The Pecan Grove Memorial Day ceremony will take place at Pecan Grove Cemetery at 9:30 a.m. U.S. Rep. Sam Johnson, a former prisoner of war during Vietnam, will be on hand to present a posthumous Prisoner of War Medal to the family of Lt. Robert B. Fleming, a veteran who served in World War II and endured captivity as a prisoner of war after his plane went down in Germany. Fleming's son will accept the medal on his father's behalf.
Sunday, May 27, 2012
Friday, May 25, 2012
Tuesday, May 22, 2012
Friday, May 11, 2012
1, 2, 3, Puke
By James Howard Kunstler
on May 7, 2012 8:38 AM
on May 7, 2012 8:38 AM
Europe may soon be choking on that plat du jour of government a la Hollandaise with the side of chopped Greek salad. The whole world, in fact, has got something like a giant hairball stuck in its craw. The hairball is composed of filaments of lies wound over a core of supernatural indebtedness. The lies are promises that the debt will be paid back.
For two months the financial markets have gone sideways on a cushion of the European Central Bank's Long Term Refinancing Operations and the hot air of austerity chatter. The illusion of remaining airborne may dissolve now with the Hollandaise denunciation of Franco-German team spirit while a centripetal vortex of unpaid obligations sucks notional wealth through the event horizon of massive deflation.
Things are heating up, in other words. Wake up, sleepyheads! Welcome to the rest of the year 2012.
Paul Krugman, the Nobel Prize winning Professor of Economics and International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University, Centenary Professor at the London School of Economics, and op-ed columnist for The New York Times, is so amusing this morning. I, too, almost upchucked my "Paleo" diet breakfast of salmon hash with four eggs (pas de Hollandaise). Krugman writes in his column:
What's wrong with the prescription of spending cuts as the remedy for Europe's ills? One answer is that the confidence fairy doesn't exist -- that is, claims that slashing government spending would somehow encourage consumers and businesses to spend more have been overwhelmingly refuted by the experience of the past two years. So spending cuts in a depressed economy just make the depression deeper.
What an excellent misrepresentation of reality by one of the official molders of public opinion and policy in this exceptional land. I would attempt to debate his statement above that spending less government money is proposed to encourage consumers, blah blah. It is proposed because government doesn't have the money to spend and has run out of the ability to borrow more money due to the bad odor now wafting off the world's compost heap of sovereign bond paper. Everyone is going broke simultaneously, including putative lenders, i.e. buyers of bonds, who are the same ones selling them.
I like the way Krugman avers offhandedly to the concept of "depression." I believe this is a new thing for him to admit a certain absence of "green shoots" on the spring economic scene. Heretofore his halftime act between two presidential terms has been sheer cheerleading, but I guess he forgot to bring his pompoms to the office yesterday. I would refer to the situation as something more severe than a "depression," which merely suggests a valley between peaks. I would say that we are instead out on the arid buzzard flats beside the deep blue sea where modernity is shortly to drown itself in a fugue of suicidal bad faith.
All of which is to say the pretense that has reigned since 2008 (viz: "recovery") may not float through the rest of 2012. Surely in the USA, we are approaching a dark inflection point where the fall elections collide with the broken promises now gathering into the shitstorm vulgarly called "Taxmageddon." The event horizon for that extravaganza of financial lightning strikes is officially January 1, but the effects will be felt long before that as households, businesses, pension funds, municipal governments, and various branches of the US military prepare to roll over and die.
Enjoy the European sideshow for now because the roustabouts are still setting the props for act in the center ring. When the clown cars pull into the political conventions this summer, I would like to see these circus troupes greeted by large and lively mobs of furious citizens hurling objurgations at the likes of Barack Obama and Willard "Mitt" Romney. This is probably the least we can do to register some objection to the two useless parties' way of running things. Also, by the way, I would wonder what the generals over in the Pentagon will think (or might do!) as they see their country fall to tatters.
Thursday, May 10, 2012
Friday, May 04, 2012
Wednesday, May 02, 2012
By James Howard Kunstler
on April 30, 2012 9:40 AM
on April 30, 2012 9:40 AM
A few weeks ago I flew to Chicago, hopped into a rent-a-car, and navigated my way on the tangle of interstate highways to the now mostly former industrial region in the northwest corner of Indiana just off lowest Lake Michigan between the towns of Whiting and Gary. The desolation of human endeavor lay across the land like nausea made visible, but more impressive was how rapid the rise and fall of it all had been.
Not much more than 150 years ago this was a region of marshes, dunes, swales, laurel slicks, and little backwater ponds of the huge lake. The forbidding flat emptiness of the terrain made it perfect for running railroad track, and before long much of the heavy industry that epitomized the modern interval opened for business there, downwind from the pulsating new organism called Chicago. The storied steel mills of Gary are gone, and the numberless small shops and sheds that turned out useful widgets exist now, if at all, as ghostly brick and concrete shells along the stupendous grid of highways.
The one gigantic enterprise still going was the BP oil refinery, originally the Standard Oil operation, a demonic jumble of pipes, retorts, and exhaust stacks that sprawled over hundreds of acres, with flared off plumes of leaping orange flame from gas too cheap to sell lurid against the Great Lakes sunset in a lower key of rose and salmon pink. The refinery was there to support the only other visible activity in region, which was motoring.
In a place so desolate it was hard to tell where everybody was going in such numbers on the endless four-laners. Between the ghostly remnants of factories stood a score of small cities and neighborhoods where the immigrants settled five generations ago. A lot of it was foreclosed and shuttered. They were places of such stunning, relentless dreariness that you felt depressed just imagining how depressed the remaning denizens of these endless blocks of run-down shoebox houses must feel. Judging from the frequency of taquerias in the 1950s-vintage strip-malls, one inferred that the old Eastern European population had been lately supplanted by a new wave of Mexicans. They had inherited an infrastructure for daily life that was utterly devoid of conscious artistry when it was new, and now had the special patina of supernatural rot over it that only comes from materials not found in nature disintegrating in surprising and unexpected ways, sometimes even sublimely, like the sheen of an oil slick on water at a certain angle to the sun. There was a Chernobyl-like grandeur to it, as of the longed-for end of something enormous that hadn't worked out well.
Yet people were coming and going in their cars from the welfare ruins of East Chicago to the even more spectacular tatters of Gary, where the old front porches are disappearing into prairie grass and the 20th century retreats into the mists of mythology. For a while, I suppose, people were interested that the Michael Jackson nativity occurred there, but that, too, is a shred of history now merging with the fabled wendigo of the Wyandots and the fate of the North American mastodon. You might draw the conclusion that driving cars is the only activity left in certain parts of the USA. Many of the ones I saw in this forsaken corner of the Midwest were classic beaters occupied by young men in pairs searching, searching, searching. It takes a certain special kind of mental bearing to persist in searching such a place for something that is not there.
I was never so glad to get out of a place than those hundred-odd square miles of soured American dreamland. I was driving too, along with everybody else, on the Dan Ryan Expressway (US I-94), and for about 20 miles or so, from Pullman to the West Loop, the traffic barely pulsed along, like the contents in the terminal portion of the human gastrointestinal tract. This is what remains out in the Heartland of our country: a place so dire that you want to race shrieking from it and forget what you saw there. I have a feeling that its agonizing return to nature - or what's left of nature - will not be mitigated by anything Barack Obama or Mitt Romney might propose to do. I wouldn't want to be around when the driving stops.