Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Sam is stepping away from Sam's, but the institution abides with new ownership.

Photo from Payne-Koehler Road in 1980, with
the Fourth Dam Tavern (future Sam's) on the left.

Sam Anderson is stepping away from the restaurant biz. Below you'll find the local chain newspaper's coverage.

Sam as an individual and Sam's as a bar/restaurant are iconic institutions in New Albany. "Legend" is overused, but entirely appropriate in this instance. How many local eateries have been in business for the better part of 37 years under the same name and ownership? Sam is the link between the Lancaster's and South Side of old, and the explosion of new dining and drinking establishments today.

I believe the footprint of the original Sam's now lies beneath asphalt near the intersection of Charlestown Road and Blackiston Mill Road. In olden times it was called Kamer's Tavern, then became Fourth Dam Tavern for a very long period. It's what the business was called when I attended university at IU Southeast.

It will suffice to say that the Fourth Dam Tavern was a dive in the old-school sense, not at all cuddly in the contemporary parlance. The door on the Blackiston Mill Road side, which was used by customers, was less than a sidewalk's length from passing cars. It was insane.

I turned 21 in 1981, which proved briefly embarrassing when revealed to staffers in the joints where I already was a regular. Around the same time Fourth Dam Tavern closed, and the new owner remodeled it into a German-themed eatery (no joke) called the Gasthaus. The redesign includes stucco and exterior murals of Bavarian scenes, pained by a local artist Rene Delisle, who died in 2002.

Gasthaus lasted maybe two years, and was followed by a short-lived bar and grill called Ye Olde Mill Inn. Then in early 1984 came Sam's.

Friends of mine knew Sam from high school, and we all became immediate barflies. This will come as a shock to some, but one of the beers Sam kept around for us was Michelob Classic Dark in bottles. We drank the living hell out of that one, along with St. Pauli Girl, Beck's and (yes) draft swill when money was tight.

Sam's under Sam was an institution. Let's hope it stays that way under the news owners -- and, by the way, the fire at the original location of Sam's was in December 2013, not 2014. Minor point, I know. The reason I remember is that is happened right before Christmas.

Sam's Food & Spirits founder stepping away from business, by John Boyle (News&Bune)

After nearly four decades, Sam Anderson is selling his namesake restaurant, which has been a part of the Floyd County community since opening in 1984.

Welcome to the Twilight Zone and "Russian experiments in life after death."





Photos: Lenin's Mausoleum, 1989, from my collection. Indoor photography was not allowed, to put it mildly.

If it's really strange reading you're looking for, may I suggest this review in The Nation of a book by Anya Bernstein called The Future of Immortality: Life and Death in Contemporary Russia. The review begins with cryogenics and then really leaves the tracks.

The Collective Body: Russian experiments in life after death, by Sophie Pinkham

... This practice (of life-extending blood transfusions) has its origins in a truly utopian and egalitarian, if even more biologically suspect, experiment. Aleksandr Bogdanov, a prominent early Bolshevik and science fiction writer, investigated the rejuvenating properties of blood transfusions in the 1920s, though he soon died after exchanging blood with a tubercular student. As anthropologist Anya Bernstein discusses in The Future of Immortality: Remaking Life and Death in Contemporary Russia, Bogdanov’s hope was not merely to prolong the lives of individuals; he envisioned a sanguine communism in which all were granted an equal share of society’s collective health through blood exchanges.

You only thought you knew why the USSR failed.

“All social doctrines … all the social utopias humanity has tried to achieve have stumbled up against the short-breathedness of man,” (Anastasia) Gacheva tells the crowd. “The utopias stumbled on man’s deepest misfortune, which is his mortality. Mortal man cannot be made happy. This is why communism did not succeed.” Needless to say, this is a novel diagnosis of communism’s failure. It wasn’t the command economy, the Cold War, or growing popular resistance that brought the Soviet Union down but rather the failure to achieve eternal life. Until all people unite in the common cause—the struggle against death—the world will be rife with conflict, whether or not the state professes itself a utopia.

I'm headed back to reread this essay, this time with a couple belts of vodka.

BEER WITH A SOCIALIST: The most recent ATC amendments to the previously recent carryout alcohol amendments.


One of the unforeseen side effects of traditional phone books going the way of the dodo and Edsel is that I'm precluded from using the image to illustrate Indiana's ridiculously huge collection of statutes pertaining to beverage alcohol.

Still, I'll mildly note that phone books are as obsolete as Indiana's approach to beverage alcohol regulation.

This is no fault whatever of the Indiana Alcohol and Tobacco Commission (ATC). Politicians erect an edifice of laws pertaining to beverage alcohol (and more significantly, taxation), and the ATC acts as the special police unit to enforce these statutes. Often the ATC is compelled to adjudicate weirdly conflicting statutes.

The commission is by no means perfect; its own interpretations clash at times, and as with any entrenched bureaucracy, there are those who consider themselves as priestly guardians of the Latin Mass, with no intention of seeing it translated into the vernacular at the risk of common people comprehending it.

In the main, I've found the ATC to be pleasant and helpful. Most of the complaints permit holders have about Indiana's bewilderingly complex alcoholic beverage laws are better directed to the state legislature, where the sausage is made.

But what of Dry-Sausaged Pastry IPA in our time of COVID-19?

Those of us in the food and drink business who derive sustenance from the sale of alcoholic beverages on-premise initially were kneecapped by COVID-19 curve-flattening measures that included prohibition for drinking on site. Governor Holcomb responded quickly by loosening age-old alcoholic beverage carryout rules (they vary by permit type), if nothing else allowing us to deplete inventory (read: ballast) while trying to find a channel for safe navigation amid these treacherous waters.

It's only been nine days since the governor revised the playbook, and the ATC has been defining and redefining the details ever since. It simply cannot be easy for the commission to relax its own time-honored enforcement mechanisms during the current crisis, but they're grinding it out. 

Over the weekend State Representative Ed Clere brought to my attention another of these ATC modifications to the governor's temporary changes -- or, "Amended Rules under Executive Order 20-05."

I called the ATC's District 4 office in Seymour to verify what I thought I was reading, and received confirmation:

Amended Floorplans
The Chairman orders 905 IAC 1-41-2(e) temporarily suspended to the extent that it does not include areas where alcohol is sold to a person located in an area for pick up immediately adjacent to the licensed premises. The Chairman further orders that all licensed premises are automatically extended to include the areas where alcohol is sold to a person located in an area for pick up immediately adjacent to the licensed premises, including a parking lot area for vehicles.

Carryout of Alcoholic Beverages at Clubs
The Chairman has temporarily suspended the provisions of 905 Indiana Administrative Code 1-13-3 to the extent it requires alcoholic beverages to be consumed on-premises, thereby allowing holders of club permits to sell alcoholic beverages for carryout consumption.

This means that licensed establishments now given a temporary dispensation to serve carryout alcoholic beverages can include these with the food when employees literally carry out the bags to customers waiting outside, most often in their cars. Customers needn't come inside any longer to get their alcoholic beverages, which the commission realized would defeat the broad purpose of curbside service.

Because the ATC's fundamental mechanism for regulating licensed establishments is the floor plan, the commission's temporary point of view is that floor plans now extend outside the building to the closest parking spaces where curbside customers await their orders. These might be the first row of parking spaces nearest the door at The Exchange's parking lot, or the street spaces nearest the entrance at Pints&union. It's my belief that as long as an establishment's curbside service plan of operation is direct and sensible, there'll be no issues.

Interestingly, yesterday the ATC released another "battlefield revision."

March 30th, 2020: Parking Lot Restaurants / Tailgating
The Governor’s executive order prohibits in person dining services, including service to vehicles for in person dining. The Governor’s Executive Orders are designed to eliminate large gatherings and maintain social distancing. Parking lot restaurants will be considered a violation of the Governor’s Executive Orders and will be treated accordingly.

"Parking lot restaurants" cannot be the same thing as someone hitting the drive-through at Rally's and parking while consuming burgers. Better that than driving while eating.

Rather, it seems to suggest that somewhere in Indiana, a food service establishment in search of loopholes decided to begin "waiting" on individuals in cars the way they'd do so at tables -- and that's a no-no.

The moral of the story? I'm actually quite hesitant to offer one. Interpretations and reinterpretations will continue through the duration of the special/temporary regulatory period, for as long as the coronavirus emergency persists.

And THAT might be a while.

Monday, March 30, 2020

"The coronavirus crisis has revealed the fragility of a system built on decades of financialisation and globalisation."

Photo credit: The Independent.

Excellent magazine, equally fine article.

Tribune is a democratic socialist political journalism founded in 1937 and published in London. While it is independent, it has usually supported the Labour Party from the left. From 2009 to 2018, it faced serious financial difficulties until it was purchased by Jacobin in late 2018, shifting to a quarterly publication model.

Tear it down.

Coronavirus Has Exposed Capitalism’s Weaknesses, by Costas Lapavitsas

The coronavirus crisis has revealed the fragility of a system built on decades of financialisation and globalisation – but the task for the Left is to offer a real alternative, argues Costas Lapavitsas.

The coronavirus crisis represents a critical moment in the development of contemporary capitalism. To be sure, the crisis has longer to run — and its full impact on the USA, the EU, China, Japan and developing countries remains to be seen. But there is no doubt that it has posed the threat of a massive depression across the world economy. The systemic failures of financialisation and globalisation were starkly revealed by the public health emergency, and the state has become ever more implicated in sustaining this failing system. However, the character of its interventions give no reason to think that there will be a transformation at the top of the political and social hierarchy resulting in policies that favour the interests of working people.

The US government’s decision massively to augment its deficit — and thus its borrowing — while simultaneously expanding the supply of money and driving interest rates to zero, is essentially the same as after 2007–9. Even if a depression is avoided, the medium-term results are also likely to be the same, since the underlying weakness of capitalist accumulation is not confronted. But there will certainly be political contradictions arising from defending the neoliberal order, not least given the demonstration of nation states’ power to intervene in the economy. These will be particularly important in the EU, where the fiscal and health emergency response to the crisis has so far come from individual nation-states rather than the collective institutions.

Casting a harsh light on the inadequacies of neoliberal capitalism, this crisis has directly posed the issue of democratic reorganisation of both economy and society in the interests of workers. There is an urgent need to confront the chaos of globalisation and financialisation by putting forth concrete radical proposals. That also requires forms of organisation capable of altering the social and political balance in favor of working people.

The pandemic has brought to the fore vital issues of social transformation. It has vividly illustrated the imperative of having a public health system that is rationally organised and capable of dealing with epidemic shocks. It has also posed the urgent need for solidarity, communal action, and public policies to support workers and the poorest faced with lockdowns, unemployment, and economic collapse.

More broadly, it has reasserted the historic need to confront a declining system that is locked in its own absurdities. Unable rationally to transform itself, globalised and financialised capitalism instead keeps resorting to ever-greater doses of the same, disastrous, palliatives. The first requirement, in this respect, is to defend democratic rights from a threatening state and insist that working people have a powerful say in all decision making. Only on this basis could radical alternatives be proposed, including large-scale measures such as designing industrial policy to address the weakness of production, facilitating a green transition, dealing with income and wealth inequalities, and confronting financialisation by creating public financial institutions.

The coronavirus crisis has already transformed the terms of political struggle — and socialists must urgently respond.

BOOKS OF MY LIFE: "The Botanist and the Vintner," by Christy Campbell.

I'm the beer guy, not the wine guy, but this shouldn't be interpreted to suggest that wine doesn't interest me.

It's just that I keep my wine knowledge casual, the easier to enjoy it without the obligations and annoyances of expertise. Rather, if the wine tastes good to me, then it's good wine.

Disclaimers aside, I've always known a little bit about the European wine blight of the 19th century, when an aphid native to the Americas called phylloxera hitched a ride across the Atlantic to France on those newfangled steamships and began (a) feasting on the roots of grape vines, and (b) multiplying rapidly, coming close to destroying the wine industry on the continent in the process.

I'm almost finished reading The Botanist and the Vintner: How Wine Was Saved for the World, by Christy Campbell, a British writer who tells the gripping story of the phylloxera invasion and chronicles the many years required for scientists to gather sufficient information to devise a strategy for repelling the aphid: rootstock from American vines, which enjoy a degree of evolutionary immunity to the pest. These eventually were grafted with native European vines (programs of hybridization also were pursued), reversing the tide. 

Science hasn't ever been my gig, but I'd like to think that I know how to appreciate good writing on almost any topic, and this certainly is an example. The book reads like military history grafted onto a detective story, with plenty of human foibles as part of the bargain and even a hero or three.
  
This review is from 2008, and it's superb. Thumbing through the blog from whence it comes, it's also fascinating. The whole review is reprinted here, but it seems to me that wine lovers should click through and check out Vinography.

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Book Review: The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell, reviewed by Ader (Vinography)

They say those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, but many of the events of the past were so dependent upon the knowledge of the times, that there is simply no way they could ever occur again. Indeed, those of us who are alive today take certain moments in history for granted, precisely because our modern experience blinds us to the extent of the crisis that these events most certainly represented at the time.

Such is the case for the modern wine lover, who enjoys a bottle with the carefree ignorance that there was a period of time when, had things not gone quite right, civilization may have lost wine forever.

The date was 1862, just three years after the publishing of Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, and the people of Western Europe were just weaning themselves off of some of their more fanciful suppositions about the way the world worked. Many of the complexities of biology and botany were still shrouded in mystery (thankfully bloodletting had been abandoned by this point), which meant that the unfortunate vignerons of France were completely unprepared to deal with the utter devastation about to be wrought upon them in the form of an unusually diabolical insect that would come to be known as phylloxera vastatrix.

Christy Campbell's The Botanist and the Vintner: How Wine Was Saved for the World, recounts in vivid detail the events that would unfold over the following forty years as France, and soon the rest of the wine regions of Europe, grappled with a foe they could hardly see, let alone understand. These events, and the various personalities that emerged to both explain and do battle with the insect that would eventually kill nearly every single grape vine in continental Europe make for an epic drama that is as fascinating as it is important for our understanding of the wine that we enjoy even today.

A single glance at the bibliography and footnotes of Campbell's impeccably researched book demonstrates the sheer accomplishment this narrative represents. For no other reason than the author's ability to puzzle out the precise sequence of events that began with a parcel of just a few American grapevines planted in the backyard of a French nursery and ends four decades later with a scene of devastation worthy of Hollywood's best, the book would be a triumph of scholarship. But Campbell has managed to do more than simply connect the faded dots of correspondence and news stories across two centuries and several continental wars. The Botanist and the Vintner brings to life the enormity of the struggle, confusion, and desperation of a continent that is forced to watch its treasured wine industry literally wither on the vine, as well as the exhausted relief (or continued denial) of a people who finally find a solution.

With elegant and vivid prose, Campbell does an admirable job of constructing a real narrative out of what were doubtless a quagmire of confused, frantic, and altogether chaotic communications between and among the many players in this turn-of-the-century drama. At times, however, the thread that connects the several botanists and the many vintners gets lost amongst the jumbled events of the times. I emerged from the reverie of the compelling story not knowing exactly which of the several heroes did what, or about when they did it, but that hardly matters. Neither the strength of the story nor the quality of the book hang on a precise reconstruction of the relationships and actions of the characters, as the plot remains inexorably clear, and compelling, from ignorance to devastation to rebirth.

It's the devastation, and the way that so many tried to deal with it that proves to be some of the most fascinating and entertaining stuff of the book. The farmers of France do battle with their adversary as best they can, and it's hard not to feel empathy for a people fighting an enemy that is practically invisible to them, not to mention so utterly complex and sophisticated in its biology that it might as well be an advanced alien race. A member of the aphid family, Phylloxera has a lifecycle so complex it is difficult to understand even today. It manifests in roughly 10 different forms throughout its cycle, including eggs, larvae, winged, non-winged asexual, non-winged sexual, aboveground crawlers, belowground crawlers, and more. Capable of reproducing on the scale of billions within just a few months, it is the ultimate vine killing machine.

Its many forms and sheer ferocity drove French winegrowers (as well as many entrepreneurial souls) to devise the most amazing, and sometimes hilarious, variety of attacks against the insect: hazel-branch crosses gilded with flowers and prayers to ancient gods; roots drenched with white wine; toads should be buried near the blighted vines; strong smelling plants should be planted as cover crops; leaves should be doused with cow's urine, copper sulfate, powdered tobacco or walnut leaves; whale oil and petrol should be applied to the roots; hot sealing wax on the leaves; crushed bone and sulphuric acid on the ground; moles, crayfish, magnetism, "electrical commotions"; and countless other "miracle cures."

In the end, the scientific method and deductions using Darwin's new principles lead to the grafting of traditional French grape varieties onto American rootstocks that have evolved resistance to the insect, and the world's wine industry can breathe a sigh of relief. The happy ending leaves the reader marveling at the perseverance and ingenuity of the many protagonists of the times, but also at the fact that they succeeded at all. This is one of those few books about wine that nearly anyone can enjoy, just as it easily deepens a wine lovers appreciation for the source of their passion.

After meeting with himself by fax, Gahan suspends curbside street sweeping until further notice.


This morning we joined the 5th district councilman in asking the Bored of Works, "Whither the useless street sweeper in this age of the pandemic?"

ASK THE BORED (IN EXILE): It appears that street sweeping is suspended through April 7, although it should be eliminated altogether.


As if on cue, the administration unleashed previously withheld common sense, probably imported from an Indianapolis legal firm via Skype. The communications director must have blisters on his fingers. There have been more press releases in the past two weeks than during the last eight years.

Well, at least it can be done from home, via carrier pigeon. Social distancing is second nature to an agoraphobic.

CURBSIDE STREET SWEEPING Suspended Until Further Notice: With people being asked to follow the Governor’s Stay-at-Home order, more cars than ever are parked on city streets. Due to this, curbside street sweeping will be suspended until further notice so that residents do not have to worry about moving their cars. The city will resume this important service at a later date.

Oh, oh, oh ... it's magic, you know. Never believe it's not so.

It's magic, you know.

ASK THE BORED (IN EXILE): It appears that street sweeping is suspended through April 7, although it should be eliminated altogether.

From a thousand years ago ... or 2015.

Word has come via 5th district councilman Josh Turner: "No street sweeping through April 7th and subject to change."

Thanks for asking, Josh. After all, the Bored of Works hadn't gotten around to the press release.

This brief suspension of inanity is pleasant enough, given the strange new world of coronavirus containment. Should residents being urged to stay inside also be compelled to go outside and move their cars?

In spite of Mayor Gahan's ongoing efforts to purge learning in favor of the alphabet according to HWC Engineering, words do have meanings, ideas actually matter, and in New Albany street “sweeping” hasn't ever been an issue of cleanliness.

Rather, it is a political hypocrisy issue, fully exposing this city’s historic tendency not only to tolerate selective law enforcement, but to double down, institutionalize and celebrate it as a civic birthright.

A few years back Bluegill perfectly summarized the prevailing idiocy:

A wasteful program is getting more wasteful. As a Midtown resident. I wish they'd stop rather than expand. This is a parking ticket revenue grab, hounding locals for cash while truckers and other passers through speed by unhindered. We're continually told the city can't afford this or that but we can always afford to pay people to ride around in circles all day writing ridiculously expensive tickets to residents. They even write them when the sweeper isn't sweeping, when people have blocked absolutely nothing. It's a joke.

To repeat with clarity: street “sweeping” should not be expanded. It should be ended. The physical process of “sweeping” is largely futile, and there is no United Nations storm water “law” stipulating dust cloud creation as a workable corrective to anything. Genuine drainage impediments like leaves and garbage barely are addressed by “sweeping.”

Bluegill again:

We'd be better off spending the time and money on drain cleaning and waterway improvements. Instead, the City has chosen the least effective (but most profitable) system to expand.

However, when it comes to profitability and effectiveness, the most profound outrage of all is that parking regulations supposedly applying to all city residents are enforced in some instances, as during street “sweeping,” and not in others, as in the entirety of the historic downtown business district.

When I ran for mayor, my team tackled this one (July 6, 2015).

---

Campaign Diary, Chapter 2: A Baylor Paper on Street Sweeping.


Wednesday is street sweeping day at my address.

Being a good citizen, I'll go out and make sure the car is moved from the north side of Spring Street, lest I receive a citation for blocking the street sweeper.

Meanwhile, a few blocks west across an imaginary line somewhere, it's theoretically possible to park for weeks on end, in front of a downtown business, taking up a parking space without the slightest worry of being penalized. That's because we don't enforce parking regulations ... unless we do.

You'd need a Ouija board to know when, where and why -- and this must stop.

I'm not convinced the street sweeper has come past for a very long time, judging by the appearance of the parking lanes and the chronically unaddressed instances of road kill in the bicycle path, but when it does, the results are frankly ridiculous. Little of note is removed, and much of it is shifted from curbside directly into the bicycle path or out onto the traffic lanes themselves. All the while, citations are being written.

I have a few ideas on how we might improve this situation. Please read, and give me your feedback. Unlike the current occupant, I'm eager to listen.

---

A Baylor Paper on Street Sweeping.

HISTORY: In selected portions of New Albany, from March through October, city crews operate large vehicles with rotating brushes that are designed to “clean” the streets. A complex system of schedules make on-street parkers subject to citations and fines if they leave their cars along the curbs of these selected streets at specific times.

It is important to note that what gets “swept” are the parking lanes – not the streets per se. Although clearing the streets of litter, brush, debris, and deposited oils is a valiant goal, this ongoing program produces onerous side effects while being mostly ineffective at cleaning the selected streets.

Ostensibly, the program is part of an agreement with the EPA as part of this city’s efforts to comply with The Clean Water Act. The sweeping trucks are assumed to be keeping detritus from reaching our streams, including the Ohio River.

PREMISE: In fact, the sweeping program merely rearranges dirt while depositing it up onto sidewalks and onto nearby buildings. In addition, residents are subjected to inconvenience and financial loss. The program is almost universally considered to be a nuisance and to be ineffective. That conclusion is reinforced when we consider that many other streets that drain into our waterways are not subject to any kind of regular street sweeping program.

Further, the inclusion of this street sweeping program into our Clean Water Act compliance protocol is a fraud.

Petroleum products are the most toxic pollutant likely to be transferred from our streets into local waterways. Yet, we do not even attempt to clean the streets themselves – only the parking lanes.4

Perhaps, with other and/or better functioning equipment, a street cleaning program would be effective. But as currently constituted, the program is little more than an expensive make-work project and a scheme to extort money from those who must park their vehicles on city streets.

PROPOSAL: Effective immediately and by executive order, I will declare a 1-year moratorium on the existing street sweeping program. During that year, my administration will explore the implications of the existing program and maintain a regular inspection and reporting program on the cleanliness of the streets within the program area.

We will also inspect those streets outside of the existing program during this moratorium year. As most debris and deposited oils enter our waterways via storm drains, our stormwater professionals and advisers will be heavily consulted.

In addition to routine storm drain clearance, we will operate a crash program of drain clearing before impending storms and after known storms.

If we decide to resume the program in calendar year 2017, we will only do so if it can be proved to be effective.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

You're entitled to my opinion and there's ample time, so here are a few random links.



I'm always making notes and collecting links with the idea that they might become blog posts.

Of course "stuff" happens; in January, I began "political distancing" from anti-social Gahanism, then came the disruptions of the planetary pandemic. In short, the notes and links have accumulated, and so here's a helter-skelter collection.

To kick off the chronology, you'll not be surprised that this particular publication is suspicious of Piketty.

A bestselling economist sets out the case for socialism at The Economist

Thomas Piketty’s new book may prove as famous—and controversial—as its predecessor.

In “Capital” Mr Piketty shared Karl Marx’s goal in the work of the same name that he published in 1867: to reveal the economic logic of the capitalist mode of production. “Capital and Ideology”, by contrast, is closer to the sociological writings of Marx and his followers, especially “The German Ideology” (1845-46), which sought to explain the social and political means by which capitalists maintained power over the working classes.

How many times have I heard a New Albanian return from vacation, praise a walking- and biking-friendly locale far, far away, then sigh: "too bad we couldn't ever do that here." But couldn't we -- I mean, if we weren't so stupid and cowardly about it?

Why Do We Think Walkable Towns Are Only for Tourists? by Daniel Herriges (Strong Towns)

I wrote a piece a few weeks ago about Irish villages. It was intended to make the point that it's not only possible, but utterly normal in much of the world, for some of the best walkable urbanism around to be located in smaller cities or even tiny rural towns.

In such places, the village is compact, with bustling streets and little wasted space. However, if you walk to the edge of town, you are immediately in farm fields. There is a stark line between town and country, not the suburban-style blurring of the edges we often find in car-centric North America, where the edge of town consists of a mile or two of chain restaurants and gas stations.

Earlier this year when the town of Clarksville released its ideas for much needed positive changes to the design of Brown's Station Way, the automobile supremacists came immediately out of hiding, among them Wynken (John Gilkey) and Nodd (Lindon Dodd). We know Blynken is out there somewhere, but don't worry, car fetishists -- it will be a while before the town gets around to doing the rational thing, freeing you to remain Luddites.

DODD COLUMN: Road plan full of potholes (by Nodd, in the local chain newspaper)

Brown’s Station Way — a very short, simple, unassuming stretch of mostly ignored if not forgotten road that has apparently suddenly been discovered by engineers, architects, local political types, safety experts, and developers.

Of course the local chain newspaper is unaware of safety by design, and proved it with an editorial from Terre Haute. The conclusion is correct, but it would be instructive to see Gilkey's former employer show an aptitude for modern thinking about complete streets. After all John lacks it.

EDITORIAL: For safety's sake, ban cellphones while driving

No law is going to prevent every crash or bring an end to distracted driving. But banning cellphone use while driving can help make vehicular travel safer for everyone. It’s time for Indiana to become part of that solution.

Another look at the utter futility of painted (and ignored) sharrows on roadways.

Separated Bike Lanes Means Safer Streets, Study Says, by Aaron Short (Streetsblog)

A 13-year study of a dozen cities found that protected bike lanes led to a drastic decline in fatalities for all users of the road.

Perhaps even more important: Researchers found that painted bike lanes provided no improvement on road safety. And their review earlier this year of shared roadways — where bike symbols are painted in the middle of a lane — revealed that it was actually safer to have no bike markings at all.

One can only imagine the phone sex between Gahan and Duggins as they plot to turn the coronavirus crisis into some way of demolishing public housing in New Albany. Why? Because that's what opportunistic slaves to money do when people aren't looking.

For Those Living in Public Housing, It’s a Long Way to Work, by Sarah Holder (CityLab)

A new Urban Institute study measures the spatial mismatch between where job seekers live and employment opportunities.

Depending upon which zip code they call home, researchers found that the average person using some form of government housing aid is likely to face tougher odds of getting a job near their neighborhood than the average job seeker who isn’t using assistance, even those who are extremely low-income. “In fact, the average assisted household is surrounded by 6,032 more nearby Snagajob seekers than Snagajob postings, compared with 3,056 more for unassisted, extremely low–income households — nearly double the amount,” the report reads.

Of all assisted households, those living in public housing had the biggest difference between the number of job seekers and the number of jobs nearby; next came housing choice voucher, or HCV, recipients.

And, to conclude with topicality.

A Tale of Two Plagues, by Katha Pollitt (The Nation)

Tips on self-isolation from Daniel Defoe and Giovanni Boccaccio

I’ve been catching up on the classics. For example, Daniel Defoe’s A Journal of the Plague Year, an early example of the nonfiction novel, written in 1722 about London’s Great Plague of 1665. After a slow start—the novel begins with a lot of statistics to establish its factual reliability—it picks up, as Defoe’s narrator, H.F., a prosperous saddlemaker, misses his chances to leave London and finds himself trapped in town, where he alternates between prudent isolation indoors and restless wanderings through the streets ...

... They’re definitely not having as much fun as the wealthy young people in Giovanni Boccaccio’s Decameron, who escaped the 1348 plague by holing up in the Florentine countryside, flirting and telling sexy stories.

Saturday, March 28, 2020

I need to read this: "American Rule: How a A Nation Conquered the World but Failed It's People."

It's exactly who we ARE, and it's who we've always been. I'm confident Howard Zinn would be in full agreement.

The book is American Rule: How a A Nation Conquered the World but Failed It's People, by Jared Yates Sexton, who is a Hoosier. It is published by Penguin Random House and will be released in hardback on September 15.

And I will buy it.

From writer and political analyst Jared Yates Sexton comes a journey through the history of the United States, from the nation’s founding to the twenty-first century, which examines and debunks the American myths we’ve always told ourselves.

In recent years, Americans have faced a deluge of horrifying developments in politics and culture: stolen elections, fascist rallies, families torn apart and locked away. A common refrain erupts at each new atrocity: This isn’t who we are.

In American Rule, Jared Yates Sexton upends those convenient fictions by laying bare the foundational myths at the heart of our collective American imagination. From the very origins of this nation, Americans in power have abused and subjugated others; enabling that corruption are the many myths of American exceptionalism and steadfast values, which are fed to the public and repeated across generations. Working through each era of American growth and change, Sexton weaves together the origins and perpetuation of these narratives still in the public memory, and the acts we have chosen to forget.

Stirring, deeply researched, and disturbingly familiar, American Rule is a call to examine our own misconceptions of what it means, and has always meant, to be an American.

I became aware of the writer and book via Twitter: Jared Yates Sexton, @JYSexton. I agree with the gist of these tweets. Hasn't it always been obvious?

---

Trump just said he wants to reopen the country by Easter, to which a Fox News host says it would be "a wonderful American resurrection."

You need to understand something. The Cult of Trump is a merging of white supremacy, religion, nationalism, and the worship of capitalism.

I keep talking about the Cult of the Shining City. It's a Neo-Confederate, white-identity evangelical cult that was started by Jerry Falwell and his conspirators in the 1960's as the Civil Rights movement used Christianity to further its fight.

Because MLK wanted to highlight the social justice aspects of Christ's gospel, Falwell and other pro-segregationists preaching Confederate religion, shifted the Christian focus from social justice to prosperity and wealth as markers of God's favor.

This has its roots in Adam Smith's capitalism, which talked of an "invisible hand" of the market that would choose winners. This religion made that invisible hand the hand of a Christian, racist God. We're still dealing with that cult.

This Cult of the Shining City merged with Ronald Reagan's economics in the 1980's and promoted an idea of poverty as a marker of sinfulness. It is a bizarre marriage of ideologies, but deep down it is rooted in white supremacy as the wish of a racist God.

People are constantly confused by how the Cult of the Shining City worships Trump as a messiah and stands by him, but he is the literal embodiment of their ideology. His wealth and power, not to mention his defense of white supremacy, makes him a perfect pope-like figure.

This idea of "an American resurrection" is rooted in this nationalistic idea that was furthered by Falwell and Reagan. It's an extension of Reagan's belief that America was established by centuries worth of manipulations by secret cults and societies.

I've pinned my thread on this to my profile if you want to read more, but you need to understand that the history of America as we know it is a religious myth. It's a parable of a country chosen by a racist god to carry out his will and rule over inferior people.

This worship of the market is inherent to the ideas of Falwell and Reagan. When you watch the DOW jump or fall, these people inherently believe it is a measure of God's pleasure or displeasure. They see a plague like this and see a supernatural punishment.

It's not a coincidence that Trump wants to reopen the economy by Easter. It's a furthering of the relationship between his white-identity, Neo-Confederate, nationalistic, capitalistic cult and the cult of the market. They have been intertwined now for decades.

Here's a warning: The Cult of the Shining City is an apocalyptic cult. They're not afraid to sacrifice lives. They're not afraid to drive civilization over the cliff. This policy of reopening the economy despite the warnings of scientists does not frighten or impede them.

The Cult of the Shining City that worships Trump will watch while millions die from the pandemic and they'll chalk it up to God's will. You already hear that. I'm seeing it left and right in white-identity, evangelical circles. It's economic Darwinism made into scripture.

I know this because I grew up in it. It's how my worldview began. I didn't understand there was a reality beyond this indoctrination. I've only learned after years of research and self-reflection.

People are in denial because it sounds crazy, but it's true.

I only learned about the roots of the Cult of the Shining City by researching my new book AMERICAN RULE. It's affected American culture for decades and most people aren't aware of it.

We're watching it now. We're threatened by it every single day.

If you want to read more or share with others, here is a distillation of the thread with history. We're really, really in danger right now. These people will sacrifice millions and millions. They'll let society fall apart. It's their End Times prophecy.

ATTENTION SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS: Let Randy Smith help you unravel the CARES Act.


Longtime local independent business owner Randy Smith posted the following yesterday on his social media pages. He's offering his time to help you determine how grassroots players like most of us can derive benefit from the newly enacted economic relief plan. Randy's contact information is herein. I'll be sharing this with friends via personal channels. You?

---

Do you have a small business in New Albany? Has COVID-19 hurt your ability to survive? Of course it has.

I’m one of you. I can help. No strings. No fees.

Thanks to Heather at my bank, I was able to learn how the CARES Act can help and I’m ready to help you apply for government assistance. You can borrow 10 weeks of payroll now and keep your staff employed. You can pay retention bonuses. And, if you handle it properly, you’ll never have to pay it back

I have the details and am ready to help. Call or text me at 812.944.5116 or email me at randysmith@outlook.com and I’ll share what I’ve learned.

Your bank is likely to be an SBA Preferred or Certified lender and they’ll be ready to lend as early as next week. But you need to be ready. You can use the loan proceeds for rent, utilities, and even for accounts payable. And you may never need to pay it back.

I’ve been a small business owner in New Albany for 16 years – Destinations Booksellers, Dueling Grounds Café, Flood Crest Press – and for decades before that across the U.S. In this crisis, I can help you survive.

Banks will lend now without collateral, credit checks, or personal guarantees. The SBA will guarantee your loan.

Let me know if I can help you apply for these unprecedented loans. We’re all in this together and we can keep our businesses alive.

Please share this as you see fit. Best wishes to all of you.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Power grab: Gahan and Caesar want to install a convenient "emergency" dictatorship (NEW ALBANY WEEK IN REVIEW for Friday, March 27).


Don't look now, but Jeff Gahan's seeking to declare the dictatorship this afternoon -- and as always, Bullet Bobby Caesar's head is far up hizzoner's asp.



To wit: If COVID-19 keeps boards from meeting, let's just hand Gahan complete power over everything, because it's an emergency and we need to give those checks and balances a rest during a crisis.

For eight years I've been telling you that we'd get the truest glimpse of Gahan's character deficiencies if he ever had to face a genuine crisis. The coronavirus is, and we are: Gahan's predictable response is to grab more power (and the control of more money) while he can, taking advantage of the curve-flattening measures to fluff himself and the same old cronies. As Josh Turner (5th district) wrote:

(The resolution) will essentially give the controller, at the direction of the mayor, free rein to do whatever the mayor would like in the city with in regard to public works and safety. This type of power no one in government should have. This resolution should only be an option in the event of a major disaster like earthquake, major flood, nuclear disaster, etc. Not for when we are ordered to stay at home.

Here's the list of council persons who'll be asked to vote by Caesar, the ethically bankrupt council president who functions as a sort of obliging mistress to Gahan's every whim. Call them and remind them that democracies don't need dictators.

At-Large – David Aebersold
1202 Aebersold Drive
(812) 944-9823, daebersold@cityofnewalbany.com

At-Large – Jason Applegate
P.O. Box 1578
(502) 338-5083, japplegate@cityofnewalbany.com

At-Large – Al Knable, MD
2241 Green Valley Road
(502) 386-5051, aknable@cityofnewalbany.com

1st District – Jennie Collier
624 W. 8th Street
(812) 207-0476, jcollier@cityofnewalbany.com

2nd District – Robert Caesar (President)
614 Camp Ave.
(502) 552-7969, rcaesar@cityofnewalbany.com

3rd District – Greg Phipps (Vice President)
1105 E Spring Street
(812) 949-8317, gphipps@cityofnewalbany.com

4th District – Patrick McLaughlin
1739 Florence Ave.
(812) 949-9140, pmclaughlin@cityofnewalbany.com

5th District – Josh Turner
1851 McDonald Lane
(812) 641-1221, jturner@cityofnewalbany.com

6th District – Scott Blair
3925 Rainbow Drive
(812) 697-0128, sblair@cityofnewalbany.com







Thursday, March 26, 2020

ON THE AVENUES: It's a tad premature to sing the healing game.


Fear is an incompetent teacher.
-- Jean-Luc Picard

I don't make it a habit to quote from science fiction, or for that matter television in general seeing as I watch it so very seldom. It so happened that as I began writing, occasionally glancing up from the laptop, I saw Admiral Picard say these words only because my wife was watching the current series with closed captioning; otherwise I'd have heard nothing owing to wearing headphones and listening to Van Morrison's wonderful 1997 album, The Healing Game.



Down those ancient streets
Down those ancient roads
Where nobody knows
Where nobody goes
I'm back on the corner again
Where I've always been
Never been away
From the healing game

The brass section begins playing a riff as the song rounds the final turn and heads for the finishing line, and the passage bears a striking resemblance to "I Can't Get Started," the old popular song popularized by the epochal swing era trumpeter Bunny Berigan. He died in 1942, felled by cirrhosis of the liver.

Three years after Berigan's premature departure, V-J Day at last arrived, and America set off on a series of postwar victory laps lasting until the "Greatest Generation's" box office acme in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The remorseless actuarial tables took their toll, and their kids, the baby boomers, have found it difficult to recall the lessons of WWII and the Great Depression preceding it.

Subsequent generations are too busy simultaneously working three or four gig economy jobs to notice much about history.

That's too bad.

Presently there is a pandemic afoot, which isn't close to being concluded by any stretch of the imagination, but already it will be remembered by future generations for this news item documenting public outreach that was found necessary by the police department in Newport, Oregon.

"It's hard to believe that we even have to post this. Do not call 9-1-1 just because you ran out of toilet paper." 

---

We know there are numerous factors helping to explain why the centuries-old Romanov dynasty was successfully overthrown in 1917 by an otherwise motley crew of ragtag Marxists.

The Russian Empire was making baby steps toward economic viability, but was rotten to the core when it came to the abilities of its ruling class. Like a celiac loose in a bakery, Tsar Nicholas II rushed into the one situation guaranteed to irreparably weaken his grip: Total war, in the form of World War I, a mind-numbing conflagration that exposed every socio-economic fault line in Russia and created whole new opportunities for cultural collapse.

There were two revolutions in Russia in 1917. The first occurred in February (according to the Julian calendar), toppling the already tottering tsar. A provisional government was formed, and it announced a series of comparatively liberal reforms.

However, the briefly powerful Alexander Kerensky failed to properly read the room, and Russia remained "in" the war in the face of overwhelming public sentiment for peace. Society continued to crumble, and in November the numerically inferior Bolsheviks -- the Commies -- welded superior leadership with the broad support of workers and peasants (many of them attracted by V.I. Lenin's brilliant "campaign" slogan of Peace, Bread, Land) and overthrew the provisional government.

Now, where was I?

Ah, yes, the coronavirus, Covid-19, which seeks a vulnerable host for the purpose of self-perpetuation, and could not have found a better candidate than our disunited states of dystopia. 

Still, as Russia proved more than a century ago, opportunism need not be restricted to a virus. Mega-corporations, capital accumulators and the 1% show no visible compunction when it comes to seizing the moment to fleece the rest of us, again and again, and we can't rely on either major political party for usefulness when both suckle the very same teat.

The late Gore Vidal (1925-2012) was the subject of a documentary called The United States of Amnesia, released in 2014.

A curious condition of a republic based roughly on the original Roman model is that it cannot allow true political parties to share in government. What then is a true political party: one that is based firmly in the interest of a class be it workers or fox hunters. Officially we have two parties which are in fact wings of a common party of property with two right wings. Corporate wealth finances each. Since the property party controls every aspect of media they have had decades to create a false reality for a citizenry largely uneducated by public schools that teach conformity with an occasional advanced degree in consumerism.

Are these advanced degrees in consumerism serving us well in a time of flattened curves and social distancing, or are we revealed to be inhabiting a failed state, dragged into the abyss not only by four decades of Hayek's neoliberal claptrap -- a destructive form of social engineering as or more offensive than what Lenin foisted on the Russians -- but more ominously, our own inability (read: unwillingness) as individuals to have an semblance of a clue as to exactly who are oppressors are?

Fetch me my pitchfork, ma -- well, just as soon as we all make it out of quarantine.

---

For the second week running I sat down and churned out a column on the fly. Good, bad or indifferent, I'd resolved to try going a whole year without column reruns, and this makes three months. Interestingly, as wordy as I can be, the preceding clocked in at almost exactly the number of words (900) that used to serve as my limit when BEER MONEY ran in the pre-merger New Albany Tribune. Strange days continue to find us, and will during the weeks ahead.

---

Recent columns:

March 19: ON THE AVENUES: If it's a war, then the food service biz needs to be issued a few weapons. We need improvisation and flexibility to survive the shutdown.

March 12: ON THE AVENUES: Keep calm and carry on.

March 5: ON THE AVENUES: I've got the spirit, but lose the feeling.

February 27: ON THE AVENUES: There is a complete absence of diversity among regular News and Tribune columnists.

Read this: "The U.S. may end up with the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the industrialized world. This is how it’s going to play out."


You're entitled to my opinion: Donald Trump is the logical culmination of two+ centuries of American political degradation, and in like fashion, the coronavirus -- which seeks a vulnerable host to disrupt -- has brilliantly exposed the failed social engineering of capitalism, neoliberal-style. Hand me my pitchfork ... and let's resolve not to return to where we left off once this crisis passes.

And yes, this is one hell of an essay, but it will do you no good unless you click through and read it.

How the Pandemic Will End, by Ed Yong (The Atlantic)

Three months ago, no one knew that SARS-CoV-2 existed. Now the virus has spread to almost every country, infecting at least 446,000 people whom we know about, and many more whom we do not. It has crashed economies and broken health-care systems, filled hospitals and emptied public spaces. It has separated people from their workplaces and their friends. It has disrupted modern society on a scale that most living people have never witnessed. Soon, most everyone in the United States will know someone who has been infected. Like World War II or the 9/11 attacks, this pandemic has already imprinted itself upon the nation’s psyche.

A global pandemic of this scale was inevitable. In recent years, hundreds of health experts have written books, white papers, and op-eds warning of the possibility. Bill Gates has been telling anyone who would listen, including the 18 million viewers of his TED Talk. In 2018, I wrote a story for The Atlantic arguing that America was not ready for the pandemic that would eventually come. In October, the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security war-gamed what might happen if a new coronavirus swept the globe. And then one did. Hypotheticals became reality. “What if?” became “Now what?”

So, now what? In the late hours of last Wednesday, which now feels like the distant past, I was talking about the pandemic with a pregnant friend who was days away from her due date. We realized that her child might be one of the first of a new cohort who are born into a society profoundly altered by COVID-19. We decided to call them Generation C.

As we’ll see, Gen C’s lives will be shaped by the choices made in the coming weeks, and by the losses we suffer as a result. But first, a brief reckoning. On the Global Health Security Index, a report card that grades every country on its pandemic preparedness, the United States has a score of 83.5—the world’s highest. Rich, strong, developed, America is supposed to be the readiest of nations. That illusion has been shattered. Despite months of advance warning as the virus spread in other countries, when America was finally tested by COVID-19, it failed ...

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

SHANE'S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS: Marshal your TP stash just in case martial law is imposed.


We're informed by The Economist that while overall literacy never seems to improve, people actually seek a dictionary during trying times.

Merriam-Webster, one of the best-known names in American dictionary-making, has for years tweeted about spikes in look-ups for words during major public events. This time of pandemic is no different. The most obvious spikes are for terms like coronavirus itself—up by 1,100,000% (see chart).

But other terms allow the data-watcher to see the crisis develop: people began searching increasingly for epidemic in mid-January, and pandemic in early February. Terms related to prevention have seen a jump as well: quarantine and self-isolation in mid-March, for example. (Side note to etymological sticklers: if you are the type to insist that to “decimate” means to destroy roughly a tenth of something, your quarantine must last 40 days.)

As governments began to act, people sought to understand what was going to be done: draconian, lockdown and triage began surging in February. Martial law, too, but for a specific reason: an American senator, Marco Rubio, tweeted a solecistic reference to “marshall law” on March 16th, leading to the spike in lookups.

Let's unpack the last sentence in the preceding. First, I found a good definition for "Marco Rubio" at Mother Jones.


Here is Rubio's infamous "marshall law" tweet.


The Economist refers to Rubio's usage as "solecistic," which is an adjective derived from the noun "solecism."

so·​le·​cism | \ ˈsä-lə-ˌsi-zəm , ˈsō- \

Definition of solecism

1: an ungrammatical combination of words in a sentence
also : a minor blunder in speech

2: something deviating from the proper, normal, or accepted order

3: a breach of etiquette or decorum

Even if we knew what Rubio meant, and wouldn't have given it a second thought had we heard him say the words aloud because they sound alike, it's "martial" law, not "marshall."

Merriam-Webster provides clarification. Seeing as the word "martial" is an adjective pertaining to war and the military, "martial law" is the state of law applied, enforced and maintained by the military.

Conversely, when used as a noun a marshal (or marshall as accepted alternative spelling) is an official, leader or chief -- as in the fire marshal. It also can indicate action; to marshal one's forces is to lead, arrange or prepare them.

"Martial" is of Latin origin, while "marshal" comes to the English language from old-school Germanic, via France. To Rubio's credit, he speaks Spanish; it would help us all to be bilingual, even allowing for imperfections in the composition and execution of tweets.

BOOKS OF MY LIFE: Ayn Rand's "Atlas Shrugged" was a slog, but thanks to Bob, I dunnit.


The irony is so delicious I might just dine on it for weeks, because all those looters, parasites and second-raters populating Ayn Rand's barely readable Atlas Shrugged turn out to be precisely the same ones citing her novel today as their primary formative influence as they busily calculate the price of human life compared to the bare necessities of accumulating capital and enhancing profits amid our cancerous late-stage capitalism.

COVID-19 shortly will become their own personalized Taggart Tunnel. I don't want anyone to die, but these real-life moochers need to go far, far away where they can live happily ever after making mad, passionate love to their fattened wallets.

John Galt, my pasty white ass.

However, perhaps even bizarrely, I've read Atlas Shrugged. It's actually one of the most influential 32 books of my life (a list that needs updating this summer). How I came to read Atlas Shrugged is a story worth retelling, though only briefly.

Rest assured that I didn't choose the novel for leisurely beach reading, or because of a fondness for its mentally unbalanced author, her bizarre message or the self-indulgent cult politics it spawned: Woman meets married man and falls for the steel he invented, and they don't live happily ever because her real spirit animal is another guy who is stopping the engine of the world to lead a rich dude's revolution so that millions will starve, and in the process, somehow prove his point.

No, the reason I read Atlas Shrugged is that the late, great Bob Youngblood, my literature teacher as a senior in high school, commanded me to read it in two weeks flat or risk failing his course, this edict coming after I'd devoured the class assignment (Charles Dickens’s Great Expectations) in a single weekend, then openly taunted Bob on Monday about it not being sufficiently challenging.

"Fine, you little shit": I was kept after class to be informed that if I was so incredibly bright and advanced -- if I wasn't willing to help my classmates understand Dickens -- a book like Atlas Shrugged should be the ideal, advanced challenge I so evidently craved.

Scoffing, I agreed ... and got schooled, hearing Bob's message loud and clear long before the infamous section in Rand's novel where Galt commandeers the planet's radio frequencies and delivers the single best cure for insomnia ever conceived by a speech maker. It asphyxiates me even now, 43 years later.

Atlas Shrugged was in fact completed, the college prep course passed and Bob's letter-perfect point very well taken ... and retained. I hope I never have to read that book, ever again.

R.I.P. Bob Youngblood, 1943 - 2016.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Go pound sand: Indiana Supreme Court rules against Team Gahan v.v. the frivolous City County Building lawsuit.


The link: City of New Albany v. Board of Commissioners of the County of Floyd

Let's begin with excellent words suitable for you-know-who.

Pounding sand, Shane?

There are two takes on go pound sand. The more recent, seemingly a product of World War II, and often euphemised, is go pound sand up one's (rear end). It is used to dismiss and deride, and is ultimately a vehement way of saying: "go away"...A variant meaning is to suffer or to act in a pointless manner ... the late 19th century phrase "pound sand in a rathole" originated on campus and meant to be reasonably intelligent. It was usually found in the negative phrase, "not enough sense to pound sand in a rat hole."

Pounding sand used to be a good thing -- a sensible task undertaken by a person wise in the ways of rodent control -- until it became a bad thing -- a painful act of self-abasement -- and then morphed into a simple act of futility.

I'm obviously not an attorney, and the joy I'm deriving from this court decision derives from the stinging rebuke to Gahanism.

The lease expired in September 2008, and thereafter, the City and the County continued to occupy the Center, splitting the costs proportionally, based on the amount of space each occupied. In 2015, the County began negotiations with Building Authority for renovations of the Center. In 2018, the County requested that the Building Authority transfer title of the Center to the County pursuant to the Turn-Over Provision in the parties’ lease.

The Building Authority declined to transfer title and the County filed suit in April of 2018, seeking declaratory judgment and specific performance, among other things. At the county’s request, the trial court expedited the proceedings. In May 2018, the trial court granted the City of New Albany’s request to intervene. In June 2018, the trial court entered declaratory judgment in favor of the County, concluding that the Turn-Over Provision in the lease was valid pursuant to Indiana Code section 36-9-13-22(a)(6). It ordered that the title be given to the County and dismissed all other pending claims.

The City appealed arguing that under Indiana Code section 36-9-13, the Turn-Over Provision was not valid. The Court of Appeals agreed and Indiana Supreme Court | Case No. 19S-MI-674 | March 23, 2020 Page 4 of 7 further held, sua sponte, that the County, as a holdover tenant could still exercise the purchase option in the lease. City of New Albany v. Bd. of Comm’rs of Cty. of Floyd, 125 N.E.3d 636, 641 (Ind. Ct. App. 2019), adhered to on reh'g, 130 N.E.3d 660 (Ind. Ct. App. 2019), and trans. granted, opinion vacated, 138 N.E.3d 961 (Ind. 2019). Both parties petitioned for transfer, which we granted. Ind. Appellate Rule 58(A).

In short, the Indiana Supreme Court found in favor of the original trial court ruling, and all you really need to know is the defeat constitutes egg on Dear Leader's face.

Actually it isn't the only thing.

How much did this frivolous lawsuit cost city and county? Anyone for an on-line petition demanding the mayor pay court costs?

On Gahan's $10,000,000 City-County Building escape plan as a tactic to disrupt his ancestral enemies in county government.

BEER WITH A SOCIALIST: In Indiana, the carryout adult beverage playing field is leveled ... temporarily.


On Monday (March 23) the governor of Indiana released two significant executive orders: 20-08 (Directive for Hoosiers to Stay at Home) and 20-11 (Relating to Carryout Consumption of Alcohol).

At the Indy Star, Domenica Bongiovanni explains.

Restaurants and bars now have a chance to make more money from carryout during the coronavirus outbreak — as long as they don't defy directives to keep their dining rooms closed.

Two of the four executive orders Gov. Holcomb issued on Monday deal with ensuring people stay away from each other and boosting local businesses crunched by restrictions meant to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Executive Order 20-10 enforces stiff penalties for establishments that continue to allow patrons to dine on their premises. Executive Order 20-11 relaxes the rules on carryout consumption of alcohol to relieve some of the financial hardship that specific alcohol permits could cause during the public health emergency.

It came as a mild surprise to me that draft beer in growlers was included in the easing. Future implications?

Later in the day the Alcohol & Tobacco Commission got on with the fine print.


Ultimately there came a key clarification: Those establishments selling bottles, cans and growlers must do so inside their establishments; not for delivery, and no curbside.

This being Indiana, for the ATC to restrict carryout sales to customers walking inside the building seemingly contradicts the governor's aim to keep them out in favor of curbside. The gist of Holcomb's comments on Monday as they pertained to alcoholic beverages is that there'll be zero tolerance for any establishment serving any product for on-premise consumption.

So, what does it all mean?

I think it all means that until March 31, and perhaps afterward if the order is renewed, establishments previously licensed to sell alcoholic beverages on-premise only, now enjoy the same privileges as others with the requisite carryout addendum.

They must make the transaction indoors, and it looks as if this dispensation extends to refilling growlers BUT after digesting yesterday's various announcements, it also appears that enforcement by all agencies amid the newly loosened regime will focus on social distancing -- those taped-off navigation channels and spaced X markings.

People coming inside to get a growler filled must wait. They probably should be instructed where to wait; it's better for everyone's safety AND the added benefit is a way for establishments to cover their butts. The state clearly is saying that businesses allowed to remain open will be "graded" by their compliance with social distancing. I suggest taking this seriously.

My hunch is the more taps installed, the greater interest in growlers on the part of retailers -- and the ATC's follow up post actually did specify "permissible" containers (growlers, howlers and crowlers). Obviously those restaurants now able to fill growlers probably don't have any on hand; furthermore, filling incoming growlers brings us back to the possibility of unsanitary containers and potential enforcement activity by the health department.

Also this: Excepting growlers of beer, the alcoholic beverages sold have to be pre-packaged. We're not being allowed to batch cocktails and serve them for carryout with a roll of toilet paper crowning the jug.

How all this plays out in terms of the wholesalers isn't known to me at this time. I know they're watching. I don't know how quickly carryout sales will deplete existing stocks. The CDC says the coronavirus can live up to 24 hours on cardboard. We're already sanitizing all incoming.

This is how I see the playing field today. However, we're likely to witness numerous revisions and supplemental straitjackets as the days progress. Stay nimble, people.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Kentucky is "Healthy at Home, not "sheltering in place," and shortly Indiana will be joining through distance.



Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear took the next step on Sunday evening, issuing an executive order for non-essential retail businesses to go dark.


This chart explains the meaning of essential versus non-essential.

My fellow Hoosiers, it might be helpful to get ready. Whether or not these measures constitute a slippery slope with reference to civil liberties, they'll be implemented in Indiana; as I write, the Twitter wire says Governor Eric Holcomb will be addressing the state at noon.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Elected officials everywhere say, "You hold a blow dryer up to your face and you inhale through your nose and it kills all the viruses in your nose."

When I saw this newspaper story mentioned on social media, there seemed little reason to investigate.

Was it The Onion or Babylon Bee?

No, brothers and sisters, it's a real newspaper, and Bryant H. Culpepper really is an elected official, but I'm willing to print the link to the facts and allow it to suffice with no further comment.

That's because during the past 15 years of paying closer attention to local affairs in New Albany and Floyd County, I've heard numerous utterances like this, on a wide variety of topics, emanating from members of both political parties who've been elected to office, often for multiple terms.

Nah. I got nothin'.

Okeechobee county commissioner suggests ways to combat COVID-19 virus, special to the Lake Okeechobee News

OKEECHOBEE – While most of the Okeechobee County Commissioners urge the public to refer to the health information from the Centers for Disease Control, the Florida Department of Health or their own doctor, one commissioner uses the public commission meetings to share his own ideas about COVID-19.

At the March 20 meeting of the Okeechobee County Commissioners, Commissioner Bryant Culpepper referenced a program he said he saw on One American News Network about the coronavirus.

“One of the things that was pointed out in this interview with one of the foremost doctors who has studied the coronavirus said that the nasal passages and the nasal membranes are the coolest part of the body. That’s why the virus tends to go there until it then becomes healthy enough to go into the lungs.

“This sound really goofy, and it did to me too, but it works,” he explained. “Once the temperature reaches 136 degrees Fahrenheit, the virus falls apart, it disintegrates.

“I said how would you get the temperature up to 136 degrees? The answer was you use a blow dryer. You hold a blow dryer up to your face and you inhale through your nose and it kills all the viruses in your nose.

“So that sounds like a really simplified way of doing things, but sometimes the cures for these diseases are very simple.

“Also, if you are worried about it going into your lungs, because that’s where it goes to turn into pneumonia, you can put a pan of water on the stove until it turns into steam and inhale it. It sounds too easy, but at this point, it’s worth trying,” he continued ...