Friday, July 24, 2009

Dear Metropolitan Dwellers,

The folk down here in the hills of southern Ohio, understand that y’all are upset about not getting the lion’s share of the federal transportation stimulus money. We hear that y’all are complaining that you have the nation’s worst traffic jams and some of the oldest roads and bridges, so the money should be going to y’all. Some are saying that y’all contribute three-quarters of the nation’s economic activity and that money should be returned by filling all those little pot holes we’ve heard about. I’m not sure what they are, but I do know of one farmer down here who lost his horse and buggy in a sink hole. He just shook it off and said it must have been the Lord’s work.

Well, I just want y’all to know that things have gotten down to the stems and seeds here too.

I have a cousin up in Cleveland, who started complaining that $115 million of $200 million earmarked for something called an Innerbelt-bridge was sent down here for the Nelsonville Bypass. I’m not sure what an inner-belt is up there, but down here it usually means the life savings someone carries around in a hidden pouch, because they haven’t trusted banks since the great depression. Word is out that that bridge might save some commuters about a half an hour in the morning, while the bypass will improve transportation to Appalachia.

It’s no secret that those up in Columbus would rather have Rt. 33 bottle necked to keep “all those” hillbillies from coming up from West Virginia. But being cut off from the rest of the state by inadequate ingress and egress will only keep us isolated from the rest of the state. Damn shame too. This is prettiest part—hands down. At the same time, I’m not sure we would care to see very many of those Columbus yuppies (going through their middle age crisis) riding into town on their Harley’s (no helmet and thousand dollar, designer shades) on weekends.

OK, I admit that fewer people live here. But does that mean we shouldn’t be getting some of “the monies” also.

Folk who live in rural areas don’t have all the services that y’all have in the big cities, so many times we have to make that long drive for certain things. Now, the bypass will make the drive to Columbus only a short one hour drive, instead of the one and a half hour drive that it is now. Folk in cities know that a one hour drive is like crossing town. But to us, that extra half hour makes the drive seem more like that dreaded long drive to aunt Gerdy’s for Thanksgiving dinner.

It seems like those up north have developed a sense of entitlement that Buckeye football fans have exhibited for years. If they lose one game, the season is over. Down here in Appalachia, if the Bobcats win one game, we’re happy.

So now the score is Nelsonville Bypass-1, Innerbelt-Bridge-0.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Yes--There are Homeless and They're in Your Neighborhood!

As usual, right wing conservatives and fundamentalist Christians are dropping the ball on homelessness in America. Either they are blind to it or just prefer to ignore it by denial or by rewriting the story.

Officials who actually live in the real world and work with the homeless, are experiencing a SURGE in homelessness this summer and are expecting an all time high in the numbers of families in shelters. The higher numbers in unemployment will no doubt add to the increase.

Many shelters are now overcrowded and have been turning away numerous people at night, and Salvation Army shelters have had to put mats on the floors to accommodate the amount of those in need. In New York, the number of families applying for shelter has increased by 28%.

So where are the conservative Christians? Isn’t charity supposed to be the hallmark of this religion?

Well, I’ll tell you—

They are inviting their congregations to wear or carry their guns into their sanctuaries, in order to celebrate their rights as Americans. At least, that’s what happened recently at an Assembly of God church in Kentucky.

Let’s hear it for LIBERTY!

Wait a minute—aren’t Christians supposed to be PACIFISTS?

Oh, I’m sorry--I guess that was just Jesus.

So, it follows that gun laws are a more important issue than poverty, and the need for community activism, volunteerism, and service.

Just recently, the right wing used the opportunity to bash President Obama, and his alleged liberalism, when Michelle was photographed working the food line at a homelessness center. They failed to mention that this center actually feeds about 300 people a day. And get this--the shelter is only a couple of blocks away from the White House.

Now let’s talk about rewriting truth and issues to jive with your own agenda. When John Edwards brought up the issue of homeless vets, Bill Oreilly said that there were no homeless vets (period). Michael Savage, when asked by a caller on his radio show about “the problem with the homelessness in the country,” responded by saying, “Why not put them in work camps.”

Excuse me? Do you mean work camps, like in concentration camps? Or prison camps?

When did homelessness become a crime? I guess when it started to infringe on the Norman Rockwell image of conservative, white, gun toting Christian America’s picket fence sentimentality. Not in my neighborhood—you grubby, smelly cretins.


When you deny social problems and say that they don’t exist, you are denying knowledge itself. And to abandon knowledge is to abandon LIBERTY.