Thursday, May 31, 2018

The education debate: "Sitting at the heart of it is an ever-present attack (stated or not) on the liberal arts and humanities."

At LEO Weekly, Dr. Ricky L. Jones' hammer finds the center of the nail with, "What Kentucky's education debates are really about."

This is really about the overarching philosophies of a few powerful and elected people in Kentucky and their views on how society should be constructed. Education is not the real core issue. The more cogent interrogation is how particular ideas on education bleed out of those paradigms and fit into a retrograde ideological machine. Let me try to explain by stepping away from one issue and collectively looking at them all from a higher altitude.

Even cursory historical knowledge proves Mr. Bevin has a view of education that is not new. It is a philosophy centering on trade and industrial skills popularized in 19th century America. Sitting at the heart of it is an ever-present attack (stated or not) on the liberal arts and humanities. Such thinkers see them as superfluous. Even though research proves the opposite, Mr. Bevin even argues that college is overrated. If higher education degrees are attained, they should only be in particular areas to elevate chances for life success. For example, he has argued the state really needs “more plumbers and electricians.” By extension, not more historians, philosophers, artists, political scientists or intellectuals. It is a strange approach, indeed, for a man whose college major was East Asian Studies… and became a governor.

Next, as a reminder:

the method and practice of teaching, especially as an academic subject or theoretical concept.

Public intellectuals (not to mention progressives) are about as rare hereabouts as engineering companies without direct deposit into the mayor's campaign finance account. But this is a fine, albeit long, article from a writer unafraid to question public intellectuals and progressives as to what they've been missing in the fight against neoliberalism.

Educated Hope in Dark Times: The Challenge of the Educator-Artist as a Public Intellectual, by Henry A. Giroux (Truth Out)

 ... Reclaiming pedagogy as a form of educated and militant hope begins with the crucial recognition that education is not solely about job training and the production of ethically challenged entrepreneurial subjects and that artistic production does not only have to serve market interests, but are also about matters of civic engagement and literacy, critical thinking, and the capacity for democratic agency, action, and change. It is also inextricably connected to the related issues of power, inclusion, and social responsibility. If young people, artists, and other cultural workers are to develop a deep respect for others, a keen sense of the common good, as well as an informed notion of community engagement, pedagogy must be viewed as a cultural, political, and moral force that provides the knowledge, values, and social relations to make such democratic practices possible. In this instance, pedagogy needs to be rigorous, self-reflective, and committed not to the dead zone of instrumental rationality but to the practice of freedom and liberation for the most vulnerable and oppressed, to a critical sensibility capable of advancing the parameters of knowledge, addressing crucial social issues, and connecting private troubles into public issues. Any viable notion of critical pedagogy must overcome the image of education as purely instrumental, as dead zones of the imagination, and sites of oppressive discipline and imposed conformity.


The crisis of economics and politics in the Trump era has not been matched by a crisis of consciousness and agency. The failure to develop a crisis of consciousness is deeply rooted in a society in that suffers from a plague of atomization, loneliness, and despair. Neoliberalism has undermined any democratic understanding of freedom, limiting its meaning to the dictates of consumerism, hatred of government, and a politics in which the personal is the only emotional referent that matters. Freedom has collapsed into the dark abyss of a vapid and unchecked individualism and in doing so has cancelled out that capacious notion of freedom rooted in bonds of solidarity, compassion, social responsibility, and the bonds of social obligations. The toxic neoliberal combination of unchecked economic growth and its discourse of plundering the earth's resources, coupled with a rabid individualism marked largely by its pathological disdain for community and public values, has weakened democratic pressures, values, and social relations and opened the door for the election of Donald Trump to the American Presidency. This collapse of democratic politics points to an absence in progressive movements and among various types of public intellectuals about how to address the importance of emotional connections among the masses, take seriously how to connect with others through pedagogical tools that demand respect, empathy, a willingness to listen to other stories, and to think seriously about how to change consciousness as an educative task. The latter is particularly important because it speaks to the necessity politically address the challenge of awakening modes of identification coupled with the use of language not merely to demystify but to persuade people that the issues that matter have something to do with their lived realities and daily lives. Pressing the claim for economic and political justice means working hard to develop alternative modes of consciousness, promote the proliferation of democratic public spheres, create the conditions for modes of mass resistance, and make the development of sustainable social movements central to any viable struggle for economic, political, and social justice. No viable democracy can exist without citizens who value and are willing to work towards the common good. That is as much a pedagogical question as it is a political challenge.

LIVE TO EAT: We HEART Vietnam Kitchen.

Kevin does a fine job of capturing the little things that compel us to "love" a restaurant -- the food, the service, the people and their back story.

It's very much worth remembering how the Lam family came to America as immigrants, a tale reminiscent of the one told to me last year by August Moon Chinese Bistro's Mimi Dabbagh when I profiled her for Food & Dining Magazine.

At a time when we're awash in rudeness, narcissism and plain stupidity, it's instructive to consider these examples of the American Dream in practice, not just theory.

Vietnam Kitchen, a ‘favorite restaurant in Louisville,’ turns 25, by Kevin Gibson (Insider Louisville)

 ... If the early years of the restaurant were a bit of a struggle, things are sailing along smoothly now. Lam saved up just enough to buy the restaurant in 1993, they created the best menu and food they knew how, and word of mouth took care of the rest.

“We said, ‘When we open this restaurant, we just have to have enough to buy the restaurant,’” he recalled. “And then we were nervous. ‘Will the people in Louisville know about (Vietnamese) food?’ Then they came over and they loved how good, and they (sent) more people.”

For years, Roger Baylor of New Albany and his wife made it a tradition to dine at Vietnam Kitchen every Thanksgiving and sometimes Christmas. These days, the restaurant is closed on Thanksgiving, so Christmas dinner is now the norm each year.

“Vietnam Kitchen just hits a sweet spot,” said Baylor, who estimates he’s been going there about a dozen years. “It is welcoming, the food is great and the overall value exceptional. You know a restaurant is doing is right when it transcends the crappy strip mall design — shotgun, acoustic ceiling tiles and such — and feels warm and homey even in the cold weather.”

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Newspaper's Morris aims for Gahan's political jugular: "We seem to have a power struggle going on here and the only way to solve it is to have a unified government."

Unity, not uni-gov. Or maybe not unity, either.

Revolt of the stenographers?

If this city-versus-county is a reprise of North and South Korea without nukes, it's hard to decide who is playing the role of Donald Trump, as opposed to Kim Jong-un.


Me thinks a journalist just isolated himself from the politicos, although in fairness, it isn't like the city's governing clique ever intended to confide useful information to him -- or, that there ever was any intention on his part to ask deep and probing questions.

Why is an anchor the new city seal when circled wagons are so much more eloquent?

By the way, the councilman in question is my 3rd district's Greg Phipps.

MORRIS: Stop the bickering and work together, by Chris Morris (Where Tom May Roams)

We have so much here in Floyd County of which to be proud. It's such a beautiful area, and we are just 10 minutes from Louisville, which also has many offerings.

But the best entertainment may be the way New Albany and Floyd County governments go at each other. What was once a few jabs from time to time has turned into a regular free-for-all. It's definitely an US versus THEM mentality.

If you attend city government meetings, or scroll through social media posts, you can tell immediately the perception some have about just how bad county government is and how it is not to be trusted. Recently, a New Albany city councilman even said he would never again agree to enter into an agreement with county government. EVER! It seems like county government is pure evil, only doing things like dumping hazardous materials in the city’s impound lot and elsewhere, and not paying its bills.


We seem to have a power struggle going on here and the only way to solve it is to have a unified government. This county is too small to have two governments not able to work together. We, the taxpayers, don't need duplicated services like two parks departments, two planning and zoning departments and two communication centers. And there is a possibility we will have a city hall separate from the City-County Building.

Unified governments work, cut unnecessary expenses and provide better services for the residents. While there will always be disagreements, there will no longer be the US versus THEM mentality.

It may take a few years, but I think unified governments are the future. There is just not enough tax revenue to go around, and sooner or later the people, who are the voters, will get fed up with all the bickering and lack of cooperation.

Nice building in Providence RI. What's it have to do with Market & Vincennes?

WDRB's Jessica Bard investigates the hitherto unknown "micro-loft" movement, coming soon to a concept being planned for the big hole in the ground at the corner of Market and Vincennes.

Paul Barber, Progressive Land Development partner, said his company plans to build a 50-unit micro-loft apartment complex called the Lancaster Lofts.

“Think about it as the tiny house movement brought to apartment living,” he said.

The early plans show the units are only about 300 square feet. The bed sits in a loft on top of the kitchen in some renderings. Barber said the goal is to get young people living close to downtown for an affordable price, between $500 and $900 per month.

If you're the suspicious type like me, you're wondering why Progressive Land Development chose a building at 131 Washington Street in Providence, Rhode Island to illustrate Lancaster Lofts.

I'm guessing it has something to do with these excerpts from the AS220 web site.

Founded by prolific artist, civic leader, and cultural agitator, Umberto Crenca in 1985, AS220 has developed, owns, and operates three buildings (a total of 100,000 sq ft) in Downtown Providence.

One of the buildings owned by AS220 is the Mercantile Block.

In addition to a wide breadth of public programming and our accomplishments in the realm of urban revitalization, AS220 also provides 60 live and work studios, of which 80% are designated affordable housing. This makes AS220 the leading provider of affordable housing in downtown Providence.

AS220 offers residential and work studios in three buildings: the 115 Empire St Complex, the Dreyfus, on the corner of Mathewson and Washington Street and the Mercantile Block, neighboring the Dreyfus at 131 Washington St. AS220 provides space to artists who seek a diverse, stable and affordable studio environment. The residents of the third floor of Empire Street and the Dreyfus and the Mercantile Block studios are a community of ideas rather than simply a community of tenants.

In short, while it may not be exactly what affordable housing proponents are saying, we all can visualize the approaching photo op: "You wanted affordable housing? Right here it is, at Lancaster Lofts! Come and get some."

And, everyone has to begin including affordable housing in their developments, or so City Hall insists is stipulated in the comprehensive plan.

Micro lofts = affordable housing? This could get interesting.

While you're at it, some vintage Gahan campaign finance, with more surely queued at direct deposit.

Wanna bet the eventual design looks nothing like that building in Providence? But is sure looks good on the evening news.

Sazerac's billions are headed this way, so Deaf Gahan and Dugout are foaming at the mouth and shredding the upholstery.

From the makers of Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey: "The old Pillsbury Plant becomes the new home for Sazerac Company."

High tea, low crumpets, street corner shysters, and an economic development announcement at the former Pillsbury.

From the makers of Fireball Cinnamon Whiskey: "The old Pillsbury Plant becomes the new home for Sazerac Company."

The devil remained firmly within the nooks and crannies of the details, and until we know how much Sazerac's arrival will cost us, prudence is the rule. This noted, Sazerac's investment at the former Pillsbury has the potential to be a good thing.

Let's take a brief look at Sazerac. First, the company.

Sazerac Company, Inc is a privately held American alcoholic beverage company headquartered in Metairie in the metropolitan area of New Orleans, Louisiana, but with its principal office in Louisville, Kentucky.[3] The company is owned by the family of billionaire William Goldring. As of 2017 it operated nine distilleries, had 2,000 employees and operated in 112 countries. It's one of the two largest spirits companies in the U.S. with annual revenue of about $1 billion, made from selling about 300 mostly discount brands.

Then, the chairman of Sazerac, with some insight into the business model.

US cheap-liquor billionaire looks abroad as sales slow

You may not have heard of America's richest spirits billionaire, but odds are you've sipped one of his offerings. Or, more likely, chugged it.

William Goldring, 73, built his empire on a simple model: acquire cheap brands, hype them and then stack them on the bottom shelves of liquor stores across America.

His closely held Sazerac Co has become the country's second-largest distiller by hawking discount brands such as Barton, Mr. Boston and Fleischmann's. You can buy 1.75 liters of each of his seven most popular vodka labels for a total of $80, the same price as one bottle of Absolut's premier-level Elyx.

Enough frat brothers are grabbing plastic bottles of these and Goldring's 300 or so other brands to drive his personal fortune to $3.9 billion, placing him among the world's 500 wealthiest people in the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the first time he's landed in an international wealth ranking.

Goldring is little known outside his native New Orleans where he moves among the charity-circuit elites and has helped fund Tulane University buildings and athletic fields.

He's becoming better known now amid a year-long acquisition binge that's vaulted Sazerac into international competition.

"Bottom-shelf liquors can be tremendously profitable on the bottom line," says Jordan Simon, a New York wine and spirits writer and consultant. "They're cheap to make, cheap to sell and you get a lot of turnover."

Sazerac doesn't disclose its revenue. The figure probably reached $1 billion this year, according to data compiled by Anderson Economic Group. Both the company and Goldring declined to comment for this story.

While Sazerac also owns premium bourbon brands Blanton's, Buffalo Trace and cult favorite Pappy Van Winkle, which commands $500 a bottle or more, most of its money comes from giving unloved brands a profitable rebirth.

Sounds like a perfect fit with Gahanism: Bud Light Lime and the occasional shot of Fireball.

High tea, low crumpets, street corner shysters, and an economic development announcement at the former Pillsbury.

High tea, low crumpets, street corner shysters, and an economic development announcement at the former Pillsbury.

Perhaps a sewer tap-in waiver for the new occupant's executive washroom might do the trick, although someone needs to remind Dear Leader that those New York investment firms have the big bucks because they know when to ignore small-pond shake-downs.

Can't just call them into your office, can you?

'Economic development announcement' planned for Pillsbury plant, by Danielle Grady (CNHI, by way of Tom May's Content Plethora)

NEW ALBANY — An “economic development announcement” is scheduled tomorrow at the old Pillsbury plant in New Albany.

The event will be attended by state and local officials, including the Indiana Economic Development Corp.’s president, Elaine Bedel, according to a media advisory. The IEDC often provides incentives for businesses coming to and expanding in Indiana.

The General Mills plant has been empty since 2016 when it closed, putting about 400 people out of work. Later that year, the facility was bought by two New York investment companies: New Mill Capital Holdings and Tiger Capital Group. The new owners have been marketing the property for a buyer ever since.

In the end, Bill Maher is irrelevant. Read a damn book, will you?

Don't you even start on me. I've had this poster since I was in high school. It is intended as metaphor, suggesting thoughtful repose. 

I watch almost no television of any sort. To me, life is short -- and television is a vaster wasteland than ever. Meanwhile there is writing to do, books to read and plenty of music for inspiration.

It happens that I used to pay sporadic attention to Bill Maher, though his name has appeared at NA Confidential only a handful of times since 2012 or 2013. I'm not certain why I stopped viewing clips of Maher's on social media; perhaps because my social media feeds lean left, and fellow "liberals" decided Maher was kryptonite.

Either way, there's nothing conscious about it, at least on my part. Maher remains entertaining and instructive in my estimation, and at some point, he drifted off my radar. I've probably been busy reading.

Lately I've seen several instances of disavowal on the part of left-leaning friends, and this has provoked a mild curiosity. I do recall charges of Islamophobia; duly noted.

I can't help observing that given our vacuous, late-night, sound-bite culture of skin-deep irrelevance, it's hard to grasp why it matters much. We're getting our news from late night comedians and talk show hosts.

This is the part that should be bothering you.

Why Liberals Need Bill Maher’s Tough Love, by Matt Wilstein (Daily Beast)

Many progressives have written off the ‘Real Time’ host, but his importance to the late-night landscape should not be dismissed.

With the constant barrage of bad news coming out of the White House these days, sometimes it seems like the late-night shows can barely keep up. Night after night, hosts like Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, and Trevor Noah struggle to find what they hope is a unique comedic point of view on the latest Donald Trump outrage.

But in the year and a half since Trump was elected president, Bill Maher has taken a different approach. Yes, there is still plenty of anti-Trump material in his weekly Real Time monologues, but unlike pretty much every other late-night host on TV, he spends almost equal time holding liberals to account.

One of the biggest criticisms of these types of political comedy shows, even before the Trump era, was that they are simply preaching to their like-minded choir. Just as our Facebook pages reinforce the positions we hold dear, our late-night shows do the same. This is part of what has aided The Late Show’s sprint to the top of the ratings race over the past 18 months. Yes, the news is terrifying, but if we can laugh about it with Colbert at the end of the day, maybe things will be OK.

Real Time with Bill Maher has a different effect, and in turn has been alienating liberals more and more in recent months. But perhaps Maher is performing a more important service for Democrats than they realize. Even if his critiques often come off as “This is why Trump won” moralizing, there is value in acknowledging that Republican incompetence does not negate Democratic mistakes ...

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Belated bimonthly roundup of the music playing in my head, March/April Edition.

I'm thankful to you for reading.

There have been 12,787 posts since October, 2004, and while I try to write about topics with some measure of resonance apart from the prerequisites of my own inner world, the blog still functions as a diary at least part of the time. Writing about music probably isn't why you check in, and that's fine. It's something I do for me.

That said, I'm almost a month late in fulfilling my self-directed mandate to regularly summarize the music I've been enjoying, preferably at two-month intervals.

Following is a video sampler of the CDs purchased in March and April. They appear in no particular order, because I'm not organized enough to manage things like chronology.

The Vaccines … Combat Sports

The Decemberists … I’ll Be Your Girl

The Len Price 3 … Nobody Knows

Neon Waltz … Strange Hymns

Gumba Fire: Bubblegum Soul & Synth-Boogie in 1980s South Africa

The Charlatans …Tellin’ Stories (1997)

The Charlatans … Modern Nature (2015)

Travis ... Where You Stand (2013)

Of these, Combat Sports is my favorite, with the three-year-old Modern Nature finishing second. Both proved to be ear worms, and Combat Sports probably will place highly in the year's end Top-Something list. The songs are short, snappy and melodic, with traces of the Kaiser Chiefs.

One of my goals for the year in music, 2018, is to relax and allow myself to follow the passing butterfly. New releases were of spotty interest for me in March and April, so I did something I rarely do and indulged in a few "classic rock" tangents and digressions.


The 20th anniversary of Bring It On, the first album released by the British band Gomez, came on April 13. I celebrated by listening to all of Gomez' albums. After an extended seven-year hiatus, it seems the group might be going back into the studios. This makes me happy.

Another anniversary (the 40th) of Van Halen's debut album in 1978 had me thinking, and it appears my position has evolved. I wasn't a fan of the band's David Lee Roth era, which ended in 1985. However, I liked Van Hagar. Now, with greater distance, I can see how groundbreaking and revolutionary the early material really was; not just Eddie's guitar, but the sound and attitude, too.

To be sure, Sammy Hagar -- he's 70 years old now -- remains a rock and roll everyman, and an enduring performer to be appreciated. As for Van Halen's mercifully brief third aggregation, my annual listen to the horrid Van Halen III has confirmed that after 20 years, it hasn't gotten any better.

In early April, I accompanied my wife to her appointment for dental work, taking along a book and enjoying a couple of hours of reading.

Unfortunately, the Sirius channel of choice in the waiting room was devoted entirely to Top 40 hit songs of the 1970s, like "Afternoon Delight" and "The Night Chicago Died." Several Bee Gees songs also were aired; at the dentist, as during high school, this band was inescapable. I subsequently retreated to YouTube to give a few Bee Gees hits a second listen.

It's hard to do, but if you can ignore the clothes and wash the palate clean of pop culture at the time and focus on the music, it's far better than I ever thought. The singing, songwriting and production are stellar. Pop music after the Beatles seldom witnessed such an epic, unholy roll as the Bee Gees enjoyed at the band's peak. Here's my favorite song, which was released in 1975 just before the tsunami. You never heard the lovely bridge on the radio; it got chopped.

"Play some Skynyrd," crooned John Eddie back in '03, and of course he was referring to "Free Bird" and "Sweet Home Alabama," among other memorable songs from Lynyrd Skynyrd's heyday in the 70s. Everyone knows about the plane crash in 1977, which put a premature end to the juggernaut, killing singer and principal songwriter Ronnie Van Zant.

Lynyrd Skynyrd later reformed, and has been on the road as a working band for decades, stocked by an ever shrinking number of plane crash survivors until now only guitarist Gary Rossington remains. Nothing against the reconstituted Skynyrd, which in its second life became something the same and yet far different, because it's hard to imagine Ronnie Van Zant devolving into parody, like Charlie Daniels.

This prompts a question: exactly what is Lynyrd Skynyrd, and at what point does it cease being so? The farewell tour is underway, and along with the many other summer touring announcements coming in March and April, another rabbit hole opens.


Lindsey Buckingham's departure from Fleetwood Mac may or may not be noticed by a majority of the ticket-buying fillers of arena seats, but for the pundit class, it ignited all sorts of commentary along the lines of when, if at all, an aging band's replacement parts render it no longer original enough to pass muster.

The discussion is interesting, and ultimately ridiculous. Obsessive true believers like me always have been outnumbered 10-1 or greater by casual thrill-seekers, and so it will remain forever more. In music, you're whatever you say you are, until people stop paying you. Then it changes.

The received wisdom is that older rock and pop artists still possessing the clout and back catalog to fill venues are referred to as "legacy" or "heritage" acts; few fans attend their shows for the purpose of hearing what they've recorded lately, but expect to hear the hits. Because the business model has been flipped, and performance is the money-maker, the hits are what these audiences are sure to hear.

The subtleties quickly become immersed in contradiction. To even casual fan, Buckingham and Stevie Nicks might seem integral to Fleetwood Mac, and yet the band began as a hardcore blues outfit featuring guitarist Peter Green, and it has taken a variety of shapes with various musicians before (and since) Buckingham and Nick first joined.

And, Buckingham left once before.

There are no original members in the band Blood, Sweat & Tears, currently touring with American Idol contestant Bo Bice as vocalist in the job made famous by David Clayton-Thomas. However, Clayton-Thomas wasn't the band's original singer; he came aboard after the group's debut release.

Former singer Clayton-Thomas is 76 years of age and Bice is 43, and therein lies an important lesson, because it comes down to money, as in any business, and if many musical aggregations can plausibly say it's all about the style of music paying customers want, and the songs they want to hear, then it's of less importance who performs it.

Granted, there are on-off talents that cannot be replaced, like Jimi Hendrix, but at the same time, if people will turn out to hear passable renditions, then capitalism will provide them.

Accordingly, tribute bands have changed the world. Journey famously plucked singer Arnel Pineda from the Philippines via the internet. Current Chicago tenor Neil Donnell, the guy singing Peter Cetera's and Jason Scheff's songs, was a member of a Chicago tribute band in Canada.

KISS speaks of keeping the band alive with no original members at all, and Robert Lamm of Chicago confided similar thoughts to a journalist, and if this makes no sense to you, allow me to observe that in the past few years, I've seen multiple shows by the Glenn Miller Orchestra and the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, neither of which might possibly have "original" members any younger than about 95 years of age.

Miller famously died in WWII, and neither Dorsey brother made it to the 1960s, and yet there's nothing stopping musicians fresh out of college, as well as older players happy to have a regular gig, from performing Swing Era arrangements. The precise experience may not be the same. If you close your eyes, it's also not tremendously different. Symphony orchestras have been doing it since Beethoven was still alive.

As age-depleted rock legacy bands and their tribute bands become one and the same, the chief considerations are legalities: who retains the rights?

Once the lawyers are happy, it's all about selling tickets.


Another musical post from April, and the previous roundup:

Apologies for this rock-pop digression into my British musical tastes.

Roger's Year in Music, 2018: The onset of a bimonthly roundup of the music playing in my head (January/February).

Jeff Gahan's Money Machine: Donor Pat Harrison owns the "defiled" impound lot, so we're witnessing artfully scripted (and remunerative) outrage from Dear Leader.

Far fetched?

Maybe. The Green Mouse takes what he can get. At the same time, with all the cash changing hands, perhaps Occam's Razor is right, and the simpler answer is better: the joys of public service are a stretch, so it's all about the money.

It happened that last week, renowned local realtor and rental property owner Pat Harrison's name was dropped within the Courier Journal's coverage of Floyd County's surreptitious cinder/coal ash disposal.

Following up: "An Indiana county is paying a steep price for burying toxic coal ash." That's us, folks.

Since 1998 Harrison has been the owner of the land off IN-111, upon which the impound lot began operations in 2009.

More, recently, when the decade-old coal ash poo hit the fan, Mayor Jeff Gahan promptly utilized Harrison's property as a stage prop in another political grandstand play, in the process indiscriminately blaming his own political party members in county government for polluting a patch -- and under the bus they merrily went, rolling and tumbling.

Odd, but Jeff Gahan uses "his" city government Facebook page to attack fellow DemoDisneyDixiecrat Chuck Freiberger for illegal coal ash dumping.

(Note to Democratic Party members: Even YOU aren't safe from the megalomania. Unless you're called Warren Nash, your turn at the show trial is coming so long as Dear Leader reckons the sacrifice will benefit him.)

From Grace Schneider's CJ coverage about the coal ash disposal:

In late 2008, Floyd’s highway department had a huge black mound at its works yard on Ind. 64 in Georgetown, hauled there for free from University of Louisville Hospital's coal plant near downtown Louisville. In rainy weather, black residue washed off the pile and into a nearby creek, so the county was told to get rid of the stockpile, former highway superintendent Ron Quakenbush said.

A few neighboring counties came and took truckloads, then more went to C.C.E., a contractor grading land on Ind. 111 in New Albany for real estate agent and owner Pat Harrison.

By the way, C.C.E.'s Jeff Eastridge, himself once beset by continuous allegations of polluting, flipped the land for Silver Street Park to NA several years ago. He then hopped aboard Team Gahan's "preferred contractor" list.

Another Gahan campaign donor, Bennett's Towing, obviously services the impound lot along with other wrecker companies. 

To Gahan campaign , 2015.
To Gahan campaign, 2017.

Ah, but perhaps Bennett's is on the donor list because it occupies desired property adjacent to the future city parks department unit by the river, more land to be taken off the tax rolls, which currently is owned by the heirs of QRC Recycling's founder Tim Janson, who died last year.

This $2.5 million parkland acquisition is supposed to be finalized any day now, and it has been long rumored that the city would use the opportunity to buy out Bennett's, just as long as the overheated bunker printing press keeps churning out Ben Franklins. 

Getting back to coal ash and the impound lot, the Green Mouse reports that Harrison is standing firm in the face of pressure from the county's operatives.

Seems Harrison will not sign the letter Floyd County's legal counsel wants her to sign before they'll clean up the impound lot. They want her to say she knew what was being dumped on her land. But she didn't know. She has a good case and a lawyer. You think they'd be smarter then that.

Given the caliber of the operatives involved in the coal ash disposal operation, whose fictional equivalents worked with Mr. Haney on television's Green Acres, it certainly seems possible that Harrison knew nothing about it. 

There's isn't any way of knowing, so let's go back in time to recall a far juicier topic, in March of 2016, when Harrison surprisingly threw her community pillar's weight behind Gahan's tepid rental property registration ordinance.

Given Harrison's past characterization of even the most milquetoast of rental property reform ideas as emanating from Nazi stormtroopers (or as intentionally misspelled, Stromtroopers), the city council gallery was shocked to hear her singing the praises of Dear Leader.

Except perhaps it makes sense, after all. There's this:


And, in addition, nothing further has occurred since 2016 to encourage the alleged second step of inspecting rental properties -- and neither will it, seeing as we're less than a year away from the 2018 primaries. I'd say Harrison lost a battle to win the war.

Gahan's not touching inspections unless the AdamBot comes up with evidence it might further the prospects for his re-election campaign, and the mayor can count on the usual Sycophantic Shuffle, with council members like Phipps and Caesar remaining mum if directed by Big Daddy G.

In retrospect, Harrison's 2016 rental registration arc likely was telegraphed well in advance, and there's no reason to doubt she's reading from Gahan's coal ash script again in 2018, when any conceivable points to be scored by the otherwise environmentally disinterested Gahan will be coming straight from the hide of future mayoral candidate (and current commissioner) Mark Seabrook. 

Scoring political points and lubricating them with campaign finance grease?

That's something the Genius of the Flood Plain can really get behind. 


March 8, 2016 Analysis: Gahan and the rental ordinance, or the emasculation of the once-powerful Oz.

As time merits, there'll be more to say about last evening's council epic, but for the moment a few plain facts should suffice.

On Monday morning, for the first time in 50 months as mayor, Mayor Jeff Gahan timorously placed a quivering toe in the water, and the minimum required number of chips on the table, and released an awkward statement in support of rental property registration, inspection and enforcement -- something he had studiously avoided mentioning throughout his 2015 campaign for re-election.

BOMBSHELL: Citywide confusion as Mayor Jeff Gahan is abducted by space alien impostor, who promptly takes public "pro" stand on rental property ordinance.

Once the council meeting began, shepherds in far-off Patagonia felt the seismic shock when Pat Harrison, inveterate opponent of such intrusive measures, not only endorsed the rental property ordinance and appealed to the many rental owners in the room to unite around it, but refrained from using the word "Gestapo" for the first time in living memory.

Pat Harrison's Slumlord Uprising of 2008, 6/6: "Endangered Slumlord Protection Act? Local rental property mogul and realtor cites a 'pitiful' absence of tax breaks."

The rental owners responded by gazing upon the figure of Harrison much in the fashion of Trump rally attendees when the lone minority protester dares speak apostasy aloud, and set about angrily voicing their perennial objections to being compelled to follow the same general regulations as the remainder of the city's business community.

An hour and a half later, after a brief diversion to New Albany's never-ending stormwater drainage problems (also never mentioned during last year's campaign), it came time for the mayor to speak.

Of course, such was the epochal importance of the occasion -- Gahan referred to the rental ordinance as a "must" --  that the mayor yet again failed to attend, thus missing the chance to confront dissenting property owners face to face, and sending customary surrogate Mike Hall in his stead. Hall read the mayor's statement, which he likely wrote in the first place. Proponents surely felt deflated. If not now, when?

Dant Chesser hits the Gahan ATM and solves the oligarchs' RDA funding puzzle.

Cue the testimonial ...

The friendly people at Bank of Gahan are happy to help you with financial planning. 

Of course, if you have to ask about interest payments, you probably can't afford them, but Bank of Gahan specializes in easy payment plans with maximum liquidity of campaign finance collateral. 

Bank of Gahan has funded projects large and small, from aquatic centers without a paper trail to the serial harassment of street department employees. 

Bank of Gahan's motto is a promise to you: "It's why we're here."

Enjoy tonight's special feature, presented by Mayor Jeff Gahan and the Bank of Gahan: "Wendy, Make Up Your Mind" (and do your RDA banking with us).

The story begins in a back room ...

Regional Development Authority needs funding before it can plan projects, by Danielle Grady (Omnibus Tom May)

JEFFERSONVILLE — Project ideas at the fifth meeting for Southern Indiana’s Regional Development Authority ranged from region-wide rural internet access to a $40 million road from the Clark Regional Airport to River Ridge Commerce Center.

But the Our Southern Indiana RDA, which was formed at the beginning of the year to facilitate economic development projects in Clark, Floyd, Scott, Washington and Jefferson counties, isn’t in a position to start adopting any of those suggestions. Yet.

Before any formal project ideas are sent to the state for its consideration, funding is needed to create a plan.

Seems the pillars are skint, so they're spending their time brainstorming.

Southern Indiana’s RDA has made positive progress in its first four months, said Dana Huber, the vice president of marketing and public relations at Huber’s Orchard and Winery and Clark County’s representative on the development authority’s board of directors. (Each participating county has its own advocate on the board).

Due to a lack of funding, however, the board has been limited to enacting processes and procedures and — as its members did on Monday in the Clark County Courthouse’s council chambers — discussing ideas that they might want to focus on when planning time finally comes around. That’s been a little challenging at times for the board, which is comprised of business leaders who are used to attaching to ideas and running with them immediately, said Huber. But it hasn’t been overwhelmingly difficult.

“I think the progress has been good,” Huber said. “I think we will feel better, the RDA team will feel better, once we’ve attached our brand to a timeline and some potential projects that will [make an] impact.”

The RDA does know that it wants its projects to impact the region — not just one city or county.

So, naturally, the first round of ideas are restricted (yet again) to Clark County, and reference no clue whatever that truly "regional" needs might just involve things like getting workers to jobs without always having to drive.

The RDA also invited Clark County Commissioners President Jack Coffman to propose a few projects that would benefit the area at the Monday meeting. His suggestions included the aforementioned internet access and road to the airport, as well as the heavy haul road connecting River Ridge, Interstate 265 and the Port of Indiana-Jeffersonville.

The question can't be evaded: If the RDAs are to be useful at all, and if needs truly are regional, is there any chance that the same old suspects might be compelled to think in a future tense, as a part from One Southern Indiana's Econ Dev 101 template?

Monday, May 28, 2018

I've been photographing my poster collection, and I am completely exhausted.

Joe "Pints&union" Phillips and I have chatted quite a lot about pub decor. I mentioned to him that I had lots of posters, wall hangings, items that might be framed, and all-purpose bric-a-brac for attaching to walls.

My famous last words: "I'll just take photos of them and we can see what's there."

As the young folks say, OMG.

After ten days I'm well north of 250, and maybe halfway through the boxes and storage areas. Probably 100 more still adorn the Public House, and another 100 here at home ... dozens more banker's boxes in the basement ... 15,000 photos ... and right now, I can hear my mother saying, "if you'd only been like me and kept track, labeling and dating everything."

If only. She was a machine, and I suppose a few hours of my life that might have been devoted to archival rendering were instead occupied drinking beer. So it goes, but she was right.

You're invited to browse the albums at Facebook. Following (and above) are a few favorites.