections, the tone of the day was upbeat, and the information dispensed fascinating. There are ways to use these buildings that are in keeping with the tone of downtown revitalization, and in such a fashion that the owner can receive tax credits at the same time.

It's matching the people with the opportunity, which is why real estate agents were in attendance. It's also about establishing an atmosphere conducive for potential investors, which is why you'll no longer find a link on NA Confidential to community web sites that don't represent the best this city can be.

As mentioned previously, I'll relay questions to the proper person -- just e-mail me privately.

White chili and white elephants at the 4-H fairgrounds.

Being previously engaged tonight and unable to attend the chili supper (assuming we'd be allowed in the hall), NA Confidential solicited the following report. The observations therein are those of the correspondent, to whom we offer thanks for the submission.


White Chili and White Elephants: Local GOP Women’s Club Chili Supper at the 4-H Fairgrounds

By Tim Deatrick, Guest Correspondent

Last night the Floyd County Republican women’s club had their annual fall chili supper at the Floyd County 4-H fairgrounds, with a small crowd of about 75 party faithful in attendance.

Besides the usual fare of chili and hotdogs, Valla Ann “is she running or is she not” Bolovschak supposedly brought her white chili, although I arrived too late to sample any of it, and with her white chili it turns out she may be chasing a white elephant if she intends to run for Mayor in 2007.

According to long time party veteran and Chairman Jim Hancock the party favorite is certain to be Sheriff Randy Hubbard.

“We are trying to get Randy to run,” Hancock said. “He has run an effective sheriff’s office in his two terms and the party regulars know him to be a proven vote getter and an effective administrator, all qualities that we need to take the Mayor’s race.”

When asked if he thought Ms. Bolovschak would run, he stated that he thought she probably would, but admitted that she will have major obstacles to overcome, including her inability to prove any of her claims that the Garner Administration has potentially committed any acts of corruption or unethical practices.

“If she runs for Mayor, I am sure whoever she faces in the primary will bring to light the issue of her credibility,” Hancock explained. “That is something she will have to overcome if she can’t prove any of her claims about the Mayor, and the other problem is she isn’t real well known by the old line Republicans in the city, so I and the party regulars haven’t had a chance to evaluate her.”

As to whether she will run, it is an interesting observation that she took the flyer of Denise Canaday, a political campaign speech writer and coach, currently pursuing a Master’s Thesis on Political Speaking and Persuasion, and who is offering services at no charge to candidates.

Stay tuned, sports fans.

Hancock didn’t discourage her or anyone from running. “Whoever runs, it will generate interest in the party and that’s what we want,” he said.

Looking ahead to the 2006 elections, Hancock’s priority campaigns include the races for county commissioner, of which current city Councilman Mark Seabrook is pondering; Frank Loop for Sheriff; and New Albany Township trustee, with Bob Hornung as a probable candidate.

Regarding the trustee's race, Hancock had this to say: “Tom Cannon is the prime example of what is wrong with the Floyd County Democratic Party.”

As stated to this correspondent, Hancock’s goal during his tenure as party chairman is, “To bring continuity to the party and to keep the party together so that we are working as one.”

As to whether he will be able to do that with the apparent infiltration of Karl Rove operatives seems questionable, but the Floyd County Republican women sure can cook a mean chili.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

BBC World Service calls an end to the Cold War, shifts broadcasting priorities elsewhere.

My formative Eastern European travel experiences came during the 1980’s, when the hard line was still the main line on the other side of the Iron Curtain, in the strange byways of the Bloc, where onion domes, security police, greasy goulash, cheap beer and red stars came together to conjure fevered daily visions of spy novels and intrigue.

In those times, the BBC World Service was first revealed to me as a cherished exemplar of precise, objective news delivery in places where such offerings could not be taken for granted.

From Ljubljana to Budapest, from Bratislava to Warsaw, and at most points in between, an ordinary AM-FM walkman generally could be relied upon to deliver the BBC’s continental English-language signal. It was an auditory delight best consumed judiciously, because dependable replacement batteries were hard to find in locales far removed from the reach of the Energizer Bunny.

At the same time, along with the Voice of America, the BBC provided news and commentary in the languages of the region -- Bulgarian, Slovak, Hungarian, Czech, “old” Albanian -- and in dozens of other languages in Europe and the world.

For many decades, people with access to radios have listened to the BBC, and they continue to listen now, even in the Internet and mobile communications age, partly to hear the news read in their own languages, but moreover, and perhaps most importantly, to learn English by hearing the Mother Tongue spoken in the classic way, and by the original speakers.

Yesterday I listened intently to the BBC’s announcement that it will institute an Arabic-language television service, and pay for it by finally discontinuing radio broadcasts in most of the Eastern European, “Cold War” languages. Most of the countries in question are now members of the European Union, or will be soon, and with homegrown media sources thriving, listening to the BBC no longer means what it once did.

Consequently, it's time for a change -- and the times, they are.

Good for them, I say; it’s progress, and I pull for the future success of these lands, places I visited in times that perhaps weren’t the best, but usually revealed the essential goodness of their peoples far more often than not.

World Service comes full circle

World Service confirms Arabic TV

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

NABC's fermenters and serving tanks finally arrive.

Now the heavy lifting really begins.

A day later than expected, the truck from Canada (via Chicago) arrived this morning and disgorged two fermenters and four serving tanks from DME, which are now safely housed in the brewery until the next stages of the installation process unfold.

We are extremely thankful to the folks at Feeder's Supply, who let us borrow a forklift (with driver) and a pallet jack. In the photo above, the serving tanks are standing, and one of the fermenters lying on its side. Here's another view:

On Monday, Jesse and Jared cleared the decks in the brewery to make room for the tanks, and it looked like this:

Now things have become crowded again. The two fermenters will join the two already in place, and be plumbed into the glycol chiller.

The four serving tanks will be moved from the brewery into a space being readied for their occupancy. Those familiar with the Sportstime seating area will recognize the now former game room.

John and the good people from AAA Plumbing Doctor are cutting a floor drain today and tomorrow, and we'll do some waterproofing of the walls before removing two panes of the glass between the brewery and the seating area, and moving the serving tanks into their permanent home.

Special long-draw draft lines, a standard feature in most brewpubs, will connect the serving tanks with a draft station, which probably will be located in the area of Rich O's known as the (now former coffee room).

As if all this weren't enough for a chilly October morning, the roofers returned from a rain delay to resume work. Here they are, with the plumbers merrily jack-hammering beneath them:

To top it off, two out of the three big weekly beer deliveries came in within minutes of each other. Once the new equipment is installed and working, it is our hope to slightly reduce the amount of beer purchased from outside, to increase the amount of house-brewed beer and be able to offer six to eight draft NABC beers at all times, and to have a proportion left over to sell to the outside account that I still can't divulge at this time, but which is well on its way to fruition.

It would be nice to stop for the day ...

In the spirit of fairness, we provide equal time to the eloquent spokespersons of "the rules."

What a great thrill it must be for parents when their wee toddler -- previously restricted to various incoherent verbal expressions, nonsensical babbling, goo-goos and gah-gahs – finally is able to gaze purposefully at the world outside, harness the physical properties of speech, and utter a word.


In an unrelated development, this morning an admirer e-mailed NA Confidential the following bit of commentary.

We’d love to attribute the author, and to provide encouragement; the muscles used in thinking should become stronger with regular use apart from television watchin’, and soon you'll be using two-syllable words with ease.

Alas, in the grand tradition of Nawbanian cowardice, the author wishes to remain anonymous.

Here it is, unedited.


C.R.A.P. ---- Of New Albany

Each member of C.R.A.P. of New Albany has a secret superpower that will help them in ridding the City of New Albany of all of our problems.

Mayorman: This caped crusader's special weapon is "I don't know" which can spout 3rd-wave cyber-goop empowerment nonsense so fast it will make a taxpayer die of either boredom or laughter. The source of his extraordinary powers are secret book slush fund. His weakness is exposure on the blog..too much of this and he will self-destruct.

Randy Ranch-Dude: With his lightning-fast keyboard and his trusty equine companion Roger "Hip-O-Krit" Ranch-Due saddles up and rides whenever Mayorman C.R.A.P. calls. Quick to fight against the "Gang of Four" from the Evil Federals even as he suckles up to their generous butts, Randy Ranch-Dude leads the way.

Roger Slayer of Trees: This mighty superhero can smite acres of old-growth forest with one stupid swoop. His secret powers are the results of being dropped on his head as a boy. His arch-nemesis is Commander Bluegill of the Progressive Forces.

Greg Greenback: This superhero was one of the founding members of C.R.A.P. and can destroy entire communities with one sweep of his mighty pen. His strength comes from "Conflict of Interest" and his only point of weakness is his back pocket. Only a well-timed grab in this spot by one Taxpayer can defeat the great Greg Greenback.

Tim Commander Stupor: Known to his closest friends as Mayor's Boy. Commander Stupor is known for being a bold lap dog. He wants to trade in his day job to be come a full-time member of Mayorman and Roger "Hip-O-Krit" C.R.A.P. out to fight the Taxpayers wherever they may be. His secret weapon is his Stupor-Skeeter Ray Gun, which makes us all laugh..

Minister-Boy: Minister-Kroger Boy is the spiritual advisor to Mayorman C.R.A.P. but he also packs a mighty wallop of his own. Using magic powers beyond the pale of any mortal, Minister-Kroger Boy can directly talk to God and solve all of our City problems. As a powerful sorcerer, Minister-Kroger Boy then can cast spells on his many enemies,forcing them to worship him and believe as he wants them to.

This is the C.R.A.P. In New Albany.

But again, that's my opinion...

"Storm Water Advisory Committee Report."

Storm Water Advisory Committee (SWAC) member Tim Deatrick submits this report on last night's meeting. Readers, if you have questions, please use the comments section, and we're sure Tim will respond in due time.

"The SWAC has begun the process of evaluating a potential ordinance to address the Illicit Discharge element of Rule 13.

"Committee members present included myself, Dutch Vigar, John Gonder, Melanie Hughes, Yvonne Kersey and Kevin Zurschmeide. The only absent member was Paul Hanka.

"City councilmen in attendance were Larry Kochert and Bill Schmidt.

"It was a productive meeting and one marked by harmony and a genuine desire to move the city toward compliance, a refreshing change from the last meeting.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Fact, not opinion: Don't forget the downtown historic district building tour and tax credit field day this Wednesday.

As we wait for the arrival of the truck that bears our fermenters and serving tanks, here’s a reminder of this week’s downtown historic district building tour and tax credit field day on Wednesday, Oct. 26.

Link to the original story: PHOTO UPDATE: Downtown historic district building tour and tax credit field day on Oct. 26.

Meanwhile, the Historical Preservation Commission's Ted Fulmore is posting helpful background information at his blog, Our History in New Albany:

Helpful info for Wednesday Workshop.

More info for workshop.

If your ear’s currently to the ground, you know that there’s an increasingly healthy buzz about downtown revitalization prospects. Let’s hope that Wednesday’s seminar contributes to the good vibes.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Hand over that police report – or the haiku gets it!

Late Saturday night, acting on a warrant issued by the U.S. Department of Trite and Cutesy Pie Doggerel, New Albany police detained a local woman calling herself Ima Winner and charged her with improperly imitating a poet.

Officer J. Glitz of the NAPD explained to reporters that the indiscriminate use of sugary limericks to issue thinly veiled threats against freedom of speech, while favored by GOP strategists like Karl Rove, nonetheless is a direct violation of taste and decency, and is punishable by stays of up to two hours in the Admiral Bicknell Inn.

In a press conference, Ms. Winner’s Atlanta-based attorney, Hiram J. Froutz, played a videotape of a recent city council meeting to which the original soundtrack had been dubbed to make it appear that participants were lip-synching “Love Shack” by the B-52’s, and commented, “now, that’s art.”

Froutz added, “The use of bad poetry to create an atmosphere of intimidation prior to the commencement of an ill-fated mayoral campaign is constitutionally protected hate speech, and is precisely what you’d expect from the troglobyte apologists on the candidate’s payroll. We need more, not less, rampant fear of crushing lawsuits in this, the greatest nation in the history of the spot on the continent located between Canada and Mexico.”

Abruptly speeding away down Main Street in a open-sided, wheeled vehicle somewhat approximating, but perhaps not exactly to be defined in a way suggesting any obvious comparison to a form of conveyance often seen in the vicinity of golf courses, Froutz deferred all questions to a passerby whose name rhymes with "supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” who stated:

The moral of this tale – purely political
The potential litigant – quite hypocritical
‘Cuz if you want to be queen
Your affairs must be clean
Lest your reform platform be nonsensical

Speaking locally, who are the faces of GOP "glasnost"?

In an article appearing in today’s Courier-Journal, syndicated columnist David Brooks of the New York Times surveys “Scenes from America’s Meltdown.”

According to Brooks, congressmen have been gauging the mood back home in their districts, and some are finding that President Bush has become “radioactive”:

The most interesting tales came from Republicans elected from districts President Bush carried by fewer than 10 points. Those districts were once moderately supportive of the President, but now, as one member of Congress said, the anger at Bush is so deep it’s almost indescribable.

Today’s Doonesbury comic enumerates the reasons for this discontent, although it should be noted that Brooks dismisses these objections in any specific sense, preferring to describe the current situation as an amalgam of uneasiness that has led to Americans feeling unsafe.

Talk radio personality Mark receives a listener call: “All the Democrats can do now is play this blame game.”

Mark responds, “That’s because you Republicans make it so easy.”

Let’s recall you’ve controlled all three branches of government for the past five years, so an endless bloody war – your fault. Torture – your policy. The ruin of America’s standing abroad – yours! Turning budget surpluses into record deficits – your fault! Huge increases in poverty and uninsured rates – your watch! Cancelled treaties, trashed environmental laws, the gutting of FEMA, bungled disaster relief – all your fault!

The caller replies, “Traitorous liberal media – your fault,” and Mark concedes, “oops, I keep forgetting. Okay, so it’s not a shutout.”

Returning to the analysis of Brooks, who doesn’t spare the rhetorical rod in describing the performance of opposition Democrats as “pathetic” and the party as “run by imbeciles,” the GOP is seen as experiencing a “moment of Republican glasnost,” with the party’s central leadership inert, and ideas, rebellion and innovation bubbling up from “all fronts.”

His conclusion?

The Republicans are going to end up localizing the election … (people) want achievable ideas. The best ones I heard were from members who wanted to promote open-space initiatives and suburban livability, members who wanted to reduce medical paperwork. This is politics on the aldermanic level, probably right for the moment.

As noted yesterday, city and county Republicans as an entity generally have stepped courteously aside in recent months and permitted local Democrats like the City Council’s tone deaf Gang of Four to warble the Luddite mating call of obstructionism, blind rage, and societal dysfunction, merely awaiting the inevitable moment when a nominal Democrat like the scentless 3rd district uncouncilman Steve Price chooses to echo Pol Pot and announce to the world that people wearing glasses are guilt of too much book learnin’ and are ripe for reeducation.

An exaggeration, perhaps, but you wouldn’t bet against it, would you?

The Brooks article prompts a question: If in fact we’re witnessing the phenomenon of Republican “glasnost,” and if this rethinking is emanating from the ground up, then who are the local practitioners?

In this context, can an argument be made for 9th District congressman Mike Sodrel, who reversed course on the Greenway project, but who otherwise is uncomfortably close to the Dick Cheney imperialist wing of the GOP?

Does it remain the case that in local terms, both Democrats and Republicans are so fundamentally conservative as to rule out innovative thinking from genetic predetermination, and that consequently, there is no difference between the two when it comes to positions?

Like we’ve said from the start, it may be something in the water that numbs some minds and leaves others free to think.

Cheering throngs welcome timely Tribune web site updates.

Since we've lashed the Tribune for so long over the regular absence of weekend web site updates, we're delighted to report that today, Sunday's main stories are duly archived -- today, not Tuesday!

Accordingly, here's good reading from yesterday's newspaper:

Historic building, unused for decades, begins a new life, by Kyle Lowry -- Tribune staff writer.

But some things never change. Sunday's editorial slot tackles the topic of what youth can learn ... from sports. That's, uh, different, isn't it?

For those who appreciate a good discussion on an important topic, have a look at the article and thread here: NA Health: ER abuses.

Healthblogger's politics aren't always to our taste, but the subject matter is important, and the exchange of views literate and civilized.

Saturday, October 22, 2005

Trogs or progs? Local Democrats face the future.

There will be a Democratic Party function at the Grand Convention Center next Thursday night, and it is my stated intention to don a media cap and attend -- mind you, as an observer, and not as a party loyalist.

Readers may recall an earlier effort to chart NA Confidential’s general political orientation, an article written in a state of supreme pique at contemptible efforts by Indiana State Republicans to renege on the payout for counties hosting riverboat casinos:

Partisan at last: I'd vote for Miller Lite before I'd vote for a Republican.

Six months later, and having carefully considered matters, I’m forced to admit that absolutely nothing has changed, and I still feel the same way – if anything, more strongly than before. Paraphrasing a much-loved Republican president, I wrote:

If I could defeat these Republicans without voting for any Democrat I would do it, and if I could defeat them by voting for all the Democrats I would do it; and if I could defeat them by voting for some Democrats and leaving others alone I would also do that.

Needless to say, nary an ounce of the world’s absolute worst mass-market beer – jet fuel for the lowest common denominator -- has passed my lips since then, either.

Around the same time, in another piece, I put it this way:

Emotions aside, it all comes down to a simple comparison, one that I intend to continue using as the best means of examining the New Albany scene and the participants therein …

Progressive or regressive?

Days later, when Randy Stumler was elected to the chairmanship of the Floyd County Democratic Party at the head of what amounted to a contextually youthful leadership slate of fresh, educated faces, I will freely admit to rejoicing, and not because he and I are acquainted; in fact, to my knowledge, we’ve not been formally introduced, although we’ve shopped in the same bookstore at the same time.

Rather, in spite of my lifelong skepticism … given my philosophical and political objections to the two party system … acknowledging that the possibility of my choosing to be a Republican is as remote as selecting an ice cold Bud in a can … it was because, like most people, I’d prefer the option of being “for” the Democrats in some (any) manner rather than settling for the party as a convenient vehicle for use “against” the Republicans.

In Randy and his “slate” that wasn’t, such an option began to look attainable.

Libertarians, Greens, Constitutionalists, Monarchists – you have my attention, but the fall of the Berlin Wall taught me that change certainly is possible in one’s lifetime, and in narrowing my gaze to the two monoliths, I’m merely being pragmatic with my time and interest.

However, in some ways, the intervening six months have muddied the waters.

After all, it hasn’t been Mark Seabrook, the city council’s lone Republican, who has staged a continuous, anti-intellectual, ill-tempered insurrection against literacy, decency and progress – it has been the council’s obstructionist Gang of Four, councilmen Coffey, Price, Kochert and Schmidt, registered Democrats to a man, ones seemingly determined to imprison an entire 21st-century city within their own reactionary 19th-century hues, and in order to so, seeking succor from terminally disaffected, only nominally Democratic voters who in the harsh light of day might as well be Republicans, such is the weight of the regressive tendencies implicit in their conspiratorial, thuggish, Luddite view of the world.

Let’s be perfectly clear about the nature of this mean-spirited, rear-guard action.

During the most recent chapter in the political history of New Albany, when it has come to base instincts triumphing over noble ideals … when it has come to the frantic race to pander to the worst angels of our natures … when it has come to a tragic, self-defeating advocacy of fear … when it has come to consistently providing the most irredeemably wrong message to the city’s next generation, those for whom we must provide reasons for moving forward by staying here and assisting us in making New Albany and Floyd County better places to live, to work, and to achieve – when it has come to these flagrantly unsuitable indicators of mediocrity, the poster children for societal regress have all been Democrats, and while there may be Republicans capable of far worse (given that most currently are employed by the illegitimate national regime), they’ve not unwisely held their tongues and permitted the far lesser lights of the Democratic Party to wreak havoc on themselves.

Obviously, there is a cruel, almost nativist strain to all this, one that is incapable of articulating a coherent program for the future because it remains mired in New Albany’s congenitally wretched, self-loathing, “little people’s” mindset of “it’s the way we’ve always done it,” and one that exhibits little recognition that New Albany and Floyd County can succeed only by getting smarter, and while getting smarter admittedly is a nebulous and evolving concept, certain components of it are crystal clear, i.e., a Democratic Party that still harbors whiffs of racism and homophobia will not be the political organization that ultimately retains influence here.

Exaggerations? Hyperbole? Rhetoric? Don’t take my word for it; turn to the Democratic Dullard’s On-Line Guide, settle in, and read all about it. You’ll probably have the same bemused reaction as noted political thinker Pat Sajak:

Political pornography is not unlike the sexual kind: difficult to define, but you know it when you see it.

But the times have changed, and they continue to change. There will be a Democratic Party function at the Grand Convention Center next Thursday night, and it is my stated intention to don a media cap and attend -- mind you, as an observer, and not as a party loyalist.

Maybe that will change … even for me.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Social chaos fetishists swoon at Thursday night's City Council meeting.

Just a passing thought ...

When does the image in the magnifying glass cease to be that of the sum of a column of numbers, and becomes instead a ready made, self-referenced ethical system, complete with dry arcana of sewer audits magically transformed into decrees fit for publication on stone tablets, conspiratorial decade-old meeting minutes blossomed into manna suitable for roasting over a burning bush, and colorless accountants converted into matinee idol Moses clones?

Obviously, a mass movement is one thing, and a bowel movement something else entirely.

Speaking of last evening's performance by Trog Sham and the Brambleberries, here's today's media coverage.

Shall We Gather at the River?, by Randy Smith (Volunteer Hoosier blog).

Somehow, Li'l Stevie's fan-girls define shall as some exotic weasel word. Hey girls! Maybe next time, instead of muttering "bullshit" (I kid you not) all night, you could pick up a dictionary. Some experts!

But Randy, precious little expertise is required to throw a brick through a plate glass window --- you merely need be "mad as hell."

Here's the C-J's take:

Council action may spur sewer rate hike, official warns; New Albany won't repay board's money, by Ben Zion Hershberg (short shelf life for Courier-Journal links).

The council also rejected that proposal (for interim user fees to pay for storm-drainage improvements), with opponents citing concerns about the additional cost for taxpayers and doubts about whether all the money raised by the proposed fees would be needed to meet state and federal requirements for drainage improvements.

Finally, prior to the usual three-day weekend gap in Tribune on-line updates, here's Council vote could bring big fines, by Amany Ali, Tribune City Editor.

Before voting down the ordinance that would have established a fee to fund the interim stormwater management plan, Schmidt suggested using Tax Increment Finance (TIF) dollars or money from the Redevelopment Commission. Redevelopment Director John Rosenbarger said after the meeting that he hasn’t researched whether TIF dollars can be spent in such a way, but said it is highly doubtful.


Previously, we wrote:

There were things to be done, and they needed to get done, so I did them.

NA Confidential missed tonight’s City Council meeting, and we’ll rely again on reports from observers and the city’s other bloggers to fill in the gaps.

Did you attend tonight's meeting? Give us the skinny.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Redevelopment Commission "signs off" on Scribner Place as Luddites begin hoarding lighter fluid.

Recently, a customer asked me to explain the meaning of the phrase, "waving the bloody shirt."

Here's a definition from the lamented Mr. Gore's World Wide Web.

Bloody Shirt

A term used by Democrats to describe the Republican party's charge in the years between the end of the Civil War and 1900 that the Democrats were to blame for the war and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln. The term comes from the phrase "waving the bloody shirt," which itself is a reference to the scene in Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar in which Mark Antony holds up the murdered Caesar's bloody toga to inflame the people of Rome against his assassins.

Meanwhile, according to today's Courier-Journal:

Scribner Place gets final local approval; New Albany panel signs off on plans, by Grace Schneider (short shelf life for C-J links).

The New Albany Redevelopment Commission has endorsed a financing agreement for the Scribner Place development, providing the final local approval before it's reviewed by a state agency.

Why is it that the closer we get to fruition for this project, the more it seems certain that the Siamese Councilmen are going to be waving it like you know what at every opportunity until the end of their electoral time?

City's sanitation imbroglio examined in New Albany Today series.

Over at his New Albany Today blog, former 3rd District Councilman Maury Goldberg is making a game (and appreciated) effort to clearly explicate the fundamental issues that pertain to the Great Sanitation Primal Scream of 2005, including a consideration of the origins of municipal involvement in garbage collection and the pros and cons of privatization.

Mind you, this hasn't been a "debate" in any relevant sense, as there's no more of an appreciation for such a reasonable concept hereabouts as there is for simple irony, Gaelic football or movies without car chases.

From the beginning of this highly politicized chapter in recent New Albany history, there has been little willingness on the part of public officials or concerned residents to consider just one fundamental question: Given that municipalities in the state of Indiana have the right to collect garbage, is this a right the cities should exercise to the exclusion of other options?

Knee-jerking aside and political flim-flammery aside, neither is it an attack on hard-working sanitation workers, nor is it some variety of blasphemous scriptural heresy, to merely ask the question, "why?"

At least Maury's taking a stab at answering, and we thank him for the effort.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to institutional obstructionism in New Albany.

Uncouncilman Price giggled, "Every time I
hear the word 'progress," I reach for my cliche."

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Flame broiling is one thing, but this is ridiculous -- and dangerous.

Congratulations and condolences to the suddenly ascendant Tacos La Rosita restaurant on Charlestown Road.

On September 7, NA Confidential reported on Charlestown Road fire damage, and a new taqueria.

On my way to and from work, I usually bicycle across Charlestown Road from Terry, and take Ormond to hit the back streets on the north side. Yesterday, I was surprised to see a smoldering hulk where the tanning salon used to be.

On the brighter side, looking roughly southbound toward Shireman Produce, here's a view of the latest Mexican eatery in town, Tacos la Rosita.

Six weeks later, Tacos La Rosita is on a major critical roll. Why is this important? As reader Brandon Smith noted after Monday's posting on this topic:

We are amassing quite a little restaurant scene in New Albany, with more rumored to be on the horizon. The impact of these local restaurants goes far beyond just having a fun place to eat. It helps create the kind of atmosphere and lifestyle ammenities that attract and retain professional types, young folks, creatives, etc. The unique "feel" these places help give New Albany (and the region) is priceless.

First, LEO’s Marty Rosen wrote approvingly of La Rosita:

New Albany expands with flavorful barbecue and Mexican fare.

Then today, Robin Garr of the essential Louisville HotBytes web site followed suit with a great blog review of the establishment:

A bouquet for La Rosita

Think of all the people who’ll venture over the river to New Albany to take the recommendation offered by Marty and Robin, and undoubtedly they’ll get a great meal … but they’ll pass this to get there:

Yes, that's right.

Six weeks later, the burned-out Sun-Sation salon looks exactly the same, still vaguely reminiscent of a scene from a war zone, except I noticed today that someone has thoughtfully wedged a beam between the sidewalk and the façade to keep a portion of the roof from falling completely down.

Yo, Steve L. and the Board of Public Works -- can you tell us why nothing whatsoever is being done about a structure that’s not only an eyesore, and a sad commentary for visitors to survey, but quite plainly poses a safety hazard to children (or drunks) who may be tempted to play in the ruins?

I'm sure there's an explanation.

I'm so busy that there hasn't been time to dine at Applebee's.

On Monday afternoon, we received word that the money's safely in the bank somewhere on Prince Edward Island, the customs paperwork is almost finished, and our new fermenters and serving tanks will be loaded and shipped within the next two days.

Gads ... and it took only a year, three different point people, two banks and six months off my life.

Now comes the fun part -- figuring out the installation procedures.

You really didn't think we'd planned it in advance, did you?

After all that, we begin brewing more beer, and start looking for an off-premise account somewhere. Maybe downtown New Albany? In the meantime, we've decided to simplify the brewing schedule to suit the approaching chaos.

In other work-related news, the roofers have started ...

... and three of us took two trucks and went to a warehouse in Louisville's west end to pick up 2,000 square feet of oak laminate flooring for the banquet and conference room that is taking shape in our building.

On Monday night, there was a beer dinner at the Irish Rover Too in LaGrange, Kentucky. I'd been amused to hear my name on public radio promos for the event, which referred to me as a beer "guru," but of all the terms used to describe us, i.e., nuts, geeks, aficionados, fans, and the like, my favorite remains "enthusiasts."

Busy times ahead ... but things are looking good.

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

A steady march of progress: Three yards, a cloud of dust, and the anguished wailing of the Luddites.

As we await the weekly Tuesday afternoon conclusion to the annoyingly customary three-day weekend gap in updating non-sporting material on the Tribune’s web site, the C-J’s reportorial gaze returns to the Wizard of Westside’s realm and the next phase of Scribner Place.

Work at Scribner location targets contaminated dirt; Environmental cleanup likely 'a six-week job,' by Ben Zion Hershberg (short shelf life for Courier-Journal links).

Speaking of the C-J, earlier this week Volunteer Hoosier’s Randy Smith pithily considered the newspaper’s tone in covering Southern Indiana in general and New Albany in particular. Randy’s thoughts triggered a typically insightful discussion, so if you’ve not read it already, take a look.

Investigative Journalism?

In today’s C-J piece, one photograph shows the façade of the Shrader Stables building, reminding us that next week, this and two other buildings will be the subject of a tour and tax credit seminar: PHOTO UPDATE: Downtown historic district building tour and tax credit field day on Oct. 26.

Monday, October 17, 2005

LEO takes notice of two New Albany eateries.

Apologies for being slow to cite this link, but in last week's LEO, peerless restaurant reviewer Marty Rosen found two good places to eat in New Albany.

New Albany expands with flavorful barbecue and Mexican fare.

I've eaten several times at Hoovie’s Real Pit Bar-B-Q, which is at 3417 Grant Line Center in New Albany (just across Grant Line from NABC/Rich O's), but haven't yet tried Tacos La Rosita, located at 2535 Charlestown Road in New Albany, right next to the burned out hulk of the tanning salon that has been sitting untouched since it burned six weeks ago.

Meanwhile, the establishment now known as California Mexican Kitchen (1515 E. Market, a half-block west of Tommy Lancaster's) seems to have finally settled into somewhat of a predictable operation, with seating now being expanded to include the entire first floor, and reasonably priced food and espresso.

I'm hoping the best is yet to come.

CFP and Destinations Booksellers to screen "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price" documentary film on Nov. 16.

New Albany's Constituency for Progress (CFP) is pairing with the city's only full service bookstore to screen "Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price," a documentary from director and producer Robert Greenwald, maker of Outfoxed: Rupert Murdoch's War on Journalism," and "Uncovered: The War on Iraq."

Details are at the Destinations web site: CFP and Destinations Present Documentary.

Here are excerpts:

The screenings – on Wednesday, November 16, 2005, at 6 and 8 p.m. – will take place at the Farmers Market Pavilion on the corner of E. Market and Bank streets in New Albany. Immediately following, there will be a group discussion about the effect Wal-Mart is having on New Albany, Southern Indiana, the Louisville Metro region, and the entire nation.

The event is open to the media. Please RSVP to attend. You can RSVP online by clicking this link.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Calisthenics about to commence? Editorial passion, and a new face at the Tribune.

A careful reading of the local newspapers is a long Sunday morning tradition in the NA Confidential household, with abundant supplies of thick black coffee available to hone analytical skills, a bagel topped with kippers or a generous dollop of cream cheese, and audio provided by the best of the big band era.

And, today, a wonderful table-setting op-ed article in the Courier-Journal.

The editor's passionate pen; Gartner's new book lauds the best editorials, by Warren Buckler (special to the Courier-Journal … short shelf life for C-J links).

The newspaper editorials Michael Gartner has collected and discusses in this engrossing new book buttress his case that today's opinion pages would be a lot more compelling if enriched with "passion," "outrage" and literary flair.

When he turns to the editorial columns of a newspaper, including, presumably, the one he edited and published in Ames, Iowa, he wants to find points of view, even those he dislikes, backed by facts, given context, and gracefully or forcefully or artfully or bluntly or colorfully expressed, or all of these. Preferably, the writer should have been around long enough to understand, feel affection and want the best for the town in which she works and in turn to be well-known to his readers.

Duly inspired to conduct a search for Gartner’s “passion” and “outrage,” we turned to the Sunday Tribune, where, somewhat disappointingly, today’s editorial slot is occupied by “guest columnist” Lee Hamilton, who writes of public diplomacy, America and the world.

Running alongside the former congressman’s thoughts, Tribune managing editor Chris Morris does a workmanlike job with a topic more common than the televised fast food advertisements that contribute to the problem he seeks to explicate, namely, that “kids don’t play like they used to, and ‘bad’ food is too accessible to them in this high-paced society we live in today.”

A cynic (moi?) might suggest that a cerebral condition paralleling that of insufficient physical exercise, i.e., a dangerous intellectual atrophy borne of a failure to exercise the muscles of the mind, has afflicted the Tribune’s own editorial pages for quite some time, perhaps even before the discredited Eddie LaDuke made an art form out of nostalgic remembrances of his boyhood shotgun house, 10-ft snowdrifts and ill-suited sporting metaphors.

The players come and go, but the institutional attitude remains. It isn’t that everyone involved doesn’t mean well or fails to do the best they can, but that the end results so often are uninspiring and utterly lacking in the integral components discussed in Gartner’s excellent op-ed contribution.

There have been exceptions, sometimes very good ones … but where’s the beef? The fire in the editorialist’s belly? The determination to change the world?

However, the cavalry has arrived ... or so we’ve been told.

Readers will recall that recently NA Confidential listened intently as John Tucker, publisher of the Tribune, spoke of reforms on the horizon.

Tribune publisher outlines bold reform plan at symposium.

Today on the front page, we learn that “Steve Kozarovich (has been) named executive editor of Tribune, Evening News.”

An editor with a history of success at revitalizing community newspapers is stepping in as the newsroom leader of the Tribune and the Jeffersonville Evening News.

Publisher Tucker’s effusive praise for editor Kozarovich’s skills was a recurring feature of the aforementioned symposium. Now he's here and on the job.

The viewpoint from New Albany’s current window of opportunity stands to be expanded and enriched immeasurably by a community newspaper running at peak performance, not because it need be avowedly “progressive” or espouse one political viewpoint over another, but because elevating the debate and doing justice to a community-wide discourse – “inspiring,” in the words of Gartner – are by definition “progressive” qualities.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

PHOTO UPDATE: Downtown historic district building tour and tax credit field day on Oct. 26.

Readers, the following announcement was submitted by Jane Alcorn at Develop New Albany. Please feel free to pass it along to anyone you know who may be interested, and contact Jane at 812-941-0018 to reserve a place.


Tax Credits and other Incentives for Locating in the New Albany Downtown National Register Historic District

Field Day - Wednesday, Oct. 26, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Tour three historic buildings and learn of ways that National Register properties can earn you tax credits through rehabilitation.

Field Day Leaders:

David Duvall ... historic architect with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Historic Preservation and Archeology, and a specialist in tax credits for the State of Indiana.

Paul Wheatley ... New Albany's Economic Development Director will discuss other incentives, including tax abatements and the Urban Enterprise Zone.

The day begins at the White House Center, 222 Pearl St.

Buildings to be toured include Shrader Stable (c. 1875) on Main Street:

The Reisz Building (c. 1850) on Main Street:

and the Baptist Tabernacle (c. 1879) on East Fourth Street.

Lunch from Ermin’s French Bakery and Café will be $6.00.

This event is sponsored by:

Develop New Albany, an Indiana Main Street program
Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, Southern Regional Office
City of New Albany Historic Preservation Commission

Please return your registration by Oct. 24 to Develop New Albany, 222 Pearl St., New Albany, IN 47150.


NA Confidential cordially invites 3rd District Uncouncilman Steve Price to accompany us for the field day, and to cast a ceremonial "no" vote at the conclusion of the program.

Friday, October 14, 2005

An infusion of governmental intrusion might be the solution.

Today at NA Health, Healthblogger considers a recent report in the local media to the effect that a handful of public figures and politicians in the city of Jeffersonville are considering some form of a smoking ban in public places.

Here’s the article: Smoking Ban.

There is little doubt that smoking contributes to significant health related problems and that it costs taxpayers and anyone who pays insurance a significant amount of money.

But is it Government’s role to legislate this in private businesses? As most people know who have read my comments, I believe in less Government intrusion and more in personal choice and responsibility.

Previously, NA Confidential covered some of the same ground in Smoke 'em if you got 'em, says the 'Bune -- but not while you're pumping that $3.00 a gallon gas.

On the topic of government intrusion versus human imperfection, I’ve been waiting for a while to post the following, which has come back to me every time I've picked up Rally’s and White Castle litter from the street in front of our house, or when I've noticed the gum on the sidewalk and cigarette butts scattered everywhere throughout the parking lot at work.

It is reprinted from The Economist’s “The World in 2005.” As is the newspaper’s habit, individual authorship is not indicated.

Nobody was more intimately acquainted with or eloquently responsive to the grubbiness of Dublin than James Joyce. “Dear, dirty Dublin,” he called it. But the great novelist would barely recognize the place if he saw it today. It’s not just the turbo-charged economy, the sky-high property market and all the other trappings of rude good health that, in “The World in 2005’s” ranking, make Ireland such a terrific place to live. It is also setting the pace in cleaning up the urban environment.

In 2004 it banned smoking in pubs and outlawed drinking in the street. In 2005 it may well become the first country in the world to introduce a tax on chewing gum.

The government has announced plans for a levy of 10% on every one of the 80 million or so packets of chewing gum sold annually in Ireland. The 4-million Euro ($5 million) this would raise would be used to help fund the cost of cleaning the republic’s gum-encrusted streets.

A tax on plastic shopping bags has already been a great success in Ireland. Similar plans are afoot to reduce fast-food packaging and ATM receipts. “Dear, dirty Dublin” may soon be a place you can only read about in books.

Finally, a solution to the sanitation impasse! If we tax the sources of litter, we'll have enough money to pay workers to pick it all up.

Even Congeal Taxpayer might approve.

"Storm Water Advisory Committee Reaches Consensus."

(Committee member Tim Deatrick authors this report on Thursday night's meeting, and we thank him for taking the time to do so)

It took nearly three hours of spirited discussions, including commentary and questions from city councilmen Dan Coffey, Steve Price and Mark Seabrook with observations from Bill Schmidt, but at the end of the evening it was a consensus that this committee supports and recommends the passage of the interim fee ordinance at the next council meeting.

The issue of accurately assessing commercial properties was discussed and it was listed as the first priority in establishing a true rate structure after the interim fee is adopted. Regarding the city council concern that the interim fee should not be an 18-month process, the engineers feel that a 6-month window is more probable.

Despite the occasional issues of sanitation somehow coming up in this discussion, Chad McCormick and his team did an excellent job in keeping the committee on track to discuss the agenda and keep the politics to a minimum.

I am happy to report that the committee made major strides Thursday night and now the city council has unified voice from this committee that says loud and clear -- move forward on this ordinance, and get the program off the ground!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

George Clooney's “Good Night, and Good Luck” will lure NA Confidential to the multiplex.

On average, NA Confidential views one film every two weeks.

Recent choices have included the documentary “When We Were Kings,” foreign films “The Dreamers,” “Goodbye, Lenin,” and “Colonel Redl,” and “Beyond the Sea,” Kevin Spacey’s bizarre paean to the singer Bobby Darin.

“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” fell into the play list somehow, and although it was amusing, one cannot do justice to the concept without explaining exactly why travelers must carry a towel.

To be truthful, if it were not for the convenient “order history” feature at, it would have been difficult to compile the preceding list.

When it is suggested that I accompany Mrs. Confidential to an actual movie theater, my astonished reaction invariably apes that of fictional detective Nero Wolfe’s annoyance at being asked to walk from his brownstone out onto the street.

“Out there? To the theater?

Merry disclaimers aside, when the opportunity to see George Clooney's “Good Night, and Good Luck” comes around, I’ll not only go to the theater to see it, but I’ll offer to drive.

That’ll confuse her.

The movie is reviewed in the current issue of Rolling Stone, and here are excerpts.

Does George Clooney have a box-office death wish? You have to wonder why the star of Ocean's Eleven would risk his standing as a pinup for ka-ching to direct, co-write and co-star in a movie set in the 1950s, shot in black-and-white and focused on a fifty-year-old battle between TV newsman Edward R. Murrow, indelibly played by David Strathairn, and the Commie-hunting Sen. Joseph McCarthy.

Wonder no more. Clooney knows exactly what he's doing: blowing the dust off ancient TV history to expose today's fat, complacent news media as even more ready to bow to networks, sponsors and the White House. As Murrow said in a 1958 speech, which frames Clooney's dynamite film, the powers that be much prefer TV as an instrument to "distract, delude, amuse and insulate." Challenge is a loser's game …

… For a paltry $8 million, Clooney has crafted a period piece that speaks potently to a here-and-now when constitutional rights are being threatened in the name of the Patriot Act, and the American media trade in truth for access.

Obviously, the subject matter of Clooney’s film is a fastball in NA Confidential’s socio-political wheelhouse.

Journalist Edward R. Murrow was referring to the McCarthyism of the 1950’s when he said, “We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason," but I’m certain that he’d have no objection to my applying this sentiment to the vacuous populism of New Albany’s Siamese Councilman, Dan Coffey & Steve Price -- but where's the Tribune's Murrow when we need him?

Besides that, it’s always enjoyable to view the reaction when handsome Hollywood idols turn inexplicably subversive and craft important films about genuinely significant historical topics.

In 1981, at the height of the Reagan Revolution, Warren Beatty completed and released “Reds,” a three and a half hour dramatization of leftist American journalist John Reed’s life and times during the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and the subsequent red baiting of the post-Great War era.

A quarter century later, “Reds” remains a great favorite, but my elderly videotape is shot, and a replacement DVD purchase looms.

Murrow said, “Difficulty is the excuse history never accepts.”

He might have added, “especially when it comes to ideas.”

Ideas are the currency and the lifeblood of progress, and proliferate when the human mind is challenged and stimulated – by conversation, reading, playing … and sometimes even watching movies.

Next up for Clooney: Ocean's 13, in which he leads the gang to New Albany to help UCM Price uncover those missing nickels and dimes, because as you know, nickels and dimes add up ... to inanity.

Tim Deatrick - please read.

If you want to contribute a report on the storm water meeting Thursday night, e-mail it to me and I'll put it up on the marquee Friday morning.

Lost your “steelies”? So has Trog Sham.

Loyal readers will recall the dark and ominous scene yesterday at the Luddite Bar & Grill, where a half-dozen “mad as hell” undersized underachievers were in the process of being whipped into a foam-flecked frenzy at the campaign appearance of the caped Trog Shaman (for convenience, henceforth to be known as Trog Sham) and her personal Sancho Panza, otherwise known as the Anti-Grammar, or Congeal Taxpayer (CT), the androgynous scribe and wielder of the magic crayon.

“Yes, indeed,” demand(ed) the Trog Shaman, “Show me any sane person out there who truly believes this administration is not a train wreck, and I'll show you a person with a vested interest.”

Thoroughly amused, NA Confidential intervened to ask if Trog Sham might answer a question:

I, Roger A. Baylor, truly believe that this administration is not a train wreck -- so, tell me, Laura, what’s my “vested” interest?

Later in the day, several others joined us in asking the same question. Now, we have an answer:

Vested interests? That's easy.
Destinations Booksellers, Sponsor: James the Cleaner (bankrupt).
Roger Dodger/Rich O's, Expansion:
Prime Downtown Location.
Tim: wannabee anything.
bluegill, Will you be running for City Council?
Greg, Roger's already working the crowd for your run at office.
There's a price on Steve Price's head. He KNOWS there's no money.
ekin, T.Toran takes real good care of you guys doesn't he?
We were promised, during campaign, we wouldn't be paying for an 'Assistant Mayor' (stop spliting hairs), and everyone knows this. How much in city salaries & perks does the 'Director of City Operations' cost us per year?

Etc., etc.

In essence, Trog Sham’s ongoing primal scream constitutes a genuine platform for the future of New Albany – a platform far more worthy of Pol Pot than progress, but so be it.

Now, for perhaps the very first time, we can see how very sad it is to grapple unsuccessfully with the demons of fear, envy and spite that motivate the worldview of those who’ve resigned themselves to a position in life that, in fact, is by no means fixed – this is America, land of social mobility -- and who wish to consign the city itself to the same lonely fate.

But there’s good news.

Just this week, a visiting expert on urban renewal and economic redevelopment met with Paul Wheatley and is impressed with the possibilities in New Albany.

Scribner Place took another incremental step forward.

A young couple from out of state was spotted shopping for a building on Market Street.

Every day, these and other little things – not little people – are combining to create momentum forward, into the future.

NA Confidential’s “vested interests”?

Progress, not regress. Reason, not superstition. Economic development, not squalor. Civility, not violence. Human rights, not institutional wrongs. Trust in the capable, not their emasculation at the hands of the incapable.

As Trog Sham unintentionally illustrates, the choice of who is best suited to advance progress is dazzlingly clear.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Councilman Cappuccino fights for the right to be small, laments plague of book learning that has descended on the city.

On Tuesday, procedural reasons delayed New Albany’s Redevelopment Commission from voting on the issuance of bonds as part of the city’s commitment to Scribner Place, but it isn’t expected to delay the commencement of the project, clean-up for which is beginning soon.

For a full description, consult Scribner Place bonds to be sold, by Amany Ali, Tribune City Editor.

At the Redevelopment Commission meeting, Mark Sanders of the dynamic East Spring Street Neighborhood Association joined groundbreaking local businessman Carl Holliday in supporting Scribner Place.

At the same time, a city resident, evidently confusing economic development and revitalization with the huge portions of Honey Baked Scrapple available during the recently concluded Harvest Homecoming, accused the city of “biting off more than we can chew.”

Of course, for some of our city's veteran obstructionists, attempting to turn the pages of the calendar forward to 1975 is biting off more than they can chew.

Councilman Dan Cappuccino, he of the postage-stamp sized principality of West Endia, immediately joined the aforementioned citizen in condemning the Scribner Place project and everyone it stands for, noting that many of the impoverished residents of his own fiefdom – people he has failed to enrich in any measurable way during decades of grating self-aggrandizement on the political stage – wouldn’t be able to afford membership in a YMCA, and for this reason, the remainder of the city should immediately be pulled down to the councilman’s level.

Councilman Cappuccino then proposed a voter referendum on whether snooty educated people who insist on accomplishing better things should be allowed to ruin the barbecued bologna for the rest of us.

Meanwhile, unaware that the Redevelopment Commission and the City Council aren’t the same body, and unable to attend owing to a prior commitment to “Play Some Skynyrd” for the annual Slumlord Benevolent Society ball at Hugh E. Bir’s, 3rd district Uncouncilman Steve Price courageously voted “no.”

When asked what he was voting against, UCM Price said it doesn’t matter, and launched into a rousing rendition of “That Smell.”

The odor is familiar.