26 June 2009

Because I'm From the Government

"Yea, it'll be lousy, but you're going to get it anyway.
QUESTION: President Obama, if your wife or your doctor became seriously ill, and things were not going well, and the plan physicians told you they were doing everything that reasonably could be done, and you sought out opinions from some medical leaders and major centers, and they said there’s another option that you should — should pursue, but it was not covered in the plan, would you potentially sacrifice the health of your family for the greater good of insuring millions? Or would you do everything you possibly could as a father and husband to get the best health care and outcome for your family?

ANSWER: (Blah, blah, blah.) If it’s my family member, it’s my wife, if it’s my children, if it’s my grandmother, I always want them to get the very best care.

Never buy a Ford from a guy who drives a Lexus.

Democratic Sen. Ted Kennedy voted for Medicare. He is eligible for Medicare. When he got cancer, he did not use Medicare. If they won’t use it, you don’t want it.

Over There, Over There . . .

"We will build
the new Chevy
over there."

The Supreme Leader promised green jobs for the nation. Anyone actually ask which nation he was talking about?
The Chevy Volt is, as has been repeatedly said, the car that could save GM. With the auto market in China poised for expansion (at some point), it's no surprise that The General is thinking of making and selling the extended-range electric vehicle (ER-EV) there. The Detroit Free Press is reporting that GM will indeed build the Chevy Volt in China, but that all the Volts built in China will remain in China.
Hey, since the feds are calling the shots and holding the leashes in Detroit, this is a perfect legitimate thin to hang around Obama's neck.

Your Fountain of Misinformation.

He's just one heartbeat away:
(Vice President of the United Bleeping States Joe) Biden also praised Tim Kaine as the "great governor of New Jersey." One problem: Tim Kaine's not governor of New Jersey.

Jon Corzine is governor of New Jersey. Tim Kaine is governor of another state, called Virginia. He's also chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Biden is from Delaware.

He used a Teleprompter.

"Oh yea, but DAN QUALYE was the retard, right?

23 June 2009

Minneapolis; Fools Rush in

As Minneapolis mayor RT Rybak coyly pretends to be governor without actually declaring his candidacy, his favorite pastime is harpooning the current, ACTUAL governor, Tim Pawlenty. Rybak's most cronic whine is over state cuts in payments to cities. "Woe is us," he cries, "That mean, old Governor Pawlenty doesn't like me and now we have no more money; I guess we'll have to shed policemen and fire fighters."

Of course, going first to public safety for budget cuts is the height of irresponiblity and indicitive of horseshit priorities of Rybak and the rest council of stoodges. Or, by chance, are you a residnet of that city and consume the manure Rybak feeds you? If so, eat some of this:
$5.3 million for a “green roof” on the Target Center, which will take 20 years to be cost effective, and even then will only be “slightly cheaper”. A conventional roof would have cost $2 million. The city is still paying off bonds issued to purchase the arena in 1995. They also spent $460,000 on a green roof for the city hall.

$2 million of so-called federal “stimulus” money will be spent on the Shubert Theater in downtown Minneapolis. The theater project received 100 percent of what it asked for and will allegedly create 41 permanent jobs. In contrast, another Minneapolis project promising 360 jobs received less than 25 percent of what it requested.

$1.746 million over the next five years will be spent on “art in public places,” which, according to the city, “integrates public art into the City’s capital projects.”

$250,000 for a bicycle sharing program at the convention center (which itself is sucking taxpayer money at an incredible rate. The center’s budget increased 13.1 percent from 2008 to 2009).

$100,000 to launch a public outreach effort relating to the 2010 Census. Will ACORN be involved?

$100,000 for “Youth Are Here” buses. $1.5 million for “improving the pedestrian environment” around the taxpayer-funded Twins stadium.

$700,000 for a Central Corridor light rail transit study. At this point, the Minneapolis to St. Paul light rail may be the most studied project in state history.

$40,000 for a bike rack program.

$500,000 to fix traffic problems created by the Hiawatha light rail line and anticipated problems created by the Central Corridor line.

$5.7 million to study re-opening Nicollet Avenue to traffic thru Lake Street, which the city closed off in the 1970s. What other city projects are they going to have to reverse?

City officials have OK’d 10 “artist-designed” water fountains, at a cost of $50,000 each. They city could have purchased ordinary fountains for about $6,000 apiece. Total cost: $500,000. The city has also awarded a $180,000 contract for a marketing campaign on behalf of city water. And, the city hired a consultant ($50,000) to develop a strategy for approaching suburbs about using more city water. Half the cost is funded through bonding, half through water fees.

In January of 2006, City of Minneapolis set aside $300,000 to study the feasibility of building trolleys within the city. "We're looking to add more energy to our main streets," Mayor Rybak said. ($300,000 would add a lot of cops to the city’s main streets, would it not?)

City of Minneapolis agreed to a $900,000 legal settlement for the Park and Rec Board’s failed attempt to develop a 26,000 sq. ft. skateboard park. Prior to the settlement, the Park and Rec Board spent $780,000 to acquire the building for the proposed complex, $95,000 to move a nearby roadway and $1.1 million to acquire adjacent properties.

In November of 2006, the StarTribune reported that the city of Minneapolis spent $410,000 investigating allegations of sexual harassment against Fire Chief Bonnie Bleskachek. Not long after being hailed as the first lesbian fire chief, she was on paid administrative leave for nearly nine months, and then in December, demoted to Captain – in charge of no one. Allegations included sexual harassment, affairs with married women and “naked hottubbing."

If you’re looking for Minnesota’s first true cable suspension bridge, look no further than the 2,200-foot Martin Olav Sabo Bicycle & Pedestrian Bridge. Former Congressman Sabo – who secured the federal earmark - declared the bridge “something we as a region should be striving to do more of.” Yes, if we as a region should be wasting money building glorious multi-million dollar bridges for bicyclists. Most taxpayers would say government should be striving for enhanced public safety and lower taxes.

In 2003, the City of Minneapolis paid more than $8 million to downtown landowners who claimed to have lost money after negotiations failed to bring a glass-domed shopping center to Nicollet Mall in the 1980s. (Source: Star Tribune 8/15/3)

In 2000, the City of Minneapolis paid its largest settlement ever, $8.75 million, to American Iron and Supply Company over the construction of an enclosed metal shredder near the Mississippi River.

$325,000 From September 2007: 4.7 million dollars of business financing tools, including for ”alternative financing loans with no interest to business owners whose religious beliefs restrict them from receiving traditional interest-based financing."

22 June 2009

Highlights from the MSRA Back to the 50's show

Can't Trust That Day

Some quick hitters for a Monday following some vacation time:

The time between President Obama's claims and the retraction of those claims has shrunk to a new low:

Less than 24 hours after Heritage Foundation President Ed Feulner questioned the veracity of President Obama’s persistent claim that, under his health care proposals, “if you like your insurance package you can keep it”, the White House has begun to walk the President’s claim back. Turns out he didn’t really mean it.

According to the Associated Press, “White House officials suggest the president’s rhetoric shouldn’t be taken literally: What Obama really means is that government isn’t about to barge in and force people to change insurance.”

How’s that for change you can believe in?

Lyndon Johnson said, with regard to the Viet Nam war, once he lost Walter Chonkite, he'd lost America. Well, what's it say when the current president has already lost Newsweek?

The refusal, approved by White House counsel Greg Craig's office, is the latest in a series of cases in which Obama officials have opted against public disclosure. Since Obama pledged on his first day in office to usher in a "new era" of openness, "nothing has changed," says David -Sobel, a lawyer who litigates FOIA cases. "For a president who said he was going to bring unprecedented transparency to government, you would certainly expect more than the recycling of old Bush secrecy policies.
By the way, while we're all gossiping about what the Obama family ordered at the ice cream there are other things to be paying attention to:
"It would be a grave mistake for the U.S. to think it can remain unhurt if it ignites the fuse of war on the Korean peninsula," the country's main Rodong Sinmun said in a commentary. The U.S., which has 28,500 troops in South Korea, has said it has no such intentions.
Meanwhile government out west is doing what government does:

The Labor Department reported yesterday that Oregon's unemployment rate soared to 12.4% in May, the nation's second highest after Michigan's 14.1%. What to do? If you're the geniuses in the state legislature in Salem, you naturally raise taxes.

Last week the legislature approved a $2 billion tax hike on personal income and small businesses that haven't already left the state. The highest tax rate on income above $500,000 would climb to 11% -- up from an already high 9%. Oregon will soon boast the second highest income tax rate in the nation, moving ahead of California (10.55%), and only slightly behind New York City (12.6%). Corporations will pay a 7.9% tax on gross receipts, up from 6.6%.

But that isn't the worst of it. Another revenue raiser will tax hospitals and private health insurance premiums. That's a good way to encourage private employers to drop their health coverage for workers.

In Oregon, as in so many states this year, lawmakers had to choose between reducing the growth of spending and raising taxes. No contest. So government spending will climb by about $2 billion, or almost 4%, which is on top of a 21% increase in the 2007-08 biennium budget. The sliver of good news is that taxpayer groups like Americans for Prosperity of Oregon are promising to put these taxes before the voters in a referendum this year or next. Since Salem's politicians seem intent on following California's, maybe Oregon's voters will do the same and just say no.

18 June 2009

Not Only Do the Inmates Run the Asylum . . .

. . . they had it built!

None of the four McCain contributors, which includes Elizabeth Hasselbeck, are from journalists at ABC. Meanwhile, approximately 130 ABC employees gave money to Obama. That's close to a 33 - 1 ratio. Yet, ABC officially announced that they and they alone would manage what questions were asked of Obama about his program, including from the audience.

It strikes me as simply unwise to entrust such a significant portion of the debate around a policy that will impact American lives, potentially forever, to just one organization with such an imbalance in their political views.

Hey neato! Right?

16 June 2009

Reading "The Banner"

"What do you think is power? Whips? Guns? Money? You can't turn men into slaves unless you break their spirit - kill their capacity to think and act on their own. Tie them together. Teach them to conform. Unite to agree, to obey. That makes one neck ready for one leash"

Ellsworth Toohey in "The Fountainhead."

I am SO Happy to Help

I almost let myself get angry about the Chinese Muslim prisoners who were sprung from Guantanamo Bay and are now living high on a Bermuda beach on the US taxpayers' dime but, then, as usual, I read beyond the pop-culture headlines where there are REAL things to get mad about if you are a US taxpayer:

1. $1.5 million in “free” stimulus money for a new wastewater treatment plant results in higher utility costs for residents of Perkins, Oklahoma.

2. $1 billion for FutureGen in Mattoon, Illinois is the “biggest earmark of all time” for a power plant that may never work.

3. $15 million for “shovel-ready” repairs to little-used bridges in rural Wisconsin are given priority over widely used bridges that are structurally deficient.

4. $800,000 for little-used John Murtha Airport in Johnstown, Pennsylvania airport to repave a back-up runway; the ‘Airport for Nobody’ Has Already Received Tens of Millions in Taxpayer dollars.

5. $3.4 million for a wildlife “eco-passage” in Florida to take animals safely under a busy roadway.

6. Nevada non-profit gets $2 million weatherization contract after recently being fired for same type of work.

7. $1.15 million for installation of a new guard rail for the non-existent Optima Lake in Oklahoma.

8. Nearly $10 million to renovate an abandoned train station that hasn’t been used in 30 years.

9. 10,000 dead people get stimulus checks, but the Social Security Administration blames a tough deadline.

10. Town of Union, New York, encouraged to spend a $578,000 grant it did not request for a homelessness problem it claims it does not have.

Hope and Change is getting mighty expensive. The whole Coborn report is here.

15 June 2009

Still Angry After All These Years

So Gloria Steinem was in town today. The establishment media fell all over themselves to throw laurels to her. No one dared question her boilerplate. I listened to most of her visit to the appearance on the local public radio spigot and watched her interview from the Minneapolis paper's website. I like to think of myself as a very empathetic observer, but I didn't recognize what America Ms. Steinem is railing against:
  • Of course she supported Hillary; it was Steinem's generation that invented identity politics so backing Hillary was a reflex rather than a decision. She even went so far as to belittle Obama by saying if he were female with two young daughters and the same inexperience there's no way 'she' would have been elected.
  • She opposed everything about Sarah Palin, which was sadly funny since Palin has really made leftists chase their tails over their herd-like backing of David Letterman over his (his show's) crude and ill-executed satire.
  • She talked about the sexual victimization of Marilyn Monroe without indicting the untouchable Camelot yet she had nothing but praise for Madonna of whom she subjectively approves.
  • Somehow all of human history was genderless until Europeans decided (one day?) to start treating women as property and the Caucasian world has never been the same. No mention of the place women hold in the Islamic world, which is currently about 22% of the world's population.
  • She took the time to demonize Bush, Reagan, Limbaugh, Disney/Pixar and really all of corporate America; there's always a bogeyman keeping women down.
It was disappointing to hear her prattle on. I couldn't glean anything. There was nothing that made me see flaws in the world in which I navigate. She just came across as a confused old person who's got one story left.

14 June 2009

The Trouble with Joe

Far too honest for Washington DC:

"No one realized how bad the economy was. The projections, in fact, turned out to be worse. But we took the mainstream model as to what we thought -- and everyone else thought -- the unemployment rate would be."

"Everyone guessed wrong at the time the estimate was made about what the state of the economy was at the moment this was passed."

How's That Hope & Change Going?

12 June 2009

In Minneapolis, the Dots Remain Painfully Unconnected

You really have to give RT Rybak a break; it's just so hard to do all that pesky mayor stuff when you're spending all day proofing your campaign for governor brochures. Today, it's "Oh, crap; we didn't get enough free money from Obama:"
President Obama and Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak both got political mileage in February out of same-day speech shout-outs about federal stimulus money saving Minneapolis police jobs. The nearly $5 million that Rybak expected to get from Washington has now shrunk to $3.73 million.

Among the budget victims will be 17 community service officers who were told this week that they will be laid off from their support-staff positions that are intended, along with college studies, to prepare them for jobs as officers.

But last week it was "Yippie; we got so much free money from Obama, we can sink more into that loser theater that'll keep the Democrats voting for me!"
The City Council voted on Tuesday to spend the majority of its $3.6 million community development bonus under the federal stimulus act on the long-delayed Shubert Theater. Backers said the $2 million is the last piece of the $38 million they need to start construction as soon as this fall.

The Shubert, on Hennepin Avenue downtown, was moved 10 years ago and the project will rehab the nearly century-old theater for dance and music events. It will also make supporting improvements in the adjacent Hennepin Center for the Arts and build a link between the buildings

Mayor R.T. Rybak also lauded the council decision.

Of course he did, as he kept solidifying Minneapolis as part of the Land of Make Believe - keep cutting public safety while crime ruins the neighborhoods. Oooo, check out the basketball arena, it has a grass roof, so they have that going for them . . .

Ever Wonder Why it Costs So Much to Live in San Francisco?

The city dump has artists in residence.

You Don't Tug on Superman's Cape

And you don't mess around with Chicago power brokers:

President Barack Obama says he has lost confidence in the inspector general who investigates AmeriCorps and other national service programs and has told Congress he is removing him from the position.

Obama's move follows an investigation by IG Gerald Walpin of Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, who is an Obama supporter and former NBA basketball star, into the misuse of federal grants by a nonprofit education group that Johnson headed.

Walpin was criticized by the acting U.S. attorney in Sacramento for the way he handled an investigation of Johnson and St. HOPE Academy, a nonprofit group that received hundreds of thousands of dollars in federal grants from the Corporation for National Community Service. The corporation runs the AmeriCorps program.

The president didn't offer any more explanation.
"Somebody messes with me, I'm gonna mess with HIM!" - Robert DeNiro as Al Capone in "The Untouchables."

(Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa) had written Obama a letter pointing to a law requiring that Congress be given the reasons an IG is fired. He cited a Senate report saying the requirement is designed to ensure that inspectors general are not removed for political reasons.

Grassley said Walpin had identified millions of dollars in AmeriCorps funds that were wasted or misspent and "it appears he has been doing a good job."

Now there's Hope and Change we can all believe in.

The IG found that Johnson, a former all-star point guard for the Phoenix Suns, had used AmeriCorps grants to pay volunteers to engage in school-board political activities, run personal errands for Johnson and even wash his car.

Oh, that doesn't matter, really; Joe Biden essentially promised us that in all this new federal spending there would be waste and graft.

The U.S. attorney's office reached a settlement in the matter. Brown cited press accounts that said Johnson and the nonprofit would repay half of nearly $850,000 in grants it received.
And so it goes . . .

08 June 2009

A Little Tom in the Morning

I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

Thomas Jefferson

05 June 2009

Can You Believe it?

It turns out that Cap'n Crunch's Crunch Berriers breakfast cereal is not actually made with all-natural, organic Crunch Berries:

On May 21, a judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California dismissed a complaint filed by a woman who said she had purchased "Cap'n Crunch with Crunchberries" because she believed "crunchberries" were real fruit. The plaintiff, Janine Sugawara, alleged that she had only recently learned to her dismay that said "berries" were in fact simply brightly-colored cereal balls, and that although the product did contain some strawberry fruit concentrate, it was not otherwise redeemed by fruit. She sued, on behalf of herself and all similarly situated consumers who also apparently believed that there are fields somewhere in our land thronged by crunchberry bushes.

Read it all if, you know, you can stomach it.

Judge England also noted another federal court had "previously rejected substantially similar claims directed against the packaging of Fruit Loops [sic] cereal, and brought by these same Plaintiff attorneys." He found that their attack on "Crunchberries" should fare no better than their prior claims that "Froot Loops" did not contain real froot.

Wow - I think I know exactly where to find the real froot in this matter.

You Gotta Stand For Something

Or you will fall for anything - as if you needed MORE proof of the cultural bankruptcy that faces our once-proud nation:

The Recording Academy, which bestows the Grammy Awards, announced late on Wednesday that the polka category would be eliminated, saying in a statement that it had been cut “to ensure the awards process remains representative of the current musical landscape.”

To many in the polka world, that read as a kind of industry code meaning that their genre — once capable of supporting artists with million-selling hits, but long since relegated to micro-niche status — had slipped off the mainstream radar entirely.

The Grammy Award - oh yes, given to such 'giants' as Kanye West, Carrie Underwood and Al Franken (!), yet somehow the Six Fat Dutchmen are left in the lurch.

These Grammy clowns will give awards for "Best Spoken Word Album for Children" and in 22 different categories of Gospel. Hell, there are even 4 awards for packaging - PACKAGING!. No room for Polka, though.

Know what - the Grammy Awards don't deserve Polka. That's what I think.

The Peoples' Most Glorious Internet is Down for Service

It's only a coincidence that it happens on the 20th Anniversary of the Tiananmen massacre.
Chinese services are facing so much pressure from the government to keep their users from talking about (Tiananmen Square), they are just shutting down comment boards, or claiming their services are closed for unspecified upgrades.

Meanwhile, the so-called Great Firewall of China is blocking Twitter, human rights groups’ websites and blogging services hosted outside of China.

What the government of China clings to is sad, but since these tech-based obstacles are always overcome eventually (by more or different technology), events like this can frequently boost internet innovation.

04 June 2009


13, 14; Who's Counting?

Alaska Governor Sarah Palin cleared again, and again, and agian . . .

The Alaska Personnel Board, clearly frustrated with the pile of ethics complaints filed against Gov. Sarah Palin, wants to publicize the cost of dealing with them. "We've spent pretty close to about a third of a million dollars, and it's getting to be really expensive," said Al Tamagni, a member of the board

Also Wednesday, the three-member board dismissed another complaint, this one involving Palin and her political action committee, and heard testimony from a woman who asserted fear of retaliation has prevented her from filing a complaint against the governor.

The governor's office said it is the 13th ethics complaint against Palin or her staff that has been resolved without finding of an executive ethics act violation.

Since the first day the nation knew Sarah Palin's name, there has been a lynch mob out to get her. They seem undaunted, even after failing over a dozen times. Thanks to legacy media for failing to report all this.

"You Got That Right"

"Here comes that old traveling Jones once again:"

(Obama) went so far as to tell the audience that he considers "it part of my responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam wherever they appear."

(W)here exactly is that in the oath of office he took?

At one point, Obama fretted over the rise of new power that, to the horror of civilized people, exudes an obsessed and twisted view of "sexuality" and "mindless violence."


No, the Internet.

They guy is confronting one of the most evil and relentless mindsets in the history of man and he finds room in his big address to whine about the Internet -- by far a greater tool for freedom than anything else.

Usually politicans will say anything to get elected. Now we have one that will keep that act fresh for 8 years.

03 June 2009

Your Dog Thanks You for Not Smoking

Ladies and Gentlemen; Start your Furnaces!

We got cash money to burn:

The (Minneapolis) City Council voted on Tuesday to spend the majority of its $3.6 million community development bonus under the federal stimulus act on the long-delayed Shubert Theater. Backers said the $2 million is the last piece of the $38 million they need to start construction as soon as this fall.

Oh, yea; it's not like the stimulus scam was supposed to, you know, revive the macro economy or anything.

The council approved the spending over the objections of Paul Ostrow, the lone council member to vote against the recommended projects. "This is frankly not a jobs project," Ostrow said.

Silly Ostrow - why is he trying to use logic in a place like the chambers of the Minneapolis City Council.

Ostrow read from federal stimulus regulations that forbid assistance to private recreational facilities that primarily serve an upper-income audience when that benefit outweighs jobs or other benefits to lower-income people.
Again, doesn't Ostrow know that the safe stewardship of taxpayers' money is nowhere near as important as making some horseshit "investment" that all the democrats can use in their reelection materials? Vote for me, I support the arts.


On top of all that, obvious candidate-for-governor & current Mayor RT Rybak has the GALL to whine about the current governor's cuts in aid to local governments.

Speaking of throwing money down a rathole:

Only two acts were scheduled this summer on the main stage of Burnsville's new $20 million Performing Arts Center. As of early this week, just one remains - a city-sponsored festival.

Aside from the $10-a-seat International Festival, the public calendar is blank for the remainder of the year at the main stage of the 1,014-seat Performing Arts Center, hailed at its January opening as the crown jewel of Burnsville's Heart of the City downtown redevelopment.

The Burnsville City Council commissioned a study in 2006 that showed in a worst-case scenario, the center would run at an annual shortfall of $300,000 for five years. But a preliminary city financial report obtained this week shows the center lost nearly $300,000 in the first three months of 2009. That would put the center on track to lose nearly $1.2 million this year.

All this in Minnesota, which has constitutional requirement to spent tax money on 'the arts.'

02 June 2009

Lowering the Bar for Himself

Crazy Uncle Joe; he's like a big dog that knocks everything off the table with his tail, except without the charm:

NEW YORK — Vice President Joe Biden acknowledged on Tuesday that some waste is inevitable in the spending of a $787 billion economic stimulus package, in a characteristically blunt assessment.

"We know some of this money is going to be wasted," Biden said during a roundtable discussion in New York with business leaders aimed at promoting the two-year stimulus plan.

The package was approved by the Democratic-led Congress in February over the objections of most Republicans, who were concerned about the potential for wasteful spending and because it will add billions of dollars to U.S. deficit spending.

President Barack Obama placed Biden in charge of supervising implementation of the stimulus to underscore his promise of strict oversight of the package, which is aimed at creating or saving 3 million to 4 million jobs.

Strict oversight must be a relative term for these fools.

Is Your Home for Sale?

You might want to consider in the near future if if you live in Minnesota:
“While we thank Governor Pawlenty for his service to our state, his retirement as governor is an opportunity to move Minnesota forward.

“Governor Pawlenty’s ‘no new taxes’ ideology plays well to Republican special interests and the dinner circuits from Iowa to New Hampshire, but it has hurt Minnesota and Minnesotans. The divisive politics of ideology and calculation have done enough damage.

“Today is a day to thank Governor Pawlenty for his service. Starting tomorrow, it will be time to bring Minnesota values back to the Governor’s Mansion. We look forward with hope. We look forward to electing a DFL governor.”
The inmates have a chance to run the whole asylum. Get ready to watch your wallet very, very closely.

01 June 2009

After the Fire, the Fire Still Burns

Who knew PJ could leave me misty-eyed:

Politicians, journalists, financial analysts and other purveyors of banality have been looking at cars as if a convertible were a business. Fire the MBAs and hire a poet. The fate of Detroit isn’t a matter of financial crisis, foreign competition, corporate greed, union intransigence, energy costs or measuring the shoe size of the footprints in the carbon. It’s a tragic romance—unleashed passions, titanic clashes, lost love and wild horses.

We became sick and tired of our cars and even angry at them. Pointy-headed busybodies of the environmentalist, new urbanist, utopian communitarian ilk blamed the victim. They claimed the car had forced us to live in widely scattered settlements in the great wasteland of big-box stores and the Olive Garden. If we would all just get on our Schwinns or hop a trolley, they said, America could become an archipelago of cozy gulags on the Portland, Ore., model with everyone nestled together in the most sustainably carbon-neutral, diverse and ecologically unimpactful way,

But cars didn’t shape our existence; cars let us escape with our lives. We’re way the heck out here in Valley Bottom Heights and Trout Antler Estates because we were at war with the cities. We fought rotten public schools, idiot municipal bureaucracies, corrupt political machines, rampant criminality and the pointy-headed busybodies. Cars gave us our dragoons and hussars, lent us speed and mobility, let us scout the terrain and probe the enemy’s lines. And thanks to our cars, when we lost the cities we weren’t forced to surrender, we were able to retreat.

We’ve lost our love for cars and forgotten our debt to them and meanwhile the pointy-headed busybodies have been exacting their revenge. We escaped the poke of their noses once, when we lived downtown, but we won’t be able to peel out so fast the next time. In the name of safety, emissions control and fuel economy, the simple mechanical elegance of the automobile has been rendered ponderous, cumbersome and incomprehensible.