Friday, April 30, 2010

What Arizona's immigration law really says about Arizona.

I don't think the opinion I'm about to give is really all that radical, insightful or profound, but something that the amnesty folks have just chosen to gloss over.
"With all the controversy under this new Arizona law that maybe Congress and the president will really look into this problem instead of just talking about it."                      --Sheriff  Joe Arpaio
Arizona didn't pass their new law because they want to profile every hispanic within 100 miles of the Mexican border.  The passed the law because since 1965 the US Government has been 100% hands-off in it's approach to immigration.  Arizona is desperate to make Washington do SOMETHING.  ANYTHING!  They passed a law they almost certainly know will not pass muster at the Supreme Court. They KNOW it will spark debate and maybe, just maybe some federal action.
They also know that 2 previous attempts at amnesty are what led to the crisis that American border towns now face.  The unintended consequences of those actions have also led to the exploitation of millions of workers, and financial crises for American citizens.  When Arizona residents are fearful of murders and kidnappings, it is time to take radical action, even if illegal, just to spur meaningful congressional debate.
What will be most interesting to watch is how Arizona law enforcement officials choose to enforce the new law.  Will they make full use of their new authority and actually profile hispanics?  I don't suspect they will do much other than detain illegal immigrants under normal traffic stops and other routine investigations.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

M.I.A.'s Born Free video

I'm not going to embed the video, it's out there.  Go look it up on Vimeo if you are so inclined.  Clearly though, the content is bothering Americans and Youtube.  I didn't in the least consider the content offensive.  Graphic and disturbing, no doubt.  It depicts armed soldiers rounding up young redheaded males, loading them onto a bus and driving them out to a remote minefield, where the soldiers force them to run for their lives.  Intertwined are scenes of police brutality, and point-blank head shots.
I've seen claims that liken her to a 'shock-jock' which I frankly find more offensive than her video.  Our shock-jocks say and do things soley for publicity.  If MIA were an American born citizen, and raised in the trappings of our luxurious culture and still attempting to make the same statement, I might agree.  However, this is a woman from Sri Lanka, where politcal driven abductions and murders occur with regularity.  She's pissed.  She has an outlet to make a statement.  Good for her.
The video makes it's point.  I won't pretend to have understood the lyrics.  I tried, but I was, a) too closely following the video and b) had trouble understanding her accent and cadence.  I didn't particularly find the song catchy or all that good even, but there is no question that her message was clear.
It really is interesting in this country that we will tolerate, even celebrate gory films and ever sliding standards for our entertainment media, but absolutely cower like scared children when it comes time to support an artist making a statement using depictions of violence or religious satire (see: South Park).  Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs is okay because it has a rating that makes us all comfortable that it is artistry, but M.I.A.s political statement is uncomfortably too free-wheeling.  I find that disturbing too.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Reports of dislocated shoulders at Creative Cities Summit skyrocketing!!

...apparently from all the self-backpatting going on at the Civic Center.  Unfortunately, not many Doctors in the Creative Class.  They are too busy doing actual work rather than dreaming up ways to kill the space program and use that money to bury utility poles and paint murals.
On to the morning's tweets o' idiocy:
Michelle Malott(yeah, I don't know who that is either):
  • michellemalott #ccslex comunities will always survive because of the people who love them @pkageyama  (Mmm, yes.  Love does conquer all.  The rust belt cities can attest to how love saved their manufacturing jobs and kept their populations from declining.  Ohh, wait.)

From the always moronic Eric Patrick Marr:
Someone other random fella:
  • robclendening Another great day at Creative Cities! Inspiration so thick you could cut it with a knife. #ccslex  (He's so giddy with inspiration, you almost hate to tell him he's full of shit)

EJXD2, I have no idea who this man is, but he's my hero:

  • EJXD2 Love reading all the tweets from #ccslex & all the backslapping between the participants. "You're so brilliant." "Marry me!" #LexKy 12 hours ago reply (What can I add to this? Nothing.
  • EJXD2 I hope the #ccslex goodie bags included knee pads and dental dams #LexKy 11 hours ago reply (Now that's hitting a little below the belt. /rimshot  //groan)
  • Lshevawn @jupiter2012 True Now What, Lex? is free & opn 2 ALL who want 2 make #Lex better. LOTS of inspiration/ideas, however, WILL come from #CCSlex (Was this English?  A coherent thought?  All I know about this woman is based on her tweet yesterday about the worthlessness of the space program, so basically I know she is an idiot.  And uneducated.)

Jen Martinez:

  • jen_martinez @EricPatrickMarr 2mrw morning sounds great... i'll be there the whole morning... i'll have a black timbuk2 bag... cu then! #ccslex (A black timbuk2 bag!  No way!  You'll totally stand out in crowd of creative class peeps with one of those!)
Scott Clark:
  • scottclark The coolest thing about #ccslex? The hallway discussions w/forward thinkers. 13 hours ago reply (he apparently likes talking to real people in real-time too, good for him.  I hear Ben Franklin invented elctricity after a hallway discussion with members of the creative class of 1760.)
Caitlin from I,D and A (whatever that is, but I'm sure it is very creative):
  • CaitlinatIDandA Wish I could begin every day with @ngcrebecca's presentation from this morning. Man, she's just awesome. #ccslex 12 hours ago reply (I wish I could wake up every morning with a daily motivational tweet from a member of the creative class too.  /sarcasm)

Rob Morris, quite possibly my least favorite Lexingtonian:
  • robmorris2: Lexington needs to focus dev't toward creating the city as experience instead of city as collection of things. #ccslex

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Creative Cities Summit Lexington. BEWARE the invasion of the creative class!!!!

I don't tweet, but has a feed of the tweets emanating from the Creative Cities Summit, and they range from extremely ironic, to scary, to hilarious. Tomorrow's tweets will be even better as they will all depart reinvigorated, like coming home from a church retreat. Except Richard Florida is their Lord and Savior.

Rob Morris complains:
  • robmorris2 Amy Pearl: Portland a great city, but lot of talkers, not so many doers (kinda like Lex - #ccslex (Yeah, Rob. Less tweeting about not doing and more doing.)

Steve Austin campaigns that:
  • PohlRosaPohl #ccslex Steve Austin: let's "make driving the new smoking." about 1 hour ago reply (Hmm, did Steve Austin think that when he designed the development at Winthrop and Man O' War for King O' Sprawl Jim Hughes)

The CCSBuzz feed contradicts itself:
Eric Patrick Marr makes no sense at all, but enjoys the sound of his own keystrokes:
  • EricPatrickMarr "Having an opinion, trusting your opinion, supporting your opinion with facts - that's the best new media." #ccslex (paraphrase) 26 minutes ago reply (buzz word, cliche, buzz word. SEE, I MADE A POINT!!!!)
  • EricPatrickMarr Old media defends their editorialistic genius, but The People are PLENTY smart enough to discern between quality New Media and crap. #ccslex 31 minutes ago reply (I'm trying Eric, though you are helping me to see the difference)

Thursday, April 1, 2010

How would you spend tax dollars in your council district?

One district in Chicago is experimenting with 'participatory budgeting' and letting it's residents vote on projects to fund.  It will be interesting to see how they allocate funding, and whether the process leading up to the vote is contentious.
I think if I were to be given an opportunity to choose some projects that would enhance my particular council district I might discuss:
  • widening of Alumni Drive from Tates Creek to New Circle.
  • addition of a neighborhood pool at the park across the street from me (hey, I can dream)
  • lighting of the multi-use trail in the same park
  • neighborhood gardens
  • district specific Reforest the Bluegrass locations as well as a street tree program to enhance streetscapes with trees.
  • are there any bike lanes in the 5th district?
I'm sure there are a ton of worthy topics that I can't even fathom, which brings up the real drawback, as I see it, to this process:  what don't we, the citizens, know that must be taken care of that we might leave out?  I'm fully aware that government often spends money on many aspects of daily life that are essential that public is completely unaware of.  Dealing with items like sewer projects, flooding and public safety issues are critical to a great city, and are often overlooked by taxpayers.  Would participatory budgeting let important issues fall to the side in favor of populist ideas?

Anyone remember hookers hanging out next to the old Rite Aid on Main?

The Herald Leader editorial gave it's comments on the new CVS drugstore at Main, Vine and Midland, and largely seemed to be fair, if largely uninformed of the work done to attempt to address their concerns.  Hell, if the City had just rolled over initially, the damn place would already be open and look just like the CVS being built at North New Circle Road.  I don't happen to agree on the need for design standards for Lexington as a whole, or even for just the downtown area, but at least there is room for reasonable people to disagree on how to achieve something desirable downtown.
However, right next to a responsible editorial was Joel Pett's cartoon which took a significantly less rational approach to the same stance.  He attacks the land use itself, as if a drugstore attracts bums and hos, trash and condom wrappers.  On the left side panel, embodying the 'desired' Downtown Master Plan uses, he notes: Nightlife, Bars and Parks.  None of those uses ever attract trouble or homeless, do they?
I've come to expect more than a shallow play on stereotypes from our local cartoonist.
But rest assured, the CVS will look like suburban crap, but it won't be because of a lack of effort from those involved.  It's a result of those who backed the concept from its inception because they felt downtown needed ANY drugstore more than they needed a well designed, pedestrian oriented building.  CVS could smell the desperation, and knows it doesn't have to do anything more than the bare minimum to get support from the highest levels.  Don't blame CVS, blame our local leadership for not demanding better before throwing their support behind a perfectly fine use.  Thank Phil Holoubeck.  Thank the Downtown Development Authority.  And repeat after them:  "All downtown development is GOOD downtown development!"
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