Thursday, December 22, 2011

Well, At Least He Had a Photo ID

Finally, the Republican campaign to ferret out voter fraud in Indiana has struck pay dirt.

After claiming that voter fraud is a potentially huge problem necessitating "poll-tax-lite" in the form of photo IDs backed up by sometimes difficult-to-produce: birth records (the elderly, immigrants), residency records (college students). Then for those with no family available to provide transportation, and for those 85+ year old computer savvies who just wander through the maze of possibilities of the many ways one can exercise his or her Constitutional right to vote by linking here. After clearing all these hurdles and jumping through all these hoops, some may be able to exercise a right they may have fought for in foreign wars, or their fathers may have fought for, or their creator may have endowed to them as inalienable rights as one who sits atop the soil of the United States of America.

And now, finally the net has dragged in a fish. A White fish it seems. A fish named Charlie, to be exact. That fish happens to be the supreme arbiter of election laws in the state of Indiana.

Congratulations to Vop Osili the new and legal Secretary of State for the State of Indiana. He takes that post after a judge rules the Fish Named Charlie ineligible to serve.


I was incorrect in saying that Vop Osili "takes that post" (Secretary of State).

Although ruled ineligible to hold the position by a judge, White is vowing to stay in office. A recent article is linkied here.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Little Bridge That Could ('ve)

The Horseshoe Foundation has offered an incentive of one million dollars to get the Sherman Minton Bridge open earlier. While the community spirit of this organization is well-known and welcome, I can't help but wonder what could have been a better use of this benevolence.

Since the bridge closed in September, what if that noteworthy sum had been committed to a timely reopening of the K & I Bridge? A minor, but vital, link between New Albany and Louisville would have been re-established. Access for cross-river workers may have been eased a tiny bit. Off hour traffic would have been a snap. (Direct travel to the Horseshoe Casino would have been easy, as would the directions--get off the bridge, turn left, stop at the boat.)

But now, as the imminent reopening of the Sherman Minton approaches, the renewed K & I would settle back into a pattern of reduced relevance for workers and gamblers, yet the bridge would remain. We could soon be engaged in a productive discussion of how best to incorporate The Little Bridge That Could've into a soon-to-be-unveiled Greenway and,how best to utilize that structure as a link for bike and pedestrian traffic across the river.

Those primary uses of the bridge would not preclude the use of the bridge as a steam valve to let off some of the congestion caused by a bridge closure in the future. It would also serve as a link to life saving emergency services if another bridge were blocked or closed.

Apparently, the value of having the Shermn Minton open about 25 days earlier is worth about $40,000 per day to the casino. Once the gamblers have replenished the coffers, perhaps the Horseshoe Foundation would see fit to throw about a month's worth of that forty Gs a day toward a revitalized K & I bridge. All the current incentive is buying now is some time, but a renewed K & I would be a real and lasting benefit to the community.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

For Love and Bloody Peace

John Lennon: October 4, 1940 - December 8, 1980

Here and Now

The euphoria of Black Friday has ebbed now. The business channel, CNBC, was aflutter with breathless comment on the resilience of the American Consumer. The widely reported incident of a crazed shopper, gone mad with the prospect of deals, deals, deals, pepper spraying her way to savings, is now part of Black Friday lore. Perhaps next year we can look forward to more ingenious and devious means to get through the door of a mega-retailer-of-choice sooner than others. Where does one buy a bazooka? And could shrapnel and flying debris possibly damage some objects of desire?

Of more local and immediate concern, we face this Christmas season with the possibility of buying more locally produced items than last year. This is a trend which seems to be building here and across the United States. While the sales figures for Black Friday were large and noteworthy; was the real economic impact felt more by American retail workers, or by the owners of Oriental sweatshops,(many with American nicknames, such as Zenith, Levi's, Apple or Dell), producing electronics, clothing, gadgets, and, in short, most of the goods formerly produced by our fellow citizens? To be sure, the sales of these foreign-made goods dwarfs the locally-produced items. And yet, it is significant that so many entrepreneurs are deciding to stand their ground here and now, and make something here and now, and make something of here and now.

New Albany's entrepreneurial class is more vital and exciting, and more inspiring of hope than in any time in my memory. Recently, an organization eponymously dedicated to promoting New Albany first, came before the City Council and asked for money to get aloft. Although the funding request was postponed, and the group's ascent slowed, I would hope this and other worthwhile efforts pushing localism and entrepreneurialism are not abandoned.

Those engaged in the building of local businesses, especially those selling locally produced goods, are leading a revolution in American business. Inch by inch they are about rebuilding the infrastructure of a vital, functional, and sustainable economy. And, I hope, replacing elements of a failed economy laid low by a philosophy of extraction. The U.S. is seen by global master merchants as a pool of insatiable buying power, to be exploited for its ability to soak up ever more foreign-made goods, cheap on the shelf, but rich in profit to low-wage foreign producers. Since 2011 wages in the U.S. have fallen to a level lower, in real terms, than those of 1974, the so-called American Consumer is forced to graze in the fields of cheap foreign-made products because that is all many of us can afford.

New Albany owes much to those who are actively engaged in reshaping our local economy through the local production of goods, and to those independently offering goods and services, such businesses build a strong foundation for our economy. We owe it to them to support their efforts and to help those who would promote their efforts. The Kia girl on TV talks of the "new economy". The new economy is local, and in that direction lies the new prosperity. It's not just about the money.