The blog of Chicago-based freelance writer David Johnsen.
Friday, October 12, 2007
Bastard of the Day
The real enemy in this summer's "Battle for Lake Michigan" wasn't BP. It was Indiana. Here we go again:

Indiana is moving to scrap, relax or omit limits on toxic chemicals and heavy metals dumped into a Lake Michigan tributary by the sprawling U.S. Steel Corp. mill in Gary, according to environmental lawyers and former federal regulators who have reviewed a proposed water permit.
I've had enough of their crap. It's time to declare war on those Hoosier bastards. You know we'd win.

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Sunday, September 16, 2007
And People Complain About Chicago Police?
A car crashes, police arrive, the driver says there are three passengers, the police find one, and they stop searching. This happened early Saturday morning in Gary, Indiana.

Seven hours later, the father of one of the missing passengers went looking in the woods where the car crashed. He found a shoe, and then he found his son and the third passenger.
He said he called police immediately, and when they arrived, they would not discuss whether the woods had been thoroughly searched. Smith said police were more concerned about the shoe he had picked up in the woods and was still clutching in his hand. "The only thing they said to me, and it was in a messed-up tone, was, 'Where did you get that shoe from?' and, 'You better put it back about where you found it,'" Smith said. "I threw it at them. I said, 'I'm looking at my son and his friend dead and you're worried about where I found a damn shoe?'"
I can only hope they died quickly from the crash. The alternative -- hearing sirens and voices nearby, only to be abandoned -- is too horrible to imagine.

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Friday, September 07, 2007
Bastard of the Day
I'm going to go out on a limb here and pick Edie Bolanos, the Indiana woman who raced a freight train with her minivan and lost, killing her two daughters. Damn it, I am sick of these avoidable train-motor vehicle "accidents." It was not an accident. Watch the video. She literally raced the train and then attempted to cross the tracks in front of it. Her minivan was hit by that train as well as another traveling in the opposite direction (which she would have seen had she not been busy making a jughandle turn to cross the tracks). Incredibly, she and her two sons survived.

Let's look at a typical response to incidents like this. Here is what the owner of her kids' day care center said:
"It was a tragic accident," Bazan said. "She was a very loving mother."
First of all, this was not a "tragic accident." It was a deliberate act of profound stupidity that ended badly. Second, she is not "a very loving mother." If she truly loved her children, she would not have endangered them in this way. Judging from the video, this probably isn't the first time she raced a train, just the first time she lost.

Some may argue that I should feel sorry for this woman because she has lost two kids. Bullshit. I say her actions show that she was an unfit mother in the first place. I would put that bastard on trial for murdering her daughters, and I would take her sons away from her.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007
Who Blogs for the Bastard Polluters?
Today the EPA helpfully suggests seven ways Bastard Polluters could help the environment without changing their plans to dump toxins into Chicago's drinking water. Buried in the article is this disturbing nugget:
BP, which has taken out full-page newspaper advertisements and paid Internet bloggers to defend the permit, says it needs to discharge more pollution...
As a public relations tactic, paying bloggers to say nice things about your deadly discharge ranks lower than refinery sludge. I'd like to know who these spineless, pathetic, corporate-butt-kissing bloggers are, and not so I can shake their dirty hands.

I know pay-for-posting isn't new. But shilling for a product to generate "buzz" is relatively harmless; advocating the rape of our lake is entirely different. If BP wants to spread bullshit in its own blog, that's fine. But integrity-deficient "independent" bloggers who take cash to kiss ass deserve to rot in Hell.

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Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Bastard of the Day
It has to be EPA administrator Stephen Johnson, who claims that Indiana's BP butt-kissing is good for the Great Lakes. This article is so full of bullshit that it defies critical analysis (although Jennifer tries). It's no surprise that the Bush administration is against the environment in general (which is why Christie Todd Whitman quit the EPA), especially when it's sucking up to the oil industry. But like Senator Dick Durbin said, that doesn't make it acceptable.

An overwhelming majority of the U.S. House approved a resolution asking Indiana to reconsider its decision to let Bastard Polluters dump extra toxins into my drinking water, but the state doesn't care. I've had enough of their crap lately (the Illinoisans-pay-full-boat-on-the-toll-road debacle is another example). It's bad enough they gave us Dan Quayle. Let's declare those Hoosier bastards a "rogue state" and attack. Or better yet, let's make Indianapolis draw its drinking water out of Lake Michigan, preferably within 50 feet of the BP refinery's drainpipe. Then we'll see whether it really poses no threat to people.

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Saturday, July 14, 2007
Bastard of the Day
Today's winner is BP, which of course stands for Bastard Polluters. The state of Indiana has granted them permission to dump more ammonia and industrial sludge into Lake Michigan as part of a refinery expansion program. That's my drinking water, you bastards!

You can read the article for all of BP's public relations garbage about "minimal environmental impact," blah blah blah. But the state's explanation is even worse:
In response to public protests, state officials justified the additional pollution by concluding the project will create more jobs and "increase the diversity and security of oil supplies to the Midwestern United States." A rarely invoked state law trumps anti-pollution rules if a company offers "important social or economic benefits."
How many jobs? Eighty. That's all. So Indiana gave BP an exemption to pollute the drinking water of millions in the name of creating 80 jobs. Thanks a lot, you Hoosier bastards.

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Friday, April 29, 2005
No More "Indiana Time"
Those of us who travel through Indiana know about their wacky refusal to acknowledge daylight-saving time (DST). While I can understand Arizona's argument that they already have enough daylight in the desert, Indiana's situation is more complex:
Seventy-seven counties in the Eastern time zone portion of Indiana remain on standard time year round, while five in southeastern Indiana ignore state and federal law and change their clocks. Five counties each in the northwest and southwest pockets of the state are in the Central zone and observe daylight time.
Needless to say, this can be a bit confusing. When driving through Indiana it is wise to eat dinner early because you can't be sure when closing time is. And if you make an appointment with someone, you have to ask what time it is there so you can synchronize your watch. The Indiana House finally voted yesterday to start following DST statewide next year. While House Speaker Brian Bosma may have been going overboard to describe the vote as "heroic," he was right about this: "I can tell you that the rest of the nation, the rest of the world, knows that Indiana doesn't get it."

For any Hoosiers who haven't been paying attention, let me spell it out: in Illinois we make fun of your goofy, seemingly backward clock habits. Sorry, but it's true. About ten years ago I worked with a guy from Indiana. He would often show up at the wrong time for meetings or lunch. Instead of accepting this as a personal trait, we joked that he was "on Indiana time" (though he wasn't necessarily off by a whole hour or two).

The bill also requires petitioning the U.S. Department of Transportation to determine whether to include more Indiana counties in the Central time zone (as shown incorrectly on this map). That makes sense to me; it is odd that all of Alabama is on Central time while most of Indiana is not. In fact, Indiana was in the Central time zone until 1969 (here's the whole history).

The shocking thing about this bill is that a lot of constituents opposed it, and it only passed the House with the minimum of 51 votes. Rep. William Crawford groused, "This is not the second coming that is going to take Indiana into a brighter future." No, but at least we won't look at our watches, shake our heads, and make fun of you anymore. Now if only you could legislate away Dan Quayle...


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