January 27, 2009

Well, you know what happens after dark
When rattlesnakes lose their skins and their hearts
And all the missionaries lose their bark




* ClusterfuckNation. excerpt:

"I know it is difficult for Americans at every level to imagine a different way-of-life, but we'd better start tuning up our imaginations, because endless motoring is not our destiny anymore. The message has not moved from the grassroots up, and so at this perilous stage the message had better come from the top down. Mr. Obama needs to go on TV and tell the American public that were done cruisin' for burgers. He could do that by drastically reviving his stimulus proposal as it currently stands.

"Putting aside whether this 'stimulus' represents reckless money-printing in an insolvent society, let's just take it at face-value and ask where the 'money' might be better directed:

"-- We have to rehabilitate thousands of downtowns all over the nation to accommodate the new re-scaled edition of local and regional trade that will follow the death of national chain-store retail of the WalMart ilk. Reactivated town centers and Main Streets are indispensable features of walkable communities. The Congress for the New Urbanism (CNU.org) ought to be consulted on the procedures for accomplishing this and for rehabilitating the traditional neighborhoods connected to our Main Streets.

"-- We have to reform food production (a.k.a. "farming"). Petro-dependent agri-biz will go the same way as the chain stores. Its equations will fail, especially in a credit-strapped society. That piece of the picture is so dire right now, as we prepare for the planting season, that many crops may not be put in for lack of front-money. This portends, at least, much higher food prices at the end of the year, if not outright scarcities and shortages. And the new government wants to gold-plate highway off-ramps instead? Earth to Rahm Emanuel: screw your head back on.

"-- As mentioned above, we have to get passenger rail going again because the airlines are going to die the next time there is an uptick in oil prices, or a spot shortage of oil. Let's not be too grandiose and attempt to build expensive high-speed or mag-lev networks -- certainly not right now -- because they require entirely new track systems. Let's fix those regular tracks already out there, rusting in the rain, or temporarily replaced by bike trails.

"Those are three biggies for moment and enough to keep this society busy for a couple of years. But more to the point of this blog, observers of all stripes are having trouble imagining any way out of our multiple predicaments. All the possible actions tried so far have have seemed absurd. Why even try to prop up inflated house values when the single most crucial need in this sector is for house prices to return to parity with incomes so the shrinking pool of ordinary people still employed can begin to think about buying one? Well, the obvious explanation is that politicians can't bear the pain of watching mass foreclosures and the ruination of families. This is pretty understandable, and it is tragic indeed. Frankly, I don't know of any political narcotic that can mitigate the pain that results from having made poor choices in life -- even if those choices were promoted and reinforced by the mighty ideology of "American Dreaming." Anyway, the foreclosures are well underway now, and perhaps the salient question is how long will the public's fury remain constrained while they hear about Wall Street executives buying $80,000 area rugs? Surely there is a tipping point of collective distress that is not too far from where we're at now."

* Excellent new song from the upcoming Clem Snide album: Me No. give it a listen. album out February 24, 2008.

* Malkmus discusses fantasy basketball.

* "It is hard enough to remember my opinions, without also remembering my reasons for them!" -- Friedrich Nietzsche

1 Comments:

Blogger sk8slow said...

Great Seeing the shout out for the new Clem Snide Record.
I'm the project Manager for the new record and i wanted to reach out to you. If you're a fan and wanna help us out a little bit with our viral campaign I'd be happy to send you some materials, free CD, buttons posters all that fun stuff. Contact me on here or at bruce@slgmusicus.com Cheers!

3:42 PM  

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