Here we are in the summer of 2008 and already at mid-year, the local and national news has been fed the directives from its corporate masters and informed us that winter 2008-2009 will be appallingly expensive if you, as a human being who needs to avoid freezing to stay alive, want to heat your home. So, I want to know, who told them this? Where has this information come from? Which executives sat down and decided that home heating will be expensive this winter? Give me some names! Who are they? How do they know so far in advance what is going to happen? The media never tells us. We’re just told that the word comes somewhere from on high, so get used to it and tough shit if you don’t like it. History tells us in times of heavy speculation, prices soar. Guess what’s a popular commodity for speculation right now? That’s right, oil and gas. The fix is in folks. Let’s see if the corporate-owned politicians in either of the corporate-owned political parties will do anything about it when it hits. And, since we already know so much in advance, why is nothing being done these many months in advance to stop, avert, or ease the situation, or ensure fairly priced energy to average citizens? We have several months to take actions, but instead we’re just told we have several months to brace ourselves. Last winter, people had to borrow money to heat their homes, or got so far behind in their payments that they’re still playing catch up. Why are basic necessities that used to be manageable, marginal expenses in the monthly family budget, like heating and health care, now luxuries affordable only by Rockefeller types? The more deregulation we’ve gotten, the higher things have gone—which completely puts the lie to all the BS right-wing promises. Old people and families will freeze this winter, but that’s OK; it’s the free market, after all, and that’s the highest good to which we can aspire. Right? Remember when those Enron energy managers were overheard on an infamous telephone tape laughing at making a killing by shutting off power plants so that California’s grandmothers would have to pay out the ass for electricity? It’s happening again, folks. And what kind of answers do we get from apologists for this kind of system? None, just the usual nonsolutions, defense of the energy status quo and tired diversionary epithets: “Communist!” “Socialist!” “Whaddya want companies to give the energy away for nuthin’?” So, just what kind of fucking country and world is this becoming? Who runs the law in this country, corporations or citizens? Congress can pass a price cap in two seconds if we all demand it. But that won’t happen because we know who really runs the country. The Boston Tea Party looms; the warm cushy mansions harboring the fat and satisfied few will be invaded; the revolution is coming folks, and I’m there. -EG
The Fix is In – Soaring Winter Heat, 2008; or, Just Who Says So? And If We Know So Much Now, Why is Nobody Acting to Avert It?August 6, 2008
This is a Mr. Jim D. Adkisson. A few days ago he shot up a church in Knoxville, Tennessee, and killed a few people because he thought they and the church were “too liberal.” They were, in this hater’s world view, too tolerant of gays and other people who didn’t meet this upstanding churchgoer’s high standards of morality.
This jobless wonder was mad at the world, mad at the “liberal media,” mad at anyone he considered enemies of the ill-defined and ill-executed “War on Terror.” Mad at the Democrats for ruining the country.
Mainly, he was just mad at himself.
Mad, maybe, because he slept through history class.
Slept through the parts about how Republican Party stewardship of a laissez-faire economy in the 1920s led to the Great Depression and how, once that cataclysm hit, it continued to ignore the worsening crisis and let things fester on the policy that everything would right itself and be OK. After all, capitalism cares.
Slept through the parts about how a bold Democratic president decided that the United States was a better place than some dog-eat-dog bastion of barbarity and put in place safeguards such as social security and other safety nets such as welfare so that jobless Americans wouldn’t get sick and die like dogs in some Third World country when the great capitalist system abandoned them—safeguards all opposed by compassionate conservatives.
One of the legacies of this new deal was food stamps.
So just what program do you think this anti-liberal timebomb and hypocrite Adkisson freely and gladly partook of when this slouch of a grouser lost his job?
That’s right, food stamps, of course.
So when you hear of some conservative type bellyaching about the evils of liberalism, remind him or her about all the people who came before him or her—who in many cases risked their lives—to bring them the comforts that come about when progressives fight for fairer labor laws such as safety regulations and overtime pay and health benefits and food stamps and minimum wages and the countless myriad other things that capitalism and conservatives have always fought against.
And note that the only thing that was keeping his ingrate sorry ass alive was a liberal program—and, yes, he is still alive as we speak, while some dirty liberals he wanted to punish are dead or hurt. Some gift-horse taker, this guy.
Oh, and by the way, look at how this asshole chose to exercise his second amendment rights.
Has it ever occured to anyone that maybe the hardcore Republican faithful want to lose this election? First, general discontent with the party is so rampant in the country that Obama almost seems a shoe-in. With that state of affairs, the right-wing core can sit back, relax, complain, and be indignant about a wishy washy nominee like McCain. Then, when he does lose they can say, “See, I told you he was the wrong candidate.” Could it also be that the adherents of the Grand Old Party are feeling so guilty about the wretched state of the country their bozo president has led us into that losing the election would be a form of saving face for them? After all, they’re too prideful to ever admit to the cascade of fuckups and moral bankruptcy inherent in the regressive policies that have resulted from the regime that they so enthusiastically backed. Thirdly, they can sit back and watch Obama struggle and drown in the mess that they have left behind [one of their favorite phrases] and thus say, “See, Obama can’t lead, is ineffective and has led this country into the shit, just as we predicted.” They are, in effect, handing Obama a turd and asking him to make lemonade. And they are ready to pounce on him for it. Then they can offer up another favorite Republican candidate to save us from the liberals. Genius.
Having been almost fully dependent on my bike for more than a year now, I’ve more clearly noticed the surroundings and all the good things I used to ignore as I tooled around in an auto in this here hometown metropolis of mine, Louisville, Kentucky, USA.
At some point during the process yesterday of adding lots of new links to my “Louisville, Ky. Stuff” blogroll over there at page right, it occurred to me that this is a damn fine city.
I’ve been to a few other places: Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta and so on, and been impressed by what some of those cities have done. San Francisco is the most beautiful city I’ve ever seen; Chicago is the most exciting (I’m probably the only person I know who still has never been to New York City, but I’m sure that would be even more exciting).
By contrast, Louisville to me seemed a backwater, a surrogate target of my own scorn, maybe even a reflection of self-loathing and an inferiority complex.
Part of that notion might also be due to the influence of various well-meaning but misguided local businessmen and “leaders” who think we need things like professional sports teams and giant new stadiums so that we can be like Indianapolis or Atlanta. There’s a certain unseemly penis envy about this kind of manly inferiority between cities. Who the hell wants to be bigger, more congested and more polluted, anyway?
Louisville isn’t going to have a better quality of life or be better loved by locals or more admired by outsiders just because it has a pro basketball team. That’s dime-a-dozen shit, and pea-brained thinking to boot.
By getting out and about more, I’m discovering what makes Louisville unique and different. And none if it has to do with, nor will it ever have to do with, having some tax-sucking sports franchise that costs the average family $200 a game.
But, getting out of the car and getting around on my own power has opened my eyes. I breathe the open air and feel the atmosphere around me better perhaps. I’m more curious to explore, and more fascinated by what I see.
Part of that has to do with aging, and part of that maturation has to do with seeing the positive in my own back yard.
I’ve come to realize that we’ve got it pretty damned good in good ole Louisville.
Consequently, an almost embarrassingly maudlin sense of pride about my hometown has overtaken me of late. I might even be perfectly happy to spend the rest of my days here.
Why that is would take a lot of pages to explain, and would sound too much like I was a shill for the convention and visitor’s bureau. Anyway, this organization has named our River City/DerbyTown USA/Lou-a-vuhl one of America’s 30 Most Livable Communities.
As far as culture and recreation go, we are really wanting for nothing in this town. We have nationally respected theatre (stuff has premiered here at Actors Theatre before becoming hits on Broadway), opera, ballet, a fine orchestra, dance groups, literary groups, chamber ensembles and a Bach Society, a bohemian strip along Bardstown Road where edgy indie bands play and great restaurants abound and every hot young thing wants to be seen, classy gentrified and beautifully restored and preserved 19th-century neighborhoods and downtown iron-cast storefronts, a good library and universities, a super art museum with a real Rembrandt, a recently developed recreational waterfront on the Ohio River, triple-A minor league baseball in a spiffy new riverfront park, and unique museums and other attractions all over the place, including a planetarium and an old steamboat.
The Louisville Place has to be one of the most stunning venues for live and film entertainment in the country.
Not only do we have the Kentucky Derby, but we have a Derby kickoff event that has far surpassed it in scope and attendance, Thunder Over Louisville, the largest annual fireworks display on the continent.
And there are lots of funky nooks and crannies that make a city a real city, not just a collection of big suburbs surrounded by a tiny core of pathetic buildings that lack cultural cohesion and breadth (I’m thinking, of course, of Kentucky’s second-largest “city,” Lexington).
You’d be hard-pressed to find a hipper music store than Ear-X-Tacy anywhere else in the United States, or a better video store than the amazing Wild & Woolly Video, or a funkier bookstore than the rambling All Booked Up—all of them on Bardstown Road.
In Louisville we can go to a jazz nightclub, or turn on our radio 24 hours a day and hear Beethoven or Mahler or Duke Ellington or Tom Waits or Stereolab. That’s because we have three topnotch public radio stations. Very few cities this size can boast that.
And if we want to get our rocks off we can go to Louisville’s vast, evil network of adult businesses, and there are lots of them all over town, from the Lion’s Den to Priscilla’s to Deja Vu to Frederick’s of Hollywood to message parlors and escort services and gay bars. You see, a lot of us ’round these parts figured out that sex is natural and necessary and a basic human need. In fact, Louisville just oozes and reeks with dirty, filthy sinful SEX. Ewwww, gross.
But if you want to go to church here, there are even far more of those around—for all denominations and faiths. And there’s country line dancing too at Coyote’s nightclub.
So, we are weird, in a good way. We are diverse and eclectic and eccentric and stark raving mad in a joie de vivre sort of manner. In other words we are not bland or banal or predictable or stuck in a go-nowhere dusty vacuous stark and repressed past or satisfied with everyone’s else’s low-bar expectations.
For these things, of course, the rest of the state of Kentucky hates us. And that just makes me fall in line in loyalty to my city all the more. Louisville pays the bulk of taxes for this Commonwealth and gets far less back in investment in return. And the gratitude we get for this is concealed jealously and scorn and stupid laws aimed against our progressive, cosmopolitan ways by the legislators who prefer to answer to the retrograde Rev. Billy Bob Chickenplucker types from Hogshit, Ky.
Hate and ignorance aren’t good enough for Louisville.
A similar vibe struck me a few years back when some fundamentalist-type southern Kentucky relatives of my wife—nice and polite folks, I’ll grant you—visited us at our suburban Louisville home and we took them out to Six Flags Kentucky Kingdom amusement part next to the fairgrounds. That’s all well and good, but that’s all they wanted to do. They didn’t want to go downtown and see other attractions with a true local flavor because they were “afraid” of crime. Never mind that Louisville’s crime rate is low—or that they’d be more likely to be struck by lightning on their rural spread than mugged on our city streets. Expanding their cultural horizons was really what they feared.
Through political fashions, including the 30-year trend toward electing conservative Republicans in practically every office in this state, the mayoralty of Louisville has remained staunchly and solidly Democratic, as has our aldermanic board. That’s because people here like solid, competent, dependable leadership, and prefer not to trade good basic governance for irrelevant, divisive ideology. God doesn’t make government work, thinking and working people do.
Although he has enemies as all politicos do, long-time Mayor Jerry Abramson (or as one local radio DJ calls him, “mayor for life”) is probably the most liked politician in the country.
Meanwhile, our Republican governor, Ernie Fletcher, can’t even get our downtown I-65 bridge painted properly without corruption and in a reasonable time…
As in the past, I intend to post more stuff about Louisville in and among my other various ramblings. My intention is to keep the blog split about 50-50 between Louisville stuff and other various non-Louisville related topics.
As I tool around on my bike with my digital camera, I’m snapping pix like a fool. What I hope to cover are people and things that the local media and others ignore or miss. Some of it will be ugly and some beautiful.
To me, even some of the ugliness is beautiful. Industrial ruins for instance; the despised and forgotten corners of Louisville’s past.
I hope to talk to poets and street people and people who ride the buses, and report what I find.
I recently interviewed Louisville’s number one atheist. I have some good snaps of this unique individual and his mission and hope to have an article on him soon.
I want to photograph the interiors of funky musty bookstores and other unique venues.
I will wax nostalgic about past people and places in this here town
I might even complain about some of the bad things that plague us here: the unpredictable weather and heinous summer humidity, smog and pollen and the shitty Keystone Kops way our police do traffic control during special events and so on.
Whatever the case, I hope you can take the journey with me.
And in case I haven’t made it clear yet, Louisville is fuckin’ cool.
—photo credits/ All images were borrowed from publicly displayed and openly accessible websites/ if anyone has a problem with their images being displayed here, please tell me and we can either take it down or re-do the photo credit to suit your needs:
Louisville Skyline at night found at Louisville Metro Guide.
Thunder Over Louisville by Gene Burch found at Gene Burch Photography
[I posted this in early 2007 in the hopes that our derelict Congress would finally do its job of checking and balancing, but a year and a half after the great Democratic sweep they having proven so wimpy and impotent that they’ve managed the amazing feat of garnering themselves even lower approval ratings than Bush himself. I repost this article in memory of my former optimism. -EG]
“The time has passed for accepting this administration’s assurances at face value. The human cost of its repeated assurances is too great.”
(-Rep. Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill.)
Scratching their underarms, stretching and yawning, and batting their sleep-laden eyelids, our hibernating legislators are emerging from their caves to behold with a double-take the wrecked landscape—the result of six years of blissful somnolent denial, of handing the unchecked reins of government to a cultic, fanatical cabal then turning over to snore and get another 400 winks.
Yes, finally, maybe, the Congressional Iraq War debate is a sign that our absentee representatives have checked the alarm clock, seen that the time is way past for them to get up, brush their teeth and hair, dress the part and then hurry up and race to work to get busy and do their jobs, part of which is to check and challenge and, yes, even deny and disallow the extreme inclinations that obsess and self-delude the out-of-touch royals holed up in their fantasy palace of Versailles.
The sacrifice of those delusions is never borne by their well-heeled, secluded, blanket-wrapped originators; only by those easily persuaded or in denial themselves. Now that in our vengeful fury tens of thousands more have died and been injured than in the 9/11 attacks—very few of whom were actual terrorists and none of whom were the original 9/11 terrorists and most of whom have been our soldiers, innocent civilians and people who have since converted to insurgency as the result of our occupation—it is finally time to say enough is enough.
Saddam is dead. The weapons of mass destruction are elsewhere. They are wherever the old Soviet stockpiles are ending up, not in Iraq. Mission Accomplished. We’ve stirred the hornet’s nest; we whipped up this civil war. The glue that kept tribalism at bay, however heinous, is dissolved. We’re traipsing around lumpenly, fighting the wrong enemy in the wrong place, and leaving a mess—one that won’t be cleaned up or cleared up or organized any better or any more efficiently than the derelict and mishandled response to Hurricane Katrina. There are those who say we have to stay and finish what we started. At least they have one thing right, we started it. Neither Osama nor his minions were in Iraq, now they are. The Project for a New American Century couches its realpolitik in grand words, just like Bush. The subtext of the Project’s idealism becomes clear in action: to wage perpetual war. With living wage jobs shipping offshore, war keeps the remaining American business interests fat. It’s quite elegant in a way, send a taxpayer-funded war machine into a country, destroy it, then send more taxpayer dollars into the coffers of the privatized profiteers to “rebuild.” But when is the rebuilding done? When does the broken seive that is this gravytrain end? It’s kind circular in a way. My American dollar goes from my wallet into the wallets of Cheney’s pals, ensuring the widening income gap and prepping us all to accept the lower New World Order wagescales. Iraq is the place—appropriately enough, the front—where this money exchange takes place. Like a Mafia money laundering scheme, more money goes in than seems to come out. It has been well known for several years (if you’ve paid any attention to the rightly skeptical alternative media) that $9-plus billion of your taxes have disappeared, unaccounted for, into the nebulous morass that comes with shady bribes and payoffs, no-bid contracts and unaudited overcharges. Only now is some of this actually being addressed.
So congratulations Congress. You’ve finally taken some wobbling, timid steps up to the plate. So hit a good one and bring all the runners in, and bring our young men and women home.