Tuesday, February 28, 2017

THE BEER BEAT: Some great ink for Floyd County Brewing Company.

As Kevin Gibson points out (excerpt below), downtown New Albany has become quite the competitive restaurant market.

I know from experience just how hard it is to balance the time, effort and money needed for a winning restaurant with the very same resources necessary to operate a brewery.

Crucially for Floyd County Brewing Company, the business is a classic brewpub model. The beer is brewed and consumed in-house. It's the right model for the here and now. The object is to dial in the beer at FCBC's home base, and then become a can't miss destination for local beer lovers.

If folks are teetotalers and come for the fish and chips with iced tea, that's a lovely bonus.

I've yet to try Cloud 10, but hope the chance will arise. Just last week I met friends for lunch at FCBC and had a pint of Gog Ma Gog, which is my favorite Jeff Coe brewhouse creation to date.

It comes in at the top end (6.5% abv) of what currently is known as Strong Bitter, a category that includes the forever glorious Fuller's Extra Special Bitter, but now embraces a broader range of hoppy and stronger English-style ales than before. Jeff captured the "Englishness" with Gog Ma Gog, and although it needs some fine-tuning, my Stupor Bowl growler was a memorable accompaniment to ignoring the game.

It struck me during last week's lunch that while New Albany may lack an Irish-themed pub, FCBC's decor certainly has the requisite feel. In terms of familiarity, this can only help the effort.

I'm delighted to see FCBC doing well.

Floyd County Brewing on a roll in competitive downtown New Albany, by Kevin Gibson (Insider Louisville)

Breaking sales records has become a regular occurrence at Floyd County Brewing Company, per owner Brian Hampton.

The Medieval-themed brewery and restaurant, which opened in fall of 2015, has been setting new records “two or three times a week” in recent weeks, Hampton tells Insider. He says he doesn’t know precisely why, but he isn’t complaining.

One recent surge coincided with a new beer on tap called Cloud 10. Created by brewer Jeff Coe, it is a Northeast IPA, a style that recently came to the local market by way of a successful release from Mile Wide Beer Co.

“It was by far the best seller” on a recent record-breaking night, Hampton says.

I had visited the brewery not long after it opened and found the food to be quite good but the beer to be hit and miss.

After hearing of Cloud 10 and the surging popularity of the place, which is in direct competition with ballyhooed restaurants such as The Exchange Pub + Kitchen, Gospel Bird, Brooklyn and the Butcher, Toast on Market, and others, I decided to return.

I’m glad I did.

ASK THE BORED: They're busy panicking after the Great Break Wind Fire, so we celebrate the guy who first patented a self-propelled street sweeper.

Who even knew that World Sweeper Dot Com is "Earth’s Largest Power Sweeping Resource"? Folks, that's powerful medicine indeed. Let's take a look at one of the faces on street sweeping's Mt. Rushmore.

Charles B. Brooks Patented One of the First Self-Propelled Street Sweepers (World Sweeper)

A black man from Newark, New Jersey, Charles B. Brooks, invented the U.S.' first self-propelled street sweeper truck and patented it on March 17, 1896.

Yes, soon it will be street scamming (oops, I mean "sweeping") season again, so let's take a look at one strategy for fighting a citation.

Here's what I did to beat the "blocking street sweeper" citation scam. Why should anyone pay?

Below, you'll see the parking dispute form I filed, and the argument I used, which in essence is this.

When enforcement of ordinances is purposefully random, how can there be penalties against those cited randomly?

You'll notice that Shane Gibson, to whom this form was submitted, did not attempt to answer my question. City Hall is silent. Stop me if you've heard this one before.

"In fact, things have been going badly wrong in America since the beginning of the 21st century."

Clear-headed, incisive and damning. Speaking for myself, the past two years have brought the greatest civics (and history, and economics) lessons for me since college, perhaps exceeding it.

Near the end, the author observes:

The abstraction of “inequality” doesn’t matter a lot to ordinary Americans. The reality of economic insecurity does. The Great American Escalator is broken—and it badly needs to be fixed.

But if inequality is the straw breaking the escalator's back ...

Read this essay.

Our Miserable 21st Century, by Nicholas Eberstadt (Commentary)

From work to income to health to social mobility, the year 2000 marked the beginning of what has become a distressing era for the United States

On the morning of November 9, 2016, America’s elite—its talking and deciding classes—woke up to a country they did not know. To most privileged and well-educated Americans, especially those living in its bicoastal bastions, the election of Donald Trump had been a thing almost impossible even to imagine. What sort of country would go and elect someone like Trump as president? Certainly not one they were familiar with, or understood anything about.

Whatever else it may or may not have accomplished, the 2016 election was a sort of shock therapy for Americans living within what Charles Murray famously termed “the bubble” (the protective barrier of prosperity and self-selected associations that increasingly shield our best and brightest from contact with the rest of their society). The very fact of Trump’s election served as a truth broadcast about a reality that could no longer be denied: Things out there in America are a whole lot different from what you thought.

Yes, things are very different indeed these days in the “real America” outside the bubble. In fact, things have been going badly wrong in America since the beginning of the 21st century.

It turns out that the year 2000 marks a grim historical milestone of sorts for our nation. For whatever reasons, the Great American Escalator, which had lifted successive generations of Americans to ever higher standards of living and levels of social well-being, broke down around then—and broke down very badly.

The warning lights have been flashing, and the klaxons sounding, for more than a decade and a half. But our pundits and prognosticators and professors and policymakers, ensconced as they generally are deep within the bubble, were for the most part too distant from the distress of the general population to see or hear it. (So much for the vaunted “information era” and “big-data revolution.”) Now that those signals are no longer possible to ignore, it is high time for experts and intellectuals to reacquaint themselves with the country in which they live and to begin the task of describing what has befallen the country in which we have lived since the dawn of the new century ...

Monday, February 27, 2017

You paid HOW much for a website? That's not wetting a beak -- it's DROWNING a beak.

The Green Mouse outdid himself today.

"They say those things don't exist," he told me later over tea and crumpets. "But they do, and let me tell you, this is going to be fun."

"The only problem's going to be reading through all of it."

Stay tuned.

This might take a while.

DNC chair aftermath: "Quick, Adam, to the Batmobile."


On Saturday the Democratic National Committee selected a new chairman, and observer Charlie Pierce (a longtime personal favorite) says it's time to move forward.

Perez and Ellison took questions together from the press after the balloting was done and both of them seemed to get along quite splendidly. (They both called for an independent investigation into the ties between the Trump campaign and Russia with equal fervor.) And if the whole exercise this weekend accomplishes nothing else except to lay forever the ghost of the 2016 Democratic primaries and to salt the earth so its poxy memory never rises again, then the DNC Winter Meeting will have done American politics an incalculable good.

Perhaps, especially when there's nothing to see. As a progressive, I'm more inclined to view it like my friend Steve:

Well, now that the CorpoDem Party just committed suicide, what are we going to do for 2018 and 2020?

The answer is alcohol and drugs, though I haven't yet decided which ones, and in what order.

My conclusion: I've spent enough time watching the national party fail and flail, so it's back to the usual time-honored means test, and I'll be looking to the local Democratic Party for signs of an ideological pulse.

There is little indication of content or succor within Adam Dickey's creation, which should make it even easier to continue drinking. As always, I'd be delighted to be proven wrong.

Monday's best social media comment about the Breakwater fire.

This one, from KLB:

"Too bad the developers got a massive TIF handout and didn't pay into any of the fire protection they got."

Of course, we're speaking of the the Saturday conflagration.

The Breakwater fire: Luckily there were no injuries, but are we REALLY sure the deity favors subsidized luxury?

By afternoon yesterday, the Elm Street side of the apartment complex had completely disappeared. As we await the implications of rebuilding, which the Green Mouse predicts will include a reformat of the phase-in of the downtown grid project, as streets must be kept nice and wide to facilitate fresh new matchsticks being trucked to the site, have you noticed that the Indy developer was lightning fast in assuring all and sundry that the complex was built to code?

Fortunately, as the B building was not yet complete and unoccupied, no one was injured,” Michael Collins, Regional Property Manager for Flaherty & Collins Properties said. “We’re working to determine what caused the fire. There were no sprinklers on, which was to code because the building was incomplete and had not yet been issued a certificate of occupancy.”

Has someone suggested it wasn't?

Perhaps the mayor will have something coherent to add to all this (Vegas, do we have odds?), having been silent since Saturday morning.

Let's be charitable. After all, Team Gahan needs time to nurse the inevitable hangover from a weekend spent problem-drinking Bud Light Lime. The unfortunate Breakwater fire is the first major crisis of the current management's tenure, and as the Academy Awards demonstrated, there are those times when things are not as they seem.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Into the Ohio River Greenway construction zone for photos and ruminations.

For about a decade, sadly ending with the advent of Bank Street Brewhouse and ensuing time restraints, I helped organize seven beercycling extravaganzas in Europe. They were good times, indeed, and some of my finest travel memories are from this period.

It really was a peak of sorts. Most of the riding occurred in Benelux and Germany, and to a lesser extent in Czech Republic and Austria. Until you've experienced these local and regional networks, descriptions are probably inadequate. The Netherlands had the best infrastructure, and the Czech Republic the poorest, though this tells you little.

Simply stated, in Northern Europe it is usually possible to use a bicycle as alternative means of transport, and to be able to utilize a grid built for this purpose. The grid can be more or less elaborate, with functionality being the obvious impetus.

In 2003, I bicycled from Frankfurt to Vienna on the Danube trail, and for much of this passage, the bike path functioned as a superhighway for leg-powered, two-wheel transport. Overall, often there are dedicated (always surfaced) pathways, with no motorized vehicles allowed.

Some times you're pedaling local roads, which are invariably well-marked, and being driven by folks who know how the score. At times, the various paths connect by means of farm roads -- again, surfaced but being used by the occasional tractor, too.

The point to this digression is what I felt last week while walking the Ohio River Greenway construction zone.

Noticing all the trees removed so as to correspond with (a) inevitable federal mandates and (b) the local desire to implement what amounts to a "luxury" shared use path, I couldn't help thinking about all the places I've bicycled in Europe where the objectives were safety, connectability and usability without bells and whistles.

In 2003, I rode more than 700 miles in all, and apart from flat tires, there were no issues with any of the dedicated routes, or during those times when I was sharing a road with automobiles. Special infrastructure had been built in places, as with river crossings (at times, bike ferries), but otherwise the experience was about dependable functionality.

I'm well aware of the "act of Congress" aspect of the Greenway, which from the very start seems to have inched forward less as essential infrastructure than bright shiny bauble. I never thought much about this dichotomy until dozens of trees began falling -- and now there is a promenade being constructed, and so on, so forth and so it goes

To me, whether I ever saddle up again or continue walking, the it remains that the objective is functionality of non-automotive infrastructure, in the sense of local and regional grids, and how this might be achieved without spending millions ... and taking less than 30 years to achieve.

It can be done in Europe. Here in America, it's more likely to be dumb.

The Breakwater fire: Luckily there were no injuries, but are we REALLY sure the deity favors subsidized luxury?

Courtesy WHAS.

Some of us have spent a great deal of time and effort debating the merits of the Flaherty and Collins "luxury" apartment complex at the former Coyle block. These long hours might have been devoted to martinis, books and heavy metal; it's a dirty job, but one that remains sadly necessary in the absence of responsible local journalism.

The overall question has been phrased somewhat like this:

To what extent (if any) should City Hall subsidize private, for-profit development with an array of sewer tap-in waivers, tax abatements and other incentives -- enticements generally unavailable to smaller business entities, who must sink or swim by their own merits -- especially when the objective is high-end housing in a locale where poverty is rampant?

Yesterday morning the unoccupied, about-to-be-completed wing of The Breakwater, comprising two-thirds of the development's residential space on the west side of the block (Elm and 4th), caught fire. The sprinkler system had not been activated because construction was ongoing. The result was an arduous daylong firefighting battle in adverse conditions.

It is far too early to judge, but the likelihood is high that the wing is a total loss, and the developers already have publicly committed to a rebuild, at least in statements to local media. There'll be an investigation into the cause of the fire. Presumably insurance will impel Flaherty and Collins forward to completion, while local taxpayers get the bill for fighting the blaze.

But it might have been far worse. We're all grateful that the building had no residents, and as usual in these cases, our first responders deserve comprehensive kudos. Fire fighters were on the job yesterday at 5:00 a.m. on a windy and cold day. They were joined by compatriots from Jeffersonville, Clarksville and Georgetown, and some of them probably are still there more than 24 hours later.

If I were Flaherty and Collins, there'd be 100+ area first responders enjoying complimentary steaks at Brooklyn and The Butcher.

Beyond all this, one point needs to be reiterated. I overheard a discussion at a recent meeting, in which The Breakwater was being discussed, and its luxuriousness praised. There were oohs and aahs, but without any meaningful context (how did this come to be?), it's impossible to arrive at a balanced conclusion.

City Hall obviously picked a winner in The Breakwater; conversely, it let "losers" languish. Discussions about propriety are by no means concluded, and the unfortunate fire doesn't change the parameters of this debate one single, solitary bit.

Civic engagement is not zero-sum. There are more options than all/none, and more angles of discussion than this/that. Assuming the developers rebuild, a finished and fully occupied apartment complex also won't change the parameters of the debate.

That's because it is perfectly legitimate to continue to ask questions about the applicability of taxpayer subsidies, the precedent of sewer tap-in waivers, the quality of construction techniques, the use of union versus non-union labor, the applicability of giveaways in the cause of "economic development" -- to name only a few issues.

In summary, profuse thanks are due our firefighters and first responders. It's a good thing residents weren't in the building. Decisions having already been made, the fire is a setback (see CM Knable's video and comments) and probably nothing more.

We'll be watching to see what happens next, and those questions? There is no reason to stop asking them, is there?

Democrats complete the Sanders purge, thus remaining dead to me.

The Democrats remain dead to me, and the Republicans are dead to me, too. A grand total of two types of soup on offer, and me with my fork.


Tom Perez Narrowly Defeats Keith Ellison for DNC Chair, by John Nichols (The Nation)

To succeed, Perez must ally with the grassroots activists who are more concerned with principles than with partisanship.


'Incredibly Disappointing': Democrats Choose Tom Perez to Head Party, by Andrea Germanos (Common Dreams)

DNC 'chose to continue the failed Clinton strategy of prioritizing wealthy donors over the activist base'


The Wrong Way to Rebuild the Democratic Party, by Leah Hunt-Hendrix (Politico)

Democrats need to embrace a new vision. That means dumping the failed leaders of the past—including David Brock.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Louisville Orchestra: "Sacred + Profane: Of Heavens + Humans."

To begin, a note from sociology.


David Emile Durkheim (1858-1917) claimed that all religions divide objects or phenomena into the sacred and the profane. The sacred objects are those which are extraordinary and are treated as if set apart from the routine course of events in daily life. The profane are those objects or phenomena seen as ordinary and constituting the reality of everyday living.

I like the musical idea better. First, from the LO's website.

The Louisville Orchestra presents ...

Sacred + Profane: Of Heavens + Humans

Teddy Abrams explains about his concert program, “Our Sacred and Profane: Of Heavens and Humans concerts explore a broad range of musical approaches to describing and channeling both the most elated spiritual experiences of the species and our most visceral, grounded, and mortal conditions. Some of this music is designed to give humanity a glimpse of heaven and the immortal, while other music on this program serves to bind the species in our shared path as we contemplate our uncertain place in the universe.”

Then from the press release.

On Friday, March 10 at 11AM and Saturday, March 11 at 8PM at the Kentucky Center, Teddy Abrams and your Louisville Orchestra present a pluralistic concert of music from sacred traditions contrasted with music of composers with a decidedly secular focus. The music spans eras, from the 1600s to the present, and crosses genres from traditional Johann Sebastian Bach to Indonesian Gamelan selections. Jubilant Sykes, who performed the Celebrant in the LO’s 2015 presentation of Bernstein’s Mass, returns to Louisville to perform some of his favorite spirituals like, “Sometimes I Feel like a Motherless Child,” and “Ride on, King Jesus.”

“It feels like planners in the U.S. sort of exist in a history vacuum. It’s important for them to look at this information and understand that a lot of city planning really involves dismantling systems like zoning and redlining.”

The City of Louisville press release of February 14 includes a link to the redlining map.

City begins community conversation to combat redlining

 ... Local urban planner Joshua Poe has developed the interactive story map entitled “Redlining Louisville: The History of Race, Class and Real Estate.” This tool illustrates the ways that redlining has affected housing development, disinvestment and lending patterns in Louisville since the 1930s. By layering data sets such as vacant properties, building permits and property values, the map shows how the intentional redlining that was devised in the 1930s has had consequences that are evident still today.

Examples of conventional redlining that still exists today include refusal to provide delivery in certain areas, business loan denials regardless of credit-worthiness and refusal to write property insurance policies or dropping property owners from insurance coverage altogether.

Other forms of redlining, referred to as reverse redlining, also exist. Examples of reverse redlining include offering services low-income residents at higher prices, higher interest rates and excessive service fees or inferior products. This example may come in forms such as payday loans, cash advances, and expedited tax returns.

This story made it all the way to CityLab, but let it be duly noted that former New Albanian resident Poe's work on this topic goes back many years, as Jeff Gillenwater noted in this space in 2013.

Poe: "The design seems better suited to simply facilitate crime than livability."

Friend and former neighbor Josh Poe is the sort of engaged and educated person who regularly challenges and improves upon my thinking; in short, the sort New Albany still tends to lose too often. He continues the good work here, reminding that certain community outcomes are the direct result of careful planning rather than random market occurrences, often for the most egregious of reasons. If you don't think it still happens and happens here, I invite you to check out the school district mapping in western New Albany sometime.

It's wonderful to see Josh's efforts bearing fruit. Will Greg Fischer's hyperbole translate into action? That's always the biggest question.

Louisville Confronts Its Redlining Past and Present, by Brentin Mock (CityLab)

A new online mapping project is aimed at dismantling the Kentucky city’s grim legacy of racial segregation.

 ... “When I started the research, I hoped that it would be used at the grassroots level, and I also hoped it would be used by planners,” says Joshua Poe, the urban planner who developed the project. “It feels like planners in the U.S. sort of exist in a history vacuum. It’s important for them to look at this information and understand that a lot of city planning really involves dismantling systems like zoning and redlining.”

On the website, users interact with a city map from 1937 that shows how the city was carved up for real estate investment purposes. Poe discovered a trove of documents in D.C.’s National Archives that show how lenders used race, class, and the number of immigrant families residing in an area to determine its value. Users can view these documents from the maps and also compare the city’s racial and class population distribution between 1937 and 2010.

There has been a fire this morning at the Breakwater luxury apartments. No injuries, and I swear it wasn't me.

9:30 a.m. update: The fire is ongoing, and WHAS reports that multiple floors are burning. This story might take a while to unravel.

What we know is that the fire started in the unoccupied building under construction on the 4th Street side, the mayor himself was lured from the bunker to monitor the response, and no one was injured.

WHAS has the best of scant coverage so far.

Firefighters respond to apartment fire in New Albany (WHAS)

Hmm, wonder why all those police cars are pulling up in front of my house?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Pete Buttigieg for DNC chair? "The Midwestern mayor seems a better bet," says The Economist.

What strikes me as noteworthy about The Economist's assessment is that it devotes almost no ink to Tom Perez, the establishment choice.

Three cheers for at least THAT much.

Who should lead the Democrats after their calamitous defeat? (The Economist)

Pete Buttigieg is pitching himself as the compromise candidate

 ... The tussle between Mr Perez and Mr Ellison, the front-runners among the nine contenders for the job, could be a boon for Pete Buttigieg (pronounced boot-edge-edge), the 35-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana. “We don’t want to relive 2016,” says Mr Buttigieg, alluding to the fierce battles between Mr Sanders and Mrs Clinton in the Democratic primaries. Mr Buttigieg presents himself as the compromise candidate who can bridge the divide between the Sanders and Clinton camps, build alliances with progressive organisations such as the American Civil Liberties Union and connect with the white working class as well as minorities.

Mr Buttigieg joined the race late, but picked up momentum quickly. He bagged the endorsement of five former DNC chairs as well as nine mayors of cities such as New Orleans and Austin, Texas. Howard Dean, another former DNC chair and former presidential candidate, thinks Mr Buttigieg has a shot at winning. If he were elected, the former Rhodes scholar and Harvard graduate would be the youngest, and first openly gay, chairman of the DNC. He would bring to the job his experiences as mayor, navy officer and nerd at McKinsey, a management consultancy (a CV remarkably like that of Tom Cotton, a Republican senator with big ambitions).

Dr. John Gilderbloom's video about pollution in Louisville, Kentucky: "Think Locally, Act Globally: Neighbourhood pollution and the future of the earth."

Earlier today I had the pleasure of chatting with Dr. John Gilderbloom. Regular readers will know him as the two-way streets researcher from the University of Louisville, who came to New Albany in August of 2015 and gave a marvelous presentation.

Watch the video of Dr. John Gilderbloom's two-way streets presentation last night.

Gilderbloom: Proving what Gahan can't seem to fathom, tonight at the library.

Perhaps the most memorable event in the time of our association with Dr. Gilderbloom occurred when Irv Stumler staged a meltdown at U of L over the professor's street grid research.

Irv wanted it squelched, and right now!

Irv still nutzoid, and Gilderbloom's research wasted on New Albany -- and Greg Fischer, for that matter.

A few weeks back, when Dr. Gilderbloom's most recent streets research project started being picked up by national media, Irv Stumler apparently visited the University of Louisville to demand that Gilderbloom be silenced, because how dare peer-reviewed academic research be allowed to deny the sanctity of New Albany's 18-wheeled Luddite exceptionalism?

Depending on the report, Stumler either was laughed off campus or curtly told that if he didn't take a chill pill, he would be forcibly removed.

How I wish someone would have filmed that episode.

I digress, because John closed today's conversation by recommending a video at YouTube about pollution and health by neighborhood in Louisville. It won't improve your mood, but you should watch it.

Think Locally, Act Globally: Neighbourhood pollution and the future of the earth

Dr John I. Gilderbloom

Dr John I. Gilderbloom discusses his work in Louisville, KY, researching the link between environmental toxins and the health of a neighborhood. His research pushes back against the power elite, industry chiefs, local foundations and a recent contribution of $6 million dollars from the Koch Brothers. He discusses the cause of early death rates in Louisville, whose residents live five years less than people in California due to air pollution and other toxins. He also explains the reasons that west end Louisville residents live 13 years less than east end Louisville residents. For more information visit Sustainable Urban Neighborhoods to learn more and to make a non-profit donations.

Khrushchyovka! The rise and fall of typical Soviet-era housing in Russia.

The video here offers an "upscale" example, based on what I've seen.

Khrushchyovka! Typical USSR Apartment Building. "Real Russia" ep.17

In this video we'll show you how is the famous typical USSR apartment building, known as "Khrushchyovka" looks like and visit my friend Nataly, who lives in one of Khrushchyovka apartments that to show you how it looks like not only outside but inside as well.

"Khrushchyovka" is a type of low-cost, cement-paneled or brick three- to five-storied apartment building which was developed in the USSR during the early 1960s, during the time its namesake Nikita Khrushchev directed the Soviet government.

Hope you enjoy!

Now that you've seen a typical Khrushchyovka ...

Moscow to demolish 8,000 Soviet-era housing blocks

Moscow city authorities are to tear down about 8,000 blocks of flats built in the 1950s and 1960s in a major clearance programme that will involve rehousing 1.6 million people in the coming years, it's reported.

Mayor Sergei Sobyanin told a council meeting on Wednesday that the decision follows a positive review of an earlier, more modest demolition of about 1,700 of the low-rise prefabricated buildings known throughout the former Soviet states as "Khrushchyovkas", Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper reports.

Back in 2012, I read a book about manufactured housing in the former Czechoslovakia, and reviewed it in ON THE AVENUES. It is reprinted here.


The late Vaclav Havel famously referred to them as “rabbit hutches,” and even today, more than two decades after the end of the Communist period, one-third of all Czechs inhabit pre-fabricated, modular housing blocks, particularly ones erected with increasing haste and decreasing art from the 1960’s through the 1980’s.

To stand on Castle Hill in the middle of architecturally glorious Prague and look outward toward the suburbs is to view what first appears to be a gray wall around the city. Actually, the wall is an optical illusion, a composite of these modular housing blocks in seemingly endless rows.

All across the former East Bloc, the Communist period witnessed the construction of high-rise housing units like these, quickly manufactured elemental housing that left travelers with an indelible image of a commensurately grim and manufactured life, but as Kimberly Elman Zarecor explains in her book, “Manufacturing a Socialist Modernity: Housing in Czechoslovakia, 1945-1960”, the story was at least a bit different there.

Because Czechoslovakia was the industrial heartland of the deceased Austro-Hungarian Empire, its income levels and educational attainment were above the norm during the period between the wars. Avant-garde and modernist schools of architecture in German, Scandinavia and France were represented by Czechoslovak architects in their projects of the time, and overall, the future seemed bright for the country’s development as a stable, liberal democracy.

Successive Nazi and Soviet occupations deferred this dream for almost a half-century, with a lasting and sometimes quite ugly contribution to the area’s physical landscape.

In the immediate aftermath of World War II, with a pressing need for housing reconstruction, and amid the forced imperative to organize the economy according to Communist principles of heavy industry, Czechosolvak architects fought gamely, for the most part as socialist loyalists, to retain their interwar aesthetic. There were some initial successes, but their influence steadily declined as Communist rule tightened and five-year production quotas submerged all other considerations.

After Stalin’s death put an end to the worst excesses of enforced socialist realism, which in practice meant emulating the Soviet dictator’s grandiose, leaden, Commie Gothic personal tastes, housing in Czechoslovakia became an exercise in the rapidity of modular manufacturing, with assembly-line construction far more utilitarian than any purpose-designed building, and on the cheap, with sloppily pre-cast concrete panels bolted together in stacks as high as engineering principles permitted.

Manufactured housing in Communist Czechoslovakia may have been inevitable, but Zarecor deftly shows that the route from free-form blueprint to rabbit hutch was more winding than commonly assumed, even if the end results were the same. What will the outskirts of Prague look like in twenty more years? I can only hope I’m still around to return there, and to experience the visceral reaction at another, perhaps less jarring, time.

"Technocratic liberalism prides itself on having no ideology to speak of — which is itself the most dogmatic ideology of them all."

For a very long time, I persisted in the increasingly threadbare notion that lesser-evilism "worked" for me; therefore, according to Tony Blair, it "mattered."

But it wasn't working, and what ultimately matters to me is voting "for" rather than "against."

This article explains it rather brilliantly. Youthful local Democrats are urged to read it, seeing as their elders probably won't.

Twilight of the Technocrats? by Luke Savage (Jacobin)

Technocratic liberalism prides itself on having no ideology to speak of — which is itself the most dogmatic ideology of them all.

 ... This is the technocratic fallacy exposed. Behind every political claim or prescription, no matter its source, lies a set of assumptions (conscious or otherwise) about what the horizons of politics are or what they ought to be. And more than anything else these assumptions, and the political narratives that follow, are shaped by the social and cultural outlooks of the people who hold them.

This is why, if we truly want to understand the politics of the technocratic liberal center, we need look no further than the milieu they emerged from ...


... For all its pretensions of transcending the schism between left and right, the Third Way shift amounted to a hostile takeover of the center-left by a new generation of center-right technocrats whose main achievement was welding a refurbished lexicon of liberal progressivism to the processes already initiated by the likes of Thatcher and Reagan.

To this end, the political grammar of figures like Clinton and Blair synthesized and dulled many of the traditional idioms of liberalism, conservatism, and social democracy, redeploying them in the service of manifestly neoliberal causes. A sweeping, pro-corporate agenda of labor outsourcing, privatization, financial deregulation, welfare reform, and means-testing was implemented on the back of antiseptic management-speak incessantly declaring itself loyal to no ideology at all.

What “worked” became the kinds of regulations and investments that would most benefit industries like tech and finance, what qualified as “ideological” being anything out of sync with the professional managerial class and its various political, cultural, or economic outlooks.

Fresh Stop Market shifts to Sojourn Community Church for 2017.

Last year, the Fresh Stop market was held at the New Albany Housing Authority.

Learn more and get on board the Fresh Stop Market -- a “pop up” farm-fresh food market.

Fresh Stop Markets are “pop up” farm-fresh food markets set up at local churches, housing authorities, and community centers in fresh food insecure neighborhoods. People in the community describe Fresh Stop Markets as welcoming and happy-like a family reunion where all five senses are engaged and there is lots of laughter, food, and fun! Our Fresh Stop Markets are open to everyone and created, led, and sustained by community leaders.

In 2017, it looks as if the venue is being shifted. The market won't kick off until June, but planning is underway.

New Albany Fresh Stop Market

New Roots is excited to partner with Sojourn Community Church to welcome all of our neighbors from the Ekin Avenue Neighborhood and beyond to join in on this wonderful opportunity for fresh food for ALL!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

ON THE AVENUES: A stern side view of Gravity Head, nineteen times over.

ON THE AVENUES: A stern side view of Gravity Head, nineteen times over.

A weekly column by Roger A. Baylor.

Before the drinking starts, let’s return to the analogy of a ship leaving the dock and making for open water.

This was something we experienced first-hand just last year aboard a big Baltic ferry, first leaving Tallinn for Helsinki, then again on the trip back later the same day.

At night, the specific sensation might be described as lights fading, but by day it is the gradual disappearance of land as the ship moves farther away from shore. Depending on the weather and the strength of one’s eyesight, there comes a split second when land no longer is visible. It’s a melancholy feeling, like the place itself has ceased to exist apart from the imagination.

From this point forward, until the next port of call begins slowly to materialize past the bow, the journey becomes synonymous with the undulating rhythm of the sea. In 2016, our trip was a loop, as we returned to Tallinn after a lovely day in the Finnish capital. In 1985, when the ferry to Italy finally left Corfu and the Albanian coastline well behind, my 24-year-old self was pondering exactly when I’d visit Greece next.

It hasn’t happened yet. Maybe soon. If possible, I’d really like to do it the same way, by sea, from Italy … and close the circle.

Similarly, most aspects of business ownership that consumed my daily existence for a quarter-century – the good, the bad, the drunk and the sublime – finally have dissolved into distant invisible headlands. Now it’s just the rocking of the waves, and one really important question.

Where’s this damned boat going, anyway?

I’ll let you know when something comes into focus on the horizon. Only then will the chorus erupt with a sturdy “Land ho!” Will the anchor be dropped, or not?

We'll see.


Comes that ancestral imperative time again.

When Gravity Head calls, familiar space and time continuums are briefly altered. Normal routines appear Byzantine by comparison. Life’s infinite horizons narrow. On reverts to existence by the hour, or minute by minute. Passing through the looking glass is boring by comparison.

As for the fest’s actual commencement on Friday morning, once the opening bell sounds there is a collective observance of Sidney Freedman’s immortal dictum from television’s M*A*S*H:

“Ladies and gentlemen, take my advice - pull down your pants and slide on the ice.”

Gravity Head might be staged differently, but as they pertain to what unexpectedly has become a bona fide tradition, an array of minor and often weirdly eccentric points adds up to a greater sum.

It’s just another beer fest, and yet it’s more, and decidedly unique. From the very start, when it was decided to have a second Gravity Head in 2000, no one had any idea what the “proper” way of running a beer festival was supposed to be. Conventional wisdom completely eluded us, for which I remain grateful.

The aim was, and remains, to provide regular pub customers and locally-based friends with as many opportunities as possible to taste an array of special beers over a period of time – at least a month, and usually longer.

That’s the sum of it.

The beers never have been served all at once. They unfold in waves over a period of weeks. There are no flights, because flights imply a “right” to taste them all. Rather, the desired end is for folks to taste a few, and then return another time and taste a few more. Not too many at once, of course, because they’re strong.

Gravity Head’s opening day has become somewhat of a scrum, and a singular tradition all its own. Folks seem content with the interior logic occurring at the fest’s beginning, but this isn’t what every celebrant looks forward to experiencing each year.

Rather, there’ll inevitably be a quiet Tuesday night on the second or third week, with a handful of friends, and leisurely, contemplative sipping of one or two quality libations, spiced with conversation. These are the precious moments that lead to feelings of timelessness.

And without timelessness, beer is far less interesting to me.


The 19th edition of Gravity Head begins tomorrow at 7:00 a.m. at NABC’s Pizzeria & Public House. The brewery partner for the opening day tap takeover in 2017 is Dark Horse Brewing Company from Michigan, of whom I know too little, though the starting lineup looks as solid as ever.


Cascade The Vine (2015) 9.73%
Dark Horse Barrel Aged Plead the Fifth 12.00%
Dark Horse Bourbon Barrel Scotty Karate 9.75%
Dark Horse Double Crooked Tree (2016) 12.00% * JUST ADDED*
Dark Horse Plead the Fifth (2015) 11.00%
Dark Horse Sapient Trip Ale (2016) 9.50%
Dark Horse Scotty Karate (2014) 9.75%
Dogfish Head Fort 18.00%
North Coast XIX Barrel Aged Old Rasputin 11.20%
Sierra Nevada Bigfoot (2011) 9.60%
Stone Xocoveza 8.10%

As an aside, last year’s Gravity Head honoree was Stone Brewing Company. I’ve always had a soft spot in my teeny-weeny, Grinch-sized heart for Stone, and especially its co-founder and CEO, Greg Koch, who visited the Pizzeria & Public House in 2007 while touring the Midwest.

For Gravity Head 2016, I’d already gotten the ball rolling with Stone’s then-regional sales representative Mark Kocher, but by the end of the year, Mark was gone from Stone, along with other longtime brewery personnel in an internal “rationalization” borne of an expensive international expansion effort. It was a harbinger of sorts.

Coincidentally or not, numerous other figures of note in “craft” brewing circles made similar professional exits last year, voluntary or otherwise, ranging from Mitch Steele (the brewer, from Stone) to Dan Kopman (the part-owner, from Schlafly). My seven years as a director on the board of the Brewers of Indiana Guild came to a necessary end, too, and I miss it.

Combined with the many “craft” breweries purchased in 2016 by multinational conglomerates, these various developments suggest to me that the original dynamism of the “craft” segment, while still intact in many artistic and creative ways, gradually is yielding to the deadening reshaping tendencies of capitalism as we tend to tolerate it.

As a revolutionary, I was hoping for better. As an exceedingly reluctant capitalist, it’s no longer a comfortable place for me.


I never got around to attending Gravity Head opening weekend in 2016, and my consecutive year streak of liver damage ended at 17. It didn’t faze me at the time, though in retrospect, I feel equal measures of annoyance and regret having missed the chance for what would have been a final Gravity Head toast with my friend Kevin Richards, who died unexpectedly last fall. Gravity Head 2017 simply cannot be the same without him.

Part of the reason for my absence last year was pique, pure and simple. At the time, it was starting to become clear that my payout for a quarter-century of business ownership likely would be calculated at pennies on the dollar, if even that.

However, now it is twelve months later, and I’ve done my best to make peace with the past, hence my advice to one and all: If given the choice between cash and infamy, choose the latter. Money comes and goes; notoriety is forever.

The buyout saga began in earnest in late 2015, and (finally) I believe a resolution is coming soon, as early as next month. I’ll be absorbing a vicious metaphorical beating, and a financial one as well, but true freedom isn’t ever free.

Meanwhile, by all accounts Gravity Head 2016 proceeded just as it had before, and I have every reason to believe it will perform in 2017 according to the same trajectory, exactly as it always has. In a tremendous exception to standard operating procedure, I managed to arrange the beer program succession quite intelligently, and my protégés at NABC constantly make me proud.

For those about to rock, I salute you.

At the precise moment of writing, I’m not sure whether I’ll make Gravity Head this coming weekend. As divulged yesterday, my mother’s health is uncertain, and it doesn’t strike me as the best time to debilitate myself with Imperial Stouts and Barley Wines. Besides, I’ve evolved into a session-strength advocate, intent on challenging the new orthodoxy.

It’s always something, or so I’m told.

Once upon a time Gravity Head was my idea, and now it’s no longer about me, assuming it ever was. Gravity’s the law, and it’s bigger than you and me. Feel free to go forth these next few gravity-laden weeks and propagate daddy’s scant pension fund – and while you’re at it, have one for … no, not me, but Kevin Richards.

He absolutely would have done the same for you. Cheers, mate. Of all the eras seemingly passing into mist beyond the stern as we navigated 2016, his loss still affects me the most.

(Variations of this column have appeared previously.)


Recent columns:

February 16: ON THE AVENUES: In 2014 as in 2015, then 2016, now 2017 ... yes, it's the "Adamite Chronicles: Have muzzle, will drivel."

February 9: ON THE AVENUES: I'd stop drinking, but I'm no quitter.

February 2: ON THE AVENUES: A luxury-obsessed Jeff Gahan has packed a board and now seeks to break the New Albany Housing Authority. Can we impeach him yet?

January 26: ON THE AVENUES: Jeff Gahan and Adam Dickey are Trumping the Donald when it comes to breathtaking moral turpitude. Have they no shame?

Books and chairmen: "After more than a half-century in the wilderness, the socialist left reemerges in America."

For a companion piece to The Nation's book reviews ...

Democratic divisions on display at DNC debate, by Eric Bradner (CNN)

For all the marches and protests the left has generated since Election Day, the debate over who will lead the Democratic Party in the early stages of Donald Trump's presidency is underscoring the divisions still lingering within its ranks.

As was evident at the recent Adventure at the Voiture, state Democrats seem to be backing Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, as are some younger local Democrats with a pulse. Naturally, a win by Buttigieg would enhance the career prospects of local chair Dickey, and the object of potential Democratic Party retrofitting should be to remove problems, not promote them.

What the hell; I'm just a Democratic Socialist in the isolation ward. Carry on with the reviews.

Socialism’s Return, by Patrick Iber (The Nation)

After more than a half-century in the wilderness, the socialist left reemerges in America.

For the American left, 2016 proved to be a year with a cruel twist ending. In the first few months, a self-
described democratic socialist by the name of Bernie Sanders mounted a surprisingly successful primary challenge to the Democratic Party’s presumed and eventual presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton. By the end of 2016, however, not only had Sanders lost the primary race, but Clinton had been defeated in the general election by a billionaire who dressed his xenophobic and plutocratic ambitions in the garb of class resentment.

But the apparent strength of the left wasn’t entirely an illusion. Even as late as November, the Sanders campaign had racked up a set of important victories. The Cold War had helped to entrench the idea of socialism as antithetical to the American political tradition, and Sanders had gone a long way toward smashing that ideological consensus. By identifying himself explicitly as a democratic socialist from the outset of his campaign, he helped give renewed meaning and salience to it as a political identity firmly rooted in the American tradition.

The books being reviewed are:

Outsider in the White House
By Bernie Sanders, with Huck Gutman

Our Revolution: A Future to Believe In
By Bernie Sanders

The ABCs of Socialism
By Bhaskar Sunkara, ed.

The Future We Want: Radical Ideas for a New Century
By Sarah Leonard and Bhaskar Sunkara, eds.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

SHANE'S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS: Palliative, hospice, and the care offered by Hosparus.

Today I'll be departing from the polemical template, refraining from the edgy boilerplate, and getting personal.

By making sure we understand today's words and concepts, you'll also glimpse my mother Sue Baylor's relative position these days in terms of her journey through life.

(Of a medicine or medical care) relieving pain without dealing with the cause of the condition.

A home providing care for the sick, especially the terminally ill.

Here is an easy explanation.

The differences between hospice and palliative care.

Hospice care and palliative care are very similar when it comes to the most important issue for dying people: care. Most people have heard of hospice care and have a general idea of what services hospice provides. What they don’t know or what may become confusing is that hospice provides “palliative care,” and that palliative care is both a method of administering “comfort” care and increasingly, an administered system of palliative care offered most prevalently by hospitals. As an adjunct or supplement to some of the more “traditional” care options, both hospice and palliative care protocols call for patients to receive a combined approach where medications, day-to-day care, equipment, bereavement counseling, and symptom treatment are administered through a single program. Where palliative care programs and hospice care programs differ greatly is in the care location, timing, payment, and eligibility for services.

Probably most readers are familiar with Hosparus.

About Hosparus

Hosparus is a fully accredited provider of premier hospice services and one of the largest non-profit hospice organizations in the country. We are here for patients and families who choose to have the best quality of life possible until the end of life.

We offer medical care, individual and family counseling, personal care, spiritual care, bereavement services, pain management and much more.

We have been serving the needs of this community since 1978 when Hosparus accepted its first patient. This year, we will care for nearly 6,200 patients and their families in the 33 counties we serve in Kentucky and Southern Indiana.

Hosparus cares for all – regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, sex, sexual preference, age, handicap or ability to pay. Care is delivered through a team-oriented approach and is tailored to patient needs and wishes. Support is provided to families and loved ones as well. Hosparus supports the best possible quality of life for patients and their loved ones and is based on a caring, not curing model of care.

Now that we're firm on concepts, it's time for the rest of the story.

The Villages at Historic Silvercrest has been my mother's home since 2014. She began on the independent living floor, then went to assisted living. Earlier this year, she suffered a particularly nasty urinary tract infection on top of symptoms of dementia that have been stealthily gathering steam, and while there isn't a specifically catastrophic diagnosis like cancer, it is clear that her body is giving out on her.

Consequently, as of today mom is a Hosparus patient. She will remain at Silvercrest, with Hosparus staff coming to her. Visitors are welcome, and should inquire at the front desk as to her current location, because she'll soon be moved from the rehabilitation floor to a different room, and the destination isn't yet known. She has good days and bad. It's the way this works. She's asleep a lot, and has no pain.

During my mom's career as a teacher, she prided herself on professionalism and organization (a gene that didn't migrate to me, not one single bit). She always kept her affairs in order, and never refrained from openness and communication about her wishes at the present juncture.

liv·ing will
ˈliviNG ˈˌwil/
A written statement detailing a person's desires regarding their medical treatment in circumstances in which they are no longer able to express informed consent, especially an advance directive.

In this as in so many other facets of life, the mantra for 2017 is simple: one foot in front of the other, and one day at a time.

My mom did well for a farm girl from Western Kentucky, and she's had a good life. These likely are her final days, weeks and perhaps even months; there's no way of knowing the cosmic and karmic schedule. I'm grateful for the existence of Hosparus in assisting in the transition, thankful for whatever time is left to my mother, and thinking that it's time I learned from her example.

I'll be back next week with the usual sass directed toward the usual suspects, but until then, we all have homework. Do you have an updated last will or living will?

If not, my advice is to get to it. We are.

Superlative current events panel discussion: "Brexit: An unorthodox view," with Yanis Varoufakis, Srećko Horvat and Elif Shafak.

I consider this absolutely essential viewing for anyone interested in learning numerous themes (generally) specific to the UK and the EU, but at the same time applicable to current events in America.

Yes, it's 90 minutes. I'd say it's worth an hour and a half for context alone, and recommend especially to local Democrats.

Brexit: An unorthodox view, Yanis Varoufakis, Srećko Horvat & Elif Shafak (full)

Published on Feb 14, 2017

Srećko Horvat, a Croat philosopher, Elif Shafak, renowned Turkish novelist, and Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s former finance minister, bring to this conversation an intriguing perspective. As intellectuals who know Britain well, they understand first hand the perils of nationalism, disintegration, isolationism and marginalisation. They place post-Brexit Britain in a context informed by a view of Europe and Britain from the continent’s opposite ‘corner’, sharing insights from Greece’s tensions with Brussels and Berlin, Yugoslavia’s disintegration, and Turkey’s fraught relationship with a Europe that both courts and marginalises it.

More here

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Rep. Clere indicates support for The Breakaway (women's recovery center) at 1514 E. Spring.

The topic is a proposed women's recovery center, to be established at a long-empty commercial building at 1514 E. Spring.

For some quintessential NIMBY, visit the News and TribuneHalfway house would negatively impact neighborhood.

If not 1514 E. Spring Street, then where? I always suggest Silver Hills for ideas like this, and all I ever get in response is nervous laughter.

State Representative Ed Clere has conveyed his support in this letter to Jimmy Padgett.


This is Ed Clere. As a New Albany resident, I support the plan to open a women’s recovery center at 1514 E. Spring St. I am familiar with Bliss House in Jeffersonville, and it is my understanding that the New Albany proposal is modeled after that well established and very successful program, which has been an asset not only to the many, many women it has helped, but also to both the neighborhood and the broader community. Bliss House was an early asset to downtown revitalization in Jeffersonville, and the proposed facility on Spring Street would support and further New Albany's revitalization. I say this as a New Albany homeowner who lives less than a mile away and who walks past this location on a regular basis.

Thank you for your family's philanthropy in support of this important and timely initiative. Please feel free to share my comments as you deem appropriate.



The Plan Commission meeting is tonight, I think.

An on-line petition for The Breakaway (Recovery Home for Women).

If you support the Women's Recovery Center (The Breakaway) at 1514 E. Spring, please e-mail Mr. Padgett and let him know.

It's the snazzy new bike repair station at the Farmers Market. What will lead to it, lanes or sharrows?

They're nice features and all, though as yet we don't know exactly how much bicycling infrastructure was stripped from Jeff Speck's original grid plan owing to City Hall cowardice.

Study: Sharrows Don’t Make Streets Safer for Cycling, by Angie Schmitt (Streetsblog)

Sharrows are the dregs of bike infrastructure — the scraps cities hand out when they can’t muster the will to implement exclusive space for bicycling. They may help with wayfinding, but do sharrows improve the safety of cycling at all? New research presented at the Transportation Review Board Annual Meeting suggests they don’t ...

ASK THE BORED: "Design Is Better Than Enforcement To Make Cities Safer For Everyone."

Last week, there was a rear-guard action. I'm not here to pick on Mr. Peterson. As you can see from the minutes of Valentine's Day, the board itself spent ample time scratching their heads.

Mr. Peterson's point, as offered last week as well as an October 2016 letter to the News and Tribune, is that we can have arterial streets designed for moving traffic at unsafe (and altogether anti-social) speeds, then easily reduce these speeds through constant enforcement -- though we wouldn't want to be a speed trap, would we?

In other news, I can have my cake and eat it, too. Yet again, for the umpteenth thousandth time ...

Design Is Better Than Enforcement To Make Cities Safer For Everyone, by Charlie Sorrel (fastcoexist)

Ticketing drivers isn't the answer to create streets that are friendly for pedestrians and cyclists.

Much as cyclists might like to see bad drivers punished for their distracted driving and their bike-harassing crimes, enforcement isn't the most effective way to make the streets safer. The best way to stop "accidents" is to design better roads.

Slower cars means safer roads, and while adding speed cameras and reducing speed limits can help, nothing beats a design that stops drivers from speeding in the first place. Also, slower cars mean less injury in the case of a collision, but again, avoiding the collision to begin with is even better ...

 ... Urban sprawl, and the unchecked ingress of the automobile into every area of our cities, is clearly the problem. And better infrastructure, designed to make driving more difficult in order to make cites better for everyone, is an obvious solution. But it requires bold decisions, like the Barcelona's controversial Super Block scheme, and those decisions require a political will that is often too weak in the face of bullying from car drivers. Design may be more important than enforcement, then, but it's strong politics that will make those changes.

Hit and run.

It was around 11:20 p.m. on Saturday.

To the east on Spring, I heard the screech of brakes and the familiar sort of automotive skidding sound that often ends with a "crunch," and in fact, even though the whole sensation lasts only a couple of seconds, you're already waiting to hear the finale, which arrived right on cue, but it was more of a thud than a crinkling of plastic parts.

Then there was a pause, with spinning tires and a subsequent roar, and something went past the house at a high rate of speed. Apparently the driver met the street lamp pole with enough velocity to bend it, but the vehicle remained sufficiently serviceable enough to flee the scene.

It was just another day (night) on a one-way, high-speed abomination.

"Andrew Sullivan extols a pre-Trump past that bears little resemblance to the grotesque reality of American society."

But these rose colored glasses
That I'm looking through
Show only the beauty
'Cause they hide all the truth

Andrew Sullivan’s Delusional Dreams, by by Emmett Rensin (Jacobin)

Andrew Sullivan extols a pre-Trump past that bears little resemblance to the grotesque reality of American society.

... I am not disputing Sullivan’s anxiety, nor the anxiety of those who read his passage and identified with it. But it is a curious idea, this notion that just one month ago, “many people” did not need to think about politics at all.

Who are these “many people”? Surely they are not the millions afflicted by homelessness and joblessness and pain, the Americans harassed or murdered by our criminal justice system, or those for whom daily hunger is an inheritance. If the achievement of free society and a stable democracy is its citizens’ capacity to devote themselves to “passions” and “pastimes” and “loves,” free from “those who rule over” them, then “many people,” many Americans, have never lived in a free society in a stable democracy.

Perhaps the extent of the present depravity is reflected in the fact that even the “many people” who make up the professional and upper classes find themselves suddenly subject to the instability and malevolence of our politics, but they are the exception. The “markedly less free” nation existed long before last January, and “many people” have been living there since they were born ...


 ... I share Andrew Sullivan’s desire to live in a nation where people are free to lead their own lives, participating in politics where necessary but confident that their interests will not collapse without their constant involvement.

But in order to achieve that desire, our immediate ambition must be more political consciousness, not less. We must continue the work already carried out by countless left organizations, from the Moral Mondays movement to our socialist parties, the difficult and often tedious work of real politics that go beyond takes and tweets and #resistance in the form of endless faith in the Democratic Party. We must organize our poor and oppressed and incarcerated, our unemployed and our exploited workers into a political class, aware that their situation is not immutable, and committed to transforming the United States not just back into the depraved caste society of decades past, but into a vehicle for common prosperity, where no citizen goes without food or medicine or shelter and no one is subject to the capricious violence of the upper classes and their laws.

The alternative is defeat, both moral and political. The alternative is barbarism.

Monday, February 20, 2017

In a disgusting sign of the times, white supremacists have landed in New Albany.

No, it isn't the American Vanguard Corporation.

Rather, it's a group briefly referenced in this Southern Poverty Law Center post. Our friend Brandon Smith saw the sheet today on Spring between 3rd and 4th and photographed it. The image appears here with his permission.

On Saturday morning, I saw one of these sheets stuck to David Thrasher's alley art between Spring and Market. Briefly contemplating my traditional free speecherism, I removed it and deposited in the nearest dumpster. Even if racists and white supremacists weren't repulsive, it remains that illegal signs are tantamount to garbage, so by definition, these sheets are garbage.

American Vanguard has a website, but I won't link to it here.

An on-line petition for The Breakaway (Recovery Home for Women).

Earlier today:

If you support the Women's Recovery Center (The Breakaway) at 1514 E. Spring, please e-mail Mr. Padgett and let him know.

There is now an on-line petition, if you wish to register support.

The Breakaway (Recovery Home for Women)

We've started this petition for people in favor of locating our non-profit recovery home at 1514 Spring St. in New Albany Indiana. This area is a mix of residential and commercial properties. We see a need for this recovery home in Floyd and surrounding counties. The Breakaway would house approximately 20 women. A recovery home is a place for addicts and alcoholics to live, work and go through a program lasting 6-9 months to begin a clean, sober life. These women will be building a firm foundation as they make their way back into society as productive members. What we are proposing is a solution to the problem. If you are in favor of the solution please sign our petition.

Thank you

If you support the Women's Recovery Center (The Breakaway) at 1514 E. Spring, please e-mail Mr. Padgett and let him know.

1514 E. Spring Street

Previously, we considered the serpentine way that good ideas sometimes meet.

Thanks to Padgett, a halfway house will front a two-way street. When it comes to social justice, ya gotta start SOMEWHERE.

If you agree with Mr. and Mrs. Confidential that the Women's Recovery Center is a good fit for 1514 East Spring Street, please consider registering your point of view. I assume that the center is to be called Nicole's Place, as previously announced.

(I am now informed that the center is to be renamed The Breakaway, and have edited this post accordingly)

Actual paper petitions are being circulated in support of the Women's Recovery Center (The Breakaway), and I was asked to reproduce one here. I have the Word file on hand, and am perfectly happy to forward it to you, BUT evidently the Plan Commission (?) meeting for preliminary consideration is tomorrow.*

Consequently, the best course of action on short notice is to e-mail your support for collating and presentation.

Just use this handy template and e-mail address: rjpadgett@padgett-inc.com

I am a New Albany resident or business owner in favor of the plan to open a Women’s Recovery Center at 1514 E. Spring Street. It will provide housing and a structured program that is based upon the successful program at The Bliss House, which is a mission of Center For Lay Ministries to facilitate the recovery from addiction for up to twenty two women at a time (maximum occupancy).


* I have not received a Plan Commission e-mailing since late last year. I'm sure it's an inexplicable accident.

Must read: The sooner we start talking about death, the better.

Last Wednesday was "Education Day" for my Leadership Southern Indiana class. What we saw and learned on that day have since been the source of much introspection, and now to book-end the experience is this relatively short piece from yesterday's NYT.

When I was in school, there was very little sex education and no death education. Ultimately we learned by doing, which arguably has more gratifying prospects for sex than death (there are seemingly limitless "do-overs" for the former), and yet this is small consolation when a loved one is approaching the final curtain, and the only tools in our arsenal for reacting to their needs as well as our own are fashioned from memories of heroic hack medical dramas on television.

For those inclined to religious belief, I'll concede that it has a place in the conversation. I'd merely offer that knowing how things work is different from the way they're used.

I've written too much already, so please read this essay and think about these matters. We already know the outcome, which makes the process is even more important.

First, Sex Ed. Then Death Ed. by Jessica Nutik Zitter (New York Times)

FIVE years ago, I taught sex education to my daughter Tessa’s class. Last week, I taught death education to my daughter Sasha’s class. In both cases, I didn’t really want to delegate the task. I wanted my daughters and the other children in the class to know about all of the tricky situations that might await them. I didn’t want anyone mincing words or using euphemisms. Also, there was no one else to do it. And in the case of death ed, no curriculum to do it with ...

 ... I am a doctor who practices both critical and palliative care medicine at a hospital in Oakland, Calif. I love to use my high-tech tools to save lives in the intensive-care unit. But I am also witness to the profound suffering those very same tools can inflict on patients who are approaching the end of life. Too many of our patients die in overmedicalized conditions, where treatments and technologies are used by default, even when they are unlikely to help. Many patients have I.C.U. stays in the days before death that often involve breathing machines, feeding tubes and liquid calories running through those tubes into the stomach. The use of arm restraints to prevent accidental dislodgment of the various tubes and catheters is common.

Down with the Courier-Journal's blue-bag-recycling-hypocrisy. Fact is, it's litter.

Free speech my ass: The Courier-Journal can spin this any way it likes, but it's litter, plain and simple. Why do we allow representatives of the newspaper to trash the city? I'm not sure, but perhaps the city council's forthcoming litter ordinance will take this into consideration.