It’s a Different Story Now

Then, the stories were all about how Missouri’s gas taxes were low compared to other states, and it’s a bad thing.

Now, the papers are all aflutter: Missouri’s gas tax going up again Friday as hike in Illinois suspended for 6 months.

I always note stories that talk about low taxes as though raising tax rates should be a competition between taxing authorities (note I did not say “governments,” as through the miracles of modern “governance,” non-elected authorities can tax citizens, which I thought led to a revolution sometime in the distant past, before Thefacebook), with the media acting as cheerleaders for more taxes. Until they don’t, and their little minds have no hobgoblins, no sir.

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Book Report: Introducing Machiavelli by Patrick Curry and Oscar Zarate (2000)

Book coverAs you know, gentle reader, I am a sucker for these Marxist comic book introductions to various thinkers (see also Sartre for Beginners and Einstein for Beginners), so when I saw this book at ABC Books last August, I knew what I was in for.

So, yes, the book is a Marxist tract that basically implies that Machiavelli was in favor of a proletariat revolution of sorts, but aside from that, it does talk about, yes, The Prince (which is clearly not a satire) and provides context both historical and biographical to its composition.

It has paragraphs (and cartoonish illustrations) that describe Italy of Machiavelli’s time, including the importance of the d’Medicis, the Borgias, and the revolutions and counter revolutions in the city states of the time. So, as I was saying, good context for Machiavelli’s writing and a description of his non-writing career (and how he wanted his writings to ingratiate him to the powerful).

But it recognizes that The Prince is a small part of Machiavelli’s output–apparently, he thought his Discourses on Livy was a more important work–but it gets all the attention and draws everyone’s ire even though it’s a dispassionate study as much as a moral prescription for power. But the book puts it all in context and makes me want to read Discourses on Livy.

Oh, and of course it makes sure to erroneously say that national socialists/fascists are “on the right,” and it does lay out that Margaret Thatcher was pretty close to Hitler (although, the book is strangely hard on Bill Clinton).

So these books are plenty informative, and they’re quick reads since they have less actual text in them than a Diary of a Wimpy Kid book. And they’re funny when you can point at the obvious Marxist insertions and assertions.

I hate to say it, but I rather hope I find more of these books in the wild. I am not so enamored with them that I’ll order them full price, though.

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Comedy Albums To Drive By

Well, not in the gangsta sense, but on our recent trip to Wisconsin, I brought along four audiocassette comedy albums to break up the audio courses that we listened to for much of the ride.

Back when I was young, right after college, I drove back to Milwaukee from St. Louis probably once a month, and I had two audiocassettes I took with me: What Am I Doing in New Jersey? by George Carlin and No Cure for Cancer by Denis Leary. I didn’t take the latter with us I thought my beautiful wife would balk at its profanity and its nonchalance at the prospect of cancer (she being a, what, almost thirty year survivor? How is that possible as she is not yet thirty years old?).

So I brought these:

They include:

  • What Am I Doing In New Jersey? by George Carlin; as I said, this 1988 recording accompanied me many, many times on those trips to Wisconsin. In 1994(ish), the recording was only six years old, so it probably did not seem as dated then as it does now. It heavily savages the Reagan administration, which would have been winding down when it was recorded, and its political takes are often out-of-date (although abortion jokes could fit right in 34 years later, as they’re on the proper side of the political aisle). My wife had noise canceling headphones that she put on early in the tape, which means I could have brought the Denis Leary along.
  • The 2nd Best of Dave and Carole (not actually titled Some Kids Never Grow Up by Dave Luczak and Carole Caine, two morning show personalities in Milwaukee during my college years. This cassette, which came out during my college years (probably, but find it on the Internet, I dare ya), captures bits from their morning show (proceeds from the sale went to charity). I popped this in once I reclaimed the steering wheel after a snooze and after we hit the Wisconsin line. It’s disparate bits from their morning show, which includes some silly songs based on hits and concerns of the day (“Wake Up Or Eat Sushi” is based on “Wake Up, Little Suzie” and concerns that the Japanese were buying the country). We have recurring bits from “Mr. Angry,” a recurring character with brief bits. We get interviews with comedians stopping in town, including the guy who played Skippy on Family Ties and a probably twelve-year-old Darrell Hammond. So dated, too, but unlike the Carlin, it’s not political humor but more topical generally. So the venomous laugh-at-the-out-group stuff isn’t there, so it’s aged better.

    And, you know what? It’s a good reminder of how the concerns of the day did not bear out–remember how in the 1980s, Americans were worried that the Japanese would eat our economic lunch? Yeah, to what Eastern economic power could that apply today?

  • Carlin on Campus by George Carlin; I picked this up later, after my college years, and have not listened to it quite as much. Although this is an earlier (1984) recording, I thought it recycled a bunch from the earlier (to me) What Am I Doing In New Jersey?. It’s about 40% the same, but that 40% is not the political bits, so it has aged better, strangely. Although the last piece is a couple of minutes on a bit called “An Incomplete List of Impolite Words” which is Carlin running through slang for parts of the human anatomy and whatnot. I mean, I was listening with the family–although my wife had her headphones on. Oh, well, I guess it made my youngest better prepared for the transition to public school.
  • You Might Be A Redneck If…. by Jeff Foxworthy. This is the youngest of the comedy cassettes on the trip, as it’s only 29 years old (1993, old man). You know, I have reported on the book in 2006, but I am not sure when I picked up this cassette. Long ago enough that my wife ripped it from the cassette to MP3s back when she went through a phase of digitizing our audio tapes around the turn of the century. The humor on the album is topical, and the “You might be a redneck” thing propelled Foxworthy to fame and fortune in the 1990s. Of course, in that time, I have moved to the country, so I better understand the kernels of truth in the gags. I don’t care where you’re from, that there’s funny. Sorry, that’s the wrong guy. But, still, it has held up better than the Carlin material.

Well, they served their purpose in passing the time. The boys in the back seat, especially the oldest, enjoyed some of the topical Carlin bits, especially about driving–he’s learning to drive, so he relates very viscerally to the humor.

These cassettes will go back in the box, maybe for the last time, although I guess it’s possible we will take another road trip as a family (but our as a family time is winding down). If we do, the Denis Leary cassette is coming along.

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Poetry About Grandmother Poetry

I’d fallen behind in my reading of First Things so much that, on my vacation, I found myself reading an issue from May of 2016 (you guys back then will never guess what happens next!).

In it, I found a poem about grandmother poetry (a genre, as you might recall, I read often–just search for grandma poetry and grandmother poetry for illustrations).

The poem, “Your Grandmother’s Verse” by Joseph S. Salemi, is spot on.

After my vacation, I took a moment to re-subscribe to the magazine, which means I will probably spend more time in my parlor with the papers and magazines than in the downstairs chair with books. Which is kind of the case already.

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Book Report: Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll (~1954)

Book coverI am continuing my, well, I would call it a march through the children’s classics that I have in the Children’s Classic series (such as Hans Brinker, Black Beauty, and Heidi). Given that I’ve only got four or five in the set, it’s a pretty short walk indeed.

You know, I started reading this book to my boys when they were younger, but we didn’t get very far–Alice did not even make it to Wonderland before we put it aside. I passed the bookmark where we’d left off, and Alice was still in the hallway.

So if you don’t know the arc as it were, Alice is out with her sister one day, and she follows the rabbit with the pocket watch down a rabbit hole that leads to a hall with a door to wonderland. She has some adventures in the hall before getting into Wonderland proper, and then she gets right-sized to go through the door into Wonderland, where she meets the royal court of cards and whatnot.

They’re simple, kind of silly little bits of whimsy, but when you stop to think about how many tropes and allusions to the stories one knows without having actually read the book–I mean, I knew about the bottles changing Alice’s size, the cards and the Queen saying “Off with their heads!”, and the white rabbit with the pocket watch amongst other things. Maybe I saw parts of the cartoon when I was a kid or read a kid’s book about it when I was actually a kid. One wonders if anything by Dan Kinney or Dav Pilkey will have similar cultural reach. The books about today’s current thing written to teach kids the current party line certainly won’t.

You know, I actually flagged something in the book. It must have been the time Alice used a gun chambered in something other than the ammo she purportedly used. Let’s open the book and see:

‘Never imagine yourself not to be otherwise what it might appear to others that what you were or might have been was not otherwise than what you had been would have appeared to them to be otherwise.’

That’s advice from the Duchess to Alice, and I think they’re words to live by.

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Book Report: Sergeant York: His Own Life Story and War Diary by Alvin York / Edited by Tom Skeyhill (1928, 2018)

Book coverAs you might remember, gentle reader, I watched the Gary Cooper film Sergeant York with my boys in 2020, and I bought this book shortly thereafter. I took it on vacation with me to Wisconsin earlier this month, and I read it in a night or two. It’s a pretty fast read, as I assume it’s based on notes taken while York talked to the biographer (Skeyhill). This leaves York’s voice in the vernacular, which might diminish the readability a bit, but it’s not hard to follow once you’re used to it.

When I saw the film, I found it odd that the film focused so much on York’s youth and his draft and subsequent attempt to get a conscientious objector excuse. But it follows the book, which talks a lot about York’s region, family, and upbringing before getting to the war three quarters of the way through the book, and then it’s presented as his diary and official documents about the battle that earned him the Medal of Honor, so that’s really only a small part bit of the book. The book does go on into greater detail of York’s philanthropic endeavors after the war, supporting education and building a school in his county.

So I enjoyed the book a lot.

I did mark some things in it, though.

Continue reading “Book Report: Sergeant York: His Own Life Story and War Diary by Alvin York / Edited by Tom Skeyhill (1928, 2018)”

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Somewhat Obscure

Father Dan Hirtz opened his column The Beacon in The Current Local last Thursday thus:

Trinity, no! Not the cowboy. Trinity is another way of saying ‘God’.

Wow, that’s obscure.

Although given the age of people who go to church these days, many of them probably remember They Call Me Trinity and its sequel from 1970 and 1971.

Me, I only remember it because I bought dollar DVDs of the movie at a Schnucks in the early part of this century.

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Book Report: Hard Start: Mars Intrigue by S.V. Farnsworth (2021)

Book coverThis is the best Mormons In Space Love Story I’ve ever read!

Well, that’s a twee oversimplification of this book, but twee oversimplifications are a blogger’s stock in trade.

This book centers on a Martian secret agent, Cody Greene, who is on death row for not getting married by a certain age. He’s rescued by a beautiful engineer who herself was reaching the mandatory marriage age. But, as a twist, he is to investigate her for resource theft–specifically air stolen from one of the domes making up the different colonies on the planet. They’re married at first sight, and they find themselves attracted to one another, which gives the book the majority of its motion–will they give into their desires/love for each other, or will the secret agent continue to keep his new wife at arm’s length to investigate her? Also, Cody’s mother, from whom he is estranged, is a powerful politician/government official who might be pulling strings and manipulating him. Oh, and the new Mrs. Greene is a blonde, blue-eyed beauty, but she is half Korean and was raised in the Asian colony, so she tries very hard to look Korean and has a Korean mindset–spartan domicile, Korean cooking and dining, and so on.

So the book has a lot of interesting plot things going on, but it’s definitely weighted to the romance angle, which culminates rather disappointingly. The actual intrigue, presumably who is actually stealing the resources and who is pulling the strings behind the scenes, is kind of on the back burner to the “Do I give into my attraction?” and “I was about to give in, but now my suspicions are reset!” dithering. We get a couple of incidents and little to tie them together, and the book’s climax is more of a cliffhanger to the yet-unavailable second book in the series.

So it was a quick, light read, and for the most part, it worked, but a bit long on the dithering in the romance. Hopefully, the next book in the series will be better balanced in that regard–after all, the will they/won’t they Dave-and-Maddie tension (c’mon, you damn kids, that’s an allusion to Moonlighting, which was a television series in the 1980s) was resolved, so that dithering can’t be reproduced. And I’m looking forward to seeing how Farnsworth works in the other genres (fantasy and straight ahead romance).

If I can find the books; they’ve disappeared into the stacks, only to be rediscovered decades hence.

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Brian J.’s Recycler Tour Enters The Octagon

From this date in 2015:

Although it’s not explicitly stated, apparently robotic exoskeletons are not allowed in martial arts sparring, either.

Which is unfortunate, as Asian tech-arms dealers have notoriously restrictive return policies.

Jeez, I have been studying martial arts for a long time, but not frequently enough to master them.

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Wherein Brian J. Gets Confused by the Smooth Jazz

Ya know, when I hear Bona Fide’s “Coupe de Ville” come on WSIE, I think, “Ah, that’s ‘Minneapolis, 1987’.”

Here’s Bona Fide:

Here’s Brian Bromberg doing “Minneapolis, 1987”:

I guess Bona Fide is sampling Brian Bromberg.

Which is weird, because Brian Bromberg has a song called “Coupe de Ville” on Thicker than Water, the same album as “Minneapolis, 1987”:

Is Bona Fide mashing up the two Bromberg songs/riffing off of “Coupe de Ville” with the sample from “Minneapolis, 1987”? I don’t know.

But in researching this post and listening to the two songs, I’m pleased to learn I’m not crazy or that musically challenged. It’s not like when I confuse two singers who sound nothing alike.

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Book Report: Within This Center by Robert C. Jones (1976)

Book coverI read this book over a week ago, before my vacation, and just a little after Thin Ice and Other Poems. This, too, is a chapbook, with poems on the right page and photos by the author on the left.

Unfortunately, the printing quality does not do justice to the photographs. The poems are, however, a cut above Thin Ice and Other Poems, with some imagery and fairly clear points–mostly about the cycle of life, with a lot of thematic influence on plants growing and dying and a lot of reliance on colors, especially yellows and greens. But the poems at least have imagery and try to evoke things, although again, I would say the lines are too short, broken too often by line breaks for ponderous pauses.

Of course, I find myself writing fairly run on poetic lines these days, so I can’t really complain too much about the line length. No, wait: This is my blog. I will complain all I want.

So overall middle of the road; average. Which is not something to sneeze at in poetry, given all the bad poetry I read.

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Soon, We Will Not Think The Modern World Is Creepy

On May 28, I posted The Jazzy Pajamas of Nogglestead and mentioned KHTR, which was Top 40 radio in St. Louis until it switched over to oldies one night. I mean, we went to bed listening to the radio on Sunday, and on Monday morning we awakened to oldies. I thought it was a gag or something on the morning show. Oh, but no. I am pretty sure that the oldies station is gone–I see on an Internet search that it’s now like all the other radio stations that play 70s, 80s, 90s, and now–omitting, apparently, 20 years of crap, although today’s music is tomorrow’s crap.

But Facebook showed me a photo from a group or page it thinks I might be interested in, and it’s the KHTR top hits report, presumably printed in the Post-Dispatch, although the Globe-Democrat was still wheezing along in 1984:

I can actually still recollect most of those songs. The ones I do not remember are:

  • “Love Somebody” by Rick Springfield
  • “Tonight” by Kool and the Gang
  • “Breakdance” by Irene Cara
  • “A Fine Fine Day” by Tony Carey
  • “Illegal Alien” by Genesis
  • “Show Me” by the Pretenders

Of course, if I heard them, I might remember them. It helps that the local 70s, 80s, 90s, and now stations are replaying the hit countdown programs from the 1980s. No fooling; although I did not hear Casey Kasem within the last week (the Springfield station shifted American Top 40 to Sunday evenings instead of Sundays returning from church time), we did hear both Shadoe Stevens and Rick Dees replayed at different times on our trip to and from Wisconsin.

The list includes, what, four songs from the Footloose soundtrack (yes).

Also, Tracey Ullman would later be known as the comedy sketch show where the Simpsons first appeared. And then forgotten.

Holy cats, Generation X is really the last gasp for radio, ainna?

At any rate,

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Good Book Hunting, Thursday, June 16, 2022: The Village Booksmith, Baraboo, Wisconsin

As I mentioned, I just completed a week-long trip to Wisconsin, featuring the normal pass through the Milwaukee area to visit my father’s grave and see my grandmother, and then onto the Dells. During one of our days at the Dells, we travelled to Baraboo, Wisconsin, and I was pleased to find that the Village Booksmith is still in business (remember, gentle reader, I visited the book store five years ago on our last trip to Wisconsin.

Well, I bought some things.

So, what did I get?

  • Superkill, the third paperback based on the I Spy television series. You know, I am pretty sure that I have not seen a complete episode; I don’t know why this was not heavily in syndication when I was young, but it was not.
  • We Are Staying by a different Jen Rubin than the blogger. It’s about an electronics store in New York City over the years. I’m not sure why this was selling new at a store in Baraboo. No, wait, scratch that: the author lives in Madison, prolly at the university.
  • Some Freaks by David Mamet, a memoir of sorts.
  • Why We Watch: Killing the Gilligan Within by a teletherapist named Dr. Will Miller. Purportedly about watching television to improve your mental health.
  • Doc Savage: Red Snow and Death Had Yellow Eyes by Kenneth Robeson, two Doc Savage tales reprinted in one large (tall and wide) volume with some end material about Doc Savage and the author.
  • Famous Fantastic Mysteries from June 1953 with Ayn Rand’s Anthem as the cover story. It is listed on Ebay at $165; I paid $35.

Additionally, we have one book in dispute: Charlie Berens’ The Midwest Survival Guide. My oldest, who already talked me into buying him Gestures: The Do’s and Taboos of Body Language Around the World spotted this book after I’d passed by twice. But when he asked me if I would buy it for him, I said I’d buy it for me and he could read it. So where the book ends up remains to be seen.

I did not delve into any of the books yet, and to be honest, looking back at what I bought five years ago, I really have only read Thundering Silence by Thich Nhat Hanh from what I bought then. Well, gentle reader, you know how I operate: Books I buy go in the stacks, exhumed decades later when I’m suddenly in the mood for a book or I’m suddenly reading a bunch of books about a topic, and of course I have another book about it that I bought way back in 2022.

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Again With The Punching Incorrectness

Ace posted this meme last week:

It’s a simple four punch set, but.

  1. Jab.
  2. Cross.
  3. Rear uppercut.
  4. Front hook.

A proper sequence, especially for training, would be jab-cross-front hook-uppercut. You want strikes to alternate sides so you can twist your hips. In a sparring situation, you might want to go same side consecutively to maybe catch your opponent off guard, but for training purposes, alternate sides.

Oh, look who thinks he’s a punchin’ expert now. I am just back from Wisconsin, gentle reader, so you should read that line in Frances McDormand’s voice and Fargo accent because that’s a little like what I sound when talking right now.

At any rate, I have seen the image without text on Pinterest where it’s explanations of individual punches, not a punch combination. Apparently, someone who does not know any martial art, including boxing, replaced the text with something amusing but that implies a sequence. Still. It’s wrong as a combo. But I guess the person who made the meme, should he (c’mon, man, it’s punching humor, so it’s a he) be able to write complete sentences (or maybe not in 2022), he is primed for men’s adventure fiction, where rudimentary understanding of anatomy, guns and light arms, physics, and martial arts is not only tolerated, but rewarded!

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Return of a Classic

For the first time in a while, I encountered the adjective bourgeois. Five times.

Once in one book introduction (The Second Treatise of Government by John Locke). The introduction was actually a Marxist/socialist critique of the treatise, not just a straight summary, as proven (that it was a critique instead of an introduction; the arguments in the critique remain unproven) by the magic word of the early 1990s.

Later, I was reading an old (2014) issue of First Things that had been tucked away in the drawer where magazines go to await my estate sale (or perhaps the infrequent magazine purges), and I encountered the word in one article once and another article three times.

Wow, that word brings me back. Back when I was at the university, this was the young student’s arch criticism of everything normal.

I guess it got supplanted by racist and misogynist (which I was called even then) because too many students attending private universities either recognized things they had and liked as members of the bourgeoisie, or they recognized that they wanted the things the bourgeoisie had to offer.

With immutable attributes like race and gender (well, mostly immutable barring major medical procedures), the new words lack the target that many would aspire to (again, barring some like Ward Churchill, Rachel Dolezal, and Shaun King). Which might explain why bourgeois has fallen out of favor.

Also, in this day and age, circumstances and the elites seem to be pressuring the bourgeoisie into collapse, so maybe bourgeois is a word not really due a resurgence.

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Book Report: Thin Ice and Other Poems by Marcia Muth (1981)

Book coverI bought this book in April at the Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library book sale. In the past, they have bundled chapbooks up five or ten for a buck; however, this year, they did not, so I paid a whole dollar for this book. I picked it up last week when I was not falling asleep quickly enough, and I thought a quick chapbook might take my mind of the troubles my mind invents at eleven o’clock.

So, this book has a copyright date of 1981 but a signature block from 1986, which meant that she was peddling these at least five years after publishing them. The back notes that she has also published another collection of poetry, a book on painting and selling art (specifically kachinas, the native spirit beings in Pueblo cultures), and a book on how to write and sell poetry, fiction, plays, and local history. So she was a pro and no grandma writing poetry, although she might have been a grandmother (although none of the poems really mentions children).

But, about the poetry: Meh. I mean, it’s got some of that look at the poem feel that dominates so much modern art. Self-consciousness that says, this, the poem, is what is meaningful–not that the poem, or the art, wants to draw attention to some meaning beyond itself.

Perhaps I am being to unkind, perhaps I am trying to fit my criticism into my standard template, but nothing here really captures my interest, makes me want to read it out loud, makes me want to read it again, or really makes me feel like I relate to the poem. The title poem is:

I ask questions.
You smile
Shake your head.
“Thin ice,” you say
Silence rests
A wall between us.

That’s it. Most of the poems fall within those line lengths, although some are a couple of lines longer. Some of them have repeating motifs, such as the Gypsy king or referring to the kiva, but mostly they read like the work of someone who felt compelled to write poems every day because one is a poet. Although, to be honest, reading through the complete works of any poet like Keats, Shelley, or maybe even Frost (probably not), one gets a lot of clunkers.

At any rate, I did come away with a couple of new words (kiva, a sacred place for Pueblo Indian rituals, and kachina, a Pueblo Indian spirit–the author does live in New Mexico, you must know, and if you don’t you might miss some of the references). But overall, not impressed.

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Welcome to the Urban Party

Neo discovers the expansive definition of ‘urban’ to government bean counters:

I recently came acro<.ss a statistic indicating that “In 2020, about 82.66 percent of the total population in the United States lived in cities and urban areas.” That rather astounded me. But what I didn’t know (and what a commenter – sorry, I forget who it was) pointed out was that the statistic is based on a definition of “urban” that counts any town with a population over 2,500.

As you might remember, gentle reader, I discovered this definition ten years ago, after the 2010 census, and presented a series for my defunct Missouri Insight blog that I imported here on gritty urban clusters of southwest Missouri:

Ah, in those days, I ferried my young boys around for small, one-hour road trips to see little towns and, briefly, to talk about them on the blog I started after leaving the group blog 24th State. It got little traffic, though, so I got away from it a bit. But I’ve made up for it, I suppose, by taking all the small town newspapers I do (about 11 at last count).

At any rate, Neo concludes:

How many people are aware of these definitions? I certainly wasn’t. And how do they affect our perception of statistics and their meaning? When we read that America is so overwhelmingly urban, it conjures up one sort of country. If the cutoff for “urban” was at a higher number, it would change the statistics and bring to mind a different sort of country.

As I said in 2012:

So why does the Census Bureau want you to think that these are urban areas?

Because government leaders favor urban solutions.

Consider how much money is spent at the state and federal level on mass transit, particularly light rail trains or what have you. Mass transit makes sense in a densely populated urban area, like a real city, but makes no sense for Republic. How many train stops or bus stops are you going to put to serve the widely scattered population?

Consider fuel economy mandates, the drive for smaller automobiles, and higher fuel prices. A small electric car might make sense when you only put 5,000 miles a year on a car in short trips through a city. But out in the country, your electric car might not make it to the next town.

Consider the Missouri Department of Transportation, who spends millions of dollars on dynamic message signs for urban areas. The Springfield signs spend about 362 days a year displaying MODoT public service announcements. I’ve only seen three other messages on them in the time they’ve been up. One day when it was snowing, the signs announced a weather advisory. Once, I saw a test message. But just this week I did see a message about an auto accident. This same department of transportation also spends millions of state dollars and millions of Federal dollars on sound walls to benefit urban residents who bought near a highway. But when it comes to maintaining actual, you know, roads in rural areas, say hello to tolls.

If you live in southwest Missouri, you’re used to being battered and bullied by statewide ballot initiative wherein the residents of St. Louis and Kansas City dictate, based on their consciences, the livelihoods of residents throughout the state (the recent furor over 2010’s Proposition B comes to mind, as does this musing of a now-retired Indiana farmer). Actual urbanites take vote their simple hearts according to their personal urban experience without knowing, or mostly even caring, what impact it has on the people out in the country.

Now that the Federal Government has declared that we’re all city-dwellers now, these urban solutions can be applied even more lavishly. Of course, the fiscal outlays will continue to go to the actual cities, where the votes are, but the government officials who tell themselves that they want to do what’s best will govern conscience-free, knowing that their pet urbanism applies to everyone.

Further thought: Did this small series inspire Lileks’s current weekly feature on small town downtowns? Wouldn’t it be pretty to think so? But, no.

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